What Is Wrong With Us?

Wonderment and surprise turn naturally to resignation as the results of the November 2006 elections are tallied and the Democrats win strongly across the country. Hope lives on as Republicans have worked well in the past as a minor party, keeping the Democrats on their toes to an adaquate extent at least. Then hope turns surprise and disgust as the leadership of the Republican party in Washington appears to lose its head, with members siding with disengagement and isolationist ideologies of the left. Not only are these ideas wrong-headed and without merit, they are deadly, for us and all our allies and ours and their children.

How many 9/11’s will need to occur after we’ve left Iraq before we regret our decision? How many innocents lives will be sacrificed at the altar of partisan pride and spineless survivalism. It was not four short months ago that the Democrats were avidly supporting the idea of sending massive amounts of troops into Iraq, they were the prime adherents of the idea that the necessary strategy for victory required boosting the number of soldiers on the front line. Now it is merely the fact that President Bush has accepted their idea and made it his own belief that requires the basely partisan Democrats to shift and turn 180 degrees calling for immediate and complete troop withdrawals while the poltroons in the Republican party yap along after them like so many toy poodles following their masters down the block.

It is time that those who despise that animating contest of freedom be left in the trash heap of history to be forgotten by all who call freedom their own. Any leader anywhere who does not support the defeat, eradication, and complete anhiliation of those who would destroy our way of life and that of our allies and all our children must be sent down in flames. There is no room for compromise with an uncompromising enemy. Our lives are at stake.

Goals Of War

Are we trying to win peoples’ hearts and minds or are we freeing them from terror? Hugh Hewitt at Townhall.com has written regarding the failure of our leaders to lead to victory in the War on Terror.

With my english language news limited to CNN World and BBC World these weeks in Italy, I must report that BBC has much better reporting, better anchors, better stories, and they’re only half as liberal as CNN. However, on both stations, when it comes to reporting on the War on Terror, the tenor, if not the content, is the same. While BBC appears to be loyal to the British troops and portrays them them as people with a valid and important view of the war and its’ aims as well as a heart for the people they’re fighting amongst. To CNN the soldiers are red-neck rowdies intent on blowing things, and people, apart. But if listening only to the tone of the reporting, without understanding words, a listener to either channel would come to think the reporter is some baleful expert, perpetually depressed, with an over-inflated view of their own importance and a severely pessimistic perspective on the course of events.

A theme that is stated and repeated over and over again regardless the surrounding story is that we are not making progress winning the hearts and minds of the people whose homes we are fighting around. Ponder this: Is our goal to foster warm fuzzies with the people over there? “Oh it’s terrible they all died, but at least we’d won their hearts and minds.” Or is it instead to free them from a bondage which they readily admit to suffering and desire to be free of, and to give the whole world freedom from a particularly virulent and vociferous form of terror?

Consider past wars, wars we actually won, as well as the one we lost. World War 2 was fought with untold destruction of land, history, structures, people, and their lives. When great evil is battled, terrible things happen. War, indeed, is hell. There is a price to evil. Innocent people suffer and die and each loss is unspeakably horrible. In World War 2 there were resistance fighters who chose that life of very nearly certain death, living free or dying trying. In this current war it has been said that in countries such as Afghanistan, the people have always sided with whichever side appears to be winning. We cannot expect similar resistance fighters to side with us unless it is clear we are over-running the enemy and defeating them on their ground. Were it not for the global aspirations of the entities inciting terror breeding in these regions, I’d be hard pressed to find a rationale for continuing this war. But the enemy has made it clear their aims, violent and complete subjugation of the entire world to their extreme and evil ideology and theology.

The purpose of war is to destroy, that army which succeeds in first destroying the will of the opposers is the side which wins. Because of this, an idealist is the strongest enemy, as they trust and believe in things beyond the physical and temporal, larger than himself and his enemy. Destroying his hope and vision or destroying him physically is the only way to win against him. We are here embarked on a quest to destroy the spirit, and if necessary the body, of those who have tried, are now trying, and will not cease until they have succeeded in destroying ours. Much good has and will be lost, some wounds will never heal and some wrongs will never be righted. This is the price of freedom. Is it a just price? Perhaps if the price were being extracted from us here safe behind the walls of the seas in America in a more visible way we would value what is being accomplished. But like spoiled children whose parents have paid their way through life, we do not value the end goal and stupidly rail on those who do understand and have paid the price. To quote from that firebrand of our own American Revolution, our own War for Independence, Samuel Adams:

If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.

Corporate Responsibility

There is a distinct difference between what a business must do and what it can do. An organism or organization must do what is necessary only to survive: for a living organism that includes intake of energy and defensive acts of self-preservation, for an organization that includes intake of money. An organism or an organization can do what it wants. Usually this involves actions that improve the strength, influence, power, and overall viability of that entity.

There are moral and social laws which apply to organizations as they do to organisms. These are neither needs nor wants, but a third category: external requirements. All moral requirements ought to hold the same level of importance as needs to any entity, and to the point that entity upholds these moral laws, we call that entity “moral”. The key difference between an actual need and a moral requirement is that usually there is not a thought process necessary to recognize an actual need, while moral laws require thought and usually practice. We know we need food, so we put something in our mouth. Compared to a moral requirement which might be better described as a set of goals rather than set methods and these goals are not necessarily concretely and practically defineable or specifically actionable. Don’t harm, but if to prevent harm you must cause hurt? Don’t lie, but what if you’re protecting good from evil, innocence from destruction?

