Thursday, April 30, 2020

More Thoughts On Education

I spoke the other day about how this so-called emergency could change the way we educate our children.  In that post, I hinted at some of the great things that the internet provides.  Of course, the internet can provide knowledge and facts.  Knowing, for example, the density of various materials is important for calculating the forces on a retaining wall, or the outward force of water on water tank.  But the internet can provide the even more important purpose of receiving an education, learning how to learn, how to evaluate what you read, what you hear, what you see.  In other words, a proper education teaches you how to think, not what to think.

Using the current public school curriculum, students are limited in which texts they can use and in what teaching method to which they are confined.  This in turn limits them in the way they learn and think.  For example, the current curriculum requires what is known as common core mathematics.  But we have also been through various "new" math teaching systems, all of which have, to one degree or another failed to teach our children to work logically with numerical information.  But the truth is that the best way to teach children mathematics was already known centuries ago.  My math books are as useful as any modern book, and more understandable.  But in terms of philosophy, literature, history, political theory, economics, and more, the world provides a wide range of ideas that should be explored.  The current system provides one single idea in each of these areas.

Perhaps even more important, though, is that a parent can seek out the best teachers, the best texts, the best curriculum, and that these classes can be conducted on line.  Homework could be sent to the teacher through email, and receive back corrected assignments.  One would no longer be stuck with whatever teacher happened to be at your public school.  If the best teacher is across the country, that is no obstacle.

Another thing about such teaching is that classes can be customized to the child's own rate of learning.  In a classroom setting, some children learn faster than others.  The slower learners get behind, and feel hopeless and stupid.  Even slower learners, though, often do learn and eventually prove to be even more capable than those who initially take to the subject.

The fact that some teachers are demonstrably better introduces competition into the profession.  The best teachers could command more money for their superior instruction, while the bad ones would have to find more suitable work in another field.

Of course, mathematics is subject that all students must take at some level.  But it is in electives that the idea of on line learning becomes exciting.  In my school, for example, languages taught besides English were French, Spanish, and Latin.  What if you wanted to take German or Russian?  Tough luck.    But with on line learning, you have access to pretty much any language.  Now, some electives probably can not be taught on line entirely.  For example, it is possible to take music classes on line.  Indeed Music and Arts stores now teach instrumental classes online using Zoom.  However, playing with other instruments in a band requires something that so far does not exist.  But bands or orchestras for students could be established.  Similarly, student choirs could be established for vocal students

Sports is another area where we may have to change the way things have been done.  Typically, school have a mascot, under which banner each school plays the other schools in football, baseball, basketball, and sometimes track and field.  In my grand daughters case, because she pole vaults for her school, but they don't have a coach for that, she goes to a private teacher for training in pole vaulting.

But there are other alternatives.  In an article today at the American Thinker Zachery D. Rogers writes in an article entitled Kommisar Bartholet of Harvard Cast Her Jaundiced Eye on Homeschooling:
It is a common misconception that homeschoolers do not have opportunities to socialize with others. They are able to do so by participating in numerous church activities, the local 4-H or Future Business Leaders of America, and the local parks and recreation sports teams. Many homeschoolers join homeschool cooperatives for speech and debate, science and math classes, etc
Bartholet's concern with homeschooled children's exposure to the larger society is not so they may attain a familiarity with how people live on the farms of Kansas and Nebraska, the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia, or the ranches of Big Sky Country. No, she is afraid that parents want to raise their children to have "views and values that are in serious conflict with [the] culture." The views she has in question include looking to the Bible to explain the world, which she invidiously coupled in the same sentence with a disbelief in the scientific method. Perhaps she is unaware that people who believe in the inerrancy of Scripture at the same time think God created a rational universe that operates according to the laws of nature and that these laws are discoverable through man's reason (science). Faith in Scripture does not preclude the use of reason to understand the world around us. Bartholet's view of education is entirely secular and mainstream.
Please note that in comparison to a truly liberal education, the kind that our Founding Fathers enjoyed, and that even was enjoyed by public school students a generation ago.   Bartholet's view is a pinched, withered view that would indoctrinate, rather than educate children. Unfortunately, this is the view of much of the educational elite in this country. They don't want to let go of their charges for fear the little skulls full of much will discover a greater world. However, without being exposed to different ideas, children are unlikely to go looking. After all, why would you go looking for something if a person is unaware there is something to be found?

Of course, you are probably wondering how one is supposed to pay for all this pie in the sky education for our children. Sure, it sounds pretty good, but families' budgets are already stretched thin.  The first thing is that for parents that do not wish to be involved in their children' education, public schools will need to remain, if taking a decidedly lesser role.  Here is North Carolina, we spend $8.8K per student.  A significant amount of that money should be returned to parents as vouchers used for their children's' education.  After all, with more students being homeschooled, there would be less, though not a zero, need for school infrastructure, to include buildings, busses, administrators and so forth.

The Left often creates policies that backfire and create unintended consequences for society.  I suspect that the current house arrest of America is one that gives us the opportunity to take back the education of our children   That is a good thing for society.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Our Rehearsal For A Police State

I've got a lot to do today, so time to comment on articles I read is tight. Let me just pass alone Dennis Prager's article today at entitled Our Dress Rehearsal For A Police State. The article is short, so go read the whole article.

Dennis captures what I have been trying to get across.  Even if the risk posed by the Covid-19 virus was as great as the media makes it out to be, and the data doesn't seem to bear that out, we can not become a police state.  Police officers will have to learn, as did the Nazis at Nuremberg, that following orders is no justification for denying people their God given rights.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Putting Parents In The Education Loop

One of the bright spots to these house arrests is that children are now being home schooled.  I had a walk with my grand daughter the other day, and I was asking her about being schooled at home.  She averred that she did enjoy it generally, though the lack of a sports program was a definite problem.  She is very athletic.

I suggested that she could also undertake some independent study. For instance, she could read the Illiad and the Odyssey, or read the Federalist Papers. The sky is really the limit, only limited by her own imagination and obviously limited time.  But that is the point, that the education is finally undergoing a renaissance.

We have the technology that permits anyone, anywhere to access the greatest books ever written, much as the renaissance was kicked off by the rediscovery of the works of Aristotle and the ancient Greeks.  Certainly, the Bible could be one of the great books studied.  But a parent could design a curriculum for each of his or her children.  As the child grows in knowledge and understanding, he or she could have ever more say so over that curriculum, giving him buy in to the process of education.

But, while I see a potentially beneficial effect of this period of lock down, apparently a Harvard professor is appalled.  According to an article by Katie Jay and Sarah Campbell today, in The Federalist entitled Harvard Attack On Homeschooling Has Nothing To Do With Children's Best Interests.
As Americans get a mandatory crash course in teaching their children at home, one Harvard Law professor is running the other way, arguing homeschooling should be banned. Elizabeth Bartholet, the faculty director of Harvard Law School’s Child Advocacy Program, was recently interviewed for an incendiary Harvard Magazine article titled “The Risks of Homeschooling,” but she fleshes out her case in the Arizona Law Review.
In an 80-page screed against conservative Christian homeschoolers, Bartholet proposes a “presumptive ban” on homeschooling, alleging that some parents choose homeschooling to (1) abuse their children, and (2) provide religious instruction. The article also appears to conflate religious instruction with child abuse: Bartholet maintains that the fact that conservative Christians were among the first to embrace homeschooling is itself reason enough to discredit this educational model. She has planned a Harvard Law symposium this summer, solely for homeschooling opponents to support her misguided proposal.
Go read the whole article. Please ponder the possibilities Maybe now is the time to transfer process back to parents. Parents have the responsibility. We should put them back in the loop.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Christ is our only port in this storm

My pastor, Kevin Martin, and my congregation, Our Savior Lutheran Church in Raleigh, NC, made the national news!  Joy Pullman has the story at The Federalist today entitled Violent Threats, Hate Mail, Hit Raleigh Church For Holding Services With Under 10 People. Unlike other states, North Carolina allowed people to apply as "essential" services, which Pastor Martin did. Technically, the state letter of approval would allow Pastor Martin to hold services with up to 56 persons. But he decided to limit the number of people to 10 or fewer. Martin, of course, speaks quite well for himself, and Pullman makes use of a number of quotes, all of which sound like our Pastor:
Members of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Raleigh, N.C. were filmed by local television as they walked with their spouses and children into the church to worship and receive critical spiritual care at a time of unprecedented global panic. Families kept six feet apart and came in limited numbers, and the sanctuary was sanitized between services.
“The fact that we’re so afraid to die surely shows that it’s not natural. I know only one remedy,” Martin said. “I know only one person who has died and come back victorious, and that’s Jesus. That’s why I see him as the only port in this storm.”
So he, unlike the vast majority of pastors in the United States, has continued to bring his flock to the altar during this pandemic, while abiding by government health guidelines to allay fears and respect authorities so long as they don’t outlaw the practice of his people’s faith.
For Lutherans, like the Roman Catholics, the Divine Service, during which Communion is served is the central point of worship. We believe that the true Blood and Body of Christ is delivered during this service. We believe that Christ is actively present in the Divine service. Pastor Martin is accomplished in ancient languages, and notes that the words of institution where Jesus says "Do this in remembrance of Me" should be better translated as "Do this to My remembrance." So, we are really performing the Divine service so that on the last day, Jesus remembers each of us. Either way, we see it as a duty and an act of Faith.

