WHAT A STUPID THING TO ARGUE ABOUT?

school.pngGiven the things we are arguing about, I don’t have much doubt our republic is dying. Can our Creator still save us? Of course, but do enough of us want to be saved?

Here is an email I received from Delegate Bob Marshall on Friday.

THE MARSHALL MESSAGEDear Friends,

If President Obama and his administration refuse to recognize the biological difference between male and female, decline to acknowledge federal regulations that clearly state that separate bathroom and shower facilities for men and women do not create discrimination, fail to define or limit the scope of the word transgender and are willing to promote child abuse according to the American College of Pediatricians, they are not fit to retain their offices.

They compound this by threatening to blackmail states by withholding federal education funding for not complying with their newly discovered definition of “sex.”  I call on Speaker Paul Ryan and Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Bob Goodlatte to convene impeachment proceedings immediately for President Obama, Loretta Lynch and Secretary of Education, John King.  If you agree sign the petition here.  

President Obama has reached a new level of outrage with the letters that his Department of Education is sending out to states today informing them that they must implement policies allowing transgender individuals access to the bathroom and locker room facilities of their choice or risk losing Federal education funding.  This comes on the heels of the U.S Department of Justice’s letter to the Governor of North Carolina alleging that H.B. 2 is in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013.

President Obama and his administration are attempting to create a whole new definition for the word “sex” with regard to gender in order to bypass existing law.  Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals on the basis of “race, color, religion, sex, or -national origin.”  “Sexual orientation” and “gender identity” are not protected classifications under federal law (42 U.S. Code §2000e).

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education programs and activities. However, the section of Title IX regarding “comparable facilities” states, “A recipient [of Title IX funds] may provide separate toilet, locker room, and shower facilities on the basis of sex,” (34 CFR 106.33).

The DOE is now interpreting “sex” to include “gender expression, gender identity, transgender status, gender transition, or nonconformity with sex stereotypes” but there is no basis in Federal law for them to do so and neither the President nor his administration have the authority to make these changes in the law.  The Constitutional authority to make laws is given only to Congress, not the President and certainly not his Attorney General.

These attacks on human nature and our Constitution are so fundamental that they defy adequate description.  Please consider signing the petition using the link above or the button below.

Thank you for your help.

Sincerely,
Delegate Bob Marshall

Some people think the law or even the Constitution says whatever they think it should say. That’s either disillusional or dishonorable. Take your pick, but those are the people we have been electing. Therefore, we have much to be ashamed of.

Think not? Well, consider this.

The Obama administration has directed public schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity. (continued here)

Here is the Obama administration’s order (U.S. Departments of Justice and Education Release Joint Guidance to Help Schools Ensure the Civil Rights of Transgender Students). There is, of course, a threat to cut Federal funding. After all, if you don’t agree with their policy, you must be a meanie who hates and hates and hates.

Now consider  what Ryan Sawyers, Chairman At-Large for the Prince William County School Board had to say about the matter.

Sawyers says the legal ramifications of the latest federal directive remain unclear, and it will be reviewed to do what’s best for Prince William County.

“I don’t have a problem with any student or any employee using the bathroom of their choice,” Sawyers said. (from here)

Sawyers is not some distant Washington D. C. official. He is a local guy we foisted upon ourselves.

What if that big guy decides he is really a girl?
What if that big guy decides he is really a girl?

Fortunately, some states have chosen to fight. That includes Texas.  This video provides Gov. Greg Abbott’s (Texas gov. vows to fight White House over transgender issues) response to the issue. That includes the governor’s observation as to what is wrong. We have have turned the Constitution on its head.

Why would our president turn OUR Constitution on its head? Why would we let him do it? What is wrong with us? That is something we each need to think about, but one thing I think should be clear. For generations the parents of America’s children have given over responsibility for the education of their precious children to politicians, and that is an abysmally stupid thing to do. We used to be a Godly people, at least more so than we are now. Why would any parents who want to instill Godly values into their children trust politicians to do that for them? Why would any parents who believe in God send their children to a secularized school system that insists upon ignoring God’s existence? When the most important book ever written about the most important man who ever lived is the Bible, why would any Christian want to send their children to a school that treats the Bible as a subject of negligible educational value? Do you know? I sure don’t.

