Thursday, February 27, 2014

Harry Potter and Government Abuse of Power

I recently rewatched the movie Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. In this movie, the governing body of the wizarding world refused to acknowledge the danger presented by the return of the evil wizard Voldemort. Both the headmaster of Hogwarts, Professor Dumbledore, and Harry Potter defended the fact that Voldemort had returned. In order to squelch the "vicious rumor," the Ministry of Magic sent Delores Umbridge to Hogwarts to take over.

Professor Umbridge (played brilliantly by Imelda Staunton) quickly assumed control of the school, promising the students on the first day that certain beliefs and actions would no longer be tolerated. She immediately turned on Harry Potter, who, having already dueled with Voldemort, was not about to change his "beliefs" merely because it corresponded to the party line. Umbridge punished Potter for speaking up about his beliefs. Little by little, she gained complete control of the school and soon ran Hogwarts as a totalitarian ruler. She published rule after rule, making them up as one student or another did something to displease her. While becoming a dictator, she lamely attempted to justify her actions in order to "protect" the children at Hogwarts. In the end, Umbridge got her comeuppance and was forced out of power.

This is not a review of the movie.

After watching the movie, I realized that a lot of the people in the United States, especially liberal ideologues, would look at Umbridge and come to an utterly wrong conclusion about her abuse of power. Many people would view Umbridge as a model of the dangers of conservatism. They would see her as nothing more than a McCarthy-esque proof of the dangers of conservative ideals.

I found a different message from Umbridge's abuse of power - that power corrupts and government cannot be trusted to do the right thing. Umbridge represents "the establishment" - the people in power who want to remain in power, even at the expense of admitting the grave dangers facing them.

See, the problem isn't that Umbridge represents modern conservatives who want to put our federal government back under the control of the people, the problem is that Umbridge represents the "conservatives" who are currently in power. In the US, those in power are called modern liberals, not conservatives. None of the power elite liberals have the best interests of the US at heart. Unfortunately, too many Americans (and quite a few illegal aliens) agree with the dogmas of modern liberalism. Thus, the voters keep placing these government power-mongers back into office, year after year.

These are the establishment politicians in the US, the people in power in Washington who neglect the country, who rewrite the Constitution in their image, after their own likeness, and who want to protect their position and doctrine no matter the cost to the rest of the country.

I'm not talking about Republicans or Democrats here. Both parties are to blame for the power that the federal government has usurped, then inflicted on the people. And like Umbridge, the power elite rule arbitrarily, no longer obligated to consider the US Constitution as a standard of the legal imperative.

Like Umbridge, the current power elite in Washington want to squelch any mention of the true dangers facing the US today: overspending, out of control bureaucracy, the national debt, class warfare, corruption in government, lobbies (particularly public union lobbies), abysmally bad education, abuses of power, and, not at all the least, moral turpitude.

Those who promote democracy, and by extension, the free market, have a good track record of also limiting the abuses of government. When the US government got out of line in the past, the principles of democracy prevailed, sometimes bloodily, but they prevailed.

We no longer talk in our schools about democracy, about freedom, about liberty, and, yes, about true equality. Instead, texts and teachers tell us what to think, not how to think. Our government, our educational system, and the minds of many Americans (including the mainstream media) have all but turned into Professor Umbridge, gleefully searching for opportunities to limit freedom in order to "protect" the rest of the citizens of the US.

Personally, I take umbrage at the thought of establishment politician ignoring the Constitution in order to promote dogmatic beliefs. Perhaps we will wake up to the dangers ahead of us before that power has been taken from us.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Dutch Were Right! Tyrants Are Dangerous

While teaching a world history class, I was reminded again of the Dutch Declaration of Independence, a document written in 1581. In today's US political climate, where any means to an end are justified as legal no matter the violence to the US Constitution, it's good to remember that the principles on which our country was founded ring true in any age.

Here's an excerpt:
As it is apparent to all that a prince is constituted by God to be ruler of a people, to defend them from oppression and violence as the shepherd his sheep; and whereas God did not create the people slaves to their prince, to obey his commands, whether right or wrong, but rather the prince for the sake of the subjects (without which he could be no prince), to govern them according to equity, to love and support them as a father his children or a shepherd his flock, and even at the hazard of life to defend and preserve them. And when he does not behave thus, but, on the contrary, oppresses them, seeking opportunities to infringe their ancient customs and privileges, exacting from them slavish compliance, then he is no longer a prince, but a tyrant, and the subjects are to consider him in no other view.
Of course the passage talks of a prince, but if we substitute the president of the US, we can agree with this 400 plus year old writing that allows the citizens to rebel when the president "oppresses them, seeking opportunities to infringe their ancient customs and privileges, exacting from them slavish compliance.