Martin is correct that fear of death is driving the effort to separate us and lock us down.  He is also correct that the only real assurance is in Christ.  But for those who may have less faith, something else that Christ said is true as well: " For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it."  While true as taken literally, it is true as a metaphor as well.  For when we think more about others, with a desire to be helpful, we are indeed giving up our lives, if temporarily, for Christ sake.  But the more we do that, the more our faith takes action in the world, to the betterment of society.  The more we think upon ourselves, and worry about our lives, the less we can make other's lives better.  Thus Faith takes many forms, not all of which involve martyrdom.
It is the clear historic teaching of the Christian church that Christians eat and drink Christ’s own true blood and body in the sacrament of communion, and that doing so strengthens their faith “to life everlasting.” So for faithful sacramentalists like those at this Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod congregation, taking communion is not an option but a duty, and necessary for their eternal salvation, which is far more important than their physical health or even mortal life.
“I find my strength, my purpose for living not just from the Word, but from the Sacrament,” Martin said. “It’s a matter of faith, and you either have it or don’t. If you don’t it’s not something I can reason you into. It’s just one of those things where it’s a matter of belief. The thing I like so much about the First Amendment is, it’s supposed to safeguard our right to believe something other people might find crazy.”
Martin says the disparate treatment of religion during the coronavirus shutdown, and governments’ demand that citizens prioritize physical health over spiritual health, are wakeup calls to himself and the church at large.
As is usual, Pastor Martin said it better, and more succinctly than I could have.  Please read all of Pullman's article.

We all of us need to defend the First Amendment vigorously, even if we are not faithful.  The Lefties used to make the point that we should defend freedom of speech even if we disagree with the person saying it.  The same holds for freedom of religion.  For me, I see the current situation as a Satanic attack on us, which must be resisted.  May I suggest as a first step that we all pray for Pastor Martin, and for the whole Church universal.  Christ truly is our  only port in a storm.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Corona Is Just Too Convenient For the Left

We have two articles to highlight today for you, gentle readers. The first is from by Kevin McCullough entitled Antibody Testing Proves We've Been Had!. Apparently, New York Governor Cuomo let the cat out of the bag during yesterday's press conference.
Cuomo announced that antibody testing in New York state, which only began four days previous, was already demonstrating that at minimum 13.9% of New Yorkers, had COVID-19 late stage antibodies.
The implication of this is a shockwave to the system.
With a population of 19,540,500 the findings point out that over 2,500,000 New Yorkers had the virus and have recovered. Keep in mind that as of this writing that only 263,000 New Yorkers have currently confirmed cases. Also as of this writing New York has reported 19,543 fatalities.
We’ve been told that the true death rate is 7.4% in New York. We were told there would be hundreds of thousands dead. We were told that this was worse than the flu, which has still recorded more deaths to date in this past flu season—even though the CDC instructed medical personnel to start counting influenza, heart disease, pulmonary, respiratory, drug overdose, and possibly even car crash deaths as COVID-19 deaths.
The death rate in New York State isn’t 7.4%, it is actually .75%...
Indeed, we have all been had. McCullough says that whether it is because of malfeasance, or incompetence, either one is unacceptable. But frankly, I do believe that this entire episode is malfeasance, another deep state attempt to impose socialism on our nation by globalist elites. Glenn Beck has reported that Bill Gates and a committee that included Dr. Anthony Fauci "war gamed" a pandemic just months before the coronavirus panic hit. And, of course, many of the actions taken were those tested in the war game. Now it could all be coincidence. But you will pardon me if I find such coincidences entirely too convenient for the Left.

Next up is a piece at the American Thinker by Debbie Georgatos entitled Coronavirus Immunity Cards? Kill The Idea Right Now. This is yet another Bill Gates idea, probably part of the "war games," and resembles not so much as the reference to Revelation Chapter 13, in which no one can buy and sell unless he is marked with the number of the beast. Or, the idea also resembles Communist regimes travel bans unless you've got the right papers. The notion that the police could set up check points and stop every car, ask for your drivers license, proof of insurance, and your coronavirus card. People who do not have a card presumable would be hauled off to jail. Can you imagine something so Un-American?

Please read both articles.  Lee Smith has an article embedded in the second article, which is worth reading as well.

Update:  The American Partisan has more on this topic. Particularly more information on the war gamed scenario and the WHO How much do you think this is all just a coincidence?

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Live Life As Fully As You Can

From the beginning, I have argued for a balance between the risks that the Wuhan Flu presents, and the risks that shutting down the economy and placing all under virtual house arrest presents.  I have, of course, been accused by family members of potentially killing my grandchildren or my admittedly chronically ill wife.  I have been accused by those outside the family of being heartless because I place money ahead of lives.

However, what has been clear to me all along is that despite the virus, life must go on.  There is a great cost in lives lost due to poverty resulting from the governments reaction to the virus.  Believing as I do that the Constitutionally enumerated rights are indeed gifted to us by the Creator God, it is natural then that I would question the morality of anyone who claims the authority to snatch those rights from us.  Moreover, it seems to me that those that are especially vulnerable, or who think they may be, should look to isolate themselves from society.  It is not society's job to isolate itself for the sake of the vulnerable, because society can not know each individual's circumstance.

All these ideas and more are contained in a well written article today at The Federalist by Jonathon Ashbach entitled How Cowardice and Class Privilege Divide Support For Coronavirus Lockdowns Indeed, Ashbach says what I have been trying to say much better than I do, which gentle readers, is why he is a professional while your servant is but a gifted amateur. So here is the money quote:
Point out the compounded economic and personal hardship that our response has inflicted, and in many quarters you will meet at best the dismissive retort that one can’t measure lives against the economy and at worst with the accusation that you are a selfish &^%$# who values your freedom over others’ wellbeing.
Now, there is a kernel of insight in this response. As a severe critic of libertarianism, I find it heartening that people are expressing at least subconscious recognition that freedom is not an intrinsic good. Valuable as it is, it is only a means to human excellence and happiness. So if the tradeoff were really as simple as amoral freedom versus the wellbeing of the nation, then this response would be entirely appropriate.
It is not true that those who value the plethora of activities that make up human life are prioritizing selfishness over the real wellbeing of the nation. Exactly the contrary. Months of people’s lives are slipping away forever. It is those who dismiss that who devalue the human.
The jobs we have taken from tens of millions of our fellow citizens cannot simply be dismissed as amoral dollars and cents. They are sources of meaning and provision, arenas of excellence of profound moral worth—and especially valuable, one might add, to the less economically privileged, who are disproportionately suffering under our new rules.
The hundreds of thousands of small businesses that we are driving into the ground are not simply abstract “companies.” They represent the investment of the dreams and life work of millions of our fellow citizens. A class is not merely an instrument for increasing average worker productivity. It is a sacred activity—opening the mind to truth, crafting the character, unfolding the understanding.
The personal, face-to-face human interactions that we have cut off at the source are the very stuff of meaningful life. To respond that all of these activities can be moved online would be to engage in an exercise in self-delusion.
Once again, I have to mention that Martin Luther was a profound thinker on things that the average priest did not at the time comprehend.  In the middle ages, and it continues today in the Roman Catholic Church, the priesthood, the monks and the nuns, were considered to be above the laymen, spending their lives in contemplation of, and preparing for, the afterlife.  They believed themselves more Holy than the unwashed masses.  Remind you of anyone?  One of Luther's great teachings was that everyone could be on equal footings with the highest priest by dedicating the work he does daily  to Christ.  So, if a baker, bake honestly, to the health of his customers and the betterment of society as a whole, he is doing God's work.  Every vocation can be carried out in a similar manor.  One can make money, even a lot of it, for it is not money that is the root of evil, but the LOVE of money.  That is the sin.

