But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares. Illustration from Christ’s Object Lessons by Ellen Gould Harmon White, c. 1900 (from here)

Consider The Parable of the Weeds in the light of today’s events.

Matthew 13:24-30 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares
24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”

Who will be gathered up to be burnt? Who will be gathered into our Lord’s barn? We live in a corrupted world. So, each of us must ask ourselves a question. Am I corrupt or worthy of the harvest? Am I born of good seed? Am I fruitful? How does the Bible describe being fruitful?

Galatians 5:22-23 New King James Version (NKJV)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

If we are fruitful, then our Lord wants to spend eternity with us. If not,….

Some of us are tares, weeds. Some of us are wheat, fruitful, but only our Lord knows which of our neighbors is worthy of being brought into His barn. Still, we are tempted to believe we can make this world heaven, that everyone is basically good. Yet there is abundant evidence that that is not true. Let’s consider a few current examples.

In Chicago teachers ignore their public duty, Charlie Kirk offers this opinion about the teacher’s strike in Chicago.

Mismanagement by elected leaders aside, every employee working for the government inside of Illinois should consider themselves to be a public servant, but too many have apparently cast this mantle, and this honor, aside. But lest they forget, their employer isn’t the state or the city, it’s the individual citizen who pays taxes in exchange for public services, like schools. In the private sector, employees know that when a company for which they work gets in financial trouble, changes — including compensation — may have to be made in order for the business to survive and for them to remain gainfully employed.

In the world of public-sector employees, especially those represented by unions, there is no such expectation. The Chicago teachers who have just walked out on the job are looking the taxpayers dead in the eye and saying, in essence: “We know that the city and the state are broke. We know your taxes are already too high and going higher. We couldn’t care less. Pay us more or we will punish you.” (from here)

We want to believe the best about the people who instruct our children, but how much of that is wishful thinking? To what extent is it the fault of the teachers that the public schools are failing? Before you answer that question, consider American education and intellectually bankrupt schools by Everett Piper.

Over the weekend American troops killed the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. If we are to believe that everyone is basically good, is it not strange how few who mourn the loss of this man? When asked, President Donald Trump described (see Remarks by President Trump on the Death of ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi) al-Baghdadi’s character with these words.

Q    The whimpering of Baghdadi.  Did you hear it?

THE PRESIDENT:  I don’t want to talk about it, but —

Q    Okay.

THE PRESIDENT:  — he was screaming, crying, and whimpering.  And he was scared out of his mind.

And think of James Foley.  Think of Kayla.  Think of the things he did to Kayla; what he did to Foley and so many others.  And for those people that say, “Oh, isn’t this a little violent?  Think of how many times have you seen men — I think, in all cases, men, for the most part — but in terms of this, where you see the orange suits, and you see the ocean and they’re beheaded.  Or how many of you got to see — because it was out there — the Jordanian pilot whose plane went down, they captured him, they put him in a cage, and they set him on fire.

And the King of Jordan actually attacked, very powerfully, when that happened.  They’ve never seen anything like that.  But he set him on fire.  This was al-Baghdadi.  And you should never, ever hopefully see a thing like that again.

Now, there’ll be new people emerged, but this was the worst of this particular world.  This was the worst.  Probably, in certain ways, the smartest.  He was also a coward.  And he didn’t want to die.  But think of it: Everybody was out, and we were able to search him down and find him in the tunnel.  We knew the tunnel existed.  And that’s where he was. (from here)

We can be tempted to call al-Baghdadi a fiend, some sort of demon, but he was a human being, one of us. He was just unusually dangerous to everyone around him. Therefore, we called upon our leaders and military forces to get rid of him.

Defending our rights from EACH OTHER is the function of government. When we use our government to give us “rights” at someone else’s expense we become like al-Baghdadi, a threat to our neighbor’s Rights, to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Look around America. Contemplate evils like abortion; the unending furor over the election President Donald Trump; the constant feuding over religious freedom; the huge waste that results from fraud, waste, and abuse by government officials; the twisted dishonesty in the enforcement of our immigration laws; the readiness of some politicians to lie for the sake of “victory”; and so forth. We can find endless examples of corruption IN AMERICA, and America is still relatively free of corruption.  Whereas, most of the world is under the control of authoritarian and even totalitarian regimes.

The more we give our government to do, the less control we have over it. That is because when we give more power to our leaders we each have less. Therefore, to control our government, we must exercise self-control.

What does this self-control look like? President John F. Kennedy put it this way.

 In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility–I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it–and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.

My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own. (from here)

When we go to the polls on the first Tuesday in November, we must remember what God expects of the fruitful. We must vote for the sake of our family, friends and neighbors, that God’s work is something we each must do ourselves. We cannot pass His work onto government officials. God expects each of us to love our neighbors, not demand that someone love our neighbors for us.

49 thoughts on “HOW WILL YOU VOTE?

  1. Congrats on living in a totally blue state brother! You may take some consolation in knowing that my state of residence is as red as ever.😏

    1. @tsalmon

      Figured that would bring you back. You cannot resist gloating. Sad!

      Here is a question for you, a man who CHOSE to move from Washington state to Mississippi. What great good comes to a state that puts Liberal Democrats in charge of its government? Why is this supposedly wonderful accomplishment worth the sacrifice of our civil rights, the death of the unborn, increasing government corruption, a wrecked economy, screaming high taxes, failed public schools, utilities that are so “green” they are both costly and unreliable,…. Should I too look forward to giving up my home and moving. Is it that much fun to leave a disaster behind, even if it is not one I helped to create?

      1. Yes. Listening to you morosely spin the end of the world was worth it. I could almost hear tiny violins playing “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”. 😆

        Sad? Despite my state having just elected a cartoonishly stereotypically redneck demagogue named “Tate” to the governorship (the main issue of debate in the Republican Primary was which Republican was most terrified that his impulse control would fail if left alone with a woman not his wife), I try to keep my sense of humor. Besides, the fact that the Tater’s margin of victory was far less than it should have been means that even deep red Mississippi is tiring of all the Pharisaic moralizing by those who paint horns on their supposedly satanic Democratic neighbors while worshiping at the feet of our king of corruption, vice and narcissism in the White House.

