SOME RANDOM THOUGHTS — a reblog

moneytreeWhen I wrote WORSHIP OF THE GOD OF STUFF — A reblog, I got an interesting comment that inspired this reblog. It reminded me that some smart people who really should know better cannot figure out the difference between the government dole and honest charity. So it is that generosity with “other people’s money” is destroying our country.

The government dole stems from covetousness, not charity. Covetousness violates the 10th commandment.

Exodus 20:17 New Revised Standard Version

You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS AND GOVERNMENT — PART 2 represents my meager effort to explain the intersection of the 10th commandment and government. Keith DeHavelle, not a religious person, approaches the subject from a different direction. Nevertheless, it is well worth seeing where he ends up.

Greed

Some random thoughts on free enterprise, expanded from a comment to yesterday’s post.

Does free enterprise, usually called “capitalism” because of Karl Marx’s influence, depend upon greed? No, in fact. The expression “it depends heavily on greed” is counterfactual in my opinion.  Consider:

If I want to make money in the free market, I must serve my fellow humans in a manner they find valuable. I can natter on about how much I want all day, and it will avail me nothing.

Only if they value the good or service or labor, and feel that it benefits them, will they ignoretheir greed and help me reach my goals.

All transactions in the free market, from paying or working for a wage, to inventing and selling a product, to providing a service from home cleaning or health insurance, is a win-win as long as it is a voluntary transaction by both parties and uncorrupted by government coercion.

Knowledge

The result of these win-win transactions is added wealth, innovation, and most cruciallyknowledge — knowledge shared, either directly or because it is built-in to the product, service or labor we provide each other in opposition to any greed we might feel.

The difference between how we live now and a thousand years ago, or a hundred thousand years ago, is knowledge. We are physically and mentally essentially the same over those time spans, but free enterprise has brought us into a new world to the great benefit of society.

The growth of knowledge happened despite government domination for millennia, and made slow, incremental progress. In China, for example, it was a capital offense for hundreds of years to know how a water-clock worked. As each dynasty was replaced, the ministers who could build and maintain the clocks were often simply executed. And they started over.

Knowledge is not just power, it is wealth and well-being. And it has been been the reason that governments and would-be tyrants like Marx and his disciples worked to concentrate knowledge into the hands of a few “masterminds” at great cost to society. And the proponent of these systems often describe them as “altruistic.” (continued here)

WHAT ARE EACH OF US DOING TO SAVE OUR COUNTRY AND THE WORLD?

fatter_disaster

Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. We — even we here — hold the power, and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free — honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just — a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless. — President Abraham Lincoln (Annual Message to Congress —
Concluding Remarks, given on December 1, 1862; from here)

Lincoln spoke these words about two and a half months after the Battle of Antietam. The South had tried to take the war to the North, and Union forces had repulsed the invaders. Nevertheless, in a single day, almost 23,000 Americans were suddenly dead, wounded, or missing. When the path ahead promised still more dead, wounded, or missing, Lincoln called for a calm resolve to save the Union. Amazingly, the People listened. If we had been the People Lincoln spoken to, would we have listened?

We imagine the trials of our time to be difficult, and in a way they are. Although most of us have not been called upon to bleed in a bloody war, we struggle against our own apathy, the innumerable temptations we subject ourselves to, the culture of indifference we help to create, the feeling of powerlessness we cultivate as an excuse for inaction, the bafflement that arises from our lack of concern, … we struggle against the weaknesses of our own humanity and our own making.

Many of us do not even see any problems. We refuse to see. We insist our little world will continue as it is just because that is the way we have always known it.

Because we may not want to do so, we may never consider the possibility God made each of us for a purpose. In fact, just so we don’t have to think, to contemplate why we exist, we may deliberately fill each moment of our lives with busyness, with aimless bustle and hustle and with passive entertainment.

Born-again Christians have no excuse for aimless busyness or inertia. We know enough to stop and pray. We know we must take time to be still and know God (Psalm 46:10). We know enough to seek His Will. We know “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.”

Ephesians 2:1-10 English Standard Version (ESV)

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Our Lord even gave us His own example.

Mark 10:42-45 English Standard Version (ESV)

42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

But too many do not practice our Lord’s example. So we live in a time of unraveling.

Would you like proof? Then consider. Are we eager to serve others, or do we wish to be served? When we vote, do we vote to further our own interests or the interests of our neighbors?

