Thursday, February 25, 2010


One of the philosophical dilemmas that I have been reading on, is between equality or elitism. It is not a matter of whether there will be elitism, but what type or leadership is about elitism.

Should equality be based on standardization of the eononmy? These leaders believe that the "masses" should be equal in outcomes, not opportunity. Equality in outcomes means that costs will be similar. Govenment is to maintain the costs of healthcare so that all people can have the same or similar healthcare plan. But, the leaders that are voting this way are not going to submit to the same "equality of outcome". Their "place of priviledge" gives them the right to better choices about their healthcare plan. What this really means is that they don't have to pay for others to have healthcare, not in reality.

Other leaders base their equality on opportunity. These believe that outcome or maintaining costs should not be the focus, but rectifying the injustice through equal opportunity. No discrimination for the individual to have the right of choice. The government does not demand that the individual "take the opportunity" or the right of a certain outcome.. The government is only there to rectify injustice in concerns to discrimination about opportunity. These are civil liberties.

Risks about the choices one makes, whether that means not getting the education needed for a better job, or taking a risk by investments and enteuperneurship. These are individual choices or liberties that Americans value and should value, as it maintains the free society that we have been used to.

Poverty is a social problem, but approaching the problem through equalizing the outcomes, demoralizes those that might choose to do otherwise than what government demands. Is it not the right of the individual who produces to get profit from his effort and labot? Or is government going to determine 'what is right" or "moral" in regards to salary? Is government to be the moral police officier in how the individual chooses to live their life? This will be the case whenever the government gets more and more involved with the decisions of individuals and families in America. We will then have little need for the vision that inspired our Founders to protect our inalienable rights to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness, because government will TELL us what we are to value and how we are to live.


This morning I was thinking about presumption. Presumption causes many problems in relationships, whether they be between two individuals or nations. Presumptions holds one's own views as the "only view" and acts without thought or understanding. This is what offends many about Americans. Traditions are individually oriented by the individual families that make up our nation's "tradition of diversity".

Everyone has heard and seen pictures of the stereotypical "American in Paris". This is funny, but not so funny. People have pride in their cultural traditions and some do not seem to respect these in today's inter-related world.

Our inter-related world has brought about more understanding, but there are still certain courtesies that those not privy to the "inside of culture" might not be aware. Such is the nature of unexposure to another culture.

Many years ago, when we travelled with our children to Paris and were seated at a corner table, as group of American students came in and were seated within our hearing. As they looked over the menu, one loudly asked if the "water was pure enough to drink"! IN PARIS! I was embarassed for her/them/me/Americans. What would make this teen so insensitive? Paris is not a 'third world country"!

I think sometimes insensitivity can happen because of a lack of exposure, or a lack of openness to life itself. The lack of openness can hinder even the experiences we have by being transcribed into our way of understanding or thinking about life especially if the cultural value is not based on rational discourse. This is what causes presumptuous behavior.

This has led me to question the value of culture, and which cultural value is most important. Cultural values have meaning to those that still partake of them. My husband's family has an "unspoken rule" about tea and cookies. There is a "proper way" to make and partake of "tea time". Americans have a casual attitude about such matters, because of our inability to understand why people don't value differences of opinion about ways of doing things. Our differences have made us tolerant, except where it concerns intolerance.

Today's problems "turn" around the intolerant cultures, which demand a strict obedience to certain standardized behaviors. These cultures are dangerous because they cannot tolerate the vast differences in the world. And those that adhere to "a one way of being" in the world are prone to subvert another's liberty in the name of "right", "the sacred", or some other type of presumptuous thinking.

Today, it is probably more important to remember the reasons for certain cultural traditions. These help to bind together a culture/nation and give it an identity. But, it also intensifies one's ethnic identification. This can be damning in today's world, where the world is attempting to "bind" all together, at least in understanding. But, understanding has to be premised upon rationality. And sometimes there is no way to agree or come to a compromise, because the values of certain cultures are so different and so obstinant.

Identity in America is understood, not just within ethnicity, but one's individuality. What does one want to do and how does one want to be in the world. The "world is the limit", because we attempt to protect the minority's right to opportunity and not limit or inhibit "difference".

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

When Someone Lies

Lies affect many things; trust, perception, decisions, hope, desire, etc. Lies cannot be the basis of any ordered society, because the basis of any relationship is trust and the basic perception that decisions are based upon.

I had the T.V. on while I was painting today. Oprah had Andrew Young on, along with his wife. I didn't listen carefully to all the details, as these kinds of things make me sick, but the discussion was about the marital infidelity of Edwards. They were asked to lie for him. They depended on Edwards for their job and sustenance. What were they to do?

I can't understand why anyone would want to cover for another that is decieving thier wife. But, according to Andrew and his wife, Edwards made them think that his wife was about to die. This is horrendously blantant contempt for others, in my opinion. That is hard for me to swallow.

The costs were high for Andrew and his family. "O what a tangled web we weave...." (Shakespeare) rings so true.

Are All Cultures Equal?

