Wednesday, December 29, 2010

51 Ways To Survive

If any of you who are snow-bound now are also hoarders or collectors of worthless junk, perhaps you might find buried or stashed somewhere this magazine. It offers 51 tips on how to survive.

However I hope its tips on surviving the ice age are more insightful than its cold war prognosis. But then again, perhaps it was the can-do American spirit applied to following those tips that caused global warming. Hey!... it's worth a thought.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The 2012 Obama Campaign Has Begun

The title is a misnomer really. President Obama is a professional campaigner who seems to always speak as if he is on the campaign trail about what he is going to do to fix the world's problems if elected reelected, and what the evil money grubbing Republicans are doing to thwart his saintly efforts.

But politicians are politicians, and campaigning is what they do... more or less. The campaigning of which I speak is not politicians however. It is being done by the propagandist organs whose continued attempts to pass themselves off as objective providers of "news" has reached the level of eerie.

Looking at the headlines in today's 8 page new's section of USA Today, Obama is mentioned three times. And lest we forget the face of evil, Bush is mentioned once.
  • Obama gets in some rainy-day bowling (why he just like you ordinary people)
  • Obama leads admired-man ranks (proof that figures lie and liars figure. Remember the drum beat on Bush's approval rating?)
  • Presidents often stiff-arm party loyalists (an everybody does it defense reserved for Democrats)
  • O.J., George W. Bush make this columnist's bucket list (The Title doesn't say it all... that is unless you don't read the article which winds up being not much more than the author's tooting of his own horn)
It's going to be a long two years of the puffing and vilifying we have come to expect from politicians... and as of late, the so called news media. The question I have is: with the golden ring of Utopia almost within grasp, how far will they go?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Another Arbitrary Law For The Books

Don't ask don't tell, an interim compromise between President Clinton 17 years ago and a nation of people not yet willing to do such integral tinkering with America's front line defenders, was repealed today. What strikes me most about this decision--and is the point of this post--was its basis in arbitrariness. Now I'm sure for anyone who supports this legislation there is nothing at all arbitrary about it; that in fact it was the right thing to do. For those who think--or perhaps more aptly put, "feel"--this way, it is virtually impossible for them to grasp the fact that it actually was arbitrary.

One example of this can be seen in the next generation of deviancy. Although this particular strain of deviancy is still predominantly thought to be deviant, as we will see, the fact remains for most that the basis of it being considered deviant is still arbitrary.

In December a self published book found its way onto Amazon that caused quite a stir. The name of the Book was: "The Pedophile's Guide To Love And Pleasure". After protests, Amazon removed the book but complained that it did not believe in censoring certain books because someone found the content objectionable. A question that both sides of the "debate" should be asking themselves after making such a moral proclamation, whether to the positive or negative, is "why?". Why is it good to not censor material for example? The answers one gives to himself in such an examination of thought will give insight into whether the stance is arbitrary, or based on an objective value. For teh person who finds that each answer only leads to another "why?", then for him it is arbitrary and his position will either be convinced to change, or will gain or loose ground based on raw power. Such is the way of a world based on arbitrary morals.

One should keep in mind while doing such an evaluation that not only was homosexuality once predominately thought of negatively, but so were other sexual sins like adultery and promiscuity. These sins however have since been removed from their foundation of objective truth then then blown away by the hurricane winds of pop culture. As can be clearly seen in the incremental acceptance of these sins and others, one can only assume the decade of the pedophile is on its way. I can almost hear the scoffs and claims that such will never happen. But I've heard it all before. You'll know it has arrived when you find yourself defending yourself against the label: "Pedophobe".

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Imagine No Global Warming

Found this on FB. It is so appropriate because of Lennon's dream of a world without "religion". I'm not sure if he had in mind the religion of environmentalism... but its fun to imagine, and easy to do when we try.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Flight Delays and Trade Offs

I was in the process of writing another post on the concept of "Trade Offs" when the News informed its listeners that ALL flights to certain hub cities like Minneapolis and Detroit were being cancelled due to snow. Unless you had an appointment in one of those cities, or other plans, the chances are that this news only invoked a hmmmmmm.

But these cancellations didn't just happen because of a snow storm. There were trade offs involved. This is how it works:
  1. News worthy horror stories spread across the country about passengers held on airplanes for extensive delays. And they are horror stories, but still unlikely to happen to you-- kind of like a terrorist attack--which you shouldn't worry about for those same reasons.
  2. Congress, in its infinite wisdom, finds time between its normal business of ferreting out ever more outlandish ways to spend your money, to write laws making such horror stories illegal.
  3. These laws are passed with the effect of limiting the time that you, the innocent passenger, can be held against your will on airplanes for the purposes of more profit by those evil corporate executives; imposing stiff penalties should they fail to abide.
  4. Evil cooperate airline executives, knowing that Snow+Airports+Air-traffic, along with the the new rules: Delays=Extensive fines, simply cancels ALL flights. Why the same reality of Snow+Evening rush hour=delays does not correlate to air travel in the minds of most, I don't know. (Why Congress hasn't outlawed extensive evening commute times is beyond me, and perhaps a subject better suited for one less informed about the simple realities of twenty-first century life than most)
  5. Bob, who holds a ticket for an important meeting in a city; or Sue, who wants to see her dying mom one last time, suddenly learn that their flight has simply been canceled due to snow.
And there you have it. Bob and Sue's "choice" of making the trade off of incurring the unfortunate extensive delays that are associated by storms in order to possibly make it to their destination has been taken away by those who know better; and America says hmmmmmm... I've never seen the airlines do this before.... I wonder why its different this year?

An Essay On The Argument

This article is a post copied in it's entirety from The Aristophrenium Blog. My reasons for doing this are two fold: (a)I hope it will be help to others, (b), it is an article that I know I will reference again in the future. The second of those is the main reason. I will know just where to find it when I need it.

An Essay In Strong Arguments

For some of our readers and most of our staff, this argument is not exactly new. It was an argument I had formulated back in May of this year, in support of an article Adam had written against “pro-choice” rhetoric on abortion (Morgan, 2010). After having evaluated this argument from different angles and subjecting it to several tests from critical opponents, it appears that the argument is unassailable. Thus I want to use it as an illustration of what a strong argument is and what goes into it.

The anatomy of an argument

First, a few words about arguments, starting with what they actually are. Most people think of arguments as being a quarrel between two people, such as spouses or siblings, in which heated words are exchanged, voices raised, doors slammed and so forth. While that is the colloquial or informal sense, it is not how the term is used here, which is the formal sense of being a set of propositions intended to establish a conclusion. (A hat tip must be given to Michael Palin for this definition, which he expresses in the comedy sketch “Argument Clinic” in Monty Python’s Flying Circus [Cleese, 1972]. Sure it was comedy, but his definition of an argument was spot on). So to give an argument is to demonstrate the reasoning by which some belief is reached, where the belief functions as the conclusion that is then established by supporting reasoning.

Now there are two tests an argument must satisfy in order to be persuasive: it must be valid and it must be sound. Validity is the primary or most important test because the truth of the premises must logically guarantee the truth of the conclusion, otherwise the truth of the premises is made irrelevant (by failing to justify the conclusion). That is why the other test, soundness, is predicated on validity and thus secondary. In other words: (a) an argument is ‘valid’ if and only if the truth of the premises guarantees the truth of the conclusion; (b) it is ‘sound’ if and only if the argument is both valid and the premises actually are true. Consequently, an argument that is valid and sound should be persuasive. [1] (It is worth pointing out that only arguments can be valid or invalid, not propositions, and only propositions can be true or false, not arguments.)

An example of a strong argument

Having said that, I would like to present what appears to be a sound argument; i.e., it is logically valid and the premises are actually true. In the face of critical evaluation by myself and several opponents, the argument holds firm. Even though the conclusion is highly controversial, neither premise can be easily denied.

