Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Can Religion EVER Bring Justice?

Religion because of its absolute claims on "truth" cannot bring about justice, as religion must discriminate. Religion, by definition, is organized by creeds, religious government, convictions and "prejuidiced" by whatever is considered to be "the truth", or the forming or framing of "truth"! The religious are not taught to be "critical" but, "believing", "trusting", submissive. Those that are leading such religious organizations are prone to err toward their prejuidiced viewpoint. Their values will rule their organization, and this is their right in a free society. America allows for such religious intolerance. So, religion can never be just, in a universal sense. Religion is prejudiced and those that are under its influence will also be prejuidiced.

But, is American government a universal? Yes, because it values individual conscience, in regards to religious conviction and it gives all the right to trial by jury and believes in the innocence of the accused until proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The symbol for justice is a blind-folded woman holding scales, symbolizing the equality before the law, without regard to race, creed or gender. All have the right to petition the government for re-dress from grievances. I value these "rights", as all Americans should.

The religious think that theirs is a "higher law" and a "higher call" than basic "secular justice". This gives them the "right" to do what they want according to their particular conscience. All are not created equal in their view. Justice is only for those who serve their particular values, views, belief s, opinions, political goals, etc. Religion is discriminatory. But, if I am honest, we all are discriminatory, as without discrimination we will hold no beliefs or values at all. So, let the culture wars continue. They are only healthy symbol that our society is still free!!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Jazz Correlates to American "Faith"

Jazz in its free expression, is also how Americans  and the Founders have viewed  "faith". We believe in liberty of conscience, and value diverse interests. We won't be defined by a "one size fits all" faith. Faith remains undefined according to the First Amendment. Government is not to define "faith", or interfere with "faith". Liberty of conscience defines "faith". And that is, "free association" of value, in individual choice.

America is basically a Protestant nation, so we aren't defined by Roman Catholicism, nor are we to be defined by fundmentalism, because Americans basically are independent from authoritarian understandings in regards to faith. But, the fundamentalists, or those that think "faith" has lost its value, have begun to try to re-define our liberty of conscience along their lines of  their particular understanding. This is nothing less than limiting another in their understanding and value, in regards to "faith" and its claims.Therefore, we have the "culture war" we have today, in regards to "faith" and American government. We must not define another's faith, unless we want to promote a militaristic "faith" that terrorizes others that might have different convictions.

Jazz, an/as/and the American Ideal

 Jazz is original American music "type" that origninated in African American communities. The origin of the word jazz is one of the most sought-after word origins in modern American English.[citation needed;WiKi, Febuary 2010] The word's intrinsic interest—the American Dialect Society named it the Word of the Twentieth Century—has resulted in considerable research, and its history is well-documented (WiKi,). I believe that Jazz is loved because it represents in musical form, American ideals.

Americans love the ideals of individual liberty, and, love their country because of it! Jazz has a unity in diversity musical form. Various instruments are allowed  expression, sometimes in solo performances. This is how American society "works". We are free-forms and free thinkers. We are creative spirits that have experienced liberty in our form of government and expressed that liberty in pursuing our dreams that  have resulted in various technological inventions, as well as artistic expressions. Americans love the free market, because it allows the individual the right to pursue material gain. American love to be independent.  Baroque music would be jazz's "opposite.

I believe that the human spirit is made for and desires freedom, altho some may fear it. When the slaves came to America and were sold and worked, they created a means of expressing themselves in this art form. Their human spirit sought a "way out" of their dire circumstances. While they waited for "salvation", they made music.

Jazz was initially viewed as a "low class" or "anti-class" type of music that represented "whore houses", and sexual promiscuity. But, jazz soon became accepted by mainstream society.

Jazz has no defined definition, as Jazz is as diverse in musical style, as it is diverse in muscial expression.

I like jazz.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Aayan Hirshi Ali and Her Free Thought

I listened to Aayan Hirshi Ali this morning as she accepted an award from the "Freedom From Religion Foundation". She wrote "Infidel", which I read several years ago. She has been a source of inspiration in her fortitude and resistance to religious zeal and her desire to seek rationality instead of religious belonging.

Her speech used "The Emperor With No Clothes" and she talked about how those that want to "belong" at all costs will suppress their questions and unify their opinions because they fear being an "outcast" or "outsider" to the "faith".

This is correct, as humans are prone to decieve themselves and others in their attempt to provide and protect their "community". It  becomes an all out "war" of sorts because one's very identity is caught by such thinking and being in the world. Aayan embraced the questions because she valued honestly above myth. Such questioning  is doubly threatened because it puts one's personal values in question, especially if financial and family investments have a stake in such interests.

Ms. Ali escaped Islam's grasp over her life by fleeing Somalia, becomeing educated in the Netherlands, and finding a "voice in America".

Is she duped by her "reason"? Is she sabatoging another's right to "believe"? What she suggests is that rationality is to be held as a guard against religious fundamentalism, and zeal. It protects from psychological abuse that hinders one from becoming and being in the world as a free moral agent.The individual is to be set free from such "communal understandings". Belonging should be about things that do not depend on irrationality, which leaders have power to enforce at the costs of another's rational conviction and/or commitment.

America is great because it allows for freedom of religion, but doesn't demand religion as a test for public service. Character, which is of uptmost importance in public office is not dependent on one's religious affliation. In fact, religious people, as well as the irreligious, justify what they do by "rational argument". There is no justification to defrauding or manipulating because of a 'higher law" or standard, whether that standard be a religious or secular standard.  America believes that all "belong", as citizens and it is the citizen's right to be treated as equal before the law. And it is called our Constitutional right.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Peace and Its Process

During this Christmas season, a lot of songs are sung about "peace on earth" and "goodwill to men". These are nice images that don't parallel to the real world of politics. Peace is not experienced in many parts of the world. And the clashes are over ideology, power, material gain, and sometimes even one's very identity.

People who try to work for peace find it difficult, gruelling and sometimes, unrewarding, unlike the "merry Christmas songs" that promise romanticized fantasies.

People that have their feet grounded and understand that politics is dirty business will also understand that the lesson to be learned is sometimes to move on. One cannot force "peace", as co-ercion is an oximoronic term to peace. Sometimes, America has been accused of working in this way by miltary force. But, how else are we to "make peace" when otherwise, there will be bloodshed?

Nuclear weapons are supposed to be limited by treaties, but we also know that treaties are only as good as the people who "shake on it". The leaders of each country must be people that will uphold their agreements, and protect the treaties boundaries. Oftentimes, treaties are breached for one reason or another. And many times it is the differences in our value systems.

Humans have various needs, individually, and corporately. And it becomes a complex endeavor, indeed, to try to understand how to unravel the strings, so people will live in/with understanding. I do not have hope that there will ever be a day where peace will rule the earth, alto this is what we sing about at Christmastime.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Choice, Conviction, and Commitment

What makes humans different from other animals? Both conservative and liberals will agree that choice is a value to/for humans. Animals do not make choices, do they? They are herded, trained, modified, by humans (the more intelligent animal) or act instinctively for survival.

Although humans do act to survive, we can use our reason, and our choice to control ourselves as to the means of meeting the need to survive and flourish. We do not have to kill another human because we need to survive. Self-control is what civilizes man. It is his conviction about another's right to existence that limits his "right to life" at all costs. So, besides choice, there are convictions that are important values to society or civilization.

Convictions are about cultural reference points. American culture is defined by the Constitution. Fortunately, in the West we value the individual and uphold his right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our commitment to such values cause us to value another's right to liberty, as well. Liberty of conscience is an important value for the Founders, as it protected diverse convictions.

Today on a news program, it was argued that a Supreme Court Justice should believe in "rights" as given by a Creator, so that the Constitution is interpreted as an "originalist". But a Supreme Court Judge argued that one should not have these "religious qualifications/tests for a Supreme Court Justice, or for any office, for that matter. I agree with her, because a justice should be blind to any personal opinion or prejuidice in regards to the Constitution and the case brought before the Court. If a justice was too ideological, whether conservative or liberal, then it might inhibit justice because it would limit the judge's ability to hear without prejuidice or bias concerning the issue or the person involved. All citizens, no matter if they believe in a Creator or not, are to be given the right to Representation before the law!

Americans value the right to dissent and resist a government that does not respect liberty. And liberty is  about differences of value in choice, conviction and commitment.

Moral Busybodies, Again!

C.S. Lewis on Moral Busybodies

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

Choice and Homosexuality

Today's discussion on the radio concerned homosexuality and the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. The basic rationale presented was that homosexuality was not appropriate behavior, because the majority does not think it is.