Are all cultures equal is a question that faces us in the post-modern West. It is the basis of understanding "life" and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And since Americans believe that all men are created equal, as far as their innate similarities. There are also differences that are formed by the cultures that men inhabit. These are not ultimately equal in my opinion.

Our country believes that humans have an "inalienable right" to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This is a civil right that is determined by the individual, himself.

As our culture allows for divers viewpoints, we affirm the individual's right to own his own life, be responsible toward himself and our society. The responsibilities that our citizens must maintain are those that form our laws. We are equal under law, so we do not believe that anyone is "above the law", or should "subvert the law". We should be law abiding citizens.

But, today, there are those that believe that citizens should be mandated by the government to be their brother's keeper. This is what our liberal policies create and further; irresponsibility of individual citizens. Taxes go to "help" those so unfortunate.

The problem with viewing another as "unfortunate" is that this becomes his own self-perception. And that hinders his desire to become responsible. It "feeds" an unhealthy behavior through giving an unhealthy message.

Although domestic policy has been "damaged" by furthering the "welfare STATE", it is no less so with foreign policy.

Globalism tends to be formulated around multiculturalism. Although multiculturalism should be affirmed as a part of individual identity, it should no be condoned when it comes to universal standards. Why?

Universalizing what is particular deminishes the "ideals' needed to form unity or universal goals. Universal goals should be about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And these goals should be informed by individual differences, gifts and interests, not by some "cultural form" that inhibits individual growth, or ego development.

Are all cultures equal? Yes and No. Yes, as far as a culture is internalized, but not all are healthy environments for developing individuality. So, No, as far as the universal ideals of individual liberty that upholds responsible and self-governing "selves" as the greatest goal of culture.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Is a Particular Language Universal?

Structuralists believe that language holds the structures of society together. These believe that the rules of grammer determine the meaning. But, others do not believe this to be so.

In free societies, I know that words can have many meanings, because we allow for vast experiences that "form" or "condition" the meaning of certain words. But, in societies where certain terms are considered "sacred" or significant in some other way, I wonder how diverse the views might be. Wouldn't there be a limitation to meaning of "sacred words"?

This got me thinking about the term, "marriage". "Marriage" is understood in our society as a contract, as it is a legal document that binds the parties together under voluntary consent. But, there might be more meaning given to this word, if one is prone to understand marriage in a sacred context.

Marriage, then becomes a covenant, because God becomes a party to the contract. Religions tend to structure society around these structural units. But, the way they understand them and whether they are voluntary, between equal parties, or whether they are even between two individuals will vary greatly depending on the cultural context and the religion's definitions.

The experience of the individual within different societies will determine whether there will be different understandings of terms in a given language. And religion determines whether this is a possibility.

The question then becomes for me; "Is the individual the primary source of "expression" and giftedness to society. Therefore society is a servant to the individual's needs?" Or, "Is society of primal significance in the conditioning of the individual and determines how the individual will "give back" to society? Therefore, the social structures are most important to protect for the individual's development?" I tend to believe that both are necessary, of course, but when social structures do not serve the individual in their innatedness, then it can lead to all kinds of dysfuntion. But, what is innate? How does the mind process the brain's stimuli?

I think the debate is held on the basis of a "Structuralist" or a "Functionalist" understanding of social structures or/and individuals.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Necessity of Protecting Civil Liberty

Civil liberty was borne on the heels of oppression of a certain sex, or ethnicity. This is what has prompted civil rights and minority rights.

Although I believe in civil liberties, because free societies are what allow for differences, which is humane, I don't think that the best way to promote civil liberties is by creating a law to protect such a right. Laws define what society maintains as a 'standard" or a "norm". Norms, by definition, discriminate. But, norms also protect society from disruption and instability.

Humans have the right to be different in their convictions and values, because humans should be self-governing. The "self" is what monitors and maintains the individual's values structure. Society must allow for such "liberty", but, not at the costs of stability.

In our country, we have recourse for our grievances. We can petition, protest, and litigate. These rights protect the value of civil liberty which maintains a humane environment for human flourishing. Certainly, we do not want to sanction a STATE or RELIGIOUS mandated system where human values are pre-determined without allowing individuals the right to choose. Choice furthers human flourishing by enabling the individual to evaluate, discriminate and come to terms with their own personal value system.

Civil liberty is about protecting the right of individual choice and individual values.

Healthcare, Health Costs, and Health Choices

On another blog, I interacted with someone about universal healthcare. Our university had presented a "conversation" about the issue that was broadcasted over the Internet. I watched and responded to the blog's summarization. This interaction got me thinking about the complex issues facing our country and healthcare.

The question of healthcare is one of universalization, where all people in need will have availability. The difficulty is how to go about giving healthcare to those who do not have the capacity to get it for themselves.

Some believe that if one doesn't work, he shouldn't eat. This is conservative America, where humans are to be responsible and self-governing. But, what happens to those who do not have a choice about the matter. They are at the mercy of someone to provide for them. This is what many call a "moral obligation".

I think America has had the "free market"'s benefits, because we have had the ability to compete with no intrusive invasion of privacy by government. Government regulation is held to be a "negative" concerning the free market. Because government doesn't allow the competition to get agreesive enough. Humans are the "damaged goods" of markets driven by profit alone.

