Take a look at those cars up there in that picture. Would you rather own the Maserati Alfieri or the Smart Fortwo?
Imagine you are a politician. You take look at the Maserati. Extravagant! You take a look at the Smart car. Dinky! What is the obvious, simple, straightforward solution? You command the owner of the Maserati to help the owner of the Smart car buy a larger car, a Ford. Meanwhile, you happily accept campaign donations from the Ford Corporation.
Last night we had the second of the Democratic Party’s presidential debates, and we had bunch of candidates promising to give away money and even “rights” that belong to other people. How do these demagogues justify what previous generations would have called stealing? They use expressions like fairness and social justice. It seems that all it takes to turn an injustice into justice is the appropriate adjective.
Why would any voter fall for such nonsense? Well, consider the definition of a demagogue.
1640s, “an unprincipled popular orator or leader; one who seeks to obtain political power by pandering to the prejudices, wishes, ignorance, and passions of the people or a part of them,” ultimately from Greek demagogos “popular leader,” also “leader of the mob,” from dēmos “people, common people” (originally “district,” from PIE *da-mo- “division,” from root *da- “to divide”) + agogos “leader,” from agein “to lead” (from PIE root *ag- “to drive, draw out or forth, move”).
We live in a complex world. None of us has the capacity to understand the whole world and run every aspect of it. Yet that is exactly what demagogues promise to do. Give them all the power they demand, and they will create heaven on earth. They will make us love and serve each other. The only problem is that demagogues want to turn earth into their own heaven, not the People’s heaven.
What should we do instead of giving demagogues power they should not be trusted with? We can each specialize and strive to acquire knowledge and skills we can sell in the marketplace. We can run our own lives, and we can elect leaders dedicated to letting us run our own lives.
Instead of giving the state the power to make us slaves, we can voluntarily choose to love and serve each each other.
So why would anyone listen to a demagogue? Demagogues say what we want to hear and believe. To the young, inexperienced, and naive, the simple solutions confidently proposed by erudite demagogues sound plausible. Moreover, skilled demagogues seem so smart, and they care so much.
Someone familiar with history and Biblical wisdom knows it is better than to trust God instead of man.
Proverbs 3:5-8 Good News Translation (GNT)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know. 6 Remember the Lord in everything you do, and he will show you the right way. 7 Never let yourself think that you are wiser than you are; simply obey the Lord and refuse to do wrong. 8 If you do, it will be like good medicine, healing your wounds and easing your pains.
Because demagogues are dishonest, we can keep from being fooled by them by obeying the Lord.
In fact, trusting man instead of God just leads to trouble.
Jeremiah 17:5-8 Good News Translation (GNT)
5 The Lord says,
“I will condemn those
who turn away from me
and put their trust in human beings,
in the strength of mortals.
6 He is like a bush in the desert,
which grows in the dry wasteland,
on salty ground where nothing else grows.
Nothing good ever happens to him.
7 “But I will bless the person
who puts his trust in me.
8 He is like a tree growing near a stream
and sending out roots to the water.
It is not afraid when hot weather comes,
because its leaves stay green;
it has no worries when there is no rain;
it keeps on bearing fruit.
An “average joe” can’t afford a Smart car. Ford is too generic a brand: there are cheap Fords and expensive Fords. Size isn’t the issue. Price is.
Trump fits your definition of a demagogue.
Obviously, you don’t know anything about the price of a Maserati Alfieri. When they are finally available for sale, they will cost about ten times what that Smart car was selling for when that model was being sold.
But we are in the weeds. You obviously don’t have a problem with “redistributing the wealth”. Because the practice is corrupt, I do. Yet because it is stealing, you don’t know how to defend the ethics of redistributing the wealth. So instead of defending the ethics of the practice, you are attacking my example. Don’t bother. Because redistributing the wealth is so stupid — giving politicians that kind of power is so dumb — I intended it to be comical.
Don’t pick on Catherine, Tom. She’s my new buddy. She paid for me to defend her (and I would likely make a great receiver of graft) just by her anti-Trump line in her remarks. 🙂
Who is picking on who? Am I proposing to pick anyone’s pocket to fund a grandiose scheme?
Ahhhhh.. I agree Catherine. 🙂
All I want to hear from the Dems debate is who is going to pay for their proposed promises.
I will paraphrase an economic maxim: Capitalism is the farmer owns and cares for a cow, milks the cow and sells the milk, investing the profits to buy another cow. Communism is the state takes the farmer’s cow, milks it but the system is so inefficient that the milk spoils, but it is sold anyway, and the elites keep the money. Fascism is the state allows the farmer to keep the cow and milk it, then they take the milk and shoot the farmer. Democrats allow the farmer to keep the cow, milk it and sell the milk, then they tax all the profits away, and give them to idiots in exchange for votes.
“Because demagogues are dishonest, we can keep from being fooled by them by obeying the Lord.
In fact, trusting man instead of God just leads to trouble.”
I couldn’t agree more. Trump has turned lying and demagoguery into an a cruel art form. Anybody obeying Jesus should not be fooled … but some apparently are.
Proabortion, forcing people to approve of same-sex marriage, pressuring parents to send their children to Godless schools, an obsession with superficial identity characteristics, advocacy for freedom from religion, ……
You are conflating and confusing freedom and force.
I’ve never even heard of anyone who is “pro-abortion”; I’ve only met folks who are “pro choice” or “anti-abortion”, and most Americans are conflicted between the two, depending on the circumstances.
If you don’t “approve” of gay marriage, then no one is forcing you to get gay married.
Accepting God is a “choice” that our Constitution does not allow our public schools, our public roads, our public anything to force on people, just as our Christian religion requires religious obedience to be totally voluntary.
No one is forcing you to obsess about your “identify” as white, male, Christian or a Republican.
And to repeat, in our mutual faith, one must be “free” to choose Jesus, so by definition one is “free from our religion” just as much as one is free to be religious.
There seems to be a good division of opinions among the multitude on the Democratic ticket. It’s primary promise season though where they play to the base just as Trump played hard and loose to his extreme base. Remember how you liked “lying Ted Cruz”? Whatever happened to that son of a Kennedy assassin? Nah…Trump is a paragon of truth and virtue rather than a shameless lying demagogue…not.