While the military has its "discipline" to consider, I agree that "anything goes" is inappropriate for military behavior! I respect those that serve in our military because of their commitment to the American value of liberty. But, because our country values liberty; how do we fairly evaluate  homosexuality? And what does homosexuality have to do with discipline, choice, or commitment, or how do these values influence how we understand homosexuality?

The argument that homosexuality has a "right" to minority status does "not hold water" to some because of "nature's nature". These argue that ethnic identity cannot be used equatably with homosexuality because one's ethinicity is not a choice. I agree that choice is an ultimate distinction and ultimate value when it regards what is appropriate or inappropriate.

Biblicists wouldn't even "go there", as the text bans such behavior, and one shouldn't be allowed "choice" about such matters. There are no compromises on accepting, condoning, or considering such behavior. But, others are not so opinionated. Others who want to hold to a "middle way", of choice, choose to uphold self-discipline, or denial of certain expressions of sexual desire. This argument holds validity because we want to uphold self-discipline,  and fidelity. But is denial of sexual expression appropriate to the homosexual alone, or are there other means to judge appropriate or inappropriate behavior? Is there only "one position" that is  allowable?  How does one judge sexual expression?  Does nature alone guide our judgments? Then, why don't we hold to nature is all of our judgments and not inspired texts? Is there diversity in nature? Are humans only sophisticated animals, who can choose, and don't behave only by instinct? I think so.

Choice is as much about commitment and fidelity to one's chosen partner, as it is about "equal rights" and society's protection. The choice to commit one's life to faithfulness in a given area is an important value to uphold, as it is foundational to integrity, and trust. It is social contract. The right to sexual expression with my chosen partner, means that I forgo others. Social order is maintained, and yet, we have been "liberal" in our understanding of the homosexual. Isn't this really what should control our arguments, what is best for society and why? And shouldn't it be based on rationale, not appeals to irrational beliefs about "God"?

Opponents argue that homosexuals have a promiscous lifestyle which would undermine societial stability for raising children, and limiting sexually transmitted diseases. Although some homosexuals are promiscuous and some spread disease, so do heterosexuals. The issue is not homosexuality, but choices about lifestyle and the values of family and fidelity.

Some argue that homosexual homes are not conducive for child-rearing as it is an inappropriate role model. But, the question should be what represents an appropriate role model? Is one's ability to procreate the only consideration when one argues against homosexuality? What about the heterosexual that cannot have children? Or those that have gotten beyond child-bearing years? Do these have any "right" to sexual expression with their partner? Or is sex only about procreation?

Shouldn't we uphold fidelity to one's partner, as an ultimate value in America, whether hetereosexual or homosexual because this is what benefits society and the children raised in families?

Self-control, character, choice, and commitment are what should be considerations when we evaluate "rights", society and human flourishing.

Irrational Faith and a Reasoned Frame

Some believe in irrational faith. These believe that our actions 'prove" the validity of our faith, not by reason, itself,, but within the framework of an archetype. Reason is not "rational", or understood, except within a certain "paradigm". Such thinking is not 'universal' but culture specific.

Culture is an environment that adheres to certain standards, beliefs, norms, and values. Religious cultures are framed by religious authorities, inspired texts, doctrines, or 'accepted' moral models. These do not allow liberty because of their specific framing/paradigm. Reason in this sense is not 'free' to understand anything apart from the "affirmed culture" or accepted norm. Science, as well as religion frames understanding by accepted "rules" of understanding nature, or society. The difference, is that science is open to new information, at least in theory. Religion is not as open.

America believes that religious freedom is about individual conscience. The individual is free to choose where they will or will not associate. American values are determined  by the "rule of law" defined in our Constitution. And our Constitution respects and protects individual liberty from government intrusion, but does it protect from "irrational faith' claims? This is what our nation faces in  "irrational faith"s demand for equal protections under our Constitutional government. Equality under law means that irregardless of one's faith or lack thereof, there must be protections under law. Therefore, our nation is just.

Irrational faith is about speicified behavior, and beliefs that motivate such behavior. It cannot be reasoned with because of its commitment to the paradigm of choice. Defensiveness is the stance to "outside" attempts to re-frame one's life. Knowledge itself can be threatening because it brings cognitive challenges to one's chosen paradigm. Defensiveness to change protects "identity" itself.

"Life" is lived within these cultural frames, without realizing or reflecting on why these frames have any power to continue over one's life. Reasoned framing of life conflicts with foundational understandings about life and is too threatening to one's identity to "let go", or escape. Science, too attempts to understand 'new information' based upon past "frames" (accepted theories). But, whenever the paradigm shifts in scienctific understanding, there is also resistance. Science attempts to evaluate nature upon foundational physical/mathmatical undestandings.

I believe our brains  encapsulate our memories. And memories are about emotions, as much as experience itself. The "feeling" of belonging to family, tribe or nation is too "human" to dismiss lightly. Our self-understanding is dependent on such connections and networking. A re-framing of one's identity is what happens whenever one discovers that their frame has lost "meaning" or significance for/to "self", as "self" is defined by these  frames of reference. A re-defining of scientific understanding also challenges science's "identity", as science is a "culture", too.

Irrational believers don't stop to consider these aspects of "framing one's reality", because they are too "committed to their cause", thinking that the radical nature of their commitment confirms the "truth" of their irrational claims. And this kind of thinking thinks that everyone should believe and commit as they do, otherwise, there is "no faith".

Irrational faith is a limited way of thinking and being in the world. And it hinders "peace", because it limits diversity.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Leaders of a Wrong Order

No budget, at least that is accountable to public scrunity.

"Good ole boy" systems that cover for one another. Whistle blowers are shunned, and black-balled. One must tow the "party line".

Ethics are self-referential, they are not for the "common man". Leaders are above the law, because they make, and interpret the law.

Control of public information becomes necessary because the public can't be trusted to know what in their best interest. All the while, leaders are acting as self-interested parties.

Public office is not viewed as a public trust, but as public "control". Social control is affirmed where "self-governance" was the founding frame.

Public welfare is invested in public officials, because the public doesn't care anymore.

Public monies can be manipulated to promote personal promotion, through earmarks.

No longer can the public trust representative government when their representatives are self-invested in government's interests.

Self, as Conscious Manager

Our Founders "founded" a government based on "self-governance". Self-governance was one's ability to be one's "own manager". And this is what has made for the greatness of the American experiment/experience!

The individual is allowed the liberty to pursue his own goals and opportunities to enlarge himself with education, freedom of information, free access to worship, as one chooses, or does not choose. This is a form or governing that is limited, because it does not intrude or interfere with the human right to liberty of conscience. Laws were to protect the individual which formed society, as well as society being protected by the laws that framed its realities.

Today, both liberals and conservatives like to use the law to demand obedience to their "form of understanding" society. The conservative likes to frame society based on thier understanding of "Creation", "God" and Scripture, while the liberal also wants to frame society on that basis, but has a different way of understanding those terms. What both seem to not balance is the individual's right in the midst of society. The majority (society) does not have a right against the minority (the individual) otherwise, there would be not "protections under law". This is where the libertarian view affirms individuality, as it concerns liberty.

The libertarian would affirm the right of the individual in regards to religion, their life, and the market. Social interests, "the common good", society's protections, etc. do not limit government or the majority in its demands upon the individual and conscience. Liberty is an important value for America in this regard. Otherwise, we do use the 'force of the law" to impose our understanding of "what is best" without understanding that our fellow citizen also has a right to his understanding. We do not want coercion, either in the name of the "God of our understanding" or the "god of the nature". Both are hard task-masters.

Self, as Conscious Being

Individuation is the "goal" of parenting and the greatest joy is when the child comes to a sense of themselves and where they want to commit their life. This is an important step in realizing Personhood.

Those that compel or co-erce their children into certain forms of expectation do a disservice to the individual child and their gifts to society. I have been guilty of this, thinking that there was only one purpose or goal of good parenting and that was to get my children "saved" or to "behave properly". These were short-sighted goals and hindered their individality and my personl relationship to them.

Fear and a desire to "fit" into religious communities hindered my ability to engage my children and enjoy their diverse interests. Religion can hinder personal growth and goals, because it can limit perspective. The problem for most of the religious is framing their reality by tightly bound identifiers. Reality is really diverse ways of understanding " all that is". But, science can also be guilty of such manipulation. When science is convinced of its theory, science can become just as "biased" in hindering personal growth and diversity.

"Self" is a conscious being where one's reality is conncected to framing reality that parallels one's sense of self-understanding. And self-understanding has to do with one's culture, one's upbringing, one's personal interests, one's past learning experiences, and one's present  understanding of reality.

