Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The New Racists and The Not So New Agenda

Power is how people gain position, and control over others. But, power was not absolute in American government, as power was to be balanced. There are checks and balances that were to prevent grabs for power. But, people have devious ways to influence others through use of emotion, and sway their opinion, move their action and grab the power from them deviously. Such are the "New Racists".

This morning I was listening to a program where a man called in and insisted that the new immigration legislation is motivated by racism. When questioned about how he came to that conclusion, he said that it was obviously based on the white power that asserted control over those of "color". Isn't that racism? This man's conclusion and thinking were based solely on race, not on the value of the argument of citizen rights versus human rights.

Racism is a strong identifier, as one cannot help what ethnic identity they are born. But, civil rights has been useful for the left to assert minority issues for any human rights issue.

I believe that the historical context of the civil right movement was in its abuse of power over a segment of our own society. Our constitution granted liberties to their citizens and citizens were defined by locale of birth. Those that came to our shores as immigrants had certain requirements to become citizens. Even to have the right to work, an immigrant must get a green card. America identified itself by those who were by birth or legal means "one of us".

But, today, it is assumed that anyone who desires to reside in this country deserves that right. And if by chance one of these is of color, then there is no limit to the outrage and outcry of "injustice" based on "racial equality". And yet, it has little to do with racial equality, but with being a part of our nation, under the "rule of law".

Racism is the means of a "new agenda", the globlists agenda, that will undermine our nation's Sovereignty and undermine citizen rights. Do not be surprised when those that come to your door asking for papers, do so not to prove American citizenship, but a "World Citizen", who really has no rights, because we will live under the "New Aristocracy".

Providing Papers and Protection of Ordered Liberty

Many that are crying out against such injustice as asking those in our country to provide papers to prove their citizenship, or legal immigration status do not seem to see the irony of government requiring the American citizen to provide papers about having insurance coverage!

American citizens must do what their government demands, while their government dismisses their responsiblity of upholding the Constitution and protecting our borders! So, our laws are being re-defined, slowly but surely, to those that are unawake!

Does it seem to anyone but me that government's requirements upon their citizens are becoming more and more demanding, while theirs is ignored, dismissed, or rationalized? Where are our leader's obligation to support their Constitutional duties toward those who are protected by these laws? The American Citizen!

Globalists Agenda and the Demise of Western Civilization

History is impacted by the latest philosophy, that impacts its academic climate. The Academy has power that has shaped the "color" and thinking of the young. And this is an important aspect to understand critically.

Today's academic is geared toward global concerns, as this is what is important if one is to remain relevant. The world has become globalized through our interconnections of communication and commerce. How have the global concerns impacted the Academy?

I think that the globalist has sought to undermine the nation-state status and the identification factors that define the citizen.

America's citizen is defined by the Constitution. And the Constitution has been understood in the liberal Academy as a 'living document" that must speak to the present condition, that being the global. The Constitution becomes irrelavant in such a context, because it limits and defines people that distinguish themselves. Distinction has become defined as discrimination, because if anyone dares to make a statement about citizen rights, then one is making claims above another 'human'. The argument becomes absurd.

But, the Academy cannot stop at the 'human' but with any living entity, because the Academy has come to understand our "interdependence" on all kinds of life. There becomes little distinction or way to define value about life, because all life is necessary. Ethical values are undermined because we dissolve again one distinction from another.

I think that America is experiencing its crisis because of such thinking. The "social" has trumped the individual. Society itself it the ultimate value, instead of individual liberty. The indivdual is only defined by his social context, and not by his own values, choices, and innatedness.

I agree with those that are angry about what is being done in the name of "right", the "moral imperative", or "moral concern". Whose "right", "moral imperative" or 'moral concern"?

Americans believe we are defined by our Constitution that has granted the citizen certain rights of liberty. The social agenda of the globalists, socialists, or the naturalists is NOT what has defined American values. And this is the problem, I think. We have been a people that have been identified by our ideals, that have created an environment that has prospered the individual's choice of value, resulting in the prosperity and liberty in our society.

Today, the very liberty that has brought about our prosperity is in danger. The few have been corrupted and America as a whole must pay. We haven't understood ourselves in this way. It is a hard awakening. But, awake we must be!

"Human" and the Citizen

Much has been "thrown out" on the radio and T.V. concerning the recent immigration problem. The discussion, I think, can be boiled down to two views on what it means to be a "person", or "human" versus a citizen.

Humans are by nature social animals. A Dateline special illustrated how individuals have "herd mentalities". In an elevator where Dateline employees were told to turn with their backs to the elevator door, everyone in the "studies" mimiced the "group". People do not question, for the most part.

