Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What Are the Implications of a Political Class That Is Disconnected to the Military and the Citizen?

Leadership models abound, but the military will always have a hierarchal view on leadership, as without it, there is no "order"! but, as has been reported by Time and mentioned in my last blog post, there is a growing disconnect between the "political class" and the "military class", which leaves the military under a "chain of command" that is disconnected from the realities of real sacrifice for the "common cause" of protecting national issues that are vital to national concern. The military sacrifice for "the honor" of country. And such sacrifice should not be disconnected from a politician's understanding of the costs! Otherwise, politicians will use the military and those that volunteer, as a sacrifice itself for political ends of a political career!

The manipulation of the military, is on the scope of the "world scene", while the basic duties of domestic tranquility leave the "political class" less concerned or engaged for the citizen's ends of liberty. And liberty is personal, as to religious conscience and vocational service. Jobs, and the economy are basic interests of citizens, who might not be aware of political careers, but are all too well aware of how Washington is affecting their pocketbooks!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

WAR Between the Classes Is More Than Economic

In Novemeber, there was an article in Time that intrigued me. The article suggested that there had been and now is a wide gap between what Time called "the military class" and "the Political Elite". And this is what got me thinking today, as I was thinking about class warfare and its usefulness for political manipulation.

The Times article suggested that the military class was becoming ingrown, as more and more children of military families volunteer for military service. These understand military culture, which values duty, honor and country. And such an ingrown culture is not unlike that of elite academia, which until recently didn't allow ROTC into their university environments. Such a condition can't help but alienate "the Academy" from "the military class" and it widens the gap of understanding between the military and those that work in other areas of government. When such alienation happens, it is no wonder that each talks "past each other", because they have different goals and foci.

While the military has been gathering a more ingrown culture, the political class has forgotten the military's major reason for existing and their duty to protect the citizenry against foreign powers under the protections of a Constitutional government. The "academic elite" are those that usually get into political office these days. Those that serve as "Commander in Chief" aren't required to serve in the military, and as a result, humanitarian emphasis has become as important as our nation's political interests. Humanitarian interests sometimes conflicts with the public interests and the public trust of the elected official and national security issues. Should the elected official do his duty of serving his country as elected or seek to implement a change that is not limited or accountable to the people or other branches of government?

Yesterday the Washington Post had an article about the rising costs of campaigning and how limited the average person is in running for office and having an ability to win. Today, the wealth accumulated by our elected officials has furthered the gap between the citizen and the political class.

Such gaps of wealth accumulation further propitiate a "ruling class" where their personal business interests become a consideration when overseeing public affairs/policy deicisions. Where is the ethics of a Congress that can grant exceptions and exemptions to their political allies? Croynism becomes the culture of corruption and leaves the little guy wondering what is happening to his own material security.

Our society if fraught today with many Wars. The culture war between faith and the political; the class warfare between the rich and the poor; the political class and the military; and the ruling class and the peasant. Is it any wonder why the French revolted when their country used public trust and public funds to help other countries, while their own society disintergrated into desolation? Is it any wonder that those that play on political chaos for ther own political gain have the makings of dictators that have no sense of boundary regarding their office? Is it any wonder that the Tea Party and the Occupiers have expressed various concerns, and why the political class isn't interested because they don't really have to be? They are unaccountable and well equipped to take care of themselves without considering what their own self interest costs the nation. Whenever government and its officials become a "law unto themselves", then the rest of us had better be prepared for some rough waters ahead.

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Grandmother's Shopping Liberty and the Government

This morning a friend posted this statement on FB, "Today, some folks have to worry about running a country or keeping a multi-billion dollar business afloat. I just have to find a pink cowgirl hat." I have another post about this same comment, but, I must share the other implications about this comment.

The implications of being able to enjoy the peace of good government and how business, as well as personal values are dependent on it. The "rule of law" was to guard each one against each one, as this was equal justice, not preferrential treatment. Such a statement as; "Our government... teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy." ~Louis Brandeis, is very true, because our country was founded on the right to resist. We were a people BY CONSENT, but politicians like to make use of "tactile consent" meaning that leaders are "FREE" to do as they please, since they are elected officials.

While I do not disagree in the least that those elected to public office MUST use tactile consent to make policy decisions, as without it, politicians would be encumbered by many constraints, that would limit their ability to govern. But, when politicians use this right to their advantage, or in spite of "the people's consent", then haven't they become contemptuous of those they are to govern? When does such an action become a violation of trust in our elected officials, and thus a loss of confidence in our government? And when does this loss of confidence become demoralizing or angering to those that thought their voice was important, valued or heard?

Americans do take their government for granted. We believe that we can go when we please and find the Pink cowgirl hat for our grand-daughter, apart from the responsibilities of elected officials. And this is how it should be, because our elected officials should be trustworthy with the people's trust and the people's monies.

Colors Through Life Experiences....and Their Personal Meaning

This morning a friend posted this statement on FB, "Today, some folks have to worry about running a country or keeping a multi-billion dollar business afloat. I just have to find a pink cowgirl hat."

My mind immediately tried to connect the three aspects together, which is a usual for me, as all of us try to understand what another person means by what they say or write. As the statement was meant not to CONNECT these three, but distinguish these three, I had made a categorical error in my evaluation about the meaning of the statement! She was making a comment about her grand-daughter's preferences and how she would meet those desires and how she didn't have the responsibility to oversee a government or business. And this was her emphasis about finding a Pink cowgirl hat!

When I came around to correcting myself, by reading the other comments, we "talked" about our color preferences as children, as not all girls like Pink as little girls. I preferred Red, while my friend emphasized her like for shiny things, not the usual doll. She focused on the tangible toy, while I focused on the abstract color preference.

Some people continue to love the color they loved as children, and the color defines them, while others change their preferences. I think I have come to love all colors, and the colors I've particularly been drawn to at a point in time have represented aspects of my emotional values.

Red was the color of choice as a little girl. It stood for vibrancy and life. But, when I grew toward puberty, I preferred orange. Orange is red with yellow added. Yellow produces anxiety and energy. Both expressed my entrance into puberty. When I got into the real world of dating, I preferred Green, which is yellow plus blue. Blue was the cool and calm comfort with the contrasting mix of anxiety and energy. I was attempting to find love through my college years and it represented what I sought and the effect it had on me.

When asked what my favorite color is today, I find it really hard to decide! I think it is because life has so many expressions and experiences that can't be contained in one color! That is how I "see" and understand things in my life! I just know that in decorating I love contrast! I love to see the differences and distinctions of color! And I prefer for those distinctions to play off of each other! That makes life exciting and diverse and not the drab, colorless world of beiges.

Greys are different from beiges as they combine a negative and postive, but beiges combine black with yellow and dilute it with white. Blah. Therefore, grey has become a color I enjoy.

What do colors mean and how have you come to understand them in your life, whether their emotional impact, and meaning or your decorative choice and value?

One Cannot Universalize the Personal Within the Political Realm!

Humans have basic needs, which cannot be prioritized universally, but must remain the realm of the personal, as we are individuals that "make our way" within our various contexts.

The liberal wants to universalize what has to remain personal (a choice of value in the political world). And the conservative wants to universalize meaning, which has to also remain personal. Both the political life of a person and the "meaning" of life for the person must be made within a liberal form of government that does not oversee or overintend "the personal"!!! That is if the person of to remain "free" not just in a "Transcendent" sense, but a real and political sense!!!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

What We Believe In, We Promote

What we believe in we promote; the Church believes in its mission for its own survival, as any entity seeks to survive. Survival is basic to humans physically, socially and psychologically, as well as businesses, States and communities. Survival is the most basic of needs.

Today's sermon was on one of the most primary needs and emphasis of evangelicalism, which is "Evangelism" (but converts are needed in all religions, if they continue to thrive and grow, unless that particular religious tradition builds itself through populating the earth and enculturating the earth in this way.) Though evangelicals don't like to think of themselves as fundamentalists, they really are, because they accept "special revelation" or a 'higher or transcendent truth". Such "truth" was what our pastor talked about today, as it is a means of "transformation".The message took a passage from Acts to suggest that Phillip was to help interpret the eunach's questions about a passage he was reading from Isaiah. This is the "mission of the church' to help others understand their lives within the context of "God's Plan" "Purpose or Vision", which is identified within "the Bible". Such a vision is about about spiritualizing one's understanding, or seeing things through "God's perspective", and surrendering one's understanding to the Magisterium, The Church's "teaching minsters". The Magisterium were the appointed leaders to "conform" converts to "correct doctrine", so that "perfection" might be attained.

The Magesterium talk about transcendent realities, that are not practical realities, except to further the Church's mission. 'Missions" are really about political realities and goals.I must give credit to our pastor, though, as he did affirm the need of "the human". He talked of the evangelical church's "sin" of not listening, or attempting to convert before building relationship, etc. But, the end goal of such relationship is still to convert and conform. "God' is still the priority of such agendas, not the person themself. (But, perhaps, I judge the pastor too harshly, as he truly believes what he preaches, I believe. And we all tend to promote what we believe in, don't we?). The person themself is the end, not "God", in my opinion. And the person, themself, is the answer to many difficulties we face in our nation presently.

