Thursday, October 28, 2010

Quotes from M. Stanton Evans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Monday, October 25, 2010

C.S. Lewis on Moral Busybodies

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

-- C.S. Lewis

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Education for Vocational Purposes Only?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Conference on Education

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Political Correctness and Free Speech

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Questions On the "Human"

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Review of "The Final Cut"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 15, 2010

"Equality Under Law"

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

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

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

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

"Humanity or the Nation-State"?

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Now I Get IT (Kant Must Be Proved)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"Does History Progress?

Does history progress? Yes and No.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 11, 2010

Liberty FOR Expression

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The ARTS, As a Universal Language

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 8, 2010

Absolutely Amazing!

It was just reported that Biden said that the recovery didn't work BECAUSE we didn't SPEND ENOUGH!!! Does he believe this because he is out of touch with reality and with real people?

Politicians get to spend our money. These are entrusted servants, not entitled Kings.  But, I think when one is conditioned by long terms in office to spend what is "budgeted", otherwise, there is less money to spend the next year, then one can "imagine" how this type of living and thinking can lead to a disconnect with where the money comes from and with the responsibility of the government to live frugally, like the rest of us.

This statement is amazing, too, because it is totally out of touch with what the population, as a whole is saying! Independents, and Republicans alike are calling for a "cut-back" in spending. But, while the government tells us to sacrifice, and to learn to do with less, they are being emboldened to further their borders in our private lives and personal pocketbooks!

Amazing! Absolutely Amazing!

Self-Interest Is Important to Acknowledge

Self-interest is an important value to acknowledge and affirm. Self-interest protects boundaries of personal  values and concerns. If self-interest is not acknowledged, then there is a more likely occasion of "sin". Sin being defined by missing the mark of affirming both self and other.

Self interest has been given a bad "rap" in many religious groups, as self-interest is in opposition to God's purposes or plan. God's purposes and plans are understood in various ways. But, God's purposes and plans are usually understood as something superior to what the individual might want to pursue. Selfishness is the height of sin in this sense, because "God comes first". But,self-interest is not necessarily selfish. Selfish is a label given to those who may not choose to have the same value or ultimate goals. There is room in free societies to "walk away" if another's goals don't fall in line with yours. This is not selfish, but self awareness. And self-awareness is the first step toward becoming concerned with one's own personal goals, what one wants to do with their life.

Self-interest protects one's life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This is an American's right by birth. And Americans use their liberty to choose their course and determine their life. American's are self-interested, in this way. Is there anything "wrong" with this?

Religion would say that one must deny oneself and take up their cross, meaning that self-interest would be in opposition to what "God wills". And that "will" is defined depending on the Christian group one is associated with. The social gospelers would think your life should be about the business of bringing in "God's Kingdom" through social justice. Their view is social and economic equality and political liberty. But, how is this different from the "secular human rights movement" or other forms of liberal organizations that are interested in bringing in Utopian dreams?

The conservative/evangelical would believe that self-interest would be in opposition to what they regard as most important, salvation. Salvation has many meanings depending on what denomination one asks. Some believe that being "born again" is an all important goal, while other believe that one must prove their faith through their life choices of "Kingdom building", etc.

I really believe that all of these people can be and are duped  if they do not acknowledge and accept that one must be self-interested, if they do not want others to determine their course of action. Self-interest acknowledges one's values, personal goals, and personal life, which must be considered whenever one commits to anything. And negotiation of these aspects of personal concerns must be brought to the table early on, otherwise, one will be labelled as un-cooperative, rebellious, etc. We, in the West, would think it would be abhorrent for a man to pay the bride's family and take her away to become his wife, without any concern about the woman's personal choice. But, some religions/cultures think this is "right".

Some cultures believe that one doesn't have a right to freedom of speech if it subverts the government. But, these cultures are not free societies. This is what has happened over the years for political dissidents. Our Constitution guarantees that Americans have the right to free speech. But, recently, free speech has come under fire, because of religious or personal offenses. And individuals need to be honest and self-aware about why they are speaking out. Why are they doing what they are doing. Be self-aware and have valid reasons why one chooses to cause political "upheaval" and another's personal pain.

Self-interest makes sure that one is free to choose and is not doing what they do for approval, or to "fit in", but are doing what they do because they choose to do what they choose to do.These people are the only ones that are "free to choose" in the first place. Those that have come to understand themselves and what they will or will not do and what is of ultimate concern are those that are free "to be" and then, are free "to do".

And it is only free societies that allow such human development and choice.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

When Has One Matured?

One has matured when they choose to do what they do for themselves apart from social influences.
The mature are not performing for acceptance, but because of principle, they do what they do.
What they do, is what they believe in. It is their passion.
The mature understand themselves and know what principles they will die for, but don't assume that everyone else will have these same ultimate concerns, but will use their life to further the ends of their commitment of value.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What Unites and Makes America Distinct? (or exceptional)

America was founded on liberty. This is what unifies us, not God. The problem today, is there is a global move to disintegrate American exceptionalism through unifying under God. And such moves are re-defining our Constitution, as well as our understanding of our nation-state.

