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.

The Drive to War, Next Phase: Part 2

More questions concerning the bombing of the Saudi oil processing facility at Abqaiq. See my previous post for the beginning of this discussion.

If the Houthis, on whom the Saudis have been waging war for over four years, performed this operation, then there is no need for more speculation. It was a straight-forward military tactic to inflict injury on an opponent in a war. End of story. If it brings the Saudis to a point where they are willing to negotiate an end to the war, then more power to the Houthis. In fact, hit them again. Harder, this time.

But, if the Houthis did not do this, then why did they say they did? Why was that declaration immediate unless they knew in advance that it was going to happen? If they knew in advance that it was coming, then who told them? If someone else told them and they agreed to claim responsibility for it, then what was promised to them for their cooperation? Furthermore, if someone else was responsible for the attack, what was their rationale and purpose behind it?

Perhaps the Houthis actually did execute a high-tech, perfectly synchronized, flawless attack on an enemy’s territory which was supposedly “protected” by the most modern defensive weapons available. Or not. I am highly skeptical. My inclination is to think that another party is involved here. This has all the earmarks of a false-flag designed to persuade and coerce the US (and the American people) into waging yet another Middle-East war. So far, I haven’t seen any evidence presented which makes me think I ought to change my mind. I simply don’t believe the official narrative.

It is easy to focus on the question of who did it and try to pinpoint the perpetrator. The far more important one, though, is who benefits from the action. Cui bono? Merriam-Webster defines the phrase as, “: a principle that probable responsibility for an act or event lies with one having something to gain.” No matter what, the party which would gain the most by having the US attack Iran is unquestionably the state of Israel, with Saudi Arabia tracking closely behind it.

Politically speaking, it is not in Israel’s interest to have widespread peace breaking out in the neighborhood. If this did happen and the antagonistic parties started working out their disagreements civilly and peacefully, then the police state in power in Jerusalem would have less justification to maintain their policies of brutal repression and the continual drive for military dominance and superiority. Where’s the money in that? If the US attacked and destroyed Iran, Israel would have no viable competition left to challenge its dominance in the region.

Neither is it in the Saud’s interest to negotiate a cease-fire with the Houthis, since that would infer a catastrophic defeat of the Kingdom by a vastly inferior foe. This perception alone might be enough to cause a “regime change” and a course correction within the government of the House of Saud, something which the powers-that-be are not willing to tolerate. If the US attacked and destroyed Iran, the price of oil would go up astronomically, conferring an immediate financial benefit on the Saudis which they desperately need. That is, if anyone else could afford to buy it.

Considering this, it’s easy to imagine that either the Israelis or the Saudis (or both) orchestrated this singular event, in the hopes that the US would then jump in and destroy Iran or that it would draw attention away from the fact that the war in Yemen is going badly for Saudi Arabia. Neither of these is far-fetched. The kicker is that if the US doesn’t respond in the hoped-for manner and refuses to attack Iran, then the whole operation has been a colossal failure on the part of the perpetrators. One can hope.

I would like to believe that the Houthis actually did execute this attack and that they can use it (and more like it, if necessary) to drive the Sauds to the negotiating table. Ending the war in Yemen by inflicting severe injuries on the Saudi apparatus is a desirable benefit. My gut instinct, however, tells me differently.

The Drive to War, Next Phase

Who recently bombed the Saudi oil processing facility at Abqaiq, which purportedly cut Saudi Arabia’s oil production in half? Will this event become a catalyst for war with Iran, instantly blamed even though the Houthis in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attack? Since Saudi Arabia is not part of NATO nor does the United States have any mutual defense agreement with the Saudis, why is it necessary for the US to retaliate against Iran.

One thing which is not questionable is that if the US and the Saudis, with direct or indirect assistance from Israel, do attack Iran, the price of oil will skyrocket across the globe. Gas prices would spike as a result, perhaps increasing as much as four or five times the current amount. The possibility of gasoline costing $12-15/gallon or even as much as $20/gallon is not out of the question.

One consequence of such a scenario is that the average consumer would drastically cut back on the purchase of gasoline, making non-essential driving a thing of the past. Many, such as myself, would find it extremely difficult to pay for the additional cost of simply driving to work. It is quite probable, in fact almost certain, that world-wide commerce and industry would experience a massive shutdown, causing millions to either lose their jobs outright or going on temporary layoff. Temporary being subject to the system righting itself, of course. No telling how long that would last.

Will the US go to war with Iran? I have included links to five articles by analysts, here, here, here, here, and here, which attempt to explain what really happened. They are not in agreement as to who pulled the trigger. My own opinion is that there is more here than we are being told. Reach your own conclusions.

The consensus appears to be that an all-out assault on Iran will not happen over this incident. I tend to agree with that, but understand that there are particular individuals (neocons, Israel-firsters, war profiteers, power-brokers, etc.) who do want the war to happen, regardless of the cost. Even if no war occurs over this incident, the odds are that something else will happen in the near future to precipitate it. The whole region of the Middle East is virtually a tinder-box, just waiting for a spark of ignition. Or, as Alex Utopium might have put it, “If this was a cardboard box, it would have “Fragile” stamped all over it.”

The good news is that President Trump seems to be reluctant and averse to attacking Iran. Since he is a professional businessman instead of a professional politician, he probably understands the cost of such a venture far better than his “advisors”, who only understand the use of political power. Appearances are deceiving, however, and it’s best not to take him at his word.

The bad news is that he may not be able to withstand the pressure and might give in to the constant drumbeat for war with Iran. In many quarters, John McCain’s legacy still has a life of its own. “Bomb, bomb, bomb. Bomb, bomb, Iran.”

The upshot is that we simply do not know what is going to happen and are not able to affect the outcome to any significant degree. All that we can do is to continue living as we are and hope that this will all be sorted out in a way which is beneficial for the world as a whole.

The True Nature of Politics

Hypocrisy in political life is not uncommon. In fact, most people pander to it in one form or another. Both Republican conservatives and Democrat liberals are united in one thing—their shameless inconsistency whenever pet issues are brought up and their support for “righteous” or “virtuous” government whenever it is convenient. See Jacob Hornberger or Laurence Vance for examples of this. See my own articles here and here.

Let’s look at a few issues hotly debated today—abortion, drugs, immigration, and guns. Should these be controlled and regulated by the Feds or by the various states? Sadly, both factions believe that one or the other should hold the controlling reins, depending on what is at stake and the popular political opinion on that specific issue.

For the purposes of this article, Democrats will include anyone who is generally left of center, liberal, and/or progressive. Republicans will include anyone who is generally right of center and conservative. Keep in mind that these are only generalizations on a large scale and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint(s) of any single individual.

Democrats are in favor of the federal government controlling the abortion issue. Roe v. Wade cannot be tampered with or weakened in any way. Any state law which attempts to circumvent it must immediately be stopped. The federal blessing of abortion on demand must be maintained at all costs, no matter what.

Democrats are also in favor of the federal government controlling, regulating, restricting, and/or outlawing and prohibiting guns. In fact, as time brings more mass shootings, the calls for the Feds to “do something” only grow louder. For them, this issue, like abortion, is much too important to be left to the states.

However, when it comes to drugs and immigration, Democrats are usually quite vocal about wresting these issues away from the Feds and allowing the states full control over them. Quite often, liberal-leaning states find themselves at odds with Fed policy on these.

Republicans, on the other hand, tend to favor smaller, more local government when the issue is abortion (Roe v. Wade must be overturned) or guns (the ultimate state’s rights issue), but are in a hurry to grant the Feds a huge amount of power when the conversation turns to drugs (outlaw them all, especially the harder ones like heroin, cocaine, and meth).

For Republicans, immigration also comes under the purview of Federal control, not so much because it is Constitutionally mandated to the Feds, but because the states, especially the liberal ones, simply can’t be trusted to do what is “right” about the limitless hordes pouring across “our” borders.

There are countless others which could be compared in the same way, but I think I have made my point. Both factions adamantly favor federal control over some issues, while vigorously supporting state control over others. The only difference is which side of the political divide one stands on.

Best of Times, Worst of Times

About ten days ago, I started having trouble with my internet connection. Sometimes it would work just fine, the way it was supposed to. Other times, I’d have to fiddle with it, restart the computer, reset the modem, etc, to get it going. Finally, a week ago, it stopped completely and nothing I could do had any effect, so I called the ISP to rectify the problem.

It took a few days before a technician could get here, so my wife and I had a small holiday from the electronic demands of the Internet. Except for the fact that I couldn’t pay bills or juggle the money in my bank account, it didn’t bother me much at all. After the first shock of going ‘cold turkey’, I settled down with a good book (actually a large book of short stories by various authors) and managed to pass the time pleasantly reading. That’s something I haven’t done in a long time.

When the technician showed up yesterday, she swapped out the modem and the radio receiver at the antenna and, voila! Instant gratification again!! Back to the digital drug of looking at anything I want to!!! And my wife is able to view Pinterest at will, which she is happy about.

Nevertheless, I was born before there were computers, grew up with a black box on the wall called a telephone, never knew what the Internet was until the early 90’s, and while I have to admit the advantages of modern technology, I could just as easily go back to a time without all that new-fangled stuff. Being without it was an inconvenience, but it didn’t come anywhere near destroying my life.

If the electricity ever goes out for good, I’ll just start living like the Amish.

Failure of Prohibition: A History and a Prediction

There have been times when government tried, but failed, to remove from society certain consumer products.

The Prohibition era began with the passage of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution in 1919, outlawing all manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcoholic products. Prohibition of such “crimes” began on January 17, 1920 and lasted until December 5th, 1933 when the 21st Amendment repealed the practice. It did not eliminate the consumption or demand for alcohol, however, but only drove the supply out of public sight. Numerous people, otherwise innocent, were prosecuted, fined, jailed, or simply killed outright as a consequence of this policy.

In April, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order outlawing private ownership of gold coins, bullion, and certificates. He prosecuted and punished a few people, using well-publicized methods, to ensure that everyone else got the message and relinquished their holdings. Ultimately, however, all that was accomplished was that privately held gold went underground. Eventually, in 1974, President Gerald R. Ford lifted the ban and allowed gold to circulate freely, as it has done since.

In the 1970’s, President Richard M. Nixon’s administration declared the ‘War on Drugs’ to eliminate all illicit drugs from private ownership and usage. Today, millions of people are in prisons and jails, not because they are criminals, but because they possessed and/or used certain items which the government had disallowed. Like alcohol and gold in the early part of the century, however, illegal drugs did not go out of existence. They simply went underground and disappeared from public view. Currently, marijuana is legal in some form or another in a majority of states throughout the country and will eventually be legal everywhere, probably regulated like alcohol is.

So it will be for guns if private ownership is outlawed, prohibited, or regulated in an extreme manner. Guns, like alcohol, gold and drugs, will not simply disappear from society, instead, they will be driven out of sight. People who own them will be vilified, prosecuted, jailed, and fined, perhaps even killed, not because they used those guns against others violently, but because they possessed an item the government decided they shouldn’t have. If gun control is ever seriously legislated, scores of millions of Americans will be forced to choose between giving up what they consider to be their rightfully owned property or run the risk of heavy-handed punishment, up to and including the loss of their lives and freedom.

