I served in the military. I proudly wore the uniform of the United States Air Force for many years, but I have a hard time considering myself a veteran. I served in the United States. I never saw a combat zone. The roughest duty I had was in Alaska, separated from my family, and my wife knew Alaska was my idea of a vacation spot. Even at 30-40 below zero, I enjoyed the peace and exhilaration that comes from quietly slipping down a snowy forest trail on cross-country skis. So when I left my lady with our two little children, she could not muster any sympathy, and I did not have the nerve to ask for any.
A veteran is someone who has risked their life in the service of a great cause. A veteran is someone who has suffered for the cause. Because war is violent and bloody, we fear it. We fear it because even the survivors come back changed by the harshness of war.
What is war? I don’t really understand it. Does anyone? My father saw combat in WWII. For him, it was unspeakable. As curious as I was, I could hardly pry anything out of him. Even though he continued to serve for decades and retired from the military, he said almost nothing about his combat experiences. Therefore, I still wonder. What did I owe him for his sacrifice? What can I do for the people who risked so much for my family, friends, neighbors, countrymen, and even for me?
When I went looking for the quote above, I was dumbfounded to find it supposedly belongs to a relatively obscure California congressman. I think the observation has to go back further than that. Nevertheless, each generation must rediscover the problem for itself.
During the Cold War, JFK put it this way.
The world has not escaped from the darkness. The long shadows of conflict and crisis envelop us still. But we meet today in an atmosphere of rising hope, and at a moment of comparative calm. My presence here today is not a sign of crisis, but of confidence. I am not here to report on a new threat to the peace or new signs of war. I have come to salute the United Nations and to show the support of the American people for your daily deliberations. For the value of this body’s work is not dependent on the existence of emergencies–nor can the winning of peace consist only of dramatic victories. Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures. And however undramatic the pursuit of peace, that pursuit must go on. — John F. Kennedy (from here)
We cannot completely win the peace. Until the Second Coming, we will not know peace. Still, for the sake of our family, friends, neighbors, countrymen we must strive for peace, but what does that striving mean in practice?
Consider again how JFK defined peace.
Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures. And however undramatic the pursuit of peace, that pursuit must go on.
When we are at peace with each other, we have found a way to live together without resorting to violence. That involves compromises, and it is difficult to work out and maintain those compromises. During the Civil War, for example, no compromise could be found. Therefore, by the end of that war, the combatants had filled our graveyards with the bodies of the fallen. The survivors became veterans.
To win the peace — to maintain the peace — requires hard work and sacrifice from each of us. We cannot rightfully sit back as an observer — enjoy the fireworks — and turn the work of building peace over to someone else. We must participate in gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, and quietly building new structures.
Consider a couple of disparate examples.
Donald Trump is now president. During the transition, he will begin the process of appointing his cabinet and many other government officials. Because personnel equates to policy, we will learn from his appointments just how serious he is about his campaign promises. Contact the man any way you can. Make yourself heard in letters to the editor and in emails and phone calls to your Senators and Congressmen. Explain how you expect our elected leaders to help us — WE THE PEOPLE — make America Great Again.
As citizens, we must carefully select, help, and monitor our elected officials. Sometimes we even have to insist that they find something else to do with their time. That is how Americans win peace among themselves and with the citizens of other nations. Striving to win and keep the peace is how we show our respect for our veterans.
When we take part in the development and execution of public policy, we can work to avoid sending good men and women to war. Because we respect the sacrifices required by war, we must strive to avoid asking anyone to make such sacrifices. However, when the only option is warfare, we must continue working for peace. Then we must do our best to support our military forces and see to it we celebrate their sacrifices on Veterans Day, not Memorial Day.