People say that school is for the secular world, and church is for the religious, but do the math. How many hours do our children spend in school? How many do they spend in church? Where does the Bible say we should not treat every hour of our lives — everything we do — as sacred to God? Even our work — our so-called secular work — we are suppose to do as our Lord would have us do it. Is that something our children will learn in a secularized school?

We never needed our government (particularly a bunch of power crazed bureaucrats appointed by President Obama)  to educate our children. We just needed to work together in our churches or with nonprofit institutions that we chose. We just needed to take personal responsibility for getting the job done properly, and too many of us did not do so. So now we don’t even have the wisdom to insist that our president must obey the Constitution.

Anyway, we can only do one thing at a time. Please let our leaders know we don’t want our children to be the subject of their social engineering experiments. Then consider how you want cut the government back down to its proper size. Need a review? Then here is a good place to start.

WHEN SHAME BECOMES A WEAPON

Eve covers herself and lowers her head in shame in Rodin's Eve after the Fall. (from here)
Eve covers herself and lowers her head in shame in Rodin’s Eve after the Fall. (from here)

Because it is so powerful, shame is a dangerous tool. Imagine living in ancient Sparta and hearing a story about a boy stealing a fox from your teacher.

The Spartan boy, learned only the basics, according to Plutarch, such as music and mathematics. Their principal training is a military one, often even crossing moral boundaries, such as learning how to steal without getting caught. The philosophy was that, in case of a war, a soldier might have to steal food in order to survive. The main key point here is that, when a boy was caught, he was not punished for his act of stealing, but for being caught!  The Spartan youth had their favorite “game” of stealing food or other possessions from servants (Greek: είλωτες, helotes).

A well-known story that proves the Spartan training and loyalty is this: Once, a 13 year old Spartan boy stole a fox from a village near his camp. Alas, a trainer found him and asked him what he was doing off campus. The boy had seen the trainer and had hidden the fox beneath his cloth. As the boy said nothing, the trainer insisted. The fox, still alive, beneath the boy’s cloth, started scratching him, in order to escape. While doing that, the boy continued to deny the stealing until the wounds suffered by the fox killed him. (from here)

Because the boy would have been shamed if he had been caught, he endured the pain of the scratching fox. He also chose to die rather than expose the fox and admit he could not endure the pain. Therefore, the Spartans admired his bravery and toughness, and his story became part of their legend. Thus, the Spartans used shame to to steel the discipline and courage of their warriors.

Like the Spartans, we also use shame to raise our children and to maintain societal order. When our children do something wrong, or when they fail to do something they should do, we shame them. We do so to train their consciences, to show them how they should respond to their consciences. Eventually, we want our children to do the right thing just because they know what is right, to show them that their own consciences will indict them if they fail to do the right thing.

We also shame adults when they ignore their consciences and misbehave. In The Power of Shame, Doug Bandow explains how a community punished a man who stood by and did nothing when his friend assaulted a girl. He describes how a community withdrew its fellowship from someone the law could not punish.

Some will ask, of course, whether or not it is right to withdraw our fellowship or ostracize another human being. There is a verse in the Bible that plainly commands us to do so.

Matthew 7:6 New King James Version (NKJV)

“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.

However, we should bear in mind the lesson of Matthew 7:1-5. Because God will judge us using the same measure we use to judge others, we should only treat those who leave us no other choice as dogs or swine. We must not forget that shame is a weapon, one we can use both to mask and expose vile sins. That is especially true when it comes to politics.

Consider this observation about narcissism.

It has been suggested that narcissism in adults is related to defenses against shame and that narcissistic personality disorder is connected to shame as well. Psychiatrist Glen Gabbard suggested that NPD could be broken down into two subtypes, a grandiose, arrogant, thick-skinned “oblivious” subtype and an easily hurt, oversensitive, ashamed “hypervigilant” subtype. The oblivious subtype presents for admiration, envy, and appreciation a grandiose self that is the antithesis of a weak internalized self which hides in shame, while the hypervigilant subtype neutralizes devaluation by seeing others as unjust abusers. (from here)

How does such narcissism play out in politics? Consider what happens we sin.

  • We can acknowledge our sin. We can be ashamed. We may have trouble stopping ourself from sinning (Illicit sex, drug abuse, and stealing, for example, often involve repeat offenses.), but we can accept the personal guilt.
  • We can refuse to admit we have sinned. We can deny we have any reason to feel guilty. We can even call our sin virtuous and blame our accusers. In fact, with a straight face we can heap shame upon our enemies.