  1. The deliberate killing of innocent humans is morally wrong.
  2. Elective abortion is the deliberate killing of an innocent human.
  3. Therefore, elective abortion is morally wrong.

It is of critical importance that the propositions and the terms employed are carefully calculated and chosen, so as to garner acceptance by the broadest audience possible. It is easy for people to reject an insular argument; it is considerably more difficult for them to reject one that coheres and is consistent with their view and values. With the argument above, I have framed the propositions and chosen the terms with great care and precision so that the conclusion follows logically from premises whose truth could not be easily denied by most sensible people.

For example, I chose the word “deliberate” to convey the sense of intentionality, that is, killing as a conscious and informed act, premeditated (cf. accidental killing may be argued as not morally wrong); “killing” obviously means to cause death, deprive of life, put to death; [2] “innocent” was chosen to distinguish from cases where the deliberate killing of humans might not be morally wrong, for example, soldiers on the battlefield (enemy combatants), the death penalty (convicted felons), shooting someone who breaks into your house (mortal threats) and so forth; “human” obviously should not be controversial, simply indicating any member of the species Homo sapiens; “elective” is used to indicate abortions that are not medically necessary yet performed by the choice of the mother, distinguished from those abortions that are medically necessary, such as an ectopic pregnancy. [3]

Why this argument is strong

The argument is perfectly valid; i.e., if the premises are true then it is impossible for the conclusion to not be. [4]So the question is, “Are the premises actually true?” The second premise is a concrete matter of fact, semantically and genetically. One would have to be scientifically illiterate to think that a fetus is not human; every relevant biology source one can check, whether textbook or online, describes the biological life cycle ofHomo sapiens as beginning with the fertilized egg or zygote (Saladin, 2001; Browder, 1991; Moore, 1982; see also “Human” in Wikipedia, specifically the biology section describing the human life cycle). And clearly a fetus is innocent, both legally and morally, being categorically unable to violate any law or ethic. And by definition elective abortions are deliberate, given what “elective” means.

That leaves us with the truth-value of the first premise. Is it true that the deliberate killing of innocent humans is morally wrong? Since the range of people to whom this argument can be presented is so broad—from Christians to Secular Humanists, from Wiccans to Muslims, from Scientologists to Hindus and so on—it is almost certain that nearly everyone will bring a unique moral theory to the table (meta-ethics). [5] As a result, I designed the first premise to be self-evidently true (which I do not mean in either an analytic or epistemic sense); that is, I am relying on people simply having a morality and accepting the premise as true in light of their morality. Whether Hindu or Secular Humanist and so forth, given their morality they will concede that the first premise is true, allowing for relevant exceptions. In other words, I expect only Nihilists and psychopaths to reject it and assert that the deliberate killing of innocent humans is “not morally wrong.” Most everyone else would agree that it is wrong, minus certain relevant exceptions.

So that raises the important question of exceptions. What circumstance could a person conceive as an exception, under which the deliberate killing of innocent humans is not morally wrong? Some might suggest, “Abortion, of course,” but since that is the very question it cannot be begged (petitio principii fallacy). The only serious proposal I can think of is euthanasia, where a terminal patient is suffering incurable pain or for any reason wishes to have their life end. While that is arguably a good exception, where the deliberate killing of such an innocent human could be argued as a moral good, it is not an effective undercutter to this argument for a couple of significant reasons.

First, it would admit that over 99.9 percent of all elective abortions are morally wrong since (a) a fetus suffering incurable pain has never been cited in the literature as a reason given for performing an abortion, but more importantly, (b) scientific evidence indicates that the neurological pathways that allow for the conscious perception of pain do not even function until the third trimester (Lee, 2005, pp. 947-954), and according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute only 0.08 percent of abortions occur past twenty-four weeks and ninety-two percent of abortion providers will not perform the procedure in the third trimester (Jones, 2008, pp. 6-16). So as an exception, then, it is fairly useless because it leaves the argument with a powerful punch, conceding that 99.9 percent of elective abortions are morally wrong.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, euthanasia as an exception does not include elective abortion within its fold. But in order to show that, a word must be said about euthanasia first. Let it be understood that there are three categories of euthanasia: involuntary, non-voluntary, and voluntary. Given that involuntary euthanasia is defined as ending the life of someone against their will, it is little more than a fancy term for murder (involving the intent to kill or the knowledge that one’s actions would result in death). Non-voluntary euthanasia is defined as ending the life of someone who is incapable of expressing their will; that is, it is neither according to nor against their will. And voluntary euthanasia, the one usually contemplated when discussing the issue, is defined as ending the life of someone according to their will. As an exception that elective abortion can qualify under, both voluntary and involuntary euthanasia can be dismissed since a fetus is incapable of expressing any will one way or the other about the ending of his or her life.

So that leaves only non-voluntary euthanasia. In order to have relevance to elective abortion we must suppose a scenario that involves a patient on life support who shows signs of recovery and is expected to come off life support after a few months in good health (analogous to a fetus within the womb). Thus we are presented with a question that practically answers itself: Is it morally wrong to turn off the life support system of a patient who shows signs of recovery and is expected to come off life support after a few months in good health? If it is morally wrong in that case, then it is wrong in the case of elective abortion as well. Every scenario wherein it is arguably a moral good to turn off a patient’s life support involves circumstances that do not apply to a fetus who shows signs of development and is expected to be born after a few months in good health. Ergo, euthanasia fails to define an exception that includes elective abortion within its fold.

Conclusion

There are four things that go into developing a strong argument. First, construct the argument concisely according to the principles of logic and rules of inference; this will allow others to more easily discern and critically evaluate your argument without the need to interpret and unpack what they think your argument might be. Plus it will go far toward teaching yourself critical thinking skills. Second, construct the premises clearly, being careful to avoid ambiguous terms and language; the more perspicuous you are with your argument, the less opportunities others will have for constructing Straw Man versions of it. Third, insofar as you are able, build your argument using terms and language that appeals to the broadest spectrum of audience possible. [6] The example argument appeals to the contentious issue of morality, but it does not depend on any one moral theory; it suffices that the reader simply has one, whatever it may happen to be. It is also heavily predicated on scientific and statistical data, meeting its burden of proof and being very difficult to deny. (For example, it forces opponents into either conceding the point or having to claim that a fetus is not of the human species until a certain point of development; i.e., that the biological life cycle of Homo sapiens does not begin at sexual reproduction, in direct contradiction to developmental biology which shows that two members of one species reproduce members of that species. From the fertilized egg onward a human develops.) And finally, a strong argument is one which produces a unique conclusion that advances our knowledge. (Contrast this with tautological arguments, which are valid and sound but have neither epistemological nor dialectal force because they do not impart any new information.) For example, the argument used here reasoned from premises most anyone can accept to a conclusion that is controversial yet logically guaranteed by the premises.

The argument is valid, that is, the truth of the premises logically guarantees the truth of the conclusion. And the argument is sound, insofar as the premises actually are true (regardless of the moral theory brought to bear). To all those who are against elective abortions, I encourage you to enjoy and use this argument. To all those who support elective abortions, I invite you to submit logically valid and rational objections to the argument; those not already addressed in this article will be published and answered by me below. The comments field to this article will be closed. All submissions must be made to me by email at ryft@aristophrenium.com.

(Click here for a PDF copy of this article.)

Objections and questions

“Why does your analysis of euthanasia say that the fetus is suffering incurable pain? That is not the only reason for choosing euthanasia.”

While that is true, other possible criteria for ethical non-voluntary euthanasia do not apply to a fetus. For example, a comatose patient who, in the judgment of physicians, shows no sign of ever coming off life support could qualify for ethical non-voluntary euthanasia. However, this is inapplicable to a fetus, which is never at risk of staying inside the womb (cf. life support) indefinitely.

“What about patients who qualify for euthanasia because, despite potentially coming off life support, they suffered brain damage that diminishes their quality of life?”