Government can regulate any consumer item out of the visible, public market, but it cannot destroy the demand for it. There always will be a market for alcohol, gold, drugs, guns, and many other items, which people consider valuable. The demand for such items is private and individual and can only be eliminated by private, individual choice. It cannot be extirpated from society by collective will or force, but may only be suppressed for an indefinite period of time, during which the relevant demand will be met–illegally, undercover, and quite often, violently.

Diabetes and Gun Violence: The way we treat disease.

As America grapples with the menace posed by mass shootings and (seemingly) random violence, it is worth noting that the phenomenon can be considered an indication that our society is sick. Sick, getting sicker, with no way to heal the body except for a dramatic transformation in the way we live. This is similar in scope to many physical diseases prevalent today, for instance, diabetes.

Think about the way modern society treats illnesses today. A person gets sick, goes to see a physician, gets a diagnosis, a prescription for a drug, an assurance that this will put her right, and goes home, trusting completely on the pill to cure the problem. Depending on the situation, the drug might or might not restore her to health. Quite often it only masks the symptoms.

In the case of diabetes, she contracts the disease, perhaps as a result of years and years of gorging herself on fast, junk food and a lack of exercise to work off the excess. There may be little or no attempt at all to lose the obesity or a change in diet to bring it under control. In situations like this, the medication is expected only to treat the symptoms by keeping the blood sugar at a tolerable level, but it is not meant to cure the underlying disease. It is essentially nothing more than a bandage over a hemorrhage.

(Note: Diabetes can be contracted by people who are serious about maintaining a healthy lifestyle through strict adherence to diet and exercise. This article is not meant for them. They have my respect and I wish them well.)

The approach to mass shootings is pretty much the same. Feed society on the idea that young men and women can join the military and shoot other people they don’t know. Feed society on Hollywood movies which glorify gun violence as a means of solving problems. Feed society on video games marketed to young children which depict gun violence as a pleasurable game. Feed society on the idea that if you wind up pregnant, you can make the problem go away by killing the unborn child. Feed society on the philosophy that all morality is subjective to the individual person and situation. Feed society on political divisiveness and hatred. Feed society on personal irresponsibility and refusing to teach children about the consequences of their actions or to hold them accountable from an early age.

I could go on, but you get the idea. These things (and many more unmentioned) are the junk food that America gorges itself on daily, year after year, decade after decade. Then, inevitably, when a symptom (mass shootings) shows up, address it by prescribing a treatment (background checks, red flag laws, gun restrictions, etc.) which have the effect of assuring the patient (society) that the disease (violent behavior) is being treated effectively.

This treatment, however, will have as much lasting effect as that of an obese, inactive person taking a pill to counter and control diabetes, while refusing to change her lifestyle in a meaningful, positive way. Modern medicine treats the symptom of the disease, but does not address the cause. So too with modern society.

An obese, inactive person can overcome diabetes by adopting a radical change in lifestyle. It will be difficult, but it can be done. It will require, not only the obvious changes in diet and exercise, but also the attitude of personal change—the idea that unless personal action is taken to correct the problem, nothing at all will change. Nobody else can do it.

So too with America. Because society is composed of individuals acting personally, society can be transformed by individuals changing their attitudes and lifestyles in meaningful and positive ways. It will take time. It will not be obvious immediately, but in the long run, it will be noticeable. And well worth it.

I can’t do anything about the random acts of violence which are perpetrated in society on a regular basis, but I can make the necessary changes to minimize and eliminate violence in my own life. This will require, first of all, a change in the way I think about myself, my relationship to other people, and my relationship to God. After that, it is simply a matter of living it out.

Loans, Bad Loans, and Usury

I read Zero Hedge on a daily basis. I like to know what’s going on in the world without having to resort to mainstream or social media. Many of the articles are well written. Some aren’t worth the ‘digital paper’ they’re written on. However, this one concerning usury caught my eye today.

Obviously, the author has some experience in finance and did his best to make sense of the definition of usury. Unfortunately, I think all he did was to muddy the waters, so I made a comment, which may have made the matter worse. Who knows? I can’t say that I know exactly what usury is, but this is what I think. Whether it is correct or not is debatable, but many dictionary definitions attribute a moral value to the concept, as do I.


“Usury is a loan when the borrower is subtracting equity.”–Monetary Metals

This statement makes it sound like when you’re making money off the loan, you’re not engaging in usury, but if you lose money, then you are. In reality, this is throwing the unwise borrower under the bus, because it’s his fault that he didn’t make sound business decisions. Or maybe borrowed the money to take his wife on a vacation to Tahiti, with no way to pay it back when he returns. Stupid, yes, but not a legal matter.

No one is forced to borrow money at interest. There is always a time when the borrower can just say no. Borrowing at interest is a voluntary transaction and because of that, there are no limits to the amount of interest which can be charged–as long as the borrower is willing to pay. If he can’t, he suffers the consequences.

My definition of usury is that it is the practice by a lender to loan money at interest to a person who is destitute and desperately in need of help. Think homeless person today. He has no collateral, no property, no job, no income, probably sick and starving, at the end of his rope. We’ve all seen them.

To offer this person a sum of money on the promise that it will be paid back with interest is, biblically speaking (Old Testament) criminal. Any interest at all, even a very low percentage, would be outlawed. In fact, a loan under these conditions would not even be proper or wise since the payback would be impossible for the recipient to fulfill. Instead, the person with the money was expected to simply give the down-and-outer whatever he might need in order to survive–at that moment, but only at that moment. It was not a long-term welfare program. 

There is nothing wrong or immoral about interest in a normal situation, but interest charged to anyone who has nothing except his life and probably only a tenuous hold on that is usury. The people who commit it are those who do not hesitate to squeeze the last drop from anyone who is desperate, so that they can become richer. To put this in modern terms, it would be like taking away the shopping cart, the tent, the blanket, and the trash bags filled with stuff–all to satisfy a loan with interest added.

The practice of usury is a moral, not a financial issue. What is needed here is compassion and generosity. We can all develop those.

Killing and the Question, Part 2

To add to the article I posted yesterday, if you are interested in researching the issue of mass shootings, why they happen, what we can learn from them, and what we can do in the future to prevent them, then check out the following links. Zero Hedge, Lew Rockwell, James Howard Kunstler, Michael Rozeff, Warren Farrel, WND.

Each one of these authors is level-headed and reasonable. You will not find any hysterics here nor any sense of trying to whip the public up into a froth emotionally. Some arguments I agree with wholeheartedly, about some I have my doubts, but I will consider all of them. As should you.

Feminists For Life have a saying that “Abortion is a reflection that we have not met the needs of women.” If this is true in the case of abortion on demand, then a paraphrased version of it would also be true. Mass shootings are a reflection that we have not met the needs of young men. As a society and a culture, we should consider that both these are linked in one inextricable way—both situations exhibit a callous disregard for innocent human life.

We have to figure out a way to meet the needs of both pregnant women and young men. Our world’s survival depends on it.

Killing and the Question

Within the space of one week, there have been three mass shootings (see here, here, and here) across the United States which have killed more than 30 people and left many more wounded. Shootings like these are a shock to our system, which relies on trust and cooperation in order to function. After all, if you can’t go to a Garlic Festival or a Walmart without worrying about being shot, then there is no place which is safe.

Many people will be clamoring to strengthen and rewrite existing gun laws, with the professed intention of bringing this irrational violence to an end. Will this work? If history is any guide, probably not. Anyway, the argument over guns is a strawman which will have little or no effect on the violence which is playing out in our country and around the world.

People are killed in mass shootings, aggressive wars, the deliberate driving of trucks or delivery vans into crowds at an outdoor cafe, stabbings, gang warfare, police brutality, drug related murders, and abortion on demand, which killed over 600, 000 innocent unborn children last year in the US alone. All of these (and more) have one thing in common–the complete and utter lack of respect and honor for human life.

Jacob Hornberger has attempted to identify a cause of the violence we are learning to live with. His theory is that the war mentality America has inculcated in her citizens over the years is coming home to roost.

“I believe that America’s forever wars, sanctions, embargoes, and assassinations overseas are triggering some sort of mechanism within the minds of people who are bit off kilter mentally, which is causing them to wreak the same sort of violent and deadly mayhem here at home that the U.S. government, specifically the Pentagon and the CIA, is wreaking in the Middle East, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.”

Hornberger may be right, but he doesn’t go far enough.

Violence and the use of deadly force is as American as apple pie. It is endemic in our culture. It has been part of America from the very beginning. For those who are doing the slaughtering, human life is worthless. The sanctity of human life means nothing. It spans the spectrum of society from the streets of Chicago to the killing rooms of Planned Parenthood to the callous attitude of Madeline Albright, who, when asked about 500,000 dead Iraqi children as a result of crippling sanctions imposed by then-president Bill Clinton, responded that she thought the price was worth it. Throw in video games, psychotropic drugs, the Hollywood effect, and many other contributing factors and it’s no surprise that we are seeing individuals randomly acting this way.

The killing (in whatever form it takes) will not stop unless and until we grasp the concept that human life is precious, priceless, and not to be held in contempt. Human life, from the very beginning to the very end, must become something which is esteemed and valued. The lack of respect for it is a primary cause of all killings and, if we are ever going to bring this senseless violence to an end, we must absorb and live the understanding that human life is too valuable to simply destroy.

It won’t do any good to pass more laws or to increase the penalties. Giving the government more power will not help. This is a heart attitude and must be changed there, at the individual level, within the conscience of what is right and what is wrong. It has to begin with me. It has to begin with you.

A Conversation on Socialism

The following Letter to the Editor appeared in the Missoulian, one of the largest newspapers in western Montana. It is well-written, researched, and reasoned. I answered it. See below.

“All this current agonizing over the concept of “socialism.” Republicans cringe at the word and hold up their crosses to divert the horrors of it.”

“I got curious. What of socialism around the world? According to the United Nations, seven of the 10 happiest countries in 2019 are Finland, Denmark, Norway, The Netherlands, Sweden, New Zealand and Canada. FYI: The U.S. ranked 18th.”

“According to the Peerform website, among the 10 most socialistic nations in the world today are Denmark, Finland, The Netherlands, Canada, Sweden, Norway and New Zealand.”

“Interesting overlap, do you not agree?”

“On thelibertarianrepublic.com website, the blogger listed the most socialist policies of the USA. They were Social Security, the Federal Reserve, endless wars, farm subsidies, public schools, corporate welfare, income taxes, Medicare/Medicaid/Affordable Care Act, public transportation, public security, and the Food and Drug Administration. Allowing for the obvious libertarian leanings in what got included in the list, which of the listed policies would you be willing to give up?”

“Maybe we can all agree on giving up the “endless wars”!”

–Linda Holtom, Missoula

(This is my reply. Note that the links I have posted do not show up in the paper, so the content below is not exactly the same as the version submitted.–RM)

Socialism. Republicans cringe at the word. I agree and consider them to be inconsistent. While they speak against socialism, they advocate for and enact socialist policies, including all the items Linda Holtom listed in a Letter to Editor, Missoulian, 7/28/2019. See here and here for an extended version of my opinion on Republican hypocrisy concerning socialism and government.

