Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Politics and Organized Crime

Dinesh D'Souza has an article today at Fox News that askes the question What Does Politics Have in Common with Organized Crime?. It turns out, quite a bit. D'Souza was the man who violated campaign finance laws (which frankly are Unconstitutional) and the administration decided to make an example of him and teach him a lesson. D'Souza
In 2012 I exceeded the campaign finance limit by giving $20,000 more than allowed to the Senate campaign of a college friend of mine, Wendy Long. Relentlessly prosecuted by the Obama administration for this comparatively minor infraction, I was sentenced to eight months of overnight incarceration in a confinement center. The Obama administration clearly wanted to reach me a lesson—and I learned one, although not the one they intended.
My theory of government is that small tribes characterized man's organization until these small tribes joined with others to become larger, seeking to better defend themselves from other marauding tribes. At some point, the most ruthless thugs began to acquire status, and eventually came to lead these larger collection of tribes. Naturally, being thugs, they made war on other thugs, causing more tribes to come together seeking protection. Eventually, the thugs began to take on titles, called themselves "noble" passed these titles and privileges to their heirs. Eventually, to bring order out of chaos of the various warring thugs, the most ruthless thug made a claim to rule over the rest, and if they could make these claims stick, called themselves "kings." The first real change to this feudal system came when a rag-tag army managed against all odds to defeat their king, and established a constitution for themselves that limited government to certain specific tasks deemed necessary to a national defense and the regulation of commerce between the sovereign states that made up the new nation.

Unfortunately, we have allowed what is, frankly, a criminal organization to take over our country that once had a limited government.  Despite powers invested in the Congress to do something about this intolerable situation, the members of Congress seem not to be inclined to take the necessary steps.  What does this say about us that our Congresscritters don't seem to feel compelled to do what we ask?

In any case, read D'Souza's article.  Consider, if you have forgotten, Fast and Furious, Obamacare, the IRS scandal, the Bengazhi scandal, the current attempt to bring ISIS terrorists in through the front door, and the ever present attempt to disarm us.  Then you decide.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Closer Look at real Thanksgiving Day

When I was in school, the Indians, later to become Native Americans, later still to become outraged and offended Original Americans, all of which is wordier and even less descriptive, were being rehabilitated along the lines of "the noble savage."  Formerly the Indians were thought of as savage, godless barbarians who deserved whatever horrors we dished out to them, which was not true.  But neither was the newer version.  In any case, in this morality play, the hapless Pilgrims arrived on the shores of Plymouth unable to fend for themselves, but were met and guided by friendly Indians of the noble savage variety, who showed them how to plant corn and hunt turkey.  The colonists learned so well that they held a great feast and invited the Indians to the ho-down and all lived happily ever after.  The end.

This was intended to instill in our callow minds the virtue of sharing.

Now, sharing is a Christian virtue, under certain circumstances.   This is important, you must be sharing your own stuff.  Let's say you have some used clothing that you can no longer wear because you your girth, but it is still like new.  Taking it down to the Salvation Army store is both good stewardship and a form of sharing with someone who is not as far along that expanding waistline thingy. If, on the other hand, someone comes along and asks you if he can use that Toyota truck over there, and you say "yes," even though the truck actually belongs to your neighbor, that is not sharing. It also is not sharing unless it is done voluntarily.  If I come up to you, point a gun and say something like "please donate to the PolyKahr fund," even though I say "please" and use the word "donate," it is still stealing.  And that is why liberals get no "virtue" credit for sharing funds collected through taxation with others.  They also can not claim compassion or any other virtue.  Instead, what they have done would be classified as stealing, and they would be put in prison for it if it were done by you or me.

This brings up an interesting point.  Many times liberals will argue that the fund of taxes collected is like a community fund, similar to a church or the NRA, and since they pay taxes too, they should have an equal share in saying where those taxes should be spent.  First, as I pointed out above, taxes are compelled by force of arms.  Just ask anyone in jail for not paying his taxes.  The government can maintain the fiction of "voluntary" payment, but that only lasts so long as the average persons tax burden is a nuisance.  At some point, people begin to seek out ways to avoid paying taxes.  A church or the NRA are completely different, because they can not force anyone to pay.  Instead, they must offer something that people want to pay for.  If the NRA, for example, does not meet my needs, I will not join.  Indeed, for many years I did not join because the NRA talked about the Second Amendment as if its main focus was hunting.  If liberals, using their own money, want to start a fund to give welfare checks to needy families, they are welcome to do so, and would find many conservatives who would contribute as well.  But liberals instead want to use other peoples money and then pat themselves on the back for being compassionate.  Sorry, it doesn't work that way.