In America, "we are a people" because we believe in individual rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Some in America have stagnated our country's unity by polarizing over individuating arenas, faith and reason.

Scientists have faith IN reason, because reason is one's ability to formulate and organize information. This makes humans distinct from other animals. All humans organize and formulate their realities, academic disciplines do so formally. Religion, on the other hand, has faith in faith. Faith is about cultural framing of reality, which includes outward forms of living in the world, in all of its diversity. American embraces both science and faith as valid ways of living in the world. But, today, America is divided by what used to bring about its unity.

Our Founders understood that humans need room to differ as to faith, but the nation needed a way to unify its diversity, as well. Our Constitution is what has brought about America's self-understanding, as each American is equal under law, with a right to petition government and to be innocent until proven guilty and a right to trial by jury. These are rights that protect and validify our nation's "protections' and value of "individuation". We must not undermine our liberties by undermining our laws, which protect Americans and their "way of life".

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Because the Masses Must Be Manipulated....

The "masses must be led", as there are many ways to frame our understandings and commitments in the world. Those that do not know this, but 'bite' on one way of thinking, or are not critical about their own "bias", are prone to be manipulated. Many have opposed such manipulation by leadership or by informing those that are so naive'. Sometimes advantages are gained because of conventional wisdom and there is no ulterior motive as to power, but other times, there is a desire to have power over the masses, so power can be expanded.

Martin Luther stood against the Catholic Church because the Church was using the teaching and belief of indulgences to gain power over those that didn't have any other recourse, as they couldn't even "worship" with understanding, because they were so dependent on the Magisterium. Church teaching was a way for the Church to maintain social order, but in Luther's eyes scripture was useful for educational purposes. The Church believed that they had a justified right over the masses because "God", had ultimate right over the masses. But, "God" ended up being really, the Magisterium.

The Roman Church also resisted change when it came to scientific discoveries that undermined Aritotle's view of "First Cause" as "God". The view that the Church was the center of the universe (the right interpretor/authority), just as Man/Earth was the center of "God's purposes" was to continue to bias the masses. Science and religion became competitors for man's bias.

Hitler, Stalin, and other dictators led the "masses" down their primrose path because they held the reigns of power over information in the press. Propaganda was useful to propetiate the "right message" so that the Germans would think their purposes were above and higher than other purposes. Propaganda was accepted because there was no other way of thinking or judging about "the outsider". Information/education was only allowed within a certain 'context".And these believe that the State, or the Dictator is to determine man's bias.

Marxist ideology believes that the purposes of economic equality can only be furthered with religion's assent. Religion is the opiate of the people, and it is needed after the revolution that creates and benefits the leaders's vision of equality or morality, at the expense of everyone else. Such is the case with class warfare, as it always ends in bloodshed. Vacumns are filled by dictators that create safety out of the chaos/revolution. These people want to use conventional wisdom to their advantage by "useful language" games. Theirs is an "Economic" bias.

Abraham Lincoln created  an environment where the States warred for their right of economic benefit. He filled the vacumn by enlarging the centralized State at the expense of the state's right to succeed. Centralization is a bias toward "Statism".

Individual heroes have always stood up, resisted, or lived without such manipulations. But, it takes courage to face one's own bias, and strength to continue to resist opposing forces that want to manipulate bias toward a "mass understanding" or use "mass understanding" to manipulate and control "outcomes".

Our Founding Fathers knew that divided and separated power was needed to protect against such centralized thinking and being in the world, as power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely (Lord Acton). It is collective power that is not challenged that corrupts. Such have been the Nelson Mandelas, the Albert Einsteins, the Martin Luthers, the Martin Luther King, Jr.s,  the Anne Franks,  the Ayn Rands, the Alexander Solzhenitsyns these have discovered, resisted, stood up for, and made a difference against "collective thinking".

Monday, December 13, 2010

What Is the Use of "Christian"?

To become truly great, one has to stand with people, not above them.

Charles de Montesquieu

This is the "means for Christian religion", as far as Montesquieu is concerned. The Christian religion upholds Jesus of Nazereth as a "moral example" and his was an example of compasssion for those that didn't "fit". America is great because it is a land of opportunity where all men have inalienable rights to pursue their goals.

Montesquieu was not a "Christian", but was a political philosopher that had a great impact on America's Founding.

"I have examined all religions, as well as my narrow sphere, my straightened means, and my busy life, would allow; and the result is that the Bible is the best Book in the world. It contains more philosophy than all the libraries I have seen."

~John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, December 25, 1813.

Christian education should not be about Scripture as an inerrant, infallible "Word of God", but as a philosophy of human nature. The law is the equalizer among men, as the law protects human nature from itself. Human nature is prone to err, as it is limited in scope, self-interested, and opinionated by one's "culture". Scientists understand "human nature" as "survival of the fittest".

Virtue is a defense for civility. Without virtue, civilization would be lost on war, revenge, and spitefulness. Self interest is not bad, it just is. This is why we need to acknowledge and identify what our self interest is about and negotiate our differences. This is where social contract can protect peace and uphold justice.

Without an understanding of human nature, which scientists still are investigating, the world cannot live in peace.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Thought on Government

I believe I remember Evans saying that in a morally relativistic world, where anything is allowable, then there can be no moral judgments. And if there are no moral judgments, then Nazism is as good, as a liberal democracy, or a Representative Republic. This is the basis of the "rule of law". It protects us from depotism.

That is not to say that those that live in free societies have vastly different understandings of and to their commitments. That is what liberty means.

Re-reading "The Theme is Freedom", by M. Stanton Evans

Yesterday, I decided to re-read, "The Theme is Freedom", by M. Stanton Evans. I had read it several years ago and read seversal chapters a few month ago. It is about religion, history, politics, and the American "tradition". I absolutely love what I have read. It resonates with me. His thesis is that liberty is America's primary value and the liberal has undermined liberty by "social programs" and "social engineering".

He argues and makes plan the outcomes of such programs and engineering. And it is pertinent to the problems we have today. He also argues for the value of religion in America's "liberal" climate. I recommend that you get a copy and find out for yourself what "true conservatism" is about and why we must change the way America is headed.

I will write more after I finish the book!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

"Ordered Liberty" a Product of the Mind

Americans live in "ordered liberty". We appreciate our order through our Constituional government, and our liberty through the way we want to frame our reality. "Reality" is framed by the individual in personal values, and is lived out in adulthood.. Oscar Wilde said that a society was a mental construct, and this is why our culture allows for individual conscience  and expression. Our laws protect our liberties and this is why we are a pluralistic society, although we have a "Judeo-Christian" influence.".James T. Ellison said it best
The real death of America will come when everyone is alike.

"Minds" are what our brains record through memory and our senses in our present reality. How we understand and interpret our reality in the present is influenced greatly by our past experiences and the "messages" that were interpreted again by our "minds". Our futures can be affected by these "messages" as they give us our expectation and impact our views of the future.

An individual's personal history is not the only reality that impacts his understanding in the present, but also his information about an objective past. Humans come to understand and interpret reality from their understanding of history. Personal history is a given, but not national, social, cultural history. These are subjects to be sought. It is a framing outside of "self", but constitutes another aspect of "self-understanding".

Our nation is exceptional because it allows for the personal, and not just a national, or cultural history. But, unfortunately, America's personal histories have overshadowed our national and cultural history. And that is a sad state for a society, because it undermines our unity, as well as hinders human development. Mikhail Gorbachev understood that unity is of necessity for a peaceful co-existence;
"Peace is not unity in similarity but unity in diversity, in the comparison and conciliation of differences"

I think the greates danger, as well as our greatest blessing is our diversity, because liberty does not protect our national or cultural interests. And our emphasis on individuality has also hindered our understanding of ourselves as "a people". I have hope that the 'Tea Party" movement will bring about a more engaged and informed citizenry. And that through our realization of our diversity, we will come to appreciate the need for unity, for our nation and our own future hope.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Why I Think Believing Iis Dangerous in the World of Science and Scientists

Belief in the supernatural realm is dangerous, because it denies the real world and tries to blame "the devil" or accepts passivly such things as tyranny, abuse, and evil. Such thinking does not lead one to learn, grow or expand, becuase "God will take care of you". Whenever suffering or injustice happens, it is chalked up to "God's training ground, because God doesn't allow anything to happen unless it is in his Divine Purpose, Plan and Will. Tyranny, abuse and evil in the world is not challenged, it is accepted as "God's rule on earth", whereas, each person deserves the right to exist, be respected and given opportunity.