The issues of peace, and virtue are Roman values that have come to impact the Church's "mission" as the Church was intially accused of creating a disturbance to peace, and were blamed for the downfall of Rome. But, today, peace and virtue are the "transforming work" of the Church. According to the "first modern historian of the Roman Empire", Edward Gibbon, Christians had lost their "civic virtue", because they were waiting to "be saved" in the next "life". And many in the Roman Empire had handed over its protection to the Praetorian Guard. A recent Time's article suggests that this is what has happened in America today. The "military class" is becoming isolated and insulated from the "power elite" and the average American citizen! Such a gap does not encourage citizenship and the larger issues of character. The Military Academy at Westpoint has as its motto; "We don't lie, cheat, or steal and we don't tolerate those who do". This is a high standard for most of the "power elite". The military is "taken for granted" but not applauded by many. In fact, many liberals think that Utopian ideals are attainable apart from realistic goals and grounded historical realities.

Our pastor's message was a message that the evangelical church wants to promote. And fortunately, in America, one can give their life to what they believe in, not what they are forced to believe!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Religious Conscience and Lifestyle

I recently commented on a friend's post about research on "gay lifestyles". The post was referenced back to "Renew America", which is a Christian grassroots political organization. Such organizations have a particular agenda that they deem significant because of their belief that "God" has ordained Scripture to be the "tried and true" (and right) way to promote human flourishing. I have questions.

First of all, I do not accept that the text as "inspired by God", other than it was written by men in certain situations that granted wisdom of and for that day. Today's wisdom is a scientifically oriented one, not a religiously biased one.

Secondly, I do not believe that anyone should be promoting a re-orientation to another's identity, unless it is damaging to society. This research was promoting a "repentance" from a lifestyle that was considered forbidden by "God", as they take the text at "face value". Such "re-framing" of identity is "in Christ". It is a movement of social organizing for a specific purpose, which is "God's Kingdom", as they interpret Scripture.

Such people believe that "God" exists and oversees all things and "God" has revealed His will in the confines of The Book. This is the traditonal view of evangelical Protestant Christianity, but it does not recognize the broader questions other than take at "face value" what is "to be believed". They seek to validate Scripture by a presuppositonal stance toward it! There is no way to disprove Scripture, because one's community is a self-perpituating entity. Truth is to be proven, and experienced, instead of sought out and discovered! And those that don't believe "lack faith" to believe and be "saved"!

This "tradition" does not take into consideration the history of the Church, or the roots of Judiasm, when they think of "faith". Theirs is an experiential and lived faith that they think is appropriate to promote for everyone. Theirs is an intense "mission focused' and oriented. All people are to be brought under their umbrella, as this is promoting "the Kingdom of God". While such a movement is not rooted in "deep history", it is rooted in American Revivalist tradition, and serves the purposes of furthering the political machine of "the social".

I know what it is like to suffer under another's religious conscience. Transitional and memorable life events were tainted or undermined by those that "thought better" than what I desired! The reason could be nothing other than the "conviction" that they were right and I was wrong, or that they were the "authority"! There was no "discussion" about differences of opinion, because their "conviction" was "not an opinion"!!! It was "God's fact"! If there was resistance, then I was rebellious, disobedient and would live under "God's judgment". The fear of God was to "keep people in line". Such attitudes did not "happen" until there was a conversion experience! Then, the experience somehow gave such as these "God's mind"!

"Self" is defined by such religious cultures and ceases to exist apart from another's sanctoning, sanctimonious and righteous attitude about life and all that is! Persecution will ensue if one does not acquiesce to such "convictions". A Bible beating is the end of such questioning, or differences of opinion. One wonders if these have any sense of "self" other than what they "feel" to be "God". The truth is that "God" is really THEIR conscience! And others are to be conformed to it!

I have come to the point where religion is not beneficial to me, and I do not want to promote it, other than allow those that want to affirm their faith in a way that is non-interfering to others.

When I think back about my journey, I used to also be persuaded that leaving churches that allowed divorcees to teach, or withdrawing approval of those that chose to see things differently was an appropriate way to handle "life's problems". And if everyone would concur with Scripture everyone would come to a unified understanding and life would be "perfect". In the meantime, I was comforted with the fact that life's tragedies were to teach me for "God's purposes"! It was all about me, because I needed it to be!

I still need it to be "about me", as everyone else does. Self interst is a "fact of life". Individuals are unique in their interests, but not in their desires. The desire to be loved, accepted and understood is a human trait, but all individuals will differ in interests, values and commitments. I don't believe that to be "human" means that one has to be a clone in one's interests, values and commitments. This seems to be the case for many in the evangelical camp. They think that if one has a difference of opinion concerning such social issues as abortion, gay marriage, etc. then, you are undermining "God's order" of the universe!

Gay marriage should be legalized in our society because it is just. Society can stll affirm monogomy which affirms the value of the two individuals involved, as well as protect society from STDs. Gays have desires, as all humans do for sexual expression and commitment to the person that means the most to them. That expression should be allowed within the confines of a marital relationship, where the partners can be respected as equal before the law and not marginalized by those that think they have "God's mind"!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Note for Humanism and It's Ideals

I have been reading and reading and it seems to me that today's thrust for religion is humanistis, rather than Theistic. But, what are the problems of humanism, as an ideal? Humanism can't be held as individuals in their OWN right are the only end, not some cultural "ideal"! Otherwise, individuals are not values, only the "ideal", which is unattainable in this world.

All "solutions" are pragmatic ones, which mean that there is planning and "engineering" of sorts, which makes for success in a given strategy. But, goals of universalization or universals, themselves aren't pragmatic, because the world is much too large and diverse. Unless one wants to promote a uniformity upon the world. This solution politically and practically speaking is 'communism". Equality is regulated by some "power" which is unregulated itself. And this is the problem, isn't it?

Yesterday, when I heard that we would be sending special troops into Central Africa, I wondered why. Was it necessary to sacrifice our special forces to such an endeavor, when we are already stretched militarily and financially? Didn't our Constituton ask the President and other elected officials to protect our country and uphold our Constitution? Then, how come our Representatives are not protecting OUR interests? This is an underhanded way to promote humanistic values, isn't it? And is the intent to dissolve our nation of it power, to prevent "special priviledge'? Or is it our "moral duty" to protect the loss of life in ALL OTHER countries, at the same time reducing our military budgets and submitting to tyranncial governments? What is to be the outcome IF we do not RESIST such governments? And haven't our attempts to equip others to protect themselves ended up backfiring on us at a later date? There will not be Utopian ideals attained in this world and life. And yet, humanists want Utopian ideals and dreams.

The Jews have been the foundation to a Christian undestanding of "priviledge" and our humanitarian values have should restitution to the Holocost for them. What is to be our resitution to the world in giving this land to the Jews? Will the Jews continue to be ostericized by the world and hated by the Muslim? Do we think that when we try to rectify "injustice", as perceived by one that we un-do justice on the other hand? Will our attempts at pacifying Islam result in what has been a warning from those that should know; Islam's desire to hold global power and dominance?

It seems to me that there is a naive and idealistic hope that the "world will live in peace" and we will all live happily ever after! The problem is; if that can't be true for each and all individuals, then how in the Hell can it be true for the WORLD? Society is only made up of individuals, as society ONLY exists in the mind!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

"God" Is Always Used for Christian Justification

I am tired, weary and angry over people asserting their knowledge about "God" and justifying what they do as "Biblical"! In the same breathe these people will contradict themselves, because it justifies their judgment about others, while defending their right, choice or value. This is why I vote for self-reflection and honestly admitting what one really wants. But, perhaps, that is too painful to face, as it makes for painful acknowledgment of need, weakness, or lack, which the person might think reflects upon their own self image.

We all have self-images that we think are important to protect or value, but when "self-image" or reputation becomes a dominating force to convince others about "God" or "right", then it leaves a "bad taste in the mouth".

For instance, I was talking with a friend the other day. She'd been hurt, and she had righful reason to be. I was trying to be a good listener, but when she went into a tirade about those who'd hurt her standing under "God's judgment" and claiming that they would have to give an account to "God". I was "put off". She was needing reassurance that she was valued at that moment and didn't want to admit that her attempt at "promoting God's judgment" was just a sorry attempt to justify her right to have her feelings. I hate for "God" to be the justifier of another's existance, or right to have feelings of anger, hurt, etc.! It seems like denial, deflection and outright self deception!

Another instance of "God" justifying a position that should be acknowledged, is when there is competition and jealousy. Competition and jealousy are known to be human tendencies that "take over" when one doesn't feel valued or special. These inhibits another's ability to enjoy another's specialness, or success for fear that it will diminish ther own sense of 'self". Or their self image is so bound up in what the other thinks or says about them, that they are frozen in their ability to express gratitude or honest praise!

So, I think that "God" is a useful means to control, manipulate and judge another without taking self responsibility about one's own feelings and what is transpiring. That is not liberty but bondage. It is self-deluded attempt to feel better or more important, than another. And that isn't "righteous indignation", it is pride. The ugly kind!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sovereignty and the Global

Today's world leave one with a quandary about what to do and how to thnk in "global ways". Doesn't globalism dissolve identficaton and personal boundaries? These are questions about Sovereignty.