That is coming from a guy who can’t explain the morality of taxation. It is so complicated, but you want the government to run everything, and you call yourself a moderate.
You have never even heard of anyone who is “pro-abortion”, but you voted for a clown who wanted to force nuns to buy insurance that includes abortions. Your party wants taxpayers to pay for abortions. My governor thinks it’s okay to “abort” a baby after it is born.
You say “no one is forcing you to get gay married.” Yet the definition of homosexual “rights” is a moving target. The original agenda was just a demand to ignore what the sexually confused do in their bedrooms. Now we are being pressured to affirm their pride in their confusion, including paying the bills for their sex change medical procedures and letting them indoctrinate our children.
Where parents educate their children and who they have educate them is a right. When parents choose to have their children educated in their own religious beliefs instead of as Secularists, they are exercising that right. However, because the system is rigged, if parents choose to exercise that right now, they have to pay twice, once for private education and once for often more expensive public schools.
Is Trump a paragon of virtue? How many politicians can you name who are paragons of virtue? Any? Then why do you insist on putting them in charge of things they cannot be trusted to run honestly and private companies and nonprofits can run just fine? Is it that you insist that it be done your way?
The morality of taxation? Why don’t we argue about the morality of eating pork, or the morality of circumcision, or the morality of women wearing bikinis to the beach? Why don’t you just join the 19th Century, much less catch up to the 21st?
This was settled by the first Congress of the United States when they decided that it was less moral not pay the debts of the Revolutionary War than it was to tax the people? That ship literally sailed when the first Treasury Secretary, Hamilton, and President Washington created customs fees and the Coast Guard to enforce them?
After we finish wasting our time on that arcane debates, why don’t we argue about the return to the gold standard, or the legality of government bonds, or the constitutionally of judicial review? Most Americans simply don’t want to relitigate things that were res adjudicata a century or more ago. We have real enemies to our freedom and prosperity in the world and you think it is worth electing an obvious liar and scoundrel because you think Cadet Bonespur will lead you in fighting the Whisky Rebellion again. He won’t. Nobody cares.
I agree! 🙂
Thanks for responding. Gave me a new insight into this verse.
Didn’t Jesus make us responsible for obeying His command? Then think about. When we consider the morality of taxation, what we are considering is what we are rendering unto Caesar. That is especially true in a republic. We tell Caesar what we will render unto Caesar and what we will render unto God.
It’s strange that you bring this passage up. Many of the Jews thought Jesus was going to be a political King who would lead them in a rebellion against Roman occupation and taxation. But Jesus was not interested in their material squabbles – he wanted their spiritual souls.
Jesus does not want your money. He wants your love “with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength“. Because he was ambivalent about the whole idea of the taxation of those less than benevolent occupiers, do you seriously think he would have objected if Caesar had used those taxes to lift tge Jews up, help the poor, build schools and make all of society more prosperous? I don’t think so.
“That is especially true in a republic. We tell Caesar what we will render unto Caesar and what we will render unto God.”
Good point. That is exactly what we did. It has worked to achieve levels of prosperity and freedom in modern industrial democracies that are unheard of in the otherwise miserable history of civilization. You just can’t seem to accept such success.
But that too is your right. Just don’t expect much popular appeal for America to regress to some Ayn Rand Utopia that never was and never will be.
If you would take the time to read the Bible, you would find it has much to say about money. We demonstrate our love for each other by giving of our time and possessions.
When the Pharisees asked Jesus if the Jews should pay taxes to Caesar, Jesus asked for a coin and then He asked whose image was on the coin. It was Caesar’s, of course.
The Jews understood the reason for the question. We are made in the image of God. God’s image is stamped on us.
Jesus’ point? Money is not the issue. We owe our government taxes, but for what?We cannot support a government that demands to be our god.
The Nazis are Socialists. The Communists are Socialists. The Nazis and the Communists promise to help the poor, build schools and make all of society more prosperous, but they demanded the souls of the people in return.
Had Jesus come to Nazi Germany or the USSR when it still seemed strong, the Pharisees would not have dared to ask whether it was right to pay taxes to the state. Yet if they had done so Jesus’ answer would have been the same.
You seem to be reading what Jesus said and did to confirm your own modern day political biases rather than for its actual meaning. You don’t seem to understand the important distinction that Jesus repeatedly makes between spiritual goods and material goods.
The money we give to the poor is not a material bargain we make on Earth – it is a spiritual responsibility that we have to God. It is not transactional – it is sacrificial.
You don’t render your soul to a government by paying your fair share for the roads, the schools, the social safety nets, and the common defense that the entire community benefits from. You don’t even render your soul to a government that tries to force you to help the poor, even with pure charity. You render your soul to the government when you treat with cruelty and hate the people or the tribes of strangers that that government or political party tempts you to hate.
By paying your taxes, the government neither forces you to love nor does it force you to hate. Only you can voluntarily do that. It is a spiritual denial or a commitment that even a slave can make. It is for this reason that the material enforcement is irrelevant to the spiritual commitment. It is for this reason that this statement is true:
“Yet if they had done so Jesus’ answer would have been the same.”
When we pay taxes, we are not giving money to the government. There is no charity involved. It is not a voluntary choice. That is why it looks like stealing. That is why I have asked you to explain what you don’t seem to want to explain. What makes it ethical for the government to take money from the people? At what point does that taking become unethical?
When anarchy wins.
You mean when a socialist state collapses under the weight of the huge bureaucracy it creates?
…or global warming makes economies collapse. About that time not even a lot of love is gonna matter.
Global warming? I didn’t know you had swallowed that nonsense. No wonder you don’t like Trump.
The global warming scare is a good example of what is wrong with our education system and the mass media. Politicians have used docile “experts” (When they figure out where their paycheck is coming from, scientists can be bought too.) to preach the horrors of global warming in our schools and in the mass media, but nothing has changed in 50 years.
Doug, you are as old as I am. How many times do you have to be told the world is going to end in ten years before you get skeptical?
So people have started yawning. That’s why, when given the opportunity, so few of the Democratic Party’s presidential candidates did not declare global warming as their number one issue. They don’t believe it either.