        Buck up brother! The world will still have time to end next year when a Democrat gets elected President again. 😊

        1. @tsalmon

          You didn’t answer my question. All you have is the hate and ridicule the media feeds you.

          Did you know the lawyer for the so-called whistle blower was calling for coup the same month Trump became president? Not in the so-called “mainstream media”. So I doubt it.

          1. “Main stream media”? You really need to come out of your dark bunker and enjoy some sunshine and fresh air every once in a while brother.

            Facts are facts no matter where they come from (and in this case they are coming from career public servants). Can you ecplain what this latest conspiracy theory has to do with the clear factual evidence.

            The facts are that Trump extorted congressional approved existential aid to a desperate ally unless they trumped up dirt on his political opponents and fordebunked wild allegations about phantom DNC servers. The facts are that Trump had his personal attorney doing a shadow foreign policy in Ukraine while being paid by (now indicted) criminals with connections to the Russian mob (meaning Putin).

            Even if the whistle blower turns out to be a Democratic mole, it does not change the fact that everything that he reported turns out to be corroborated by facts and witnesses that have demonstrated that the facts show even worse chaos, incompetence and corruption by Trump than the whistle blower reported.

            Don’t you see the desperation in the continuously changing story from Trump and his minions? As the facts keep getting worse and worse, all they have left is to smear someone who has become completely irrelevant at this point. Why do you want to be a part of that demagoguery? Has your intense hatred of the loyal opposition blinded you so completely that any corruption is excusable in pursuit of ideological fantasies? Sad indeed…😏

          2. @tsalmon

            Pathetic or funny? I don’t know. You think you are just being reasonable, I guess. You are just repeating conventional wisdom, what the mainstream news media has told you to repeat. Ironically, I suppose that makes you feel avant garde, but I doubt you would ever admit that, not even to yourself.

            What about “the end of the world”? I did not describe the end of the world. I described any place Democrats have been running for decades. Take a good look at California. End of the world? More like a want-to-be third world country in my estimation. Yet you call that the end of the world and still vote Democrat. Go figure!

            The latest thing on Trump dissolved into nothing when Trump did the unexpected and released the transcript. Now Democrats are trying to cover up their embarrassment by spinning “secret” hearings.

            Trump is not hiding his Ukraine Gate. Democrats are hiding their Ukraine Gate. They are blocking an investigation into their Ukrainian connections. Why don’t you check on Biden’s and Clinton’s Ukraine connections?

            Trump’s story has not changed. Read the transcript of the phone call. That’s it.

            Keep in mind Obama was not helping Ukraine to any great extent. Trump is, and that only makes sense if their government is not corrupt. What idiot would hand a corrupt regime advanced antitank weapons?

          3. ”You are just repeating conventional wisdom, what the mainstream news media has told you to repeat. Ironically, I suppose that makes you feel avant garde, but I doubt you would ever admit that, not even to yourself.“

            Ha, ha,ha! And if that is parroting the nonsensical Republican talking point of the minute, I don’t know what is. You’re even taking up Trump’s twitter style (“sad”). You’re a little behind though. I think the latest Alt right smoke screen is that it was a quid pro quo, yes it was corrupt, but it does not rise to the level of impeachment.

            You’ve got to keep up with the larest ever changing lie if you’re going to be an effective propagandist here Tom.

          4. @tsalmon

            Good! You recognized where that “sad” comes. I hate it when my needling is ineffective.

            When I talk about the mainstream media, am I just repeating Republican talking points? I hardly think I am the first person to mention the fact that the American news media propagandizes us. People with the wherewithal were propagandizing the American people before the founding. What do you think Thomas Paine was doing?

            We should not be arguing whether we are being propagandized. Why debate the obvious? Our concern should be who, why, and how.

          5. The facts are that Trump extorted congressional approved existential aid to a desperate ally unless they trumped up dirt on his political opponents and fordebunked wild allegations about phantom DNC servers.

            You realize Trump was the one to give “our disparate ally” defensive weapons? Obama didn’t. It’s a fact that in December a Ukrainian court determined the Ukraine had interfered in the US election process. This is not a conspiracy, it was a court ruling. I’m kind of curious what you would do in Trump’s position under those circumstances? Or do you just hope they do a better job this next time?

          6. I hope the whistleblower “Anonymous”, cited in the NYTimes with a new book out this month, isn’t really the person the rumors are indicating it is.
            I have come to expect a lot of prevarication in the form of parsed statements, or things taken out of context, partial information et al. I completely expect the janitor to be described as a “White House insider”.
            But if this person is “Anonymous” the bar has been lowered beyond the pale.
            Obviously they’re not going to say this is some sketchy low level dude. But calling him a “senior level official”?!? Really?
            I canceled my book order. If this is really a senior level official, I’m interested in reading it. If it’s the low level young staff weenie whose own father doesn’t believe he could be The “Anonymous” due to his low level position…oh boy.
            Time will tell.

          7. @Liz

            One of the problems with the news media is their readers don’t hold them accountable. To some extent, they can’t. The rich corporations that own them prop them up to spew propaganda. So if their sources are anonymous or from something like Schiff “secret” hearings, there is no reason to believe them.

          8. Just read elsewhere that Schiff himself named Cariamella (probably spelled wrong but at this point who cares), so yeah, he’s the guy.
            I don’t have the bandwidth to post the number of appropriate eye rolls.
            It’s a bit like if a hospital was under investigation and the media asserted a “high level surgeon” had insider information he wanted to share. And a book also. Then you find out it was the receptionist.
            “Hey! Just because he’s a receptionist doesn’t indicate he isn’t in the know…he knows things…don’t you dare claim he is biased…”
            Well, bias (though obvious and overwhelmingly apparent) isn’t even really the point in said case, is it?
            This is so farcical there’s little point in even pretending we actually have a media.