Focusing on Corporate Responsibility: Is maintaining unprofitable operations a need for any reason a need? Of course not. Might a company want do maintain an unprofitable operation for the convenience of it’s customers? Possibly, though one would expect that company would be anticipating some greater payoff that justifies its currently unjustifiable expense. A company pouring itself out through convenient but unprofitable¬† operations may have the love of the world, but they’ll soon only be crying at the companies grave.

Trust, Revisited

How do you know somebody can be trusted? How does one earn trust? How does one lose trust? If someone you count as a friend did something to cause you to lose trust, what kind of forgiveness, recompense, or other actions or changes must be made? How do you know when you can trust them again? What if it were more than one friend: some likely unwary, others possibly manipulating (or at least controlling), how would then deal with the unwary, passive betrayers?

In each of these cases, of course, the answers will vary greatly based on the deepness of the friendship, the nature of the betrayal, the surrounding situation(s), and the maturity of each individual involved.

At the height of passion immediately surrounding (time-wise) the event, emotions color everything and everyone. The supposed or considered wrong reveals or stems from a black soul to the core of the offender, and the offended’s saintliness is unimpeachable. As time passes, the heart cools and the head takes in more of the variables, excusing mere humanity and separating actual offense from perceived permeating perfidies.

But all this analysis aside, the heart of the issue of trust, I believe, comes not from the truster but from the trusted.

Trust is what is earned by and given to those who care obviously for others, and who work to do in their power what they can to assist others, who are careful in giving their word and wholehearted in keeping that word. A person who does this is trustworthy. Sometimes such a person has an outward aura which others can sense, but usually it is only displayed through acts of substance and spread by word of mouth.

Trust is indeed the basis of civilized society. A trustworthy company is one that produces a product or provides a service which meets the needs of individuals reliably and fulfills all official claims. A trustworthy businessman does the same. Adam Smith, the 18th century economist, reconciled human nature and the need for trustworthy dealings by saying a selfish man (one pursuing his own best interest) would find it in his best interest to act reliably and honorably with all he came in contact with, else who would do business with him? Yes, there is honor, even among thieves. And perhaps coming from the other direction, Proverbs famously states that a good name (the trust of others) is better than great riches.

On a personal note, in looking back over those who I’ve trusted, and those who’ve trusted me, I wondered if I must wait for “that one” to find someone who will constantly act with my best interest in mind as I will for them. Perhaps so, perhaps not. In this, though, I am not a starry-eyed idealist: I’m well aware that you can be hurt worst by those you trust the most. To trust in anything or anyone mortal is to chase after hurt, and I’ve had my share of hurt as I’ve done my sharing of hurting. But in all this I find a little more of myself. Among the cycles and periods that have defined my life, a major cycle was one of trust. I tend to be outgoing and personable, giving rather freely of myself to others, and to an extent requesting the same in return. In this I tend to make myself vulnerable, and thus I’ve been hurt. At a time I decided I did not want to be hurt any longer, so I clammed up and found a melancholy middle ground where I did not experience the crushing depths, but also could not reach those giddy heights of fulfillment and emotion. So then I realized part of the joy of life is found in the ups as well as the downs. Life is an invigorating contest wringing tears and pain in payment for the joys and times of fullness.

To each of you I’ve trusted, thank you.
To you who’ve trusted me, words cannot express my gratitude.
To those whose trust I have broken, I am wrong and do not deserve your forgiveness. But I wish to do what is in my power to earn your trust again.
To those who’ve broken my trust, I pray that God will continue to give me a forgiving heart, and though I may not trust you at this time I hope to continue to act in your best interest and give you opportunity to regain my trust.

Trust is measured by giving, the most trusting is the one who gives the most. Jesus, Who had the least reason to in that we are all false betrayers, Judas’, still trusted the most in that He gave His all.

Romney On Religion

I thought I’d posted this some time ago. Ah well… better late than never.

Very pluralistic, from a Christian perspective there is plenty to find wrong here. I hate the necessity of pragmatism, but from a pragmatic perspective, this was a home run.The Rev. Barry Lynn, ordained minister of the United Church of Christ and chief cook and bottle washer of the group Americans United for Separation of Church and State, had a few things to say (I have edited for brevity, read the full comment and others on this here):

I was disappointed in Romney’s statement. The founders of our Constitution meant for religion and government to be completely separate. Romney is wrong when he says we are in danger of taking separation too far or at risk of establishing a religion of secularism. I was particularly outraged that Romney thinks that the Constitution is somehow based on faith and that judges should rule accordingly. That’s a gross misunderstanding of the framework of our constitutional system. I think it is telling that Romney quoted John Adams instead of Thomas Jefferson or James Madison. Jefferson and Madison are the towering figures who gave us religious liberty and church-state separation. I am an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, and I believe in my faith. But I believe just as strongly that non-believers are good Americans too. I wish Romney had said that.

This has also been a rather good opinion day, here are some highlights I found (or Google found for me): Mall Was A Gun-Free-Zone The mall in Omaha Nebraska is a gun-free zone, and yet someone brought a gun in and began killing people. Which part of “breaking the law” is so difficult to understand? When we put up signs that state it is illegal to bring guns in, will the planning killer see those and decide he’d best not? Of course not. Premeditated murder, involving all the thought needed to consider the consequences and ramifications of the heinous act, the time needed to plan and execute, does not respect the law. The killer is breaking every other law, what is one little “No Guns” sign going to do? Stop them? Instead, all we’ve succeeded in doing is disarming every other sane, law abiding person. Making each and every one of them a potential victim. And it’s not been just been in this case. Read the article.