But, if Martin Luther is correct, and I believe he is, then doing our jobs, day in and day out is an incredibly important part of living out a Christian life.  It is just as important as attending church services, confessing sins and receiving communion.  Our jobs, our businesses, our providing for ourselves and our families is part of what makes us human.  But of course there is so much more to living a full and meaningful life, as Ashbach says.  Music, art, poetry and literature, gathering together, feasts, and of course fasting.  To quote Ecclesiastes, "to everything there is a season, and time for every purpose under heaven."

Besides all of that, however, there is also the human concern for the fact that everything we do, and everything we don't do contains risk.
All worthwhile activities always involve risk of death—to oneself and others. That is no excuse for assuming a fetal position and failing to live one’s life. Complete human beings will live in awareness and acceptance of their own and others’ mortality.
As the sense of panic caused by the unfamiliarity of the new virus passes away, the quality of much elite moral discourse over the past few weeks will hopefully be recognized for the embarrassment it is.Where is the vitality that led a young Jewish queen to say, “If I perish, I perish?” That led a mad German genius to say “You have given your life to your work and now your work has taken your life. Therefore I will bury you with my own hands”?
For those unfamiliar, the reference to the Jewish princess is to the Book of Esther, Chapter 4, verse 16.

Please go read the whole article, because it is a balanced approach, not just to the current situation, but to everything.  One thing I do to keep my serenity and my sanity, though I am far from perfect at it, is to repeat the Serenity prayer:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change,
The courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Because, in truth, the only thing I can change is me and my reactions.

In the end, though, we must live our lives.  Live yours as fully as you can.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Perhaps The Reason For Conspicuous Beauty Is Just Because

I have made a point several times that music has no evolutionary value, and yet the ability to produce music and the ability to appreciate it is a common trait of humanity.  I have said that music is evidence of, though not proof of, the existence of God.  But humans are not the only ones in nature to display what author Glenn T. Stanton describes at The Federalist as Extravagant Beauty. While Stanton doesn't say it, I think I will: such extravagant beauty in nature may be more evidence of, though not proof of, the existence of God.

So why am I so insistent that these things provide evidence of the existence of God?  Because I believe that there can be no proof of God in this world.  Our God wants us to demonstrate faith in Him, and having proof would make that more difficult.

Stanton seems to want to stick to strictly scientific grounds, and to tweak the evolutionists nose.
In survival of the fittest, the fittest is the least complex and needy — Occam’s razor applied to living things. Extravagant, superfluous beauty is not evolution’s friend. Ironically, isn’t the environmental movement built on this very fact? Some species are less adaptive to changing environments, man-made or not, and rightly require protection.
Thus, beauty is one of evolution’s most serious and persistent problems. Its adherents have no good answer for it, and not for want of trying.
If we are at all like Him, one must suspect that He has a sense of humor, an appreciation of beauty, indeed all the traits that make us human. If so, it is not hard to imagine that He would have put such conspicuously beautiful creatures in the environment just because.

Monday, April 20, 2020

The S.W.I.N.E. Strike

I have often speculated on why so many corporate CEOs happen to be leftist.  It seems to me that running a company in a capitalist competitive system, for profit, would turn even an idealistic youth into a strong proponent of capitalism.  They would relish the thought that they had made a major difference in the lives of so many who otherwise might starve had it not been for the company they ran and the jobs it provides.  They would also relish the fact that they had made so many of their fellow citizens happy with the products they produced that had made lives better.  I think here of Henry Ford, who noted that he produced cars so inexpensively that even his own workers could afford them.  But he also paid a premium wage for his workers.

Now, I understand that journalists today are a college trained, self selected cohort of people who naturally want to change the world.  These people I understand.  But the majority of CEOs of large corporations, I have never understood.

But now, in an article at The Federalist Willis L. Krumholz explains How To Stop China And The Left From Controlling The World Through Intolerance. You, like me have probably noticed that the Left seems to be eternally offended about something. And this is not new. When I was a teenager, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I used to read and get a laugh at a cartoon called L'il Abner by Al Capp. Among the many denizens of characters appearing in the cartoon was  a protest group called S.W.I.N.E. which is an acronym for "Students Wildly Indignant about Nearly Everything." But in the era of political correctness, the S.W.I.N.E. have become more numerous, more strident, and if it is possible, more intolerant of every value we traditional hold.  Why?

Krumholz explains that it is a little known law of psychology that the most intolerant wins.  Every time.
A Harvard Business Review article from earlier this year conducted an admittedly limited survey of consumers’ views of when corporations engage in political activity. It found Democrats are much more intolerant of corporations that engage in conservative activism than are Republicans toward corporations that engage in liberal activism. More research here is needed to track what consumers actually do with their money, instead of what they simply say they will do.
Nevertheless, the message to corporate America has been clear: Liberal activism doesn’t cost anything, while even latent conservatism might result in boycotts and media frenzies. In the face of this asymmetric intolerance, corporations rationally take the path of least resistance and slide into corporate leftism.
It turns out a great many of the baffling frustrations Americans feel — from Nike paying Kaepernick millions, to Hollywood bowing to Chinese censors, to China holding an undue and sinister influence over the World Health Organization (WHO) — may be explained by a simple axiom: “The Most Intolerant Wins.” As we’ve seen in Hollywood, the media, Big Tech, and now the World Health Organization, often the most intolerant is China.
Note that the emphasis is mine.

I can't help but believe that this may be the true reason. I myself often react by trying to ignore yet another outbreak of PC mania nonsense. It is too disturbing to my serenity. The latest, when Land-O-Lakes decided that the Indian maiden logo offended some vocal S.W.I.N.E. protesters, I couldn't get worked up about it. Let Land-O-Lakes do what the want, I don't have to buy it. Indeed, Land-O-Lakes is not, by far, the tastiest butter around. In fact, it is pretty flat, only exceeding margarine in terms of flavor. But Land-O-Lakes won't notice that I have stopped buying their products, any more that Starbucks, or Target, or Walmart will notice these things.

And herein is the problem.  The great majority of people have real lives, have a sense of perspective, know that most of this protesting is seeming trivial stuff being shouted by a tiny minority and then amplified by the media.  This minority would be controllable, except that they have a big brother making waves behind the scenes, in board rooms, at media headquarters, and as we learned yesterday, even in our entertainment, movies, television, and academia.  The most intolerant of all is the Chinese Communist Party.

Of course, merely finding a problem is of little help if there is no solution.  Luckily, Krumholz offers one:
The answer is to make American policy the new path of least resistance. American corporations should no longer operate in an environment where America is playing nice while China is playing hardball. This may require some blunt-rule policymaking.
Finally, the ultimate removal of the perverse incentive to take the path of least resistance will require systematically cutting ties between China and the United States. This means ensuring the independence of our health-care supply chains and onshoring much else. We should pursue something the Japanese are doing: paying manufacturers to bring jobs out of China and back to America.
Please go read the entire article. Then think about what we can all do to address the S.W.i.N.E. in our lives.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

The Original Sin

At The Federalist today, Stella Moribido writes that the Pandemic Has Magnified The Worst Impulses Of The Power Hungry Elite She is speaking, of course, of the petty tyrants and dictators that have cropped up everywhere since the pandemic. She talks about the media, Congress, and the many others who seem to believe they are their own God:
This pandemic has laid bare the intentions of our self-appointed betters in Washington, the media, and beyond. They have shown no desire for national unity, pushing policies to empower only themselves. They manipulate people’s worst fears, knowing that’s the surest way to get them to lay down their liberties.
We should be able to see a God-complex at work in all this control-freak behavior, and we should not fear calling out that behavior for what it is. If this seems over-the-top to American readers, that’s because we aren’t used to living under totalitarian rule.
As we just emerged from Holy Week, we would do well to recognize that this is man’s natural, sinful state. After all, the sin of pride, or the conceit of playing god, is the original sin from which all other sins emanate.
She is exactly right. I the garden of Eden, the snake tempted Eve by telling her she would become as God. That apparently sounded good to her, and so she ate of the fruit of the tree of Good and Evil. Remember, before this they only knew good. They had no evil thoughts, so everything they did was innocent.