On the other hand, competition is healthy to drive up the "outcome" of excellence, and to inhibit the complacency of many who would love to take advantage of opportunity at another's expense. So, there is the heart of the individual and the blindness of beaucratic governing that causes egregious "mistakes" in driving down healthcare costs and maintaining those costs at a palatable level.

The profit and protectionism of drug and insurance companies is also the culprit of America's expensive healthcare. Lobbyist are bought and paid for by private interests, which distort the "public good", at times. Drug companies do not make money when chronic diseases are cured. Nor do researchers maintain their royalities when drugs are copied by generic brands.

Insurance companies have to make a profit over and above the number of litgation "profits". And many are culpable to "padding their pockets" by underwriting markets that have not been proven to be "safe". All of the insured pay when profits are driven over and above such excesses.

The university supported a panel that talked about preventive measures to drive down healthcare costs. Many insurance companies are giving incentives to those that maintain healthy lifestyles. And this was affirmed by this particular panel. Private companies can promote public health by these incentives. But, the question of how to drive costs down overall was the major question discussed. No definitive answers were given. And I believe because America's whole system is driven by the market, that everything is hinges on market values.

Companies cannot survive long if profts are not the 'end' of policy.

Then, there is the costs to and from doctors and those in the medical fields. Medical school leaves the young physician with an atrocious bill to pay back. And this burden is motivation for these young professionals to abuse the system, so they can start earning their salaries free of debt.

But, while these young professionals are trying to get on the feet, the insurance that covers malpractice suits is horrendously burdensome. Young professionals cannot practice without these protections because our society supports holding people accountable for their actions. Thus, when doctors "make a mistake', the patient has the option of holding the doctor accountable, so the patient doesn't have to continue to pay physically or emotionally from damages that another has imposed upon them.

Unfortunately, everyone thinks about their right to such retribution, and not how they can alleviate the need for such retribution in the first place.

Healthcare, health costs and health choices are driven by human need. And human needs are not all equal. Our society needs to think about what our values are and what drives the choices we make, so that our society will not prosper its corporate element at the costs of the human element.

Free societies are free to support human flourishing, not human comsumption at any costs.

Character, As the Unseen

Character is about actions, gifting, and personality. But, character is also about the internal motivations of a given action.

Does someone act in a certain way because it is the 'expected thing to do"? Then, the character of this person is a social conformist. These are people that "fit in" because they are understood to be the "good guys". But, is this considered to be the highest motivation of choosing a certain course of action? Certainly, people should act in ways that are usually expected, because this is what promotes social stability. But, if someone does something that is not according to conformity, then how is that action judged?

Some would judge a 'non-conformist' action by the action's results, others would judge the action's principle value, while still others, would judge the action itself as wrong because the action was not in accordance with "tradition", or social conformity.

Most of us are not consistant in our judgments, because we are not aware of why we judge a certain action. And some would never understand "consistancy" or "principle" as a "right action" , because these are people who believe that individuals are more important than "ideologies", agendas, or "principled conscience". These are considered the "humanists" amongst us.

Character cannot be understood by any one aspect, as character is about the whole "package of a person"; their action, their innate nature, their experiences, and their values.

Because people are so diverse in their understandings and "ways of being", free societies are the best form of government for human flourishing. Free societies can affirm the disciplines of scientific exploration and questioning the status quo that can help man understand what is best for human flourishing, and at the same time be humane in affirming opportunity for the individual as equal under law.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Character is More Than Behavior

Character is more than behavior. Although much can be assessed by a person's behavior, one cannot dismiss the innate nature that dwells within the individual. This innate nature is also character. And different characters have different strengths and weaknesses.

Character is personality. Is someone extrinsically motivated. That is, are these "social beings"? Or is the nature of a particular individual more internally motivated? "He is a enthusiastic person"; "She loves to discuss ideas"; " He loves to work with his hands"; "She likes to have people over for dinner". These aspects of personality cannot be disregarded when considering what type of character one has.

Innate nature does not change, (unless there has been an overcompensation from a "past"), but how that nature expresses itself may. People grow, discover new interests, and change their desires throughout their lives. Someone must know someone well, to understand a person deeply. And this sometimes takes years, Some people are never known deeply, as one must be open to be known.

What is Character?

Character in some circles is used like an "ideal". But, "ideals" have to be defined to be really understood. All of us understand our definitions differently because each of us will have different priorities and values concerning what consitutes "character".

If I am a child that has need of a parent to love and nurture me, then "character" is used by the child as a "nurturing and affirming adult". That is "character" to the child in need.

But, if I am drowning in an ocean, and a ship passes by and someone sees my dilemma and rescues me. Then that is "character" because I had a need for someone to be courageous, concerned, and responsive to my need.

If I am an abused wife and have led a fearful and subservient life under the domination of an abusive and controlling husband. I need someone to be sensitive, understanding and considerate to my over-reactions to any form of "interference", as I will view the concern as "control".