Sputnik? Aside from the fact the news content was atrociously anti-American, I was suspicious of the name. What does sputnik mean?
sputnik (n.) Look up sputnik at Dictionary.com
“artificial satellite,” extended from the name of the one launched by the Soviet Union Oct. 4, 1957, from Russian sputnik “satellite,” literally “traveling companion” (in this use short for sputnik zemlyi, “traveling companion of the Earth”) from Old Church Slavonic supotiniku, from Russian so-, s- “with, together” + put’ “path, way,” from Old Church Slavonic poti, from PIE *pent- “to tread, go” (see find (v.)) + agent suffix -nik. (continued here)
The name “sputnik news” is ironic. The word “sputnik” first gained familiarity in the West when the USSR launched a series of satellites named Sputnik. Since artificial satellites generally orbit the earth, most satellites are in fact a “traveling companion of the Earth”. oxforddictionaries.com, however, describes a slightly different origin for term “sputnik” which adds a bit of perspective.
fellow traveler noun
1. a person who supports or sympathizes with a political party, especially the Communist Party, but is not an enrolled member.
2. anyone who, although not a member, supports or sympathizes with some organization, movement, or the like.
Read The Night Wind’s comments defending (here and here) sputniknews.com. The Night Wind is something of a fan of Vladimir Putin. Thus, the Night Wind’s comments suggest that that old KGB agent’s propaganda is having some success.
Are The Night Wind’s complaints about the Western news media legitimate? Sadly, the answer is yes, but reading Russian propaganda hardly constitutes a solution.
What makes us so vulnerable to such propaganda in this country? We need to think about that, and we need to formulate a solution. So let’s consider the nature of the problem. What factors make it more difficult than it once was to discern the truth in the news?
The mechanics of our government have changed drastically. When it originated, the Federal Government had little power. Except for a few items, those actually enumerated in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, most government operations — what little there were — in the United States were state and local. Then we could see for ourselves what was going on and speak to our leaders face-to-face. Yet the Federal Government now spends nearly twice what our state and local governments spend.
Why has local government diminished? To make local government work, we must be engaged in our local communities, but power-grabbing politicians have nearly torn our local communities apart. Unlike previous generations of Americans, we are not skilled in the art of community organizing. We would not even use such a phrase the same way. Our forbears would have thought of organizing to perform a charitable work. We think of community organizing getting the government to spend other people’s money.
Our forebears spent most of their day engaged within their local communities. They worked, educated their children, went to church, and played (even the adults) with their immediate neighbors. Today not many of us do that. We spend our days tens of miles from home at our jobs, and we waste hours traveling on government-run roads that don’t work. Then we compound the damage. We educate our children in poorly managed government-run schools that discourage parental involvement. We may not go to church, and most of us spend hours a day escaping our “problems”. We “play” on a TV or Internet, or we just commiserate with each other by boozing it up with friends.
What do I think we should do? Well, turning sputniknews.com or rt.com for information is not going to help us. We know these people are trying to deceive us. Instead, we need to decrease the power and importance of government. We need to diminish the vast wealth our government controls. We need to make lying to us less attractive and less profitable; we need to bring government closer to home where we can keep an eye on it.
We need to stop giving politicians OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY to pay for public infrastructure. The worst kind of politicians sell access to OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY. When we pay for our roads, for example, with OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY, in return for campaign donations and various “favors”, politicians put the roads where developers want them. Then, in return for more for campaign donations and “favors”, politicians strangle what they had the gall to call a parkway with stoplights. If we want decent transportation system, then we have to pay with our own money. We have to pay tolls. Then, developers will have to pay for their own roads.
We need to stop giving politicians power to redistribute the wealth. Politicians use the power redistribute the wealth to buy our votes. That has nothing to do with true charity; such charity is just stealing. Yet we have based our education system, our retirement systems, and our health care system upon such notions of charity. Because true charity is based upon love, government cannot effectively provide charity. Whenever government tries to provide charity, larceny will result. Human nature is such that any government system that spends OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY for the sake of OTHER PEOPLE must become corrupt, too costly, and eventually useless.
We need to put the kibosh on the identity politics. What just happened in Florida illustrates the gravity of the problem. Because of the fact they tend to vote Democrat, some of our glorious leaders want to import all the poor, dark skin people they can into this country. That includes Muslims. Yet as events keep demonstrating, our leaders have no way whatsoever of screening out Islamic terrorists from a peaceful Muslims. So why then is the LBGTQ crowd voting for Democrats? Consider their choice, our choice. Is it more important to force our views on others or to be left in peace to pursue our own definition of happiness?