When President Obama rejects the plain mandates of the US Constitution, when he seeks to overthrow the right to bear arms, when he assassinates citizens without due process, or when he enforces ideas against the free exercise of religion, we are to consider him in no other view than as a tyrant.

The Dutch were right.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Winrich Behr Stood Up to Hitler: A Portrait of Courage

Winrich Behr was a German Panzer captain during World War II. He served on General Paulus' intelligence staff in the Sixth Army during the German assault on Stalingrad. After months of the most horrific battle and destruction imaginable, the Soviet army completely encircled the German Sixth Army. Hopeless in the situation, Captain Behr was sent to German command headquarters to try to convince Adolf Hitler to allow the German army to break free and to retreat. Hitler, of course, would not hear of it, preferring to let the men suffer and die, rather than to allow retreat. In the end, the Sixth Army surrendered to the Soviets, which presaged the eventual defeat of Germany at the hands of the Soviets.

Imagine, if you will, the task given to Captain Behr. Essentially, he was sent to ask Hitler's permission to allow the army to retreat, against Hitler's own orders. Behr had to inform Hitler that the Führer's strategy regarding the Soviet Union was not working.

Instead of merely delivering his message to Hitler, Behr chose to stand up for the officers and men of the Sixth Army, arguing against the war plan of one of the deadliest and most ruthless dictators of all time. Captain Behr did not shrink from the task, pleading the hopeless cause of the Sixth Army directly to Hitler who, uncharacteristically, allowed the Captain to speak his mind. However, once finished, Hitler proceeded with his original plans, as if Behr had not spoken at all.

Imagine the courage it took for Behr to confront his Führer. Behr could have delivered General Paulus' message, described the poor conditions of the Sixth Army, and left it at that - safe in the knowledge that he had discharged his duty.

But duty spoke differently to Behr. Risking his own life, he stood up to Hitler and told Hitler exactly what he thought should be done with regard to the trapped German Sixth Army. Imagine the courage and will Behr had, giving up everything for the safety of the men of the Sixth Army.


Standing up for what is right is not easy, nor is it necessarily a safe proposition. As the US government becomes more and more statist, as the federal government fills our lives with bureaucratic oversight, and as the federal government, including the Supreme Court, takes away the power of the people to promote the power of the government, we will find it more difficult to stand up against power.

Yet we must stand for what is right. As Captain Behr demonstrated, we must not be afraid to place truth in front of powerful lies. We must not let our liberty - the freedom to act without government interference - be taken by those who would replace liberty with "hope," or "change," or "fairness." This country was founded, quite successfully, on the principle of individual liberty, not on the principle of mob rule. We must stand up for all of the rights granted in the Bill of Rights: free exercise of religion, as well as free speech; the right to bear arms; free assembly; freedom from the government taking property or life without due process; the right of the individual states to act in their own best interests.

What made our country great was the men and women who dedicated themselves to preserving the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights. Our country is at risk from those who would wield ideology above individuals. We are at risk from those who would try to silence the voices of those who love freedom, liberty, or God. And we are at risk from our very own government, which was created in order to secure the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Giving in to the demands of statist presidents and politicians is easy. Standing up for what's right is difficult, but in the end, the difficult path is the better path.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

8 Lies of Modern Liberal Society

There are many lies that modern society revers as Absolute Truth. Sorting through the myriad paths, I've narrowed the list down into eight specific themes that recur again and again. These tend to be the dogmas of the radical left. They also tend to be taught in schools and universities without any critical analysis, opposing views, or even allowing students the chance of raising questions about their veracity. They are considered Truth, followed with unquestioning faith. True believers are dogmatic, ranking down there with the most annoying of religious zealots.

And they are not new. Despite the progressive urge, all of these ideals date back through history. All have been philosophically refuted as insufficient at best, fallacious at worst.