And for a guy who allegedly spent some part of his military career doing space work one would think you’d be more tuned to the science more than being a cynic. Two things about global warming.. or the possibility of it…
1. There is no way I can possibly fathom all the scientists in the world that are endeavoring to call attention to the inevitable global warming (more on that concept in #2) are risking their careers, much less their personal ethics, for some payoff. Makes absolutely no common sense.
2. The “inevitable” global warming? I don’t need a scientist to tell me that possibility exists or will exist soon. Your basic general science class in school teaches the geologic history of the planet and the epochs of weather changes with the changing solar system the Earth has experienced, how man-made pollution can affect climate, human living consuming natural resources and the logic that spewing toxins into the air might not be a good thing for future generations. Our biggest threat right now is our rapid human population growth making us consume and dispose of far more garbage and poison gases into the air and into the oceans. You might suggest that all these alleged weather changes and melting ice caps and sea level changes are all some cyclical thing… and all our garbage plastic will sooner or later dissolve away in a couple hundred years. Seems to me we might want to clean up our own home planet if for no other reason. Although breathing in polluted air might lead to health issues…. but insurance companies will cover that… and not new tax dollars… which is the whole argument against global warming.. right?
You continue to believe what you wish to believe about global warming, Tom. To you everything is some government over-reach. You pride yourself on knowing the Constitution yet it’s the Constitution that got us to this point. Maybe the issue is about the people who followed the Constitution… nothing but an irrational train of political slugs since 1789, all with hidden agendas to make money and shun religion.
Yeah, buddy.. we are the same age. But methinks that’s where any similarity ends, I’m afraid.
When what the politicians propose to fix a problem doesn’t even deal with the problem, I think I can be excused for suspecting their honesty.
What about the scientists? I suggest you consider how people defended slavery in the Old South. Plenty of scientists (and ministers) defended the notion blacks were only fit for slavery.
..and the scientists and ministers before them said the world was flat… and before that the Earth was the center of the Solar System… and the application of physics was religious heresy or the work of the devil. Many eons ago I recall reading that the ancient Egyptians had in their hands all the math required to take a trip to the Moon… just not the technology, nor the desire, to physically get there. The world we currently live in, we got here as the result of science. Sounds like a fair bet to presume the evolution of the discipline that forms scientific thought is pretty sound and will continue. Unless of course you want to draw a common line with all those scientists who, having started out with a public education, had been brainwashed by a biased government from the get go.
Hate to tell this, but science has not changed people. Because things like the Theory of Evolution and Global Warming are too complicated to be resolved by the scientific method, people believe what they want and call that science, but they are using anecdotal evidence, not providing scientific proof.
I might suggest that most if not all science disciplines start with observation then theory. Theory becomes fact if replicated evidence supports. No, Tom.. the far greater issue about global warming deniers is purely political. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, doesn’t really mean it IS a duck because all we have is anecdotal evidence, until we can verify it visually.. under controlled conditions. You are suggesting, given the time it takes to verify it visually, that the walking and quacking like a duck is just that… something, yet to be determined, is walking and quacking like a duck and until such time as it can be verified we should just let it walk and quack, regardless if the walking and quacking is an irritant to the rest of us. Your objection being there’s no sense devoting attention/resources to solving the walking and quacking until we know for sure it’s a duck. In the meantime we suffer from all the walking and quacking.
Scientists gather data and propose an hypothesis to explain the data. An hypothesis look like an equation. Then they conduct an experiment to test the hypothesis.
We don’t have the capacity to experiment with the weather. At best we could try to come up with climate model that would be predictive of the rise in global temperatures due to global warming. Thus far the models have not been much good, certain not ducky. Quack quack!
My objection? Politicians are just using the prospect of global warming as an excuse for a power grab. The obvious thing to do would be to drop other taxes and tax the consumption of fossil fuels. That would make alternative energy sources more competitive and reduce CO2 emissions and provide an incentive for technology development without ignorant politicians trying to pick winners and losers. Instead, we are getting all these complex schemes that don’t solve any problems. They just allow politicians to peddle their influence.
Fossil fuels.. most specifically coal, are already being reduced by the market demand. The alternative power industry is already employing more people than all of the fossil fuel industries combined. Seems demand will take care of things but will it be fast enough? Not sure taxes, more or less, would be any sort of incentive given the incentive is already there for the utilities and manufacturing to opt for the reduced costs of alternative sources.
The world is pointing to the pollution culprits as being China and the U.S. Existing fossil fuel- using businesses are complaining about having to meet emissions controls or pay for the expense of converting over. That’s typical American short term business vision. Yet there is some substance to the idea that China and other countries will not comply, thus forcing up costs in the U.S. to compensate for the expense, thereby driving manufacturing to China for cheaper operating costs, hence America loses jobs. Easier for American business to say there is no global warming to justify their continued pollution to stay competitive in the markets. Yay capitalism; damn you, tree-hugging Liberals! We’ve turned pollution into a political problem.
You start off observing that the US is leading the pack in reducing its carbon dioxide emissions. Then you complain about a plot, but you never establish that carbon dioxide is a problem. Can you show the problem you are trying to solve actually exists? Any real proof? After half a century?
Why are carbon dioxide emissions going down? We are using more natural gas. It is easier to use natural gas and still meet the pollution standards. Instead producing lots of carbon dioxide (what we get with coal), we produce lots of water and carbon dioxide. Meanwhile, China is burning coal (still less expensive) and just now beginning to realize they have to regulate the generation of the crap we use to pollute the air with.
“Can you show the problem you are trying to solve actually exists? Any real proof? After half a century?”
Seems to me one might find more evidence of global warming, factual or anecdotal, than evidence to support the existence of God and an afterlife. That’s not meant to be a religious challenge for debate.. just a comparative observation.
BTW, you just conceded the fact that love is a personal act. That means redistributing the wealth does not involve love. That’s why so few of the people who received welfare are grateful. In fact, many have come to look upon government largesse as some kind right. That’s why redistributing the wealth leads to increasing corruption
You want to understand the Christian walk in practical terms? Read the Book of James. Here is a sample.
Note that James speaks of faith, not love. It is saving faith that comes first. We learn to love because we learn to trust in God’s love for us.
Maybe we need to redistribute love. I am sure many would welcome that and who would very happily share their “wealth”.