It is interesting that the blog post she referred to, Peerform, had a large graphic at the top of the article showing Lenin, Marx, and Engels—all of whom were instrumental in bringing about the ‘worker’s paradise’ known as the former Soviet Union, socialism taken to the extreme. She also neglected to mention that one of the most socialist countries, according to this blog post, is China, with the attendant photo of armed soldiers lined up, ready to enforce compliance with socialist law.

Holtom asked a question. It deserves an answer. I would give up all of them, starting with the FED, which finances every form of socialism in this country. This action, by itself, would inevitably change or eliminate every other item on her list, including the endless wars.

There is only one alternative to socialism—liberty, in which the freedom of people and their property is considered sacred and off limits to government. Everything else is socialist.

End of letter. I expect some pretty harsh criticism, from both the left and the right.

It seems that Holtom has equated socialism with happiness. After all, most of the most socialist countries in the world are also the happiest, at least according to the sources she mentioned. What she never said anything about is that the most socialist countries this world has ever known, the USSR, Maoist China, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Nazi Germany, etc., have also been the unhappiest, filled with an immense amount of human suffering and misery.

All of the countries she listed have a few things in common. There are probably more.

  1. They are small, population-wise.
  2. Many of these populations are indigenous and closely related.
  3. They have no large military expenditures, relying instead on the United States to keep the “bogeyman” away.

One thing which should be obvious is that they are more similar to each other than they are to the US, which has a large, rapidly growing, rapidly diversifying population and is acting as policeman to the world. Apples to oranges. They are not the same.

Consistency: The Winning Factor in Politics and Life

I grew up in a conservative Republican home and learned early on that ‘liberal’ was a dirty word. It affected my political viewpoint for many years until the day arrived that I realized this wasn’t the whole story. Eventually I came to the conclusion that it’s pretty hard to throw mud unless you’re right in the middle of the puddle yourself. Or, as the saying goes, it takes one to know one.

There are two major wings of the statist party, Conservative and Liberal, with a third, Progressive, building up steam and set to demolish the Democrat Party. I have no use for any of them, but I do have some grudging respect for both the Liberal and Progressive factions. This shouldn’t be construed to mean that I accept and support their premises (I don’t), but only that, in my opinion, they are consistent with their stated philosophies and, consequently, will probably come out on top in the scramble for government control—at least for a short while until they manage to completely destroy the United States.

It is a known fact that both the liberals and the progressives call for wide-ranging policies which would require massively increasing the size of civil government in order to implement them. It is also known that both are willing and ready to accept this growth and even advocate for it. In this respect, they are honest. They are consistent. They practice what they preach.

Not so the conservatives. They are hypocrites, mouthing one thing, enacting another. They SAY that they are in favor of small government and lower taxes, but push for more all the time. They SAY that they are in favor of outlawing abortion on demand, but never make any concerted effort to end the slaughter when they have the power to do so. They SAY that they are in favor of free trade, but then work out deals which benefit large corporations and the people who control them at the expense of everyone else. They SAY that they support individual freedom, but work to bring everyone under the control of the State.

And on and on and on. I could do this for a long, long time.

George W. Bush was elected President, due partly to the belief among conservative Republicans that he was a decent, devout, Christian man who would do the right thing and Bush encouraged them to think so. He was not shy about professing his Christian faith in public, yet he never hesitated to abandon the principles he espoused when they came into conflict with his political policies. “Love your enemy”, “Do good to those who hate you”, and “Do not bear false witness” are maxims of the Christian faith, but Bush deliberately and repeatedly lied in order to take America to war against Afghanistan and Iraq, killing millions of people in the process.

I have more respect for Adolf Hitler. He knew what he believed in, he said what he believed, and he pursued his beliefs to the end, without conflict between his words and his acts.

Jack Kerwick recently posted an article on Lew Rockwell which said that conservatives could win the political battle against the liberals and progressives, except that they will not fight for what they believe in. He mentions Rush Limbaugh’s immense wealth and says that if that was put to good use, it would have a profound effect on society. This may very well be true, but why would Limbaugh do that? He makes his millions by exploiting the suckers who take his words at face value. Limbaugh and others like him are con men, using the gullibility of their followers as a cash cow to be milked, laughing all the way to the bank.

I don’t agree with Kerwick’s assessment. Conservatives don’t need to “fight” with the liberals and progressives to win. All they need to do is to be consistent, on a regular basis, with what they say they believe. That would be more than enough.

Socialism vs. Liberty and Freedom

Recently, a Letter to the Editor was printed in the Bitterroot Star by numerous members of the Montana Legislature, all of them Republicans, on the issue of Medicaid expansion and why this is a bad idea. My response is seen below or you can see it online here. And while you’re at it, check out the paper, a small, local rag which does quite well in this area.

Apparently, the authors of the article believe that Medicaid itself is good, because they state that, “Traditional Medicaid was created to lend a hand to our most vulnerable populations.” However, they argue against the “socialist expansion” of the program. Where do they draw the line? And how do they determine when we have stepped over it? And who gets to decide where the line is drawn? 

What is socialism, anyway? 

Socialism is the political practice of bestowing benefits on any certain class of people at the expense of everyone else. Furthermore, it is the belief that the ills of society and culture can be corrected by confiscating money and wealth from certain people and giving it to others. In this respect, every civilization in the world today is socialist because they all rely on taxation and government redistribution to create their own version of socialism. 

I’d be willing to bet that the authors have their own pet projects which they would vigorously defend against attack, all the while claiming that these are NOT socialist in any way, shape, or form. The fact is that EVERY single government program which has ever been created and implemented is socialist to some degree. 

The only alternative to socialism (left, right, or middle) is to leave individual people alone to live out their lives without interference. No government, no taxation, no socialism. In other words, individual liberty and freedom.

Yeah, that’s right. Just leave me alone.

***Update: Shortly after this letter appeared in the Bitterroot Star, a response was printed. You can read it here.It basically said that because I had expressed a desire to be left alone, then I had to stay home, stay off the (our) roads, stay out of the (our) stores, plan to work from home with what I had on hand, stay away from the (our) local medical offices and hospitals, not call the (our) local fire or police departments in an emergency, etc. In other words, completely disassociate myself from any and all local society. All because I said I wanted to be left alone.

I didn’t bother to respond.

Shameless Self-Promotion

I have been writing this blog off and on for years. My thinking has changed somewhat over this time, so some of these posts may not accurately reflect the way I believe now. That is important, however, since I am where I am now because of the decisions I made in the past. Because my thinking and philosophy change over time, I can honestly say that I believe I am coming ever closer to the truth.

The posts to this blog are sporadic. I have, however, been writing and posting to another blog, To Make a Difference more frequently. To Make A Difference is dedicated solely to the issue of abortion on demand. On that issue, my view will never change.

Check it out if you’d like. I’d be delighted to have you on board.

Legalize Pot Now, Mr. President

Whether you like him or hate him is irrelevant, Donald Trump can do something which a large majority of Americans would support–order that the Federal Government decriminalize the sale, purchase, and use of marijuana.

It is past time for the US to come to grips with the pot issue. Worldwide, trends are moving in the direction of decriminalization. Uruguay and Canada have already done so. Mexico will soon join them. Individual states are moving to make pot legal in one form or another.  The Feds are on the losing side.

Polls show that Americans, by and large, wish to see the Feds so-called “war on marijuana” end. Sooner or later this will happen. Inevitably, a large amount of the national economy will be removed from the black market and brought out into the open where it can be participated in legally. In addition, many people, non-violent offenders, who are presently incarcerated for the sale or possession of pot could be set free to rejoin society, enabling them to become productive citizens and slashing the immense cost to taxpayers to keep them behind bars.

The movement to change government policy on marijuana has become crystal clear—it will be modified in favor of more personal freedom. President Trump can go down in history by giving this issue a huge push in the right direction—declare that the US will make marijuana free and legal. Washington has lost this war. Now is the time to admit it openly.

The Reality of an Unbelievable Doctrine

               Sometimes, the theories and postulations of scientists require a great leap of faith to swallow them. Sometimes, they are simply unbelievable.

               Astrophysics, for example, has enjoyed a splendid run on television “infomentaries” (Discovery, History, PBS, etc.), presenting theories about the origin of the universe as if they were gospel. Night after night, there is a constant drumbeat about how the Big Bang happened 14 billion years ago, how our own sun lit up a few billion years later, and how Earth came into being 4.68732807 billion years ago, give or take a few million.

               They tell us that all the elements around (and in) us were spat out by exploding mega-stars umpteen billion years ago and, in fact, Earth wouldn’t exist at all were it not for such explosions. Gold deposits around the world and the huge lithium deposits recently found in Afghanistan are here today, compliments of super-novae a long, long time ago and far, far away.

               We are constantly reminded that Earth was once nothing more than a vast cloud of dust and gas. These dust and gas particles eventually started to clump together, by Gravity, and remain inseparable forever, or at least until some outside force split them apart. Over eons of time, more and more particles decided to join the group (I could have fun with this) until a rock was formed, which clumped together with another rock forming a bigger rock, which…You get the point. Eventually, enough of these rocks were brought together and morphed into a sphere around a core of liquid, molten iron and, Voila!, Earth.

               At some point, the comets arrived bringing the seeds of life and precious, life-sustaining water. (Where the comets got the water from is still a mystery.) From these gifts and the other elements generously sent to us by the stars, Gravity bless them, has evolved all the life forms that have ever existed.

               I am not making this up. I’ve seen it on television and we all know that if it’s on television, it must be true. But wait, as the pitch goes, there’s more. Oh, yes, much more!

               What really blows my mind is the “pinnacle of understanding” as I heard it directly from Stephen Hawking one day. Hawking is a demi-god who is worshipped in the astro-physical universe and, like E.F. Hutton, when he speaks, everyone listens. Anyway, he made the claim that there was a point in time (if time existed at all) where the entire, material universe was condensed, by Gravity, into a spot smaller than the smallest part of an atom. Everything was crammed in. Every constellation, galaxy, star, black hole, planet, gas cloud, was squeezed so small as to become non-existent.

               What really makes this interesting is that the material in the universe we can see and know about makes up only 5-10% of the whole universe, with the balance being made up of so-called dark matter, which we can’t see and know hardly anything about. Hawking believes that this dark matter was also included in the original mix and everything, both the matter we see and the matter we don’t, became one infinitely small amount of 100% pure energy, which simply exploded at the Big Bang and has been expanding, evolving, and creating ever since.

               Imagine, if you will, trying to compress one single tiny grain of sand into a state of virtual non-physicality, pure energy and nothing else. Imagine a force so large that Earth itself could be put into this position. The earth is 7, 926 miles in diameter (at the equator) and the sun is 865, 000 miles in diameter, give or take. Many stars are hundreds or thousands of times larger than our sun. Arcturus, for example, is supposed to have a diameter of 44 million miles.

               We live in a small galaxy called the Milky Way. There are an estimated 100 to 250 billion stars in our galaxy alone, yet there are galaxies out there which are far, far larger. Furthermore, it is estimated that the number of galaxies in the universe total in the hundreds of billions, perhaps trillions. We cannot even comprehend the number of stars this would make, let alone all the planets, black holes, quasars, dust and gas clouds, etc., which comprise the “known” galaxy.