          9. @Liz

            The Democrat’s pursuit of Trump seems to be working against them. Looking forward to charges being brought against some of the conspirators.

        2. The world will still have time to end next year when a Democrat gets elected President again

          Who do you think that will be?

          1. No clue Liz. It will be long decided before it gets to my home state. I’m not even that concerned. If our nation and what we should stand for really is as exceptional as I believe it to be, it will survive the ideological extremists from either side of our overblown ideological divide and the institutional virtues at the center of our experiment in individual rights, democracy and the Rule of Law will hold. If this is true, we will persist through the trauma of even the worst Democrat’s election, and even if Trump is re-elected, eventually the body of our Republic will expell him like the corrupt tumor that he is. If it is not true, then what we have is not that special after all.

      2. “Here is a question for you, a man who CHOSE to move from Washington state to Mississippi.”

        I chose to move from Alabama to Washington State because Washington State is a place with jobs, opportunity and vastly more prosperity than Alabama.

        I chose to move from Washington State back to our original home state of Mississippi because, although it is not a particularly great state to find opportunity, it was a very good place to retire.

        If your harangue about red verses blue states actually reflected any semblance to reality then red states would be utopian dreams of capitalistic prosperity and moral superiority. And in contrast,, blue states would be dystopic wastelands of corruption and poverty.

        No State is actually either a dystopia or a utopia. The most prosperous blue states have seemingly intractable problems of poverty and homelessness. The poorest red states’ citizenry have a wonderful charm and a simple sense of life and community that is often lost in the frenzied lives of the so-called costal elites. However, by virtually every measurable standard we might consider important from average healthiness to average prosperity to corruption to education to opportunity to the availability of healthy recreation, blue states and even the blue parts of red and purple states exceed in all categories. In fact, most of the most red states in the country suck the most off the teet of the government largess provided by the prosperity of the bluest states. If the red states could somehow secede from the union, most would be third world countries comparrstively.

        I love where I live. I love the beauty of the place, the fishing, the beeches and bayous and the hospitality of the people, but I could not stay here when I needed a job and opportunity, and I would not have returned here if I still needed to work.

        I’m not politically ideological like you, I don’t care for the extremes in either direction. I think we all have more in common than our ideological demagogues would have us believe. It is the institutionalized virtues we, Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, hold in common that make us a great nation, not our silly ideological dogmas. I can think of nothing more corrupting to our system than if either party actually achieved the full hegemony that they each think would be a panacea.

        1. @tsalmon

          I did not use the expression “blue state” or “red state”. I referred to places run by Democrats. The issue is who is running the state or city, not some silly color.

          The South is still recovering from years of Democrat rule and racism. Martin Luther King and his supporters broke Democrat rule. So the party adopted a new racist strategy based upon “civil rights” and “positive rights”. The party of slavery cares about us, especially the children, don’t you know?

          What gives the Democrats game away. None of their constituencies ever achieve lasting gains. Instead of gaining “rights”, they become the dependents of the state.

          Mississippi is a relatively rural state. There isn’t any large population center in the state. So, it doesn’t make much sense to go looking for an airline pilot to go looking for a job there. Try Georgia.

          Why is Mississippi a great place to retire? The cost of living is low, including taxes.

          What about who is being ideological? Since I understand the meaning of the word, I have no problem being called ideological. Scientists and engineers are either ideological or they have no method for getting the job done. However, because it is not politically correct (Napoleon Bonaparte and Karl Marx would not like it.), we usually don’t refer to scientists and engineers as ideologists.

          Since Democrats don’t know what they are doing, I agree that Democrats are not ideological. Thieves may exhibit intelligence, but few exhibit understanding and wisdom. You should know better. God only knows why you don’t. For example, I have explained numerous times that Napoleon Bonaparte and Karl Marx were the first to us the term “ideologue”, but you just don’t seem to get it. Think about it. Why would Napoleon and Marx resent ideological beliefs that logically refuted their own beliefs and behavior? How would they respond? With ridicule, perhaps? Then consider the outrageous irony. Marx calling someone else an “ideologue”.

          Marx’s ideology was Communism. I am a Christian, and I believe Constitutional Conservatism is the type of government best suited for Christians. Unfortunately, such a government requires that a sufficient number of people believe what the Bible says or it will not work. Looks like we have just about reached that point.

          1. “Why is Mississippi a great place to retire? The cost of living is low, including taxes.“

            The cost of living is low, including taxes, in many third world countries as well. I have been to many of them. Luckily, my state is part of the United States and is subsidized by its richer blue fellow states and shares a common regulatory scheme that mostly makes the water clean and safe to drink and the FDA mostly makes sure that the food imported from California doesn’t give us diarrhea.

            More on this later. Amusing topic.

          2. @tsalmon

            When are you going to realize that the Liberal Democrat news media is highly selective in its presentation of the “facts”. The high state and local taxes in blue states were being subsidized by the red states. Until the Republicans in Congress changed the law, the rich taxpayers in blue states got a tax write-off.

          3. “I did not use the expression ‘blue state’ or ‘red state’, I referred to places run by Democrats. The issue is who is running the state or city, not some silly color.”

            A distinction without a difference. Red and blue is a good shorthand for the party that dominates that state or locality so I will continue to use unlit if you don’t mind.

          4. @tsalmon

            It is your mouth and your “ink”. I just find the fact that a bunch of Communists want to refer to themselves as blue and to Conservatives as red a ridiculous lie.

          5. ‘When are you going to realize that the Liberal Democrat news media is highly selective in its presentation of the “facts”. The high state and local taxes in blue states were being subsidized by the red states. Until the Republicans in Congress changed the law, the rich taxpayers in blue states got a tax write-off.”