In any case, Eve did eat of the fruit the Devil gave her, and so did Adam, and here we are.  The Constitution was written for just such times.  The colonists had just won a war against the super power of their day who had tried to take away the God given rights of the people.  This over reach was met with armed force.  In order to secure the rights of the people, a Constitution was written.  Nothing in it says anything about pandemics or other issues.  People have rights in peace and in war.

I suspect that as more data becomes available, the average person will see that the panic over this disease was trumped up to damage the President.  Not only will the lockdown become unenforceable, but the entire masquerade will backfire on those trying to dictate our lives.  Because, the first sin is really the only sin.  All others are just other manifestations of the original sin.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

A Conspiracy?

So, it has all the hallmarks of what has been called a conspiracy theory.  A film by a supposed "insider" spilling the beans on his colleagues.  Then there's the mysterious "Q" that puts out vague little clips that people interpret to later show the Q knew what was going to happen.  The whole thing is reminiscent of the way some people read things into Nostradamus's writings.  Indeed, I am loathe to bring this to your attention, gentle reader, and we are.

Today, at the American Thinker Deborah Franklin has an article entitled Q Praises Out Of The Shadows Documentary.
“Why do you believe what you believe?” asks Mike Smith, a former star stuntman for Hollywood action films, who produced and self-funded the film. Mike tells the story of how he began delving into the messages of the high-budget films he worked on, after an injury sidelined him. To his shock, he discovered that “we have all been lied to and brainwashed by a hidden enemy with a sinister agenda.”
Mike’s investigation revealed a host of CIA programs he sees as designed to control the public’s beliefs and deflect attention from massive governmental crimes. With the help of Kevin Shipp, a CIA whistleblower, and fellow star stuntman Brad Martin, Mike leads viewers through a labyrinth of horrifying CIA programs that wage psyops (psychological operations) against the American people.
These programs date back to World War II, when the CIA’s precursor injected fake stories into a compliant press. Operation Mockingbird continues today, according to Shipp. Its task of controlling what the public thinks is now easier, thanks to the media’s consolidation into six mega-corporations. After the war, the CIA’s Operation Paperclip brought top Nazi scientists to the United States. The story of Nazi missile scientists working for NASA is well-known. However, the public is unaware of the Nazi doctors who were paid by the CIA to conduct medical experiments on humans in the United States. These experiments led to Project MK-Ultra, a systematic method of torturing people (especially children) with the stated goal of “controlling an individual to the point where he will do our bidding against his will – and even against such fundamental laws of nature as self-preservation.”
But many of us have known we were being lied to with fake "news."  And while the ABC/NBC/CBS/CNN/MSNBC conglomerate is a known fake news source, as is the New York Times and the Washington Post, the fact is that there is a mountain of fake news that comes out of FOX as well.  Even worse, however, is the way they the Deep State keeps media moguls and top entertainers under their thumbs, and pushing the fake news lines.  Indeed, the term "honey pot" takes on new meaning with these people.

I don't want to issue any spoilers, so instead, when you have about an hour and a half, please read Franklin's article, then go watch the movie Out Of The Shadows.

Is it just a conspiracy theory?  You decide.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Authoritarians, Petty Tyrants, and Dictators

Over at today, David Harsanyi has an excellent article today entitled Authoritarianism Is Getting Out of Hand, in which he cites a number of petty tyrants that have way over-reached, using the current pandemic as an excuse to become little dictators. Here's the thing, though; the Constitution was written for both good times and bad. We The People do not surrender our rights in either case.

It's reasonable to assume that the vast majority of Americans process news and data, and calculate that self-quarantining, wearing masks and social distancing make sense for themselves, their families and the country. Free people act out of self-preservation, but they shouldn't be coerced to act through the authoritarian whims of the state. Yet this is exactly what's happening.
There has been lots of pounding of keyboards over the power grabs of authoritarians in Central and Eastern Europe. Rightly so. Yet right here, politicians act as if a health crisis gives them license to lord over the most private activities of American people in ways that are wholly inconsistent with the spirit and letter of the Constitution.
Under what imperious conception of governance does Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer believe it is within her power to unilaterally ban garden stores from selling fruit or vegetable plants and seeds? What business is it of Vermont or Howard County, Indiana, to dictate that Walmart, Costco or Target stop selling "nonessential" items, such as electronics or clothing? Vermont has 628 cases of coronavirus as of this writing. Is that the magic number authorizing the governor to ban people from buying seeds for their gardens?
Mr. Harsanyi goes on to cite examples of other Governors and Mayors grabbing power for themselves in the mistaken belief that they are entitled to do so. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even President Trump has stated that he and he alone can open up the American economy again. I have news for him; the American people will decide, not Trump or any other petty dictator (I'm looking at you, Roy Cooper.)

There has been much talk about the fact that most small businesses, that operate on thin margins of 2  5% profits can not really stand to be closed for even 1 month, let alone for two, or three, or as some have suggested until September or later.  Indeed, every year the day after Thanksgiving Day is celebrated as Black Friday.  Why?  Because many retailers actually lose money throughout the year, but the buying season between Thanksgiving and Christmas makes it possible come out slightly ahead at the end of the year.  Contrary to popular opinion, these people are not rich.  But, like you, they are trying to make a life for themselves and their families.

To have Governors and Mayors, and here in Wake County, County Commissioners, deciding what businesses are essential and what products may be sold, who can travel and for what purposes, is a fool's errand.  You should have learned this from history.  Central planning of the economy doesn't work.  Remember all those failed 5 year plans in the Soviet Union?  Where is the Soviet Union now?And please note well, every business is essential to those that work there.

Oh, and now there is a proposal that you must have a certificate saying that you have been tested and found safe in order to travel.  Does anyone remember the Nazi era of "papers please" at check points?  Anyone...Bueler...anybody...

Please go read Harsanyi's article in full, and think about how you will show your freedom today.

PC Run Amok

The change in Land-O-Lakes Butter packaging is PC run amok. There is nothing about the use of an Indian maiden as a logo that should be offensive. If you find it so, perhaps you should be looking at your own issues. BTW, if we are changing the packaging to get rid of the Indian maiden (I refuse to call her a native American because the Indians came here from the Asian continent), what about the name "Minnesota" itself? Seems the easily offended could claim cultural appropriation. Perhaps the name should be changed to Frozen Tundraland.

Just a thought...

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Protesting Is A Nonessential Activity

How very convenient that the government can apparently declare that protesting their shut down order is a nonessential activity.  Please go read the whole thing over at The Federalist

Monday, April 13, 2020

How to Respond to the "Karens" in Your Life

Scott Morefield, today has an article entitled COVID-Shamers And Seven Of Their Most Ridiculous Arguments at Morefield and Kurt Schlichter seem to have been drinking from the same cup, with Schlichter applying his typical acerbic wit, calling COVID-Shamers by the meme "Karen." A "Karen" is a particularly annoying woman who nags you about, well, whatever happens to be the du jour behavior goes against political correctness. Today, of course, it is any opinion that doubts the need to STAY AT HOME. If you dare venture out, say for a roll of toilet paper, and especially if you aren't wearing the latest fashion appurtenance, a mask, you are sure to be berated by one of these Karens.

Morefield takes a more dignified approach, but gets the same point across, plus adds ways we can use to counter these morons.  But, before I get into Morefield's piece, let me just say that excessive attention to other's actions with a critical eye  and ready judgement, may betray a person lacking in honest self examination.  The berating of others is a form of virtue signalling that hopes to convince others that she is virtuously doing the all right things, while diverting attention away form the fact that she knows she is vulnerable herself.