That is a highly contentious and prejudicial issue which lacks any clear scientific and rational justification (Bellieni, 2006, pp. 103-105) and is thus not a credible objection to stand on. The scientific merits of the second premise outweighs the weakness of this prejudiced objection.

“Abortion rights advocates would argue that the fetus is not a human being until it is viable outside the womb.” — “A fetus is not a person.”

This ignores the fact that such terms as ‘being’ and ‘person’ were not invested in the argument; the one is a point of philosophy, the other is a point of law. The argument, however, is predicated on a point of science, that throughout fetal development the unborn belong to the species Homo sapiens.


REFERENCES:

  • Bellieni, C. (2006). ‘Quality of life’ is a misnomer: the case for neonatal euthanasia. Journal of Medicine and the Person 4(3). (N.B. Given what Bellieni’s paper argues, the title is somewhat misleading. It ought to read “the case against neonatal euthanasia.”)
  • Browder, L., Erickson, C. & Jeffery, W. (1991). Developmental Biology, 3rd ed. Philadelphia: Harcourt College Publishing.
  • Cleese, J. & Chapman, G. (Writers). (1972, November 2). Argument clinic. In MacNaughton, I. (Producer) Monty Python’s Flying Circus. United Kingdom: BBC Television.
  • Finer, L., Frohwirth, L., Dauphinee, L., Singh, S., & Moore, A. (2005). Reasons U.S. women have abortions: quantitative and qualitative perspectives. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health 37(3).
  • Jones, R., Zolna, M., Henshaw, S., & Finer, L. (2008). Abortion in the United States: Incidence and access to services.Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health 40(1).
  • Lee, S., Ralston, H, Drey, E., Partridge, J., & Rosen, M. (2005). Fetal pain: A systematic multidisciplinary review of the evidence. Journal of the American Medical Association 294.
  • Moore, K. (1982). The Developing Human, 3rd ed. Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders Company.
  • Morgan, A. (2010, May 6). How to respond to empty pro-choice rhetoric. [Blog post.] The Aristophrenium. Retrieved fromhttp://aristophrenium.com.
  • Saladin, K. (2001). Anatomy and Physiology, 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Sihvo, S., Bajos, N., Ducot, B., & Kaminski, M. (2003). Women’s life cycle and abortion decision in unintended pregnancies.Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 57(8).
  • Torres, A. & Forrest, J. (1988). Why do women have abortions? Family Planning Perspectives 20(4).
  • Human. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. (See "Life cycle.") Retrieved 9 December 2010 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human.

FOOTNOTES:

  1. I say "should be" because an argument being persuasive does not guarantee that everyone will be persuaded by it. While a person might agree that the argument is logically valid and that the premises are indeed true, he may still reject the argument anyway. However, all that reveals is that he values something more than logic and truth, since he rejected the argument at the expense of both.
  2. "Life" is a property that distinguishes between that which has signaling and self-sustaining processes and that which does not, exhibiting such things as cellular organization, homeostasis, metabolism, growth, response to stimuli and so forth. Something does not have life when either those biological functions have ceased (death) or when it never possessed those functions in the first place (inanimate).
  3. The vast majority of abortions performed are "not medically necessary," chosen for reasons such as: not ready for a(nother) child; inadequate finances; would interfere with work or education; do not wish to be a single parent; relationship problems; not mature enough, and so forth. Only seven percent of women cite health concerns for herself or the fetus, one percent cite rape, and less than half a percent cite incest (Finer, 2005, pp. 110-118; Sihvo, 2003, pp. 601-605; Torres, 1988, pp. 169–176).
  4. The argument reduces like so:
    1. The deliberate killing of innocent humans (M) is morally wrong (P).
    2. Elective abortion (S) is the deliberate killing of an innocent human (M).
    3. Therefore, elective abortion (S) is morally wrong (P).

    This is a universal affirmatives syllogism:

    1. All M is P. (major premise)
    2. All S is M. (minor premise)
    3. All S is P. (conclusion)

  5. The term meta-ethics refers to the branch of philosophy that concerns itself with identifying and understanding the origin and meaning of ethical statements, concepts, properties, and attitudes. That is, while ethics deals with what is moral, meta-ethics deals with what morality is.
  6. However, it is not necessary to construct your argument using terms and language that appeals to the broadest spectrum of audience possible; an argument supporting some Humanist belief, for example, will obviously use terms specific to a Humanist worldview. But while that is perfectly rational, nevertheless it reduces its persuasive force. It allows others to concede the consistency of the belief but not necessarily accept it as true. (But that only matters if persuading others is your intent, which it may not be. Typically I could not care less if others accept the conclusion that my argument establishes; quite often such autobiographical detail is irrelevant.)

Other related Aristophrenium articles:

Monday, December 6, 2010

Aslan A Representation of Muhammad?

Aslan is the lion symbolising Jesus in the fictitious land of Narnia from a series of children's books written by C.S. Lewis called "The Chronicles Of Narnia. The symbolism is clear and unmistakable.

Liam Neeson, the voice for Aslan in the Narnia movies, however has been quoted as saying that "Aslan symbolises a Christ-like figure but he also symbolizes for me Muhammad...". As if any more proof was needed that good acting does not equate to good theology.

In Neeson's world I'm sure that's how he sees it, and he is perfectly within his right to make for himself any crutch he feels necessary to make sense of his life. Interestingly however, by doing this Neeson reveals that he lives his life in a world more fictitious than that of the talking lion for whom he provides the voice, for Lewis was not silent in this series on Islam.

Who could read "A Horse And His Boy" and not make the connections between the Calamarines and Islam, Tisrok and Mahammad, and Tash and Allah? Interestingly, Lewis almost prophetically anticipates Neeson's sentiments in his concluding book in the series. In "The Last Battle" A deceptive coup takes place in the land of Narnia while the King is away. The would-be new king, an Ape named Shift, is claiming that he is the new chosen spokes"man" for Aslan, and he claims that Alsan has decreed that he and the Tash are One; that in fact the Calamarines and the Narnians have always served the same deity. Much like Neeson in real life, many of the creatures of Narnia believe this and begin to commit abominations against Aslan. Shift, who in reality has no regard for Aslan but only wants to co-opt his authority to create for himself a life of ease, has no problem publicly making these universal and blasphemous claims. The Calamrines on the other hand are clearly not willing to blaspheme their Tash by speaking their agreement out loud in so many words. They simply play along seeing this as an opportunity to infiltrate and subdue Narnia.

While Neeson sees himself as a Catholic, i.e., Christian, but is yet willing to see Aslan as also symbolic of Muhammad, true to form with relativistic Christians, he forgets one important fact. Aslan was murdered. In fact he willingly gave himself over to be murdered. For the Muslim this is an untenable and blasphemous symbolism. They are not willing to join Neeson and his liberal band of brothers in their fantasy land; especially if it means the death of their profit, symbolic or otherwise.

So we clearly have a case here where the fictitious story of Narnia with its Christian symbolism is more real than the Utopian paradise created in the minds of liberal Christians.

The Run Away Skier's Dilemma

This dilemma draws its name from the amateur snow skier building speed down the slope with no idea how to stop. He is faced with two bad choices: go ahead and incur the lesser damages of a more controlled crash now, or attempt to postpone the inevitable until all control is lost at a much greater speed.

I coined this dilemma years ago due to some circumstances that then surrounded my life and it has served as a pretty good analogy since. I can't help but think of it now as I look at America's (and Europe's) fiscal woes. Anyone willing to look at the run-away debt, while also daring to take in the steepening grade of looming unfunded Utopian promises of security for all, should be able to relate to this dilemma. As with the skier, the opportunity for choosing the best and least painful choice is running out. Like the skier the natural urge is to forestall the inevitable; to lie to ourselves. This will take place by the suggestion that we can avoid pain by printing money and taxing. But we know this not to be true. Governments' consumption of money are like the grave taking in the dead, or oceans taking in rivers, or fire's consumption of wood. They are never satisfied; they never say that's enough. Such a tact will only ultimately have the effect of deception and increasing our "speed" causing the pain and suffering to be worse when we fall. The best choice is obvious to the sensible: cut spending now.