            If you don’t read or listen to regular media, how do you know what they say? Oh, I forgot. You wait for that paragon of truth and virtue, Donald Trump, to tell you what you believe.

            And you apparently will swallow some doozies..poor, rural Mississippi is subsidizing California? You do understand that the logic of that belief fails the ridiculousness test? Please, give me some serious credible source for this fiscal impossibility? Is it Kirk again, that boy wonder of erudition and experience? 🙂

          6. @tsalmon

            My point was that the math is not as simple as you foolishly think it is. It is not a matter of the blue states subsidizing the red states, but it is politically convenient for a partisan news media to present such a brainless explanation.

            Use the brain God gave you. Why would blue states subsidize red states? Liberal Democrats are just so loving and forgiving? 😇 Yeah! Sure!

            What happens when politicians go looking for votes, and they want to spend lots and lots of money? In the Senate states with small populations have just as many votes as states with large populations. So the senators from small population states skew spending formulas to their own advantage. Surprise! Surprise!

            As it happens, rural states, small population states, are predominantly Republican. Nevertheless, Republicans don’t drive the big spending. Democrats do. So, be thankful that Democrats don’t screw the residents of the states they run any more than they do.

          7. “It is your mouth and your “ink”. I just find the fact that a bunch of Communists want to refer to themselves as blue and to Conservatives as red a ridiculous lie.”

            Under that faux generalization, if you will tell me the color of Fascism, then I guess that should be the color of Republicans?

          8. @tsalmon

            You are a aware of THE FACT that the Nazies were Socialists? Instead of pitting people against each other based upon their income, fascists use racism as their excuse for fueling hatred. Otherwise, there is not a dime’s worth of difference between communists and fascists.

          9. Nazi’s became the Right Wing Party of of choice for the German Bourgeoisie and the corporate elite because they feared Communism and that the Bolshevik Revolution would spread to the German proletariat. Thus the opposition to communism was fascism in Germany as in much of fascist Europe. But you may be getting your revisionist history from young Captain Kirk.

            You may also want to rethink your view of Democrats being the current party of racism. In the south from the Civil War until the Civil Rights era, the Democratic Party was the Party of Slavery and then segregation. After Democrat LBJ passed and then enforced the Civil Rights Acts, those same Southern Democrats slowly left the Democratic Party and became Republicans. The Parties have changed, but IT’S THE SAME PEOPLE, in many cases, the same racists, that switched parties because they found a friendly atmosphere with Republican race baiting.

            It’s obviously more complex than that, or the silly way you are trying to revise it. I saw and lived this transition while I was in law school and practicing law in Alabama.

          10. @tsalmon

            You are making this way too complicated. Both Hitler and Stalin operated totalitarian states. Tyrannies in the most extreme form. Their governments differed in form, but not in substance.

            The spectrum of government does not extend from left to right. It extends from anarchy to extreme tyranny. Without some government, the strong prey upon the weak, and no one’s life, liberty, or property is safe. We are too busy trying to survive to pursue happiness. Under a tyranny, we become the slaves of the state, mere property. We have no right to live, much less the liberty to pursue our dreams.

            If the primary reason government exists is to protect our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, why would we give our government an excessive amount of power? What if we allow would be tyrants feed on our fears and greed? Then we give in to their demands more power.

            The Communists promised the common people of Russia that their would punish a haughty nobility and give the peasantry a greater share of the nation’s wealth. So the people of Russia traded one set of tyrants for another set of tyrants. As it turned out, they made a bad deal.

            What about the Germans? The communists took over Russia after WW1. The Germans actually instigated this mess by sending Vladimir Lenin, a disciple of Karl Marx, into Russia. Therefore, by the time Hitler came along, communist Russia was ready to serve as a great bogeyman. After WWI, the Germans already feared the Russians. Moreover, they wanted their land. So it suited Hitler to call the Slavs, white but not German, racially inferior and worthy of destruction and enslavement.

            Liberal Democrats take the worse aspects of both the Nazis and the Communists, and they combined them. They pit us against each other based upon race and income. In fact, they have added to our excuses to hate each other by dividing us into endless identity groups.

            You say I have rewritten history, but we can see this happening in our present day. Open your eyes and take your fingers out of your ears.

          11. “You are making this way too complicated. Both Hitler and Stalin operated totalitarian states. Tyrannies in the most extreme form. Their governments differed in form, but not in substance.”

            History contains the web of connection between emotional and rational inflection points of millions of people, some sophisticated and influential and some just simple and reactive. History, of course, is complex in retrospect, but even more elusive and ambiguous in the moment. To think otherwise, is the epitome of hubris.

            Stalin and Hitler indeed held in common that they were tyrants, but it was the rational and moral fallacies of the determinism of their respective and opposing IDEOLOGIES and ideologues that lead to the tyranny, not our founding wisdom that such ideological radicalism (rather than a skeptical and rational pragmatism) that inevitably leads to such tyranny. The ideologies themselves claimed to be rational and moral, but it was the cynical harnessing of ideological passions that demagogues like Stalin used to further his selfish will to power. (See Marx, see Hegel, see Karl Popper, see “Children of Light and Children of Darkness” by Reinhold Niebuhr,).

            It is ideologues on either side (rather than dissemble, please just look up the simple modern meaning of that word) in a dynamic, complex, finite and fallen world that defies the simplistic deterministic formulations of ideologues, even well meaning ideologues, that should make us skeptical.

            Democrats and Republicans are a mixed bag of mostly ordinary people of competing motivations, some of which on both sides are cynical and some of which are altruistic whether their altruism is pragmatically workable or just idealistically unworkable. Demonizing all Democrats as either maliciously corrupt, tyrannical or conned is just as much nonsense as saying the same about all Republicans. I am no prophet or genius brother but I am not any more gullible or less well read than you (and, of course, I think less so). History, right this moment, just not as simple or stupid as you relate. People are not that easy to categorize as your tribalism may wish (thank God), To say otherwise may make us feel better about ourselves at the expense of those ignorant others,, but we should know better. It is pure demagoguery.