1) We should not cling to the foolish traditions of our fathers.
Tradition in the modern day is generally thought of as passé, and not relevant to the here and now. The problem with rejecting past wisdom falls into the trap that George Santayana so eloquently described. Here's his famous quote in a more complete context: "Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Many condemn the US Constitution as too outdated. They condemn the US as an imperial tyrant, founded by old, dead men. They condemn traditional marriage as little more than chattel slavery. They condemn the free market as merely a means of sticking it to the poor.

The price of rejecting the wisdom of the past is perpetual infancy, with no room for improvement. (In case you don't catch my meaning here, let me reiterate. Yes, those who reject the wisdom of the past are a bunch of whiny, selfish, children.)

2) We cannot know anything we cannot see or prove with our senses.
Empiricism is the philosophical idea that there is no reality beyond what we prove with our senses. This philosophy would have us believe that the existence of all thought and immaterial existence is based solely on the ideal of extending the scientific principle to the absurd. Many use this argument to "prove" that God cannot exist. But it is logically erroneous to assert that claims of positive truth bear a burden of proof, while claims of negative truth do not.

Rationalism, in contrast to empiricism, does indeed allow for the idea that there is reality outside of human experience. It is mere hubris to claim otherwise.

3) Belief in a supreme being is a derangement of a frenzied mind.
I pointed out years ago that modern society tends to treat religion as a mental disease. Yet, for the simple fact of its persistence throughout the whole of human history, this line of thought neglects to understand just why people are religious. This idea tends to treat the belief in anything that is unknown, or more especially, belief in anything that doesn't fit modern leftist thought, as a mental illness. This leads to a double standard, where some modern beliefs can be redefined as normal because it is politically correct to do so, while other, more historical beliefs are written off as a derangement.

4) We do not need outside morals to manage ourselves.
The idea that morals are inner-based can only lead in two directions (and really to only one conclusion). Inner-based morality could, perhaps, lead to anarchy, where there is no law except what individuals consider to be best. (This is the Utopian conclusion of both libertarian anarchy, as well as Marxist communism.) Yet, anarchy has always led to those in power exploiting the weak. In many cases, authoritarian and totalitarian states have risen from the ashes of the discontented, fueled by those who were eager to restore order at any price.

The other path leads directly to the authoritarian or totalitarian state, where the state takes the place of any other outside influences to dictate what morality is. This is the basis of fascism.

A corollary to this idea is the concept that the law has no absolute interpretation; the law is malleable according to modern custom. This is the ideal of the living Constitution, activist judges, and situational ethics. With no standard, there is no guarantee of liberty and no equal protection under the law.

5) Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.
While this concept is biblical, the idea stems from the Greek Epicureans. They thought that all that is valuable in life is the pursuit of pleasure. Just as moral relativism can lead to the destruction of the rule of law, so also Epicurean thought leads to a truly selfish population. To the modern Epicurean, there are no grand ideals, because there is nothing worth dying for. There is no great evil, because nothing is good but the pursuit of pleasure.

This philosophy is hedonism, which exchanges happiness for pleasure. Hedonism creates a paradox, trying to grasp at the complex idea of pleasure, while unable to truly define it. Without some previous reference or moral anchor, the pursuit of pleasure for its own sake leads to decadence.

6) Religion was created solely to usurp power and authority over people's minds.
Marx called religion the opiate of the masses. The fallacy in this line of thinking ignores two potent facts: all human societies have had religion in one form or another, suggesting that religion may not be imposed but social; modern non-religious ideologies have caused more human harm and suffering than religion. (Compare the death tolls of abortion, fascism, and communism.)

This is not to say that religions have been blameless. Certainly any system of political control can lead to abuses of power. That's why the founders of the US created the establishment clause of the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution - to prevent political abuse of religious authority. That is also the reason for the free exercise clause - again to prevent unscrupulous government officials from dictating belief. Perhaps the best lesson we can learn from political abuse of religion is to realize just how dangerous government power is. The founders also understood this concept, attempting to create a government where power was spread out through the entire population of its citizens in the hopes that the US would not soon become just another authoritarian state.

7) Historical ideas, such as the US Constitution, are outdated and don't respond to the needs of the current generation.
The corollary to this argues that people who adhere to the original ideals of the Constitution can't know that system is any better than what we can produce now. And, in fact as they argue, the Constitution created a system of slavery and empire.

This fallacy is revealed when we consider that our modern freedoms that many wish to throw out as outdated, were only made possible because of the ideals of the founders. The Constitution is not a dead document. If it were, the entire basis of civil and natural rights would not have been born in the US.