Sovereignty is about boundaries, and the "rule of law". Laws describe crime and courts convict those that haven't respected the boundaries that protect the social order. Countries respect another country's right to differ, as we allow diplomatic immunity to those that might trangress one nation's laws, that aren't especially important in another country.

I think about Hirshi Ayan Ali, who has escaped Somalia and an arranged marriage, to find herself in the Netherlands getting an education and a sear on Parliament. When it was finally found ou that her citizenship was based on deception, then the Dutch had to investigate the right of her citizenship. In the end, she was allowed citizenship on the basis that her deception was not considered deception in Somalia! Hirshi's understanding when she filled out the form for citizenship was interpreted by her reference point, Somalian tradition.

It has just been pointed out that when an artificial identity is imposed, without the person coming to terms with their identity themselves, that there is resistance. Such a case could be made with the European Union and how difficult it was in the first place to bring about a unity, to see countries revert back to their identifying natonalities!!!

One wonders what this might mean in global affairs that have to do with business interests, national security and individual rights. Corporations now have rights to personhood, which might mean that individuals aren't considered any more a person, than a corporation....national security is of interest if one believes that nation states should and do have various interests to protect....but that isn't the frame in today's post-modern culture, where anything and everything s up for grabs.

I believe that there must be a prioritizingof values, before one can make a choice about what to do in a particular situation. Human rights is a universal, but is the United Nations to supercede the nation-state and its right to self-defense? Self-defense is a natural right! And must be protected...if we want to maintain civilization itself! Otherwise, groups of all kinds make for a cloudy future for defense of liberty, as equality will be imposed, not sought as a natural right by individuals!!!

9-11, a Call for Help! And Is Government the Answer?

Today, is the 10th anniversary of our nation's face to face encounter with terrorism. It was a human Tragedy, but it was also an act of War! How do we see it today, and how will it affect our views in the future? These are questions I'm sure many have on their minds and hearts today!

Terror is an act that is taken against another's Sovereignty. Sovereignty has to do with the right to rule. And the right to rule has to do with government. Our nation values self-government as our ideal, as it protects the values of liberty and conscience. This is the reason why we value human rights, as an ideal.

Humans form societies, and our Founding Fathers created our country to be founded on a basic understanding of "self government". The individual was to rule, not be ruled or dominated by another. Our government was the first to undermine the 'Divine Right of Kings", where government's officials were "granted the right" or "annointed" to rule by "God". Our nation was formed by men that used higher education and human reason to form the rules, or laws that were to govern society. These laws protected individual rights. Reason was unique in man and was the foundation of "conscience".

Today, on the 10th anniversary of 9-11, do we see the need for more government, or less, than our Founders understood to be legitimate? How much is too much, when our nation looks toward a future? Is the future to be determined by government officials, or individual citizens? Are we to be "a people", or a government? Civic responsibility is the responsibility of all of us in a free and open society. "The people" should have the right to their own sovereignty, otherwise, governemnt will not seek legitamacy. The consent of the governed is the only way to protect against intrusive and invasive corruptions of power!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Human Right, as Universal? or The Nation State as the Universal?

Many assert that human rights are the ulitmate universal. While I have no doubt that American liberties are what I value, is this what everyone else values as an ultimate? It seems that human rights has been a useful means to manipulate the American public to undermine public policy in our own nation, to benefit those that are not as tolerant! Are there universals that can be accepted by everyone? This is a question about what is 'human": one's cultural values, or the moral order that should rule all interests??? One is based on personal conscience and/or values", the other is based on "law". One values culture, and the individual, while the other values the nation state. What is really Sovereign, one's conscience, as to " values", or law? Is moral order more important than diversity? Are one's duties more important than one's choices? Or is choice to be limited by the State, such that we become militaristic/deterministic in our culture?

American society has been an open society, as to choices about values. Those that want to regulate human behavior might be seeking somethng other than liberty of conscience as to one's personal choices about values. These want to control and conform, not allow tolerance toward difference and diversity of interests.

Our society needs "shape", but not at the costs of liberty, otherwise, those that have intolerant philosophies might just use them to manipulate to conform our nation to their own designs! And all America looses! And citizens will be clones, of the State, whether relgious or political.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Is Coping Wrong?

On reviewing an old post questioning whether America should legalize marijuana, I began thinking about the reasons that I used to argue for legalization. What were the benefit to people and society?. And that got me thinking about coping, as coping is the main reason for addictions, at least in the beginning. Is coping "wrong"?

All humans cope to escape fears, anxiety, hopelessness, helplessness, frustration, boredom, anger, loneliness, lovelessness, isolation, and I'm sure I'm leaving some human emotions out. All of these feelings leave one seeking answers, or questioning one's existance, and one's future. All humans do this.

Psychologists and psychiatrists, have medicatons and therapies that address such feelings. But there are numerous ways/therapies in which these feelings are addressed. And medications depend on the diagnosis. But, therapies and medications are acceptable ways of coping. "Addictions" are not.

What is an addiction but a way to cope? Addictions are wrong because of a person's dependence on them. but, depedence on a therapist and medication is not considered unhealthy. The problem with addictions is the costs to the indvidual and society at large. Interesting, isn't it? Acceptable coping is a "cost analysis" to society, first and foremost.

I am in no way justifying addictions, but questoning society's means of addressing such addictions and asking why is this methold useful or accepted?

Religous ways of coping are no more less an addiction, but seems worse to me, because it is depending on a transcendent realm that isn't even possible to affirm. Twelve step programs use "a power greater than oneself" to get beyond addiction. Why would this work? Is it a sense of being "helped"? I believe it is more the case that these Twelve Step groups are support groups. People tend to respond to "like-mindedness". It gives them a sense of identity and less a sense of isolation, which addresses one of the main culprits of addictons, "hiding one's true feelings".

Coping is and should be a way of living, as none of us are immune to pain, suffering and chance in this world. Therefore, we do need friends especially in times of crisis. But, friendship everyday helps everyone to cope a little better in this world. And I believe such need is of major importance n our society today. This is one reason why social networking on the Internet has become so popular! All human need a friend.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Brain/Mind and Human Needs

It has been understood that the human always looks for causes to explain the world he lives in. Early in human history, humans understood the "cause" as "God" or Providence. Nowadays, science sneers at such beliefs, because science has understood itself as the tool to understand physical laws, not superstitious belief. But, what of human needs, as to the brain/mind?

The human not just needs to understand and explain the causes of the universe, which can be explained by the facts of science, understanding natural laws. But, humans need the ability to trust that certain results will come from their "world". That is, humans need consistance in some way to be predictable, so that humans can organize their life and "feel they are free" and not pawns of some natural force that is unpredictable.

Predictability begins to be understood by the child, as he grows to understand the world at his parent's knee. The parent is "god" in the sense that the parent trains the child to predict what will happen if certain behaviors are done or left undone. This breeds a sense of security in the child as the child understands himself and the world as a predictable place.

Humans do not fare well in natural disasters, human tragedy, or other types of "irregularity" in their "world". It traumatizes the human to experience such disruptions to the regularities fo life. It breeds anxiety and some experience the effects of Post Traumatic Stress.

When the child grows to be a teen, he begins to understand that the law, which guards the socety, which he is a part of, also is predictable. If you transgress, then there are costs. The law maintains social order, so the teen can understand what is expected from him in his society.

The adult comes to understand that though the law protects the social order, life isn't nice and neat, like reaping and sowing, but results , sometimes, in human tragedy that is unpredictable, and sometimes disorienting. Such tragedies should never be judged as getting what one deserves, but understanding that life isn't as predictable as one once thought.

Humans do need predictability, and this is when those that are prone to authoritarianism are prone to believe judgment is always the best way to treat such offenses. Otherwise, "the community" and soceity would go to "pot". These are anxious about protecting and defending what they deem as "absolute", and sometimes these people use 'God" to enforce their positions.
Others think that compassion is a better way to express solidarity in life. No longer is it necessary to protect oneself from unpredictability, by control, nor to defend "God's order", nor is it necessary to affirm oneself in comparison to another. One has come to a point of understanding that life, and living are much more than a certain choice, that causes certain consequences. But, that life has parallel universes that produce different realities, this is true, but that life can be embraced, no matter which "world" one has chosen.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Death, Suicide and the Person

I don't know what made me think about these subjects today, other than some postings on 9/11 on Facebook, and thinking about liberty! What makes one's physical life, a matter of value or commitment? And what makes for a life that is worth living? I come to my conclusions after considering those that have committed suicide. What were their reasons? And what makes a life not worth living?

The first case was the Attack on America. The question was asked on FB, "Where were you and what were you doing on 9/11?". My thoughts turned to that day, that was just like any other, and the answer left me suffering the effects of the attack itself. That particular day, I was just an average person that was going about my morning routine of putting on my make-up, when I heard on the radio that there was a plane that had flown into one of the towers. Upon hearing of the accident, I started to cry, as this was how I had experienced my life, psychologically, at that point.

At the time, the announcer didn't know if it was a commercial flight and assumed it was only a private plane! But as the events started unfolding it was obvious that those that had flown the planes, as well as those that were n the burning towers, weren't valuing their lives.