          12. @tsalmon

            I think you just agreed that Communism and Fascism are far more alike than different.

            Are the ideologies that distinguish Republican and Democrat distinctly different? Well, if they are not, then what excuse do Democrats have for constantly calling Republicans racists?

            In fairness, when anyone start comparing Nazism and Communism with America’s two political parties, they have embarked upon a meaningless exercise. Democrats and Republicans don’t have ideologies. Instead they have party platforms. Our two parties are just coalitions of special interest groups.

          13. The “ideologies” of Fascism and Communism are radically different. As Karl Popper related, it is the logical fallacy that any ideology can look at the endless vectors and variables (not to mention just the randomness) of dynamic and ever changing modern societies, technologies and economic systems and formulate an inexorable path through history that ultimately leads tyranny. When religious ideologies, modern day Pharisees of every religious ilk, eschew the mystery of God and reject the underlying spirit of love in all law to come up with rule based ideologies, then religious ideologies lead us to tyranny as well. Did you ever notice that Jesus embraced humble sinners who knew they were sinners, but saved His worst criticism for the smug hypocrisy of the ideologues of his time?

            “Are the ideologies that distinguish Republican and Democrat distinctly different? Well, if they are not, then what excuse do Democrats have for constantly calling Republicans racists?”

            God save us from Democratic ideologues who victimize poor Republican ideologues by calling them racists. Have you considered that there is no ideological solution to this clash of ideologies except to get off the ideological bandwagon, recognize our flaws, our fears and our ignorance, and just try to act with love as virtuously as we can? There is no perfect God given or rational ideological formula
            to this, no rule system written in stone for every occasion that can be ciphered out of scripture. There is just, with love and humility, the imperfect balancing of competing virtues and vices toward becoming better and wiser.

          14. @tsalmon

            When we are talking about Nazism or Communism, it make sense to condemn them as deterministic systems and therefore flawed. When we are talking about an infinite God who created everything, if He predestine the outcome, then that is just the way it is. Our problem is whether we have sufficient information to know just exactly what God has predestined. Generally, we don’t, but we can obey our Lord’s commands. It is simply foolish not to do that.

            God save us from Democratic ideologues who victimize poor Republican ideologues by calling them racists. Have you considered that there is no ideological solution to this clash of ideologies except to get off the ideological bandwagon, recognize our flaws, our fears and our ignorance, and just try to act with love as virtuously as we can?

            Where I think you get mixed up is that you want to use the government to impose your notions about virtuous love upon everyone else. That’s the essential moral justification for Socialism, but Socialism does not work. Why? Love is a personal act and personal responsibility. All that Socialism does is give few people more power than any of us has the integrity to manage. Socialism cannot make anyone love anyone else.

            Consider the basic problem. We want to make “other people” perfect. If we want to use the government to perfect our fellow citizens, to make them more virtuous, we have to put virtuous people in charge of the government. Unfortunately, we don’t have any way to find and choose such leaders. Even God, when He chose the King of Israel, could only put David in charge. David, just like the rest of us, was too imperfect to be a king. Therefore, we need King Jesus.

            Jesus is our model. He is perfect. If we want “other people” to become perfect, then we need to follow the example of Jesus and hope that others will follow our example and model Jesus too.

  2. Tom,

    Trump’s speeches are mostly incoherent, stream of consciousness, word salads. They are full of confabulations, spiraling superlatives and easily disputable outright lies.

    Trump sets goals (many of which I might agree with), but acts impulsively, without the wisdom of a strategy, without an understanding of unintended consequences and without the guidance of actual experts. Trump’s impulsiveness might be seen as a refreshing counter to analysis paralysis if his impulses were inherently virtuous, but, being a conman and a cheat, Trump’s default impulse is almost always toward vices that he has lived by his whole life.

    We can all have the hubris of lofty opinions on every complex issue of geopolitical strategizing, but honestly they are not worth the time we waste writing them here. It’s only the pride of our emotive times that we live in that makes us think otherwise. This would be bad enough, but combine this pride in a knowledge that we don’t have and have not earned with the ability to remain in our own fact bubble, and we have built our own Tower of Babel where we can no longer even communicate with each other because we no longer hold in common the basic virtues or the simple grasp of reality that actual citizen discourse requires.

    I read somewhere once that a conman finds it very difficult to con a truly honest person. Perhaps that’s because the honest person knows that he doesn’t deserve to get something for nothing whereas the prideful person believes he is owed everything and he has convinced himself that, through his own sly smarts or because fate is somehow repaying him for some past deprivation, he deserves the prize that the conman dangles, and let the conscience call of basic virtue and those lying eyes that could see actual reality both be damned. I’m generalizing I guess, but this conning genius seems to be, as best I can tell, Trump’s ONLY mesmerizing appeal to his adamant supporters here. I cannot otherwise explain it.

    1. We can all have the hubris of lofty opinions on every complex issue of geopolitical strategizing, but honestly they are not worth the time we waste writing them here. It’s only the pride of our emotive times that we live in that makes us think otherwise.

      Back when you were against the second Iraq war…were you engaging in hubris that was not worth the wasted time because obviously experts knew more than you? Just curious what happened since the time you felt knowledgable enough to post an opinion on such matters and now…other than Trump.

      I do agree with your point about different values and realities. We aren’t seeing the same things at all.

