Originally posted January 24th, 2006. Written while in Italy a few weeks earlier.
I’m writing this on a notepad while on a train speeding across Italy. While passing through the Formia station a few Americans got off the train and stood for some moments on the platform before moving off to their destination. I’d spotted and heard them while on the train and, though I’d not talked with them I just wanted to let them know another American is adventuring in Italy and our paths had crossed (don’t think this makes sense? try living alone in a foreign land and see what odd things come to mind).
So I’m casting about for a sign or signal they’d immediately recognize which would associate the signer (me) as American. Thumbs Up? No, everyone does that, everywhere, and it’s universally recognized. V for Victory? No, I’d just look like a blond-haired, fair-skinned, blue-eyed Asian posing for a photograph trying to look American. Several other signs where thus considered and discarded before I found one that would unmistakeably label me as America.
I did not make this sign as I was too far away while the train was at the platform, and they’d moved off before the train passed by where they’d been, and they’d likely have been very offended.
Yes I have not seen this particular gesture since leaving the good ol’ US of A, and I’ve not really missed it either, until now. The one sign I could show that would definately label me as American was the binary 4, the raised central, the birdie, “the finger”.
Liberalism/Socialism is a failed philosophy, from it’s do-something-diseased adherents to it’s lack of accomplishments besides the enslavement of entire populations and the beating down of everything good and beautiful and worthwhile.
And here’s more proof:
Good, Good, Good, Good Intentions!
I’ll take socio-political philosophies for 400, Alex.
“Tried in just the US of A for over 70 years and still hasn’t succeeded any better than it did anywhere else, though it had significantly more resources and better minds here than anywhere else.”
What are social welfare programs?
The reasoning for minimum wage, social security, and Fannie Mae–all programs of the 1930s–was similar: Let’s use government to help people get higher wages, have money for retirement, and buy houses. The intentions were good and Americans bought the good intentions and ended up with broken programs and high taxes. After that, some Americans wanted more government programs to save us from the previous government programs. And so on. Seventy-five years later most of those original programs are still around sucking the wealth of the nation, and Americans are left with less liberty and higher taxes.
Money, Money, Money, Must Be Funny, In A Rich Man’s World!
Pass The Check!
Liberal leaders in California are realizing they can’t have their cake and eat it too. The world doesn’t operate according to their wet dreams, it operates according to timeless and inescapable laws against which there is no protest.
For 15 years (Los Angeles Mayor) Villaraigosa was an organizer for the Service Employees International Union and the city’s teachers’ union. Now he is trying to cope with, and partially undo, largesse for unionized public employees: “I have to sign the checks on the front, not just the back.”
(Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard) Riordan and (investment advisor Alexander) Rubalcava say two numbers—8 percent and 5,000—define the city’s crisis. L.A. has conveniently but unrealistically assumed 8 percent annual growth of the assets of the city’s pension funds. The two main funds’ actual growth over the last decade have been 3.5 percent and 2.8 percent. And Villaraigosa added 5,000 people to the city’s payroll in his first term.
Yes, America was founded by immigrants. Our fathers and grandfathers were immigrants. But they were legal immigrants, going through the systems and structures, such as they were, for normalization, naturalization, and citizenship.
There is a system, however broken, for citizenship. And if there are problems with the system, let’s fix it. But to allow scofflaws and criminals to benefit from the nation they refuse to honor and respect confounds reason. And to encourage such outlaw behavior even by otherwise law-abiding and peaceful people does not engender respect or love or other such feelings we hope to develop in those who wish to sow their seed in the fertile soils of the United States of America.
Among those brothers and sisters who claim the name of Christ as their redeemer and Lord there are as many social ideas and political persuasions as there are sequins on a glam rockers vest. Or more.
Anybody who thinks all professed Christians believe a certain way about nearly any subject, even many subjects central to the faith, is misinformed or worse. They may be correct in believe that professing Christians ought to believe certain ways, but they are sadly mistaken if they think they actually do.
Especially in recent years, as traditionally more professedly secular ideologies have come to recognize the power and persuasion of faith-based arguments, no one political party or social movement or cultural idea can claim to be leading most Christians in it’s way.
However, there are many social ideas and political ideologies that Christians ought to agree on, and at least basically agree on their importance in the grand scheme of ideas.