What were some of the similarities and differences in these two categories of people. One was the agressor, against the "symbol of Western culture", "capitalism", while the other was just going about their daily tasks of furthering their own lives, as well as benefitting their society. One was motivated by a religious zeal that would make them fear "God's anger" and want "God's reward" for a "spirtualized kingdom". These terrorizors had separated reality from the "real world". Theirs was a spiritualized hope disconnnected from real people apart from their own religious tribe. These people were motivated by similar reasons as all people, as all humans are motivated by incentives and disincentives, as we are self-seeking creatures.

One would not intially see the simliarities in these two groups, as their cultures are so different. But, those in the burning inferno were seeking a way out of their fear of being burned alive or suffocating to death. This is a rational fear, that brought about an irrational action because of the possible pain that might have been suffered either physically or psychologically. These were suffering a real and present danger in the real physical world. Were those that jumped to their death less courageous than those that flew the plane into the Trade Towers, because they sought relief from a painful death? On the surface, the terrorists were the courageous ones.

Another group that suffers a real and present danger that impacts them long afterwards are our Armed Forces, who are experiencing suicide rates higher than at any other time. Many think that this is due to Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Their "realities" in the present have been affected by their experiences. They are reactive, anxious and fearful of what they had experienced while on the battlefield! Some do not want to get help, while others continue to struggle against such "imagined realities' and overcome them. But at what point does one loose hope to overcome them?

Life is about choices. And fears breed choices that might not look rational, but are to those who suffer under such beliefs/thinking, whether religious spiritualized thinking, or past experiential thinking. Both impact what and how one views the present and interprets the future.

Was it right for those in the burning towers to jump to their death, or did they take their life in their own hands. Who is to make that judgment when they themselves are the only ones that know what they really faced? Were they to have courage in the midst of being burned alive, rather than a quick and timely death by jumping? This thinking based on real world experience.

But, real world experience is also the case for the ex-soldier, while his "reality" is not. Who is to advise him that his "stress" is only in his mind, when his mind might have been changed chemically, for all we know? Is he to be labelled fearful, because he has had these experiences that have affected him?

The religious agressor based their reality on a spiritualized "hope" that didn't care what might happen n the real world as this was not their value. They would be recompensed. This thinking cannot be challenged, as theirs is special knowledge that breeds confirmaton bias.

What makes for a rational decision? It depends on one's experience, beliefs, and fears. And each one of these categories of people had "rational reasons" for their behavior, at least according to their "Tradition", Experience, and/or Reason.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Religon and Philosophy......

Many want to understand how and why religion "works", as then, they can predict religous behavior and this is all important to protect against behaviors that might endanger all of us. So, some have tried various means to understand.

One way of understanding is "belonging", where group behavior is predictable, as we are all social animals. But, group behavior can be dangerous as much as beneficial. This becomes problematic, too, when there are "free radcals" in the group that might lead the group "astray" from the "social order" to be maintained! And then, when groups become tightly identified, what happens to the "rest of society"?

Another way of understand religion is "belief". These are philosophical ways of understanding life and all that is. "God" is the beginning and end of such thinking, as it is "theological". When theology is ahistorical, people become prone to disconnect from the "real world", either through their "denial" of reality; their belief that they will change reality into some spiritualized vision; or their withdrawal from reality and the real world!

"Behavior" is really the "end" of what scientists want to understand, as behavior is "social control". Social control is needed when radical believers want to implement their vision upon society, or act in ways harmful to themselves because of such a belief. Some psychologists have believed that social conditioning is the best form of "training the human animal". But, one must understand how that must be done without co-ercive measures. That becomes problematic to a free society!

Belonging is first formed within the family of origin. A child's sense of "who he is" and where he fits in the family is an important step to furthering the child's advancement or inhibiting it.

Beliefs are also first grounded within the family of origin. These might not be formally taught as in religious communities, but are modelled by the families "way of life". These become internalized values, until the child becomes "of age" and gains his own sense or what and why he wants to own or dis-own a certain familial value.

Behaviors are the result of a person's belief system. And one's belief about themselves and the world make for how one engages the world and presents themselves.

In a free society, it becomes almost impossible to predict and control behavior at large, because individuals are free to believe differently and contingencies are numerous!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Requirements of Leaders

Atlas Shrugged
You propose to establish a social order based on the following tenets: that you’re incompetent to run your own life, but competent to run the lives of others—that you’re unfit to exist in freedom, but fit to become an omnipotent ruler... P3C7

The first principle of leadership is that they are self-aware, knowing how to run their own lives and not seeking to run other's lives! Freedom does not mean lack of self-responsible behavior, but consciously choosing the values one believes in. Choosing and not blaming is the first requirement of leadership! Our country used to be a country of leaders, not followers. Now, though, our country needs leaders again!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Relationship, Values, and Integrity

Ayn Rand
The virtue involved in helping those one loves is not “selflessness” or “sacrifice,” but integrity. Integrity is loyalty to one’s convictions and values; it is the policy of acting in accordance with one’s values, of expressing, upholding and translating them into practical reality. “The Ethics of Emergencies,” The Virtue of Selfishness, 46

This can only be true if one values "love" as an "ultimate value". Relationship with those that have different values must be mutual compromise, or dissolving one's association to such a relationship. If the principle or value is too important to compromise without loosing "self-respect", then, compromise is asking the impossible. Self-respect is the foundation of integrity.

No one should be required to "help" in those areas they do not believe in. And no one that loves another would ask them to "help" in the areas they do not believe in.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Never Mind Liberal Democracy; God Has the Right...

Today's sermon was again about Jonah. and Jonah's life being a life to teach Christians, not about the "spiritual", but the ethical. The world is to stand at attention by the ethics of the Christian in the midst of suffering, because "God" has that right to humble us. ("God" is understood n many ways, but in this sense it is leadership. The State has the right to define one's life, because the State has the right to be "useful" for and by God. Or some would believe that Church leaders have the right and duty to "develop" the spirituality of their "flock". But, both the State and Church do not have a right in our culture to determine another citizen's life.)

In ancient times, the "sea" was viewed as the danger. The sea was a wide expanse with no knowledge of what was "out there". There was no way of escape when one was "out at sea", except to get out of the sea. Jonah was thrown out at sea and swallowed by a whale. (I'm wondering if in the pastor's mind, the whale is "the church", as the ark was in the story about Noah?) The sailors didn't have an explainaton about what happend except to see it as a tragic event. But, "the Christian" (Jonah) is to see it as "God's training ground", to humble him. He is to submit, not resist, or rebel, then "God will use it" to testify to those who are not christians. I find this a little simplistic, as it requires Jonah to accept his circumstances without any question or answer about "God and his faithfulness". If such a real situaton occurs, the pastor cannot ascertan that "God" will come through when Jonah life had been tragically thrown into an unsafe place! No, all of Jonah's life is to be "put on the chair" of "faith" understandng, only pain. And accept this as from the "hand of God"!!!

How odd that the pastor can theologize, while he says theology doesn't work for the world, only the practicalities of a life "well lived". (Is he seeking the "wider frame" of theology, so the Church will have relevance, again?) Yet, he proposes that theology is to bring comfort to Jonah (the Christian). Jonah is to believe that "God has pre-ordained the narrow and confined circumstances of life to benefit the building of the church and to humble Jonah! (God crucifies his children and sacrifices them on the altar of his "self glorificaton" so that others might also worshp his "SELF"! Isn't it really the Church who wants "worship"?). This confining situaton or narrow place is to build "Christlike character" in Jonah...because the Christian isn't to lead, but serve. Don't ask questions, just obey the tyranncal government that is over you. THAT is "God's love" for you, because you should have no choice about your life. It is pre-destined!!! Christians aren't to seek justice, but love mercy. So they don't stand against those that put them in narrow places, they humbly submit!!!( And the Church is doing it to further their interests at your costs, but never mind their ethics, it is your own personal ethics that is important!)

I can believe that those that are under tyrannical government don't have a "life". These have no choices, are they to submit to this type of government? Or are the to seek a liberal democracy that allows liberty of conscience, as to one's life and values? Those that are humanitarians seek this as their "life calling". Those that are behaviorialist seek to conditon the "self" toward the behavoir they deem as important.

It seems to me that those that want to experiment on "The Christian" (or the religious) or those that want to utilize "The Christian" aren't about liberty, but about scientific investigation. And those that theologize such understakings aren't being ethical, but requiring "The Christian" to serve under such leadership. Is that ethical? Are those who seek to use others for their "ends" being ethical? or serving their own interests? Choice must be a value if one wants to maintan a free and open society, otherwise some will be duped under the tyranny of the few and this was not our Founder's vision. We are to be "equal under law" and that means that our liberty of life and values were to be freely chosen, not determined by government or any other elite class!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Quote About Statism.....

The State is created by the individuals. It is fashioned and refashioned by them at their own will and pleasure … for their use and service, and when it does not satisfy their requirements, they pull it to pieces and reconstruct it. Men throughout their lives are included in many wholes.… Schools, colleges, clubs, associations, joint stock companies, cooperative companies, political parties, village or town organisations, and then lastly comes national organisation or the State; but in all these cases, the organisation is created by the individuals themselves.… [How] is it possible for any constructed and reconstructed things to be greater than those who construct it and reconstruct it? To indulge in any such imagination is to imitate the carver of idols, who, when with his own hands he has fashioned the log of wood, falls on his knees before it and calls it his god. (Free Life, July 1898)

What Makes for Your Values?