That is already what the welfare state is suppose to do. Politicians think spreading the money is spreading the love. The problem is they also end up spreading STDs, emotional problems, financial problems, health problend, ….. If you really want to spread the love, find a good Bible-based church.
Who said paying taxes is a voluntary choice? You are under the naive illusion that moral choices are always voluntary and can never be coerced.
Does the thief refrain from stealing only because his choice to do the right thing is voluntary or rather because he fears punishment if he gets caught. The coercion itself is not inherently immoral. In fact, if the community enforces the law out of love for the thief and for his victim, the coercion is as inherently moral as is a parent correcting a child through coercion. It is more a simple recognition that everyone is not moral, not as loving as they voluntarily should be. If everyone were angels, we would still need an organizing element, a government, but the taxes woukd likely be voluntary and lovingly rendered only for loving purposes. It is not the taxes that are inherently sinful. It’s us.
If government is less than voluntarily loving, (in a Republic), it is us. If our government is more loving (and therefore more just), it is also us. We each and collectively have a responsibility for the choice of who we are and what government we would have. It is the voluntary spiritual choices of the community that reflect that community’s morality or immorality, not the irrelevant material vehicle.
Don’t you get it? Money is the moral fiction, a creation of Caesar whether he uses it for good or for bad. It’s good or evil belongs to him. Love is the moral reality. We don’t quantify our love in denominations of money, else the Widow’s pence is just worthless.
Read The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. Government did not create money. Government took over money from private concerns and now monopolizes it. Bitcoin probably won’t last as a private endeavor.
Money is real enough. It represents the labor it takes to make useful things. Money just seems less real when politicians get their grubby hands on it.
In colonial days the British crown implemented a trade policy called mercantilism and sucked all the gold out of the colonies. So the colonists resorted to using tobacco receipts (obtained for tobacco left in warehouses) as a sort of currency. Tobacco is real. That is why the receipt had value.
You talk about deterring theivery. Since criminals have become an important voting constituency in the Democratic Party, I don’t think we can count on Democrats to deter thieve. That’s one of the problem when politicians buy votes. Because they are thieves, such politicians are not exactly particular. They will buy anyone’s vote.
What government does is kind of weird. We now have fiat money. Supposedly, government just prints money and declares its value, and us good citizens just believe our leaders. In reality, the money has value because our government insists we pay our taxes with it. That schemes works because the government prints a limited amount of money, and we pay a high tax bill. Heaven help us if we elect more fools like AOC. She has no idea how the economy works.
“When anarchy wins.”
Ha! Doug, I wish I could be as pithy and to the point as that.😊
Oh, heck.. when called to do so I can be as pithy as the rest. 🙂
I don’t think you understand as much about modern monetarism as you think you do. There was a reason why Caesar’s face was on the coin the coin they handed to Jesus. The government controlled the value of the coins and counterfeiting was punishable by death.
In any event, if you think that we are going to go back to conducting international trade in sea shells, then I have some Pleistocene period swamp land to sell you in exchange for some dinosaur’s teeth. Regardless, Jesus was referring to Caesar’s money, not cowry shells.
However, I’m not sure what this arcane rant on the merits of Stone Age money systems has to do with the price if rice in China. Jesus was giving us value distinctions at the intersection of the spiritual and the material. The widow’s mite was offered in a coin as well, but the coin’s value had little to do with the value of the spiritual sacrifice that she made. The spiritual value is in love, not material money. The message was not in the money amount that the widow gave to here temple; it was in the sacrifice she made out of love of God and her community.
I don’t have a particularly high opinion of myself. I don’t have an especially high opinion of people in general. We are sinners.
We are not wise enough to exercise proper control over our government, and the more we give our government to do the more difficult it is for us to control it. So I have asked you over and again how much government is too much. Why is that unreasonable? It is not, of course, but you are too smart to give a straight answer?
Here is another version of the question. When does it become immoral to give the government more power? What is the moral principle you would apply? Doubt you can give a straight answer. Most likely you just find another excuse to call me an anarchist, but the number of people killed by supposedly caring Socialists is well into the tens of millions. So I think only those ignorant of history are unwary of Socialism.
While I was raised a Lutheran I have grown/evolved my perception of religion in general as often interpreted to be an application of self-guilt and self-denial all centered around the idea that humans are sinners. Hardly anything “happy” about it when you’d think religion would be most beneficial if presented in some way where life is pleasant and not a gauntlet to ride out until you reach the Pearly Gates. But I suppose that varies with the religion. My point… you being a religious fellow, Tom, somehow has not kept you from being a cynic toward humanity. Just an observation and not a judgement as I am certainly not qualified to judge anyone. But being a bit of a psych guy it seems all too common that to engage in deep religious conviction there must be some level of suffering.. or being taught that you must suffer.
The fact we suffer — each to a different degree perhaps — is self-evident. All of us will die. Should that cause us to be depressed. No. The Bible says God uses everything that happens for the good of those who love Him.
Am I a cynic? Perhaps, but I think it might help if you checked the definition. Consider this passage.
Anyone who repents of his sins and accepts Jesus Christ as His Savior can be a child of God. Still, we need a Savior. That’s just the way it is.
Instead of trying to find fault in me (doesn’t take much effort anyway), why don’t you try tackling the question I put to tsalmon?
You don’t think there is a point where it becomes immoral to give the government more power? Then you must not think this statement is true.
Does that mean you are not cynical?
I’m not finding fault with you (as I said.. not qualified to do so) but what I perceive as your cynicism coming through on nearly all points you try to make on any given day. You may have faith in your spiritual beliefs but you have little faith in man. Government is made up of human beings and we already know humans… in the grand design of being as diverse as each snow flake that falls from the sky… is chock full of imperfection because simply no one IS perfect AND no one person can judge perfection.
“When does it become immoral to give the government more power? What is the moral principle you would apply?”
It never becomes immoral IF it is the collective will of the people. The question then can be asked, is the collective will always right? If it’s human will then the collective will may not always be of benefit in the ways anticipated.
“We are not wise enough to exercise proper control over our government, and the more we give our government to do the more difficult it is for us to control it.”