Why do we have to drive so far and spend so much time traveling to work? Everybody wants to live in the country in a big house with a big yard. So politicians have subsidized what we wanted with OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY (so-called parkways), and they have protected big yards with zoning laws.
Why do we have expensive schools that don’t work? Everybody wants a fabulous education for their children. So politicians have subsidized what we wanted with OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY. They have built costly schools and staffed those schools with expensive teachers and administrators, members of public employee’s unions who kindly contributed to and worked for their reelection. Therefore, since those schools must be run by the government and secularized, we have created socialist institutions promoting the glories of Big Government.
Why don’t local communities provide charity, and why is our country going broke? Everybody wants a fail-safe financial safety net. So politicians have subsidized what we wanted with OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY. Thus, we have food stamps, Social Security, Obamacare, and dozens of other programs that cost too much.
Why do politicians keep insisting that it is a small world and diversity means everyone must be politically correct? Everybody wants the assurance that everyone else likes them just as they are. We want everyone to think like us, and we don’t want anyone better or worse off than we are. That is, because every little community would be different, we cannot get by with local government. Otherwise, we actually would have diversity. So we have to nationalize every problem and make everyone think about everything and do everything the same way.
Therefore, as the result of too much government, we don’t have time to spend in our local neighborhoods, we don’t have much reason to talk to our neighbors, and we have trouble believing anything the news media wants to tell us.
You don’t believe me? Then please explain why we have to choose between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton for president.
c. 1200, pilegrim, from Old French pelerin, peregrin “pilgrim, crusader; foreigner, stranger” (11c., Modern French pèlerin), from Late Latin pelegrinus, dissimilated from Latin peregrinus “foreigner” (source of Italian pellegrino, Spanish peregrino), from peregre (adv.) “from abroad,” from per- “beyond” + agri, locative case of ager “country” (see acre).
Change of first -r- to -l- in most Romance languages by dissimilation; the -m appears to be a Germanic modification. Pilgrim Fathers “English Puritans who founded Plymouth colony” is first found 1799 (they called themselves Pilgrims from c. 1630, in reference to Hebrew xi:13).
I have a difficult and stubborn commenter,Arkenaten, who is perfectly willing to allow his comments to go into moderation. I guess he knows I will read them.
Since I used his “name” on the THE GIFT OF LOVE, I posted one of his comments (from here) with my reply.
Tom’s question to Keith (“That is, how do we persuade people to properly amend the Constitution?”) brought me full circle back to the first interchange I ever had with Keith. It was when you reblogged my first Due Process of Law article on May 25th last year, called “Can a Law Be Unlawful.” I was trying to start a train of thought that would illuminate the fact that, no matter how all the detailed x’s and o’s tactics play out in the daily political arena, the BIGGER picture is that the whole legislative and executive world is now operating in an “extra-Constitutional” manner. An alarming percentage of the federal statutes on the books, and many of the federal government’s overt actions are simply devoid of any Constitutional basis — which I asserted makes them philosophically/morally unlawful. As we’ve gotten to know each other, Keith and I have found we’re both enthusiastic advocates for an Article V Convention to amend our Constitution back towards its original intent.
I would like to reprint a comment I made back then:
[[Keith, I would also observe that it’s clear your (and Citizen Tom’s) greater interest is in “What do we do about it?”, and you’re not necessarily as interested in hearing the case for why it’s morally wrong for the government to pass bad, unconstitutional, improper, wrong, inappropriate, laws. But there are a LOT of people who would never stop to question the behavior of lawmakers like I am doing here. It’s them I am primarily addressing, not you. Why? Because I believe that educating them to question their government’s actions is THE BEST thing within my control to help “do something about it.” Clearly, the impeachment avenue that was provided by the Constitution will never seriously be used, because there’s too much political posturing and media subterfuge in the modern political arena for impeachment to be practical. So influencing moderates, independents, and new voters in their teens and twenties that they should be careful and effective with their voting power is what I’m all about….especially in this series. I’m trying to fight against the spread of moral relativism.]]