8) True freedom only lies in doing what we want to do.
Those who adhere to this argument would argue that we are only free if we are allowed to do whatever we want to do, whenever we want to do it, as long as we don't hurt anyone. We only have to look at the failed hippie movement of the 1960s to realize that sex, drugs, and rock and roll only lead to disease and infidelity, millions of abortions, epidemic drug abuse, and a lot of deaf adults.

There is no future in building up the decadent society.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What LIberals Really Think of Conservatives

 A short while ago, while commenting on a news story about same-sex marriage, one of my adoring fans wrote the following. I felt honored to have set this liberal off into explaining exactly what liberalism is all about:
And for the record, you're right, I DO hate you. I hate everyone like you. Why? Because people like you cause all of the problems in the world. People like you caused slavery. People like you kept women from voting and being able to own property. People like you beat and kill homosexuals. People like you bomb abortion clinics. People like you created Jim Crow laws. People like you cause children who are gay to kill themselves. People like you literally create Muslim terrorists because you support imperialistic American military policies. I could go on and on and about how people who hold your general set of beliefs have ruined the world, but I'd be here all day. Simply put, people like you are the scum of the Earth. You are uneducated and unwilling to get educated. You'd rather hate people different from you than accept and maybe even learn from them. Rather than live in peace, you start fights and wars. Rather than accept people different than you, you try to ruin their lives. You are a despicable human being, and everyone like you is a despicable human being, and when people like you die off eventually, the world will be such an amazingly beautiful place.
This is a brilliant example of how modern liberals think - or don't think, in this case. Let's ignore the blatant ad hominem attacks and the false causes for the moment, to focus on the real fallacy - that is the idea that modern liberalism is somehow superior to the very Western ideals that created it, the ideals that allow its Utopian view of the world to exist. Utopian liberalism denies the very roots of its creation in Western Civilization, in Western Christianity, in the Declaration of Independence, and in the Constitution in order to promote the pipe-dream world that will be "an amazingly beautiful place."

In place of a nation of equal opportunity, where Judeo-Christian morality offered the best hope of controlling the evils of conspiring men, modern liberalism wishes the world were somehow better when we are all accepting of...well...modern liberalism. In such a world, Utopian liberalism will be best achieved by preaching that immoral actions are really moral, that atheism and Marxism have never produced the most destructive empires of all time, that humans will always act in the best interests of others, and that, in fact, the only evil consists of a small group of old, white men who conspire together to create all the evil in the world.

And all that's necessary for such a Utopia is for evil conservatives like me to die off, since, apparently, we are the cause of all evil.

That, my friends, is the heart of modern liberalism and the destructive thinking that forms the basis of its doctrines.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

All the President's Minions

Back in the 1970s, two journalists for The Washington Post, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, broke the story that became known as Watergate, named after the Washington, D.C. complex where five burglars broke into the Democratic National Committee office. The break-in was eventually traced to President Nixon, who resigned his office over the scandal.

In 1974, the two journalists wrote a book about their investigation of Watergate, which was later turned into an Academy Award winning movie, All the President's Men. The book points out the lengths to which Nixon went in order to cover up the break in at the Watergate. A lot of people were involved in the cover up, which was finally traced to Nixon. The scandal brought down his power and basically forced him to resign before he was impeached.

It used to be that presidents involved in corruption were held accountable. Johnson refused to run for office again over the fiasco of Vietnam and his corruption with unions. It took a president like Clinton to actually get impeached over his promiscuity and corruption, refusing to yield to the better interests of the nation merely because he was popular.

This background only serves to explain today's title, "All the President's Minions."

I sat pondering the reasons why, after so many lies and scandals, President Obama remains in office. There is, of course, the hubris that comes with being President of the United States. All modern presidents seem to be afflicted with the hubris of the office. Modern presidents also seem to be able to absorb a certain amount of scandal, since most Americans believe that a president has room for a certain margin of error.

Yet the current administration is so steeped in controversy, divisiveness, "mis-statements," outright lies, corruption, and power mongering, that it is difficult to understand exactly why President Obama remains even at a 40% approval rating. In a word, how is it that President Obama can get away with his buffet-table support or non-support of particular laws in the U.S.?

The answer to the question lies in the president's minions.
And by minions, I mean all of the establishment cabinet posts and federal employees who are the ones who carry out policy. Unfortunately, they are neither as cute nor as benign as the minions from the movie Despicable Me.