               Multiply this phenomenal, stupendous mass by nine to ascertain the size of the dark matter that we don’t know about and you come up with an incredibly large, unfathomable amount which Hawking expects us to believe was once smaller than the smallest part of an atom.

Hunhhh??? They expect us to believe this????

Evidently they do, because all this is told with a straight face as if it were indisputable fact. Yet, the vast majority of astro-physicists, including Hawking, will tell you they don’t believe in God. How ridiculous is that? On the one hand they promote a theory which completely boggles the mind, which is so grandiose that the average person simply tunes it out, but they ridicule and demean anyone who claims that the universe was created by God and is sustained by His Spirit and rule.

It is, I suppose, theoretically possible that Hawking is right about the physical part of the universe, but he is dead wrong about its origin. I find Hawking’s hypothesis totally unbelievable, simply because I cannot wrap my mind around the logistics of the matter. I cannot comprehend the universe being squeezed so much that it virtually disappears into nothing but energy. This raises the question of where did this energy come from in the first place, but that’s another matter. The universe did not explode out of nothing nor did it originate from a (non)spot of pure energy.

Scientists of all ilk vehemently defend this theory, but it takes an incredible amount of faith to believe something like this. Truthfully, it is so much easier to believe that God simply spoke—and it was. The Bible tells us that God spoke it into existence. God didn’t start from a spot of energy, He started from nothing. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. This is what I believe. Who is going to tell me my faith is misplaced.

[Note: The above article was written four or five years ago, but never published. Since then, Stephen Hawking has died. Nothing else, as relates to this article, has changed.]

Politically Correct: An Exercise in Ridiculous Behavior

OK, OK, let’s get off the ridiculous Corona Monster for a little bit and think about some other ridiculous matters which will be front-page news in a few months. Namely, Christmas. Oops! I mean, X-mas, because we can’t speak the word Christ, even though that is the only meaning the season has.

The trend toward “political correctness” has become, quite simply, ridiculous.

Consider some of the ways in which we can no longer celebrate Christmas, oops, I mean X-mas. Or maybe holidays, but that’s not good either, because the expression evolved from the phrase “holy days”.  Dang it all, I messed up already. Big time.

  1. The song White Christmas gets a double whammy. White is racist, Christ is verboten. Probably, any bad speller could also conclude that “mas” is Catholic and, therefore, intolerant and not to be accepted, which would mean three strikes against it.
  2. Candy canes are to be abolished. Yes, candy canes. You see, they are shaped like the letter J, which, to the feverish minds of The Enlightened Ones, correlates to an endorsement of Christianity, since the word Jesus starts with a J. Not only that, they incorporate the colors red (blood) and white (purity) in them. However, sometimes they are colored green and white, which simply clogs up my theory. Maybe green and white is acceptable because green is environmentally friendly and white is the color of snow, which helps to mitigate the awful effects of global warming. Who knows?
  3. Christmas trees have got to go! Christmas tree farms use up an excessive, inordinate amount of scarce resources, water, for instance. Ignorant people then cut them down, use them for a week or two, and either dump them in a landfill or burn them, contributing to global warming. Plastic trees are no better, since they require the use of oil and energy to create. Hey ho, hey ho, Christmas trees have got to go!
  4. Baby, it’s cold outside! Not only does this song, decades old and well beloved, communicate the hazards and reality of “date rape” (by taking advantage of a woman’s confessed inability to “Just Say No” and mean it), but it is also is a refutation of the widespread belief in global warming. Looking through the lens of reality, though, at this time of year, it usually is cold outside.
  5. Rudolph, the movie (also decades old and well beloved) is dripping with masculine toxicity and encourages bullying.
  6. Santa Claus himself is an Old White Man. Any one of these attributes (deficiencies?) is enough to disqualify him. All three together…, perish the thought!! In addition, he gives naughty children lumps of coal, rewarding bad behavior with bad environmental practice. He also makes his reindeer fly long distances during bad weather, making him a certified animal abuser. PETA, where are you?
  7. Speaking of coal, it seems that Ebenezer Scrooge really ought to be saluted as a paragon of good environmental practice, since he was always demanding that Bob Cratchit reduce his use of coal and candles, preferring instead to live in the cold and dark. Scrooge also wanted to reduce the “excess population”, thereby creating a better world for the ones (especially himself) who were left. Scrooge for President! Or at least, Director of the EPA. The only problem, though, is that Scrooge came to his senses, raised Cratchit’s wages, paid (voluntarily, out of his own pocket!!) for Tiny Tim’s medical treatment, and started financially supporting the slaughter of geese to be used for food by people. Ooooh, where is PETA? We need you.
  8. In the same manner, the Grinch should be likewise hoisted. Not only did he criticize the Who’s down in Whoville for their greedy, conspicuous consumerism, he attempted, in a manner consistent with his own philosophy, to force them to mend their ways by taking away all the good things they had accumulated to celebrate the holiday, I mean, X-mas. By the way, doesn’t X-mas sound a lot like X-men, which is (or should be) sexist and anti-feminist? (Maybe we should just call it X-day.) In addition, the Grinch is green, which everyone knows is good, as opposed to white, which isn’t. But, in the end, the Grinch, like Scrooge before him, also repented of his sins and started celebrating Christmas, including carving up the “roast beast”. PETA, calling PETA!!! Where are you when you’re needed?

Holy cow! Where is it all going to end? Probably I shouldn’t have said “holy cow”, since there are a lot of people who would take offense at that if they knew I said it. Perhaps I should have used my newest four-letter word–“Covid!”, which has become my go-to when I want to express my wonder and amazement.

Not to worry, though. Easter is coming up and I’m sure there’s nothing in that for anyone to be offended at. Certainly not the idea that our sins have been paid for and that we are redeemed and can have peace with God.

Venezuela, Putin, and the Order of Things

RussiaGate and the lynch mob mentality to destroy Donald Trump’s presidency at any cost have been ongoing for more than two years, with very little to show for it. The main premise is that various members of the administration, both past and present, actively worked with and were directed by Vladimir Putin and Moscow to elect Trump, denying Hillary Clinton the White House. The main tune sung is that Russia “interfered” in and unduly “influenced” the election, thereby giving Trump the win.

Election meddling by foreign powers is improper and should be resisted vigorously. Right? Of course, right!

How, then, do we explain the open, aggressive push to oust Nicholas Maduro in Venezuela and replace him with
Juan Guaido, who is a self-appointed wannabe? Is that interference or what?

It does no good to make excuses or try to explain the difference. This is blatant hypocrisy on the part of Washington. It’s a case of “Do as I say, not as I do.”

Whether anything ever comes from RussiaGate or not is debatable, but it is certain that the West is deliberately trying to dictate to the people of Venezuela who their president will be. This is wrong. It needs to stop.

The end of risk (and fun).

On November 14, 2018, I watched NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt. One of the “newsworthy” items which aired was about flying motorcycles, which appeared to be very similar to the now ubiquitous drone, but large enough to carry a person. You can have one for the paltry price of $150,000.

What caught my attention, though, was the concern voiced by Holt and the news correspondent, as well as the local anchor in her preview. They all brought up the issue of safety—numerous times. Is it safe? Is it safe? Is it safe?

Thought #1. Who really cares? It looks like a lot of fun. I wish I had the money to buy one.

Thought #2. Government ought to, in the name of all that is well and good in America, totally ban and outlaw these machines. No matter how well they’re built nor how much demand there is for them, if they can’t be guaranteed 100% safe, then they shouldn’t be built or sold. In fact, any efforts to bring these machines to market should be put on hold until the goal of complete safety can be reached.

Of course, the first thought is my independent, natural inclination (I am, after all, a man), while the second is pure out and out sarcasm. Please understand that.

Abortion and the non-agression principle, Part II

“…libertarianism is not at all a philosophy of life. Rather, it is a very, very, very limited philosophy. It pretty much asks only one question: “when is violence against another person justified?” and pretty much gives only one answer: “only in response to a prior use of violence, or threats.” That is, violence may properly be used only in defense, not offense. When the latter is engaged in, the perpetrator should be punished. That’s libertarianism in a nutshell,…”

Is Libertarianism A Philosophy Of Life? No.

Gasoline on the fire!

Although many people might think otherwise, the debate over abortion is centered on one question—is the unborn fetus a person with an inalienable right to life? Or not? Women’s rights are peripheral to this.

If it is true that a fetus is a person, then Walter Block has exposed a contradiction of the NAP on this issue. Any attempt to terminate a pregnancy through abortion would be an act of aggression against an unborn person.

Of course, the opposing view is that an unborn fetus is not a person and can be treated in any way desired by the woman, without interference from anyone else. If this is true, then there is no inconsistency within the NAP.

This is the question which must be answered. Either the fetus is a person or it is not. Either/or, but not both. There are no other choices. If it can be shown that a fetus is a person with the innate right to life, it will be impossible to defend the “right to choose.” On the other hand, if it can be proven to NOT be a person, the pro-life argument collapses into a quivering pile of nothingness.

If Zager and Evans were correct in their prediction, “…you’ll pick your sons, pick your daughters too, from the bottom of a long, glass tube…”, the personality of the child will be visible from the very beginning. As technology improves, viability will be pushed to an earlier and earlier date, which will erode any claim that the fetus does not become a person until an arbitrary point in time is reached. The use of ultrasound, imaging, and medical science will continue to support and bolster the pro-life position that a live, human, individual with a personality all its own exists. These are going to be extremely difficult hurdles for politics and rationalization to clear, regardless of judicial orders.

The burden of proof rests heavily on the pro-abortion side of this debate. It has the more difficult task of proving its point. Efforts to show that fetuses are not persons will prove, in the long run, to be futile and insurmountable.

The difference between these two positions cannot be reconciled. It will never be settled nor agreed upon. It is an “all or nothing” war of conflicting ideas. The NAP is skewed toward “women’s rights” and, as a consequence, does not allow the right to life to be extended to all unborn persons, only those who are “wanted”.

If libertarianism is a horse carrying its riders to freedom and the NAP is the saddle those riders rest on, then the abortion issue is a burr under that saddle. It will always be there, irritating and counter-productive, until it is removed and ceases to be a problem. When will that be? How will it happen? I don’t know. I can’t predict the future, but I believe it will have something to do with individuals gradually and peacefully changing their minds and then changing their ways. Repentence, in other words. Hopefully, libertarianism won’t end up as Bob Seger put it so brilliantly, “…caught like a wildfire out of control, til there was nothing left to burn and nothing left to prove…”

Where do we go from here? My answer, short and simple–keep moving. Don’t allow this single issue to tear us apart. A solution will appear, sooner or later, and it might be quite a lot later, maybe not until the year 6565. Doesn’t matter. Keep moving.