Jeff wrote a very thoughtful comment. Nevertheless, he is addressing Keith and myself.
When I started blogging, I focused more on politics than religion. Then I realized that our political system is collapsing because our people no longer uphold an ethical system capable of supporting a constitutional republic. So now I focus far more on the Bible and the teachings of Jesus Christ.
When I blog, like Jeff I hope that I will reach some people who have not given either Christianity or politics much thought. However, I don’t seriously expect many of those people to stop by and read my blog. Yet that is most of the electorate.
What has happened? Why is a nation that once seemed so interested in Christianity now so ignorant of it? I think the answer is our education system. We have allowed the public school system to indoctrinate successive generations of children, and that school system has left a void in the hearts of our people. Think of the idiocy. Almost no one trusts politicians, but we have put them in charge of so much that we value, including the indoctrination of our children.
With respect to Christianity, our education system has left the impression that these questions have no serious answers.
Why am I here?
What is right and wrong?
What brings me meaning
What happens to a human being when I die?
Our schools avoid the Bible. When they speak of religion, they speak of religion as a source of controversy and war. Seriously, does anyone truly believe American politicians think of Islam as the religion of peace. Don’t we know that what politicians who call Islam the religion of peace think is that all religions are worthless except their own idols, power and money.
With respect to our duty to be good citizens, our education system has left the impression that all we have to do is listen to the evening news and then vote for the best man. In fact, for the most part people do nothing. Because they never learn what to do — how they can make a difference — they do what seems easiest and leave it to “the experts.” That is exactly what most corrupt politicians would prefer they do.
So why do I blog? It is my pilgrimage. Putting my thoughts on paper and reading what others have written helps me to better understand the Bible and politics. That’s the primary reason.
For the time being, blogging also seems to be my calling. There are new Conservatives with a poor understanding of Conservatism and new Christians who need to be encouraged to read the Bible. With the help of other Christians and Conservative bloggers, those are the people I hope to reach, and those are the people I hope will talk to their friends and neighbors. If God answers our prayers, those are the people God will call upon to revive His Spirit within our nation. These people will bring the Gospel of Christ to those with ears to hear, and the Holy Spirit — if God so wills — will soften our hearts so that we can each perceive the message of Jesus Christ.
9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Of course, voting and supporting our favorite candidates goes beyond the subject of abortion. Although many voters use a candidate’s position as a litmus test, government has a larger objective than preventing abortions.
Laws That Conform To The Golden Rule
Even as the abortionists at “Planned Parenthood” profitably deliver dead babies from their mothers, that management of “Planned Parenthood” portrays their organization as people who care about women. Therefore, even as some note the hypocrisy, others defend the hypocrisy. Thus, Steven Hoyt put up a series of comments following the THE PRECIOUS HUMAN LIFE AND THE ABORTION FACTOR. argued that before Christians had the right to condemn the practice of abortion, they had to somehow “prove” their own holiness.
Is argument Biblical? What if we generalize ‘s requirement for judging the sins of others? What if before we call any conduct a sin we must first demonstrate our own holiness? Since the Bible says “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10), none of us would be qualified to call anything that someone else did wrong. Therefore, if we are going to follow ‘s suggestions with respect to declaring abortion wrong, we may as well scrap of all our laws.
Given that the Bible itself contains the Mosaic Code or the Mosaic Law, does it make any sense that God wants us to scrap all laws? Is it not more likely that God wants our laws to conform to the Golden Rule.
12 Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
But What Do Conservative Voters Think?
In Coalition Politics, Necessary and Proper evaluates the Conservatism of the American electorate using various sorts of polling data. Why? What is the point of ‘s careful and well presented analysis (That is, even dummies like me can easily follow his logic?)? is trying to figure out which of the Republican presidential candidates deserves the Conservative vote. Here is his conclusion.