Today, science frames our reality and understanding differently than in the past. Science is showing us more and more how the world works and what probably happened from the beginning. Humans may not be the only life in the universe. We just don't know for sure...

Where the Church used to teach man as the center of the universe, science undermined that understanding where it became known that the Sun was the center of our solar system and we are only one solar system in the universe. This fact alone is humbling to man, as he is not the ultimate focus of all things.

Man becomes responsible in this "universe" because he no longer depends upon a God out there, but takes on responsibility for himself. People do disagree as to what is the responsibility of man toward himself, the environment and others will be. And these differences are not easy black and white solutions in a world that is filled with diverse ways of understanding and thinking.

So, believeing is dangerous because it limits, defines and dismisses the greater questions about life, and the world we live.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Lies, Free Expression, and Security

There are many things in free societies that one should be grateful for; an ability to have opportunities, and to express oneself in many ways. But, whenever the public discourse is shorn of its diverse understandings or ways of "being in the world", there is a sense of oppression and feelings of betrayal. No longer is there free expression for that person (s). Yet, we do not allow for anyone or a group of people, to express themselves when it would endanger or diminish another. We believe in the right of individual liberty, as it pertains to personal conscience.

Free expression in free societies allow for "art", where there is a particular way of seeing the world's beauty. It is nature in all its glory. It is fashion in all its uniqueness. It is poetry, stories, and myth-making. One chooses which style will represent one's person. It is called "personal style". These are ways of expressing how one understands the world and desires to live in the world. "Lies" of government security or religious demands undermine these free expressions; as free societies are only as free as the press holds government accountable to the people it  represents.. And religious conscience is understood to be one among many forms of understanding the transcendent.

Security is a value for human existence and emotional well-being, and yet, how is government to secure our nation without imposing itself upon the populace?. Terrorism is a form of "self expression" at the costs of other lives. And America and the world is battling what would undermine free expression. There is no 'political correctness", as to understandings or expressions to/in one's life.  "Lies" are defined by societal breeches that breed  betrayals of trust, as individual make or form society. Society should not exist on its own and for its own sake.Soceity only exists to support its members, in whatever way that particular society deems appropriate.

Free expression in an open society breeds security for its citizens. This type of society is free from "lies" that would undermine and hinder persons their right to expression.

Eternal LIFE OR a "Socialized Theology"? and Political Realities

Christians were a Jewish sect. These did not have political power, as they were from marginal professions, such as fishermen and prostitutes. The Jews weren't all in agreement as to "eternal life" or the resurrection.
Could it be that the political reality of life, as to political power was what drove their "theologizing"? I believe so.

The Sadducees did not believe in eternal life or the resurrection, but the Pharisees did. Could it be that the Sadducees who were the more "empowered class", as to money and political power didn't need the "promise" of eternal life, because they had more choices as to their life? I believe this is key to how we "psychologically frame" reality.

Christians and the institution of the Church has used Jesus life as their example of Chrsitian faith.  Jesus condemned the "white-washed tombs" of the Pharisees because they weren't living their life like he was, as a humanitarian. But, "Christian" was only a term that was useful after the assembling of "like-minded" individuals, a society. It was a way for these to find a "Place of Belonging". They didn't have that choice in the political realities in Rome.

Fortunately, for Americans, our nation values the right of conscience as to choice. This is what supports our diverse climate as to values in life. But, unfortunately, "Christians" don't know their roots, and why the developed theology had "power" over Chruch doctrine. It was a way to make a "better life" without the practical realities of messy politics.

If One Wants to Believe...

IF one wants to believe in the transcendent or a transcendental realm, then, we must agree with the Jews or the Buddhist. It is beyond our ability to understand, so we must not impose it upon others.

One practices their "faith" in humanitarian endeavors, the other practices "self-discipline" as to consciousness. Neither co-cerces others to agree with them. Each have affirmative aspects to America's diversity in unity or unity in diversity....

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Context Is Important to Identity

Rules/laws define and bring clarity and this is important for any society. Today, though, these rules or the laws in our Constitution are being dismissed because of higher, more alturistic goals. But, such thinking leaves little room for identification factors or for justice. Justice, in this context, means respect for the society that is defined by such rules and protection for the members/citizens of such a context. Justice is defined by protecting and upholding the "rule of law'.

Today's scientists wonder if one's identity is defined by one's environment, or one's universal mind via categories. If one's identity is defined by one's environment, then it is suggested that people need to be exposed, so that their identity can be expanded to be "inclusive". "Humans", after all, are all similar.

On the other hand, if it is suspected that the human mind holds the universal categories, then education is the answer to such questions. Education would inform the mind of its moral obligations to the 'human race". But, what of diversity of interpretation of such exposure, or the creative element of the mind? or coginitive affirmation of one's "religious frame"? Even though the mind can be stimulated does that stimulation bring about the same response, behavior, or understanding? How does previous experience impact how one interprests such stimulation?

What if 'universal identity is a undefined identity? What if the mind needs a context to define itself? What if the mind uses difference to determine identity, and not uniformity? Understanding oneself in opposition to another doesn't necessarily mean oppostional behavior. It would only help to clarify and distinctify and bring more understanding to the "table" in negotiation.

I think we have found that the religious hold to identification factors apart from "constitutional forms of government" or "self-identity", as a chosen identity. Constitutional forms of government' allow for a more definitive identity via religion. But, this is a problem for the modern mind that identifies with a nation-state, and a religious tradition that undermines the "humane laws" that the nation-state holds. How is identity to be expanded or informed without undermining the nation-state?  And should one consider such religious identity as a " human right"? Some don't believe that such identity can be changed. And this is why they call for America to take care of its own business.

So, which is it, environment or education that is to be the "enlightenment" of identity? And how does one know if the identity is internalized such that it would be highly improbable for the religious to re-identify? De-conversions happen all that time, but only within the context of a free and open society. So, what should we do? Should we be engaged with spreading democracy and constitutional government? Should we continue to trade with such environments? Or should we leave the religious alone hoping that they will leave us alone?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"Sleeping With the Enemy" Is One's "Moral Duty"?

Tonight, an old Julia Roberts movie was on, "Sleeping With the Enemy". It reminded me of what happens psychologically whenever tyranny rules over another.

The story line is of an abusive husband and his compliant wife, who eventually escapes his torture by feigning her death. The husband's compulsion for "order" in the house, and "control" of his wife is what abuse and psychological damage entails. The damage and trauma followed her to her "new life". She could not relax for fear that he would be "correcting" her, or around the corner to "discipline" her. Her fears interfered with her ability to form a close relationship to the 'new boy on the block".

Religious morality in some segments would support the wife's compliance with such "terrorism". She would learn to be submissive and learn virtue by submitting her selfishness and "self" to her husband's will.

Her husband's will was unreasonable. He demanded perfection in how the towels "matched" and were hung straight on the towel rack. The cans in the cabinet must be ordered in exact rows and she needn't think that she could have any will of her own, as he "owned" her. She could not relax, or be "herself". She must be conformed into an image that only he could imagine.

Some religious people think that such "order" is proper behavior according to their "social norm".  And God is no less demanding than the husband in his "absoluteness". There is little room for liberty of conscience. But, scientists also, urge conforming to their "social image", via behavioral standards of alturism. Such behavior is considered universal morality and it is deemed by some, that Americans lack a "moral compass", or have the ability to be compassionate. "Moral discipline" is needed to rectify such unrefined views.  One must submit to the standards that others have for you, for fear they will impose "discipline". Such discipline is "habit formation" where leaders determine the course for a given life. The wife responded to such demands by escaping, an attempt to survive.

Survival is a basic human need. And survival is more than physical sustenance, but psychological wholeness. Security is of necessity to psychological health. But, again, the religious believe that one should "leap in the dark" to prove one's "faith". God is the only one that can be trusted, so others don't deem it necessary to be trustworthy.

The reasons for such "demands"  from the religious of the scientists, are similar to the abusive husband's. He knew how things "should be" and he was superior to his wife in wisdom. Pride was his vice, as he demanded virtue from her. The religious and the scientific can be just as vicious.

Whenever I see or hear of such abuse, it sends chills up my spine and a gut response of repulsion. No one, whether a spouse, a religious leader, a scientist, or a government should abuse the individual in such a way. It is called tyranny. And tyranny must be resisted.

American Government and Power

"As a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights. Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions."

-- James Madison, National Gazette essay, March 27, 1792
American government was created to protect its citizens from abuses of power. Those that hold positions of power are accountable to "the people" and the checks and balances in our government. Our Founders understood that men were limited and were not always to be trusted when it came to power. Lord Acton's quote was probably in their minds when they formed a "more perfect union". "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely".