Consider our current cast of presidential candidates.

Hillary ClintonClinton shame

Here is the first thing we see on Hillary Clinton’s website.

Check out Clinton’s issues list. If you don’t want Hillary Clinton to break down the barriers of race, gender, and sexual orientation and spend all your money for you, you must be a very selfish soul. If you are not for Hillary Clinton — electing the first woman president — you must be very selfish soul.

Ted Cruz Cruzappeal

Ted Cruz, on the other hand, offers this message.

Cruz is selling his record.

Ted Cruz – proven, passionate, effective fighter for limited government, economic growth, and the Constitution. (from here)

Cruz wants what he calls “courageous Conservatives” to join his team. Instead of fighting to be a powerful chief executive, Cruz is fighting to restore traditional values.

Who does Cruz try to shame? Corrupt politicians who spend our money like there is no end to it. What does he suggest for the rest of us? He urges us to see there is still hope if we are willing fight for our country. Cruz never comes out and says it, but there is no mystery here. Because we are letting our leaders get away with raiding the public treasury, he is saying we should all be ashamed.

Bernie Sanderssandersshame

At his website Sanders greets us with the Socialist’s traditional appeal for class warfare.

Sanders shames — demonizes — the successful. We all exist to pay taxes (How Bernie pays for his proposals) and give up our rights so various victim groups (Issues page) can get their “rights.” Don’t the “rich” have endless piles of money?

Donald Trumptrumpslogan

Trump leads with this slogan. Trump’s message is that he is the indispensable winner.

Here is the kind of headline Trump boasts about.

Donald Trump Has Double-Digit Lead Over Ted Cruz In Indiana Poll

Winning is the focus of Trump’s campaign, beating The Establishment. Look at his Issue page.

The Establishment

I want to win for the people of this great country. The only people I will owe are the voters. The media, special interests, and lobbyists are all trying to stop me. We won’t let that happen!

Ironically, Trump has used that fortune of his to contribute millions to Establishment politicians. But Trump is supposedly a winner. Supposedly, only a loser would oppose him.

Why is Trump running?  Check out Trump. Nobody can read minds, but that article is as good a guess as any.

Conclusion

When our leaders seek to sway us, one of their tools is shame, and some of them can be shameless. Even if they have a record that should shame them, they will proudly stand forth as accomplished leaders. Even when the schemes they propose have been tried repeatedly and failed every time, they will still bold proclaim that only they have a plan to save our nation. Even when there is no good reason to trust them, they will still demand we give them everything and trust them.

At the same time they will shame all who oppose them. Their list of epithets is endless: selfish, racist, thief, liar, homophobe, sexist, pussy, pathological, fat cat….., even Establishment.

If we want our country to work, we need leaders who want to talk about how our government is suppose to work and what our government is suppose to do. We most certainly don’t need people who think that they are God’s gift to us, people who are not willing to obey the Constitution.

CAN WE TRUST DONALD TRUMP?

 

Building the Tower of Babel was, for Dante, an example of pride. Painting by Pieter Brueghel the Elder (from here)
Building the Tower of Babel was, for Dante, an example of pride. Painting by Pieter Brueghel the Elder (from here)

This is the third post in a series on Donald Trump‘s book, Donald Trump’s book, Crippled America: How To Make America Great Again. Here are the first and the second.

Here we are going to focus on Donald Trump credibility. Why? Trump’s book is largely about Donald Trump, not America.  Trump’s book actually has very little to say about America. The deeper we go into the book the more obvious that becomes.

Trump’s book is a sales job. Should we buy what Trump is selling? Here we will review Chapters 10 -14.

10: Lucky To Be An American

Trump knows he is lucky to be American.  These days I am afraid that actually is a plus. Trump himself provides examples. He likes to fly massive American flags on his properties. Of course, that offends some people. So he has had to fight off the authorities twice.

Trump also talks about his support for the military.  He wants our troops to have the best equipment.  For example, he was shocked to find the parents of some GIs were buying their sons body armor.  In addition, he promises to either fix the Veterans Administration or send the vets to private doctors and hospitals.