Contemplate our leaders. Don’t we elect people whose values reflect our own? Do our leaders serve us, or do they contrive to make us serve them?

When we vote — before we cast our ballot — each of us needs to ask our self a question. Is the person I am voting for helping me to serve my country, or is he buying my vote?

Are we willing to participate as best we can in public life? Do we take seriously the words of President John F. Kennedy?

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country. (from here)

No? Then when our leaders enslave us, what right will we have we to complain?

ANOTHER STEP TOWARDS LIBERTY LOST

cares of the worldFrankly, my blogging has taken a more religious turn. Why? Of course, I am fed up with the Liberals and RINOs, but mostly I just don’t know what else to do. With my hand in their hand, I watch my country as a small child might watch a drunken parent stumbling towards a cliff. I know neither my father or my mother should do that, but with my one small voice how can I make anyone listen? So I have turned to God, and He does listen.

Because God left us here to serve, we cannot withdraw from this world. Even if it is not enough, we must give it our best. So what is going on? Well, here is something bloggers should care about.

 So-Called Net Neutrality

Because the topic is currently in the news, if we google internet regulation we will get plenty of hits. What is the problem with that?

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday adopted sweeping new regulations sought by President Obama for how Americans use and do business on the Internet, in a party-line vote that is sure to be challenged by the broadband industry.

The commission, following a contentious meeting, voted 3-2 to adopt its so-called net neutrality plan — a proposal that remained secret in the run-up to the final vote.

On its surface, the plan is aimed at barring service providers from creating paid “fast lanes” on the Internet, which consumer advocates and Internet companies worry would edge out cash-strapped startups and smaller Internet-based businesses. Chairman Tom Wheeler said it would ensure an “open, unfettered network.”

But the rules, more broadly, would put the Internet in the same regulatory camp as the telephone by classifying it like a public utility, meaning providers like Comcast or Verizon would have to act in the “public interest” when providing a mobile connection to your home or phone. (continued here)

When I was growing up, I discovered the news was interesting. Then I discovered the big three networks all said much the same thing. They did not compete based upon the quality of the news they presented. They competed based upon how well they presented the same news. Because the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulated their ability to broadcast over the air, the FCC had control of their licences. That’s one reason the news media is largely Liberal.

How did I come to understand this? By accident.  When cable TV and the Internet came along, I was too amazed to complain about the lost of objectivity in the news media. Instead, what the FCC’s lost of control demonstrated to me is that that objectivity had always been a phony charade.

Here are some other views.

Why Don’t The American People Understand What They Are Losing?

Why don’t the American people understand what they are losing? I don’t know. That is the reason I started the ANSWERING FOLLY series. Yet even after the series is over I probably won’t be able to answer my question. At best, I will just know more about how to avoid being a fool.

Even though our leaders and the educated among us know what such a thing is, we continue to creep step-by-step towards a police state. Our leaders and the educated among us have read about, seen pictures of, and heard from the victims of police states. So why are these people leading us towards that cliff? What makes them behave as if they were drunk?

Those who have been once intoxicated with power, and have derived any kind of emolument from it, even though but for one year, never can willingly abandon it. They may be distressed in the midst of all their power; but they will never look to anything but power for their relief. — Edmund Burke (Letter to a Member of the National Assembly (1791).) (from here)

On a lighter note and just for fun => Happy Caturday (bluebirdofbitterness.com).

WHY DO CHILDREN NEED A RELIGIOUS EDUCATION?

ministry-of-education

The Root Of The Problem

No matter how we educate children, the topic of religion is inescapable; government-run education does not and cannot avoid it. Why? Ravi Zacharias (an expert in Christian apologetics) says there are Four Questions To Answer In Life.

  • Origin  – Where do we come from?
  • Meaning – Why are we here?
  • Morality – What’s right and what’s wrong?
  • Destiny – What happens to a human being when I die?

These are religious questions. We are practically born wanting to know the answers. Therefore, no educational system can avoid these questions. Even a supposedly secular education (such as that provided by our public school system) must address each of these questions either directly or indirectly.

At best, what a secular education does is try to render the issue of God irrelevant. Therefore, because government-run schools are “secular” institutions, many Atheists promote public education as a way of undermining the Christian faith.