The story of the Puritan pilgrims is in fact available to us today in the form of the detailed journals kept by the Governor of the colony, William Bradford.  Bradford's journals reveal not the rosy picture of corrupt and vile Europeans meeting uncorrupted noble savages who save them from destruction.  Instead, Bradford's reveal something about the nature of men, everywhere and at all times.  But for that story I'll take you to the Heritage Foundation where Michael Franc writes that the Pilgrims Beat Communism with Free Market.

 In the purest sense, of course, that isn't entirely true. The original Christians living in Jerusalem in the immediate aftermath of the events of Easter, did in fact have a communal existence, though it wasn't "communism" as expounded by Karl Marx.  You can read about it as described in the Acts of the Apostles. Everyone brought their goods together and the needy were fed and their other basic needs were met. And it worked for a time. Indeed, such communal living has been practiced by small groups of tight knit people since man first stood upright. The Puritans wanted to return to that pure form of Christianity before it became corrupted by the church hierarchy, thus the name "Puritans." Communal living can be sustained right up to the point when people begin to go hungry, or begin to freeze at night. In other words, when competition for limited resources sets in. As Franc writes:
The most able and fit young men in Plymouth thought it an "injustice" that they were paid the same as those "not able to do a quarter the other could." Women, meanwhile, viewed the communal chores they were required to perform for others as a form of "slavery."
There it is, the corruption at the heart of man's every evil act. The cure of course, was the parceling out of the land to each family. Each family could then grow their own food, with the implicit threat that if you don't work, you don't eat. So it has ever been. Franc again:
On the brink of extermination, the Colony's leaders changed course and allotted a parcel of land to each settler, hoping the private ownership of farmland would encourage self-sufficiency and lead to the cultivation of more corn and other foodstuffs.

As Adam Smith would have predicted, this new system worked famously. "This had very good success," Bradford reported, "for it made all hands very industrious." In fact, "much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been" and productivity increased. "Women," for example, "went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn."
We celebrate this week our own thanksgivings, remembering to be grateful for the many blessings we have, and continue to receive. In that sense, perhaps the morality play version of the original Thanksgiving day may be more appropriate. But we shouldn't erase history, because those who do are indeed doomed to repeat it. Karl Marx's version of communism shares in the basic error that communal systems always do.  When resources are limited, one must distribute those resources by rationing, and the imposition of force (that means guns for the more obtuse.)

On the other hand, and as so many on the left have noted, capitalism, as now practiced is better by only a thin margin. Without Christian charity, capitalism devolves to dog eat dog, and must ultimately be controlled by excess regulation and enforcement by (yes) government force. Both systems, with out a Christian basis, lead to rule by a strong man and a further crippling of God's plan. It is only be following Christ, that man can be truly free.  Christianity can not be legislated, but must be freely chosen be each person.

Grace and peace to you, gentle readers, from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ

Monday, November 23, 2015

Our "Elites" No Longer Believe in our Values

I don't have a lot of time today, so I am forcing readers who wish to delve into this topic to go and read Rotten elites give a bad name to elites by Kevin Williamson over at National Review. It is a rather longish article, but the writing is worth savoring in any case. The point, for others who don't have time, though, is:
The problem isn’t elitism per se. The problem is that at Princeton and Yale and in Washington and New York, our elites are rotten — the rotten fruit of dying institutions and an unmoored culture whose commanding heights are populated by people who no longer believe in the values at their foundation. That is how we have come to conflate quality and celebrity and to spurn the life of the mind for the life of the hive. Order ultimately will reassert itself, and it will be uncomfortable.
The old saying that if we can not control ourselves, we must be controlled by someone who will and can is not out of line here. The conservative movement has been making this point in one way or another for decades now, but it seems some people will not listen. Of course, they will cite a host of reasons for their misbehavior, but in the end, these "reasons" have nothing to do with it. Rather, the misbehavior stems from an excess of self will and self centeredness: the "I know better than you" syndrome. And when it becomes "I know better than you how to arrange your life" what was mere busybody nattering becomes fascism. Like celebreties who are famous for being famous, our elites have become similarly elite for who they are rather than what they do. It is a sad commentary on our popular culture today.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Rendering unto Caesar