But, if I am in a business proposition, I have need for others to be honest and forthright about their expectations, and negotiate those expectations, and outcomes, so that we can agree. The compomises and agreement will benefit both of us, because I have entered into a contract with someone of integrity.

A politician is given public trust by the voter to uphold his promises during the campaign. But, all too often, politics does not allow the individual politician to uphold his promises, because of the contingencies and values of other propositions and political goals of others. So, always there wil be compromise and the public looses trust. And the politician is left as one without "principle" (or character). Principle will not get along with those who differ and cannot compromise to get anything accomplished in the political realm.

What is needed by any one situation or person differs. And "character" understands the needs of the person or situation and tries to act appropriately. Character is the ability to act or respond in a situation regarding others in an appropriate way.

So, what then, is character?

So, whenever someone says "character" to me, I wonder what they mean. They must mean that their particular value is upheld. But, at what costs is their value upheld? Is their value a universal value, or one that they thing "should" be a universal? Do these see the "world" as innately "evil" and they must correct it? Or do they see "beauty", even through tragedy and seek to alleviate the tragic? The universals of life, liberty and the "pursuit of happiness" are universals, but will be defined and understood differently. And free societies will allow such differences.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Character versus Unwarranted Suffering...

Many Christians think that God is the Blessed Controller of All things. This is an absurd proposition. Because humans are the ones who make or break what is in human government.

Our Founders understood that the individual had natural rights, that undergird what we now understand to be human rights. Without these rights, governments, which are forms of leadership oppress individuals.

There seems to be a movement abreast about social conscioussness, social awareness, or collectivism, because this is a way to subvert individual's their right under law.

Government does NOT exist without leadership and leadership should ONLY be given to those who have won the right to lead....and individuals willl vary as to what requirements determine that right of leadership. But, it hinges on TRUST!

The right to leadership is where our values play into our decisions in voting and political engagement. In free societies, we wil all never agree, but we are allowed a 'voice' and rightfully so. If we have been dismissed or have not had a voice, then we are free to move elsewhere or associate with others who are more like-minded. This is what our liberty is about. And our Founders won it for us with the shedding of their blood. We should never take it for granted.

Stand up America for the values of liberty. We cannot allow domination in any form in our leaders. I look forward to seeing what tomorrow may bring when the "tea parties" have had their say!!!


Anarchists do not believe in government's power or right, because they believe that the people have the right to liberty, irregardless of government's needs. Government is not an established authority, but a "consented authority".

I have been thinking about this, as another blog had a survey on which type of government would be the best. But, they did not include a Constitutional Republic! And I wondered why....

I answered a Democratic Capitalist, because I don't adhere to Socialism, or Dictatorship. And as I believe that our government by it very nature protects individual civil liberties, I didn't go for "Anarchism". But, on further reflection, isn't this what the "tea parties" are about? So, maybe I am an anarchists.

The "tea parties" are tired of government subverting the right of the people, because our government was founded on the premise of be a government "by the people and for the people", as well as being a government given "power by the people, themselves"!!! So, maybe under certain circumstance, I am for anarchism....

Didn't our Founders subvert the previous form of government, a monarchy...and wasn't the Civil War about the rights of those who weren't represented in our "Representative Republic"?

Although there has been debate about State rights, versus Federal rights, or Localism versus can we deny that we are already bound to a globalist economy? Trade has mandated that this is so. But, we are not prepared for the diveristy in which government's do trade, are we? And how do we maintain the individual's free choice, when others do not have those same values?

A lot has to be reflected upon before we get ourselves into further danger. We have let down our borders with no consideration of what this must or may mean to American's values of life and liberty...

I guess I am learning that there is no "ideal" world, but there are "ideals". And "ideals' lead to the wars we have because "ideals' determine what kind of political system one believes in. "Ideals" speak to man's hopes, dreams, and possibilities. And Americans are big on thier ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, for the person, the his or her own right.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Collectivism Leaves Us Demoralized

“The word 'altruism' was coined in the early nineteenth century by the French philosopher Auguste Comte (who also invented the word 'sociology' ). For Comte, altruism is not simple benevolence or charity, but rather the moral and political obligation of the individual to sacrifice his own interests for the sake of a greater social good. It should be noted that Ayn Rand did not oppose helping others in need, provided such actions are voluntary. What she opposed was the use of coercion--that is, the initiation of physical force--in social relationships. The doctrine of altruism, in Rand's view, is evil partially because it serves to justify coercion, especially governmental coercion, in order to benefit some people at the expense of others.” -- George H. Smith