But, today's crisis forefronts the problem of what it means to be human! Americans are identified with certain liberties that are defined and protected by our Constitution. And lately, it seems that our government has not been forthcoming in protecting our literal boundaries, which has caused a crisis in our identified boundaries. Civil liberties have been for the most part understood to be for those that live within certain geographical borders.

Boundaries are identifiers of persons. These are various complexions of an individual's social world. And some believe that all individuals deserve rights under "natural law", these are the "humanists" and globalists. The "human" is what defines the individual. Others believe that societies construct individuals with their particular laws, which maintain distinctions and underlie a person's "real identity". These believe that the various social groups define the individual, as to identity.

The problem, as I understand it, is can a "human" be a person, as persons need social contexts to define themselves. Or do they? Does an individual understand himself apart from social groups? I think that they can. Humans are reasonable animals. We seek to rationalize our existance. This is the way we cope and understand the world.

America has understood itself to be a nation ruled by law. The Constitution defined our 'union", and protected its citizens rights. But, a Constitutional government is representative of its people. The people (identified as Americans) are warring over their right to exist apart from invasion from outsiders. These outsiders threaten society through their crime and a dissolution of boundaries which breeds fear and anxiety over their "identified way of life".

Therefore, the 'human' is the lowest denominator for identification purposes. Citizens understand themselves in more definitive ways. And those that live in civilized Western societies understand themselves as a person in his own right. Americans come to understand themselves apart from the former contexts of identification, but may choose to become identified to these social groups for other reasons.

All humans are social animals, but the social animal is not civilized without society's impact. And society's impact is not an ultimate value, as the individual himself needs to develop beyond the dependent stage on society. The individuals allowed such liberty come to understand themselves and their own values apart from the greater whole, and can come to find their own place for themselves.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Faith and The Quadralateral

As I have been thinking along the lines of what values are most important to individuals, on what basis do individuals maintain or uphold their values? This "foundation" or "beginning" is what gives definition to values.

The four basis on which to base one's values are; Reason, Experience, Tradition and Text. Of course, without understanding that humans MUST approach any "foundation" through reason and experience, one is short-sighted.

Reason is basis of science. Science is produced by hypothesis, experiment, observation, verification, and conclusions. But, one's approach to any scientific endeavor is based on some understanding of 'universal laws" which guard the order in which man even begins to understand the "outcomes" of the experiment. But, does man understand the 'whole order' of the universe?

Experience is what the humanists base their understanding of "life" on. Experience is human existance. And human existance is understood by observation, and sense encounters. Are these observations and sense encounters different from other conscious entities?Wherein lies individual diversity? Is the human person uniquely distinct or innately similiar? Where does the elements of environment and physicality intersect? How do we know or understand consciousness? Is consciousness what makes one "human"? Is there a distinction of consciousness between the human and animal kingdom? If so, what is that difference? How did humans develop? Those who study the aspects of "man" use anthropology, psychology, sociology, linguistics, humanities, history, business, marketing, commerce/trade, international relations, political science, law, etc.

Tradition is narrowed as a sub-set of human experience. Tradition is understood by cultural studies, religion, religious studies, sociology, social psychology and historical texts but also crosses over into the experietial domains of commerce, trade, international relations, linguistics and history that impact that particular tradition.

Texts are those written forms of documentation of history that impact and/or form a culture.

The universals are reason and human experience, as other aspects of human existence are relative to cultural frame. And cultural frames are relative, while reason and experience are universal. What kind of faith do you have? Rational faith, existential faith, or a cultural faith?

The West allows for government that is accomadating to cultural diversity, while maintaining reasonable ways of negotiating conflict in our courts of law. The value of individuality in making the choice of cultural values is what makes for a flourishing human existence. Therefore, I have faith in liberal democracy to create the best environment for humans.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Motivations Are ALL Oriented In the "Self"

Motivations Are ALL Oriented In the "Self" I have been thinking about motivations, or the basis of any action. I believe that all people do what they do for "self" reasons, even seemingly, "alturistic" ones.

Children, who have not developed a sense of "self", but gain their identity from their families will "fight" over whose father is bigger, or whose tricyle is faster. These childish arguments are humorous to adults, but adults have similar fights. Fights don't end up in name-calling and yelling, but can end up in "shunning", de-valuing another's difference and right to voice or outright political black-ball.

People are motivated by what kind of "image" they want to portray or what outcomes they desire. Even when these "outcomes" are ones that are "universal", or "global" in scope, they are motivated by the value of that particular person and how that particular individual understands their value system and on what basis their values are "valued". But, the "outcome" of their motivation is for "image" and "influence" to be enlarged, upheld or protected from imagined or real threat.

Some "universalists" are motivated out of concern for others, because they think this is what they "should" be or do. These are culturally influenced to benefit society by serving society's needs "unselfishly". These individuals have been "trained" by their family of origin to protect the "family name", or culturally influenced to "protect cultural values".