I am often tempted, as I am sure many Christians are, to chuck it when it comes to politics. After all, if you follow the MSM, and how can you not, we are losing on all fronts, be it gay marriage, abortion, the silly 2 years old attending our universities, or recently the issue of Syrian refugees. Many Christians, in fact, have given up on politics for exactly the reasons stated, and to avoid sullying their otherwise spotless reputations by getting down in the dirt. The old saying is that you never argue with a pig because doing so just gets you dirty and the pig loves it. But John Nantz, over at has a different take in his piece entitled Giving Caesar his Due. Nantz notes that when the pharisees attempted to trap Jesus by forcing him to declare that paying taxes to the Romans was a sin:
The Lord asked the Pharisees to produce a denarius, the principal Roman silver coin, and said, “Whose image and superscription hath it?” The priests responded, “Caesar’s.” Then Christ said, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s.” At this, the Pharisees were dumbstruck. The Bible says, “they could not take hold of his words…marveled at his answer, and held their peace.” With this Christ delineated two duties that are complimentary, codependent, not mutually exclusive.
This points to one issue many people have with reading the Bible in general, and that is that many times a simple statement contains within it multiple and layered meanings, which can only be ascertained by carefully thinking about them.  It is not enough that you do not murder, but you mustn't even think of murdering in you mind.  Christianity, correctly practiced, is hard. The ten commandments, correctly understood, are radical.  Jesus was speaking here of taxes, but it pertains to the entirety of our civic duties, including the duty to speak out, loudly and often, when corruption and anti-religious bigotry shows up in the public square.
Neither Christ nor Thomas Jefferson approve of the notion of “separation of church and state.” Liberals have been very successful in creating the false dichotomy of faith and politics. The separation notion is a thinly veiled fiction derived from an innocuous sentence in a letter drafted by Jefferson. One would think that the separation notion was engrossed in elegant cursive and set in the grandeur of The Bill of Rights. But, in fact, it is based on a throw away line, seized on by desperate minds, and swelled into morbid obesity by the hostile anti-Christian...
We have an obligation as Christians, to know and understand both the Bible AND the Constitution, and we must be willing to stand up for both. Remember that if you are doing the Lord's will, you have prayed and listened, and know what you are doing is right, then you can not sully your reputation in the eyes of the Only one that counts.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Religion of War

Daniel Greenfield, over at Sultan Knish has a thought provoking article on Why Islam is a Religion of War. Greenfield notes that:
Islam is not only a tribal and materialistic religion, but it is closely linked to the honor-shame code of its Arab originators. Islam is not primarily an inward spiritual experience, but an outward expression of tribal honor. Its religious expression is the upholding of the honor of Islam and its expansion in the same exact ways as the honor and expansion of the tribe are upheld.
Whereas most religions can accept being in the inferior position because their fundamental faith in spiritual, rather than material-- Islam has little to it but the material. Even its paradise exists in the form of the sort of physical pleasures that its followers crave, fancy robes, exquisite banquets, golden couches, and of course that famed appeal to the dedicated Jihadist, "curvaceous virgins... and an overflowing cup" (Koran 78:33-34). Islamic Heaven is a grossly exaggerated version of the kind of loot that Mohammed's followers expected to find by following him in the first place, gold, jewels, silk, spices and young girls.
Out of such such petty greed and lust did Islam initially expand. Its code was that of the tribesman, to lose face or engage in vendetta. Except Islam's face and vendetta did not involve a single man or a clan, it came to involve over a billion people, who found meaning in working toward the final conquest of Islam. The global triumph of a desert raider's clumsily hammered together mass of Jewish and Christian beliefs and tribal customs and legends, and his own biography, used as a tool of conquest, forging temporary unities out of quarreling tribes and clans.
You really should read the whole thing, but the point I keep trying to make, that Islam is not a consistent, logical, religion from which one can make reasonable determinations of right and wrong. Instead, one must determine what is "permitted" by reading the Hadiths, the sayings of Mohammad.  And anything seems to be permitted if you can get an Imam to say so.  They don't have prostitution in Islamic societies, for example.  Instead, a man who wants to have sex goes into a house of unmarried women, marries the one he wants, and after he has had his way with her, divorces her.  As long as the letter of the law is obeyed, as they say, it is permitted.  It is why the religion demands submission. It is why there seem to be so many Imams, Ayatollahs, Sheikhs, and whatever other titles they give to their "holy men." It is also why Islam permits its adherents to do things that Christians believe are evil.

Islam is also not concerned with what is in a man's heart. It does not care that a man hates his neighbor, or schemes to have his wife, as long as he observes the pieties. That may indeed be the reason Muslim women may not be allowed out unescorted, because more men would try to take them by killing the men to whom they are currently married.  As in the above example, in God's version of marriage, a man is supposed to love, honor, and respect his wife, as she is supposed to love, honor and obey him.  The idea of "marrying" a woman in order to have sex with her, then divorcing her is unheard of.

By contrast, Christianity is very concerned with what is in your heart. Jesus tells us the greatest commandment is that you should love God with all your heart, and all your mind, and the second is to love your neighbor as yourself.  If you love your neighbor, you will not try to break up his family.  You will come to his aid in times of trouble.  Christianity demands that one constantly examine his motives, and only act when his conscience is clear.