11: The Right To Bear Arms

Trump unambiguously supports the Second Amendment. That includes concealed carry (which Trump says he does) and allowing military personnel to carry firearms on bases and at recruiting centers. He also clearly states his support for law enforcement officers.

12: Our Infrastructure Is Crumbling

Here Trump describes the problem. We are not maintaining our infrastructure, and the longer we wait the more expensive it will be to fix the problem.

Trump sees a lack of will.

Our airports, bridges, water tunnels, power grids, rail systems–our nation’s entire infrastructure–is crumbling, and we aren’t doing anything about it. Former secretary of transportation Ray LaHood  knows all about this and he got it right when he said, “If we are going to have safe transportation systems in America, you have to invest in them. We have not done that.”

He described our way of dealing with this problem as the “limp along, go along” system. “There’s no vision. No leadership in Washington to fix it, and they are trying to put Band-Aids and duct tape and other things on these fixes and they simply do not work.”

That’s actually a good statement of the problem. Unfortunately, Trump’s solution is nonsense. He says he can fix our infrastructure because he knows how to build things, and he would make fixing our infrastructure a major priority.

So what is the problem with Trump’s “plan”?

  • The Federal Government has no charter for fixing our nation’s infrastructure. The Constitution does mention postal roads, but that hardly justifies using Federal dollars to fund any infrastructure project anyone can imagine.
  • If we want our infrastructure dollars spent appropriately, then we cannot give our money to sneaky politicians and then just expect them to spent it wisely, but that is what we have been doing. Even if we put Trump in charge as the president, that fact remains true. Even if Trump has the best of intentions, Congress’ powers of taxation and spending will trump his good intentions.

13: Values

Here Trump tells us he cares about his children, that he is a family man. He tells us he is a Christian, and he will defend freedom of religion and the right to say Merry Christmas.

He ends by saying:

  • President Obama has been an awful president. Obama has weaken the military and emboldened our enemies. He has also taken executive actions he had no right to take.
  • He respects women, and he has given his female employees important jobs.

14: A New Game In Town

Here Trump offers himself as a game changer. Elect him, and he will get the best people to work for him and fix problems, that is, make America great again.

Trump does understand the fact nothing gets done in Washington means that people who actually want to do something don’t want to work for the Federal Government. He also understands that we must appoint judges who respect the Constitution. Nevertheless, he thinks that the election of one man, himself, will change the game. What he doesn’t seem to appreciate is that Obama could not have done all the damage he has done all by himself. Obama had to have the support of Congress and the Supreme Court, and Trump will not have that support.

General Observations

Recent news indicates Trump may not be as Conservative as he wishes to sound.

  • RNC Members Open To Trump Campaign’s Pitch Of A Kinder, Gentler Donald (dailycaller.com): Here Trump seems to be telegraphing a move to the center. If Trump wins the nomination, it is quite likely he will move to the center, and he will be able to do so easily. Trump doesn’t have an ideological position; he is running on his charisma and business success. So if Trump wants the big money donors to the Republican Party to back his play, he just has to make it clear he is willing to make a deal.
  • Donald Trump: Let transgender people use the bathroom they want (www.washingtontimes.com): Here Trump’s position is clearly not Conservative. It doesn’t even make sense. We separate the sexes for reasons of safety, not convenience. We have a long history of separating the sexes in the restroom because we know it is worth the expense. If guy can choose whatever restroom he wants just by saying he identifies as a woman, what is to stop him from going into the ladies room just to see what he can see? When the women of our families use the restroom, don’t we want them to be safe? Who wants their wife, their daughter, or their granddaughter to encounter grown men in the restroom, disturbed jokers who think it is “funny” to pretend they are women and use the lady’s room?

More and more I see Donald Trump as somebody who just wants to be somebody. So he builds big buildings. Now he wants to run the country. Long ago under the leadership of such a man people built a huge tower. That tower was impressive but useless.

Haven’t we had enough of politicians who want to take all our money and spend it for us? Check out Ted Cruz. Government has a role. We need it to protect our rights, but we need to vote to run our own lives. As much as possible, if we want to get what we want, then we need to spend our own money. Giving our money to politicians should always be the option we resort to when nothing else will work.

ARE YOU A PHILOSOPHICAL CONSERVATIVE?

preamble to the constitutionLabels are imprecise things.  Therefore, when we call ourselves Conservative, we don’t tell people much.  Hence, we try to clarify with adjectives.