Power was understood in the public domain as service, not priviledge. Priviledged positions were not viewed apart from their responsibility of representation. Public officials understood that good leaders, "do not lord it over" their contituencies, but protected and represented their interests.

The balance of power and accountability were what protected those in leadership from becoming short-sighted and narrowly focused on goals that might end up usurping another's right of liberty. Liberty was of utmost importance to American principles of "good government". Limited government meant that government was to "check" its own over-bearing nature, not just the people's.

American Society and Individuality

"The majority, oppressing an individual, is guilty of a crime, abuses its strength, and by acting on the law of the strongest breaks up the foundations of society." Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson's quote affirms the natural right of individual liberty, which is the basis of human rights. Our country affirmed voluntary associations in society, and was founded on the principle that kings, oligarchies, and dictatorships were immoral forms of governing humans, as to individual  liberty and conscience. The individual was what formed these voluntary associations.

Society is structured by individuals that form voluntary social networks for a particular purpose. Their goals are as diverse as the individuals that design them. So, how does one define such diversity of interests and purposes in our free society? One can't, and this is what makes America "free".

Individuals in America are valued as to their individual rights. Liberty is granted in the Bill of Rights, as to speech, assembly, civil jury trial, petition of greviances, and limits government as to search and seizure.While the individual adults have these  protections, the individual child is impacted by society and how the family protects and develops his/her "potential". Family, is therefore, an important value to/for society.

Society cannot flourish as long as families are not supportive of the child's development. Government intervention "standardizes" and demoralizes the child, and does not provide the needed encouragement for the child to excel. Parents and teachers are the only ones that can impact the child in a personal way, once the child is school aged.

Religious and academic liberty are also values in American society and has made for our culture wars. While religion has valued the family, science has challenged religion's absolutes. And this has made for uncomfortable "bed-fellows" in our social climate. The polarization has become so defining that it is hard to get a word in "edge-wise" to bring about a solution to such societal tension.

But, it has been science that has brought about the prosperity of our nation and furthered American "hope" of the American Dream. The American Dream was the fulfillment of human potential and societal flourishing. Science was America's "hope" for a better tomorrow.

Religion, on the other hand, had to re-define itself, segregate itself, or battle for the 'Bible". Such re-orientations are not about human or societal flourishing, but oppression and tyranny of a "religious class". Religious liberty, in America, was the value of individual conscience and was granted by a protection of that liberty in our First Amendment. The State had no say about individual conscience in free association of this aspect of society. One could choose whether or not one wanted such association.

American society is not a "one size fits all formula", but a vast and complex mix of minds that form a society where human value is of utmost importance and society is as varied as the individuals that formulate it.
“Society exists only as a mental concept; in the real world there are only individuals.” Oscar Wilde

    I Like this quote I dislike this quoteSociety is produced by our wants and government by our wickedness Thomas Paine

In any free society, the conflict between social conformity and individual liberty is permanent, unresolvable, and necessary” Kathleen Norris

The definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.” Adlai E. Stevenson

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bush's Interview

Last night my husband and I watched Hannity interview Bush. In between commercials, we flipped to the other channels and were curious and amazed at what the commentators on these news shows were saying. Did they hear Bush, himself? Or had they already established their view without hearing him? Had their ideology trumped his "defense"?

No matter what your political persuasion, one could not question the integrity or the concern with which this President "did his duty". He took the job seriously and talked about the "human side" of being the President and making the decisions that impact lives. He admitted in so many words, the feelings of limitation, and his questioning of his decisions, when all the information "was not in".

He had thought that the airplane that went down in Pennsylvania was due to a "command" he's given to the Air Force for protection. I couldn't imagine. Then, there was the scare that he and his staff might have been exposed to biological elements that would've killed them. I was impressed with his fortitude.

Hannity read a letter from Bush's father, President H. George Bush Sr., and one could visibly see how it impacted George, Jr. The connection of his humanity was what struck me. This "ideal" and representative Person was a real human being. I felt like I had had a chat with him myself. But, while in office, he respected his position and weighed heavily what to say and what not to say, in regards to our security. He wanted to protect the American people and the American people's "way of life".

I gained respect for the "man", George W. Bush by watching this interview. And I valued his commitment to our nation in service.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Solutions Produce Other Problems

I believe in irreducibly complexity, when it comes to the human animal, therefore, I resist any type of "production" when it comes to the human. I can "see", understand and agree to a certain extint when it comes to the scientific discoveries concerning the human. Humans are just not the same as "matter in motion". And "matter in motion" is what some would value, as to action/behavior. Alturism is their goal, as life is without "hope" for those deemd to live in the lower caste status. Does such social engineering salve the conscience of the "elite" because of their "good intentions"?

Alturism has been of interest to scientists of late, because of "social Darwininism" and the concern for social control/order. But, control/order is a problem itself, as whenever we seek to control,, even with alturistic intentions, then we also limit and define. Limitation and definition of "goods" or social goals, inevitably leads to 'government regulation" which inhibits creativity and growth. Government regulation is not a liberal ideal. And liberal ideals are what made our country great and protected the value of the individual.

Individuals have their own dreams, destinies and desires to fulfill. And those that appealled to this human need, have "won the race" in our elections. Americans believe in the value of individual liberty in regards to life. And no one should define or limit another's life.

The Problems of Testing...

The modern mind-set solves problems with solutions. Standardization and testing is seen as an effective way to solve the problem of categorizing individuals. Humans like to categorize because it makes life more easy to solve the problems in the world. Our minds, in fact, are made to categorize, I think. So, what is the problem?

Before I go into the problems, I want to affirm the need to test, because testing defines. And definition is necessary to organization. But,  the problem for me is;  is a human being a product, commodity, or problem to be evaluated, shuffled into place and "presto" the organization functions!?

I began my pondering on the problem, I have with testing  a year or so ago. For instance, yesterday just for fun, I took a "test" about which Disney character represented "me", I was frustrated as I usually have been with testing. I know these tests are foolish and simplistic in many ways, but what I found interesting were the questions they used. Don't the questions themselves determine or limit answers? And what if an answer was not given, that would have been more representative to "the truth"? How does this limitation of answers skew the outcomes? And are the outcomes a means of defining a given individual, and how much is that individual determined in their minds about those outcomes? Does it influence a person's performance in a given situation because they believe themselves to be a "Belle" :-)?

I re-took the tests and gave other answers that I also thought were representative of "me". But, some questions left me wondering how to answer. Do I value "humility"? Well, what are you asking? Are you asking if I value this for myself or when I see it in others? Or is it a general question about character values? And what if experience has taught someone that a certain character trait is in opposition to their best interests, like survival? Would that hinder their identification with humility?

Does observing another, like an object, change the individual and thier perceptions, responses, or reactions? If so, how can social sciences be done effectively? And is social science a way for humans to understand and organize life? Is organizing life a proper goal on a grand scale? Evolution doesn't seem to value organization, so much as a fight to win. Is this what we are trying to prevent, the fight to win, or the fight for survival?

Just a rant of mine today, because I think that the labelling and wearing of labels is dismissive of personhood. And I look at systemizing as a limited perspective in understanding life and all that is.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Walls Fall Down or Should They?

Walls define and determine differences and distinctions. These are boundaries that help identify things of importance and value. This is what the Church has done through the ages in separating the sacred and the secular. Yesterday's post was about how faith and the political have been defined and understood, as 'the real". I have problems with all of them and these are the reasons, but then, faith is not about reasons, it is about vision and focus.

The Church has defined what one should believe, but can we believe in virgins that give birth? Can we believe that men are totally depraved, meaning there is nothing redeemable about them? Can we believe that we all came from one couple? And what about the discrepecies in regards to the text itself ? Belief become unbelievable in today's scientific paradigm.

Then there are those that believe that one's faith is interpreted by "bearing the cross". These follow in Jesus' steps as the "Christ of faith". But, how is one to identify with a person that lived long ago, without giving up one's own identity? Don't adults have a well-formed identity, as to their personal values and goals?

There are others that want to bring peace and good-will on earth by investigating where the history and the myth intersect and work to dissolve differences between those that are marginlized. These could be those in human need (economic inequality) and/or  those that are at political odds (political peace). But, how is one to believe in the free market and the Protestant work ethic if one also adheres to economic equality? And how is peace to come with so many differences that it has been impossible to rectify in the past? Are we at a place where those that have been at political odds can relate differently, or will there always be ideological differences in the world? I believe that ideology drives everything an individual/society holds as a value, and because of these irreconciable differences, then, we will be holding to naivete' to believe that peace will ever come world-wide and still uphold liberty of conscience.