But back to Morefields article:
Indeed, COVID-shaming is the latest way leftists try and fool the general public into mistakenly thinking they are somehow “good people.” It’s a win-win for them because they can pretend they actually care about human life and, via these ridiculous shutdowns, accomplish all their goals, all in one fell swoop. It’s almost admirable, actually, for its level of evil genius. When it comes to never letting crises go to waste, why kill one bird when you can kill two?
From the safety of their beltway townhouses, leftists point their judgemental fingers at anyone who isn’t meeting their definition of “social distancing” or who, worse, expresses any opinion about the ongoing Wuhan coronavirus pandemic that they disagree with. And trust me, they’ll ‘disagree with’ pretty much any opinion that doesn’t involve them getting to stay cloistered away in their homes, presumably living off what they believe will be the government teat for the next, oh, 18 months or so, give or take a few days.
Scott also offer valuable counters to seven of the most used arguments they offer for why you are a terrible, heartless person, while they are good and caring. The thing that Morefield points out time and again is that deaths due to COVID-19 can not be the only consideration. Even if we "save just one life," and that is highly dubious, if the process of saving that life impoverishes us all, we will ultimately kill many more.  Question:  why is death due to starvation less important than a death due to COVID-19? 

For those who live in the United States, who have never known real poverty, and have not studied  history to teach them about the Great Depression of the 1930s, they may think that things can not get much worse. But believe me, our supply chains are incredibly fragile. Farmers are dumping milk right now, do to lack of demand for milk.  If the economy remains shut down, many other businesses may go out of business, since most businesses operate on thin margins. 

Please go read Scott Morefield's article and learn how to respond to the "Karens" you will encounter.  Also read Kurt Schlichter's piece for some good fun at their expense.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Meditations of God and Music

I have noted that I am a member of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod.  You may know that Martin Luther was the first "successful" reformer of the Church.  He was not the first, but he was the first that wasn't killed before managing to actually reform anything.  And indeed, Martin Luther did not intend to start a protestant reformation of the Church, but merely to return it to its Biblical roots.

On a side note, you may or may not know that Martin Luther was also a talented musician, composing many hymns, encouraging singing in the Church, and the teaching of singing and music in his schools, and that he played the lute.  Now, guitar builders are called "luthiers," and while the origins of the guitar are somewhat clouded in the mists of time, the lute, the mandolin, and the guitar all have common features.  Indeed, in bluegrass music, the mandolin is still a major instrument.  A picture of Martin Luther and his family can be seen on Martin Luther And His Music, where Luther is shown playing the lute.

I thought about all this today as I was practicing my lesson on the guitar. I take guitar lessons from a man who has been playing for at least 50 years, and has thought much about the guitar as it is used in rock, jazz, country, and classical music.  He is also a humble man and has thought long and hard about music itself. One of the things he says is that all instruments are really just substitutes for the human voice, the vox humana, (which, by the way is a stop on the organ.  Vox Humana makes a sound very much like a chorus of singers, thus the name.)  A guitarist must understand himself to be an accompaniment to the singer, and not the star of the production. I suspect this was the way that Luther understood his instrument.

I have also noted that one of the evidences for God, and evidence that he specifically created us, is the propensity for the making and appreciating of music. No other creature does this.  Now, birds do indeed make calls that man interprets as music, but bird calls are exactly that; calls from one bird to another indicating various things such as danger, or are a part of mating rituals. Their calls do not vary, nor do birds improvise on a theme.  It is such a human thing to do, that nearly every automobile manufactured has a radio, and radio is usually tuned to a music station.  One of the people I work with has over 3,000 songs on his playlist in his cell phone.  He doesn't play any instrument, but he appreciates listening to songs.  Others I know are in gospel bands or play gigs at local coffee houses.

The ability to sing well is so widespread, that nearly every Church congregation has a choir and usually an instrumental accompaniment.  It is indeed so widespread that for someone to actually make a living at it requires a certain...something... Such people are fairly rare, but for everyone else, they can be taught to sing if they have enough patience and practice. The voice is like any other instrument, and it requires daily practice to become, and stay in shape.

One last thing, I thought readers might be interested in what guitar I play. The world can be divided into acoustic guitars and electric guitars. I play electric because I find it to be the more versatile instrument. Now, a lot of electric guitar players choose a Fender Telecaster or a Fender Statocaster because these guitars can, with the right amplifier make any sound you might want. Still others choose a Gibson Les Paul because of the gritty growl of the humbucker pickups. Myself, I like to play my Gretsch G5420T. Gretsch guitars have a sound unlike any other electric, at least to my ears.  And when I get it right, the sound coming out of the Gretsch is beautiful.

My lessons are sometimes boring, and sometimes it is a chore to get through all of the movable major scales and other exercises each day, but this guitar calls me to play it. Life sometimes gets in the way, but I strive to practice daily.  When I do, I feel it is something God wants me to do, as if it is a prayer in music.

Goodbye Fred S, Singer, April 6, 2020

Marc Sheppard has the obituary over at the American Thinker entitled My Long Goodbye To Fred S. Singer. I have often featured Singer's work in this blog, and indeed owe a debt of gratitude for giving me an understanding of our weather systems and climate in lay man's terms.

When I first came across Singer's work, I was publishing a model of my own that distributed funds to the Engineering Field Divisions of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command. So, I knew the limitations of models, and I was instantly suspicious of the IPCC model.  But Singer knew this work intimately, and had the scientific knowledge and the intellectual fortitude to challenge this model.  Moreover, he has been proven correct over time.

Please go read the embedded article, as it more than an obituary.  Fred Singer died at age 95 on April 6, 2020.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

A Lamentation For Our Church Universal

Today is Maundy Thursday, the day that our Lord had his final Passover meal and instituted the rite of the Eucarist, or Holy Communion.  Christians will celebrate the arrest, trial, Crucifixion, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior.  We Christians worship the Crucified Christ, and this is how we do it, by taking the Body and Blood of our Lord.*  This is what the Mass (in Catholic services) or the Divine Service in Lutheran services is all about.  There really is no substitute for this.  You must be Baptized with water symbolically washing your sins away, and practice this Divine rite.

We Christians are indeed suffering.  Man does not live by bread alone, as Jesus said.  We need spiritual bread as well.  When we pray the Lord's Prayer, one of the things we ask for is that God will grant us our daily bread.  That means that God ensures both our physical needs and our spiritual needs.

At The Federalist yesterday, Joy Pullman had a piece mourning the fact that a number of church buildings have been closed entitled They Can Keep Christians From Holy Week Services, But Nothing Can Stop Easter. Noting that Lutherans do not fast or make other particular sacrifices for Lent, my Pastor siad that Christ is with us always. The annual Easter celebration is not because Jesus is being Crucified all over again, but to remind us of why we believe. We celebrate it because it humbles us to remember that we did not do anything to deserve to be saved, and indeed, we can not. God, because of His great Love and Grace had to do everything that was done to save us all. Joy Pullman speaks eloquently about the suffering she feels in the current time:
Our church and orders of service are precious to me, and our congregation. The things our pastors say, do, and wear are have been cultivated over centuries. We worship this way on purpose. Everything has a meaning, and has been carefully selected, debated among clergy and lay people, and thoughtfully placed.
Unlike the kinds of evangelical churches I grew up in, nothing in our services are random, or the production of one person, one church, one pastor, or locality. It is comprehensive, ordered, painstakingly thought through, the production of the whole church over centuries. It’s not just this way for some general service; this theological craftsmanship envelops the entire church year. Every Sunday and season has its place in an orchestrated tapestry. These centuries of labored love culminate in our highest holy days, this week.
Like Christians have for hundreds, thousands of years, our congregation is used to gathering and carrying out special, very specific, highly meaningful, and carefully ordered scripture readings, prayers, hymns, and services. They are rituals created by centuries of tradition, and thus exceedingly rich.
I just went on the website for my own congregation and saw that unfortunately, on site services are cancelled. I feel all of Pullman's lamentations for our Church Universal. Please read Joy Pullman's article, and if you are the praying sort, pray for us all. Many do not realize that much of what is best today in America and the world was brought about because of the activities of people, whose lives were changed by Christ.