Other "universalists" are motivated because of concern for limited resources. These are fearful that the world's resources will limit future life. But, while these are driven by "containing" wastefulness, they end up determineing another's life choices, this is a "selfish alturism", because scientism has no way of gauging difference of value, between the human who chooses and has reason for that choice, and any other living entity. Everything is dependent on everything else. So, which is to be the most important "natural" value? The environment, or the free market?

Some are driven only by material gains, which disregard any other "end" or "outcome" and these are what drive beauracries, or corporations. The larger the "collective" then, the more "lost" are the individuals in the "collective". And the more limited their choices will be, because of 'regulation and/or control over distributions, or "profits".

The enviornmentalists must determine or decide which form of life is of highest value. The highest value in nature is what is of necessity for the earth to survive. Without this resource, the other dependent life forms are doomed. But, which form of life? Or which natural element is most important? Even though science knows enough to predict what we can or can't do without, what of future innovation? Should what we know now determine what the environmentalists limit today? If so, the environmentalists might limit the very resource necessary for the free market and a free people to discover another resource that would help alleviate such dependence.

Even the humanists value the "moral image" of being humane. Don't the humanists take pride in their fight for "right" of all mankind? This is "self's" value. And the fight is for image, one that underwrites the humanist's "cause". Even Mother Teresa was invested in "moral image" through her association with the Sisters of Mercy, setting an example for others. Some might call it "self sacrifice" for the service of Christ. But, in essence, it is seeking Christ's affirmation, example, or reward for the "self".

What "should" drive our greatest value? If there is an acknowledgment that we have different values, but all of them support our image of ourself, then we would be a better nation. Then, we could be honest with ourselves, and not demand that another have the same value as we do, calling it "right", unselfish, 'moral', etc....

If liberty is valued for oneself as well as for the other, then a liberal democracy is what will uphold the rule of law, maintains equality in the courts, and allows freedom of expression. Then, all of "us", the "collective" will be able to be individuals, who determine and better their lives as we see fit. Liberty within the bounds of civil society, is of most importance to uphold as an ultimate value.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Radicalizing Reformers and Their Movements

Reform does not seek to undermine or dissolve previous institutions, or values, while revolution is a "new way" of being in the world. The "tea parties" were correlated to the civil rights movement today on a program I was listening to. Is this the case?

The Civil Rights movement was a social/political movement that valued the institutions of our society, but the leaders of the civil rights movement sought change in the cultural mores concerning African Americans. This was a movement of Reform, according to Martin Luther King, Jr. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed in passive resistance, petitioning government, public demonstrations, and public discourse. Many that have sought to follow in his footsteps have been revolutionary, not reformist in their practice. This is usually the case with any 'mover or shaker" in society. The leader becomes radicalized. This has transpired with all political, religious and cultural leaders that have had major impact on society.

Revolutionary images appeal to "ideals" that the movement won. These "ideals" become internalized in a people's consciousness and create a factor of identification. The radicalization of the civil rights movement was seen especially in the 1960's, when the Black Panthers became the "standard representation" of "Black Power". This was not Martin Luther King, Jr.'s representation. His was based on character, their movement was based on power.

History tends to not just radicalize "ideals", but also create the environment for politicizing what was useful for social change at a particular time. The politicalization of movements are dangerous because of the emotionally driven identification factors, that can end up being an environment that creates power politics.

Revolution should never be embraced by those who value our institutions. But, those that radicalize their own "ideals" and de-value the checks and balances in our form of government are bent on revolution of their own kind. This is when the "tea parties" are a reactionary response that represents "ideals", institutions, and our form of government that have become de-valued and politicized for the purpose of "change", without accountability. Government without accountability is non-representative and is what our Founders understood to be tyrannical.

Revolution, Reform, and Reactionary Politics

Humans are made to be engaged in their environments. They are creative innovators of their 'worlds". And this is as it should be, for humans are unique in their individualities. It is only in a free and open society that such uniqueness can be formed, cultivated and sanctioned. Humans are made for liberty, for without it, there is an oppressive authoritarianism that over-rules the 'human element'.

Reactions are normal responses to oppressive government. History has borne out the facts of the matter when government becomes a boundary unto itself. Our Founders did not want government that ruled over humans, but humans to rule government. The Founders created our form of government because of another government's abuse of power. Representation is an important aspect of accountability and responsibility in government's leadership.

Reactions that have formed the "tea party" movement have been based on affirmations of individual liberty to pursue one's own ends. And this is what has helped to further liberty in general in American culture.

But, some have "moral concern' over America's de-meaning of values that form the child, and affirm human dignity. These political concerns are what the evangelicals have understood to be about abortion, euthanasia, and family values.