Again, who judges what is wise and what is not wise? Example, 45% of the voters think voting for Trump was apparently a good thing, even wise. That leaves 55%.. a majority… that was ignored because of the process dictated by the Constitution. In that case, would not ignoring the will of the majority be a moral imposition by itself? Yet we follow the Constitution because some fellows back in 1789 said this is the best way to run a government.. presumably for eternity. As individuals we lost the ability to “control” government when we gave up that right in 1789. As a collective our control of government is designed to look like the will of the majority, but rather it’s really the interpretation of the rules (the Constitution) at any given period of time that allows anyone’s will to be recognized.
You are way too concerned about that which we cannot change… which is our own humanity.
Check this out => https://cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com/2019/07/01/which-creature-say-you/.
I didn’t know Julie had a site. Nice.
Pertaining to why you pointed me there… I think all those C.S. Lewis points could be summed up simply… Are you happy for the person that is you?
Depends upon the facts of the situation. Is God happy with me? Check out Matthew 25:14-30. Remember this verse.
Those are the words I look forward to hearing. The alternative? Not so much.
It’s always been part of my persona to know when I am doing a good job.. or not. I draw from within. Do I enjoy hearing from someone that I did a job well? What I “enjoy” is the result of the job that I have done and not in satisfying a boss. That’s not to say I don’t want to make the boss happy in some form to keep him signing my paycheck.. but the satisfaction of accomplishment I can measure for myself. Many times doing what the boss wants does not measure up to the level of what I might expect to satisfy myself. I am no way a nit-picky perfectionist in anything I do.. I just prefer to find satisfaction and those things that build self-esteem from knowing inside what I have done.
I suppose I am saying.. I’m not “being good” to make God happy but rather to make myself happy and from there I can appreciate Him properly.
“We are not wise enough to exercise proper control over our government, and the more we give our government to do the more difficult it is for us to control it.”
I would not put this issue in quite so cynical of terms, but in principle I agree. It’s not an either/or question, however.
The issue from the beginning of our experiment as a republic has been contingent upon what governmental powers, laws and institutions become necessary and proper for fulfillment of the rather elastic proposes defined by our Constitution as it has been amended. Although in Federalist 44, Madison made a rational argument that such necessary powers need not and could not be expressly enumerated, as soon as the first Congress, with Madison and Jefferson on one side suddenly enlightened as Strict Constructionists, and with Hamilton, Washington and Adams on the other side as Federalists, there began a fight that continues to this day. It should be noted, however, that the Federalists largely won these early fights to expand executive powers on practical grounds and federal powers and responsibilities did indeed expand.
The practical argument almost always is that there is a desperate need for the government to have the means to accomplish its assigned ends. As a modern day example, the argument would be that, although the Constitution exclusively grants Congress the power to declare war, the Executive needs the means to respond quickly with military force in engage in an act of war in order to protect the country. Thus the President would have no time to ask Congress and can essentially and single handedly launch a nuclear Armageddon, literally the war to end all wars. Is this apparently unconstitutional usurpation of congressional power by the President necessary and proper? I could make good arguments either way.
The actual hyperbolic slippery slope arguments (sliding toward tyranny versus sliding toward anarchy), then and now, seem to depend less on actual reason and ideological consistency than on factional partisanship.
For this reason, no matter how many times a Democrat shows that he/she is not a rabid Marxist, pure partisan demagoguery will assign him/her as promoting a new Soviet Union in the US. And no matter how many times a Republican declares that his immigration policy is about the practicality of securing our borders, partisan demagoguery on the other side declares them as creating the rise of the Third Reich in America. (Proponents on both sides can always inflate or fabricate enough facts to promote their conspiracy theories with their credulous partisan camps).
Pragmatism and Christian compromise are sacrificed at the altar of partisan correctness. I’ll take a look at you question later, but first tell me: What are the moral limits of scientific enquiry and expansion?
If I may….
“What are the moral limits of scientific enquiry and expansion?”
To the limit that man stops being curious…. which is likely when man ceases to exist.
That may be an actual limit, but it is not the moral limit. Science endlessly gives us the ability to do certain horrendous things that scientific curiosity has made possible (nuclear war, a man made viral pandemic, irreversible climate catastrophe, human gene splicing eugenics, massive world contaminating environmental pollution, AI systems that actually allow for centralized economic and therefore political control domination,, etc., etc.)
A reoccurring theme in dystopian sci-fi lately is that some apocalypse wrought by scientific expansion has regressed the world to horse and buggy times or an even earlier period before industrialization. The science cynic sees this apocalypse as inevitable. He rails against scientific advancement, and maybe he becomes a survivalist, perhaps wasting most of his life and his resources preparing for an apocalypse that never actually comes.
The science optimist on the other hand would not set any moral controls on science. He sees scientific advancement as natural Utopian progression that is inherently beneficial and that should not be stifled by arcane and parochial moral superstitions. He might even see religion itself as the actual main disease that causes human suffering and unbridled science as the anecdote to such superstition.
Do we really have only these two choices, however? Can we allow scientific progress to advance and still have it be morally constrained? Is either the positive or the negative possible outcomes inevitable, or in other words deterministic? And if not, why and how?
You can make up the same arguments about the expansion of corporate power. You also can make the same arguments about the expansion of governmental power. I’m fact, that is pretty much what Tom is doing.
Here’s the bottom line as I perceive it.. man will do what man is instinctively programmed to do. There’s no restraining the instincts of man… yet between laws, religion, etc. we spend copious amounts of time, effort, and expense in trying to control our own instincts; trying to put limits on the “us” that is within us. We are constantly at odds with the nature of our being. Seems to me we need to start there in order to create self-limitations to assure our own survival as a species…. and to accept some moral responsibility for protecting the world around us simply because we are the dominant species. Meaning… we need to accept who we are in the cosmos and then use the gift of reason to figure a way through it all. But we seem to want to deny who we are in many facets of our existence rather than embrace who we are. Hence my disagreement with most religion (not so much the content -reason- but the approach to get there).
That’s a point that many social psychologists seem to be making in different ways, psychologists like Noah Harari, Johnathon Haidt, Stephen Pinker and Jordan Peterson. A big question is whether we can learn enough about the way we think so that we can transcend our own selves, our own biological programming. I’m enough of an optimist to think we can to some extent, but I’m also enough of a cynic to recognize that it is far from deterministic.