"Do not confuse altruism with kindness, good will or respect for the rights of others. These are not primaries, but consequences, which, in fact, altruism makes impossible. The irreducible primary of altruism, the basic absolute, is self-sacrifice -- which means: self-immolation, self-abnegation, self-denial, self-destruction -- which means: the self as a standard of evil, the selfless as the standard of the good.
"Do not hide behind such superficialities as whether you should or should not give a dime to a beggar. That is not the issue. The issue is whether you do or do not have the right to exist without giving him that dime. The issue is whether you must keep buying your life, dime by dime, from any beggar who might choose to approach you. The issue is whether the need of others is the first mortgage on your life and the moral purpose of your existence. The issue is whether man is to be regarded as a sacrificial animal. Any man of self-esteem will answer: "No." Altruism says: "Yes." ...
"As to Kant's version of the altruist morality, he claimed that it was derived from 'pure reason,' not from revelation -- except that it rested on a special instinct for duty, a 'categorical imperative' which one 'just knows.' His version of morality makes the Christian one sound like a healthy, cheerful, benevolent code of selfishness. Christianity merely told man to love his neighbor as himself; that's not exactly rational -- but at least it does not forbid man to love himself. What Kant propounded was full, total, abject selflessness: he held that an action is moral only if you perform it out of a sense of duty and derive no benefit from it of any kind, neither material nor spiritual; if you derive any benefit, your action is not moral any longer. This is the ultimate form of demanding that man turn himself into a "shmoo" -- the mystic little animal of the Li'l Abbner comic strip, that went around seeking to be eaten by somebody.
"It is Kant's version of altruism that is generally accepted today, not practiced -- who can practice it? -- but guiltily accepted. It is Kant's version of altruism that people, who have never heard of Kant, profess when they equate self-interest with evil. It is Kant's version of altruism that's working whenever people are afraid to admit the pursuit of any personal pleasure or gain or motive -- whenever men are afraid to confess that they are seeking their own happiness -- whenever businessmen are afraid to say that they are making profits -- whenever the victims of an advancing dictatorship are afraid to assert their "selfish" rights.
"The ultimate monument to Kant and to the whole altruist morality is Soviet Russia." – Ayn Rand

I think that demoralization happens whenever choice is devalued or denied. And demoralization leads to addictions, and even suicide, because of the demoralization that subsumes individuality. Russia has a high addiction to alcohol, for instance. Suicide happens mostly from those who have been demoralized through crisis in life. Why live, if one has been annihilated anyway?

Christians "use" the term of self-sacrificial "love" to affirm such sacrifice for the 'greater good'. But, this is does not come from a healthy self assessment, but from a needy and perverted way to gain self-affirmation from others.

Jesus has been useful for Christian "moralists" as an example. But, Jesus life was taken by the power hungry religious and the greedy and powerful State. Fortunately, for us, there is a recourse to such greedy grabs for power over the individual in today's modern world.

We must not allow such means an opportunity to gain a foothold under any "moral guise" of "greater good". Otherwise, we will become pawns to dictators, who demand obedience at the costs of our liberty. We must not submit!

Economics and Choice

I just recieved an "invitation" to a conference on "socio-economics" that had attached a file about psychological/sociological questions concerning economics. It was interesting. And it got me thinking about the reasons of individual choice myself.

The article posed that there was no over-arching theory that unified all the facts about economic behavior, which I didn't find very surprising. Economic behavior seems to be at odds with "neo-classical theory".

Of course, there is suggestion that one's upbringing which not only includes one's personal family, but one's culture will determine what will bring about a "rational choice". The values "caught" or taught are internalized into the individual's cognitive frame of reference in decision-making. But, I question this "universal", because, our children were all raised with the same value orientation, but have vast differences in their "rational choices" when it concerns money decisions. So, are their differences due to their birth order, their personality, their peer group influence, or their genetic determination? And how are these understood in the "cut of the pie" (statistically speaking)?

I think that it is imperative to also include the "meaning of money" in a given familial culture. Was money the most important value for the family, or was it just a "means" to an end? And what was the end? Those who have been pampered materially, but impoverished in other ways, have attached certain "meanings" to money that other would not have and give the impression that they are materialistically motivated, but really, they are motivated more by what is meant by the "meaning or value" given to money. Was there a value of liberty, when it came to the choice about money?

Self-perception is also an avenue of exploration in economic behavior. Has the family of origin given a certain perception about the value of the individual due to its emphasis on money and its behavior toward the child in its monetary decisions? But, this variable must also consider the individual child's personality/temperament in economic behavior. Is the child's personality or pre-disposition toward money 'inherited" genetically, or environmentally?

I think that beginning with the assumption that all people will base their choices on economic gain, is short-sighted. There are other values that an individual might hold that are dearer to him. And this is the ultimate mistake of those studying such matters in the West. It is assumed that ALL individuals in the West will consider economic gain as the ultimate value. The unifying value of the West is not money, but liberty. And liberty is the "environment' of capitalistic enterprise.

Moreover, an individual will also change or prioritize certain values over the course of his life, depending on what he is facing, or has to consider. The complexity is astounding, when one begins to think about all the possibilties and probabilities for the individual, much less formulate a universal theory of a whole population. This is why capitalists argue that theirs is the most "productive" means of propering society. It allows the openness and opportunity of all possibilities and probabilities in a given population and individual choice.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Apologies, But, No Apologies

Apologies are offered to anyone that has "happened" upon this blog and been offended. I speak my personal opinion for two reasons.

The first is something I hold dear and cannot compromise. It is the value of the freedom of speech and the press!!! Without the right to speak one's mind, there is no freedom, but oppressive conformity to what is "politically correct". Political correctness subverts the ability for individuals and the populace to have information and come to conclusions themselves. I think this is a value we cannot undermine without undermining free society, itself.