Abortion and the non-aggression principle

I have a lot of respect for Michael Rozeff. I read his articles and letters regularly and usually do not find anything with which to disagree. In a recent post on Lew Rockwell (https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/abortion-my-theory/), however, he wrote something which just grated on me and, apparently others as well.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/abortion-a-response/

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2018/12/bionic-mosquito/you-are-not-viable/

Michael Rozeff is wrong. Something does not have to be capable of life outside the womb (with assistance, of course) in order to have being. (An unhatched bald eagle does not need to be capable of living outside the shell to be considered worthy of legal protection.) He says that “Fetuses that cannot survive outside the womb are not yet human beings…” (Which is like saying that a chick which cannot survive outside the shell is not yet an eagle.) My question to him is that if they are not human beings, then what are they?

Being means existence and it is scientifically undeniable that a human life exists. If there is no existence, there is no need of argument. The new human being (zygote, blastocyst, embryo, fetus, unborn child) IS, emphatically so, and therefore HAS being.

Even after 23 weeks of pregnancy when a fetus can conceivably survive outside the womb, it cannot live without care, nurture, and a protective environment, in other words, exactly what is needed to survive before 23 weeks. Furthermore, when a person becomes old or disabled and cannot survive without care, nurture, and a protective environment, does she, according to Rozeff’s argument, lose her so-called right of being and risk being “aborted”. Did Terri Schiavo become a non-being and were all the lengthy machinations over her life and death simply much ado about nothing? Or did they really matter?

Everyone needs assistance from other people to survive and live at some point in their lives. Everyone, without exception! There has never been nor ever will be anyone who simply springs into being who does not require care, nurture, and a protective environment at some time in his life. If one’s innate right to live is contingent on his ability to live independently of others, then we are all in trouble, since none of us are truly independent.

Rozeff uses the argument that if a woman wants an abortion, no one can deprive her of it. It is her “right”, if  you will.  What this line of reasoning does, however, is to give pregnant women the authority to violate the rights of their unborn offspring, at their own discretion, without repercussion, hindrance, sanction, or punishment. He then attempts to get around this dilemma by declaring that “viable, with assistance” is the determining factor in deciding when an unborn fetus actually becomes a “person”, which approximates the Roe v. Wade ruling of the Supreme Court. He never says what the unborn fetus is before it reaches that point. I repeat my question—if it is not a human being, then what is it?

The NAP is dead. Long live the NAP!

It appears to me that the NAP (non-aggression principle), so beloved by libertarians everywhere, has a fatal contradiction. On the one hand, no one can (should be able to) force a woman to carry her pregnancy to term. On the other hand, no one should be able to initiate aggression against an unborn human being by killing and aborting it. These two positions are diametrically opposed and cannot be reconciled. Either the NAP will allow women to act aggressively against their unborn children or it will accord protection to unborn children against that aggression until a point is reached when viable separation (eviction, birth) can occur. Either one or the other, but not both! The problem lies in deciding which of these positions is supported.

In an earlier blog post, Rozeff lays it out quite well.

“…to resolve this problem of definition and starting point philosophically or religiously, we need to specify what a human being or person IS. What IS this “I”? What is the BEING that “I” am, and that you are?”

Exactly! What is a human being? What is a person? This whole argument over abortion and women’s “right to choose” is going to forever hinge on these two questions. How do we determine the answer to them? What will be the TRUTH that we point to and anchor our decision in? Dogmatic religious beliefs? Scientific fact? Fluctuating social mores? Fickle political whims? Regardless of the method used, someone is going to be upset with the result. There will always be someone who feels that the decision is wrong and must be changed to better reflect their own opinion.

Human beings ARE. Being is real and is a gift from God or, if you prefer, a random chance of accident. Before pregnancy, a child can be hoped for or dreamed about.  After death, people are considered memories. While alive, however, he or she IS a person, no matter how young or old. The right to live is granted to persons everywhere simply because they are, by virtue of being, persons.

The political definition of “person-hood” is something else entirely, an abstract notion which is conferred and can mean anything at any time. (Dred Scott, Jews in Nazi Germany, e.g.). This so-called person-hood is a “right” given by certain powerful people to other less powerful people and can be taken away at any time, depending on the whim of the moment. Just because five members of a nine-member panel say that a human being does not become a “person” and have “rights” until he or she is viable does not necessarily make it so.

It is inevitable that aggression will be forced on someone—either the woman or the fetus. Someone will have to undergo suffering against her (or his) will. How do we determine which will be the one to suffer? The methodology used today, right now, is politics. If you make a loud enough noise, you will be given what you want. At someone else’s expense!  For a long, long time the loudest noise has been made by the pro-abortion crowd, which has attempted to justify its position by declaring that unborn human beings are not really “persons”. Since at least Jan. 22, 1973, this has been the deciding factor.

When viewed from a purely moral (right vs. wrong) standard, it is obvious that abortion, as it is practiced today, is a heinous crime against the most vulnerable persons among us. This morality does not have to incorporate any religious beliefs in order to be valid. The scientific facts are enough—an unborn fetus IS a live personal human being and, as such, requires that measures be taken to care for, nurture, and protect it until it becomes capable of independent living, with assistance, of course. The NAP must apply, despite protestations to the contrary! Sadly, the moral viewpoint is denigrated and dismissed in much of the discussion of this issue. Instead, it has taken a back seat to the idea that some people have more “rights” than others and interference with those “rights” is a blatant aggression. Rights have become more important than what is right.

I do agree with Rozeff that the government should not support or subsidize abortion, but I am emphatically opposed to the idea that it should not outlaw it. The common view of government is that it exists to protect those within its domain against outside aggression and to offer justice and redress in case such aggression occurs. Until and unless the day comes when every individual is a government in and of themselves (in other words, not until the end of time), certain people are going to be dominant and make the rules, while other people submit and do as they are told. No question! Because of this, I have no problem at all with government ordering a pregnant woman not to abort her unborn fetus, under pain of punishment.

In the post cited above, Rozeff makes this statement.

“…people need to understand their essential be-ing in order to understand how they should treat one another.”

Perhaps he should consider rephrasing this statement to read that “pregnant women need to understand…how they should treat their unborn children.” Perhaps abortion proponents should consider “doing unto others in the same manner that they would like to have done unto them.” Perhaps the Humanity Bureau will rise one day to determine who should live. And who shouldn’t.

Until everyone is protected from aggression, no one is safe.

Lying, Indignation, and Crocodile Tears

In his press conference on Wednesday, January 15, President Barack Obama made certain statements about “gun control” and what he intends to do about it. Two of those stand out to me as hypocritical and personally damning. Gun control is the least of Obama’s problems. When he stands before God Almighty to account for his life, God isn’t even going to mention gun control. He will, however, ask Obama to account for his words.

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclination, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” –John Adams (1770)

1. “Protecting our children from harm shouldn’t be divisive. … I asked Joe [Biden] to lead an effort along with members of my cabinet to come up with some concrete steps we can take right now to keep our children safe. … This is our first task as a society — keeping our children safe. If there’s even one thing we can do to reduce this violence, if there’s even one life we can save, we have an obligation to try it. … I think about how, when it comes to protecting the most vulnerable among us, we must act now.” (Copied from an article on the Patriot Post, follow the link to see the entire post.)

http://patriotpost.us/alexander/16328

Mr. Obama’s hypocrisy is blatant. Every single day, more children are violently murdered in abortion (infanticide) mills than are ever killed by lunatics in schools. If he were completely consistent with his own rhetoric, he would immediately start pushing to eliminate the murders which happen because a “woman has the right to choose.” If even one unborn child’s life was saved because of his action, wouldn’t he have the obligation to try? According to what he said, he should act now to protect the most vulnerable among us.

The fact is that school children aren’t the most vulnerable among us, unborn children are. School children have buildings with lockable doors around them, unborn children only have wombs. School children have adults who can act on their behalf in the defense of their lives; unborn children have no such legal protection. School children have mothers and fathers who love them and want to see them come home, unborn children are not automatically guaranteed that.

Why doesn’t Obama mention this? Why doesn’t he clamor for the lives of 1.5 million unborn children who are viciously murdered each year in America? The silence is deafening. The obvious answer is that he doesn’t want to. There is no political traction for him by going down that road. In fact, if he did start to make noises to that effect, he would see his “support” vaporize like frost on a sunny morning.

2. In the press conference, Mr. Obama made it clear that he was going to move ahead on “gun control”, with or without Congress’ approval or assistance. He mentioned that he would push to vigorously prosecute those people who made false statements (lied) when applying for a background check prior to purchasing a firearm. Apparently, lying to the government is serious business. At least, it is when a person is trying to buy a gun.

My question is this. If lying (perjury, making false statements) is so bad that the federal government must come down hard on the perpetrator, then why don’t we see that action taken in other matters, for example, Eric Holder’s role in the Fast & Furious scandal? See here,

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31727_162-20115038-10391695.html

and here, for potentially incriminating statements made by Holder.

http://dailycaller.com/2011/10/04/holder-less-than-candid-misled-on-fast-and-furious-at-hearing-members-say/

What about the President’s own sworn vow before God to uphold and defend the Constitution? What about his actions taken to murder American citizens without due process of law?

“In April 2010, …President Barack Obama placed al-Aulaqi on a list of people whom the (CIA) was authorized to kill because of terrorist activities. The “targeted killing” of an American citizen, sometimes described as an assassination order, was unprecedented…The U.S. deployed unmanned aircraft (drones)…to search for and kill him…succeeding…on September 30, 2011. Two weeks later, al-Aulaqi’s 16-year old son, Abdulrahman al-Aulaqi, a U.S citizen who was born in Denver, was killed by a CIA-led drone strike in Yemen.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anwar_al-Awlaki

Now, before you get your knickers in a knot, understand that I am not “terrorist” friendly and do not support violent actions for political gain. Instead, by using these examples, I want to point out the blatant hypocrisy in the President’s attack of fraudulent statements on background checks while turning a blind eye to his own and those surrounding him. According to Obama, truth-telling is relative to the situation and if he has anything to say about it, he will be the one to determine what is true and what isn’t.

If Mr. Obama was really serious about rooting out lying and perjury in the government, he would start with his own house. How likely is that to happen? My guess is that pigs will fly first.

Eventually lies catch up with you. Even if Obama never answers to an earthly court concerning his perjury, he will be haled in front of a heavenly one. Invoking the name of God in an oath is not a laughing matter nor should it be taken lightly. He hasn’t learned that yet. Hopefully he will before he leaves this world behind.

Two Masters? Make up your Mind!

Every person is subject to the issue of primary allegiance. Everyone believes in something which takes precedence over everything else in life. This allegiance shapes and informs the way a person lives and determines how he treats other people. The world would be a far better place to live if people would consider this question on a regular basis and answer it honestly in their own hearts. It is likely that most people either are dishonest about it or have never given it any thought at all.

I can’t condemn anyone for their refusal to think this through or their ignorance about it. I have only come to a full understanding of it recently and am still trying to sort out the implications in my own mind. However, what I do know beyond doubt is that there is a lot of stuff out of whack in our world and we’ve got to decide what we’re going to do about it.

One area this can be seen very plainly is in the socio-politico-economic realm. It is becoming clear to me that the rule of Jesus Christ and the rule of the humanist State are on a collision course. Sooner or later, the professing Christian is going to have to choose between these two governments. Is the Christian’s primary allegiance to Jesus Christ or to the State? Where does the Christian draw the line against the actions of the State? Should the Christian ever draw that line?