*  Note, Christian theology states we believe that our God expresses himself to man in three ways, as the Creator of everything that is, and that is not, as the Son, the Christ, who walked the earth in historical time just as we all do, and as the Holy Spirit who continues to inspire us to be better people.  Thus, we are not worshiping a man, but the One True God.

For those who wonder how God could be both here on earth and in Heaven at the same time, all I would say is that you are thinking of God as being too small.  For the Creator of the Universe, everything is possible, without Him, nothing is.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

H. L. Mencken Was Right

Sitting at home these last few weeks, and wanting to keep in touch with people even though I don't necessarily see them on a daily or weekly schedule, I re-opened my facebook account.  And while having my facebook account open and seeing that others are doing well, as is Mrs. PolyKahr and I, I notice a lot of people that seem to be buying into the idea that staying at home, hunkering down, and not going out is the safest course of action.  I find myself being somewhat of a contrarian, however.

First, so far the statistics do not bear out that this particular coronavirus is especially deadly.  Of course, it has killed, but then so does the common cold and the seasonal flu.  And there are yet more deadly things out there that we don't necessarily go to defcon 1 over.  As Kevin McCullough explains in an article today at entitled It'sNot What She Said! It's 'Why Would We Ever Do It That Way?'
For some unexplained reason Birx/Fauci et al, are counting deaths and attributing their cause to COVID-19,even if the actual cause of death was not COVID-19.
For example: A patient gets admitted to the hospital for organ failure due to late stage cancer. If the patient comes into contact with COVID-19 in the hospital and the virus shows up in a test either before or after death, that’s a COVID-19 fatality. Same with a heart attack/heart disease. Same with fill in the blank.
Never mind that as a nation we lose 54,000 persons a month to heart disease, and 50,000 per month to cancer.
See what I mean? While each death is a tragedy to those that knew and loved him, or her, it is not a reason to abandon our normal duties which both allow us to feed and clothe ourselves and loved ones, and still serve the public at large by providing needed products and services.  And then there are the deaths of the unborn who are aborted every year.  Those deaths account for an estimated 620.000 deaths every year.  Yet no one is keeping these death totals and reporting them on the evening news.

Which brings us to the point of this post which is yet again to raise the issue of the loss of our Constitutional rights and civil liberties.  William Sullivan today, over at the American Thinker has a piece that asks a number of questions if we are to find the answer to whether governments at all levels have the right to shut down our economy in the name of saving us. The article can be found at Does A Health Emergency Give Government The Extraordinary Power To Violate Our Rights? Sullivan raises a number of issues that we should all consider, but concludes with this:
However, “after the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment,” the Bill of Rights was “made applicable to the states through the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment,” according to Cornell’s Legal Information Institute. Therefore, according to the Supreme Court’s modern jurisprudential standard, individual Americans are equally protected by the incorporated Amendments of the Bill of Rights at the state and local level, much as they are protected at the federal level. In that sense, the suggestion that “municipalities and states” can legally infringe upon the constitutional protections of Americans is, in the modern lens, unequivocally false.
The Constitution certainly doesn’t enumerate federal powers to trample our protected rights (and heretofore, President Trump seems to be refreshingly aware and respectful of that limitation), and the modern comprehension of the Bill of Rights explicitly says that the state and local governments don’t have that power, either (despite most state and local government officials seeming drunk on this power that they imagine themselves to have).
So, since we can prove that state and local governments everywhere have no legal right to abuse our constitutional rights as they are currently doing on a daily basis, and it seems nothing short of obvious that America cannot sustain this complete economic shutdown for much longer without spending its future into oblivion and making dependents and subjects of its citizens -- now what?
I suspect that one of more of the cases of people who have been arrested will wind their way through the courts, which will find that the actions of these governments have been Unconstitutional. But by the time that happens, it will be old news. The media will give a giant yawn, and the next time there is a scare, the same thing will happen.

It just proves H. L. Mencken right: “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.”

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

On Worshiping He Who Created Nature

I have been reading, slowly I'll admit, Dennis Prager's book The Rational Bible: Genesis. I say slowly because it is a dense tome, and one often has to stop and think deeply about something. Prager's commentary is truly a blessing for those of us who believe that the Bible is indeed the Word of God. I am also anxious to get onto the next in the series: The Rational Bible: Exodus.

The Book of Exodus is the story of how God brought the Israelites out of bondage to the Egyptians and returned them to their Promised Land.  That land is today Israel again.  But, Exodus isn't just a story for the Jews.  Oh, no;  it is a story for everyone, for it describes how God does everything to bring us out of bondage and misery.  It is your story, it is my story.

Some years ago, I found that I had managed to put myself in a box by worshiping not the Creator, and not even creation itself, what Prager calls nature worship, but things that man has made in imitation of God's Creative power.  It was here that I had my low point, changed my mind, which is the actual translation of repent, and came back to worship the true God of creation, the God who reached out to me, because I could not reach out to Him.  The God who has done everything so that I can be with Him.  Who can imagine such Love?

Today, at Dennis Prager has an article that is timely for Christians, but is really a message for more out there who are like I was entitled Maybe Nature Shouldn't Be Worshiped After All. Prager is hopeful that this COVID-19 outbreak may just cause a number of people to see that their survival depends not on government or on themselves, but on a Higher Power.
Maybe the coronavirus will awaken young people, who have been taught by nature-worshipping teachers and raised by nature-worshipping parents, to the idiocy of worshipping nature rather than subduing it. Nature, it turns out, is not our friend, let alone a god. If it were up to nature, we'd all be dead: Animals would eat us; weather would freeze us to death; disease would wipe out the rest of us. If we don't subdue nature, nature will subdue us. It's that simple.
Nature is beautiful and awe-inspiring. It's also brutal and merciless. "Nature, red in tooth and claw," as Alfred Tennyson aptly describes it. Nature follows no moral rules and shows no compassion. The basic law of all biological life is "survival of the fittest," while the basic law of Judaism and Christianity is the opposite: the survival of the weakest with the help of the fittest. Nature wants the weakest eaten by the strongest. Hospitals are as anti-natural an entity as exists.
Only human beings make hospitals. We do so not by worshipping nature but by subduing it.
I would also point out that hospitals did not exist before the Christian era. Coincidence? I think not. We should all be praying to the God who created and loves us, and knew us before we were born, that he would sustain us now. But more than that, I would hope that more of us would have a change of heart and repent from worshiping creation.

I will save my thoughts on the difference between mankind and the rest of the animals for another time, except to say that the environmentalist saying that we are just another species is wrong. Oh, we share the same structure of  DNA with all the rest of life on earth, so in that regard, sure we are another species. But it is the "just" that disturbs me. It seems fairly clear to me that we have abilities far in excess of those needed to survive. Music and the arts come to mind. The ability to understand mathematics and science is another.  To me, these things are evidence of, though not proof (for there can not be proof) of the existence of God.  Whenever we engage in these things, we should look at them as alternate ways of worshiping our God..

Monday, April 6, 2020

Leftists and Social Bullies

So during this Kung Flu pandemic, the seriousness of which is, in my opinion, unproven, one of the things we need to keep in mind is the creeps who have popped up to boss the rest of us around.  Raleigh, North Carolina is not New York City, but we seem to have the same policies being imposed by the same types of people.