The question comes as to what is appropriate. In a personal blog, I think it is appropriate and even mandantory to express what is on one's mind. And what one thinks. No one is bound to read anything that is written here, or anywhere else, as it is a way of me processing and coming to terms with values.

The other reason is just as important for me personally. I need to write my opinion, irregardless of what anyone else thinks. This is an attempt to assert myself, build courage to speak my mind, in spite of what has imposed itself upon me by environmental conditioning. Perhaps, it is an adolescent stage of "coming into my own". Or it may be a "mid-life" stage of finding my true voice. I don't know, yet. But, I hope to learn and grow in the process of exploring and come to terms with what I cannot give up. Thus, my stripping away of what seems to be extraneous. Critical thinking is necessary in this process. I may not have developed my thinking altogether, but I am trying and this is a good thing.

I believe that those that are secure in their convictions, and values, will not be offended by my "voice".

Monday, February 15, 2010

I Used to Like Sociology

My "first love" was psychology, but since my family was fundamentalists, they didn't want me to major in psychology. (They really didn't want me to go to college, but become a dental hygenist.) So, right out of high school, I chose to major in English. But, later chose to major in Sociology.

Since I married before finishing college, I was going to transfer to the new college shortly after moving and finish my degree. But, out of state tuition was prohibitive, so we decided to wait the year to establish residency and a lower tuition bill. But, an uplanned pregnancy changed the plans of my life for the next 13 years. I was too busy raising my family and establishing a "home".

As my husband changed vocations and tuition was underwritten by his institution, he encouraged me to finish my degree. But, the institution did not have a major in Sociology, only Social Work. I couldn't see myself committing to the socialistic view of welfare (at least that was the way I understood social work). And I still can't. I am too much of an individualist.

I used to like Sociology, as I used to be "enamored with family". But, family, and organizational structures as a whole leave a lot to be desired, when one comes to understand that these structures do not "care" about the individual, only their agenda, or goals. This is not as it should be in families, but all too often the conservative have a "right way" of teaching that they can't see the child themself. Or the more liberalized are too concerned for their career to be bothered with "such nonsense" of child-rearing to consider the needs of the child. (I know that I am overly sterotyping "cultures", but just to make my point...).

And then, there is the "culture" of "evil", which is "inhabiting" a organizational structuring that doesn't "see" the parts for the whole. This is the culture of "social death", and "isolation". The individual's own life is consumed and assumed by the organizational structure. And it kills and dishonors the life of the individual. This is what collectivism does, because it is caught up with its own vision, purpose, plan or "image". The politics of collectivism is demeaning and demoralizing, unless one is "at the top".

So, I don't think I like Sociology, like I once did. And yet, I know that the world must survive by organization.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Synthesis of the Id and Super-Ego...

A synthesis of the Id and Super-Ego is probably the most healthy way of functioning in society and as an adult.

A synthesis affirms both the individual's desires and innatedness, as well as positions the person to his service in society. So, the Id's desires must be honed by a specific and special training. It is the becoming of a 'self" to give. The Ego is the "gate-keeper" of both the Id and Super-Ego and must be appropriately "equipped" by society, if the individual is to "give back" to society. But, society cannot and must not determine the individual's place. That is to be left to "the consent of the governed".

Society is the public domain, whereas, the private domain of "self-development" is the "gated" domain of friends and family. The cheer-leaders of "self-development" are not disregarding and disrespectful of the "quirks" of the individual, but allow that individual the freedom to "become" without obfuscating his "vision", and "goals".

No individual is developed by groupish following of "the leader", but by critical engagement and challenge to the individual's giftings and interests.

The Super-Ego and the Id

Scientists today are interested in "altruism". How do humans who are made to "survive" based on their personal interests to take interests in others? Religion and tribal/cultural understandings of formation of the Super-Ego have been understood to help along the "ultimate good", "pubic good", or "moral imperative". But, is societal "good", the "collective" the greatest value one is to value? This is the question posed to moral philosophers, psychologists, sociologists, diplomats, and theologians.

Freud made popular the terms Id and Super-Ego. These terms are used to identify how individuals naturally are pre-disposed and how they become due to societal/cultural impact. Whenever there is a coflict between the Id and Super-Ego, the Ego uses defense mechanisms to "cope" with anxiety.

The child needs a nuturing environment to survive. And as Western society has lost its sense of responsiblity and obligation to its young, Western culture has suffered the dire consequences. The family is the first formative community that the child encounters to teach and train. As the child grows and experiences his teachers, and others that impact the child, the child learns to trust or mistrust "life". Is life to be embraced, explored and trusted, or is life to be a challenge to life itself due to impoverishment, whether physical or social? These are the social problems that face the West. And it becomes the question of the developing Id and Super-Ego.

I think that whenever the individual, whether a child or adult, is undermined through subversive means, then it is an undermining of the stability that will bring about "altruistic concern". How can one who has not recieved the proper nourishment from society, be or become what society needs to further the goals of human flourishing?