So, where is the sacred and secular today? It is dead, except in segments of sectarian religious traditions. Life can be embraced as a gift of the "gods" or "God", or it can be embraced as a value itself.

Liberty, though, is not a value that is granted by nature, but must be nurtured and valued above all. Political liberty is hard won with shed blood and is not to be taken for granted. Leaders are to values those under them, so that justice will be forthcoming in equal consideration. The world is "at odds" and the walls or the defining elements cannot fall down without a disregard and disrespect for our nation's defining values of liberty itself..

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Question of Faith and the Political

Faith has been the focus of our recent elections. Those who believed that our country values religious liberty are those that understood themselves as the faithful in protesting a "government take-over". But, how faith and politics interacts is a sticky situation.

Many have sought to define faith based soley on scripture. Their is a fundamentalist view of life and knowledge that is stringently defined by "holy scripture". The academic disciplines are suspect in this view.

Others have understood their faith based on the institution of the Church. And the Church has created a rationalization of faith claims which becomes doctrine. Those that do not adhere to these definitions are ex-communicated.

Still others have sought to use their reason to defend faith by theology. But, theology is still the Church's defense or rationale to believe without "grounding".

Some have sought to "ground" and live out their faith by a "logos' understanding. These have brought about an idealization of faith (Christ of faith) through Jesus, as a life example. These are piestic/behavioral oriented believers.

Those that have given up on definitions and are prone to a negative theology, where God ceases to be defined, because he is beyond definition, are pluralists. These are universalists in their understanding of faith. And they attempt to unify faith along the lines of human need.

Those that want to understand faith in regards to a particular tradition study the historical, political, and social structuring of such a faith. These are apt to be useful to political goals for peace.

Because I have doubts about the practicality of ideals when it comes to faith claims, I am in "limbo" and will not commit. Political goals and purposes seem to be the most realistic value to and for me. Therefore, our country's value of individuality/diversity and liberty are important values to me. These can only be protected if those in power understand that we are all created equal, without imposing thier ideological understanding of the way the world works or how the individual "should be" in the world.

I am afraid that religion has been useful to further political ends without considering that indivdual liberties will be undermined by such  social engineering.  And our American ideals of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" will be a distant memory unless we defend such liberty, as the most important value for American identity.

Monday, November 1, 2010

What Would I Do?

I just got a call asking me political questions. It got me thinking....What would I do? And what do I believe?

The question made me question whether I would govern on a practical/utilitarian model or a principled/deontological model. I don't know.

Certain principles must be adhered to, if we want to protect a  Constitutional government. One cannot get too practical without compromising and undermining the basics. But, what are those basics? Are they ideologically driven, or pragmatically negotiated?

Because of such quandaries, I wonder if we are judging some of our politicians, too harshly. Compromise is a necessity if one is to get anything done. Our Founders balanced power for this very reason. They wanted to protect our government from abuses of power. And such is a necessity if we continue to remain free.

What drives me and what concerns me most? What drives or concerns you most?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Quotes from M. Stanton Evans

"Tax cuts are like sex; when they are good, they are very, very good. And when they are bad, they are still pretty good."[39]

Evans’ Law: “Whenever ‘one of our people’ reaches a position of power where he can do us some good, he ceases to be ‘one of our people.’”[40]

Evans’ law of inadequate paranoia: “[N]o matter how bad you think something is, when you look into it, it's always worse."[41]

"Liberals don't care what you do as long as it's compulsory."[42]

"I've always felt that anyone who has his head screwed on right should be conservative when he is young and, as he gets older, become more and more conservative."[43]

"One of the things that happens to you when you get old, really two bad things, one of them is that you lose your hearing, and I forget what the other one is."[44]

"We have two parties here, and only two. One is the evil party, and the other is the stupid party. I'm very proud to be a member of the stupid party. Occasionally, the two parties get together to do something that's both evil and stupid. That's called bipartisanship."[45]

"We all know that Mrs. Clinton has complained about the vast right-wing conspiracy, and of course, she is correct about that, and we are all part of it, but when I was starting out, it was only half vast."[46]

"The National Council of Churches adopted a resolution condemning the Reverend Jerry Falwell for mixing religion and politics. It's a mistake that the National Council itself does not make, of course: It has nothing to do with religion."[47]

"It was really hard for us young conservatives to recover from the Goldwater defeat; it was all the worse because in those days we had no grief counselors."[48]

"I never liked Nixon until Watergate."[49]


Monday, October 25, 2010

C.S. Lewis on Moral Busybodies

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." - Copy to Clipboard

-- C.S. Lewis

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Education for Vocational Purposes Only?

 The education conferene this past Friday continues to "brew" in my mind. What is education really for? Is education only for preparing for a vocation? Is an education also for developing the person, or the "self"? Aren't parents the main influence on a child's life in educational edndeavors and how education is percieved? America has come to not value education for the most part, because of America's entertainment mind-set. And, I think this is a downfall to our culture as a whole. But, if education is to be a value, the question is how is education to be paid for and what would be the "end" of education, then?

Patronage was useful since the beginnings of the university. Patronage was first given under the auspices of the Church, while today, we have "public education". And recently, there has been more talk of business as the patron of education. If the Church was to create the "moral model" in education, and the government tends toward the "mass production" model, then what would be the result of business interests getting their hands into education?

The main purpose of a business adventure into education would be for profit. Businesses are mainly interested in profit and there certainly is nothing wrong with profits. The question comes from how business 'investments' in education are handled, as ethics should alway hold sway over business profit margins, as ethics remembers that there are more important aspects to education than profit itself.

Education is in a crisis today and the President has been interested in addressing such problems, knowing that without an education, people will not have a way out of the present economice crisis and the trasition from a manufactoring/industrialized nation, to a communication/information one.

The question that interests me is; Is education for vocational purposes alone? No, because vocation is only the way a person makes money, while an educated population is needed to remain free. Why is this so?

Propaganda is useful to control populations in totaltalitarian regimes. An uneducated population is necessary to further propaganda's purposes, that is, to "control the minds" of the public, so that social order will remain peaceful. The ruling elite will "do as they please", while the population is listening to the "public radio" that tells them how to think and what to believe. This is a danger to America.

But on the other hand, "public" is not a necessarily for Propaganda, if public means solidarity, or fous, as a nation. What should unify our nation, that is a question to be pondered.

So, which model will be best for education? Will the Church's educational model for human development, public interests model or business interests model?

The Church as an institution is to maintain the virtue in a society. And virtue is what is needed for all citizens, not just the "peasant". Leaders are to have the character necessary to inform their conscience, so that they will govern with discretion and discernment. This is necessary for America's future. Otherwise, we will live by the "tribe", or "fittest" mentality. Equal is what America holds dear and makes it a free nation. Equal is about justice.

America's profit margins have become obsessions and have driven men to unethical behavior. This is why our country is having its culture crisis. We cannot trust our elected officials to see themselves as servants of their people. They have become rulers, and dictators, in certain areas. And this is unbecoming to American values, liberties and "ideals".

Education must change if there is to be "hope for America".

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Conference on Education

The Founding Fathers warned that a "free people" would not remain free without information, or education. Did the Founders mean formal education or information forthcoming from the government (or leadership)?  And what is eduation after all? It seems that today, we have had those that have "set a new vision" for change, that is to globalize the "nation-state". And globalization has been done in the name of the environment, poverty, and education.

This conference was led by elite educators, a community college President, a representative from a minority group, an innovative thinker, authors, and administrators concerned in general for our country and citizens's  future well-being.

The discussion covered aspects of the changing needs of our society, and the world and the change of the student population. Questions concerning tuition costs, and state budget strains were driving the innovative ideas, as well, as the ethical questions of business taking over such aspects of our culture.

The concern for the students of today, costs of education, the needs of society, and the preparation of the future work-force are all of grave concern. There were no solid solutions, except for the possibility of university "patronage".

University "patronage" is not a different concept, as the university was a "patron" of the Church in the Middle Ages. But, I just wonder how liberal an education might be under the auspices of the Church. We do have historical accounts as to how "open" the Church was to modernity/Enlightenment thinking. And how free are certain forms of learning, such as theology, law and medicine, when they are done under Kant's "form" or structuring of the university?

On the other hand, education under the auspises of government oversight is a centralization, beauracrazation and nothing unlike China's. The Church is a "patron" to the nation-state, as is education, itself in this "model".

Kant believed that the academics in other disciplines, the philosophers, made judgment over these three "higher forms" of education. The practical aspects of 'life', theology, medicine and law were to benefit society's "good", while the leisured philosopher was to "take his time" to understand the "finer things" of life.