Kurt Schlichter today has an article at entitled Beware the Creeps Who Enjoy Their New Pandemic Power Spoiler alert: Schlichter thinks we will return to something approaching "normal" soon. He premises this belief on the fact that Americans will tolerate being essentially under house arrest for just so long:
The problem with people referring to this bizarre pandemic life limbo as “the new normal” is that there are people out there, both in and out of positions of responsibility, who are digging this opportunity to boss us around. And it is troubling to see that there are a number of prominent folks who are in no hurry to curtail their ability to boss us around. We need to note carefully who these people are and ensure that they never get a chance to control anything again.
But the medical perspective is not the only perspective. There are other perspectives that need to be considered, like the economy and our liberty, and so we elect people to consider them. See, this is why we are not a technocracy. We are a republic. We normal citizens get the final say in our country’s priorities, and we may not decide that our priorities are exactly the same as Dr. Fauci’s. I, for one, am willing to accept some risk regarding the infection in order to avoid America degenerating into a Road Warrior scenario – unless I can be the Humungous, who really gets a bad rap for his innovative and focused leadership style.
Adults accept risk when balancing various interests. The idea that “It’s not worth one life” is childish and stupid. We have cars. Cars kill 30K people a year. We accept that risk. What’s the proper risk balancing for the Chinese coronavirus? Well, we as citizens need to figure that out. That process is called “politics.” That’s why whenever anyone tells you that “This is no time for politics,” they really mean they don’t want you to have any input into the decision. Without politics, you have a dictatorship, and that seems to be the unspoken theme of a growing number of elected officials and others.
What Schlichter is talking about above is what is commonly known as "trade offs." We make them all the time. Is that old refrigerator worth repairing or should you buy new? Of course, the issue of cars, which typically kill 30,000 people per year. Is it worth it to force people out of their cars to save lives? If not why not? People die while choking on food. So, to save just one life should everybody be prevented from eating?   That last of course is obviously not intended as a serious proposal but rather to show the silliness of the "save just one life" argument is.

So, having shown that even Leftist  and social bullies can, and do instinctively make judgements about the risks they are willing to accept, it may be time to stop with the "save on life" arguments and begin discussing factual risks and trade offs.  Is the total destruction of the economy worth the saving of the lives of the vulnerable? What about the loss of lives of those not vulnerable to the virus, but who will lose their income?  Because, every business is ultimately essential to those who own it and to the employees who work there.

In fact, as long as we have wandered into this territory, Michael Z. Williamson, over at the blog  The Sacred Cow Slaughterhouse explains the interrelationship of the entire economy in a post entitle Businesses That Will Fail. This blog shows that though you start with one a person my feel are "nonessential" that pretty soon you start to impact essential businesses and services. It is why the Communist idea of a Central Planning Committee to determine these things is a fool's errand. 

Please go read both articles today.  I pray that Schlichter's outlook is the more correct, and that we will soon enough return to normal.  It is not at all clear to me, though that we will ever get rid of  the social bullies and their endless message of constantly restricting what we do, where we go, what we eat, and a thousand other restrictions on our freedoms and liberties, because it is good for us, of course.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

It would be even more tragic of we, who are free, returned to slavery

Selwyn Duke has a thoughtful piece at the American Thinker today entitled Why Accepting 2 Million COVID-19 Deaths May Be Better Than A National Lockdown. Of course, from the title of the article, one would expect that it is rather hard hearted. But as Duke says, he has loved ones who are at some risk of getting the virus and perhaps contributing to the statistics. And yet, as he also points out, public policy should not necessarily be made on the basis of one's compassion for a neighbor, but what may be best for the whole. That is why we pay people to do these jobs, and they better have a thick skin.

One thing that Duke brings up is the Spanish Flu of 1918-19.  I have mentioned the Spanish Flu that swept the world during WWI to people and get a "deer in the headlights" look.  They have no idea what I am talking about.  This is too bad, because knowing history provides perspective.  As Selwyn Duke writes:
Remember, too, that we’ve been through this before. During the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-19, 675,000 Americans died; adjusted for today’s U.S. population this amounts to a bit more than two million people — exactly our worst case scenario number.
Now, you may be asking yourselves, Why didn't the government DO SOMETHING?" The fact is there was little either government or medical science could do. The virus had to play out, and it killed a number of people. But, let's now get to the heart of what Duke is writing about today, namely the idea of trade offs. Is it worth it to destroy the economy, kill off jobs that will likely never return, and risk imposing a tyranny on the American people for the sake of a worst case scenario of 2 million dead. That 2 million represents o.67% of the population. Does it, in other words, make sense to impose draconian hardships on 99.3% of the population to save o.7%, irrespective of whether that 0.7% is likely to die soon anyway of their other diseases? That is the real question.
Unemployment claims are at a record high, but I don’t have to tell you how the current lockdowns are ravaging our economy. Many businesses and jobs will never come back, yet this concern not only is just the iceberg’s tip, it isn’t even, as critics may say, just about “money” — because money isn’t just about “money.”
Money represents resources, people’s capacity to obtain food, shelter, clothing, health care, education and everything else that preserves life and makes it worth living. Note here that poverty is associated with a host of negative health and health-related risks, such as a higher incidence of manifold diseases, depression, anxiety, stress-related disorders, suicide, domestic violence, child abuse and crime.
Yet even more must be considered. Remember now that if the following seems radical, it is a worst case scenario. And if we can consider the worst case scenario on one side of the equation, we must for balance and perspective consider the worst case scenario on the other side as well.
What if locking down the nation means causing a great depression lasting a decade or more?
What if this economic disaster leads, as history teaches it can, to the rise of demagogues and loss of freedom?
What if there are consequently millions more deaths from other causes due to economic malaise and descent toward tyranny?
What if, in other words, we essentially destroy our civilization as we know it? Will it have been worth it to ensure there’d be fewer Wuhan virus deaths — even two million, shocking though that number is? Civilizational destruction, something permanent, would be a steep price to pay to combat a pandemic, something temporary.
Benjamin Franklin, is reputed to have remarked that "those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Why is liberty "essential" Because, without it, we can not do what is right in the eyes of God, unless the State itself is aligned with God's will. But we have too often seen that the State becomes captive to the power hungry, while the people are impoverished and killed to preserve that power.

Today is Palm Sunday, the day Jesus entered triumphantly Jerusalem, and the beginning of a week that includes the Jewish Passover, and that ended in Jesus's Crucifixion, Death, and Resurrection.  Tragic though His death was, it was done to save us all from slavery to sin.  The entire Bible is about this one event!  It would be even more tragic if we now were to return to slavery when we are free.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

America Needs A Statement Of Purpose Aligned With God's Will

Perhaps it was 10 years ago that I noted that a town next to ours at the time had an ordinance that said one must get a permit from the town in order to cut a tree on your property down.  This ordinance was supposedly necessary because trees reduced greenhouse gases and thereby kept the earth from burning up, or something.  I noted at the time that the town had effectively turned our trees into their trees.    Clearly the town was taking out one of the legs of the Declaration of Independence, the right to property.

But as William Sullivan notes at the American Thinker today, in the current COVID-19 situation, one has to ask oneself In What Sense Do You Think You Are Free?:
Here’s a sensible question. If the mayor of the most notable metropolis in the country can openly suggest that the government has the right to permanently shutter the doors of a church if it refuses to comply with “social distancing” guidelines, or any other edict the government finds necessary in a given moment, then what can’t the government do?
Just a few weeks ago, the threat of COVID-19 was considered by nearly everyone to be potentially far deadlier than it has yet proven to be. The fatality rates, hospitalization rates, and the predictions of American death tolls (once routinely touted as “over 2 million”) associated with infection were all much higher three weeks ago than they are today. And yet, as the dire projections about the impact of infection has become considerably smaller with new data and improved medical readiness, the social restrictions placed upon the populace have become progressively more obstructive and draconian.
Examples abound of pastors of churches being threatened, fined, even jailed, for refusing to suspend religious worship during this period where “social distancing” is a matter of life and death.
This leads to myriad questions that deserve much attention and discussion, not least of which is how state governments have any authority to obstruct the First Amendment right “to peaceably assemble” or to prohibit “the free exercise of religion.” How all of this of this is consistent with any modern understanding of an incorporated Bill of Rights, as the United States Supreme Court currently holds as the jurisprudential standard, is anyone’s guess.
To answer Sullivan's question, we are demonstrably not free at all. Oh, we can have guns all right. But this begs a question asked 20 years ago by Jeffery R. Snyder in A Nation Of Cowards: Essays On The Ethics Of Gun Control, namely what good is the Second Amendment if we don't have free use of the other of our rights?  We have the right to freely assemble, to freely exercise our religion, to speak freely and and to petition the government for our grievances.  And of course there are other rights not enumerated.