As we watch the skier barreling out of control down the icy slope, it is easy for us to know what is his best and most sensible choice. But this is not how the true tests of sensibility are presented. It is our circumstances with which we are faced, and within which we must prove ourselves sensible, not someone else's. The bottom line for us at this point of out-of-control taxing/borrowing/printing and spending is that we have accumulated too much speed for a painless resolution. The only question left for us at this point is are we a sensible people? Time will tell; and the next two years of enduring an all out 24/7 attack add posing as "news" will reveal much of that telling.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Unconsidered Luxuries

Americans enjoy many luxuries; this is true, but what kind of luxuries are they? When we hear that word, luxury, we generally think of something generated by material wealth, like big houses, boats, and cars.  But I contend that we take for granted luxuries that have nothing to do with wealth. Consider a few of them:
  1. Not having to bother to vote.
  2. The ability to abandon a wife or husband with ease.
  3. The security, real or imagined, that comes from the government's bottomless bucket of deficit spending and social programs.
  4. To live and conduct our affairs, official and personal, as if there were no God.
  5. The ability to craft a God that aligns him/her self as with our desires.
  6. The denial of absolute morality.
  7. The conflation of compassion to an occasional trip to the ballot box to cast a vote for the politician who promises to give more of your neighbor's stuff to the poor .
  8. An education system that trashes it's own country, including the tax payers who are footing its enormous and bloated bill.
  9. Unlimited and anonymous access to any pornography the wicked mind can conceive of.
  10. Promiscuity without the consequence of shame.
  11. Ignorance of the Constitution.
  12. The denial of the existence of borders.
  13. Ignorance of history.
  14. Pacifism without fear of harm.
  15. No-expense-too-high-for-someone-else-to-pay environmentalism.
  16. The ability to borrow seemingly endless amounts of cash from those who can't refuse... the unborn.
  17. The pretension that evil doesn't exist.
  18. The belief that this world could be perfect, and will be some day once the right people are in charge and have unlimited power.

Of course, there are costs for these luxuries, including material costs, that eventually come due and must be paid... one way or the other. There are also many ways the reaper may reap his due, paid in ways that are unassociated with materal "wealth". Here are just a few examples:

Opportunity-- Commerce depends on morality. You expect that whatever it is that you've exchanged your wealth for will operate, perform of be whatever you were told. As morality increases, trust decreases. As trust decreases, the ability to do business becomes more cumbersome. And, as the ability of business becomes more cumbersome, it not only becomes more expensive. And by business I don't mean large corporations. No, I mean you making a simple purchase.

Government Solvency--Our governing bodies at every level are bankrupt. We have thus far enjoyed the luxury of passing off the trial of compassion to government. But people in the governments are not interested in compassion. What they are interested in is keeping their jobs and foisting the cost of their "new" ideas and social experiments gone bad onto a yet born generation. But these governments are now on a collision course with reality. The payday for these promises of security is now looming large. Still, any attempt to make a course correction or to apply a little common sense are met with howls from the sedated populace as we discover that masses of people have become compassionees.

Unraveling of Society--Single parent families, for one, are taking their toll on the social fabric. Social institutions that once provided a nurturing environment for offspring that would be productive members of society have been impugned and dismantled. Now, any insinuation that out of wedlock births, or behavior that leads to them, is a moral issue are met with contempt and the offered solution of killing the child. Suggestions of real solutions are called extremism.  You can't impose your morality on others we are told. But still, morality is imposed, by way of payroll deductions as financial payments are made to fund some of the luxuries listed above.

There is also the luxury of expectation. We now have an expectation of these luxuries as a given, like the air we breath, along with the luxury of prosperity.

This brings me to the last luxury worth mentioning. This luxury will be ever persistent; exacting payment long after the other luxuries have been paid for and are collecting dust on the shelf of fading memories. And that luxury is self-delusion.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Some Thoughts On Beauty

I spend a fair amount of time contemplating beauty. What is it? Why does it draw us and bring us joy? One fruit of this contemplation is the belief that beauty is not in the eyes of the beholder, even though we don't always behold the beauty that is there. The onset of relativism has tried to teach us the opposite. Yet we instinctively know that true beauty IS. Beauty is not relative, even though much of modern art screams in our faces with its ugliness that it is. Interestingly, those screams seem to be in symphony with the "no God" proclamations.

Following are three videos that depict beauty in a unique way known as a flash-mob. Performers are incognito in crowds and present themselves much to the surprise and astonishment of patrons.

The first video ends with a woman wiping tears from her eyes. My sentiments exactly.

The third, and my favorite, has the Philadelphia Opera singing the words "He [Jesus] will reign-forever, forever, forever... King of Kings... Lord of Lords... forever, forever, forever" in Macys. More tears, especially at the conclusion. Judging from the delighted faces, there appears to be a sense of Joy and peace filling the mall. It is spectacular, beautiful and wonderful; mainly I think because of the expressions on the faces of those watching. Ohhh how I wish I had been!!!!

Enjoy




In Antwerp Station Belgium








This one Hat Tip Neil at Eternity Matters.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The End Of The Road Of Envy

Heather from The Narrow Gate left this comment on my last post concerning the election:

"On the other hand, the exposed root of "leftism" may now be obvious enough to have shaken some out of the virtual coma..."

My hope is that the last two years will have indeed pulled the curtain back and put on display for all to see, not only the connection between the leftist governing "isms" of socialism, statism and communism, and the Democratic party, but more importantly the connection between the Democratic Party, and its Anti-Christ roots in laws and policies.

But when I look at the states that have already been lost to the abyss of envy such as California and Michigan, there is some thinking that seems to prevail over the obvious problems with their current track. That thought can be expressed in one simple statement:

"Better is it for all to be twice as poor than I be half as rich as my neighbor."

Sunday, October 31, 2010

STOP!!! or SLOW DOWN!!!?

It's a good rule of thumb, I think anyway, when everything you are doing only makes the situation worse... just STOP! This coming Tuesday America will, Lord willing, be doing just that. Still, we can only hope that our message will not bear itself out in the final analysis to only being "SLOW DOWN!!!". My hope is that it will be the first installment of "TURN AROUND!!!". If it is to be the latter of the two, then decades of persistent fervor like we've seen this election will have to be the mainstay. The luxury of living our lives paying scant attention to scheming socialists posing as America loving politicians has gone the way of a robust economy, hope, and decency. Does America have the stomach for it? Do those who breath today's air have the will to protect from the ravages of their demands for security those whom have yet to take a breath? The answer to that question will not be decided Tuesday, or in 2012 for that matter. It will be ongoing in answer as it has been. Man has always possessed the desire that others do his will, and liberty. The coming decade will perhaps give way to more insight into which of these two desires is the stronger, but if history has anything to say about it, even recent history, my pessimistic guess is that the message of this election will ultimately be "slow down, you move to fast". Time will tell.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Is Man Basically Good?



Is man basically good? If he were then:
  1. Gun control laws would work, but would be unnecessary.

  2. Welfare would work, but would be unnecessary.

  3. Socialism would be the norm, and it would work.

  4. Separated governmental powers would be pointless.

  5. The military would be unnecessary.

  6. The IRS would be unnecessary.

  7. Deficits would be nonexistent.

  8. Unions would be unnecessary and nonexistent.

  9. A large police force would be unnecessary.

  10. The religion of Environmentalism would be unnecessary.

  11. Criminal rehabilitation would be unnecessary, but if it were necessary, it would work.

  12. Government would only consume a pittance of man's productivity, for it would be cheap; perhaps as cheap as the price of a benevolent dictator and his staff who would earn no more than their fellow man.