Reason or the intellectual aspects of man are what make man different from the animal kingdom, and is to be cultivated, if we believe that civilization is of value. Otherwise, humans are prone to be a pawn of their lower passions. And so it is today, for the most part. The disciplined mind is not valued in our society anymore.

The generation that is facing the university today has been over-stimulated by many media "forms" and information outlets that have impacted how the brain recieves information. The previous way of teaching and learning, via 'content" dissemination is "dull" and "out of date" for most of today's students.

Europe is already establishing "standards" across borders, where information./ education can be shared. This is an 'ideal" concept, but what of the security of the West? How are we to protect against certain information that might be dangerous in certain segments of the world? Or do educators believe that education can be "co-erced" and recieved by these segments, so that change to the students might happen? And what of the governance of education, itself, if it is to be globalized? We see how "mass production" has affected education in our own country, so how do we "do" education in such a "global" context"?

I believe that research has proven that without stimulating the student where he volutarily desires an education, the information is "lost". The information will not be internalized, but disregarded out-right, or defensive strategies of rationalization will occur that support an irrational "worldview". This is what religions do all the time to support their "life".

The recent release of classified information has put many in danger of their lives, because to betray a 'faith" is a betrayal of 'god" which is blasphemous. And such behavior demands accountability and judgment! One will not overcome terror through a naive view of education. Terror is a 'worldview', and an experience of life. Cult de-programmers are needed to overcome such a mind-set.

Perhaps, the view that medicine, law, and theology, as a practical disciplines, should be "useful" under government auspices, since it is to benefit society, instead of individual physicians, lawyers, and individual theologians. Does this mean that those in these disciplines are "pawns of the State" and the philosophers? '

I believe that setting up such a "caste system" does disservice to philosophy itself, as well as underming certain segments of society, because it makes the "elite" more pompous about their certain discipline. And wasn't it the scenario that Nazi Germany set up to do their research? or the Roman Empire? Medicine, law, and theology supported such national ambition. Today, the problem is not with nationalism, but globalism. Whenever a universalization is sought there is a discrimination against another group. This is why the "individual" is important to America's understanding of liberty in individual conscience. A globalized world will be a world run by an identified elite, which will be "out in the open" oppression, because it will be considered "legal"!

I am afraid we are playing into the hands of those that want to destroy America's exceptionalism, as it concerns individual liberties and it will be done in the name of society, or "morality". One will be a communistic leaning, the other will be a theocracy under Shairia.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Political Correctness and Free Speech

"Political correctness" is not just a recent phenomenon. And not just one political or social structure has been guilty of it. The problem is not with social structures themselves, but when the social structures obtain the political power to abuse the individual with "political correctness". The individual, not the social structure OR the group, however that is defined, that is most important.

In times past, religion determined what was "politically correct". Religion has the history of investigating witches, scientists, and heretics. The political power of the Church, as a political machine determined what was "politically correct". Political power in such an institution does not grant individual liberty of conscience.

In more recent times, political ideology and nationalism determined what was 'politically correct". "Political correctness' was determined by Nazi Germany. And the discriminated were the Jews. Political power seeks to affirm one group, however that is defined, at the expense of the other.

Today, religion and science vies for the power for "political correctness". Religion, on the one hand, demands obedience and respect, irregardless of questions, opinions and various individual differences. These believe that there is "one way of understanding human experience"  or "God", when it comes to religion.

On the opposite end of political correctness, is science. Science determines what is "real" and what is seeking to understand what is the political correct view of "being human". "Human Nature" is what will be the "politically correct" way of being in the world. There is no individuality there.

Both religion and science seeks to be the determination of global affairs instructuring the world "in their own image". This is why we are in our culture wars today.

Islam, as the "correct" discriminated party today, is protected under our 'politically correct" political "order". No one can say anything against a Muslim because the world is doing its penance toward Islam's discrimination. This "politically correct" view is not dissimilar to African Americans and their discrimination. How is a "political correct" view not discriminating against those that differ in their views?

The world is doing it penance toward these racial /religious discriminatons by a re-distribution of wealth and power. And it is a dangerous enterprise to say the least. Whenever one justifies victimization to an extreme, then we do disservice to human development and enable the victim to remain unchanged. There is a place for affirming "what happened", but there is no justification for "social justice" when justice seeks to make others pay for another 'time' or place in history!

Questions On the "Human"

I have many questions on the "human". And wonder if scientists 'see" or understand the "human" as more than...

Are "humans" more than the "sum of their parts"? Or are 'humans" just a product of their culmulative "memory"? Are they only geared toward "group think"?

Do "humans' have a "human nature", as a unique individual? Or do "humans" have a "Human Nature", a universal type of 'human nature"? How is this to be understood? How can scientists, who themselves are human, be objective about their own humanity when "observing" the "other human"? Does the very experiment, of objectifying or observing the 'human", create a distance that de-humanizes "the other", the one studied?

Are "humans" different from animals? Is so, how? And, how do we know? Are human only different because of their social structures? Or is the human "mind" something that makes the "human" distinct?

And what is the "human mind"? Can we understand how the brain and mind "connect" when various individuals will respond differently? And how can one have a "control group", when there are so many various memories and personalities that would inhibit creating a "Human Person"?

What is the "common denominator"? Our common denominator is our brain. But, the physical aspects of man are not the determining factor to the "human", only a part.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Review of "The Final Cut"

"The Final Cut" was an interesting sci-fi type film, which had implications to society, the greater good, and privacy.

The Zoe implant was a kind of memory system implanted at birth (or later) that videoed a person's life. At the end of life, a person's family would have a "cutter" cut out any extraneous or unwanted memories to present at a 'memorial service".

As this was an expensive "investment" in one's future, not everyone could afford such a "blessing". Those that had the money could afford to control what and how they were remembered. The problem was when a family wanted to "cut out " certain inappropriate behavior of the "remembered video", or when one happened upon their Zoe and got the memories, while still alive. The Zoe was not to be "inspected", except after one's death, and then was "cut" at the discretion of one's family. It was a form of "heritage", I suppose.

At the beginning of the movie, Allan, "the cutter" had had an experience that had impacted his memory such that he became "a cutter". As a boy, he had visited another city and met Louis, who went to investigate an old barn, where Allan proceeded to walk across an old plank and encouraged the other boy to follow.  Louis fell to "his death". Allan found Louis, in what he remembered as "a pool of blood". Allan, had felt responsible for Louis' "death", until the day his memory was retrieved,  and he discovered that "the pool of blood"' was only a can of paint that spilt nearby.

Two situations were illustrative of the problems of "solving  bad behaviors" by "cutting". Isabel wasn't allowed to remember her father's abuse at her father's "cutting". Zoe prevented the "victim" a way to affirm their own sense of reality and gain their respect and dignity.

The other situation was when a woman found her "memories"  before her death, and re-lived those private moments of a past romance. She was rightly outraged at the invasion of privacy.

The moral character that kept warning Alan of the injustice of what he was doing got "his justice" in the end, when Alan was killed and the moral character, retrieved the Zoe implant and got to inspect the "cut" information  from other's lives. These memories were something that could reveal crimes against society, but at what costs?.

I thought the film's re-interpretation of "eternal life" as one's "memory" was an interesting one. And I thought that the message of false guilt and shame that drives people to "atone" for their "sin" was also insightful. And I thought that the aspect of a "moral policemen" whether to justify by "cutting" or to judge by "investigating" another life were two sides of  extremist views.

But, justice and forgiveness was at the forefront of the film's message. Alan could not forgive himself and found himself driven to help others deny their failings by becoming a "cutter". But, what Allan did, in effect, was to further enable the abusor, and deny the victim, justice.

The invasion of privacy is always of importance to free societies where one's feeling and sense of "independence" is an important value. Zoe, in this sense, was like Big Brother. But, while Zoe helped to further "family image",  at the expense of societal norms, Big Brother bans independence from government in personal matters.

Image and reality were the intermingled aspects of this film. Was the memory (image) real? It was, and wasn't.

In Allan's case, he thought his guilt was real, but was imaginary. Myth was an excrusiating "reality" that needed dismantling by reality.

In the case of the little girl and her father, the "reality" and Image was a created one. Myth doesn' t serve anyone's interests in this situation.

So, it seems that myth in real situations can hinder real realities in the real world.

Friday, October 15, 2010

"Equality Under Law"

Americans value equality, but not at the expense of liberty, as without liberty, there is NO equality. Liberty values the right to "offend" because we affirm freedom of speech and the press. There should be no "political correct" viewpoint, unless we want to support a politically empowered ruling class. A "political correct" viewpoint is propaganda, nothing less and is used to undermine liberty to "form" society.