      1. Just thinking out loud (or is it out loud when you type a post?)
        I too engaged in hubris before the second Iraq war.
        -My husband, and two intelligence officers explained to me over dinner that Saddam was a serious threat. I noted that we’d been flying over his airspace for almost a decade and he had a reward of 40,000 dollars for anyone who could shoot down one of our planes, but no one was ever able to. So how could he be a serious threat? (oh, the hubris! Take your misinformation elsewhere Liz)
        -When the hospital was closed at the base and turned into a clinic, I thought this was a terrible plan. The folks in charge noted that it would save money in the longterm so they gave the local hospital 50 million dollars to expand. A few months later the hospital was sued due to doctor malpractice…for 50 million dollars. They declared bankruptcy.
        -When I worked as a receptionist (17 years old) in a hospital near the office of a dietician who espoused the all carb diet, I noted that over time all of her patients were growing increasingly fat (also very grumpy). Oh, what hubris! I was only 17 and didn’t know the science behind weight loss. All carbs was the way to go. We know how that one ended.
        -When I was 15 I had acne and the doctor prescribed some sand paper and alcohol for my face. First I should rub in the sand paper and then put the alcohol over it. I noted very quickly that this made my acne far worse…but “I wasn’t doing it right” and “my face was still dirty”. I trust we all know that was the equivalent of medieval medicine now.

        I’m sure I can think of lots and lots of other times basic observation has served me well. I suppose one can call that hubris. I’m open to being proven wrong but usually when evidence all points to the obvious, the evidence is correct.

      2. Liz,

        In 2002 was when I retired from the Naval Reserves. My expertise, clearance level and access to current intel was fresher then. I had also finished law school several years before, had practiced law full time for a few years, but had just got off probation as a first officer at a major airline. I also read extensively on the subject, including on the Fujiyama’s “End of History” ideology that they neocons used to justify their preemptive war doctrine It was fairly obvious, even with my limited expertise, that 9/11 and WMD was just a pretense for doing what the neocons openly had said that they wanted to do all along.

        Even at that time, I could see that the Neocon philosophy’s basic error was was in it’s historicism and it’s determinism. (Read Karl Popper’s works for a fuller explanation of why deterministic rational ideologies such as Communism and Fascism as well as this one are fallacious).

        The Neocons were deterministic because they essentially believed that the fall of the Soviet Union proved that Jeffersonian democratic capitalism would inexorably spread throughout the world. They thought that, if totalitarian regimes were eliminated and the population were free to do so, then they would “naturally” emulate our economic and governmental institutions because those institutions have proven to provide the most human flourishing. It was postulated (without much historical or rational evidence) that, once these nations joined the ranks of the free trading nations of the world, they would no longer feel the need to war with each other. Because history is the history of wars, then the inevitable spread of capitalism and democracy around the world would mean “The End of History” (See Francis Fukuyama’s book by that title). Fukuyama, an incredibly smart intellectual who the Neocons claimed as their ideological brainchild, has long since come out saying that he was never deterministic and that he was misinterpreted by the Neocons (however, having read the book in question, I don’t think the Neocons had him too wrong).

        This is another discussion, but based upon what little expertise that I can claim from a Juris Doctorate and decades of study and experience on the subject, I don’t think that there is anything natural or inevitable about constitutional democracy. I think that the INSTITUTIONS that actually engender our democracy are built slowly, methodically and painstakingly over time. They are also a unique product
        of our history and our cultural heritage. I think that these institutions are in need of constant reform (as technology and economics change) and that they are subject to the same forces of corrupting entropy and unpredictable dynamic fractalizing growth that everything in this finite and fallen world is subject to. Given the history of civilization, the most inevitable likelihood is that our constitutional democracy will collapse just like a house will someday collaps, and that it is constant maintenance and adaptation that will keep it standing for as long as we are vigilant enough and smart enough and humble enough to keep it standing.

        History has since proven that my suspicions about the Iraq war were mostly correct. Whether they were correct because of my limited expertise at that time or because it was just happenstance, I’ll let you judge, but even then, I didn’t claim that they were based on anything more than the facts and knowledge that I had myself gleaned through some in depth study and experience. It may be a subtle difference, but there is a difference between asserting an opinion based on actual experience and study versus just emotivism. Even the experts are often wrong, but they are less likely to be wrong than the opinionated idiot. One opinion is the product of humble, open minded critical thinking and the other is just being a smart ass. I’m sure I’ve done both in my life, but in my better angels, I shoot for the former.

        As an example of the latter, look up the background of Charlie Kirk who Tom references above. My goodness, where does the far right find these demagogues?

        1. Fair enough, your knowledge was fresher.
          There is obviously a great deal none of us can know, but there are some really basic questions and observations that should be addressed…just as a public service in a representative democracy. Asking the reason we should back one set of recent allies against other longer standing (not to mention treaty-obligated) allies for less than urgent security reasons really needs an answer. Especially when the ones we are backing are affiliated with an organization we recognize as terrorists. We’ve done this many times, and the results weren’t good, so asking this simple question is not hubris. Basic observations aren’t hubris. Noting that the
          I have no opinion on Kirk as I have never heard of him, and he is very young. I don’t know enough about the education system of Illinois to make any judgement. But I do know a lot about the military and our foreign policy decisions over the past 25 years.
          Most people commenting about how terrible we are, are simply parroting ignorant media talking points and can’t even tell you the difference between the KRG and the PKK.

          Might comment on your other post later.
          Need to shovel the driveway…it has snowed two feet in a week and a half. Sun is finally out.

          1. I don’t consider it hubris to be observant, well read and ask questions. Nor do I think that it is wrong to formulate an opinion. As Tom points out above, citizenship requires enough of an opinion at least to vote. What would be hubris, however, would be for me to think my opinion equal to someone who had academic expertise and years of career experience dedicated to a given complex field, and that opinions should be judged by who can emotionally inspire the largest mob to the most frenzy with the biggest blow horn. (Seriously, look at this Kirk kid that Tom thinks we should be influenced by).

            For example, I constantly have people lecturing me on what they think is constitutional and unconstitutional when they have not studied our system of law, our history, our constitutional case law and have never actually practiced that area of law in court. It’s not that their opinion is necessarily wrong or that they don’t have a right to it – its that its basically uninformed, and they are so blinded by their own lofty sense of themselves that they don’t even recognize the bloated faux pride of their own demagoguery.