Peterson, in particular, is controversial in academic circles because he proposes that atheistic thinking is humanly impossible. Our minds are God shaped because they were shaped by God over eons and pretending that we can rise above that programming is like asking s dog to think like a cat.
I would add to that that a presupposition that God does not exist is not a scientific assumption – it is a religious one. It requires an unscientific leap of faith. The other related problem is that science, as a limited tool, cannot by definition possibly provide a moral foundation for itself. Science accepts certain premises and theorizes from there, but it is unscientific to simply assume the preceding causes will go on infinitely. Also, when science gets to a cause for which there is no precedence, it breaks down as a rational tool.
By contrast, a presupposition that God does exist, while not scientific, yields a whole different realm of enquiry and knowledge as to what the uncaused cause, that unmoved mover of the Universe wants of this tiny creature on this tiny world in this tiny moment in time. That fact that we have obviously often gotten God’s intentions wrong at various times and that our knowledge of God’s Will may never be perfected doesn’t mean that we are not right sometimes and also right to continue the pursuit. Peterson would say that we have no choice anyway, and the real superstition is think that we have such a choice.
Scientific knowledge too advanced in fits and spurts, sometimes goes backward and sometimes goes down dead end alleys. Like religionists, scientists also should be humble about the infallibility of their knowledge, the finite nature of human intellectual capacity and progress and the determinism of their theories.
Most of all scientists, especially in the pseudo science of Social Psychology, should refrain from making moral conclusions from their data and saying that this is science. Perhaps, however, they cannot help themselves because their minds, like all human minds, are simply bound to make religious conclusions, and to therefore anachronistically, make science into their religion. Scientists can no more escape their religious nature than religious people can escape their rational nature, and we all can’t help constantly conflating the two.
Now if Tom takes everything that I just wrote about the moral limits on the power and expansion of rational science and apples it to the moral limits on the power and expansion of government, he’ll have the beginnings of my answer to his question. Government is not more inherently evil than science. Just like science, it is a fallacy to make a god out of it, but it is an equal fallacy to also make a devil out of it. Just like science, the outcome of its expansion is not deterministically dystopian or deterministically Utopian, although there are probabilities for both.
Some people cannot discern the difference politlticians have is the same as a DONKEY and a mule.
THE DIFFERENCE IS A MULE and a donkey look and sound alike .. However., .er mule CANT PRODUCE.
Regards and goodwill blogging
There’s a lot pf people in this country that do not produce.. albeit anyone can re-produce, and do, with incomprehensible reckless abandon… and expect the government to bail them out of their poor choices in life because once they create a life, for whatever ill-defined reason, life is the law.
I agree. And if the USA becomes socialists, they will be subsidized by those who work. A d in time the USA will go the failed route of every other Nation that failed unless government gets brutal sane as most socialist nations became.
Regards and goodwill blogging
I question whether Mao and Stalin were sane, but brutal is an understatement.
Why dwell on this “socialist” garbage? I am meaning more than just you specifically.. but in general. America is not going “socialist” anytime soon or distant. Our Constitution doesn’t support it and there would never be enough support to change it. Suggesting there should be some “fear” of loosing our Republic to some socialist form of government is typical Trumpian fear that means nothing. What you “and your kind” (meaning other Trump republicans) mean are socialist programs.. not some radical change in government. Your’s and my Social Security is a social program. Medicare is a social program.
I wish Trump would stop imposing fear.
I don’t think you have read the Constitution, at least not with any serious concern. The Constitution does not support Social Security, Medicare, the Department of Education, school loans, same-sex marriage, abortion, ….
But the Constitution DOES support the creation of laws according to it’s precepts as being the will of of the people as reflected through their elected officials. You don’t like public education because you think you know better how to teach your kids. Well, we live in a world where just being able to have sex and procreate does not mean one bit that many parents should never, in fact, be parents much less have the ability to presume they know how to teach their own kids a damn thing. So public education becomes a social program… or socialist program if you prefer that… in order to set education standards a bit more universal and equally applied for the public good. Heck, democracy itself is a broad application of social constructs and reflects laws for the social good… yet it’s not socialist.
Well, let’s say you have made a serious study of the Constitution. Then obviously we should all be on government regulated birth control until Uncle Sam licenses us to have kids.
What should those licensing requirements be? Well, no doubt all kinds of social causes could be served: eugenics, over-population, diversity, ….but I suspect the thought police would be the happiest people. After all, we could not have people raising children if those people might pass on politically incorrect ideas to their children.
Imagine their glee! Only the best and the brightest will have children, and these will be raised scientifically in accordance with the will of the Almighty State.
Dedicated public servants will search the public record for infractions upon politically correct thought, thoroughly question candidates as they squirm in their seats, watch over their final exams and grade the test of each applicant, and then pair the applicants in accordance with the latest and best theories. Same-sex? Well, someone has to adopt.
Finally, the state will monitor the love birds at work, in their homes, and in their beds as they make children. Anything that is needed because we care for the children and must verify each parent follows the dictates of the state.
When did all this happen? More to the point.. when might you expect all this to happen where it now turns into yet another fear? Perhaps we continue to leave Trump in office we can get here?
Perhaps you should check into the schools failures rates in urban city schools that are run by government.
Frankly, no one really ever is failed anymore in public schools. Anyone will graduate high school even if they ony a achieve showing up once in a while. Reading scores are usually an indication if you are interested in comparing public to private .
Regards and goodwill blogging
I have been making this answer for decades of prognosticates who lament about the quality, or lack thereof, of public education…
It made us the most powerful, economically and militarily and technologically, country in the history of humankind. Now you want to get rid of it?
No question it’s got severe shortcomings but that’s more a management quality problem and a natural evolutionary curriculum relevance lag to the real world of about ten years.
A public school MONOPOLY doesn’t have much reason to improve.
Are you listening to the. DEM debates?
If so, let me know how they propose to pay for all the social programs and entitlements they are promising everybody including illegal immigrants whether they work or not.