First, we must agree that all aspects of life are related. That words mean things, that ideas have consequences, that actions are the outward manifestations of inward ideas, though they can be easily controlled and manipulated to give a wrong impression, positive or negative. We must agree that out of the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks. We must agree that what one does in private is the truer measure of who they are than what they claim in public. We must accept that dishonesty in one part of a life will mean that person cannot be trusted in other ways either. This doesn’t mean we only accept perfection. It means, more than anything else, that we only trust God for those things that are rightfully His to do.
Second we must agree that there are standards of right and wrong, and they are not situationally or culturally defined. When Jesus said He was the only way to the Father, He wasn’t leaving options open. If you don’t believe Jesus is the only way, you’re very welcome to call yourself anything you please, except a Christian. We use labels to mean things and allow useful and necessary classification in order to function as a normal, healthy society. Co-opting a label that has meant one thing for centuries to mean something completely different is to no ones benefit except the deceiver. And referencing to point 1, such deception in more indicative of your own heart issues than any intolerance true Christians may or may not hold.
The same goes for other truths that are defined in human nature and through the Word of God. Killing of innocents is always unjust and immoral. It doesn’t matter if you’re all in a life raft and starving and the weak ones wouldn’t survive anyways. It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to live with the consequences of your actions. It doesn’t even matter if the choice was taken from you and forced upon you by evil people doing evil actions. Taking a life never expunges the memories or heals the wounds. It only adds to the pain and grief and lays actual and real and deserved blame on yourself. Abortion is murder. There is no argument that can change that plain and simple and very obvious fact. And to subscribe to and support any ideology that holds otherwise is to accept a huge burden of responsibility for the ugly truth that is our societies acceptance of this hideous and unconscionable act.
Third, we must agree that in order for God to justly judge the actions and intentions of each and every person, each and every person must be allowed the maximum use of their own abilities to do with as they please. Acting according to conviction or spite, or duplicity or compassion, or cynicism or malice or justice or pleasure, it is each and every one of our prerogative what we shall do with our own resources, got by our own hand, multiplied by our own skill, maximized by our own discipline. If the government or any other group takes from the able to distribute to the needy, they are removing that able person’s ability to show their own character and quality to God and man. And they are, more often than not, removing a powerful motivator for the needy to raise themselves up through honest and accountable charity and use of those resources they do have. A system of mutual dependency removes the onus of responsibility both from those who have and those who need.
I subscribe to conservative social and political beliefs not because I want America to return to its roots as a Christian nation. I don’t hold to my standards and ideas because I hope to create a wondrous theocracy here in the United States of America. Useful theocracies perished with the coming of Christ. At that point the theocracy moved to the heart of each and every man and woman and child. The responsibility is no longer with the nation but with the individual how they will go and who they will serve. The nation bears responsibility for maintaining an atmosphere most conducive to individual expression of their own faith, preventing such beliefs from infringing on others beliefs, and punishing where such infringment occurs. The individual bears the responsibility for using what freedom they have to serve whom they will in what manner they deem best.
The philosophies and ideas our Founding Fathers used to build such a nation were predominantly those derived from the Christian worldview. Because God does not want automatons but people who have freely and willingly chosen Him, He give to us complete choice and builds a framework, a worldview that is most conducive to such freedom while accounting for the human predilection for sin. It is the Christian government that is most conducive to all religions coexisting as peaceably as they may.
I am not Christian because I am conservative. No, political ideas can only at best be results of deeper things. I am a conservative because I am Christian. To be Christian is a deeper thing.
I support the free market but unlike them I don’t trust the free market. I don’t think that having just capitalists in charge of the free market can possibly keep it free very long. Capitalists cannot police themselves. Every game has rules. Try playing baseball without umpires. Try playing tennis without line judges. There are even rules when racing at the Indianapolis 500.
I agree with him, to an extent:
I agree that having capitalists in charge of capitalism can and has caused many a problem. Having Marxists in charge of a market causes even more.
The issue is that there is no suitable force acting upon the individuals that make up a government capable of restraining their choices actions.
And the more levels of government that are constructed to check and balance any system of man only lead to more levels of waste and corruption as they, in turn, fall to the very same forces.
The brilliance of the original American system was that it pitted this thirst for power against itself by building three branches of government with competing but not overlapping responsibilities.
This system worked well enough, for in that inherent tension there was stability left for those under it.