While the evangelical has sought to protect indivdual liberty in regards to monetary interests and certain choices of lifestyle, the religious left have "social concern" for the poor, not only within our own nation, but in other countries, as well. This has led to the "social gospel" movement.

Both these brands of Christian concern have united politics and religious understanding to further agenda about the individual's values. (What should drive a particular individual in their life choices?) Some have suggested that both sides must unite to bring about a fuller view of what concerns "the world", which if one is religous, is of concern to "god".

On the other side of the spectrum, the naturalists believes in limited resources that must be maintained by stewarship. This leftist political agenda supports the religious and their value of stewarding the world "under God". So, "world concerns" become religious concerns, such as the environment, healthcare, poverty, etc.

"One world" is what is of concern to all of us, but for different reasons. Values can unite, but just as readily disunify.

Reform is good for any society because it helps society to re-evaluate what is good or bad at a given time, and explains the reasons for such concern.

But, reactionary politics drives the stakes down without understanding or seeking to hear other people at the table. Arrogance of this sort dissolves our democratic process. And such attitudes of reaction make for revolution.

Revolution is what happens when there is no other recourse. Revolution is necessary when government has abused power, dishonored individuals, disrespected culture and ignored the law.

Such revolutionary times, are time that try men's souls!

The Distinctions MUST Remain Clear

I was doing some reading on inalienable rights in the Declaration of Independence. This is what I found under my Google search and

Some philosophers and political scientists make a distinction between natural rights and legal rights.
Legal rights (sometimes also called civil rights or statutory rights) are rights conveyed by a particular polity, codified into legal statutes by some form of legislature (or unenumerated but implied from enumerated rights), and as such are contingent upon local laws, customs, or beliefs.
In contrast, natural rights (also called moral rights or inalienable rights) are rights which are not contingent upon the laws, customs, or beliefs of a particular society or polity. Natural rights are thus necessarily universal, whereas legal rights are culturally and politically relative.
Blurring the lines between natural and legal rights, U.S. statesman James Madison believed that some rights, such as trial by jury, are social rights, arising neither from natural law nor from positive law but from the social contract from which a government derives its authority.[1]

The social contract is where the government over a particular person derives it power or authority. Americans understand that government is granted power by the person's consent. We are a nation that is ruled by laws that protect individual liberties, which are defined by our Bill of Rights.

Some have thought that this does disservice to international concerns, such as human rights. This is not necessarily so, as specified laws protect a particular nation-state, providing its definitions of custom, norms and "morals".

America has protected itself by understanding the dangers of uniting political and religious agenda. Jefferson's separation of Church and State was to prevent such authoritarial ideology. Jefferson believed in inalienable rights, that were based on natural rights, while Madision understood that the social contract was to be upheld by the rights of citizens within a particular nation state.

Distinctions about these two issues must remain clear, otherwise, we dissolve boundaries of civil rights, and social norm and custom which help to create identification to the people who live within a country's borders.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Bias Is Difficult to See and Hard to Overcome

Today another blog site, and another mis-conception.... Whenever one is seeking to prevent the previous "worldview" from holding authority over one's understanding, then one can and often does prevert hearing what is being said about that particular subject. This is a hard-line bias. And it happens whenever we have things that we need protecting, as well as agendas we want to pursue. We must ask ourselves the question about what we are protecting and what we want to pursue. These are questions that might be very revealing to motivations and attitudes about one's bias.

Bias can be just as opinionated against something as for something, and it is hard to see when one's worldview, context, values, goals and identity is at stake.

Tomorrow a friend and I are going to the Newmusuem. The times I have gone there before, I remember reading a number of quotes about bias in the media. There is also a film about Bias in the Media. I am taking my notebook to write down this information to process how I might be subject to similar short-comings and to help me reflect enough on my own bias to ask myself questions.

I share all of this to help others understand how bias is hard to see and prevent and can distort communication, views of reality, and other such important matters.

Humans are story tellers from the earliest days of communication. Needless to say that this is still the case in the modern day world. Myth is meaning making. Myth defines reality for most. And myth is just myth to some. And that is the question I need to resolve. Is myth really important or valuable to be human? I don't think so, but maybe I am biased. So, I will investigate.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

An "Enlightenment" to One's Own Bias

Today, I realized that whenever one has an agenda, there is biased opinion. Things that are read, or heard are "heard" with that "frame" in mind. This "frame", in turn, predisposes one to connect and make associations, that are not in what is read or heard. This the the major problem of reporting objectively. We all have bias, don't we?

Why would I assume that everyone has bias? Would it be that humans are context bound and are dependent beings on what they know, and what effect that has had on them? The totality of an experience, in sense and formal education, is the important thing to recognize. One person's highlight, is another's bland boredom. Why would this be? Expectations and information.