The fact that President Obama can get away with so much corruption in office is an effect of the Dictatorship of the Bureaucracy that I wrote about a few weeks ago. When President Obama signed an executive order, without authority, to delay the implementation of the employer mandate of his signature Obamacare, he had power (not the authority) to do so because the minions of Washington, D.C. unquestioningly upheld his actions:

The White House Press Secretary Jay Carney kicked into high gear, explaining to the minion news agencies why it is legal for President Obama to ignore the law.

The Attorney General Eric Holder kicked into high gear, instructing his own minions to block and to obstruct any attempts to sue the federal government for breach of executive duty.

The Democrat National Committee Chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz kicked into high gear to change the party platform in order to explain that this is what Democrats had in mind all along and that Republicans are really to blame for the lack of progress on Obamacare.

House Democrat Leader Nancy Pelosi kicked into high gear to blame Republicans for the whole mess, claiming they are being obstructionist and are trying to undermine the whole democratic process.

Vice President Joe Biden kicked into high gear to spread spaghetti sauce on his head and to tell Americans that President Obama has a really big stick.

The point is that President Obama gets away with blatant corruption and breach of duty as the chief executive officer of the United States because when he usurps power, the bureaucracy kicks in to support whatever "executive actions" he wants to make. Remember that most of the bureaucracy who follows the policies of the president are not elected officials. The minions remain even if the leader changes.

We must ask ourselves as Americans, who descend from brave men who created and fought for our democratic republic, do we want to just lie down and hand over this power of the people, by the people, and for the people to a bunch of bureaucratic minions?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Blaming Others and the Contributions of the Wealthy

Modern liberalism has always held the belief in the zero sum theory - that if one person makes more money than another, he is somehow stealing that money from others and creating a division of wealth. This is at the root of Marx's ideas, which should have proved bankrupt and defunct years ago with the fall of the Soviet Union. They remain because of the religious reverence they are given and their seductive nature. When misfortune happens, human nature tells us to blame others.

President Obama has certainly contributed to preaching the gospel of zero sum socialism. Here is a man who should be praising the "rags to riches" American story, yet instead convinces weak-minded Americans that he is still a victim. He's the President of the United States, for crying out loud, and he blames all his troubles and problems and faults on others.

He truly is the poster child of the childish, selfish, me generation of spoiled brats that pass for modern liberals.

But I digress.

Which brings me back to modern liberalism's zero sum game. The reality of the free market is that wealth is produced by those who have something to contribute to society. Unlike politicians, who think wealth is generated by taxes, then handing those taxes out to others (after paying 50% to the bureaucracy), wealth is generated by making peoples' lives better.

Wealth generation is not a zero sum game. Wealth is shared and created when society is free to act in its own self interests. Class structure truly disappears when anyone (even Obama) can rise up from poor beginnings to become wealthy people (even Obama).

A few examples will suffice.

John D. Rockefeller, considered as the richest man who ever lived, got rich by selling kerosene. He manufactured it more cheaply and in mass quantity, allowing ordinary people the luxury of affording cheap, and relatively clean, fuel to heat their homes. (Compared with burning wood or coal, kerosene is much cleaner.) Yes, Rockefeller became rich, but he did so by lifting up millions of people who willingly traded their money for a better, cheaper source of heat.

Edison and Westinghouse both got rich by trading the even cleaner, cheaper, and safer power source of electricy for peoples' money. The people were happy and better off, and, well, some people made money off of that. So did a lot of others who could use the cheaper electricity to run their factories.

Henry Ford gave Americans a cheap and reliable automobile. Oh, and he got rich doing it. So did many others who were able to sell cars, provide petrol, run motels, and build roadside diners.

Bill Gates gained considerable wealth by running with an idea about how computers could change lives. He was right. We all bought computers. He got rich. Many of us use computers every day to run businesses, to advertise, to create designs, to analyze the stock market, and to create wealth for ourselves.

The liberal mantra against "the rich" fails to account for how wealth is actually generated, and how wealth spawns more wealth.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Homer's Odysseus on the Importance of the Family

The natural family was at the core of Greek life. Are we surprised?

Just a quick note, some food for thought if you will.