Government is to protect our liberties, IF we are "equal before the law"! What has become defined as "equal under law" is defined on economic justice, and not equal opportunity. Economic justice distributes according to the "standard" that the ruling class deems "sufficient", "moral", "right" or "just". Economic justice attempts to build society through de-motivation of incentive. Humans are to be "moral" in their limiting themselves for the "sake of others". This becomes insane because it enables one class, at the expense of the other class. It is "class warfare" and it is done, so that reactions will "cause" a "crack-down" on society for "a restored order". The result will be 'ordered government" at the expense of human rights, value and liberty, itself.

Religion is also not to be absolutized in its "way of thinking". Religious wars and religious intolerance has been the source of human sacrifice and also a limitation on free speech. Religion defines itself by doctrines of "God". And God has "ruled" over humans in conforming them to religious understanding.

Both absolute government or absolute religion will undermine human liberty and our Constitutional government. America must understand itself as diverse, humane, and just about "equality under law". We are a people who believe in "ordered liberty"!

"Humanity or the Nation-State"?

The journey of "faith" or "discovery of self" has been excrusiatingly painful, at times. The struggle to "beome" a "self", independent and free, not from society, but for society. This is what evey human being does at different stages of their life. It is called human development.

Recently, on another blog, it became obvious to me, at least, that the choice and conflict between one's identification factors have been the basis of America's "culture wars". What do I mean by that?

Our "culture wars" are based on two distinct ways of viewing the world. One has an affirmation of "humanity" as the epitome of "the good". The other side fights for "individuality" and "the right". While humanity is where the universality of human rights is affirmed; the other is where the nation-state and Constitutional government is affirmed. Both are values Americans hold!

This morning on another blog site, bloggers were asked to choose whether they would affirm God's existance or not. It was an experiment, of sorts, to determine whether "good" exists apart from God. It is called the "Euthyphro Dilemma". One side, reason says "good" exists apart from "God". The other side says that "good" doesn't exist apart from "god".  I could not choose, as it became evident to me that I affirm both! Why or How can I affirm both? Both are American values.

America affirms indivdiuality, personal choice, and protection 'under law". In our form of government, "self" and other" are affirmed. The "good" and the "right" are defined by "equal under law". I affirm that "self" and "other" exist and have a right to exist. "Self" is indviduality, choice, and value. And "self" has to do with "rights", while "other" has to do with "society" and government. So, both "self and other", 'individuality and society" have the right to exist, but where individiuals in a free nation such as ours will choose to affirm or value one side or the other, will depend on what they desire to do or be. This is a choice of value.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Now I Get IT (Kant Must Be Proved)

A long time ago when I was in undergraduate school, I had a professor who idealized Kant. He would uphold the value of the "habit of virtue" and "human flourishing". His ideal was acting according to a "standard" of habit, as "human flourishing " was the goal.

Another professor that I had also wanted to do a "study on Kant", just as another liked the idea of an Eastern Christology. These liked the idea of virtue in a world that is filled with dishonestly (The Noble Lie) and personal gain. So, what these aspired to was a behavioral experiment of sorts.

"God was in Christ reconciling the world," The language is theological, but the experiment was a human one. This is a belief in a divinized human being, a saint, if you will. But, can one "create" a saint from the outside, that is, "form" a person by manipulation, and control?

Yes, I think this can and does happen, but not to those who are attuned to such manipulation and controls. These are those who have "understood that language all their lives. And the greater offense is the betrayal of everything that was good, noble and kind in the world. What they thought was to be trusted has left a gaping hole in the heart and life.

What God wants is Personal Sacrifice, as this is True Faith. One is to die for a cause, alto one might not know what the cause is really for. And yet, one is to believe that "God loves them, personally"! No, it is not God loving the Sacrificed; it is God loving others through the sacrifice. This is the life to be embraced, as this is maturity.

 But, isn't this an object lesson to those that want to do such social engineering? and manipulation of the "facts" and the life or another human being? Faith has to be a peronsl choice of value, not an engineered social experiment.

Evil is not understood as an objective, but a personal experience. This justifies what science does to prove the validity of faith. It doesn't seem short of Facist.

Humans might not be equal in all their abilities, but that doesn't negate their individual value. This is why I've been blogging about individualism. Without intellectual humility, "social" or "collectivity" leads to genocide. This is proven by social psychologist. It is group behavior at its worst!

Our nation has gotten to the point of dividing over "the good" or "the right".  And it is collective thinking. And caught in the midst of these fights are those that have lost hope altogether, because of the life left to them.

My brother's suicide taught me that one cannot tell another what is "right", because the personal weight of what seems "the right" might be the "last straw". Was my brother's suicide a lack of faith? Would one judge his life as a life that lacked "character"? I just wonder how his life really matters to those that make such judgments!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"Does History Progress?

Does history progress? Yes and No.

History is not like it was during the Barbarian Invasions, or is it?

History is like it has always has been and ever will be when we look at the need for balancing power. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Tyranny is the name for living under such absolute power.

We cannot survive without vision about our country's future. How and what can we do to make our country "better"? How will we progress into the future? Can we find a way forward through the "culture wars"?

How do we maintain civility when most everyone has lost a sense of direction, OR their sense of direction seems to be challenged? How are we to act as "a people" to one another? Do we believe and upholde the ultimate value of our nation, liberty?

Progress has been experienced in our country through scienctific discoveries, technological advances, and through social changes, that brought about a greater hope to all. Law is not just to maintain order, or control over others, but to bring about a culture that seeks to do justly. And the basis of our laws, is that we are all equal under law, this is what justice is.

Equal under law does not mean that we all have equal abilities, interests, or motivations. But, it does mean that whoever has a desire and will "to be" or "to do" will be given an opportunity. Our society should be invested in the human and the humane, as this is what our Declaration of Independence was/is about, natural rights.

Does history progress? It is up to you, as an individual, to see that it does, and that can only be done with the will to serve and be self-reflective.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Liberty FOR Expression

The ARTS are a universal language, and I am committed to "free speech". The two complement one another in individual expressions of gifting. Free  and open government  is a needed environment for such development. It is the devleopment of creativity. Religion does not lend itself to liberal expression, as things are labeled as "holy" or defiled, etc.

The Reformation's destruction of many art works is a case in point. Because the Reformers believed in a literal "Thou Shalt Not Make Any Graven Image....", they believed that they had an obligation to destroy works of art that symbolized the transcendent world. How sad.

Science invents new ways of understanding reality which also challenges the religious world, because God isn't seen as the absolute cause.

Both the humanities and science have brought untold advantages and benefit to society. We must continue to protect and advance these areas of knowledge.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The ARTS, As a Universal Language

Tonight, we went with friends to our church to see an organ concert. But, it was more than the organ, it was also a Chamber orchestra, and solos on the violin, trumpet, and saxophone. All of these musicians were professionals, hired by local orchestras. And the concert was Free!

The thing that struck me was that we have been going to this church for most of the year and it was never filled like it was tonight. Granted many in the audience had come from other places, if they even attended church. But, what came to mind was; music is a universal language. It gets beyond the cognitive, prepositional to the emotive, where the walls are not up. And it touches where everyone can be touched, as humans.

This is not a new insight, I know, but it came to me, as new and important tonight, because of the movie we saw yesterday.

Yesterday, we saw a moive, "Never Let Me Go". It was a movie made from a best-selling novel. And it was done in a literary style. But, the story was starkly is contrast to its style, which might have made it more impacting to the human pscyhe.

The story was about the developing relationships between three young people in an English boarding school. This boarding school was unlike other boarding schools, because it was used for the sole purpose of protecting and providing an environment to "grow" human specimens to "harvest" their organs.

Soceity was the focus and goal of such an experiment of human "souls". It was all done for the greater good. But, at the end, after much heartache of separation and dehumanization, one of the main characters rationalizes her "lot in life", by saying that her last days were at least happy, as they granted her a few days with the man she loved. And after all, the organ beneficiaries' lives were not unlike her own, as they all must in the end, die!!!

I found myself repulsed, and intensely angered by the "realistic" scenario of such a movie. The reality is the basis of a scientific experiment that treated humans as objects! My heart was wrenched over their "lot in life". Who got the right to determine another human's life? I was outraged!

And then, tonight, the music helped me see that irregardless of differences of ideology, belief systems, or other things that would inhibit communication, music or art was the way that would get beyond those differences and help us to understand and unite as humans!

I think Condelezza Rice, when she was the Secretary of State, did try to cross culturally communicate by sharing of the "human arts" or humanities.