Our expectations do predispose us and bias us toward how we experience and understand. Whenever we expect "ideals" to be realized, most usually, we are disappointed, at least, if we expect these disconnected with the "real world" of less than ideal contexts and people.

Our expectations may disappoint, but not as sorely as when we have knowledge. Knowledge equips us for the real world, and not an ideal one. The pragmatist knows and understands the limitations of life and is prepared to embrace what comes into one's experience.

Today, while attempting to interact on a blog, I was told that I had run away with "the store", so to speak. By the time I had ended my "interaction", there was little connection to what had been shared. Why was this so? I had an agenda.

Because of recent politics, I have grave concern over our nation and its future. Therefore, I sought to understand America's origins, its Founders, and understand how politicians and the populace were understanding the issues and contexts they were in. This set me on a course for over the last couple of years, that has fascinated me. My worldview was challenged and changed. I will never be the same. But, in the mean-time, until I "settle", then I will probably "read" into the things I am reading, gleaning what I "need" to fill in the gaps of my understanding....This presupposition limits my critical ability to engage the issues before me. But, then, again, I want independence of thought. I do not desire to be spoon-fed. But, I do desire to be educated, by the educated.

In conclusion, we must undestand whenever we have agendas or things that are being reconciled in our lives and thinking. For if we are not careful, we will misunderstand and miscommunicate. And others will be baffled over how we have come to our conclusions. So, be aware of where you are, before you speak and think before you write. Otherwise, people will not be any better off, than before you opened your mouth or picked up your pen.

Why Would Anyone Be Interested in Ends?

In the last post, I asserted that the progressive is interested in "ends" or "outcomes". Why would this be important? I can think of two reasons.

The first reason is if the progressive can control the information or how the information is given (what frame of reference, and what "concern" should the particular individual have), then, the individual will not be educated, but propagandized, indoctrinated, etc. For critical thinking to occur, then there has to be freedom of information. There should never be limited information or unhindered bias. Journalists know that this is always hard, as the journalists themself is biased or "invested" in the political realm. And unbiased reporting is rare and exceptional.

In education, if bias is not acknowledged or there is forthright propaganda, then humans can be controlled, and this is useful for those who might want that control for "other ends", which brings me to my second point.

The second reason the progressive might want to manipulate the populace, is for control of resources. If one can gain power over humans by false information, or skewed, biased reporting, then one can appeal to pride, power or position to "control" others. In the mean-time, the progressive will use this control to manipulate the whole system in his "favor" and those he "owes" . The "end justifies the means", because the progressive values control, which ends up giving him the advantage of opportunity, if not down-right control of resources at his disposal. This way the government can be useful for "other means", while promising "better days" ahead.

Everyone knows how easy it can be to "use" government resources that are readily available, and when government can manipulate the markets through owning the "store", then the outcome is confiscation of other's resources (the tax-payer pays).
For instance, it was reported that the government would grant scholarships, ( this sounds like benvolence), but these scholarships will indebt the student to the government, which will require payment through "public service", just as the military does today with those who "sign on the dotted line". This way, the government "owns" you, so to speak, whenever you want to better yourself, you will be required to give back to society, not voluntarily, but co-ercively....because there will be no other choices, if one wants to go to school.

Doesn't this sound like a miltary STATE and not a liberal democracy? Ends, for the greedy, which means power and money, is a necessary part of the whole "determined plan".


There has been some discussion in some of my readings about whether liberty or equality is of utmost importance. There seems to be a move in progressive circles to affirm equality over liberty. As equality is about the underpriviledged, the minority or the "outsider". The move toward equality is a global move to universalize resources and opportunities.

While equality is important if one is looking at discrepencies, is equality to be measure by outcome orl in opprotunity? One views equality in absolute terms, while the other affirms individual choice and value of self-responsiblity.

Redistribution of wealth is one such concern for the progressive. This is not about opportunity, but stealing another's goods and limiting free enterprise. Opportunity, on the other hand, is about making sure that another has a right to make a living, or get an education. But, opportunity, again, does not mean prescriptive measures of ensuring ends that may co-opt choices about the type of education or how that education or living is to "be". Again, the progressive wants to assure 'ends" or outcomes.

Liberty is valued by the conservative, as this ensures the right of the individual to take responsibility for self-governance. Self governance is the basis of civil society because laws cannot maintain liberty, as they limit or prescribe behavior. Liberty is about the ability to make life choices, without co-ercion.

Liberty is a value of liberal democracy because it means open, and engaging. And civil society must allow that opennes, otherwise we limit diverse viewpoints, and this hinders the democratic process itself.

Monday, April 12, 2010

I LOVE This Quote!

The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort. -- Robert A. Heinlein

Israel and the Nuclear Summit

It is reported that Israel will not be represented at the nuclear summit here in Washington. What would be the possible reasons?