“No man can serve two masters. He will love the one and hate the other or he will despise the one and worship the other.” These words of Jesus Christ, loosely paraphrased, are as true today as they were two thousand years ago when they were spoken. His words were meant to contrast God’s salvation vs. the inordinate love of money, but there are many instances in history where people have lost everything, including their lives, because they refused to worship the ruling system. The Roman Empire’s persecution of Christians is a good example. Many thousands of people were literally slaughtered for one reason—they recognized that the rule of Jesus in their lives took precedence and authority over the rule of the emperor. They asserted that there was only one Lord and his name was not Vespasian, Titus, Nero, Trajan, or Domitian. This was viewed by the political rulers as treasonous insurrection and they acted as States always do when faced with opposition—use whatever means are necessary to eliminate and crush it.

Today America is becoming more humanistic, more socialist, more demanding, more brutal. There is virtually no place left in the United States that is not touched by the long, regulatory arm of the State. More than eighty thousand pages per year are added to the Federal Register, which have the force of law as soon as they are written. Wars are started and fought at the whim of the President who doesn’t even bother to ask permission any more. Special interests and lobbyists persuade Congress to write laws which will benefit them regardless of who it will harm. Police brutality is on the rise. Justice has given way to “law enforcement”. No one is exempt; everyone must pay and we pay dearly.

Can a person profess to be a Christian and still support the State system which is against many, if not most, of the principles of the Christian religion? Again, no person can serve two masters. This is where the rubber meets the road. Here is where self-conscious thought about what it means to be a Christian comes in because these two philosophies are at odds with each other and can never be reconciled. In order to avoid any misunderstanding on that statement let me rephrase it. The rule of Jesus Christ and the rule of a secular humanist State are in conflict with each other and every self-conscious, professing Christian has to make a decision as to which side he is going to serve. There is no straddling the fence, no playing both sides. It is one or the other, but not both.

There is one aspect of both these governments which is the same—each one seeks to bring all its constituents into total, unconditional surrender to its rule. Jesus demands that of his followers and so too does the State. This surrender is brought about over time and in history as individual people are converted, peacefully or violently, and assimilated into the realm. Both the Church (the visible representation of Christ’s rule on Earth) and the State (the highest representation of man’s rule on Earth) are engaged in this endeavor which can only be viewed accurately over extended periods of time.

It is important to understand one major difference between these two.

Jesus Christ extends His rule in the earth through love, kindness, compassion, generosity, self-control, humility, etc., and forgiveness of those who transgress the rules. This is completely non-violent and unforceful in nature. People come into the Church voluntarily and without coercion. People are set free by their willing adherence to the truth as they progressively allow the Holy Spirit to take over their lives. His way leads to life and liberty for the individual believer.

The State, on the other hand, extends its rule through the use of brute force, mandatory compulsion, directives, orders, legislation, etc., and punishment or retribution against those who are opposed to it. There is nothing voluntary about the State. It is “follow the rules, or else.” The State rules by violence or the threat of violence. As people are subsumed into its culture, they are increasingly bound, restricted, and enslaved by bureaucratic red tape at all levels of government, from federal to local. The end of the State is the death of freedom and slavery for most people.

Let me be perfectly frank. There is a war going on here, a spiritual war to be sure, but a war nevertheless. It is for the hearts and minds of men everywhere and there is no place on Earth which is left untouched by it. It has existed from the very beginning and will continue until the very end. Everyone is involved in it. Whether a person actively acknowledges it or not is irrelevant.

Many times in history this war has become physical. There are numerous instances when the State has “declared” war on the Church and engaged in violent, aggressive action to defeat and stamp out its enemy. This is increasingly the norm in America today. More and more the State is encroaching on territory which belongs to the Church. The State is demanding that the Church submit its authority to that of the State, even if that submission goes against what the Church stands for.

There may very well come a time in America when each Christian has to make a decision in this regard. Will I live for my King, Jesus the Christ, even if it costs me everything up to and possibly including my life? Will I throw in the towel on my professed beliefs and transfer my allegiance to the opposing side, the State? This is something which you must be prepared for beforehand. When the time arrives, if it hasn’t already, that the State tells you to act contrary to your stated beliefs, you must have already determined your course of action or else you will follow the State’s orders. Refusing to surrender your life to the rule of King Jesus means that you will surrender it to the rule of the State.

The words of Elijah (1 Kings 18:21) ring as true today as they did when he spoke them on Mount Carmel thousands of years ago. I have loosely paraphrased them. “How long will you waver between two opposing views? If the LORD is sovereign, follow Him. If the State is sovereign, follow it.” What’s interesting is the next sentence. “And the people did not answer him at all.” They were waiting to see who was going to win the battle before they made a choice. We cannot go down that road. The State is going down. Jesus is going to win this war. And the next one. And the next. There is only one possibility of ultimate victory. Choose wisely and, once you have chosen, do not back down.

Hezekiah Revisited

I don’t claim to be perfect. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life and I know where my weaknesses are. There have been more than a few times where my actions have been in stark, vivid contrast to what I said I believed. However, over the last few years, I have been working on this and now make the self-conscious effort to operate under the principle that I should live in conformity to my stated philosophy, worldview, and creed. There are still times I slip, but they are fewer, farther apart, and easier to recover from.

Any American who can read the signs knows that this country is in some serious doo-doo. It would be easy to start listing the reasons why, but I really don’t have the time or space to hit every one. Besides, it’s a lot easier to hit a far-distant target with a rifle than it is with a shotgun. Therefore, I’m going to focus on one target and fire one bullet.

Can anyone say Republicans?

Before you start attacking me for being un-American, charging me with treason, or questioning my salvation, let me say that I don’t have any love for the Democrat Party. Or the Libertarian, Green, Communist, Nazi, and People’s. All of them are full of people who espouse one set of beliefs, but act another way when it’s convenient. And beneficial to them, I might add. For the record, my political views are most closely aligned with the libertarian viewpoint, but even within this so-called bastion of liberty and freedom, there is what I can honestly call rot. But that’s for another time.

Let’s get back to the Republicans. We are told over and over again that Republicans are the party of fiscal conservatism. They are the ones who are most concerned about government spending, the deficit, American debt, etc. We hear that they will restore the country to financial sanity if we just vote them into office and give them the power to work it out. Election cycle after election cycle, ad infinitum, until it makes us sick to hear about it one more time.

Right! And pigs fly too!!

There was a time where the acronym NIMBY (not in my back yard) was used frequently, most commonly with reference to building nuclear power plants. We don’t hear it much anymore, but the spirit of NIMBY is alive and well. This fits in well with the dominant attitude so prevalent in America today. Cut! Cut the deficit! Cut government spending! Don’t, however, even think about cutting my own special interest. Go ahead and cut somewhere else, but not in my back yard. You can protest as loudly as you want, but with respect to this topic, the Republicans are as bad as the Democrats.

Consider Chris Christie, for instance. Governor of New Jersey. Conservative. Republican. Sweet Darling of the Right. Presumed shoo-in for the Republican Party presidential nominee in 2016, 2020, or beyond if he should decide to run. Yet, how fiscally conservative is he anyway? Think about what he said and the way he acted because John Boehner (another fiscally conservative Republican) failed to expropriate sixty billion dollars to bailout all of the “victims” of Hurricane Sandy. You can read his comments here.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57561665/christie-blasts-boehner-on-sandy-bill-shame-on-congress/

Let’s think about this for a moment. This country is in the worst financial position that most of us have ever seen, up to our eyeballs in debt with no end in sight. The deficit grows larger every minute. So does government spending. Economically speaking, any sane person would say that we really need to call a halt to it before it destroys us. Supposedly, the Republicans represent sanity, but that’s not what is being manifested. We have a “fiscal cliff” to avoid, yet one of the leaders of the Party of Fiscal Prudence and Budget Restraint screams bloody murder when his ox is gored. Surely, Mr. Christie, you can see the light here, can’t you? Or are you listening to your constituents who scream bloody murder because their ox has been gored. Perhaps Christie is looking ahead to the next election where he can “honestly” say that he brought home the pork, $60, 000, 000, 000 worth, to be exact. Perhaps the voters of New Jersey will be so grateful they will put him back into office for another term. Perhaps the country will be so enamored of his generosity that he will be compelled to run for President next time and save us all from our own disasters.

Perhaps it really won’t make any difference. After all, with budgets running four trillion dollars plus and growing, deficits in the range of sixteen trillion plus and growing, long-term entitlement commitments (Social Security, Medicare, etc.) estimated to range from $100- 200 trillion dollars, 60 billion is a drop in the bucket. The question is, however, where will it end and who (or what) will put an end to it? Certainly, if Chris Christie has anything to say about it, the end won’t come on his watch.

This reminds me of King Hezekiah. You can get the full story in Second Kings 20, but for our topic, the following quote is sufficient.

“Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord. The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your predecessors have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the Lord. And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.”
“The word of the Lord you have spoken is good,” Hezekiah replied. For he thought, “Will there not be peace and security in my lifetime?”

Ah, yes, now we’re getting somewhere. Peace and security in my lifetime. Prosperity too. Who really cares what will happen when I’m dead. What difference does it make if my grandchildren have to pay through their noses so long as I get what I want? Life is too short to be painful. After all, as John Maynard Keynes so famously put it, “In the long run, we’re all dead.” For those who aren’t familiar with Keynes, he’s the fellow who convinced governments everywhere to start deficit spending. Today, he’s dead, but his legacy lives on, like the Hydra which can’t be killed and we’re all paying for it. Unfortunately, not all of us are going to die before the Babylonians roll into town.

I’m realistic enough to know that I’m not going to change Gov. Christie’s mind. I won’t be able to convince John Boehner to stand firm and refuse to write any more bad checks. I can’t persuade Paul Ryan to start producing budgets which actually work. But I can change how I think about the way I live and I can stand on my own feet without expecting that the taxpayers and citizens of this country will bail me out as soon as it gets uncomfortable. Furthermore, if I pull back my outstretched hand and convince enough others to do the same, it might be sufficient to make a difference. In the long run. In the short run, we’ve already gone off the “fiscal cliff.” That little blip of a show the other day was simply an outcrop we smashed into on the way down.

Whether we want to or not, we’re going to learn what it’s like to be taken off the teat. It’s past time to be weaned. It’s time to grow up.

Slander, Libel, and Professing Christians

It used to be that people spoke to each other respectfully and graciously, more or less. To be sure, there were times when the conversation reached lows which could only be considered repugnant and unworthy according to the moral character of the day, but they were not common nor preferred.

How far we have fallen!

If you follow blogs or news sites which promote any type of opinion, you will almost always find comments from followers which do not even attempt to debate the issue. Instead, these commentors post words which would have been considered off-limits only a few years ago. Maliciousness, name-calling, slander, and libel are now allowed as acceptable behavior, even on blogs which protest that, according to their Posting Policy, such things are not to be tolerated.

Below is a definition from Wikipedia (edited very slightly) which I think is a good description. I am posting it so that no one can mistake my intent when I declare that I will enforce my own posting policy on this blog. See the Comment Policy tab at the top of the page.