  13. Genocide, mass murder, the holocausts, and terrorism would be meaningless words.

  14. Democrat party policies would, for the most part, be good policies.

  15. He would be living in Utopia.
In fact, if man were basically good, he could not be deceived into believing that his current existence, complete with crime, scandal, oppression, deceit, prisons and big government to control his fellow human beings, is the result of the cumulative results of billions of other beings who are basically good.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Juan Williams

Here is a Victor Davis Hanson article that I think does a wonderful job of laying out the blatant hypocrisy in the firing of Juan Williams. Here are its points:
  1. for NPR to prove that it is even-handed in censuring controversial speech it would long ago have had to fire reporter Nina Totenberg for a long history of venomous partisan slurs (e.g., hoping Sen. Jesse Helms and his grandkids might contract AIDS).
  2. NPR CEO Vivian Schiller herself slanders Williams by suggesting that he talk with “his psychiatrist”—
  3. intolerant hard-driving Fox News has no problem with liberal Williams working for NPR; Fox knows its viewers don’t care whether liberal Williams works at a liberal network; NPR fears mightily that its intolerant audience can’t stand anyone who is associated with Fox?
  4. CAIR, the Islamic advocacy group, pressures NPR on Williams’s remarks, but gives a lifetime career achievement award to the anti-Semite Helen Thomas, who calls for the destruction of Israel by having the Jews “get the hell out of Palestine”
  5. Note the silence of the NAACP, which is usually the first to speak out when some African-Americans are deemed railroaded. By its present vote here, the organization simply gives a green light to go after African-Americans tagged not entirely liberal
  6. They apparently believe that society is inherently reactionary (family, church, community, government, etc.) and so they are not biased by openly advocating liberal positions as “balance.”

Hat Tip Geeeeez

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Epithets Galore

The proverbial cow being birthed in the halls of academia and the media elite over the German Chancellor's words "multiculturalism has failed, has utterly failed" will undoubtedly unleash an increased spewing of epithets. Not the epithets that we are use to seeing swished away by the tail of the mama cow of political correctness mind you. No, I'm talking about the epithets that are as necessary to the survival of this cow as the hate that courses her udders is to the intelligentsia and their clone wannabes that suck there. These epithets are aimed at mostly middle-class conservatives, the most popular of which is either "bigot"--a favorite-- or some other word with the suffix "phobe" attached.

The sad thing about this however is that the PC crowd was at one time correct in their disdain for epithets. This correctness was once drawn from plain old civility, respect, and the deference to human dignity. I guess there is a price to pay for relegating all of humanity to the meaninglessness of pond scum, even if the ones relegating refuse to see themselves, and their corralled ideas, in that light.

Soldiers develop inhuman names for their enemies so that it is easier to kill them. Similarly, the epithets being hurled from on high today make it easier to ignore dissent. These epithets keep opposing ideas and those who hold them pigeonholed as immoral; the ever changing morality of which is drawn from some vacuum somewhere that evidently only the "intelligent" can tap. Better to pigeonhole, I guess, than to defend your argument, or to condescend to the light of critique and reason, or worse yet, to humbly consider the possibility of being wrong.

Things never change, it seems, no matter how smart we are or how much we think we know. Man is ever repeating his errors and proving the wickedness of his heart. What an amazing sight here though: to watch the closed minded who claim to be the most open minded among the peoples; the self-righteous loathers of the self-righteous; the ideologue detesting doctrinaires, glaringly morph into the very thing they so hate.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Porn Nation

Northfield Publishing, Chicag0 IL, 2008


America is no longer a nation within which pornography is a seedy industry relegated to the back streets of her cities. It is not even a nation within which pornography is a peripheral kind of entertainment, available for those who want to occasionally stop and take a peek. No, in the words of Michael Leahy (lay- hee), America, is a Porn Nation.

This book is a quick read and well worth a few hours of investment, especially for parents and pastors. It is divided into three parts.

Part-One is basically a brief auto-biography of Leahy's life. He sets the stage in early childhood and then discusses his fist exposure to porn as he was shown a topless woman on the back of a playing card by some peers in his Christian school. He continues his story as it relates to pornography and his increasingly promiscuous lifestyle as he descends, and then spirals out of control. This part of the book reads like a gripping novel that ends in sorrow as Leahy finally looses his family. But it really doesn't end there. Part one sets the table for part two and three before he completes his story at the end.

Part-Two proves to be the meat of the book. Leahy begins this part with a chapter entitled "The Perfect Storm". Here Leahy describes three societal storm fronts of pornographic deprivation now converging on America. They are: The Hypersexual Media, Enabling Technologies, and Sociosexual Pathologies. Leahy looks at the convergence of these three fronts as the desensitizing effects of pornography take an increasing toll on the hearts and minds of society.

To understand Leahy's forecasts, it helps to understand his definition of pornography which is anything that is intended to arouse. Although Leahy's threshold for pornographic is different than current cultural standards, Leahy makes the case that this difference is not based on an objective line, but rather is evidence of a culture's deteriorating standards. This is most evident in TV programing designed to sell advertising, and in advertising itself. The result is an increasingly sexualized society which paves the way for another more insidious threat that has crept in.

To be sure, while the old-line pornography industry, with its seedy venues and residual stigmas, does still exist. This older image of the industry also aids the new industry by creating in the minds of most the illusion that it remains a "dirty old man" kind of business located down town. Yet, the new and real marketplace for the this thriving trade has become the home. It is in this marketplace that Leahy's three "A's" of affordability, availability, and anonymity are made available via the Internet and open the door wide for millions who would have otherwise not entered this world. Gone are the once stifling barriers that kept pornography on the back streets of its cities and out of the lives of families. Here, under the surface and neatly out of sight is a literal flood that has bypassed old barriers and washed away established concepts of decency. This kind of radical change necessarily promises multiplied future ramifications as a sex soaked society, increasingly pathological in its ideas of normal sexual behavior, brings up its next generation. While, to Leahy's credit, he attempts to not be the "alarmist", he does wonder what such consequences of our current path will ultimately be.

Leahy considers himself an icon for sexual addictions who speaks on college campuses across America giving talks as well as participating in formal debates with Ron Jeramey, a porn star. This interaction gives him insight into the sexual attitudes of that next generation, a generation he calls "generation sex". It is in this lot that he is exposed to the cutting edge of new ideas about sex, and where he finds what he calls the "New Pornographers". These new pornographers are young people, even minors, who understand all to well how to use the new and inexpensive technologies and networking readily available to them for the production, consumption and distribution of their own pornography for their own use. Tyler Clementi is a recent example of these new technologies. Clementi earned national attention recently when he jumped off the George Washington Bridge after a film of him having sex in his dorm room was posted to Facebook. Interestingly, unlike the old pornographers who produced their smut for profit, these new pornographers are motivated by other reasons such as celebrity status in their peer groups, or just getting noticed. With the old barriers of modesty, cultural mores, and inhibitions destroyed, the clouds seem to be gathering.

Leahy interweaves statistics into this part to demonstrate the seemingly exponential changing of trends in our attitudes toward sexuality so far. There are adequate references for anyone interested in further research.

The first half of Part-Three is dedicated to those who are themselves addicted to pornography. Working from the credibility he has gained by his own recovery path, he offers a strategy to others. He starts by pointing out the necessity, first and foremost, of being honest with self and admonishes the addict to not straddle fences. It is better, he says, to do nothing rather than to attempt to live the lie that is preventing wellness. For Leahy, he fought desperately to have his addiction and his family too, but it was ultimately the loosing of his family, and his serious contemplations of suicide that followed that finally caused him to "choose life" and to, in his words, "get well". It was in his attempts to write a suicide note to his two boys that Leahy made this choice. Leahy points out also that in the recovery process, accountability within a twelve-step program are of prime importance. He analyzes several twelve-step approaches and makes some recommendations.