For what it’s worth: The limb I have walked out onto via all this tortured speculation, along with my observation of the two televised debates, convinces me that Marco Rubio is the most conservative Republican candidate who is persuasive and articulate enough to appeal to a 48% span of the general voter population and win the 2016 Presidential election. You will draw your own conclusion. My goal was only to get you to think about the consequences of your primary voting strategy. (from here)
Because the American electorate has become so divided, does not think a solid Conservative would win. Therefore, advocates voting for an electable Conservative.
‘s thoughtful post earned a string of comments. Because they have the give and take of thoughtful discussion, these are worth reading. All the commenters applauded the care took in preparing his analysis, but tannngl challenged his conclusions, preferring to vote for the most consistent Conservative, Senator Ted Cruz. That led to this fascinating defense.
About Ted Cruz, you said “He is my candidate.” In the primaries, each of us should not picking our personal candidate. We’re picking the candidate for others — for millions of voters (greater than 48%).
As I said, the further right a candidate is, the better he/she must be at articulating and persuading. And I don’t mean persuading you — I mean persuading the 10-15% of voters who are uncommitted swing voters and are ideologically quite a distance from the candidate. (from here)
Whereas advocates voting for the best candidate, advocates voting for the best person to be our president.
Which of them is right?
Back To That Preoccupation With Money
Which is right? or ? Before we try to answer that question, let’s consider a bit of conventional wisdom. Because Conservatives don’t want to pay the high taxes for their social programs, Socialists like to call Conservatives selfish and mean. Are Conservatives selfish and mean? Rarely do we closely examine what goes into this Socialist accusation. Unfortunately, most of the news media is of the modern Liberal or so-called Progressive persuasion. So when reporters see a problem, they soon magnify it into a massively dire problem, one that only a massive Federal Government program can fix. Of course, massive Federal Government programs don’t come cheap, and the fact they are generally quite poorly run does not help. After all, isn’t government waste the stuff of legend ( see here, here, and here)?
That being the case, why would we want any massive Federal Government programs, especially when there are other alternatives? That is, how do politicians persuade us to vote for massive Federal Government programs? Well, they use a variety of bait and switch schemes. Their favorite enticement is to offer to make the “rich” pay. This is in fact an age-old practice of demagogues, and it is one the framers of our Constitution specifically designed our system of government to thwart (see THE ADVANTAGE OF A REPUBLIC OVER A DEMOCRACY). Unfortunately, we have failed to heed the framers’ warnings and make the system they created work. We have found the bait too attractive. Each of us sees that big pile of money the Federal Government has at its disposal, and we want some.
24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
What should we call trying to use the government to get at other people’s wealth? Isn’t it stealing? We don’t seem to think so. Yet consider several examples.
Most of the Federal budget goes into Social Security and Medicare, supposedly guaranteed retirement programs. Self-righteous politicians abused our sympathy with by setting up programs for old people who might not otherwise have enough for old age, and then they “borrowed” money from the programs and spent it. That’s is, the Social Security Trust Fund is empty. There is no money in it. So how does the scheme continue to “work”? Our leaders tax the young to pay for the retirement of the old. Unfortunately, because of Social Security people now want retire when they should be working. So we cannot even raise the retirement age so this stupid Ponzi scheme will continue to “work.” Therefore, our leaders will either have reduce benefits or just print worthless money.
David Boaz, in The Divide between Pro-Market and Pro-Business, observes that big business is always going to the government for handouts and special favors of some sort. He cites the bailout of Chrysler Corp. (1979) and that humongous 2008 Wall Street bailout as modern examples, and he points to the Chamber of Commerce as the big backer of such government largess. Isn’t the Chamber for free enterprise? This clash between pro-market and pro-business is an old one.
Adam Smith wrote “The Wealth of Nations” to denounce mercantilism, the crony capitalism of his day. Milton Friedman said at a 1998 conference: “There’s a common misconception that people who are in favor of a free market are also in favor of everything that big business does. Nothing could be further from the truth.” (from here)
Just as some people are greedy for government handouts — Socialism — some greedy businessmen seek the advantages of government cronies — Crony Capitalism.