Human flourishing has to begin at the individual level for the individual to "give back" and bring about human flourishing for another. The "super-ego" can be a gift or a curse depending on how that has been formed in early childhood. Has the environment been nurturing or punitive? And how has the parent handled the child's innate desires? Have they been affirmed as far as possible, without subverting the child's "good"?

Parenting the child's "Id', his innate desires is an important part of developing the child's gifts. If the parent is too afraid of the desires of the child because of some punitive understanding of religious doctrine, then the child becomes malformed and may sabatoge his own happiness later in life.

I think that religion can be prohibitive to healthy development due to a "fear of God". If one has certain natural desires, then one is "doomed to be punished". Happiness is not to be sought in the development of what one desires, because one must sacrifice for 'God. This is seen as the ultimate in service to God. But, sacrifice and subservience is an unhealthy understanding of faith. The fundamentalist appraoch to faith demeans the "human".

Capturing the "The Last Station"

My husband and I love to see a good movie and we were NOT disappointed with "The Last Station". The story was about Leo Tolstoy and his relationship with his wife and the differences of their views. The underlying message, at least to me, was that life cannot be captured by the objective alone.

The objective viewpoint was Tolstoy's, who had captured the "ideals" of peace and good-will for humanity. But, those who were following his ideals were subverting some very basic human componants, which were captured by the wife's viewpoint. Her's was a subjective view of relational intimacy.

After viewing the film, everyone sat still and quiet for quite some time. I hadn't seen this response, if ever, after a film "was done". It had struck a cord in the heart of those who had watched and its effects were resonating long after the movie's last "cast of characters".

Go see it, but be forewarned that there are some sexually explicit scenes.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Problem With "Holiness"

"Holiness" has been useful for the religious, because of their need for identification "apart from the rest of the world". Therefore, the sects continue to separate from what is "unholy" to define and refine "who they are".

The problem with "holiness" is that it distinguishes one thing from another based on some "standardization". These standards are what religion is about. Standards of behavior in how to approach God, do one's duty, dress, perform, experience, and even think, etc. Religion is a false or pretentious "form" of judgement. These judgments are "justified" by texts, traditions, and "community norms".

What is really at stake is the individual's freedom to become apart from such religious "forms". Religion imposes itself on the natural world without allowing the individual freedom to question, and come to terms with their own "way of being in the world". Democracies allow such freedom. Apart from a free society there is no individuality.

Today's world is wrought with religious zeal that finds its identity in such "faith" apart from reason. And many find themselves under domination because of false convictions that are not really theirs. This imposition is really about co-dependence and "belonging", not healthy human flourishing and development. And co-dependence is about an under-developed ego.

At least that is my "unprofessional" assessment.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


In last post, I made a grave mistake. I stated that government was never meant to give power, but to limit power.

In one sense, this is true, as it limits what one can do to another, but I also believe that limited government is what the Founders intended for our free society. Limited government doesn't give power by enabling bad behavior that disregards another's life. But, it does give power in the sense of enabling the individual to choose and determine his own destiny. That is the "ideal".

But, experience underlines the facts. And the facts are that all are not equal in opportunity. Some believe it is the government's job to rectify that "injustice'. This is what our country does in minority rights. But, as I have expressed before, minority rights can bring about reverse discrimination, the unintended consequence.

The world is filled with 'injustice" and I don't think that injustice will ever be resolved completely, because there are always two sides to any issue, if not more. We must do what we can or will to prepare for injustice. And this is why laws are in place, in the first place.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Why is Democracy the Greatest Value?

Democracy is the greatest value for human flourishing. Why is this so? There are various reasons, but the basic reason is the value of diversity.

Diversity ranges the gambit from personality, interests and talents of the individual to nation-states and their interests. But, the nation-state, cannot undermine the interests of the individual without doing disservice to civil rights. And civil rights are what our Founders promised as freedom from tyranny.

On the other hand, the nation-state is formed by the type of individuals that form "a more perfect union". Thus, character is a necesary ingredient for citizens and those in public office. Character is individual pre-disposition. As an individual matures, the weaknesses/strengths of the indvidual 's personality become tempered through various experiences or furthered 'expanded" by ulimited and unaccountable power. Those who hold "utopian dreams" or "idealized self-promotion" come to realize the limitations and corrections of reality in a real world. Life, itself teaches, tempers and trains.

In a Constitutional Republic, laws form the basis of proper behavior within a given society. The evolutionist understands the law as a tempering to "survival skills", whereas the religionist sees the law as tempering "sin". The Founders defined our nation-state's "proper behavior" by the "Constitution". The "Declaration of Independence" was only the beginning to being ruled by law and not by outside human authority.

The psychologist, sociologist or cultural anthropologist understands Constitutional government as integrated into the human psyche, as an environmental conditioning, while the religionist believes that government is the order of the universe under God. And the evolutionary "philosopher" biologist, or physicist understands government to be an evolving enterprise.