The last half of this part, is however dedicated to pointing out a life available beyond "the program". As with all such addiction programs, he admits that the program itself can simply take the place of the addiction. He points the reader ultimately to Jesus Christ for a life that extends beyond "recovery" and to abundance. The book concludes with the completion of his biography and his ultimate reconciliation with those he hurt.

My Thoughts

When I purchased this book I was expecting an analysis of America's porn problem. While part two does focus on this, I ultimately got way more than I bargained for. Leahy's story is compelling as he quickly draws you into his own world of sexual addition. I found myself on the verge of tears a couple of times as his story meandered through the book. Unlike most non-fiction books, this style added an element of entertainment (for lack of a better word) that makes it a page turner. It is able to hold the attention of those not normally drawn to non-fiction, as the reader joins Leahy in his journey to redemption and reconciliation. This book, I feel, will give readers insight into the new world being inherited by their children as well as into the temptations and trials that plague most people to some degree living in a sensual society. For a hosts of reasons such as denial, desensitization, naivete, repulsion, embarrassment or shame--to name a few--the right people don't seem to be talking much about this new and intrinsic detrimental element that is upon us in our new nation; our porn nation.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Teach Your Children Well

I was speaking with a youth pastor recently who lamented to me that even the children of church members in his group were woefully Biblically illiterate. Having taught fifth and sixth graders for a couple years myself, I knew his pain. This brought to mind a question. Who IS responsible for training our children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord? I would contend that it is most definitely not the Church for two reasons.

First, given the fact that most parents are not Biblically training their children, most of the time spent in Sunday School is geared toward gaining and keeping control of the classroom. There is precious little time left to teach the Bible.

Secondly, one hour a week is simply not enough to counter the constant anti-Christ drone of the secular society in which we live.  These messages comes in many forms and fashions, some detectable, some well hidden.  It simply doesn't seem to me to be very realistic to think that children are going to be equipped to answer and navigate these messages on a diet of an hour or so of church a week.



What To Do? Five Suggestions:

1.
Never forget that the stakes are exceedingly high.

2. The stakes are exceedingly high and are in fact eternal. If we say we believe the Bible to be the very Words of God but are not living them out under grace before them , we shrink Him, His honor, His glory, and in fact eternity itself. When they don’t see us loving his Word, we teach them that loving his Word is not important. When they don’t see us pray, we teach them that praying is not important. When we are not being sanctified, we teach them that sanctification is no big deal. In the end, what they learn from us is that, really, God is no big deal. It should be no wonder then that the vast majority of children raised in the church walk away from it when they are older, never to return.

3. The stakes are exceedingly high. Parents who out-source the education of their children must realize these stakes regardless of who they out-source it to; whether it be a “Christian” institution or the government. With this in mind we shouldn’t wait for our children to be taught anti-Christ teaching before we attempt to un-teach it. Be the first to teach your children what the lies of the enemy will look like and be, then be the first to counter them. Learn what those lies will be. Be tenaciously on guard for new angles and attempts to subvert and supplant your teaching. Learn learn learn, then teach and live as if your children’s eternal destiny depends on it.  (more on this here)

4. The stakes are exceedingly high and your Church should function as if the stakes are high. Remember that you are a living part of the Church. (1) Put away the notion that there is the Church over there, and then there is you over here who attends as a consumer. Prayerfully and carefully choose your Church so that you will fit. Be vigilant against false teaching because you are a living member of that body and in as much are infected by it as well as responsible for its health. In the teaching of your children remember that the Church’s responsibility is to affirm what you teach and not the other way around.

5. The bottom line is that the stakes are high. It is the Western way to work hard and then coast. This is not the Biblical way. Your children are worth fighting for, and that fight begins with fighting for your own devotion. Just as with Paul who at the end of his life proclaimed to his spiritual son, “I have fought the good fight”, (2) so it must be with us also as an example to our children. To this end, the 18th century theologian Jonathan Edwards as a young man wrote seventy resolutions for his life. Number 22 says: “Resolved, To endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness, in the other world, as I possibly can, with all the power, might, vigor, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of.” (3) In the same way, it is not because we succeed in hiding from our children our failings and thus present to them a life that appears in our own minds to be exemplary, as if we had at some point arrived at our Christian-ness and that they should endeavor to do the same, but rather that we should live a life that endeavors to honor, glorify and exalt God; all the while knowing, as did Paul, that we will never attain it in this life. (4) In so doing we teach them from a young age that our walk with our Savior is a journey, that we are at times victorious in grace and at others defeated in grace, but still, though we have fallen, we are not cast down, for the Lord upholds us with His hand. (5)



Note 1:
Eph 2:19-22
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
NIV

Note 2:
2 Tim 4:6-8
6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
NIV

Note 3:
The Words Of Jonathan Edwards vol. 16

Note 4:
Phil 3:12-14
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
NIV


Note 5:
Ps 37:23-24
23 If the LORD delights in a man's way,
he makes his steps firm;
24 though he stumble, he will not fall,
for the LORD upholds him with his hand.
NIV

Friday, September 10, 2010

Twisting In The Wind

I am nothing short of awe stuck at the world-wide crisis that has ensued after a previously obscure pastor of a church of but 50 congregants in a small Florida town threatened to burn a Quran. I have heard him castigated, called names, belittled, and lambasted over his threats, and that has been from the more conservative of outlets. So, what does this all mean? Six thoughts:

First, the seemingly constant profaning of Christianity not withstanding, people in their hearts I think expect more from the pastor of the little church down the street. After all, they many times call him to speak over their dead relatives he has never known or seen as they stop yucking it up long enough to look their own immortality in the face. Many still go to him to marry their children, or these days their parents, or to perform some sort of meaningless ritual over their newborn children in hopes that the preacher has some sort of special powers to get their offspring safely into the everafter. That only one Quran burning has been mentioned, to a degree I think, is encouraging, all things considered. Think about it, given the multitude of churches in this country, the protracted engagement with Islamic fanatics we are experiencing, the ineptness (don't make them mad) and absurdity (blind and dangerous political correctness)upon which our defense against them is being based, and the rarity, or perhaps more aptly, the absence of such actions as this pastor's speaks highly of the American Church and its standing in the hearts and minds of the citizenry. Ultimately, I think people want to know that the little church on the hill still has the answers to the deep questions of life should they ever feel the need to ask them, and burning another religion's holy book may be quashing that a bit.

Second, and discouraging as can be, is the fact that that same obscure pastor evidently holds the power of life and death, peace and tranquility, and quite possibly world peace itself within the grasp of two match clutching fingers. Aaaahhh am I missing something here? Consider this laundry list:

  1. the Twin Towers bombing
  2. the Millennium Bomber
  3. the 9/11 attacks
  4. the Bali Bombing
  5. the London subway bombing
  6. the Madrid train bombing
  7. the Ft. Hood shooter
  8. the foiled shoe bomber
  9. the foiled underwear bomber
  10. the foiled Fort Dix attack
  11. the oft shouted refrain "death to America"the Pan Am bombing
  12. Egyptian Air 990 tragedy
  13. And many many more

Now what do these all have in common besides the fact that they are massacres or attempted massacres and were carried out in the name of Islam? That's right, they all took place before the Reverend Jones made his threats. What? Are they going to kill people if he does this? How will we know when they start? Now while I don't agree with the pastor and know that he can't back up his actions with scripture, since when does having a boneheaded idea qualified you for such wrath from everyone from the president of the United States to every morning drive time DJ in America? This poor fellow might have just unwittingly set himself up as the administrations George Bush of terror attacks for the foreseeable future. I can hear our president now: "Let me be clear. If Reverend Jones had not threatened to burn that Quarn... why those terrorists would have been home tucking their children into bed instead of slipping through Secretary Nepalitano's elaborate web and blowing people up."