We pay for schools, welfare programs, highways, sports stadiums, “art,” — we redistribute trillions of dollars of wealth — without blinking an eye. We spend trillions of dollars to finance activities that we use to finance privately. Why? How does government financing make it better? Is it the “fact” that it is somebody else’s money? Easy come. Easy go. And waste by the pork barrel.
Therefore, it seems that both and are right. We should be voting for the best person for the job. Unfortunately, because politicians know how to tempt us with “other people’s money,” unless we settle for a scoundrel of some sort, we cannot get a Republican elected. That’s why we have so much trouble with RINOs.
What Does Bigger Government Mean In Practice?
Rarely do we see a straightforward explanation of what excessive government spending and regulation means in practice. We hear about government debt piling up into the stratosphere, but few can explain what those numbers mean. What is the difference between owing 18-19 trillion dollars and owing over 200 trillion dollars? With complex explanations numbers in both ranges get floated about, but how many of us care? Is somebody going to throw us into jail for not paying this debt?
Therefore, we see the debt and the absurd waste as someone else’s problem, somebody else’s responsibility. Because it is so big it is just numbers, we can ignore that huge debt and the phenomenal waste. Ohhh, we will flippantly say we will never collect Social Security, but what do we do when a politician tries to cut “our” Social Security benefits? Don’t we vote that politician out?
The benefits are here and now. Because we can put them in our pockets, we pay attention to the benefits. The costs, vague and ill-defined, we can put off and ignore. The costs to our soul, our children and grandchildren we can put off and ignore.
13 My son, eat honey because it is good, And the honeycomb which is sweet to your taste; 14 So shall the knowledge of wisdom be to your soul; If you have found it, there is a prospect, And your hope will not be cut off.
For those who care to look, the costs are already evident. Don’t our schools already stink? Don’t we already vegetate in traffic for hours? Isn’t too much of what we buy made somewhere in China? Are we not suffering a deluge of poor immigrants, foreigners who expect us to speak their language and learn their ways? Is not our president an isolationist, abandoning the world to chaos, unwilling to spend money on anything except bribes: health, education, and welfare programs?
With every cent politicians spend — with every new regulation they create — our leaders steal another bit of our freedom. Increasingly, government controls how we earn our wealth, how we spend our wealth, and who gets our wealth.
We “invest” in housing. We give our money to bankers, developers, realtors,…. Shouldn’t we be investing a larger portion of our wealth in making our nation more productive and competitive? Can we all work in service industries?
We “invest” ever larger sums in public schools and colleges and give our money to bankers and educrats. Shouldn’t we be spending our money on private schools that actually give us some bang for our buck?
We continue to allow our currency to inflate, becoming ever less valuable. At one time it was profitable to track pennies. Now, if we find a penny on the ground, it is not worth the bother to pick it up. What does inflation do to our savings? When everything is made overseas, how will we be able to retire or get a job?
Future generations of Americans — if the government ever allows them learn the truth — will condemn us. In fact, the government may rightly teach them to condemn us. For the sake of spending somebody’s else’s money, future politicians may rightly say we sole ourselves and our children into slavery. Instead living off our own labors and taking responsibility for the education of our own children, we believed scoundrels. We trusted scoundrels who promised us a free education, freeways, inexpensive palatial homes, early retirements, appeased and passive enemies, and so much other rubbish. Future generations may rightly be taught how we let devious politicians con us, that some of those politicians took our money and ran and others put us and our progeny in the chains of debt slavery.
These later politicians will pile upon our children and grandchildren taxes so high and rules so onerous they can never get ahead, but so what? After all, will they not have learned from our example? We cannot be trusted to rule ourselves.
We still have the opportunity to prove the pundits and the politicians wrong. We don’t have to vote for politicians who promise to spend other people’s money on us. We can vote wisely. We don’t have to vote for the best candidate to win the election. We can vote for the best person for the job.