Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Good Times

[Note the lack of photo.]

It's always an interesting thing to connect with random strangers over the internet. It's even more interesting when, after years of blogging, to catch up with and meet one of those random strangers.

Yesterday, I caught up with LL of Virtual Mirage fame. Or, I should say he caught up with me as he passed through my beloved state of Arizona.

For many years now, he's been at the top of my list of people I'd love to sit down with and have a beer with. Well, except that I don't think either of us like beer at all. Would that be a root beer? Actually, we had a couple of Cokes.

And we also had terrific sandwiches at St. Francis Restaurant in Phoenix.

There are few people in the world that you just know that you will like without ever having met them. For me, LL is one of them. Over the years of reading and responding to each others' blogs, it was obvious that we share some common beliefs about our country, our government, and some of the problems that we face. We also share common morals. We're alike in all the ways that really count in life.

It was an all too rare privilege to spend the afternoon talking about life, kvetching about the government, having a good laugh at Hillary's expense, and, in general, solving all the problems in the world.

I encourage you to check out Virtual Mirage. LL always has something interesting to say over there.

And thanks for the lunch.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Hayek on the Concept of Social Justice

There I go, reading F.A. Hayek again. He's that subversive white, male, heterosexual, conservative, bigot who is best known for his work debunking Keynesian Economics. Keynes' ideas form part of the foundation of modern "soft" or "democratic" socialism. John Maynard Keynes was a mathematician, turned economist who founded the theory of government tax and spend economics in order to even out the economic highs and lows.

For example, it was a Keynesian idea, back at the beginning of the Obama administration, to try to spend our way out of the recession. The result, of course, is a 19.2 trillion dollar debt, a continuing stagnant economy, and layers upon layers of spending that far outstretches the government's tax revenues.

One of the damaging ideals of this type of spending is the underlying concept that government can somehow create "social justice" for all Americans.

Such a concept of social justice far extends beyond mere equality under the law, it demands that the scales of justice be tipped in favor of those who are less fortunate.

The problem with social justice dogma stems from the basic problems of government interference in human affairs. The bureaucracy of government simply cannot respond fairly to all people. In order for social justice ideology to function, it must always view humans in terms of oppressors and oppressed. The problem, of course, is defining which is which, then defining how to "equalize" the injustice.

This is the sort of thing for which a government bureaucracy is particularly inept at accomplishing.

Back to Hayek, who had a few things to say about the dangers of basing government ideology on the concept of social justice.

According to Hayek, "the phrase 'social justice' is not, as most people probably feel, an innocent expression of good will towards the less fortunate," but has become "a dishonest insinuation that one ought to agree to a demand of some special interest which can give no real reason for it." This is dangerous in Hayek’s view, because "the concept of 'social justice'... has been the Trojan Horse through which totalitarianism has entered."

In the US, I think, we don't worry enough about the possibilities that our government could easily, and in a very short time, become a totalitarian state.

This is a real problem because, as Hayek pointed out, the ideology of social justice undermines the concept of the rule of law. When government power expands to demand social justice, it redistributes wealth, power, and justice in an arbitrary way. It alone determines who is just and who is unjust. In doing so, these arbitrary judgments become "irreconcilable with the rule of law."

The ideal of of a government of laws and not of men is all that stands between a free society and totalitarianism. Our current government, with the ideology of social justice, undermines the rule of law and threatens our free society.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

A Blessed Easter to You

With the world in turmoil and the United States in particular in desperate need of a makeover, we often lose sight of those things that are most important in life: our God, our family, and our friends.

As life goes, I've had the worst year ever in terms of experiencing the pains of disappointment, the pains of loss, and the pains of...well...pain. Darn it, old age isn't supposed to hurt this much.

There are indeed constants in life, those good things that anchor us and stabilize us. I've been richly blessed with a great wife and family, with a congregation of friends who enrich and support, and with a God who, despite some of my best efforts, has never abandoned me.

And so, this Easter, I wish you and yours the same good fortune and blessings.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Oh the Humanity! School Terrorized By Chalk Graffiti

From Emory University: An unidentified person wrote "Trump 2016" in chalk on various surfaces across campus. (Source)

The result?

Whiny and educationally-bankrupt students complained that their "safe space" had been violated. The university president, who apparently has no genitalia, responded by admitting the students have a "genuine concern and pain."

The president of the university also outlined a four-step plan to deal with the problem of unrestrained chalk artists. The plan consists of academic jargon and language obfuscation, unintelligible to any who are uninitiated in the Mysteries of Academia. It uses such phrases as "procedural deficiencies," and "structured opportunities," and "social justice opportunities."

Seventeen faculty and twenty-three students were treated for minor injuries after they were overcome with religious ecstasy while reading the president's statement.

The manhunt is on to catch the perp or perps in this heinous act of blatant disregard for the feelings of the nancy students at Emory University. Perhaps they'll need to call in the FBI, as chalk graffiti may fall under the category of terrorism.

Thank the Grand Academic that student organizations are offering counseling to anyone who may have been impacted by what they had seen. We wouldn't want any student to suffer from PTSD after being confronted by politics, or chalk, or the actual name of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

The day after, the chalk graffiti was swapped with touchy-feely messages of anti-hate, unicorns, and all things Bernie Sanders.

Perhaps the students really do need that counseling after all.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Trump and Socialist Protesters

Over the weekend, Donald Trump visited my home state before our primary election. As many of you have seen, George Soros sponsored zombies protesters took it on themselves to block traffic into the city where Trump held his political rally.