Most people don't recognize their own values, unless they are religious or are educated about this in their expertise. Americans, for the most part, take their values for granted and don't think about it, because we live in a free society. But, what makes for someone's values? Social conditioning, and personal interests are the basic foundations for values.

Social conditioning is how one has been raised within a specific context. What were the parental values, and how were they imparted to the child? What was the specific culture the child was raised and how did the family function? These are values that are not thought about, but are reflected in one's understanding about money, relationships, and "self". These are internalized values that make it difficult to "see" and sometime hinders communication because of the emotional association of these values. But, these "social values" are not the only driving force in a person's life.

Personal interests also form a person's values. These values are goals, desires and opinions about "greatest value". These are values that are more consciously held, because they drive a person's educational goals and job interests.

I recently watched a movie that I used in another post about a journalist who was pusuing a Pulitzer by revealing a CIA agent and it is pertinent here. The journalist's revelation exposed the President and his indecretions, as well as revealing information about this particular CIA agent. The journalist was holding government accountable by the expose'. But, the government saw it as an intrusion into their ability to function within international complexities. The journalist was held in contempt of court, because she would not reveal her source of information. When given the opportunity to be released from jail and save her marriage, she refused, because of her commitment and value of "Free Speech" and Freedom of the Press". This was a noble endeavor, but the CIA's life and purpose was NO LESS valuable.

The CIA agent seeks to prevent national security breaches. They seek to give information so that decisions can be made that will protect citizens, the military and other dignitaries. These are valued servants of the public's interests. And they should be applauded.

Everyone will have different priorities in a free and open society and these all must be protected, as without them, we will cease having a free society. Those that have internalized social values, must stop and think before they judge another's difference, as to whether those differences are undermining society at large, or are just different priorities of interests. Appreciate the differences, and move on. Don't make issues of things that support an open and free society because of your own internalized differences or personal interests.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"Providence" and Government

Does it make you "ill" when people that are adults believe in "Providence"? It does me. I think all meaning or interpretation is a matter of correlation in one's mind to past memories and present preception of oneself, as well as past perceptions of oneself.

Humanists and scientists are trying to understand what makes for alturistic concern. They have found alturism in animal behavior and wonder what makes some people compassionate, and others, not so much. Some reasearch has revealed that children that were not nurtured as infants tend to not be as compassionate. There is information that suggests there are differences between the sexes. And, then, there is the chemical imbalances in the brain that make for mental illnesses. What does compassion have to do with "Providence", you ask?

"Providence" understands or interprets happenings as "God's intervention" in the world. These "happenings" are the result of people who experience "God" through others' acts of compassion. And science it seeking to understand if compassion can be "learned" behavior, as well. Can the physical properties of the brain and one's perception be changed over time with "conditioning"? Obviously, animals respond to discipline and learn how to behave. Authoritarian religions, as well as Totalitarian States believe that "discipline" is needed to bring about the 'salvation of mankind".

Atheistic States and authoritarian Religions believe that social conditioning is needed to protect against 'savagery" and can provide a "better society". This is the reason for propaganda and manipulation of the public or indoctrination in relgious climates. There is no real reverence for an individual's life, liberty or pursuit of happiness. We are a collective, so "individuality" is a threat to progress and conformity! Scientific materialism or religious conformity is much too important. Some scientists believe that even our experience of art and beauty is a result of stimuli to our physical properties, while religions see these "expressions' to be "useful" for "glorifying God". What makes for an artist's imagination? And is the artist's imagination as productive in a regimented and oppressive environment?

Religions have brought solace and comfort to those under authoritarian regimes, because of the need for the human to experience their own "reality". But, religions have also oppressed as much as any absolute State. The sense of "self" and one's own control of their life, is an important aspect of "feeling free". None of us are totally free, as we live under governments, and societies, and if not, we all live under the constraints of natural resources.

Natural resources are seen as limited unless science provides new ways or making them or limiting our use of them. And the environmental consequences to such use is also of concern. The question, then becomes who, what, and how will the policy decisions be made , how will they be prioritized, when there are so many variables? These are the conflicts within an open and free society. Those that hold the power make the determinations about policy and this is where "Providence" is an absurd understanding about life and what happens.

Unless one wants to affirm and confirm a Totalitarian State, where there is not "representation", then one must understand and see that it is "the people" who will vote, petition and make the differences to "outcomes" in their government, which isn't about "Providence", but about responsibility and concern.

"Providence" is a term useful for those that believe in authoritarianism! And good government is NOT authoritarian, not at all.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Free Society....

Because my thinking is going along the lines of our society, liberty of conscience, and "group think", I am re-posting some quotes that grasp the essence of a free society.....

“Society exists only as a mental concept; in the real world there are only individuals.” Oscar Wilde

Society is produced by our wants and government by our wickedness Thomas Paine

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

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

Groups Are Powerful Forces That Undermine Our Liberty

I am concerned over our liberties, because groups have framed and formed their arguments which have political persuasion and power. This is the basis of our culture wars, and will be the demise of our rationality as a nation!

It was known that the Germans used experiments on the Jews, as they dismissed the Jew as worthy of "life". This is the case now for the Jew concerning Islam!

Gay rights activists seek to put their "tolerance messages" in our classrooms and religious groups seek to claim their rights, as well.

We are a diverse nation that was based on the principle of individual liberties. No one person had more power before the law, than any other. Now, groups demand tolerance, where our nation becomes a quadmire of differences of opinion and values of commitment. Groups have more power than individual voices. This should not be, unless tolerance gives us no right to judge or make determinations of any kind...about one's life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!

We need to dissolve powerful lobbyists and make a way back to the local, where voices are known, heard and understood, rather than enlarging to global interests and concerns that devalue our nation and demean our values of liberty!

A Warning Worth Listening To.....

For the most part, this blog has been my attempt to process, vent, share, and create. This has been a "healthy thing" for me, for I am doing it for myself, not performing for someone else. Performance is what I'd like to focus on.

Performance means that one is expected to meet a certain goal, standard, or accomplishment. This is all well and good, IF these are things one wants to accomplish for oneself. One does a job because one believes in the vision of the employer, or one wants to earn a decent living. And for the most part, we can choose where we work and what we do. These are blessings of a free society!

When performance become demands whether of one's employer, "community", or spouse, then one has to question and reflect on whether the costs of these demands outweigh the benefit of the relationship. Move on, if these demands become hinderances to you as a person.

But, when demands become sanctioned by "God", then one "ups the ante" so to speak. Those that believe that what they do is important to "God", or that "God" has required "such and such", are going to make demands on those around them. And pity the people that are "pegged" to certain endeavors in the "Name of God". You will be damned if you do perform and damned if you don't perform. But, you must decide for yourself.

This is the warning; Get out, Get away from such people as fast as you can, for theirs is THE important job in requiring others to "get on board" to their "God project" and they will be authoritarian in carrying out such propositions. Why wouldn't they be, if they believe this is "God's will"???? Get out whoever you are. It is not about you becoming a unique individual or accomplishing your own personal goals or defining your values, but it is performing under a "speicified moral image". One cannot have self respect in sacrificing oneself on the altar of another's conscience.

So, heed my warning and get out. Cults are authoritarian, limiting, controlling, manipulative, and the foundation is "group think", "group speak" and "group behavior". If there is no negotiation, respect for you as a person, where you can agree to disagree, or leave, then, it is to your best interests and others best interests to leave and warn others.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Church Gets Less Interesting and Threatening to the Personal

The message this morning was an emphasis on self-reflection, which was "well taken" and the pastor had some good observations about what the world would say to the Church. But, the whole idea of the message was a stumbling block to me. Why?

The message was taken from Jonah. The pastor spoke to the Church, as if the Church was Jonah. Jonah was the "prophet of God" who was running from what "God had called him to do". In the process of running away from God, Jonah causes difficulties to others, due to God's anger shown in a storm, which is capsizing the ship.

Though our minds look for causes, Biblical imagery makes for a pre-sceintific view of reality. When the storm came, it was caused by the "supernatural God" due to "sin". The unbelieving sailors were seeking an answer to their "weather problem" and calling out to "their gods". Jonah is disobeying "God's will" by not sharing "the Gospel". Some believers still believe that there is a direct correlation of cause and effect to "God". This is a primitive understanding of the weather, and an 'intervening God". And understanding "Jonah's predicament" as a direct "message from God" is a little presumptuous, to say the least.

The pastor's point in the sermon was "well taken", though, as he suggested that believers have as much to learn from the "unconverted" as the converted think they have to offer the "unconverted". But, the pastor was still suggesting that there is something "more" to Christianity, than humanism, or humanity. The difference is "holiness", which is a perfection in/of love.