Third, and even more discouraging yet, is America's collective panicked reaction to this man. It does not bode well for us or show insight and leadership that this nation, its president, its news media, and its commanding officer is willing to give away such power to any old hair-brained pastor with ten bucks, ten followers, a match and a penchant for notoriety. Fear appears to be the order of the day with reporters waiting breathlessly, fingers crossed for the good of the world, hoping against hope that this lone Gainsville resident won't exercise his constitutional right and cast us all into mayhem.

Let me proclaim that this is not America! This nation would be doing a great service to itself if it would fear that fear more than it feared threats from wild eyed religious murderers and thugs who are going to carry out thier threats regardless.

Forth, is the misguided contempt born out of fear for anyone who dares oppose anything Islamic. Need we be reminded that this pastor is not going to kill anyone at all? Those who oppose the Mosque do so peacefully. All who resist are accused of being complicit of coarse. But at what point this side of converting does one take a stand? For the fearful, my guess is nowhere.

Such accusations of complicity are nothing new. President Lincoln, told a story in reference to the struggle in which he was engaged of a highway man robbing a traveler. The highwayman warned the traveler that if he did not comply with his demands that the traveler would be complicit in making him a murderer in addition to a thief. This pastor will likewise be accused out of fear as well as those who oppose the Mosque.

Fifth, we are lost. I touched on this in "Religions Rule", but this is another case of a shell culture; one that has no defining element other than its claim to have no defining element; a culture fat on the luxuries of prosperity, drunk on a government playing sugar-daddy god; and a culture that thinks its liberty comes with the air it breathes. It is no match for the struggle that is upon it, and this hyperventilating over the frustrated actions of a previously--and soon to be again--obscure pastor of a small church gives credence to such charges. America needs to be shaken and given a slap across its collective face if it is to rise up and meet the challenges that are before it.

Sixth and last. The afore named Cordoba Center about which this all begun is being billed as an attempt for Muslims and Americans to sit around and sing Cumbaya. It has failed at this, but it has been successful at achieving the opposite as demonstrated by threats of burning Qurans. As far as those who are in favor of it are concerned, no change. They were in favor of appeasing Islamic radicals before, they are now, and they will be after it is built. As for those it was supposedly attempting to reach, they are insulted, impugned, and further alienated and provoked.

So what are we to gather from this besides the conclusion that violence garners the coward's respect? Are the architects of this Center so completely socially inept that they truly thought that this was a good idea, or was it never intended to do any good but is rather achieving its goal of being a victory Mosque by stirring up trouble so the ones stirred up can be blamed? I honestly don't know, but given its proponent's willingness to abandon their purported aspirations of reconciliation in favor of stridently installing it over the protests of decenters does make me wonder if it ever had any other purpose.



(great Christian explanation here from a favorite author of mine on burning the Quran)

Monday, September 6, 2010

That's Not Fair!

From early in our childhood we seem to be innately incensed when our ideas of what is fair are violated. "He got four cookies and I only got one. That's not fair"! "Hey! He broke in line. That's not fair"! Interestingly, as I have aged I have become aware that the child that was me who yelled those very sorts of protests hasn't really changed that much; only his perspective.

The changed perspective grew out of the grappling with the root of the protest and its implications. Such a root necessarily involves a reference point and an ought. The reference point is normally always self while the ought is an appeal to objective truth in the pursuit of justice. The perceived unfairness of someone else getting more cookies is not what is being challenged. It is the unfairness of someone getting four cookies in reference to the fact that I only got one. Such an injustice ought not be. While, generally speaking, accrued years does not remedy this problem for us, especially as it pertains to our base emotions, they should at least cause us to gain a little perspective. The extent to which this happens would seem to depend on one's worldview. This truth can be demonstrated by the basis upon which one attempts to answer questions like these:

  • Can a person at once proclaim that there is no objective truth and a thing isn't fair?
  • What is the base [nominal?] amount of cookies a child receives that qualifies as universally "fair"? Should they both get four cookies? or one? Perhaps, after justly dividing their cookies evenly, they proceed to enjoy them while blissfully ignorant of the great injustice they are incurring because someone somewhere is eating a whole bag.
  • What about the child to whom a bowl of flour and oil would bring tears of joy. Should he instead feel cheated?
  • Ought not it also be an ought, in light of an appeal to objective truth in the name of fairness, that the child suffering the social injustice take his appeals for justice to the next level and refuse to enjoy his cookies until everyone has partaken in the just amount of cookies?
  • What will any of it matter five generations hence or when the sun burns out?

The secular humanist worldview, which is the predominate Western worldview of Christian and non Christian alike, when it makes appeals for justice--and it most definitely does--necessarily must root itself in cognitive dissonance to address these questions. He must, on the one hand, claim that there is no such thing as objective truth; that right and wrong are mere social constructs; that the concept of sin is an artifact of the past; that our very existence is the result of spontaneous and random events, while on the other hand assert that we ought to help the poor; that stealing is not always right; that killing is never right (if the person is born); that we oughtn't lie; that we oughtn't pollute the planet; that we oughtn't torture animals; and so on.

The Christian worldview, on the other hand, can answer these questions without contradictions. It proclaims that, not only is the world not fair, but that there is nothing that man can ever do to change that fact due to his condition brought about by an innate denial of a universal reference point. It also proclaims that, not only is there a source of objective truth that sovereignly decrees and judges what is fair and what is not, the greatest injustice happened when man was redeemed from his injustices. This truth thereby precludes man from making the charge of unfairness based on man's point of reference. It is not obvious in this current age, but there was a time in Western culture that these truths were somewhat universally understood and accepted. They were articulated with words like providence, lot, contentment, and His will; and in a negative sense, covetousness.

It is not my intended point here that the necessity for a logical and consistent worldview proves the existence of God, but rather that the claims for the nonexistence of God renders any cries for fairness and justice as ex nihilo and absurd. It IS my point however that the answer to protests of unfairness, such as those lodged by the current "social justice" horde, is the same as the one I give my seven year old. "You're right... It isn't.... be glad."

Saturday, August 28, 2010

On Generalizaitions

"Those dirty rotten conservatives are always generalizing!"

I am always amazed when I am accused of generalizing; Oh..., not that the accusations are not warranted, for they surely are, but rather that anyone has such a high opinion of me that they think that I can avoid it. In defense against such accusations, and for easy cut and paste purposes, I am posting below another man's analysis on the matter.

The following quote is found in the classic Democracy In America written by the Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville and published in the 1830's as a contemporary expose of a young United States.

"God is able to see the differences between all individuals so it follows therefore that God has no need of general ideas, that is to say, He never feels the necessity of giving the same label to a considerable number of analogous objects in order to think about them more conveniently. Not so with man who in our impressive limitations need all the help we can get from such general ideas lest we get lost in the dazzling plethora of details that passes in a hazy hurry before us all. General ideas have excellent quality, that they permit human minds to pass judgment quickly on a great number of things, but the conceptions they convey are always incomplete, and what is gained in extent is always lost in exactitude."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Religions Rule

How can it be that so many who are ardent enemies of religion are now siding with those who want to build a Mosque near Ground Zero? Considering also that those who are the most outspoken defenders of this Mosque are also ardent defenders of abortion and homosexuality. And also considering that the religion of the future inhabitants of this Mosque would call for the stoning of homosexuals; and whose anti-choice stance for women go well beyond the womb, makes it all the more strange. Further, why would Muslims, who look forward to the implementation of Sharia Law, a law that reduces women to chattel, kills homosexuals, and outlaws abortion, ever find itself so allied, both concerning this Mosque and elsewhere, with a political party built upon these three pillows? And in reverse, why would that same political party ally itself conversely?