            On Syria, as a career as a Line Naval Officer and an attorney and a person who has a theological morality, I have some general opinions about what goals we should pursue if we wish to remain free and promote the freedom of our neighbors here at home and around the world, but I don’t claim to know the best long and short term strategy in every complex and connected area of geopolitical economic and military operation in order to carry out those goals. (There is a difference, you know, between a goal and a strategy).

            What I do recognize, however, is when a leader doesn’t actually have a strategy, doesn’t listen to his experts who might help him formulate a strategy to accomplish his goals, and is driven only by his own conceit. This wasn’t the US simply making a thought out and painstaking choice in a conflict of loyalties between an old ally over a new ally. If so, it would have been done in consultation with the state department and our military commanders so that they could smooth out the withdrawal safely and with the least conflict. You know, using professional military strategy and diplomacy. No, this was a knee jerk fiasco that I guarantee was no more expertly strategized and meticulously planned than a train wreck.

            One after another, career diplomats and military officers (either Trump appointees or appointees of Trump appointees) are coming forward appalled, not just by a failure to follow well laid plans to promote our national security, but more importantly, appalled by Trump’s blatant immorality and illegality in only promoting his own interests at the expense of the country’s.

            I know. Trump acolytes will say “It’s all the deep state swamp”, only these folks mostly look like people who have asked what they can do for their country rather than being a life long self promoting swamp monster like Trump. When does this line of service and expertise running out the door and the chaos of corruption that remains in Trump’s administration start to bother you?

      3. “I do agree with your point about different values and realities. We aren’t seeing the same things at all.”

        I don’t think I used the word “values”. I used the word “virtue”. I’m not really sure how the two words became interchangeable, but they are not.

        A “value” is perhaps something that we could disagree on (transactionally for example). A “virtue“, in contrast, is something that almost anyone who understands the concept of virtue, (even atheists) can agree upon. Virtue, whether we believe in virtue or try to practice virtue is based upon universal concepts.

        For example, since humans became sentient beings we have always, in every time and every place, understood the virtue of courage, and only the most cynical persons or in the most decadent societies have we not generally admired courage. All mythologies in all cultures in all times have examples of a hero or heroine who examplify (usually in an unselfish sacrificing way) the virtue of courage.

        When I say that we don’t hold virtue in common, I’m not saying that we have different concepts of courage, but instead I’m saying that some of us no longer try honor and practive simple universal virtue and some us still do. Some of us have become cynical and think that common virtue is for simpletons and suckers (Trumpism). And some of us, like voices out in the wilderness, are calling for a return to honoring simple virtue, especially when it comes to our leadership.

        Leaders do not have to be perfectly virtuous, but I believe the essence of leadership begins and ends with the practice and honoring of simple virtue, even as we fail to attain perfection or perfect agreement as to the most virtuous course in every situation. It is in the humble, hopeful, brave, prudent aspiration that we find and give meaning to human existence. It is in the striving rather than the impossible attainment of perfect virtue that we as a society and as as individuals live our ultimate purpose. Otherwise, what is the purpose?

        Do you see what I mean Liz?

        1. My apologies on conflating the word “values” with “virtues”.
          I’d read your post hours before I responded and remembered the exact verbiage incorrectly.

          Leaders do not have to be perfectly virtuous, but I believe the essence of leadership begins and ends with the practice and honoring of simple virtue, even as we fail to attain perfection or perfect agreement as to the most virtuous course in every situation. It is in the humble, hopeful, brave, prudent aspiration that we find and give meaning to human existence.

          Perhaps you could point to these virtuous and capable people lining up for political leadership positions in government that we’re ignoring.
          I don’t see a lot of virtue.
          I see a lot of empty virtue signaling. They sometimes say the right things, but judging by real world results they are neither virtuous nor capable.

          1. Good grief, I wrote a long post and somehow deleted.
            Hate it when that happens….
            Per virtue, we could start with the recent legislation to “condemn Turkey” for Armenian genocide in 1913. Does anyone truly believe this is inspired by virtue? Is it even good for the US?
            I watched an hour long interview with General Kelly (former whitehouse chief of staff) who answered questions about our foreign policy and Trump. It was interesting to see he generally agreed with the decisions made. He excoriated the press and Democrats in Congress. But you won’t hear that bit in the media will you? He asserted that whenever it was time they discussed a policy decision he would ask the panel if it was good for America rather than just good for the next election cycle. He said Trump was “completely on board with that” it was the politicians (working for them) who found it harder to process.
            You won’t read any of the above in the media, but it you want to listen to an hour interview the discussion took place at Sea Island, Georgia. The American global leadership at the Washington Examiner Political Summit. You’ll notice only a selective one minute portion is quoted in the media, taken out of context with the rest…they purposefully ignored the rest. Is that virtuous? Is it accurate?

          2. Of particular interest was Kelly’s commentary on the border wall.
            He mentions the screening process for DHS and says they do a great and thorough job for people and containers arriving in a legal fashion. “But we have a wide open southern border. And you have members of Congress arguing that we shouldn’t do anything about it.”
            Talks about the difficulty of getting funding for the wall and indicates that he spoke to border patrol and they confirmed that yes, a physical barrier is necessary.
            In 2006 Congress voted to put 750 miles of wall in the southern border. Clinton, Obama, et al voted for this.
            Now the same people are vilifying everyone as racist for being in favor of what they voted “yes” to before.
            This virtue in action?

          3. “I fly in a gold encrusted jet, crap in a golden toilet, have sex with a super model wife, and I want a policy of America first! I will work to protect our nation and defend our security interests.” <—–OMG! How unvirtuous!