Islam is fundamentally insecure, which is why the Muslim street is so volatile, so quick to become outraged, at the first hint of a slight or insult.  Their god Allah demands revenge, because...well he just does.  Muslims, in turn, must carry out this revenge because they are afraid if left unchecked, the rest of us will find out just how weak Allah really is.  Muslims know in their hearts that Islam is materialistic and avaricious.  They sense that the real God does not want these things for man.  The so called radical Islamist take great delight in its evil, but I suspect even pious Muslims must know deep in their hearts that what they call a religion is a shabby shadow of true Christianity, and they must know that God has chosen Israel to be the repository of His reconciliation with man by taking on the sins of man on Himself.  It is a shame that more people are not true disciples of the living God, but one needs only read the Gospels to find Truth there.

Greenfield also writes about the culture war we are in, and it explains why the Left seems to make common cause with Islam.  His essay is entitled This Culture War We're In In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul tells us to put on the full armor of God, that what we fight is not flesh and blood, but the devil himself.  Read both of these articles and see if you don't find a great many similarities.  It may explain why the Left seems to have made common cause with Islam, although the Left would be among the first to be slaughtered.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Here is the Problem with Obama's ISIS Policy

An article in the American Thinker today illustrates the problem with the American strategy to stop ISIS.  The article, entitled One Picture to Sum Up Obama's Idiotic Policy shows...well, just go and have a look. I'm sure you will see it quickly enough.

One can not know for sure what is going through Obama's mind, but one suspects that a fundamental sympathy with Islam, combined with pressure from Iran to treat ISIS with kid gloves is causing him to try to appear to be doing something while not really doing any real harm.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Gods of the Copybook Headings Returns

James Arlandson has an article over at the American Thinker today entitled Will Breaking Moral Law Break America? Gentle readers, you should go read it whether you believe in natural law, or more traditionally in a Biblical basis for moral law. I believe the Bible itself does not prescribe a "religion" as such, but rather that man makes a religion out of what God teaches us as natural law. Certainly, you will find a great deal of self serving religion in the Bible, but as Christ pointed out, the commandments were made for man, and not man for the commandments.

Citing the ancient Greek play Antigone Arlandson notes that in her defense of her actions against the King's law, Antigone calls to the King's attention natural law, which not even the gods dare to break. The argument is the same as we now make for civil disobedience. Legislatures, and courts may declare certain things, but in breaking natural law, and requiring citizens to accede in the folly, they sow the seeds of disaster. A legislature may declare that from now on, pi equals a finite 3.14. But pi actually is infinitum. Perhaps for a small scale calculations, 3.14 yields sufficiently precise answers, but as the scale becomes large, the errors become similarly large, and eventually may become disastrous.

Arlandson then lists a number of areas where our legislatures and courts have declared things to be true despite natural law.  He makes the point that these things have been traditional for a reason, and that breaking with that tradition brings with it consequences that are as predictable as the sun rising in the east.  For example:

1. No, I don’t want to reopen the same-sex marriage debate, but the great unwritten, unshakable traditions teach us that a man and a woman, whether artificially or in person, are the only way for humankind to reproduce, whether actual or potential. Therefore nature has always favored the opposite-sex couple—humans didn’t irrationally favor them. Nature did. Humans just used reason and followed what nature taught them. Homosexuality in ancient Greece? Yes, but they also knew where babies came from and arranged conjugal marriages accordingly. Now, however, an unwise committee of neo-monarchs on the Supreme Court has broken everlasting, living wisdom
. Arlandson goes on to list six other areas where our political "leaders," to the applause of editors and academics have made declarations against natural law. We, as a society, are already reaping the nasty consequences, yet nobody seems to be willing to admit that these bad ideas should be changed. Instead, our politicians keep doubling down, making our inevitable disaster worse and worse.

I am reminded of a Rudyard Kipling poem entitled "The Gods of the Copybook Headings." Back when I was young, when the dinosaurs still roamed the earth, and we didn't have cell phones, personal computers, electronic calculators, twitter, facebook, or whatever passes for the latest fad. Instead, we used to have something called a "pen." A pen was a devise for marking on "paper." In order to make these marks legible, so that others could read them, it was necessary to practice what was termed "penmanship." The copybooks, in which penmanship was practiced, typically had uplifting sayings, from whence we didn't know. But we did recognize them as statements of profound moral teachings that were broken only with grave consequence.  You can find Kipling's poem here. I will quote the last stanza:
And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins, As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn, The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!
You can call it a prophesy if you want, I call it the predictable result of failing to head the gods of the copybook headings.