Regards and goodwill blogging
Well, you are a Trump GOP’er who is viewing all the candidates sitting at their podiums all with plans to allegedly make things better by introducing their pet programs… and you are wondering, who’s going to pay for all this… when there likely wouldn’t be an “all this” because only one will get elected and they will need Congress completely on their side to get their pet project passed. The cards are pretty well stacked against that happening where even every Dem will agree. Compare with Trump.. he had a total GOP Congress yet he couldn’t get everything he wanted or promised during that period and he had to do decrees. Forget spreading the fear of socialism in America.
Doug Two points.
1. The only ones who fear Socialism are the people who will be forced to work to pay for people who do no .
2. Did you send a lettre to compliment Trump for successfully implementing your suddestion
1. Again… where’s the fear coming from? A few candidates mumbling a few social programs is a threat to turning America into a socialist state? Get a grip, buddy.
2. Sorry.. I don’t understand the letter I should write to Trump. Does he need a wonderful, beautiful letter from ME personally to boost his ego? I prefer to pass on that.
But Diug, He did exactly what you suggested to control illegal immigrants.
He got Mexico to agree that applicants for asylum remain in Mexico until approved to enter USA. Perhaps he read your suggestion and if so maybe he should thank you.
In either case, frankly I did not think Mexico would ever agree. Perhaps the fear of tariffs or even might be Mexico read your suggestion.
In any case, you were right. Good work.
Regards and goodwill blogging
Ohh.. I see what you were referring to. My original suggestion I shared with you and others a while back did include the two-stage concept of holding the masses in Mexico… and addressing the future between the countries in the region. It wasn’t exactly as Trump negotiated as he wants to assign some “blame with consequences” to Mexico for allowing immigrants to pass through Mexico unimpeded. My concept was to negotiate a specialized consular mission located inside Mexico at the border with Guatemala that would accept and process refugees from the south. The idea would be to be the “magnet” to America rather than forcing the mass of humanity with children to make the long and dangerous journey north. Essentially it would be a processing center… and the reason it would have consular status is that going through there is the same as that of any embassy and consulate being an extension of that nation’s borders. No question it would have to be a rather large land area, likely requiring an airfield for logistical purposes, but it could be a pre-processing and screening center according to law that provides basic needs and necessities to keep people, families, properly cared for. The military has this capability of rapid deployment to set up outposts in remote areas of the world so something like this is not impossible. Largely it would be a tent city with services provided from portable shelters and/or converted chipping containers.
Yeah.. Trump just shifted the suffering and squalor over to Mexico and told people who want in to stand in line there rather than here. Doesn’t solve anything.
The second phase of my suggestion was to get the diplomatic (and military) process in gear to begin “fixing” these Central American nations that just pass from tyrant to tyrant and go nowhere. Likely it would be a combination of direct aid to these countries to try and maintain a stable population that stays there, and somehow making sure governments represent a balanced and acceptable lifestyle for people to want to stay there. Maybe using the OAS we push for a NATO-type organization of all Central and South American states to assure some diplomatic balance in the political stability of all nations in the Americas in order to reduce the potential for mass refugee migrations.
Sounds good to me. If no ne wants to cooperate as u suggested or in Congress, best build Trumps wall. That’s a lot cheaper and more practical than send a million USA troops u agree?
Regards and goodwill blogging
If all you are concerned about is America, and America only, then building a wall from sea to shining sea to keep the mass of migrating bastards out then on the short term it might work. Walls NEVER last long as soon as desperate people figure out a way around it. On the other hand… a more workable, humane, and representing the American spirit of rendering assistance to those less fortunate… we could try to address the root cause of all this refugee migration rather than a Great Wall that will be yet another American embarrassment and a lasting monument to a time when fear and nationalism spread across the land.
Is any thing else working for even a short time?
Regards and goodwill blogging
Ohh.. I dunno… it’s all a mess down there because of crazy policy, old and new, just trying to work the symptoms and not the causes. Now it’s yet to be seen if Trump makes a grab for the recently appropriated border relief money to build the damn wall. Honestly, sooner or later I think he will. He’s his own reason for not getting re-elected. Obviously I’m speculating he wont get re-elected; I was wrong the last time I ventured to predict an election. The whole thing is appalling.
Just to give you a perspective of short time that has elapsed since we finally got a president to do something about the border. 1986 was the Raegan amnesty, or 33 years is the short time the mess has existed. Seems there has been a lot of I dunno want to knows Presidents and Congress who dunno knows b4 Trump? You agree 33 years is not really a short time?
Regards and goodwill blogging
One might endeavor to think that one reason it’s taken 33 years is that the problem is a complex one. I don’t mean the logistics of the process.. I mean the diverse bias’s that could reach some compromise and the problem was just kicked down the road. Yep.. Trump finally did something about the border… apparently the “wrong” something cause it’s a damn human rights mess down there. You see… he did this on his own, listened to no one because he has all the answers. The border mess is a product of his personal bias’s and prejudices… so just decree away to impose your will.
The amnesty came about In 1986 to fix a problem. Because the politicians lied, the amnesty made the problem worse. They have been making it worse ever since then.
Congress make laws to appease the electorate and then refuses to either provide funding or enforcment.
It’s just a game to most politicans.in my opinion.
Regards and goodwill blogging
Sounds good to me. If no one wants to cooperate as u suggested or in Congress, best build Trumps wall. That’s a lot cheaper and more practical than send a million USA troops u agree?
Regards and goodwill blogging
Reading more on your suggestion of a specific assigned land area, frankly it appears similar to the Palestinian tent camps that have existed now for over 50years plus and mainly supported by usa taxpayers.
I may be wrong but I think Trump recently cut USA funding to the camps to get something resolved other than more “short term” ideas.
Regards and goodwill blogging
I have no idea what it costs the US taxpayer to fund the lives of people living in tent camps… but if it’s been 50 years of American aid it seems like either it’s not been enough money to get them out of the tents all along, or, the aid hasn’t been “dollars” in the pocket but rather food in the tummy. Seems people naturally presume American aid is usually cash in the pockets.
King Solomon would agree with you to feed our enemies. Unfortunately we send dollars and dad insteasd of food. Check my blog topics under foreiguns aid if interested in understanding why.
Regards and goodwill blogging
I may be wrong but sending USA troops to police the world has not worked out too well.
I believe Trump is instead using economic sanctions to get people in other countries to police themselves when they get disgusted with their oppressors. Kinda like Anericans did in the revolutionary war.
