GUILT BY ASSOCIATION

vablogs2.pngOne of the favorite tactics of the folks involved in politics is name calling.  It is easy.  It is cheap, and it is quite often effective.

What is particularly ridiculous about the whole thing is both sides do it.  Then both sides accuse each other of negative campaigning.   Blogs, in particular, engage in this behavior.

What is the problem?  Instead of discussing issues, we spend a bunch of time defending ourselves.  Of course, such a defense is hopeless.  How can you prove something is not true?   What is worse is that not one of us is perfect.  We all have done things we later regret.  Seeing the futility — not wanting to expose themselves or their families, the best of our people often choose to stay out of politics.

What can we do about this absurd name calling?  We can police ourselves.  We can point out when it is going on, and we can suggest the author of such a post is in the wrong.

Here is an example.  A poster at ANTI-BVBL gets carried away, and she starts attacking the Prince William County VA Tea Party.  Supposedly, this event will involve a hate group, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).  How do we know FAIR is a hate group?  Well, a supposedly authoritative nonprofit group, the Southern Law Poverty Center (SLPC) says FAIR is a hate group.   The SPLC put out reports (See here for an example.  Here FAIR defends itself.).  That, dear friends is all it takes to prove something to some people, a few nasty words.  Hence it must so, and so anyone associated with the Prince William County VA Tea Party must be hateful too.

Anyway, ANTI-BVBL is usually better than this.  So I left my comments, and others did the same.  Please ask the poster to focus on the issues and to drop the name calling.

The Cartoons

FIGHT THE UNRAVELING; JOIN THE PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY TEA PARTY

Freedom comes at a cost.  Sometimes it comes at a terrible cost.  Over 200 hundred years ago, the Founders of the United States came together in their small communities.  They saw the actions of a British King determined to oppress them.   Unopposed, they feared the King would unravel their lives.  First, he would deprive them of their traditional rights.  Next, he would tax their wealth.  Finally, he would reduce them to serfs.

The colonists wondered what to do.  Some understood the first step.  Those men and women gathered their courage.  Then they got organized.

The Declaration of Independence marked the official beginning of American Revolution.  We celebrate that event on 4th of July.  However, with festivities we now call the Boston Tea Party (see here), the violence began on December 16, 1773 .

Those opposed to the ongoing power grab in Washington D. C. want you to join them in a 4th of July celebration that hearkens back to the heroic struggles of our nation’s Founders.  You are invited to exercise the freedoms for which men and women like you and I risked their lives.  Those freedoms includes the First Amendment right to peacefully assemble and speak your mind.

Event details are available at the official Prince William County VA Tea Party website.  RPVNetwork is also providing coverage here.

THE ENEMY OF CONSERVATISM — PART 2

This post continues a topic that I started with this post, What is Conservatism? — Part 1.  As Smash Mouth Politics observed (here), there is an old adage that says we get more Conservative as we grow older.  Moreover, there is statistical evidence that supports this claim.  So I decided to study the issue.

Why does experience make one more Conservative?

What is experience?

If we look at the word itself, the answer is not readily apparent.  Experience can be used at both a noun and as a verb.  With the addition of a “d”, we gain a new form of the word, “experienced.”  That form is used as an adjective.  Nevertheless, in all its forms, the normal dictionary definition of the word “experience” refers to gaining knowledge firsthand from observation and participation.

How does experience change us?

No ordinary dictionary definition of “experience” will say much about what experience does to us.  For that, we must go to the Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce.

EXPERIENCE, n. The wisdom that enables us to recognize as an undesirable old acquaintance the folly that we have already embraced.

To one who, journeying through night and fog,
Is mired neck-deep in an unwholesome bog,
Experience, like the rising of the dawn,
Reveals the path that he should not have gone.

Joel Frad Bink

When do we begin to gain experience?   Human life begins as a single cell in the womb of a woman.  In a period of weeks, the head and arms and the legs take form, and a clearly human form emerges.   Yet even after months have pass, it is only at birth that “experts” say the formative years of human life begin.  From our perspective, from long outside the womb, perhaps there is some small truth that demarcation.  How can a fetus be reckless?  What choices can a fetus make?  Its attitude?  Perhaps, but no one knows.

So it is that we usually think of wisdom as something we gain from the time of our birth.  Yet Jesus observed that to gain wisdom we should behave like little children.

Mark 10:13-16 (New International Version)

The Little Children and Jesus

People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.

We enter the world small and needy, dependent upon large adults for all our needs.  In time we grow bigger and stronger, and others become dependent upon us.  In time we lose the humility of childhood.  In time, we become unable to receive the kingdom of God with the humility of a little child.

Yet God calls us back.  With maturity come responsibilities, misfortunes, and blessings.

  • Responsibilities:  Both our conscious and the world make demands of us.  Sometimes these demands are more than we can bear.
  • Misfortunes:  Trouble comes.  Sickness, accident, job loss, broken friendships and so forth unravel our peace and our confidence.
  • Blessings:  Unexpected joys, help unwished for….remind us that everything does not depend upon us alone.

Age also tears at the strength of every man and woman.  Age stoops the back; age slows the mind.  With increasing aches and pains, age assures us that a  procession of funerals will eventually end with our own.  When we finally accept the certain knowledge of our own death we become afraid.  We become desperate for answers we do not have.