I wonder how this pastor sees this perfection coming about? "Love" is a personal word, and is not a value or does not function in the political realm. The real world functions on "power", and the pastor suggested that those that serve "God" should do so at "great sacrifice". A "God" that demands human sacrifice isn't becoming to me. Such a "God" is a primitive view of "political power". This seems oddly "out of place", when one talks of 'love". He mentioned John Wesley's attempt to convert the 'noble Savages" (the Indians) and his experience at Aldersgate. He suggested that there was some "preparatory work" that had to be done in Wesley's heart before Wesley would be open to an experience such as Aldersgate. The preparation required for Wesley was "failure" in his missionary attempt to convert the Indians.

I find that "perfection" itself is wrongly focused, for whenever one finds themselves "perfected", then is there no more need to grow or become? This is a dangerous idea and belief because it compels those that believe this way to "perform", rather than "be", besides the ideas behind supernaturalism and an intervening "God'.

But, those that believe that they are "called" to a "Divine Destiny" are also a danger, because these believe that what they have to accomplish is mandated by "God Almighty" and it is THEIR responsibility and duty to follow through!!! This belief can damage the peace of the nation, as these will be passionate, and convicted about their "mission". Such zeal was never in our Founder's intent or persona!!! The Founders were level headed and rational.

The bottom line for me, is that people are people. All of us seek significance and value. Some of us find it in religion, and when we do, our identity is caught up in such beliefs. Others find their significance or value within our family or our jobs. Humans are seeking meaning. And "life" in a free society should allow everyone to find meaning however they want to. This is the value of Liberty. And such liberty will bring the nation "happiness" and peace, because we all are agreeing that we might differ in how we answer those questions about meaning and purpose!!!Otherwise, we will find ourselves warring against ourselves and destroying the very thing that allows us the liberty to pursue our own meaning!!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

When the "We" Makes an Insignificant "Me"

Ayn RandThe word "We" is as lime poured over men, which sets and hardens to stone, and crushes all beneath it, and that which is white and that which is black are lost equally in the grey of it. It is the word by which the depraved steal the virtue of the good, by which the weak steal the might of the strong, by which the fools steal the wisdom of the sages. Anthem, Chapter 11

All humans live amongst others, but their attitude about life and what makes for meaning is what makes for the differences. Some see the "We" as an attitude of "Comaradie", "Team", "Care", which make for "society", "company", and "organization". But such thinking can enable, as much as enoble, when individuals are not taking their own responsibilty for and about their life. Instead, they compromise, or ignore their own values so that others might not be "left out". But, in doing so, they loose their own distinctiveness. And soceity suffers for it.

The other night we watched a movie about a woman that pursued a Pulitzer by publishing a story about another mother in her child's school, who was a CIA agent. In the process, she went to jail for not revealing her source and lost her marriage. Her lawyer suggested that she could "go free" if only she would hold the "traitor" accountable. One wondered during the film why she didn't take his advice, but understood she was standing on the principle of "free speech"! She didn't want to set a precedent against "free speech".

Where do the lines lie in "free speech" versus "national security"? These are questions that concern Contitutional Law.

Should she have gained her freedom and hold the informer accountable? Or should she have held to her ultimate value for her journalism career, of "free speech"?

If this character had been "the concerned citizen", or the "soceital moralist", then she would have had a "focus" on the "we". This is all well and good, but there were more important issues in her mind to uphold for the nation and for the media, in general. Freedom of the Press is of pivotal import to maintaina free society!! So, I applaud her courage, determination and conviction!!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bodies As Private Property

I wonder if the next political struggle will be over whether a person has the right to his body (in all its personhood). What and why would I think this is the next crucial discussion for America?

Traditionally, Americans have believed in private property rights and the division of the private and public. These rights/priviledges are what Americans define as Liberty. The government does not have the right to intrude into personal information or take one's personal property. The debate has been framed most recently around "taxation". But, what about other social issues?

If one is granted religious liberty, whether one chooses to worship a "Divine Being" and how, does it also not follow that a person should be allowed the right to choose what he does or does not do with and to his body? "Body rights" would grant the individual the right to make decisions about healthcare. Government could not demand or intrude upon one's personal decisions concerning one's body.

Assisted suicide is one social issue that concerns the terminally ill, and their right to decide not to suffer or put their families in emotional or financial crisis because of such an illness.

The issue about personal decision making is crucial because government would not and could not make a personal choice about value, as to quality/quantity in life choices.

The outcry against universalized healthcare has been based on such rationale, I think. Americans don't like to be told what to do with their lives. We are "independents". We have believed in liberty of conscience concerning religious concerns, should we not be entitled to make the choices about our own bodies, as personal property?

Bodies should be considered one's personal and private property. It should be no one's business what one chooses to do with healthcare concerns.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Individual Interests, and Society's Welfare

Ludwig von Mises Institute‎"Man becomes a social being not in sacrificing his own concerns for the sake of a mythical Moloch, society, but in aiming at an improvement in his own welfare." Ludwig von Mises (1949), Human Action

Those that believe otherwise put society before the individual. Society is made up of individuals who act within a social network. Such societies are free societies that so not seek to circumvent the individual's desire to prosper in all areas of his life!

"Who I Am"

"Who I Am" has new meaning this morning after yesterday's park visit with my grandaughter.

"Who I Am" has meant for me in the past; "fallen", "saved by grace", "hopeless apart from Christ", "a mistake", "a product of divorce", "a wife", "a mother" and the many other temporary roles that have been mine thoroughout my life.

Science is bringing us new information all the time about our physical world, and now, I am understanding more and more how the physical world impacts "Who I Am".

Yesterday, my grandaughter had asked an important person in her life to go to the park with her. After a little while, I also went to the park to visit and watch the kids play. But, to my dismay, my grandaughter and her cousin had a "conflict of interest", and came running up to us. Hannah was distraught, but before she reached the park bench where we were sitting, Hannah's cousin had given 'her side of the story".

Without even hearing Hannah's side, this "idolized adult" stroked the hair of the cousin and reprimanded Hannah over the other child's percieved exclusion. Hannah was absolutely devastated, for when she would try to "tell her side", she was told she could not be understood unless she calmed down. All the while, she was being excluded from telling "her side of the story". She perceived the situation as "shaming" to her "person", as Hannah has an honest nature and this was not being affirmed.

When I tried to get Hannah's side, this adult reprimanded me, by saying that Hannah had no business excluding her cousin. Hannah kept saying how she was only trying to "make a new friend", that "cousins were not friends", and that her cousin had pinched her.

In her little mind, categories had not expanded to include different roles. Though she has played with her cousin since birth, her "social side" wanted to expand and befriend the strangers around her. She is an extrovert, this is "who she is". The more she kept defending herself and her desire to make "a new friend", the more this adult kept telling her it was unkind to exclude others and not to get "so hysterical". I was mortified, as I didn't know how to defend Hannah, except to try to help Hannah see an expansion to her categories of "cousin" and "friend", but Hannah perceived my attempt to expand her categories as "shaming". This was never my intent, and it reminded me of the time I tried to give different names to those she loved, when she was only three. Her immaturity was by no means "sinful".

What could have been only a minor incidence of childhood "trauma", had become a major "message" to Hannah's "person". I don't want my grandaughter to think or feel as if "who she is" is "bad innately" and she is in a social environment that will suggest this ego "framing" for her.

On the way back from the park, her Opa attempted to walk along side of her, but she kept telling him that "no one loved her", except her Mommy and Daddy and she didn't want to walk with him, an unusual response from her. She only wanted her Daddy to "come get her". So, her Opa called her Daddy to walk with her back to our house. This suggested to me, that she had internalized a lot of the "guilt" and responsibility for the situation. It is called "shame" and it is an "internal message" about "Who I Am".

Hannah felt betrayed by most everyone that she had loved and trusted in this minor childhood "trauma", because her innate extrovertedness was percieved as "sinful" for excluding another, while her cousin's "sin" of pinching was never addressed.

My daughter has expressed her desire to reconsider how she is approaching Hannah's childishness and I am glad. Hannah is the oldest child and has already taken the "back seat' to her brother's physical problems, and her younger sister's "immediate needs". Hannah's immediate family has been "dysfunctional" in her mind, as her Daddy has been gone every week since March to the "Police Academy". Since she is going into kindergarten, it is important for Hannah to feel confident about "who she is", supported by her whole family, not shamed and demoralized.

All parents have these "encounters" with childishness, but religious ones exasperate the problems by labelling "what is normal" as "sinful". "The Cosmos" (or "God") is displeased with the chld's normal tendencies. Instead of approaching childishness as a stage of immaturity and seeking to guide and reorient the child,; the child is "scared, shamed, and scarred" by messages of "immense importance". The child's needs are minimized, while the "Cosmic God" is immortalized and idolized, by such "child sacrifice"!

I am no child psychologist, but I am a grandparent that has "lived and learned" and loves her grandaughter. My grandaughter should never be "shamed" into submission or obedience. She should obey with the knowledge that doing so, only brings her own happiness, not some "God". Love should be understood and experienced as desiring the best for "Who I Am" apart from any "God". This is what I hope my grandaughter come to know and understand.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pragmatic Solutions Don't Answer the Ideals

On another blog site, Experimental Theology, it was suggested that boundaries are a problem. I imagine that this is the way people are trying to "connect" across cultural, and racial boundaries. It is the "usefulness" of the Church's message of "Christ". (A rose by any other name is just as sweet!). And such image/myth making is how our Founders understood and formed our government.