My speculation is that Israel understands the danger of total nuclear disarmament. These people have experienced what it was like to not have a way to protect their own. They were the ones who suffered under the "Nationalism" of Nazi Germany. They do not want to propitiate that scenario again, by trusting in the "better natures" of mankind, especially of authoritarian regimes that are accountable to no one.

History has proven that man's better nature is not forthcoming when there are no checks and balances. And nation states are a good way for power to be negotiated. Diverse interests should be confirmed as ways of negotiating around differences concerning self interests and security. And nation states can protect by regulating their 'enemies' through sanctions. This is the way that nation states have protected themselves for the last 50 some odd years, with nuclear weapons.

Science has produced other alternatives for the Pentagon in our own country, but those countries that insist on building their nuclear arsenals cannot be dismissed or ignored without national security being compromised, even though the 'ideal world" would hold "peace and goodwill" toward all. This is not the real world, but the "idealized ideology" of Marx, where all nations are equal and all people are living at peace. The problem with Marxism is that there is no limit on government control. Do we want to be at the mercy of those whose arrogance through government control holds no limit? Liberty will suffer. This is what globalism will do.

Asher Lev's Rejection of Traditional Answers

My husband and I went to see the play, "Asher Lev", based on a book that freshmen had to read for a mandantory course. It is about the life of a Hasidic Jew, who is a gifted artist and his coming to "crossroads" about where his ultimate commitment will be.

Art is a "tradition" itself, Asher is told by another artist, who becomes his mentor. Art has certain values, that conflicted with Asher's religious tradition. Art is studying the form of the body, the nude, which is forbidden under religious laws. And art is valued by those that usually don't value his religious tradition.

Asher chooses to "find himself" rather than submit to his religious tradition. This is where he has to "let go" of his former life, as he understood it. He comes into an understanding of himself as an artist and not just as a Jewish man.

I find most conservative religious traditions prescribe these types of limitations. Limitations about what one should or shouldn't do, and what one should or shouldn't believe. Such nonsense, when the supernatural is not understood in real world terms, but only in the speculations of religious visionaries that tend to be authoritarian because of such understandings.

America is the "land of the free" because it understands itself as the home of the brave. Americans were the pioneers in a new world and with a new world order. We understood the value of equality under law, liberty as a value, and made a commitment that we would universalize these values as human rights.

Human rights is not just a universal, but is understood to be for the individual. We are diverse, becasue we believe in individual liberties, and the right to pursue one's own ends in volutary association of contractual relationships. Humans can flourish and find themselves in such a system of government. And Americans believe, for the most part, that this is a universal right, the right of a representative government.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Why I Think "God" Is the Problem

I think "God" is a problem for humans, because God, if he exists, is beyond our capacity to verify. And because there are so many ways in which God has been understood, it only leads to endless speculations.

Those that think that God has given them special priviledge or rights can act arrogantly or presumptively toward others, who differ in their understandings. And those that think that God has revealed all that needs to be known in scriptures, are doubly dangerous.

Some have thought that "God" was a projection of our wishes, others think that "God" is a fulfillment of our wishes. These views are underwritten by psychological science.

Anthropologists understand myth as a cultural value in describing "God" and these myths bring meaning to life in various cultural contexts. But, is meaning important when meaning skews the real world of values?

Sociologists understand that communities of faith are ways that humans find significance, value and belonging and sometimes, even their very identity. But, the basis of our identity is multi-dimensional. We are identified by our families of origin, our religion, our country, our friends, our social connections, our jobs, our personalities, and what we value most.

Each of these social sciences are not interested in whether there is really a "real God" who exists, but the practical reasons, and implications of such belief.

If one believes that family is the most basic foundation of identity, an individual's life is formed by the values that are held within the family. But, American society has dissolved family connections through many avenues of pursuing the American Dream. And the pursuit of the American Dream has led to countless divorce, child neglect, blended families, domestic abuse, and a de-valueing of family, as a whole.

The child so formed in such an environment of disorder and chaos, leaves the child with little to identify with, and a depth of loss that cannot be filled easily with finding other solutions. These need a healthy dose of therapy and help from others in society.

These children can experience osterizicism and criticism from the "Chrstian world" where things are "nice and neat". The attitude can be: "What's wrong with "That" family", or " We don't want our children to be influenced by "them". The child so labelled suffers doubly from isolation and a sense that everything is their fault.

So, "God" is useful to promote moral outrage at those who need what society needs to give. The "Christian Ideal" is seldom the real truth of the matter, no matter how devout or devoted. And Christians should be honest about this. Otherwise, there is no hope for anyone.

"God" is useless, as far as I am concerned for real solutions in the real world. Christians need to stop running to be "christian" and attempt to be human and learn to be a real person in a real world with real needs.