Why would experience make us more conservative?

Imagine being Job (The Book of Job).  You sit in ashes, mourning.  You have lost all.  Your family is dead.  Your servants and your wealth are gone.  Your body is covered with painful sores.   All that is left are your friends.  They come to share your misery, and for a time they are silent with sympathy.  Then they begin to speak, and their words are an accusation.  What, they wonder, have you done to earn God’s wrath?

Job was guiltless.  Job was so worthy God honored his faith.  He made Job’s faith an example for angels and generations of men to come.   So that we might know of Job’s example, God allowed Satan to curse Job.  Job, however, did not know of God’s intentions, and Job’s friends were unwilling to believe God would allow a good man to experience such ill fortune.  So they judged him, and they added to his pain.

Nonetheless, Job’s friends were not bereft of wisdom.  When Job repeatedly denied their accusations, they eventually grew silent.  Then a young man spoke up.

Job 32:10-13 (Today’s New International Version)

“Therefore I say: Listen to me;
I too will tell you what I know.

I waited while you spoke,
I listened to your reasoning;
while you were searching for words,

I gave you my full attention.
But not one of you has proved Job wrong;
none of you has answered his arguments.

Do not say, ‘We have found wisdom;
let God refute him, not a mere mortal.’

The young man found himself angry at Job’s denial, full of words, and compelled to speak.  God would not punish the guiltless, he thought.  Since God seemed unavailable, he decided to speak for Him.

Job 36:2-4 (Today’s New International Version)

“Bear with me a little longer and I will show you
that there is more to be said in God’s behalf.

I get my knowledge from afar;
I will ascribe justice to my Maker.

Be assured that my words are not false;
one who has perfect knowledge is with you.

When the young man had finished speaking, God decided to speak for himself.  He began by reminding Job, Job’s friends, and the young man of how little we actually know.   The Lord reprimanded Job’s friends.  Of the young man, nothing more was said.  Presumably, he was forgiven due to his age.  Perhaps he was expected to learn from his folly.

Conclusion

Experience is the difference between theory and practice.  As we get older, we accumulate a record of trial and error.  Under the care of parents, children have yet to be humbled by reckless behavior and evil choices.   Children do not fully understand the benefits of careful consideration and concern for the welfare of others.   Too often, the young have the confidence and pride of perfect knowledge.  The young have yet to see how what works theory fails in practice.

Mark 10:13-16 (New International Version)

The Little Children and Jesus

13People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.

JOINING THE THIRD WORLD

The news is full of stories about imaginary people.  Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett are dead.  The stories of a big star and a little star have ended; their innumerable fans are in mourning, escaping into wise and knowing commentaries about the profound importance of two diverting entertainers.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has passed H.R.2454 (story here).  The title of the bill should reassure us.

To create clean energy jobs, achieve energy independence, reduce global warming pollution and transition to a clean energy economy.

Don’t we all know that our leaders always have our best interests at heart?  None of these honorable men and women have any desire except to be servants of the public.  Ambition is the farthest thing from their minds.  None would dare to think of themselves as our all knowing overseers.

The Washington Post, that wise spokesperson for Truth, Justice, and Traditional American Ways, describes the key provisions of the legislation here.  This is a list of the wonderful things that will happen if the Senate passes the climate bill.  So again, we should be reassured.  Anything that is in print must be true.  We can be certain our country is in safe and knowing hands.

Nonetheless, there are reports from alarmists determined to find fault in this 1300 page bill.

  • The bill was unveiled at 3 AM yesterday, the day before the vote.   So these alarmists complained they had not had time to read the bill.  Don’t they trust the leadership?
  • CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimate that over the 2010-2019 period enacting this legislation would increase federal revenues by about $846 billion; and increase direct spending by about $821 billion.  CBO also estimates that implementing H.R. 2454 would increase discretionary spending by about $50 billion over the 2010-2019 period.  (from here)
  • In its own article, the Washington Post noted peculiar behavior by our legislative leaders.

    The bill’s co-sponsors, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman  Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) and Markey, rejected Obama’s proposal to auction all emission allowances and use most of the revenues for tax cuts. Instead the measure would give away 85 percent of the annual emission allowances to consumers, coal-intensive manufacturers and utilities, as well as a variety of clean-energy interests, such as biofuel developers and superconductor makers. Most of those free allowances would be phased out in 10 to 20 years.That set off a lobbying feeding frenzy, with 880 business and interest groups registered to lobby on the bill.

  • Some Republicans regard the H.R.2454 as an organizational nightmare that kills jobs.
  • Others fear the bill as overreaching tyranny.

What is this complex bill about?  Will it do what it is advertised to do?  Do you know, or are you more interested in escaping into the lives of  people you will never know and may not have want to have known except on a TV?

By the way, the Washington Post shows how our congressmen vote here.  You may wish to let you congressmen know how you feel and tell your Senators how you feel about this bill (start here).

Other Views

From On High questions what the bill was about here.

Blue Virginia posts a statement (here) from Congressman Tom Perriello, the blogger’s hero.

Fred2Blue raves about Congressman Tom Perriello’s balls (here).