The question of whether one internalizes their culture in such a way that one's very identity is compromised and whether one's "self" is rooted in such a way that universalizes such myths, and destroy or damage "self". Can one who has gone beyond a "group identity" give up their "self"? This is the question of alturism. It obviously has been done, but is everyone predisposed to alturistic "service"? Is it an innate nature that needs challenge to become "alturistic", or is such a challenge futile because one's tendency is genetically determined? These are questions that will transform our understanding of psychotherapy itself.

I tend to think that one's racial and cultural background is internalized to such an extent that without being exposed to a "wider world", there is no hope for any change. And I also think that it is really myth that holds the "universalization" that is necessary for "alturistic concerns". But, I also believe that there is a tension between one's genetic nature and one's cultural examples. Some might not identity with others, but be independent in their thinking and being in the world.

Mystics aren't logical in their thinking, but romantic/transcendental. "Images" make for meaning in such minds/brains. Such thinking can be useful to "sell goods" such as marketers do, but is not the way to govern. Governance needs "real life" solutions to "real life" problems, not image making images that give some ungrounded hope about tomorrow. Politicians use such salesmanship to get elected, but how many prove themselves to really be true to their compaign promises. Such is the reality of the "real world". The real world is not based on "ideal solutions" but pragmatic ones.

Our Founders recognized that man was made for "ideals" to hope and dream. This was their "promise in their creation of our government" where all men are created equal. But practically speaking, when one has a job in the real world, all are not equal in position, nor in abilities. Therefore, "equal" has a limited application.

Internationalists would like to see our nation-state export such democratic ideals. But, the reality is that we have needs at home right now, that make it pragmatically improbable if not impossibe to meets "everyone's need" for democracy or humanitarian aid...There are just too many problems for one nation (or the West) to address! Politicians are trying to come to solutions that will pacify the Internationalist and the Localist, the essentialists and the non-essentialist. And scientists are wondering if "myth" might be a pragmatic solution to "real world" problems. Others think that the problem is religion itself, that uses myth to promote such "self-annilhilation" or "alturistic concern".

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Relgion and Political Power Subvert Individual Liberty

Ayn Rand

America’s inner contradiction was the altruist-collectivist ethics. Altruism is incompatible with freedom, with capitalism and with individual rights. One cannot combine the pursuit of happiness with the moral status of a sacrificial animal.
“Man’s Rights,” The Virtue of Selfishness, 95

The religious and the authoritarian political power still believes in sacrifices! These believe that humans are made for some other purpose than their own pursuits, values and names the human;'s purposes as 'God", and the other acts as "God"!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Reason, as the Basis for Morality

Atlas Shrugged

This country—the product of reason—could not survive on the morality of sacrifice. It was not built by men who sought self-immolation or by men who sought handouts. It could not stand on the mystic split that divorced man’s soul from his body. It could not live by the mystic doctrine that damned this earth as evil and those who succeeded on earth as depraved.

It is important to keep in mind that one's work is one's own effort to "survive" and sustain one's family. Whatever one chooses to do to earn resources to support their family, must be personal/private property. Otherwise, Statists will "use" it for those that circumvent the nation's economic viability and the taxation that goes to underwrite such programs always is wasted and wasteful.
"Cause and effect", which is the way our mind seems to "work", is affirmed in a society where people are rewarded for their work, by compensation.
Today, people are trying to "sell" compassion, so the State has a means to support a system that undermines the productivity and creativity of its own people.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Is Religion Outdated, or the "Old Answer"?

"The taming and domestication of religion is one of the unceasing chores of civilization. " Christopher Hitchens

Do you agree? Or do you think that without religion, man is "lost", either literally in an afterlife, or metaphorically, in the 'here and now"? One truly believes in "God" as a personal being, while the other is a more "socialized" undestanding. Is the socialized understanding against what our Enlightened Founders understood to be the basis of our liberty?

Does it take religion to get man to "behave himself"? Or is man made to develop morally speaking? And how is that to be accomplished?  Is such "moral development" an innate nature, or is it something that is culturally defined and determined?

Is man only a blank slate that society and his environment "form"? and what and how does individual experience "form" or correlate to society's impact?

Does man's environment impact him physically, or does his physical pre-disposition impact his "understanding"? Science has determined that liberal and conservative bents are innate/genetic or pre-determined...How much is pre-determined by our genes...and how is this pre-determination influenced/impacted by one's environment...and how?

These are questions that science is studying, and bringing in new results and information that will impact the future of our understanding of religion... amd society at large! We must stay informed...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Faith versus Reason or Faith in Reason?

Ayn Rand

Self-esteem is reliance on one’s power to think. It cannot be replaced by one’s power to deceive. The self-confidence of a scientist and the self-confidence of a con man are not interchangeable states, and do not come from the same psychological universe. The success of a man who deals with reality augments his self-confidence. The success of a con man augments his panic.
Return of the Primitive, 181

Ayn Rand states that it is better to use one's mind for a "self-confident" stance toward reality, than to rely on simplistic trust that depends on a "con game". Those that believe are "conning themselves" to be dependent, and hindering much of what could become of their lives!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Enough Said.....

Ayn Rand

To live, man must hold three things as the supreme and ruling values of his life: Reason—Purpose—Self-esteem. Reason, as his only tool of knowledge—Purpose, as his choice of the happiness which that tool must proceed to achieve—Self-esteem, as his inviolate certainty that his mind is competent to think and his person is worthy of happiness, which means: is worthy of living.
For the New Intellectual, 128

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Need for an Objective Law to Uphold a Free Society

[A]ll laws must be based on individual rights and aimed at their protection.

“The Nature of Government,” Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

Under objective law, what is the fundamental difference in the scope of private action versus government action?

A private individual may do anything except that which is legally forbidden; a government official may do nothing except that which is legally permitted.

“The Nature of Government,” Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

[W]hen men are caught in the trap of non-objective law, when their work, future and livelihood are at the mercy of a bureaucrat’s whim, when they have no way of knowing what unknown “influence” will crack down on them for which unspecified offense, fear becomes their basic motive, if they remain in the industry at all—and compromise, conformity, staleness, dullness, the dismal grayness of the middle-of-the-road are all that can be expected of them. Independent thinking does not submit to bureaucratic edicts, originality does not follow “public policies,” integrity does not petition for a license, heroism is not fostered by fear, creative genius is not summoned forth at the point of a gun. Non-objective law is the most effective weapon of human enslavement: its victims become its enforcers and enslave themselves.

“Vast Quicksands,” The Objectivist Newsletter

An objective law protects a country’s freedom; only a non-objective law can give a statist the chance he seeks: a chance to impose his arbitrary will—his policies, his decisions, his interpretations, his enforcement, his punishment or favor—on disarmed, defenseless victims. He does not have to exercise his power too frequently nor too openly; he merely has to have it and let his victims know that he has it; fear will do the rest.

“Antitrust: The Rule of Unreason,” The Voice of Reason

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Principles of a Free Society!

Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness — Principles of a Free Society

The Tyranny of Religious Authority

Ayn Rand

For centuries, the mystics of spirit had existed by running a protection racket—by making life on earth unbearable, then charging you for consolation and relief, by forbidding all the virtues that make existence possible, then riding on the shoulders of your guilt, by declaring production and joy to be sins, then collecting blackmail from the sinners.
Galt’s Speech, For the New Intellectual, 153


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Is Historical Evolution the Way to Evaluate Everything....?

Evolution is the way that some evaluate everything, but is this the right srtategy for "human flourishing? That is really the question, when one assumes that the "natural" describes in "wholism" or historicism. The difficulty in thinking in "wholistic" terms, is the problem of "thinking", itself, because "wholism" isn't logical, because everything is interdependent. That becomes a problem for liberty of conscience, because strategy is imperative to "measure success". "Thinking" is only for those who are the elites, others are to "trust and obey" and "do their duty".

Wholism is Eastern thinking, as paradox is embraced, it is dialetical thinking, where a synthesis of opposites creates a supposedly "better" outcome. It is Marxist economics in "human form", or "humans" heralding "Marxist" economical theory or equality. It is the "use" of the "poor" for the sake of "eltie"s "outcomes" and plans...

There is a philosophical dilemma between an "elite" and a "equal" society. This isn't resolvable, if one really wants to affirm the individual, as the individual must determine his own course for his life. But, when some "elite" determines (or strategically plans) how goals are to be accomplished, "the people" aren't enjoined. Theirs is the "right" of serving the interests of "the common good", for universal purposes and human evolution, both personal and corporate.. Egalitarianism is an "ideal", but not practical, as "leadership" is needed if any "goal or outcome" is to be accomplished! Therefore, choose your leaders wisely, as you will suffer the consequences!

The problem is "who is to be the leader" and how do those leaders "see" or understand "elite" and "equal"? Do they believe in liberty of conscience, where individuals are allowed the right to choose, or do they believe in a pre-determining "force" or "wholistic agenda" driven by ignoring those they lead? That is of interest "to all people" who believe and affirm "equality and justice" group identity will not lead us in the right direction, as it doesn't leave room for dissent, free thought, or difference....the globe cannot give us any universal..And those that believe in "wholism" are just "selling a bill of good" to those they want to manipulate toward what they believe is "human progress", and human development......Terms need to be defined, if there is to be any "consensus" about meaning.....and meaning is everything in living in a free society!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Groups and "Others"...