I used to believe in "God" as anesthesia to my pain. And I used "God" as a replacement for self-acceptance and coming to terms with reality. If God accepted me, then I could have permission to accept myself. But, self-acceptance is taking responsibility for one's own personal choices and decisions and not looking to communities, whether of faith or not, to validate one's choice, and commitments.

Reality is painful because there are many problems in the world and no theology, scripture, doctrine, church, or christian will "fix it", because the world is broken beyond repair. And our only hope is recognizing that and being there for another, while attempting to rectify what we personally think will help most.

Addendum to Morality and America

The Christian tradition has sought to answer the question of its veracity. Certainly, everyone would agree that the Christian tradition has had an impact on the world.

The conflict over myth and history has been a battle in the scholarly world. Was Jesus a historical person, or was he a mythological story. Or was his life a real life mythologized by the Church Fathers?

Myth has been known to be useful to represent things that are beyond the discipline of scienctific exploration. And ancient myths have been useful for eons for religions to build their stories, that help to identify a people and form communities of faith.

The same has happened in America's Founding, I think. Our Founding Fathers used myth to help bring unity, identification to a "people", a diverse people. And the unity was based upon natural law, where all were created equal with certain inalienable rights. So, our unity was in our diversity, not our uniformity. Even the Founding Fathers were different in their religious convictions and commitments. And so should Americans be.

If one accepts the former hypothesis, then, the question becomes, is there a God or not? Does it matter?

Morality and America

I have concern over our nation's recent division over "cultural issues" of morality. Our country seems to be conflicted over our ideological identity. And identity defines how we understand ourselves, so identity is an important aspect of culture.

Morality is considered by some as behavior, judgments and sentiments. Some believe that morality is intuitive, through cultural conditioning. Others believe in a more rational view of morality. It seems that because our country is so diverse, America has come to a crisis of identity. This can be useful or damaging to our ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Awhile ago, I listened to a former KGB agent talk about the process that the USSR taught them in over-taking another country. There were four stages. The third was "crisis" and this is where America finds itself. What is to happen? Will we be overcome by an "authoritarian regime' , whether religious or secular, so that order can be restored? I hope not, otherwise, we will have no more liberty, because others will decide what was of private and personal conviction and commitment.

I hope for the Founding Fathers, and life in the future for all Americans, that the lines will not be drawn and driven on ideological religious or material grounds. We will certainly have disagreements and that is healthy, as long as we can listen to the other side, without obssession. I hope we will attempt to be honest that our nation is not a uniform, and ideologically driven nation.

Our nation has been pragmatic in its approach to bringing unity from diversity. And the Founders used religious language to formulate some of our country's documents. But, others have been based on such things as natural rights, and natural law, which was the scientific view of that day. Both religious liberty AND moral order, which was understood to be the "order of the universe" were what brought about our liberty and underwrote our understanding of justice.

We need to be honest that our nation was not founded as an evangelical nation, but a secular State, which allowed for diverse views about and toward religious traditions. It is a liberal democracy or a Constitutional Republic. Both are needed to affirm and balance the other, so that our nation can remain free, and open. We do not want to limit others liberty because of our own conviction or understanding of 'life".

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

"Do Unto Others"

"Do unto Others as you would have them do unto you", is a universally acclaimed rule. But, do all people want the same things in life? That depends on one's needs desires, and values.

Much has been debated as to what is important to "sanction" as a universal, because of such diverse needs and values. And most have agreed that the "Golden Rule" is useless because of its lack of definition.

What we value in America; Life, Liberty and the "pursuit of happiness" are universals and have underwritten human rights. But, conflict of opinion arises whenever cultures collide in thier values of choice, unless we want to go back to a theocratic form of government, where there is no choice and values are determined for you by "other authorities".

Liberty should define life, because without liberty there is ultimately no value of a separate form of life. Life is determined for the peasant by the circumstances that confine their experience. And liberty is not even understood by those who have no choice about their resources. This is why many have come to seek refuge on America's shores. We value individual liberty to pursue one's own ends.

Today's "mandate" is based on naturalism's limited resources, which determines "moral concerns" and values. We have no choice when it comes to the environment, and the poor, because it is presumed these concerns are foundational.

The environment is of global concern because of the belief in our dependence on limited physical resources and there is no hope of discovering another way if producing these resources. Belief that the whole world is interdependent and will not survive physically, if we do not address these concerns are what drive global policies, but are undertaken mostly, by the West. It is as if the West is being punished for consuming vast amounts of resources without rectifying global injustices. The West must bear the consequences; The West must pay. The rectifying will be taxation and we will not be represented, because there are so many that have not had representative forms of government.

India and China have much more population to consume and pollute the world, but these have not taken up the cause of "moral concern", as the West has. Why is this so?