Interestingly enough, the government does not have to exercise its police power, but then it shouldn't make laws that it can not, or will not enforce.  for that just garners a lack of respect for the law. In that regard, the fact that some governments are releasing convicted criminals into society does mean that the average citizen has even more reason to carry a gun for self defense.  But the fact that the governments who are releasing these criminals into the population suggests that they many not consider these people truly dangerous, and begs the question, why were these people sent to prison in the first place?

Sullivan, again:
It’s healthy for Americans to maintain skepticism about the motives and effectiveness of our government. Right now, there is a lot which calls the government’s motives and effectiveness into question. Like what I suspect is a growing number of Americans, I am completely unconvinced that the harsh measures being foisted upon the American people, as collective units amongst the states, are entirely necessary, and even more unconvinced that a similar outcome could not have been achieved with fewer rigid restrictions upon healthy and less at-risk individuals and American life, in general. And as days pass, I’m ever more convinced that the utter annihilation of the economy that we’ve seen, and the trillions in spending of taxpayer money that we absolutely, positively do not have, could have been significantly less damaging if we had demanded fewer government restrictions throughout this crisis, rather than more.
One may wonder how this has come about. One thing to note is that people have relatively short lives of perhaps 80 to 100 years. If the Left can slow down the rate of change, given people's general lack of knowledge about history, they can effect changes slowly over time. And so we see that this is exactly what has been happening in the United States. According to Scott S. Powell, also at the American Thinker:
What has been allowed to grow in the American cultural and political petri dish over the last two generations is a mixture whose contagious influence is as harmful as it is riddled with absurdities. A partial list would include: an unequal two-tiered justice system; open borders; preferential treatment of illegal aliens over American citizens; the dominance of political correctness and its de facto censorship of free expression; fake news; rewriting history; the 1619 project; renaming Columbus Day; the abolition of traditions of every size and shape; destruction of American historical monuments; trampling the American flag and other symbols of democracy; the eradication of family values while celebrating and elevating relationships counterproductive to procreation -- an imperative for any civilization that wants to survive; election fraud and dismantlement of the electoral process; an attempted coup that would have nullified the Constitution and the peoples’ sovereignty; a baseless and wasteful impeachment; the disgraceful character assassination of nominees to the Supreme Court; the pervasive infiltration of education with academics hostile to America; the adoption safe spaces and the prohibition of trigger words on college campuses; union control and influence on public school educational curricula whose net effect dumbs down students and often paints America as the great villain.
Any one of these is no little thing. But together, the collective influence of all these factors presents us with a reality that is disheartening and threatening. How did this happen and what are patriotic Americans to do?
We find ourselves in this perilous and incendiary state in large part because we were asleep or preoccupied, while internal enemies of America were gnawing away at our institutions and public civility over the last two generations -- following the playbook of Italian communist Antonio Gramsci, the father of the “long march through the institutions.” Gramsci called for a gradual radicalization of the knowledge industry and the cultural institutions -- “the superstructure of our society” -- so as to transform the values and morals of society. Gramsci believed that as society’s morals were softened and confused, greater division would ensue, leading to political and economic transformation. The changing orientation of the Democrat Party would seem to confirm the validity of Gramsci’s theories and suggests he was right.
Please go read the whole piece, but I will say that what Powell suggests is precisely what the country needs right now: a statement of purpose that aligns our actions with God's will. The Left's prescriptions are designed to place more power in the hands of an elite few, while God's will is that we are each free to do his will in our own lives. The truth is there are few once size fits all situations. We each need freedom to make the most of God's creation for all.

Friday, April 3, 2020

More On Possible War With China

NC Scout writes in a post at the American Partisan entitled Drug Interdiction Or Something Else?
I agree with the overall assessment that this is not a move to check any drug cartel. In fact, the cocaine trade has been at a near all-time low and the current street drugs of choice, opiates and fentanyl, have come from Chinese labs in Mexico.
They’re stopping something much bigger. China is seeking to take advantage of a weakened US and its likely that their preparing their allies they’ve fostered over the past twenty years to initiate movement north...
Please read and consider the implications. Oh, and get weapons and other supplies with you can.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Is China Preparing To Attack?

First up today is a piece by Ann Coulter at entitled The Bill For Globalism Has Arrived. I used to feature Ms. Coulter frequently, but then she disappeared from my read file sources. But she is back, now at Townhall.

Coulter makes the point, and it is one that I have made as well, that the United States is in a precarious position when so much of its manufacturing base is in a hostile country.  If we had to go to war with China, what are we going to do?  Ask them to please send us the supplies we need?  Things like...oh, I don't know...uniforms for the military?  Unfortunately, President Trump is not doing enough to disentangle us from China.

I have also previously mentioned that while I was still working for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, I saw a paper, unclassified, the conclusion of which was that we would be at war with China in 20 years.  The analysis in the paper seemed particularly solid, and the paper itself seemed especially prescient.  I suspect the timing was somewhat off.  These predictions usually are.  But, one of the things that made me think he was on to something was that China would have, about now, a huge population of young men with no women to marry, as a result of China's "one child policy."  As usual, the edict by Mao had unintended consequences.

Today, at the American Thinker William L. Gensert has an article entitled China Is Preparing To Start A War With America.  Please read Gensert's piece and think about his analysis.  As he states, "What has China to lose?  And Gensert isn't the only one who sees the current situation as potentially dangerous.  Of course, I would assume that the Pentagon see the facts on the ground and has alerted the President.  In any case, think about what you would do if China does indeed attack.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Our Liberties Are Being Stolen From Us, And No One Is Upset About It

James Swafford has an interesting take on the current crisis.  Swafford's ideas run counter to current thinking, but if there is anything to them, they would have people back to work sooner.  His piece, at the American Thinker today is entitled How Can We Obtain Herd Immunity? He makes the point that rather than keeping everyone away from everyone else, which extends the time the virus can work its way through society, perhaps letting those under, say 60 and who are healthy to interact with each other.
Herd immunity is when enough members of a population (a herd, so to speak), are immune from a disease, so that a person with the disease infects fewer than one other person. Once there is herd immunity, outbreaks of the disease taper off rather than grow exponentially.
Until a vaccine is developed, the only way to obtain herd immunity from the coronavirus is for enough people to have gotten the Wuhan virus and to have recovered from it. One question that immediately arises is how many people need to get it and recover for herd immunity to take hold. The answer depends on the rate that of transmission of the disease or the R0. I have seen estimates of the transmission rate ranging from 1.4 to 3.5. At a transmission rate of 1.4, herd immunity requires a little less than 30% of the population to be immune. If the transmission rate is 2.0, then herd immunity requires 50% of the population to be immune. A transmission rate of 3.5 requires a little over 71% of the population to be immune.

Keeping in mind there is no vaccine today and there is not likely to be one for months, the only way to get herd immunity is for something like 30% to 50% or higher of the population to get the Wuhan virus and recover.

An implication of this is that while social distancing, hand washing and avoiding touching one’s face are excellent policies to avoid getting the Wuhan virus yourself, they delay herd immunity for the population as a whole. This creates a free rider situation that is the opposite of vaccination. When vaccination is available and you don’t get one, you are free riding off of the rest of the population who did get vaccinated or contributed to herd immunity by getting the disease and recovering. With no vaccination available, if you avoid getting and recovering from the disease, you are not contributing to herd immunity and free riding on those who do contribute to it by getting the Wuhan virus and recovering.
Fox News reported this morning that of those tested, approximately 1 million so far, 7,000 had the virus and had recovered.  This is twice the number of people who have died and who had the Kung Flu.  (Note that not all of those who had the Wuhan Flu and died, died of the Flu.  Many of them had other issues, of which the flu was an exacerbating illness.)

Besides the obvious point that the virus seems to be deliberately stretched out, there is the point that our Constitutional liberties are under attack in the name of fighting a disease that, all data shows to be deadly, but no more deadly than other pandemics that have swept the world. We didn;t lose our rights to assemble, to vote in some cases, to bear arms, to travel freely.  No one said we could not attend church services.  All these things are unprecedented.  What is more shocking is that everyone seems to be acceding to these tyrannical edicts, as though politicians had a right to make them.  They do not.

Shelter at home if you if you feel you must.  But if you get out and talk with anyone, I suspect you will find that people who are healthy are none the less suffering.  I don't mean to minimize this disease, but I also don't want to exaggerate it either