            "I want a no fly zone over Syria and will police the world, while cutting funding to our military who does my demanding bidding. And, oh yeah, Please give to my "charity"…which is a money laundering operation via the state department. Thanks"
            Obviously the height of virtue!! This is the smartest, most qualified person in the world

    2. @tsalmon

      You Democrats have called Trump every name under the sun, but his only crime is that he beat you. Your response to that is more disgusting than Trump has ever been.

      Is someone evil just because they disagree with you? Look what you did to Charlie Kirk. I don’t know much about him. I just read his article and researched it a little be to make certain he was not making things up. I consider his argument, not what others had said about him. Do we have to idolized somebody to listen to them? Do we have to attack someone personally just because we disagree with them?

      Why don’t you trying engaging in a serious discussion? Do you have to start calling Trump names or change the subject to some decade old grievance ever time you comment on a post? No WMD in Iraq? Nation building in Iraq didn’t work? Obama in his great wisdom gave up and all is now well? Well, as H. Clinton would say: “what difference does it make at this point?”

      Well, this is the type of vile discussion you are voting for.

      When she stole the Democratic Presidential primary for H. Clinton, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla. proved her dishonesty. Yet there she is doing nothing useful, just glibly lying and trying to make someone else look more awful than she is. That is not debate. It is just a warped and vile imitation of it.

      Cuccinelli denied that woman’s (She is no lady.) lies, and he did so rightly.

      1. Trump is a lying, self promoting, narcissistic, immoral scoundrel and a conman. Those are all names but they are also all provably true. You want evidence. Well, you just have to listen to him, and look at what he does. This evidence is mounting up constantly. Tens of thousands of lies. Self dealing right out in the open. Constant preening self congratulation and superlative slathering self infatuation (“unmatched wisdom”?). One only has to let it penetrate the membrane of the fact bubble that allows one to see no evil, hear no evil and say no evil about the corrupt leader of your tribe.

        Anyway, don’t you find it the least bit hypocritical to lambast the opposition for scurelous name calling when that is essentially Trump’s whole schtick: “Lying Ted”, “Little Marco”, “Crooked Hillary”, “Pocahontas”. School yard bullies have more class. And let us not forget how your favorite candidate’s Dad helped assassinate JFK or the things Trump said about his wife’s looks? I mean seriously, how do you actually make this criticism with a straight face? 🙂

        1. @tsalmon

          Why did you have to illustrate what a knee-jerk Liberal looks like? I complain about the name-calling, and you have to get angry and pile on? Can’t you see that is a conditioned response?

          Consider this simple truth. We don’t get to vote for perfect people. We never get to vote for perfect people. We just get to vote for the lesser of evils. Jesus Christ had to redeem us because we are incapable of redeeming ourselves. All of us sin, even you and I.

          Democracy ain’t perfect. People ain’t perfect. Democracy is just better than the alternative. We love each other because we are all we’ve got, except for God, and God commanded us to love each other.

          As I have repeatedly said, I did not vote for Trump because he is saintly or some such thing. Where is this perfect candidate? Was he named Barack Obama? Ted Cruz? H. Clinton? Seriously?

          I voted for Trump because the news media, the precious Liberal Democrat media, gave him all kinds of free publicity, enough to beat Ted Cruz. That left us with a choice between “White Supremacist” Trump and “Crooked Hillary”. Name calling? Yeah! It is blatantly obvious Clinton used that foundation of hers to finance her favorite charity. What is worse, however, is that H. Clinton is Horrible Hillary on the issues. So I voted for Trump in desperation, and I am surprised as anyone how well that has worked out.

          You think I am wrong about Trump? Yet you cannot stop the name calling long enough to explain why. Why is that?

          Any half decent policy wonk could see your precious news media decided Trump would be the easiest Republican to beat. Moreover, they had this little October surprise ready, a tape Trump did not know about, a conversation with some poor sucker they happily sacrificed to get Trump. Is it not ironic that the precious Liberal Democrat media is owned by a bunch of evil corporations, the enemy of the People? Is it not ironic that the so-called People’s Party, Liberal Democrats, have no trouble raising lots of money?

          Did you know I think Liberal Democrats are right about the big, evil corporations? I just think it idiotic that they want us to trust the bigger, badder government instead.

          Liberal Democrats, including the bulk of the news media, have had over three years to get Trump. Their relentless fishing expeditions have failed one after another. Yet they keep telling us, “the walls are closing in”. What is the problem? Can’t you get Mexico to pay for the walls closing in on Trump?

          So, then, does Trump tell lies? Compared to Liberal Democrats and their crony capitalist news media? Seriously? How much do you have to be lied to before you begin to notice there is no “there” there?

          Did you notice how that Liberal Democrat Chairman said Ken Cuccinelli would be allowed to respond Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla? That was a lie too. Just as the chairman had to know would happen, Schultz forestalled any opportunity Cuccinelli might have had to respond when that slanderer reclaimed her time.

          Slanderer? Name calling? Yeah! Liberal Democrats don’t have much use for either the First or the Second Amendments, and that is one of the issues with them.

          One of the purposes of the so-called “impeachment inquiry” is to keep us from discussing the issues. So keep on attacking Trump. Just get it through your head. This is just one reason why I think you are being duped. That makes you a dupe. Name calling? Yeah, but I did not call you a racist, bigot, sexist, brainwashed robot, and so forth. We are all dupes. All self deluded. We want to believe we can save ourselves, that we can run other people’s lives when we cannot even manage our own.

  3. Nehemiah understood. “So in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, in open places, I stationed the people by their clans, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, ‘Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes’.”- Nehemiah 4:13-14. We fight in a different way, with our vote. But above all is personal repentance, that’s how Nehemiah and the wallbuilders dedicated their work.

  4. Tom,

    Thanks for reminding us who the villains and victims are.

    If I may add another thought we need to be thinking about is the National Debt.

    I wrote a post to clue who owns the US debt will “be gathered and burnt?” so they will know in the near future who are the villains and will be the victims in the USA..

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

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