The poor are also useful for global policy and unifying nations around "moral issues". But, the poor have never had their needs met although humanitarian aid has been forthcoming from the West. The poor are still destitute because they can not be responsible for themselves. Some of the global outreaches are seeking to provide educational resources to the poor to give them advantages. But, what advantage does one have in a society that does not value individual liberty , the rule of law, and is filled with corruption?

If we applied the Golden Rule, then wouldn't it be a universally undertaken task to support the global environment and the poor? And wouldn't the support be undertaken by all countries alike? But, countries are not all similar in their values. They do not want to be defined by "the rule of law", which protects individual interests.

Therefore, when we talk of global issues, until we can all agree on the "rules of the game" and not just the policies that are to be pursued; The rulers will determine what will be "our concern", and our "moral values". We will be the peasant class and we will be determined by those that manipulate the system to serve what they see as the most important "moral" purposes. And such were the early Christians, the manipulated peasant class, because there was no "equality under law". And the "Golden Rule" will die a thousand deaths.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tea Parties and Revolution

The "Tea Parties" are representative of our American system. We believe in our freedom to dissent, to petition our government, and to express our opinion. But, more so, we also want accountability from our represetatives.

Last night, my husband and I watched 4 hours of Russian history. I couldn't help but think that the 'peasants' who came to petition their Tzar, peacefully, only to have shots fired at them were a little like the 'tea parties". How so?

The Russian people found themselves oppressed and were wanting answers from their government. These were not using violent means, but met violence. Such is the case with our news media and how they are portraying the average citizen in our society. The "tea parties" want a peaceful way to express their anger and anxiety over the change that seems forced upon us. We are given no reasons why this is such an imperative, other than a "moral one". Is it not just as immoral to put our country's future viability at risk?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Personal Can Never Be the Universal....

The personal can never be the universal, because of man's unique "giftedness". Some would disagree and think that, as Maslow thought, that man's "needs" are based on a scale of hierarchy. But, anyone that has seen a mother give up her "last morsel of bread", or a stranger act to defend the defenseless, has not known or experienced man's ability to rise above his hierarchal needs.

On the other hand, one cannot presume that a particular individual should act in any particular way, as this would undermine what is needed for altruistic action, which is liberty of choice and value. Man is not made for another man's purposes, but is his own end. The libertarian would defend the right of men to their own personal convictions. Actions come from values, convictions, and most choices are made on a scale of higher or greater values, etc. And these are all individually understood and defined within our society. There is no "one Purpose" .

Today, the pastor admonished his parishnors to embrace the life of faith, in the resurrection and the purposes of God. Faith is a personal choice and decision, once one comes to understand that the "real world" does not function on any other course of action than "real world action", real world solutions, and real world politics. The real world is the political, social, physical, historical, experiential, and cultural one. And free socities do not tend to dictate what or which is of ultimate value, nor define these for the individual, except within the boundaries of law. And the law protects the citizen in their liberty of conscience.

Though the personal can never be the universal, neither can there be a universal understanding of life, as it concerns the individual.

Albert Einstein:
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Traditional and Progressive Tension

Progressive views are important to evaluate, as they are what is on the "cutting edge" of any given subject. This is the challenge of reason's embrace of discovery. But, just as important is tradition's "tried and true" values of experience. The traditional view is verified through experience, while the progressive seeks to experiment.

I learned that my family had wanted to try the "progressive", radical, or experimental approach in addressing "the back issue" of one of our family members. But, was this appropriate to all of the needs of this family member? That is one of debate for the family and is ultimately one of personal decision and choice by the patient.

The conservative or traditional approach is to manage pain through physical therapy, continued exercise, pain pills and cortisone shots. We will have to "wait and see" if this is enough to get the patient back on his feet. Otherwise, he must face the possibility of back surgury, which could be a radical step for his age of 93.

There is presently available a non-invasive type of surgury that fuses the spine with "super-glue" to strengthen it. The family has wished that this type of progressive treatment would be embraced by his family physician. But, family physicians have differences in philosophy or approaches to medicine. And the family should not have been surprised to find that this particular physician was not particularly pre-disposed to a progressive medical philosophy.

Traditional and progressive views are both important to hold in tension in free societies, for each holds a value to free societies. Traditional views are based on the wisdom from experience, while progressive views are open to the creative elements of innovation and experiment.

The progressive and "conservative" or traditional view was evident when my family member and I watched two Supreme Court judges discuss their differences on the Constituion, while he was in the hospital. It was fascinating to see how the two differed in their analysis, concerns and approaches to one document that defines our "American way of life".

Wisdom sees, but is bound within the contexts of time, while experimentation is based on reason's genius or creativity or the needs of society for change. Roots and innovation are necessary fodder for society to flourish. And the Founders used both to create "a more perfect union". We cannot err on either side if we desire to further the cause of democracy in America.