I was reading Victor Davis Hanson and John Heath's book Who Killed Homer? and found this gem. Odysseus, the hero of the Odyssey encounters a young woman, Nausicaa, on the beach. In speaking with her, he gives a speech about the values of married life:

Nothing is better, he suggests, than when a husband and wife share a house and their hearts, "a great pain to their enemies [the ill-minded ones] and a joy to their friends [the well-minded ones], and they themselves are highly esteemed (p. 191).

Homer. Some Greek guy who wrote stuff something like 2800 years ago.

I like the turn of phrase that a husband and wife are a great pain to their enemies [the ill-minded ones]. Natural marriage is the foundation of society, a bulwark against the storms and divisions against the storms with which the ill-minded can conceive to assail them. Homer's ideal was the heart and strength of the Greek polis. It is a sad commentary on our own culture to see how much we've rejected the wisdom of our Western heritage.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Decay of Culture

When we think of the word culture, we often associate it with the arts, with fine food, or with high society. To an anthropologist, culture means much more. To an anthropologist, culture is the ideals and beliefs that are passed from one generation to the next.

Which brings me to an illustration. My brother didn't allow his children to watch television when they were growing up. He had no television in his house. A lot of people (including me) thought that he was kind of strange to not allow his children to sample the culture around them.

As television and other media grew more and more crass and debasing, I learned to agree with my brother. My family also stopped watching television. (Note, we do have a television and use it to watch good movies and a few, select programs.)

I asked my brother one time about his strict views on television. Instead of answering me directly, he told me a story, which is my main point here.

One day, one of my brother's neighbors tattled on his youngest son, who was at a different neighbor's house watching television. My brother shrugged his shoulders and said, "so?"

Startled, the neighbor asked, "Aren't you worried that your son is watching television? I thought you didn't want your kids to watch TV."

My brother replied, "We don't have television at my house. That is the culture that I'm teaching my children. Whenever my son is confronted with certain ideas that I don't agree with, like watching television, he will know the difference between the culture in our home and the culture in the world."

And there is the problem facing Americans today. It's not that we lack a strong and moral culture to pass along to the next generation, it's that we fail to allow our children the opportunity to choose between the past culture and the present. This comes from the devastation of the breakdown of the family in the world. With rampant divorce, single parent homes, same sex couples, and "blended" families, Americans lack the very means to pass along the brilliant culture of America's past. Instead we allow television, video games, advertisements, and yes, morally bankrupt liberalism to raise our children. (Remember "it takes a village?")

This is really the great harm of redefining marriage and families to mean nearly any combination of people. Western society became great because its culture was passed along from one generation to the next through the strength of the traditional family. Broken homes and families were the exception, teaching children the value to relink with family and spouse to continue to preserve the foundations of society.

By the way, both my brother's and my children are better off and much happier, having spent their school years doing wonderful things, rather than vegetating in front of a television or a computer screen allowing popular culture to dictate their beliefs and ideals of the world. And yes, they can choose which culture brings them more happiness.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

And So Fell Rome: The Disintegration of the American Family

The Roman Empire fell for many reasons. One cause was the immorality and despotism of such emperors as Caligula. Another cause, even more damaging, was the decay of the Roman family.

Nearly 70 years ago, a French professor, Jerome Carcopino, wrote a seminal book entitled Daily Life in Ancient Rome. In it, he described Rome in decay and enumerated the reasons for Rome's fall. His remarks about the collapse of the family in Rome contributing to its fall tell us a lot about the problem we face in the modern day with our own social decay, as the fundamental institution of marriage and family continue to come under attack. Carcopino wrote:
Whether because of voluntary birth control, or because of impoverishment of the stock, many Roman marriages at the end of the first and the beginning of the second century were childless....

The feminism which triumphed in imperial times brought more in its train than advantage and superiority. By copying men too closely the Roman woman succeeded more rapidly in emulating man's vices than in acquiring his strength.
Does this sound familiar?