“Defamation—also called calumny, vilification, traducement, slander (for transitory statements), and libel (for written, broadcast, or otherwise published words)—is the communication of a statement that makes a claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual, business, product, group, government, religion, or nation a negative or inferior image. This can be also any disparaging statement made by one person about another, which is communicated or published, whether true or false, depending on legal state. In Common Law it is usually a requirement that this claim be false and that the publication is communicated to someone other than the person defamed (the claimant).

In common law jurisdictions, slander refers to a malicious, false, and defamatory spoken statement or report, while libel refers to any other form of communication such as written words or images. Most jurisdictions allow legal actions, civil and/or criminal, to deter various kinds of defamation and retaliate against groundless criticism.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slander)

What bothers me about this whole affair is that people who claim and profess to be disciples of Jesus (Christians, in other words) engage in this exercise as much as those who are not Christian. (Don’t belive me? Go to any blog which is “conservative” and/or Republican in nature, pick an article, scroll down to the comments, and see for yourself. If you have trouble locating these, let me know. I will give you specific links.)

Generally speaking, the people who follow and subscribe to conservative, Republican blogs and news sites confess to be Christian. Many of these are proud to admit that they have been “disciples” for 20, 30, 40 years or more, yet they attack someone who shares an opinion which doesn’t fit well with their worldview and/or offends their sensiblilities. Why? Why do so many think that they have the freedom or right to air the vicious, mean, unloving comments they post? Do they talk this way to each other face to face? What do they hope to gain by this conduct? How do they think they are honoring and lifting up the Name of Jesus by the way they carry on?

Apparently, these people have never learned what the Bible has to say about this. Let me quote various scriptures.
1. Colossians 4:6–“Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” (New American Standard Bible (©1995))
2. Proverbs 15:1–“A gentle response diverts anger, but a harsh statement incites fury.” (International Standard Version)
3. Proverbs 15:28–“The heart of the righteous weighs its answers,
but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.” (NIV)
4. Ephesians 6:12–“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (English Standard Version)
5. Luke 6:45–“The upright (honorable, intrinsically good) man out of the good treasure [stored] in his heart produces what is upright (honorable and intrinsically good), and the evil man out of the evil storehouse brings forth that which is depraved (wicked and intrinsically evil); for out of the abundance (overflow) of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Amplified Bible)

Did you hear that? Out of the evil that a man stores up in his heart will come words from his mouth. There is only one logical conclusion to this–those who speak nasty, foul, demeaning words to others have evil stored up in their own hearts. It is inevitable that the people who think this way will speak in the same manner.

What really surprises me (it probably shouldn’t) is that these people express amazement and wonder when they are called to account. I do this on a fairly regular basis, not because I am any better than they are, but simply because I have learned what it means to vehemently hate this particular sin and am not afraid to say so. Occasionally someone will thank me for helping them see the error of their ways, but more often than not, I am either attacked myself or completely ignored.

What will it take to raise the tenor of the conversation? It’s quite simple, actually. As individuals, we have to admit that we are sinners and that we sometimes we say things we shouldn’t. In that case, we have to confess the sin and stop repeating it. Also, we must realize that we are representatives of Jesus the Christ and that, when we use derogatory, hurtful, unloving words against someone else, it is His Name, reputation, and kingdom which suffers. In addition, we need to come to the understanding that, again from the mouth of the Master, “…as you give, you will receive.” If we don’t want someone else speaking that way to us, we need to stop speaking that way to them.

There are laws which prohibit such speech and which have penalties against it. However, I am under no illusions as to the effectiveness of these laws. The legal system would be completely swamped if it started enforcing them. What would be far more effective is for the various blogs/news/Internet sites to police their own policies and simply refuse to post such comments. This probably won’t happen on a large scale, because a blog which did this would probably lose readership and revenue. The Almighty Dollar wins again!

No, the only way this is going to be substantially effected is for individuals to know what is right to say and to refuse to say anything that is wrong. Individual responsiblity before God is still the primary vehicle for positive change in society. I have committed to this course and am looking for others to follow suit. Are you in or out?

Travesty of Justice Continued

See “Travesty of Justice” below for background.

I missed a point in my earlier post which I want to bring out. This is quite important.

It concerns a statement near the end of the article in question (link to the original report here)

http://www.ravallirepublic.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/article_71e52318-35e5-11e2-a347-0019bb2963f4.html

which says that “(Ravalli County Justice) Bailey voiced hesitation for releasing Lowry on his own recognizance.” The reason for his hesitation was this. “I worship that flag…” “I put my life on it.”

Now wait just a doggone minute. Bailey was reluctant to release Lowry on his own recognizance because he…was a potential flight risk? Swore that he’d finish what he had started? Represented some possible danger to himself, his neighbor, Stevensville, Ravalli County? No, on the contrary, Bailey expressed hesitation because Lowry had attacked and tried to destroy the flag which Bailey worships.

This is completely out of line for a county judge and he should be called on it. If the article in question is written to accurately reflect the truth of the matter, then it seems that “Justice” Bailey allowed his own personal feelings, emotions, and beliefs to overrule his duty to administer the law. The only thing he should have considered in deciding whether to release Lowry before trial were these two things. Was Lowry a danger or menace to anyone within the community? Would Lowry have bolted if he were turned loose? If the answer to either of these questions was “Yes”, then Bailey should have immediately ordered him held in jail until the hearing. However, if it could be determined that Lowry was neither a danger or flight risk, then there was no reason not to turn him loose on bail or his own recognizance . There should have been no hesitation at all. Mr. Bailey’s viewpoint concerning the flag should not have even entered the conversation.

One definition of a tyrant is that he rules by fiat in complete disregard for the law or his subjects. Do I need to say anything more?

Travesty of Justice

A month or so ago, I wrote a Letter to the Editor concerning an article in the Ravalli Republic (Ravalli County, Montana). The full text of my letter can be seen below. The link will take you to the original article. Since I was allowed only 300 words, I couldn’t respond to the full extent I thought necessary. I will try to do that here.

http://www.ravallirepublic.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/article_71e52318-35e5-11e2-a347-0019bb2963f4.html

    (Beginning of letter)

The article at the top of the Nov. 24 issue of the Ravalli Republic reported that Larry Dan Lowry, Stevensville, was sentenced to 29 days in jail and 100 hours community service for burning his neighbor’s flag.

There are a number of things wrong with this whole incident, but I want to mention only one. Keep in mind that I am making my case according to the way the article is written. There may be other relevant facts of which I am not aware.

Nowhere is mention made of any kind of restitution awarded to the owner of the flag in question. Was Lowry ordered to pay compensation for the damage done to his neighbor’s property? He should have been. The neighbor was the one who suffered loss. He was the one Lowry acted aggressively against.

We live in a perverted culture. A man can destroy something owned by another, be incarcerated for 29 days, and have his “debt to society” paid. Yet, Lowry did not commit a crime against some nebulous construct known as society, he committed a crime against a man, his neighbor. Lowry does not “owe” society anything, he owes his neighbor everything. Unfortunately, the victim, his other neighbors, and all the taxpayers of Ravalli County, will now be required to pay to keep a known criminal alive, well fed, and housed for the next month. Where is the justice in that?

Our criminal punishment system is completely out of whack. Restitution to the victim would go a long way to restoring it to sanity. The concept of restitution is at least as old as Exodus 22:6, in which it is stated that “…he who kindled the fire shall surely make restitution.” This is real justice. We need to start thinking that way again.

    (End of letter)

1. According to the article, the neighbor who called the police told them that Lowry was extremely intoxicated. Did the police check this out? Did they notice any visible or apparent intoxication? Did they charge him with public intoxication? If so, what happened to the charge? If not, why not? Public intoxication is not something to be taken lightly, especially when violent and aggressive behavior is involved.

2. The article states that “Lowry was originally charged with a felony charge of desecrating the flag…” This charge was later dropped. I shouldn’t wonder.

a. First, the Supreme Court has held that burning the American flag is a constitutional right. (Texas vs. Johnson, 1989, and also, U.S. vs. Eichorn, 1990) See this website for more information. http://civilliberty.about.com/od/freespeech/p/flagburning.htm After the Court made its second ruling, there has never been a serious question about this issue. If it is the law, as it clearly is, then Lowry could not have been convicted of burning or desecrating an American flag. Wisely, the law in Ravalli County decided to drop the charge.

b. Second, the term “desecrate” should not be applied to any action which damages or destroys an American flag, or any other flag for that matter. The word desecrate has reference only to something which is holy or considered sacred, and the American flag is emphatically not holy nor sacred. (For further definition, follow the links.)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacred
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/desecrate

There are those who would argue (and probably will) that the flag is indeed sacred, but sacredness involves taking on the attribute of God, Who is holy. As Christians, we are commanded to be holy because God is holy. This is seen in Lev. 11:44, in which God says, “I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.” To counteract those who might scream “Old Testament”, I will point to 1 Peter 1:16, in which the Apostle Peter says virtually the same thing. God is holy, people are supposed to be holy, flags are not. It simply doesn’t matter how much someone vererates or is in awe of anything natural or man-made, unless it is God Himself or a person made in His image, it cannot be holy and therefore should not be considered sacred.In fact, I can think of only one other case where we are to keep something other than God or ourselves holy–the Sabbath Day of Rest, (Ex. 20:8) and that is only because God Himself has ordered it. Even then, it is not the Sabbath which is holy so much as it is our actions to keep it that way.

3. God states plainly and clearly in Exodus 20 that we are not to worship anything or anyone except Him and Him alone. “You shall have no other gods before (besides) me. You shall not make any (manufactured) image of anything to worship, bow down to, or serve…” (Ten Commandments, 1 and 2, very loosely paraphrased). Yet, at the end of this article is the statement by none other than the “Justice” who administered “justice” in this case. “I worship that flag,” Bailey said at that original hearing. “I put my life on it.” Wow! Here’s a man who is charged with dispensing justice according to law, who openly proclaims that he values the American flag more than he values the One Who is the Law. This is rank idol worship and, unfortunately for America, Mr. Bailey is not alone. There are literally millions upon millions of people in this country who revere the United States, its flag, and everything that flag stands for, whether it is right and just or not.

Justice, for Mr. Bailey, apparently does not come from God’s Word, but instead from man’s fickle law, in which case it is not justice, but punishment. 29 days of jail time and 100 hours of community service may not a bad idea. At least, Lowry will be sober when he walks out of jail, but this hardly answers the questions I raised above about restitution to the victim, whose flag he burned and the innocent parties who have to pick up the tab.

Far better would have been for Bailey to order Lowry to pay back the value of the flag twice over (for the first offense) and pay all the court costs, including what it cost Stevensville for the police work. This would have made it a very expensive flag, which Lowry would probably not want to pay a second time. In addition, if Lowry really was drunk at the time, Bailey could have ordered him to be jailed for a short, specific time, say two days to sober up and contemplate his situation, with the stern warning that the sentence would be doubled the next time it happened. Furthermore, Bailey could have ordered Lowry to pay the county for the jail time.

Consider the result if my advice or something similar were followed. The man whose flag was burned comes out ahead, the man who burned the flag comes out dramatically poorer and (hopefully) wiser, no taxpayers are nicked for the costs, and justice is served. What could be better? Nothing, absolutely nothing. God’s Law is perfect and cannot be improved upon. When we learn that and implement it, we will all be better off.