Consider this satirical cartoon as an example. When I argued that no education is complete without religious instruction (here), tildeb (apparently a militant Atheist) threw up the cartoon (here). At first, I thought the cartoon simply absurd. Then I realized the cartoonist was trying to satirize religious education as indoctrination into senseless superstitions.

What Are The Problems With Government-Run Education?

Talk to different people, and you will get different ideas about who needs an education and what kind of education is needed. In America, we generally think every child has the “right” to a basic education (whatever that is). Therefore, we have put our government in charge of the education our children.

Unfortunately, there are three big problems with the American approach to education.

  • An education is not a right. Parents have a responsibility for educating their children, but government has no business forcing anyone to pay for the education somebody else’s child, not even a needy child. That is form of stealing, and it is wrong.
  • We cannot trust politicians, and we don’t trust politicians. Nevertheless, various special interest groups have guilted the rest of us into funding public education. Over the years what these people have demonstrated is their desire for money and power, not a good education for children. That’s why our education system is costly, ineffective, and riddled with politics.  That’s why we have huge bureaucracies filled with cushy jobs for adults instead of a first rate school system.
  • Supposedly, the public education system excludes religious content. In IS MULTICULTURALISM A RELIGION?, we debunked that myth.

Who Are The Advocates For Government-Run Education?

Three basic groups promote government-run education.

  • Those seeking power.
  • Those seeking financial gain.
  • Those with philosophical objections to parental school choice.

Because it gives them considerable power, politicians seek to control how our money is spent on education. Power-hungry men and women want to control who teaches children, what children are taught, how children are taught, and where children go to school.

Because a government-run educational monopoly makes it easier for them them to unionize and demand exorbitant salaries and benefits, teachers unions oppose school choice. Various other special interests who make money off government-run education also oppose school choice.

At least three groups insist upon government-run schools for ostensibly philosophical reasons.

  • Socialists want government-run schools for the sake of equality. Unless government runs the schools, these supposedly fear the poor will not be properly educated.
  • Because Secularists equate religion with superstition, they favor a secular education. Thus, they have used public education as a backdoor method for imposing their godless worldview on our children.
  • Because politicians will sell access to our children, some groups see the public education system as a method for obtaining access to the other people’s children. These different groups use the public school system to indoctrinate children in various politically correct causes including: Socialism, Environmentalism, Moral Relativism, Sexual Liberation, Multiculturalism, feminism, immigration “reform” and so forth.

So What Is The Fix?

 Matthew: January 4, 2015 at 12:55 am

Everything is a religion. Prove to me that I am wrong. Your comment itself is religious.

Contrary to what politicians would have us believe, we cannot compartmentalize our lives. We cannot call one part Christian and another part secular. God created everything. He created us, the world in which we live, and each moment in which live and breathe. He created us for His glory, not to be secular beings.

All that may sound to some like fanaticism, but consider a secular idiom, to find yourself. The Christian version of finding yourself is seeking God’s purpose for your life.

Psalm 37:4 New King James Version (NKJV)

Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

We are God’s children. He wants what is best for us. He wants us to love Him and each other. When we love God and each other, when we do what God has called us to do, we are happiest, knowing true fulfillment. Thus, secularizing the education of our children just increases the risk they will waste their lives.

If we believe in God and the life to come, then we must believe every decision we make has eternal significance. We must believe each decision we make, what we choose to learn, how we choose to spend our time, and how we choose to live, is a religious choice. When we make decisions for our children, that too must be a religious choice.

Consider what we have enshrined in the First Amendment.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Various state constitutions also protect the right to freedom of religion. Yet time and sophistry has confused our understanding. Even so the founders clearly did not want a busybody government. They wanted the right to run their lives and exercise the freedom of their own consciences.

Because of poor instruction, we have forgotten what the Bible teaches.

Ephesians 6:1-4 New King James Version (NKJV)

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”

And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

Our Creator gave parents the responsibility for the upbringing of the children they bring into this world. When parents pass that responsibility onto politicians, people no one in their right minds would trust with more power than necessary, they risk being disobedient to what the Bible teaches. When we allow our children to grow up without fully realizing their lives are a gift from our Creator, that their owe Him their worship, that they should seek to spend each moment in communion with Jesus, we fail in our duty as parents.

That means parents need to choose who teaches their children, what their children are taught, how their children are taught, and where their children go to school. That’s means we need school choice.