Consider this list.

Types of Conservatism (from here)

  • Cultural Conservatism.
  • Social Conservatism.
  • Religious Conservatism.
  • Fiscal Conservatism.
  • Paleo-Conservatism.
  • Neo-Conservatism.
  • Bio-Conservatism.

What you won’t often see in any list is the expression “Philosophical Conservatism.” Why? Well, many of the people who educate us are opposed to the concept of Conservatism. They don’t like Conservatism, they don’t understand Conservatism, and they don’t want anyone to be Conservative. The last thing they want is any discussion of a coherent Conservative philosophy.

Consider some quotes.

Some are just shallow and silly.

Philosophical conservatism is defined as the belief that people are evil or selfish by nature, while philosophical liberalism is described as the belief that people are good or have great moral potential. (from here)
Some are so “deep” they drown in their own nonsense.
Fourth, there is what I would call philosophical (or also anthropological) conservatism, that in turn is rooted in a particular philosophical anthropology or perhaps social ontology. This stance implies a commitment to realizing a set of substantive values, irrespective of whether these values are already instantiated in the present. In other words, for philosophical conservatives, the primary question is not about what the past suggests, or how, or by which proven method, these values should be implemented. The question is of course what sets of values we are talking about in this context. I claim that philosophical conservatives are primarily invested in the importance of hierarchical relationships, or some more or less naturalized conception of inequality. They do not simply emphasize the particular and the potential importance of its preservation; they attribute differential value to particular sets of human beings, and they emphasize that certain social arrangements distributing power unequally are unalterable. (from here)

Some are just hateful.

The philosophical conservative is someone willing to pay the price of other people’s suffering for his principles. (from here)

This last quote is actually fairly popular, and it is the way too many see Conservatism. Such is the headache with letting politicians educate our children. Should we be surprised that our SOCIALIST school system does not encourage us to ponder what it means to be a Conservative?

Consider this observation.

Conservatives typically possess a pessimistic vision of human nature, drawing on the modern tradition, on Hobbes’s belief, that were it not for strong institutions, men would be at each others’ throats and would constantly view one another with deep suspicion. (Their emphasis is thus not on the ensuing hypothetical pacifying social contract but on the prevalence of fear in human society). Conservatives are highly skeptical of power and man’s desire to use it, for they believe that in time it corrupts even the most freedom loving wielders: hence, the potential accession to any position of supreme power over others, whether in the guise of a national or international chamber, is to be rejected as being just as dangerous a state as Hobbes’s vision of the anarchic state of nature. Conservatives thus applaud those institutions that check the propensity for the stronger or the megalomaniacal to command power: conservatives magnify the suspicion one may hold of one’s neighbor. (from here)

Do Conservatives possess a pessimistic vision of human nature? Yes. We realize that we are all imperfect and quite corruptible. The Christian Conservative takes it for granted that but for the grace of God we would all be going to hell. And yet because God loves us we all have infinite worth. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we each can do good works.

Are you a Social Conservative or a Fiscal Conservative? Why? What is the logic that drives you to be a Social or Fiscal Conservative? Have you ever asked yourself questions such as these questions?

  • What is the purpose of government?
  • What powers should the government have?
  • Can the government provide justice? What sort of justice? How should the government provide justice?
  • When is it moral to force our neighbors to pay taxes? What functions of government justify punishing people when they refuse to pay their taxes?
  • When is it proper for government officials to transfer public funds to private charities? Is a private charity that is funded entirely by the government still a “private” charity?
  • Is it moral for government officials to take money from some citizens and provide charity to other citizens? Can we trust the same government officials to redistribute the wealth and protect our property rights?
  • What is a constitution? What purpose does a constitution serve? How should a constitution be interpreted?
  • What is the role of the Declaration of Independence in our nation’s heritage?
  • Are men corrupted by power? How do we prevent our leaders from becoming too powerful?
  • What obligations does each citizen have to exercise control over the government?
  • When do citizens have an obligation to rebel against the government?

Unless we consider such questions, and we have ready answers, how can we say we have a coherent Conservative philosophy? To be any kind of Conservative, we must first construct a coherent Conservative philosophy. Once we have done so, I think many Conservatives will realize that for our Conservatism to have any meaning, we must be Philosophical Conservatives, that is, we must be able to logically explain why we believe what we believe.