Each person is allowed their understanding in a "Constitutional democracy". The problem today is the place of power, which the tea parties are addressing. Government was never meant to give power, but to limit power. The limitation of power was to maintain the ordered structure, because whenever an individual or group usurps the right of another to information, due process, dissent, and voice, the disempowered rebels and resists. Today, unlimited power of those in our public offices are what frustrates the democratic process and what the "rebel" tea parties are resisting. Accountability of our public officials are what those in public office should never undermine ubt uphold. Transparency is a necessary character trait of those that seek public office. Our Founders never intended for power to be unaccountable whether through subversion of information, or free speech. This is where cultural diversity ends and tyranny begins.

Tyranny happens whenever power is unlimited. Today's intellegensia, political elite and the monied are those that drive policy. And "science" is what defines the intelligensia and prospers the monied. Therefore, science drives and formulates the frame of the democratic discourse. Whenever a scientific elite has unlimited power to frame the discourse, we have an abuse of power that undermines the democratic process, freedom of information and freedom of speech, because the "evolving enterprise" of science is not "natural", so much as the human and political enterprise of governing.

Diversity must be affirmed in all its demensions, whether individual personality, cultural, or scientific for the democratic process to uphold a free and open society where tyranny is maintained under the "rule of law".

The 'tea parties' are a beginning to balancing what has become tyrannical and what the Founders wanted to prevent.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Why Democracy is the Most Important Value

This morning I have been thinking about liberty, and how thankful I am that I live in a free society. Here are some quotes, from philosophers, politicians, Christians, and journalists that value democracy and uphold liberty of conscience.

Anna Garlin Spencer:
The earth is ready, the time is ripe, for the authoritative expression of the feminine as well as the masculine interpretation of that common social consensus which is slowly writing justice in the State and fraternity in the social order.

If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in the government to the utmost.

Barry Goldwater:
Those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth. And let me remind you, they are the very ones who always create the most hellish tyrannies. Absolute power does corrupt, and those who seek it must be suspect and must be opposed.

-->C. S. Lewis:
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.

Dorothy Thompson:
Of all forms of government and society, those of free men and women are in many respects the most brittle. They give the fullest freedom for activities of private persons and groups who often identify their own interests, essentially selfish, with the general welfare.

Individuals must protect the liberty of the other, if they want to protect it for themselves. And I don't believe that some think that this is reasonable, because they think that how they find "life" is how everyone finds it. Their understanding should be everyone's, because it is ultimately true. Arrogance is borne on the heels of ignorance, or power and both must be tempered by "education".

This morning there was a cartoon of an elephant and donkey that were looking up to see "tea bags" raining from the sky! I herald the effort of the tea parties, as I think this is the only way to win the war against tyranny. We must educate ourselves about our historical roots and determine that we will resist tyranny. Let's hope that the means that our Founders "put in place" are still enforceable and that there are enough people who care and have the power to use those means!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Dominion and Stewardship

Christians believe in the "creation mandate". These believe that since God created all that is, humans are responsible to be responsible. It is no less true for the scientific materialists. These also believe that one must dominate and steward the earth's resources. Therefore, there has been an alliance of purpose, so that the world, or globalized efforts will "come into being". But, is 'one purpose' the best way or best option among options of "leading the world"?

Science in the West has been useful to bring about a better way of life, in quality to health, and comfort of lifestyle. We believe that science gives us opportunities to explore and discover yet to be known facts about our physical environment, so the the earth can be its best in serving mankind's needs.

Christians, and other faiths, also believe that the earth is of value to protect. Therefore, the environmental movement, from global warming to recycling has impacted the globe, whether believer or unbeliever. "Avatar" is only one amongst many sci fi movies that feature American interests in science, environment and "mystery" (the yet to be discovered).

"One world" can come about through such goals and visions of stewardship and dominion. But, in our world of global conflict, ideological differences, is it going to bring about "the Kingdom of God", "peace on earth", or "Utopian dreams"?

With limited resources, and within limited means of bettering the world, how are we to envision that all will have equal? or live under equal protections of "law and order"? Is duplicity a means to that end? And what of those that are duped under such means? What is the real purpose of the law?

It becomes clearer as the West has opened its doors and heart to those "without", whether national identity or social and economic means, that the world is much too complex to hope for "utopian ideals". Laws define the boundaries around national identity. And laws conflict when ideology conflicts. This is why some in the West are frustrated by Islam's demand for special consideration of their laws. The U.N. has acquiesed. And the West is suffering under what to do with Shairi'a.

This is not to say that those that have "hearts of gold" or seek to "sainthood" should not seek to do good, waiting for a reward later, or whether they just don't "miss" the funds they send because they have so much anyway.

I just oppose those who want their visions to be everyone's. Stewardship and dominion must be held, defined and expressed within different value systems. Stewardship may mean for those without the ability to give to the poor, that they don't buy the "Coke", so they can afford the formula for the baby at home. And for those who have so much, well, they are free to give as their hearts desire, because they won't miss it anyway.

Dominion of the earth and its "goods" is a way of viewing leadership in honing the earth's resources to better mankind. Scientists have the ability to dominate the earth in the way their specific expertise designs. But the personal commitments, and values of individual scientists, will determine how that will be lived out in their lives. There is no "one way of being in the world". It is a matter of commitment, choice, and value. And it is a matter of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.