As the government’s greatest enemy was itself, instead of the people, the people were free to go about their ways.
As the government power alignment adjusted, mainly beginning with Lincoln’s power consolidation in the Civil war the forces of government were aligned and now could seek to take power, not from each other, but from the populace.
So is it a perfect system? No. Is it better than the alternatives? It depends on how you define better. I would say it is, with better being that state where there is least government intrusion into my affairs and then only so much as is necessary to prevent me from infringing unjustly on another’s affairs.
Of course, then you get into what is just and unjust.
The whole problem is that unless you accept a sovereign moral force who/which defines morality for us unsovereign beings, there is really no way to define right except through might.
Those in power get to define morality apart from that sovereign moral entity. And without an acceptance of a sovereign moral entity there is no legitimate basis for a universal and effective set of ethics to guide the behaviors of individuals, groups, corporations, societies, or nations.
Yes, I believe it all boils down to whether or not you subscribe to the idea there is a higher power who will judge you for your actions and your intentions and the results.
Republican candidate Scott Brown is now Senator-elect Scott Brown, filling the vacancy left when Senator Edward Kennedy shuffled off his mortal coil.
Winning with 52% of the vote so far (as of 9:30 CST), Brown will deny Senate Democrats they’re 60th vote for health care. Now if we can shore up the ranks by shaming Ben Nelson (D – Nebraska) into coming back to his real principles.
While health care has passed the Senate already, the bill in the House must be reconciled with the bill passed by the Senate in conference. The big vote sold to Mary Landrieu and Ben Nelson was only to settle the Senate’s version. House Democrats don’t like the Senate bill as it stands, but because of the loss of the Massachusetts seat, their only chance of passing any health care socialization is to accept the Senate bill as it stands. Any edits they make would require the Senate to reexamine the bill and vote on it again.
So the Tea Party movement and the backlash to President Obama’s, Harry Reid’s, and Nancy Pelosi’s ugly ideology have won this battle. The problem is, there is still a war to be fought.
We have won this battle mainly due to a strong upheaval in the populace continuing from the waves of the Tea Parties. But if there’s one thing I know about people who live conservatism, it’s that they just want to get back to their homes and families and work and lives.
Will this victory last? Will we dance back to our houses, clapping each other on the shoulder and then go to bed and sleep the sleep of a clean conscience and then awake and forget what has transpired?
I hope not.
What needs to happen now is education.
We need to talk in our workplaces, in our social clubs. Get in discussions at church and in restaurants. During the half-time shows and at the bar.
We need to cash in on those myriad relationships which make up our broader lives, using the fact that we have credence with our friends based on our friendship to cause them to think. Even a little thought, properly motivated and directed, can go a long way towards straightening out the skewed thinking of so many.
We need to strike at the cult of celebrity which surrounds our current President and demand substance and truth in candidates along with their rhetorical skills.
It’s not that we need to talk politics, we need to talk ideology. Ideology is much easier to talk about because it applies to so much more of life. Politics is just one small corner of the extent of our lives. Politics wants to control more of life, but it belongs in the corner.
Ideology is the big “Why?” of our life. Our worldview informs our entire perception of life, and as such, you can talk about it from any perspective.
How do you respond to a medical emergency? Do you call the government or do you drive to the hospital?
If you see a promotion opportunity at work, do you try to make yourself the better candidate?
Is the government the best source for your pursuit of happiness?
Would you rather the professor gave some of your high grades to the slob in the back row of class so he can pass too?
And most important: Is Jesus a liar, a lunatic, or our Lord?
After all, if our friends haven’t got the bedrock of their life philosophy connected and rooted in the most accurate explanation for the entirety of life, nothing they believe will really match reality. And that’s what conservatism is, the most political philosophy that most accurately corresponds to the true nature of humanity and the world.
So congratulations America, you’ve forestalled oblivion yet again. But what happens tomorrow? And the next day?
Do you forget and go on with life, accepting the tranquil bonds of servitude until you awake yet again and find you’re no longer allowed to amass political power to right the ship again?
Or do you start making changes on all fronts, attacking the lies of our world at every turn. Each time maneuvering, like a chess master always circling the opponents king, to touch the heart of the matter.
We’ve been harmless as doves long enough, now let’s become shrewd as serpents.
A conservative is an idealist who's been mugged by reality