In a more recent book, Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind notes that the decay of the family must be addressed:
The decomposition of this bond [i.e., marriage] is surely America's most urgent social problem. But nobody even tries to do anything about it. The tide seems irresistible. Among the many items on the agenda of those promoting America's moral regeneration, I never find marriage and divorce.
Bloom spoke of the scourge of divorce. Since he wrote those words, the institution of marriage has all but given up the ghost. Countless attacks from every angle threaten the remaining vestiges of this foundational structure. Consider the following attacks on marriage:
Rampant divorce (especially "no fault" divorce where couples can stop being married just because they don't want to be); the de facto acceptance of abortion as a legitimate means of birth control; the woman's right to choose (to kill an unwanted child); the decriminalization and acceptance of gay sex; rampant pornography; increased child neglect and abuse; increased spouse abuse; the increase and general acceptance of single parent families; the increased welfare state "encouraging" single mothers stay single and living in poverty; the lack of responsibility of fathers to financially support the family; unfair divorce settlement practices; child custody battles where parents use their children as weapons against each other; the rise in teen pregnancies; a general rise and acceptance of sexual promiscuity outside of marriage; the acceptance of living together as an alternative to marriage; the general disdain of marriage as expressed in popular culture; same sex marriage; and the list goes on.
When will Americans wake up to the decay which threatens our society and will bring about the collapse of America as we know it?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Beyond Good and Evil

Friedrich Nietzsche was a 19th Century existentialist philosopher. He also happened to be a nihilist, who rejected religion and moral principles as meaningless. His philosophy still influences today's academia, creating generation after generation of people who are taught at universities that there are no moral absolutes.

Yet, my experiences indicate otherwise. There are indeed absolutes in the world.

In our modern society, there is no impulse to be good or even to be better than we are, because immoral expediency denies the historicity of both absolute good and absolute evil. Instead of choosing between good and evil, we have placed indiscriminate values above all. These values are actively upheld and preached as the gospel of modern liberalism. The modern liberal cannot concede a moral or religious good because that would imply an equally certain evil. The only thing that modern liberalism considers wrong is to call its dogmas wrong.

What used to be moral principles in the US are thus under attack from the dogmas of liberalism. Hence, according to liberals, teen pregnancy isn't wrong but to call it wrong is wrong. Smoking marijuana isn't wrong, but to call it wrong is wrong. Twerking at the Grammys isn't wrong but to call it wrong is wrong. Homosexuality isn't wrong but to call it wrong is wrong. Same sex marriage isn't wrong but to call it wrong is wrong.

This lack of an anchor into our moral past creates a delusional understanding of the founding concepts of the United States. The ideal of liberty, for example, had at its roots a desire to good - to produce the most good for the greatest number of people. However, since in modern minds there is no such thing as "the Good," liberty becomes the modern ideal of "freedom to choose." There is no heed or care in the choice itself, the freedom to choose becomes its own moral imperative. Hence, a woman is free to choose death for her unborn children. Our children are also free to choose contraceptive drugs without prescription. Men are free to choose to carve and scar their bodies with piercings, gauges, and tattoos. We best not sneer or scoff at any of them, because their choices are what real freedom is all about.

This leaves people converted to the gospel of liberalism at the mercy of propagandists and ideologues. With no sense of past anchors, modern liberals cannot judge anything but by the standards set for them by conspiring men. Liberals have forgotten the past, and find themselves at the mercy of technocrats, propagandists, and snake-oil salesmen. Liberals are no longer aware that they have any past to forget. The lessons of the past are certainly not taught in our modern schools, only liberal dogmas.

To remember and to honor the hard-won achievements of our civilization is to have a fair chance of freedom; to forget them or despise them is to have no chance at all.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Natalie Grant and Grammy Musings

It's true. I've never listened to Natalie Grant sing. As a matter of fact, I've rarely heard any gospel singers, as my music tastes tend toward the blues. And I've never watched the Grammys. They barely register on my radar.

But this year, the Grammys did register because of the media backlash over Natalie Grant walking out on what sounds like typical immoral behavior by entertainment elites. I also heard something about Beyonce twerking and a mass wedding ceremony including gay couples, both of which only prove that American entertainment has hit new lows in depravity.

I took to the news feeds to add my comments to the "controversy" over Grant. There were no surprises among the leftists and Born Again Atheists who soundly condemned Grant for her "hypocrisy." Apparently, she should have known that the Grammys were all about sex and not about music, so she had no"moral" basis to condemn the performers.

You have to shake your head at the double standard of the Born Again Atheists who get offended because Natalie Grant didn't want to watch a bunch of immoral idiots perform simulated sex acts on stage. And why is it that we should expect immorality at the Grammys as a "given" fact of Hollywood performers? Are they all such ill-mannered, immoral, sex-starved, intemperate oafs that they cannot perform without waving their genitals at the camera?

That, my friends, is not entertainment. That is merely proof of how debased and warped our society has become. I commend those who have the will and strength to stand up to evil, whatever its form.