America did not prescribe to a "one size fits all" religion.America was founded on Protestant "faith", not prescribed religion per se. This was our distinctiveness, religious liberty. But, today, it seems there is a move to define God, in montheism. This is going backwards, not forwards in our understanding of " the human" and  "the humane". If God exists, He cannot be proved. But, this is the point to those of piestic faith. Lifestyle is the focus of such. But, whenever piestic faith is prescribed by law, we have a regimented faith, where people are no longer free, but in bondage to the prescription.

It becomes more and more evident that Islam is not going to be tolerant of others, but want tolerance toward their religious convictions/claims. This is dangerous territory, as humans have "been down this road" before. What are we to do? We should not respond or live in fear of terrorism, or the terrorists have "won".

Life is not of value, so how do we battle such, when our society values life and its diversity? We are a humane society and believe that human life is valuable above all other forms of life, at least this was the traditional understanding. Today, religion and science have undermined our basic value of life and liberty because of their various understanding of priorities. God is at the end of religion, while utility is at the other end, of scientific commitment.

What transpires to and in our society, when the basic values that have held us together, liberty, have become challenged? Liberty is the foundation and is ordered under law. Authoritarian regimes and ways of understanding the world (mathmatical) undermine this basic value.

Patrick Henry said it well, "Give me liberty, or give me death"!

John Stossel's Quote on Big Government

I love this quote!

"If the choice is between individuals using their freedom of speech hurtfully and an all-seeing Big Brother watching our words and thoughts, I know which society I'd rather live in. You can always ignore a racist. You can't escape from the government." ~ John Stossel

Is Law Our Basis?

The rule of law is the basis of maintaining order in our society. Our Constitutional Republic is understood as a representative government where the individual and religious liberty was an important value.

The problem today is when our nation-state has been impacted and threatened by those who voice their "religious right" to undermine our humane laws.

Right now, the Supreme Court will rule on whether the Baptist Church had a right to religious speech when they caused emotional pain  to the parents at their son's funeral.

When other religious "speech" such as terrorists acts are committed against our society, we treat them as criminals. Should there be a distinction between the nation-state's right and the individual's right? Is the individual a private citizen, or a public pawn?  Where do we draw our distinctions? Weren't we basically a Judeo-Christian nation in our earliest days? We have affirmed both public responsibility and the private right of citizens. Which one will win in the end? The tension must be maintained if we want to continue to have religious freedom and private lives.

Our laws are not based on "God", but are based on the individual's right to his "own person". How does a humane nation uphold the "rule of law" and yet, allow religious liberty to those that undermine that law? Don't we hold them accountable to the law for the sake of our society?  Or is freedom of speech too important a value to undermine? If we go down the road of limiting speech, then won't it undermine most speech in the end?

While our laws are not based  solely on "God", neither are  the values of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness based on science.

Just recently, there was a British "commercial" for an organization that promotes Climate Control. In that "commercial" the teacher is asking if her students would choose to further the flourishing of mankind through limiting their comsumption of energy and the emission of "gases". Would they take public transportation? Two of these students stood up to such governmental control over their choice. The teacher affirmed their right of choice, but in the end, pushes a button that kills them, splattering their blood on the others in the classroom.

This "outrage" of inhumanity is not the only 'outrage", as it was shown on a talk show recently, in Britian, that a well-known scientist suggested that she would smother her child, rather than allow the child to suffer. There was obvious discomfort from the interviewer to her response. The question was asked again, but the scientist still held to her view that it was important to protect her child from suffering by killing.

Whether Western society survives the onslaught of religious fanaticism or scientific positivism is the question. The West is at a crossroads to what our future will be and how we will go forward, or will we be destroyed?

Monday, October 4, 2010

News About Immigration, and" Hate Speech"

Today, I read the following article:

I think the suggestion to require citizenship classes for immigrants that they have to pay for, might limit those who are not serious about assimilation or for other more important reasons (religious) might not want to submit to our form of government. Wouldn't this limit the possibility of radicals intruding into our culture and undermining our laws?
Europe has started to change concerning their "tolerance policy". But, what is considered as "Facist"? Authoritarianism was the bane of our liberal and tolerant society. Americans do not believe that absolutism, when it concerns faith claims, can be made. This is what has polarized  our culture wars and undermined our civility. We cannot "see" because of our emotional reactions to what we deem as "evil". We must come to understand what we "see" is, after all, a value system and we must cease to fear those that think or believe differently than we do.. And if we want to protect our liberties, we must embrace ordered liberty as the height of our value system. The problem will be in winning the war about what should be legislated to order our society.