As a sample of the mentality of people who would block a city street to keep others from lawful assembly and lawful speech, have a look:

I don't really care much for protesters of this ilk. They're welcome to protest anything that blows past them on the wind (and most of them do). However, the intent of this particular brand of protester is to stifle free speech, to shut down opposition to their peculiar ideology, and in general, to be whiny about stuff about which they are clueless.

We have become a country overrun with clueless protesters who respond to every whim of ideologues such as Soros,, or Bernie Sanders. When a cause must abuse money and power as Soros does, and when those responsible for its progress must lie to keep people from the truth, the cause is unjust and the people must be warned.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Just How Closed Is Our Open Society?

Among modern progressives, the ideal of openness is at the top of the list of virtues. Yet, as we view the openness of the left, we see a troubling trend of irrational thought and action that denies reality and reason.

Openness used to be the academic cornerstone that taught us to seek the good by using reason. This used to be the foundation of discovery, the foundation of academic endeavor, and the foundation of our democracy.

Now, openness means accepting everything by denying reason. Progressives, by saying that we should be open to anything, have stopped pursuing the good, have replaced reason with feeling, and are now tossed about on the sea of nihilism without a rudder.

Hence, politicians like Hillary Clinton can do the most heinous things, lie the most outrageous lies, and still attract those who support and adore her. Why? Because progressives express so much openness, they can no longer reason.

We as a people have been infected with the disease of openness without reason. The disease has spread throughout the entire American body, so that we now reject reason, truth, and the good.

Conservatives are no longer immune to the siren call of openness. We have replaced reason with feeling. We no longer pursue the good, but seek only satisfaction.

Such openness has created the most closed-minded individuals our country has ever seen. We no longer hold the virtue to seek the good by using reason. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Sunday Sermon

The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips…

But their hearts are far from me.

Their worship of me is based on merely
human rules they have been taught…

Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the Lord,
who do their work in darkness and think,
“Who sees us? Who will know?”

The ruthless will vanish, the mockers will disappear,
and all who have an eye for evil will be cut down…

Those who with a word make someone out to be guilty, who ensnare the
defender in court and with false testimony deprive the innocent of justice.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Obama's Bad Mideast Policy and Increased Christian Persecution

Obama Wasn't The One

President Obama's conciliatory foreign policy has led to brewing disasters in most countries in the Mideast. Inspired by weak rhetorical arrows flung by President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry, Islamists now threaten to destabilize the Mideast, Saharan Africa, and Indonesia.

In 2008, terrorists killed 10,798 people. By 2015, the number has risen to 27,588, an increase of 155% (source).

With the growth of Islamist groups, Christians have been targeted more and more, making 2015 the worst year for Christian persecution. An estimated 7,000 Christians were killed in 2015, some fifty percent higher than the previous year. Up to a million Christians have been imprisoned or displaced (source).

Americans, especially those led by progressive dogmas, are naive and blinded to think that a weak American policy in the Mideast isn't responsible for terrorism and the instability of the entire area. Obama's policies have only strengthened ISIS (which was a small offshoot group in 2008), Boko Haram, Quds Force, Haqqani, or Hezbollah.

The trend can be stopped, but only if the leaders of the US treat radical Islam as the disease it is instead of kowtowing to the world leaders of terrorism.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

History Is Dead: The Reinterpretation of a Simple Poem

I've taught US History for many years. I've seen history texts go from basic narratives, to the postmodern social history of Howard Zinn, to a mishmash of ideas roughly related to history but mostly which pronounce a diatribe against Western civilization.

I have seen students who, because of Common Core and other failed educational theories, can no longer read and understand basic texts.

I've come to expect socialist drivel to crop up in student essays, since teachers no longer seem to be able to teach the basic truths of the foundations of the US.

Yet, once in awhile I get essays from students that completely stymie the imagination.

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:

For the chapter on the American Civil War, I require an additional reading of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic." I also ask for a short essay, asking the question: "The Battle Hymn of the Republic became a standard for the armies of the Union. How did it justify the actions of the North in preserving the Union and fighting against slavery?"

He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;

Along with the usual, painful essay interpretations of this rather straightforward question, one of my students wrote an essay that in nowise answered the question, basically saying that Julia Ward Howe didn't believe in Jesus, that she was angry at the Union army for being hard on the South, and that the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" wasn't a religious song at all.

He hath loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword:

Apparently, the student had learned from some book that was so anti-religion, that the author couldn't concede the obvious about Howe's poem - it is a hymn, based on Old and New Testament texts, that encourages Northern soldiers to fight to make men free.

His truth is marching on.

Unfortunately, this is the state of education today. Students either cannot read, or cannot understand basic historical texts, even when the meaning is spelled out in plain English.

I grieve for the students of this generation. They have been neutered of any ideas that might allow them to understand the past, and to think for themselves.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me:
As he died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Chess Champion Garry Kasparov on American Socialism

Garry Kasparov became the world chess champion at age 22. He then held the title from 1985 until 1993, when he split ways with FIDE, the international chess federation. I consider him to be the greatest chess player of all time.

Recently, he posted his views about socialism on Facebook. Everyone who has even thought about voting for Bernie Sanders (or Hillary for that matter) should read what this brilliant man has to say:
I'm enjoying the irony of American Sanders supporters lecturing me, a former Soviet citizen, on the glories of Socialism and what it really means! Socialism sounds great in speech soundbites and on Facebook, but please keep it there. In practice, it corrodes not only the economy but the human spirit itself, and the ambition and achievement that made modern capitalism possible and brought billions of people out of poverty. Talking about Socialism is a huge luxury, a luxury that was paid for by the successes of capitalism. Income inequality is a huge problem, absolutely. But the idea that the solution is more government, more regulation, more debt, and less risk is dangerously absurd.