Some people may not agree and think it is cruel. But is bombing and destroying and ending USA military youths kinda cruel too
Oh I agree in the value of diplomacy… and while many think the use of the military and economic sanctions are a form of diplomacy (true)… it doesn’t quite stir the hearts and minds of the citizens of those countries to be pro-American.
In the case of North Korea you have literally generations of people who have been taught from childhood that America is bad and the Dear Leader is a god. These people have known nothing but poverty for 70 years.. and sanctions are going to get them pissed to rise up and oust Kim? I think not.
The sanctions against Iran? That’s a fairly well-educated nation in general… and if economic sanctions have been allegedly working over there then I have NO doubt there’s a growing anti-American subculture brewing. If the sanctions have just been blocking bank access of only rich government leaders.. where is that going?
The Russian sanctions? For some reason I can’t imagine the average Russian on the street gives a damn how many oligarchs have frozen bank accounts enough to bitch at Putin. If we start toying with economic sanctions on Russia… then we loose hearts & minds on the street.
All just my speculative conclusions, of course.
We cannot police the world or force other nations to accept USA as their police especially with all the problema in the USA of. Your own makings in my opinion.
Regards and goodwill blogging
Pax Americana. All through history there’s been passed the torch of dominance (by fate, if you will) where a single country has risen to a level of the center of control… either by military conquest, economic success, technological achievement, political skill.. or all of the above. The Greeks in their day, the Romans’ Pax Romana in theirs… and us since WW2 (I’d even go back to the start in WW1). Of course America doesn’t truly rule the world nor is there an overt desire in our makeup to want to do that. But yet our world is tied by economy and technology, both led by American endeavors. Anti-globalists don’t want any part of that kind of globalism in our current political state, yet there’s no denying it’s going to continue, and should. There’s also no denying that unless we stand up and take some level of responsibility for the world we live in and provide some balance and stability in social achievement and moral direction with the ability to back it up with military ability.. then we shirk our responsibility as the dominant world power of our time. Does it make us always right or does it give us any sort of license to impose our will on the world? Of course not. Part of the ability in being a dominant entity is knowing when to assert that power and when not. Until the next “Pax” entity comes along to replace America we are what keeps the current status quo. Not to worry. History assures us that America won’t last forever because nothing ever does. Until then.. America needs to continue to step up.. and not cower in nationalistic isolationism and protectionism simply because the middle class hasn’t had a raise in 10 years and now fears ethnic takeover. Fixing our domestic problems helps to keep America active in the world.
We shed enough of USA blood and treasure in the last century, in my opinion.
It’s time for the oppressed in the world to realize they have to help themselves. The USA should focus on only aiding people by sending food from our vast farmlands instead of our youths blood.
In other words do what wise king Solomon did to maintain peace during his reign
What the world needs now in addition to love is wisdom
Regards and goodwill blogging
Well, I agree that we might need to become wiser in how we deal with the world.. or maybe our leaders need to become wiser, especially when it relates to using our military in seemingly unnecessary engagements and risking the lives of our sons and daughters. But I firmly believe as a nation that is capable to do so, we should embrace the moral obligation to lead the world. That does NOT mean it’s all up to us.. but using diplomacy to form cooperative alliances and engaging the rest of the world to actually care what’s going on… and encouraging their participation by pointing out their obligation in helping to maintain world stability. A large part of “making America great” (forget the “again”… a real “patriot” never doubts America’s past or present greatness, or obligation to the world) is that in doing that we also make the world a better place.
You actually explained the same agenda Trump expounds, in my opinion.
Welcome to my world.
Regards and goodwill blogging
Well, I’d not go THAT far. Trump is trying to run things according to some perception of how he thinks the world should be.
Interesting turn of North Korean events today. I’ve posted a year or two back that the best move to handle North Korea and their nukes was NOT to demand he remove them or stop building them.. but rather put in place processes and procedures that encourage him not to want to pull the trigger in the first place. Let him have his nukes. But let’s have safeguards in place to avoid any intention for him to use them. This would work because Kim doesn’t really want to annihilate himself. We already knows he fears is own death… and like all dictators he has no intention of dying for his country. He’s doing the nuke thing to get attention… and create a bargaining edge.
Well… seems Trump is considering something along just that.
opps misspelled suggestion. big thumbs on phone.
Regards and goodwill blogging.
Didn’t Trump campaign on THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT replacing Obamacare with something better, something that everyone can get, something that will require coverage of preexisting illnesses, and that will be cheaper to boot? He never actually has come up with such a plan before or after trying to destroy what we already have, but what he promised sounds like government mandated universal health care, now doesn’t it.
Trump promised not to touch Social Security or Medicare. If truthful, he must be a Socialist.
Trump promised a “yuge” infrastructure program. If truthful, he must be not only a Socialist, but damn Socialist.
Tom, be honest. You don’t believe Trump is truthful, and in fact, you are counting on the fact that he is a lying demagogue who will promise one thing to get elected and do another thing when he is elected. You make this complaint about Democrats but don’t even care if he lies, cheats or steals to win elections. You don’t really want an honest candidate. You don’t even believe that such integrity, honor and character can exist in government, much less in political leadership. You don’t want an honest politician. No, you want voters to be deceived by a Trojan Horse., as long as you think he’s your Trojan Horse.
Be careful though. When you bed with a snake, don’t be surprised when he bites you – you always knew it was his nature.
I have not argued that it is okay for my candidates to lie just because your candidates lie, but that is where you are at. That’s the sort of BS I want no part of.
If we want honest leadership, then we need to be honest. Using the government to steal from the “rich” to give to the “poor” is crooked and invites further corruption.
And yet you elect someone that you know is a liar because you think he is “your liar”.
Wait… who’s replying to whom here? 🙂
This is the best honest evaluation of our current politico. Unfortunately, there are those who will fail to grasp it. But Tom, keep on revealing the Truth. There will be those who “see the light”! Blessings, my Brother!
The debates mean little actually.. just need someone to beat Trump.
The “demagogue thing.. you defined Trump very well here, Tom.
If the debates mean little — if all the promises these candidates are making mean little, then what is the basis for selecting what someone to beat Trump? Is it the candidate who displays the most hatred of Trump and his supporters?