Most conservatives can kind of see that serious Muslims want to implement Sharia law world wide and that liberals provide quite a useful idiot toward such an end. That part is not confusing. Most everyone also knows that American Christendom is now irrelevant. One only need look at the institutionalized decadence and debauchery to get that. But why the liberal ideologue, riding on the crest of his half-century wave of triumph would side with a culture with which it is so vehemently opposed in every way may present more of a challenge to ones understanding.

With a little thought however, the liberal is not really all that difficult to grasp. Understanding his motives is just a matter of understanding his worldview. In his world one religion is just as good or bad as another and ultimately should be subjected to the liberal's idea of what a religion should be and do. Imagine a flow chart of sorts with one large box on top with lines drawn vertically to a row of smaller boxes underneath. The liberal sees himself in that top box with the lower boxes populated with what ever religion the "bitter clinger" (1) decides to believe in order to better deal with his miserable reality, or in his attempts to achieve some sort of inner peace. Also, with this in mind there should be no wonder why so many "Christians" can sit in churches and listen to a preacher say over and over there is only one way to heaven and not be offended, even though he"knows" it isn't true. That is exactly what he expects to hear from the preacher who holds to that particular truth. The "Christian" simply sees his religion as subject to the liberal's higher interpretation from the upper box. Incidentally, missing from that flow chart is a box for God. This is because there is no difference in the liberal's mind between God and Government when they are in control.

As the American Church, having been co-opted by this kind of thinking in the upper levels of its denominations and seminaries, has increasingly submitted itself to the upper box, there resulted a Christian retreat of sorts in the public square. Liberals soon found themselves, first in control of educating the children of an unsuspecting Church, then in control of executive offices, both private and public as those children matured. But they are still hindered by Christians. And many Christians and non-Christians alike, still see America as a Christian nation. This will not do; enter Muslims. By helping Islam better establish itself in America liberalism hopes to achieve two goals. One, it hopes to show Islam it means it no harm, that it hates Christianity just as much as they do thereby earning Islam's alliance and favor. Two, place Islam in a lower box next to the other religions and subject it to the rich liberal elite and in so doing further marginalize Christianity as just one of many religions. The New York city Mosque is but one high profile example of many that shows this to be true.

It is my take that civilizations have to ultimately be ruled first in the hearts of its populations by a religion. It is in man's DNA to be so ruled. But the liberal cannot fathom this. Having ridden into power basically unopposed with visions of a Utopian materialistically equal society-except for themselves of coarse-propelled by free hand outs that are bankrupting their Utopia before it even comes close to relegating God to subject, they are completely incapable of grasping the Islamic mind. Instead they project their own ideas of material injustice onto what they see as a people oppressed by their enemy, Christianity. They are completely unable to see themselves as a temporary fill in a vacuum created by the collapse of Christianity as the viable coalescing force required for the existence of a nation. Liberalism itself offers no coalescing values for a nation of people, only for itself in the hearts of the rich, atheistic and self proclaimed intellectuals in the pursuit of their green-hilled Utopia. As cultures go, liberals are no match for a culture glommed onto a violent religion whose adherents are born and bread into a hatred for them so deep that not even the liberal can plumb it. And they will not subject that hatred to a meaningless-floating-in-the-cosmos-I'm-OK-you're-OK worldview. If you do not convert, you are most definitely not OK, and they are most definitely OK with that position, political correctness be damned.

With this understanding of liberalism's worldview, along with the evaporation of any national vision beyond that of a post-nation-and-boundaryless -warless world populated by various belief systems subjected to the Utopian visionaries, every current event from free-for-all immigration to the defense of a murderous and threatening religion, makes perfect sense. But a nation cannot survive off a vision of its own annihilation with hopes that others will follow for altruistic reasons; especially when the very ones calling for it deny altruism's existence. And it is for this reason that the next half century, if it takes that long, will be a war of religions in the hearts and minds of the West. Will it turn again to the gentle religion that it now so hates, or will it be ruled by a murderous and totalitarian religion that will return the meaning of tolerance from its current morphed definition of total acceptance back to its original meaning as those who invited a religion in under the false notion that they would rule over it find out that they instead are being ruled by it? In the end one thing is certain, religion will rule.

(1)President Obama revealed his view of serious religious adherents by using these words to describe them in a speech to like minded rich San Francisco political donors.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Runaway Slave Trailer

In keeping with the slave theme lately, here is a trailer from the Timothy Matters Blog. A couple of quotes I particularly liked:

"We don't get our freedoms from Republicans! We don't ger our freedoms from Democrats!"
This flies in the face of the seemingly impossible to penetrate binary world of those who love and trust their Democrat party only because of their fear and hatred of what they have been programed to think is their enemy: Republicans. The idea of mistrusting ALL politicians simply because of their proximity to power appears to be wholly alien to them. No... only Conservatives should be mistrusted, compassionate liberals can be trusted with total power. And when total power is obtained, it is never enough. The constant belly aching and blame game currently playing out before us by a group of people who hold wide margins in the halls of power as the nation continues its slide into chaos and poverty is but a foretaste of things to come.

"Tyranny is color blind, white or black, it will control you... Run America!"


Not "run black man" but run America! from socialism. Love it!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Unions And Slavery

So what is the picture of slavery most widely held by most? Mine is the plantation owner living his life of ease off the sweat from the brows of his slaves toiling in the fields.

Unionized government workers present a case for a softer kind of slavery. For one thing, the unionized beneficiaries of the sweat of the tax payer's brow do not usually live in plantation houses, and they are not allowed to flog their chattel. Also, the slaves normally live in the same neighborhoods and shop in the same stores as their masters. The real disparity, as always with slavery, concerns work.

The master must put in his time of work, short though it may be, before he can achieve his "slave owner" status of sitting on the front porch sipping tea. But to be sure, the master has already achieved an elite-ish status even while accomplishing his "time in service" as can be seen by the fact that he doesn't have to worry about about the same things his slave counterparts worry about; like loosing customers due to bad performance. This helps to take the edge off of putting in the work years required before porch sitting, fishing and tea sipping.

Secondly, as with the old slave-master, this master doesn't have to concern himself wtih pesky little annoyances like the risk of being fired, or recessionions. His boss, the government, can simply take, borrow or print what it needs to ensure that the union worker never has to suffer along side his slave neighbors. His high level bosses remain secure as well in knowing that a sizable portion of the plunder handed out will end up right back in their campaign coffers.

The slave on the other hand deals with a completely different reality. He is under the pressure of performance. And even if his performance is top notch, he is continually confronted with the weaknesses of the rest of his team. Recessions are really difficult because he must continue to perform now, not only for himself but also to make up for the losses of his master's lost revenues .  (less tax revenues) This can clearly be seen in this New York Post article where it states that:

"Taxpayers' share of [the New York City] pension costs has skyrocketed more than 900 percent in the last decade from $703.1 million in 2000 to $6.5 billion in 2009, according to the city comptroller's annual reports. The cost is expected to hit $7.6 billion this fiscal year and $8.7 billion next year. 'Its a double-whammy for taxpayers, ' said E.J. McMahon, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. 'If they're privately employed, they shoulder the risks of saving for their own retirement. At the same time, they have to pay a steadily mounting cost of guaranteed pensions for government workers.'"
So the next time you see a government union member at a tea-party rally keeping an eye on their "boys", hearken back to the old south and remember this: some things never change, especially with Democrats. more here

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Nancy Pelosi Eats Her "Words"

I loved this "split screen" of sorts for two reasons:
  1. No one with any sense on either side of the political isle actually believed her when she uttered these words about her favorite "Word" evidenced by the lack of outrage that normally accompanies a politician saying this sort of thing. It does make me wonder... who was she speaking to?
  2. I can just imagine a twenty-year-old Nancy Pelosi calling some person of authority, over thirty I would presume, to account on some words they had spoken earlier; Saul Alinsky's Rules For Radicals tucked snugly under her arm.
I love the way she moves right along by quickly calling on another reporter. Just a quick note: she was not in a church in either of the clips.