I find it disturbingly paradoxical to talk about  "the other"," the Other" or "Othering". Why?

Groups form their identities by various distinctives. These are cultural differences, which define values. The problem comes when values conflict with another "group", which they inevitably will. Focusing on these differences and using them as forms of "entitlement" does not help those of a minority race to "overcome". But, it enables an entitlement mentality. Ethnic identities are a biological fact, but we don't have to promote the idea that their social status deserves special treatment! This is a nonesstialist position.

I read recently where the Academy has gone from "the other" to "the Other" to "Othering". It seems to me that "the other" is a particular individual that is different from you. "The Other" is another group, whether  defined by differences of interest or values, or a "people group", while "othering" is an action taken toward "the other", and/or "The Other". Discrimination is about distinguishing, while "othering" is looking at commonalities. Both are useful, but must be understood within the proper "frame.

Groups are dangerous to individuation, as they do pressure individuals to conform to certain standards, or values. While this is good for children, it can be deadly for adults. Deindividuation has illustrated how group behavior all too easily becomes "herd mentality" and "mob behavior". Mobs create unrest and undermine the ability to think critically for oneself. It is peer pressure, plain and simple. Such "group think" is the group's "protection", security or defense against "foreign bodies" and is useful to maintain their survival. But, "group think" can also provide a cover for oppressive government or abusive dictators to defend their "territory". In these cases, propaganda can be used to manipulate and marginalize those that ask questions, or think "outside the box". Social conformity, in these cases, create a society where oppression rules over creativity, and individuation.

An identity is formed by  one's values, which must be underwritten by liberty, not paternalistic government, that "tells you what those values MUST be", in areas that really do not make a difference in societal flourishing. Otherwise, the individual is left without the ability to choose his vocation, or compete for a particular job. Americans have valued this form of individual liberty. While it is true that not everyone has the same capacity to perform every job, it is also true that there is a wide variety of jobs or interests that should be open to the individual in a free society.

In America, the States determine many social norms or values, such as abortion, gay marriage, legal ages for marriage, and other such "standards". These "standards" are the "cultural norm" for a particular local culture. But, at the national level, diplomacy is always negotiation of differences between or among different interests, cultural values, or standards of behavior. And these are determined by international law. It does become problematic when certain cultures do not allow liberty of conscience to the individual, as to religious conviction/claims. These cultures have been given "special priviledge" or exception, to the Universal Human Rights Declaration, which is disturbing to the nonessentialist. The West has paid a high costs in tolerating "intolerance".

Both postmodernity and multiculturalism are anti-thetical to rationality. Rationality is the only way or means of finding a place for "law and order". Otherwise, laws will be conflicting and confusing, because they will defend a particular culture, while discriminating against other cultures....or individual values.. An exclusivist culture defends a particular Tradition, while an individualist defends biological propensity/genetic identity. It is probably that both social conditioning AND genetic identity make for the uniqueness of individuals across the globe. And reason, not tradition, is the only way to understand those differences.

I am only beginning to think through these issues, so I can form my own opinion, and not be led by a paternalistic "authority", that limits my ability to come to my own conclusions.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Message on Marriage (and other kinds of relationships)

I bought my husband a card a few years ago, because it said what I believe about marriage. And I plan on giving the same card to my son's friend today, as he embarks on "a challenge of his lifetime"! All healthy relationships are defined, I believe, on some or most of these principles, so I thought I would share them, as they are of important value to me.

Marriage is (by Barbara Cage)

A commitment. Its success
doesn't depend on circumstances,
feelings, or moods-but on
two people who are loyal to
each other and the vows they
took on their wedding day....

A relationship where two people
must listen, compromise, and respect.
It's an arrangement that requires a
multitude of decisions to be made
together. Listening, respecting, and
compromising go a long way toward
keeping peace and harmony.

A union in which two people learn
form their mistakes, accept each
other's faults, and willingly adjust
bahaviors that need to be changed.
It's caring enough about each other
to work throught disappointing and
hurtful times and believing in the
love that brought you together in the
first place.

Patience and forgiveness. It's being
open and honest, thoughtful and kind.
Marriage means talking things out,
making necessary changes, and forgiving
each other. It's unconditional love at it's
most understanding and vulnerable-
love supports, comforts, and is
determined to triumph over every challenge
and adversity.

Marriage is a partnership of two unique
people who bring out the very best in each
other and who know that even though
they are wonderful as individuals
they are even better together.

Except for the personal terms, i.e. forgiveness, disappointing and hurtful times,I believe that this kind of  commitment  could also be applied to other kinds of relationships (business, and diplomacy). The personal terms are to be replaced by the "rule of law", which is considered respect in a civil society.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

"Self", as the Center to Self Awareness

Atlas Shrugged

‎"Let a man corrupt his values and his view of existence, let him profess that love is not self-enjoyment but self-denial, that virtue consists, not of pride, but of pity or pain or weakness or sacrifice, that the noblest love is born, not of admiration, but of charity, not in response to values, but in response to flaws—and he will have cut himself in two."

There is something insincere about people who try to patronize others. But, perhaps, their patronizing attitude is due to their superior opinion of themselves as the "saviors of the world".
It is imagined that one cannot be a "Christian" if one has concern for oneself, one's own family or cultural values. That is absurd. Christian has as many meanings as there are cultures, because Christiainity is compliant to different values, primarily, I believe, due to Protestantism. "Faith" can mean anything and does in American culture. I think we should seek to keep it that way, otherwise, we will limit America's foremost value, liberty.
The above quote suggests that to defy one's values and one's commitment to them, is to "cut oneself in two". Why? Because men are made to make choices about what they respect, admire and want to accomplish for themselves and their families. This is a motivation to set goals. And goals to accomplish inevitably lead to benefitting society.
When one is prone to be taught to "feel sorry for" and pity, then one is not respecting, or admiring another. And this "feeling" of pity/compassion is demeaning and demoralizing to those that are also meant to set goals and excel.
Expectations in America are individualized, so there is not "one way" to view life and its purposes, or value. And that is as it should be, otherwise, some willl always be defining their life by another's need. And that leaves a co-dependent relationship that is not healthy or beneficial to either party.
Value what you value and know why you value it. This is the only way to "own your own life" and defeat "class warfare" and give your own life purpose and meaning.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Free Speech and the State

Any limitation on free speech is wrong, because, historically, guess what, it's the most offensive free speech that has been the most important, the most valuable to moving society forward." - Arvin Vohra

This is an important issue for the State! It is only when we impose manner, or opinion into law, that things get oppressive. Parents, teachers, and community leaders impact children and young adults, which inevitably makes for a polite society or a crude and crass one!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Let's Don't Give Up the Ship!

America is unique among nations, as we have no aristocracy, at least in principle. The Founding Fathers were aristocratic as to education, but they defined a nation by her laws, and principle, not by unaccountable power. So, we must not give up the ship today, in our pursuit of a "better tomorrow".

Today, on conservative networks, there was talk and critcism of the mainline press, because they have not held to the same standards in judgeing the President's trip to Ireland during a natural disater in our nation. In lieu of Katrina, many criticized Bush for acting in a compassionate matter. There was also a lack of response to a environmental disaster a year of so ago, in the Gulf that brought horrendous loss of income to many, but the Feds weren't too quick to jump aboard to decide what to do. We had international offers of help from what I remember, but none was I remember. Yet, the media didn't criticize until it became hard to ignore.

The free press is necessary to a free society, to hold govenrment accountable to the people by informing them. The media also holds the power to manipulate the facts according to those in power, so they can continue their power game and neglect their duties to govern. Let's not give up the ship for accountability for government, or leadership. No one is above embibing on the headiness of power and the Founders knew it!

The Justice Department is acting in some cases like a Global investigator, instead of the protector of the Constitution and defender of the American people and their freedoms. Global economic policy drives everything today, so we cannot deny the power that that holds over our corporations, but when government doesn't know who they are supposed to defend, it becomes confusing quite quickly. One wants to be able to trust that their govenrment is acting with our national interest in mind, but all beauracracies become too big to control and mistakes are made without knowledge because of a lack of interaction between powers. Separation and divided power does not mean that there is no accountability between the branches of government or that States don't have interests that must be considered!

Today, the conservative and liberals are at war, and that is in our own nation. Perhaps, it is just as the Civil War, when there was a disagreement about how to "go forward" concerning the slave issue. The South had to have workers to defend their economic survival. But, the north took the "moral high road" and desired to free slaves.

Some people see the slave issue as a "front" to manipulate around State rights and get a more centralized govenrment. Is this what is happening today? We  see that "social justice" promotes similar values about the "poor", for the "moral high rollers", but this time they use Scripture, instead of expanding upon the principle of Scripture. The real issue is globalization, not "social justice". That is a distraction to appeal to man's "higher nature", while those with the real power increase their power base, and maintain control of more and more of the power structures. Isn't this one reason why our govenrment wanted to "own" portions of our major companies...?

Let's don't give up the ship, when America is in trouble. Let's pitch in and help where we can!!!