Evolution and Violence

Ever since Charles Darwin published “Origin of Species” in 1859, we have been taught that people evolved from lower forms of, well, something. After slithering around in the primordial ooze for millions upon millions of years, eventually our ancestors crawled up on dry ground and started climbing trees, becoming monkeys in the process. Some untold millions of years ago, we decided not to be like those any longer and started to chart our own course in the world, which hasn’t been the same since. This (or some variation of it) has been taught in the State schools for generations and millions upon millions of children have grown up believing this hogwash. My apologies to the hogs!

Think about it this way. If we are taught from the get-go that we are animals, nothing more than animals, and no better nor different than animals, the odds are pretty good that we’re going to act like animals. The question to ask, then, is how do animals act? From the ones I’ve been around and the National Geographic shows I’ve seen on television, I’d say that they are only concerned with four things–food, water, sex, and survival, all of which are tied up in a neat little bundle. Animals everywhere, at all times, fit into this description. You can protest all you want about how your pampered French poodle is different, but I know and can say with certainty that if it gets loose outside by some miracle, within five minutes it will revert back to being a dog and start looking for the nastiest, dirtiest pile of “whatever” to roll in. Regardless of how much it loves you, it is still a dog and will act that way, given the chance.

Animals usually kill other animals for food. Occasionally they kill them during battles to decide which one will get the girl. Sometimes self-defense enters into the picture and once in a while one will go mad with rabies and infect other animals with the disease, resulting in death. I have even seen cats catch mice and play with them for sport before finally issuing the “coup de grace”. This is completely natural for them and cannot be considered as wrong or evil because they are acting instinctively and don’t know any better.

Man, however, is a different story. Regardless as to the origin of man, whether we arrived on the scene via evolution, space aliens, God, or some other means, man knows the difference between right and wrong. One major reason man has survived and prospered over the millennia is because we have known what we could and could not do to our fellow man, and have suppressed the urges that would have killed us off if given free rein! It is because we control ourselves and our “natural” instincts that man has grown stronger, smarter, and more dominant.

Where in the world did this self-control come from? Animals don’t have it. Monkeys, from which we’re supposedly descended, don’t have it. If our “ancestors” didn’t have it and we didn’t receive it from them, then where and how did humans get it? Either we learned it on our own by sheer accident over umpteen millions of years and umpteen billions of failed attempts to get it right, or else it was given to us by someone else, far older and wiser, from outside the species.

Contrary to the evolutionary theory, man was created by God. From the very beginning, God gave man (and man alone) the ability to distinguish between right and wrong behavior. Man was made in God’s Image, animals weren’t. Man knows, animals don’t. It’s that simple. It’s not rocket science, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know without even thinking about it that some things are just plain wrong.

Considering the fact that we’ve been “educated” for over 150 years in Darwinianism and that we’ve been “enlightened” to the idea that God is dead, never existed, or has been removed from Our Presence, is it any wonder that some people act like animals? Perhaps, though, I should rephrase that because animals don’t decide one day to run amuck and kill dozens, scores, hundreds, thousands, or millions of their own species the same way that man does. People alone kill other people without any reason because they want to, not because of self-defense or to gain access to fertile females and the food cache, but simply because they have a desire to. This is evil and it is the suppression of that evil which creates safety and security within society.

Why should we be surprised that Adam Lanza decided one day to kill twenty-seven people, including himself? Why should we react in horror because Timothy McVeigh detonated a truck bomb which destroyed a Federal building and the lives of 168 people in Oklahoma City? Why should we expect that someone like Hitler, Stalin, or Mao would restrain themselves instead of murdering up to 100 million of their fellow men? What’s the big ruckus about abortion on demand anyway, which has resulted in the deaths of upwards of 60 million unborn human beings in the United States alone since January 22nd, 1973. Hey, we’re all just acting out our natural instincts aren’t we, and besides, there really is no right or wrong. Truth is relative. We’re all dead in the long run. Fact is, some of us are dead in the short run, like maybe only five or six years worth as in the children at Sandy Hook Elementary School or less than nine months if you’re brutally ripped from your mother’s womb.

Fact is, as long as we cheapen human life by comparing ourselves to animals and slime, we are going to experience the cheapening of the value of human life. Today, in the minds of many, human life is worthless and some even insist that we need to cleanse the planet of most of the “parasites”, not meaning, of course, the ones who will do the “cleansing”. Of course! The ones who want others to die don’t want to be killed themselves. According to them, someone else has to die so that they can live.

Amazingly, someone else thought of that a long, long time ago, even before the world was created. The Bible tells us that God planned, predestined, and worked it out in history that Jesus Christ would die physically so that we, sinful human beings, could live spiritually. We live today because He died and was resurrected. We don’t live to ourselves, though, because as redeemed, born-again persons made in the Image of God, we have to live with each other peacefully. We restrain ourselves with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit in order to show and model the love that God has shown and modeled for us.

The further we remove ourselves from this model and this love, the more our society self-destructs. It can be seen everywhere across the entire world. If we want to get off the path of gratuitous, self-serving, mindless violence, death, and destruction that modern man seems to be hell-bent on racing down, we have got to come back to the Truth, that man is made in God’s Image, that there are consequences of our individual and collective evil actions, and that we must forsake and abandon them–before it’s too late for us.

God is, according to His Word, a fair judge and more than willing to give us time to change, but His patience does not last forever. Sooner or later, He will act on behalf of righteousness. It would be far better for us if we were to alter our course before that happens.

Eating My Words

In the post below, In the Wake of Massacre, I made certain predictions about what this country would not be facing as we move forward in our national grief. I must admit, with great pleasure, that I have been completely wrong about at least two of those–our insatiable appetite for violence and the heinous crime of abortion.

I said that we would probably not hear much about the pervasive and murderous violence in our society, especially that which emanates from Hollywood in the form of movies and TV shows, and video game producers. I also said that we would probably not discuss the violent horror known as abortion on demand in connection with the mindless violence of the Newtown shootings. I was wrong on both counts. In fact, from what I have seen on the Internet and (sparsely) on the broadcast news, these issues have been brought up and are being vigorously debated. This makes me quite happy about the future of our country.

I am not alone. Many others are thinking along the same lines. Like Elijah, I realize that there are others “out there somewhere” who hold to the same beliefs and convictions as I do and that God has not left me alone or without support. I will never know how many others of like-mind there are, it is enough to know that they are there and working for the same God and cause as I am. May His Will prevail!

This would be an appropriate time to quote Tiny Tim. “God bless us, every one!” And a very blessed Christmas to all of you.

P.S. I have included a link to an article, “Guns, Mental Illness, and Newtown”, in the Wall Street Journal which I recommend. Check it out. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323723104578185271857424036.html

In the Wake of Massacre

In the wake of the elementary school shooting in Newtown, CT, where 27 people (20 of them between the ages of 5 and 10) were killed, there is one prominent question. Why? Why did this happen? It seems that no one has any answers except the same old tried and truly failed, but they are easy to find if you look in the right place.

It is certain that there will be an immediate increase in the clamor over incidents of this nature. President Obama has said that there will be “meaningful action”; presumably he meant tighter and more restrictive gun control. Many other leaders have also joined in, with the consensus seeming to be that we can’t avoid talking about it anymore, but have to come to grips with the issue.

There will also be a renewed focus on the “mental” condition of the people who commit these types of criminal acts. We will probably be subjected to scores of “experts” who will expound their favorite theories as to why someone acts this way and what we must do to serve as a counterbalance to their unsocial behavior.

My guess is that the “culprits” in this act of violent barbarity will be these two strawmen. They are convenient and many people will use the emotion of the moment to try to get what they want from the situation. Besides, if we can make these the scapegoats, then we have no real incentive to explore the deeper causes of violent behavior. Oh, yes, there are deeper causes and we must face them squarely.

First, I predict there will be very little discussion about violent and murderous video games, television shows, and movies to which young men are subjected to from the very beginning of their lives. We will not talk about how someone growing up with digital murder finally decides to try it out in real life to see how it feels or to vent a lifetime of built-up rage. After all, there is no proof that playing with matches ever causes someone to light a forest fire or burn a house down. Besides, we all like to indulge. Don’t we?

Second, there will be no connection between this shooting and the undisputed fact that every year millions upon millions of small, helpless children under the age of nine months are legally killed before they are born. Some will protest that these are two completely separate issues and that it is unfair to even try to pair them. Violence is as violence does, however, and a young man who hears about women regularly ripping their unborn children out of their wombs might very well think that he should be excused if he joined in the carnage.

Third, there will be absolutely no mention made about the way that our young men and women go overseas into small towns and cities and slaughter hundreds and thousands of innocents. Absolutely none! If there is one sacred cow which cannot be sacrificed on the altar of Exceptional Americanism in the name of maintaining our lifestyle and making some people fantastically rich, it is our military, the most powerful killing machine in the history of the world. Why is it perfectly acceptable to shoot, bomb, and incinerate millions upon millions of innocents abroad, yet be completely repelled and outraged when it happens here?

America has become a violent place. Violence permeates every seam, nook, and cranny of our culture. It is everywhere and there is virtually no escape from it. We watch it on TV or the movie screen, play games with it on X-Box, practice it during abortions, promote it with our political views, cheer and applaud our military or the men and women who perform on WWE,  and myriad other ways. We are America and we are violent. We love violence. We thrive on violence. We are to blame. We are all guilty. Our society is made up of individuals and a very large part of those individuals, a very large part indeed, are violent. It is time for us to admit that “we have met the enemy and he is us.”

What are solutions to prevent school shootings like this one? Longer prison terms for violent offenders? Tighter restrictions on gun ownership? Turning legitimate gun owners into pariahs and criminals? Blaming someone’s mental condition because he broke? Blaming society? These will probably be tried and will not work any better than they did in the past. What, then? I can think of three answers, one which will be rejected outright, one which is actually happening now behind the scenes, and one which must happen but will be resisted as long as possible. Respectively, they are:

This will go nowhere. Every school district in the country ought to purchase a high-powered, high-quality pistol for all of its teachers and administration, teach them how to use the firearms, and require them to be carried while on school property. They ought to issue body armor for all their personnel. Armed, trained, and ready educators could have easily shot this young man right at the start and eliminated virtually all of the heartache he caused. Instead they cowered in closets and under desks. It would have been so easy. It will not happen.

The one solution which has some legs would be for parents to realize that the government can’t protect their children any better than they can educate them. Parents should take the initiative in this and immediately pull their children out of these “indoctrination centers” and put the responsibility for the education of their children squarely where it belongs—on their own shoulders. There is serious movement in this direction.

What must be done is to admit as a nation that we have failed, that we have sinned before God Almighty, and that we need to make a change of direction away from the appalling nightmare we are in. We need to start, as a nation and society, to become outraged by violence, any kind of violence, and start demanding that perpetrators, whoever they might be, are severely punished. We need to start asking forgiveness from God and allow His Holy Spirit to begin working in our own hearts, our hearts first of all, and then those of the people around us. We need to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace and that we must submit our murderous desires to His rule in every area of our lives. This, too, will not happen, at least on an official level, but it should. There is no better answer.