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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Joe Paterno Out At Penn State?

Say it ain't so Joe! Rumor has it that this year's Outback Bowl against the University of Florida Gators will be Joe Paterno's last game. The man who has guided Penn State University to national championships and umpteen winning records over the last 61 years is about to finally step down after so many years at PSU. I guess when one reaches 84 years of age, then a bit of rest and relaxation is well deserved.

Godspeed JoePa, enjoy your retirement if this is true. 61 years, all at the same institution with nary a whiff of scandal in all those decades. You did it your way, which was with class.

TRIVIA QUESTION: Of all of the future pro football players Paterno ever coached, he only had one Heisman Trophy winner (who is pictured up above) who, as it turns out, was a roommate of my high school football coach. Name that player.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Hell is not a torture chamber

"If the government, tomorrow, mandated wearing a flag on every article of clothing you own and only made the knowledge available to a select few, that would be outrageous. If they rounded up everyone who wasn't in compliance and threw them in torture dungeons for the rest of their lives, it would be considered the most brutal injustice the world has ever seen. Nobody would blame the people rotting in prison for not wearing flags. It would be absurd to do so. Even if you were informed that the government was going to start torturing people for not wearing flags, you wouldn't believe it. You'd certainly ask for proof, otherwise you'd just file it away with all of the other conspiracy theories floating out there. Certainly, the idea that a powerful entity that preached equity and fairness brutalizing people for not making specific gestures of fealty is absurd and unworthy of consideration. You'd be crazy to blame the people who didn't know or didn't believe it would happen for being thrown in prison. It would be utterly ridiculous to claim that they chose to be tortured. From extheist.net

The internet is rife with such speculation among non-believers of a terrible God, bent on punishing people because they either believed the wrong things or came from a culture that did not teach forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Author and preacher Dr. D. James Kennedy once wrote that he did not believe that a just and holy God would send somebody to Hell because of their ignorance. Dr. Kennedy was quick to add though that there might be an entire host of other factors, apart from ignorance, that could cause someone to spend eternity in Hell.

Concerning the whole 'Hell Is a Tortue Chamber' idea though, apologist Lee Strobel once put the question to theologian and philosopher J.P. Moreland concerning the existance of "flames" in Hell. Moreland responded, quote, "..the flames are a figure of speech.. I just want to be Biblically accurate. We know that the reference to flames is figurative because, if you try to take it literally, it makes no sense. For example, Hell is described as a place of utter darkness and yet there are flames, too. How can that be? Flames would light things up. In addition, we're told Christ is going to return surrounded by flames and he's going to have a big sword coming out of his mouth. But nobody thinks Christ won't be able to say anything because he'll be choking on a sword. The figure of the sword stands for God's judgement The flames stand for Christ's coming judgement. In Hebrews 12:29, God is called a consuming fire. Yet nobody thinks God is a cosmic Bunsen burner. Using the flame imagery is a way of saying he's a God of judgement."

Now, from what Hell isn't to what Hell actually is. A great number of theologians, both liberals and conservatives, posit that Hell entails "eternal seperation from God" and this point is widely agreed upon by both camps. But what is Hell actually like when we refer to such a "seperation"? Moreland provides his thoughts on the matter and goes on to explain what the term "gnashing of teeth" really means when mentioned in relation to Hell.

"It's an expression of rage at realizing that one has made a huge mistake . If ever you've been around people who are self-absorbed, self-centered and highly narcissistic, they get angry when they don't get their way. I believe the gnashing of teeth is an expression of the type of personality of people who belong in Hell." People don't "consciously reject Heaven and choose to go to Hell instead. But they do choose not to care about the kinds of values that will be present in Heaven every day".

One last point about Hell and a common misconception about it. There is this idea that, in addition to the 'torture chamber' concept that all who fail to make it into Heaven will be sentenced to the same level of suffering in Hell. Adolf Hitler is right alongside the guy who lived a reasonably good life by most standards, yet refused to either acknowledge or fully believe in God. Lee Strobel raised this point as well with Moreland who responded by taking out his Bible and referencing Matthew, Chapter 11...

"Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you." Matthew 11:20-24

According to Moreland, "Jesus is saying that people will be sentenced in accordance with their deeds". The concept of "one-size-fits-all" isn't accurate, or as this site puts it, in Revelation 20:11-15, we see that God is opening up TWO books...

"The scene pictured here is the Great White Throne Judgment. And God is opening two books. The first is often called The Lamb's Book of Life. It's a record of all who have trusted in Christ. And if a person's name isn't found there, they're in big trouble. The second book that's opened reveals the deeds of a person's life. Nothing we do is hidden from God's eyes. And a person who doesn't believe in Christ will have their life evaluated and be judged according to their works. Lifestyle and the amount of light rejected determine the degree of punishment experienced in hell."

Why bother having two sets of books and reviewing the respective life of each person if all judgement is exactly the same?

In conclusion, none of this is to diminish Hell in any way. It's a fate that nobody truly wants to experience. However, if your concept of Hell is based upon poor Sunday school theology or highly inaccurate, atheisitic apologetics and is standing in the way of enjoying a relationship with the Most High, then maybe you should reconsider your opinions on the matter. Pride comes into play as well and nobody likes to admit that they were not correct. Won't you begin to explore the possibilitity that maybe there are viable explanations to the questions that you seek? A good starting point would be Lee Strobel's The Case For Faith which contains the above cited interview with J.P. Moreland. Others are free to leave the names of other sources in the comment section to assist those of us who are on our spiritual journeys with something other than a mind that is completely closed.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Have a Nazi Christmas and a Hitler New Year!

One of the more tired old saws of the militant, atheistic set is the claim that Hitler was a "Christian". One would suppose that being that there are no "published sources from acknowledged academic historians or writers that identify Adolf Hitler as significantly Catholic or Christian in his motivations as an adult", that this issue would be over and done with. However, the more socially-challenged will continue to posit that Hitler was a Christian based on choir/church attendance as a youngster. Vox Day has successfully argued that if this is the case then arch-atheists Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins could still be considered Anglicans by such a shoddy standard.

Adding further weight to the argument that Hitler was decidedly NOT a Christian is today's Daily Mail article in which we learn a little bit about Hitler's celebration at Christmas time in 1941...

"..the Nazi Christmas was far from traditional. Hitler believed religion had no place in his 1,000-year Reich, so he replaced the Christian figure of Saint Nicholas with the Norse god Odin and urged Germans to celebrate the season as a holiday of the ‘winter solstice’, rather than Christmas.

Out of sight at the top of the tree behind Hitler was a swastika instead of an angel, and many of the baubles carried runic symbols and iron cross motifs...

In 1944-1945, the Nazis tried to reinvent Christmas once again as a day to commemorate the dead, in particular fallen soldiers – by that time Germany had lost almost four million men in the war. But while many Germans baked biscuits and cakes in the shape of swastikas and adorned their trees with the symbols of the Nazi regime, most still called the festival Christmas."

Let the rationalization begin! I predict that first, the more evangelical of the atheist set will try to argue that the inclusion of the Iron Cross among the symbols used gave the festival a certain Christian flair. To argue as such would be silly and one needs only to look to the words of Richard Dawkins. Even HE recognizes the folly of such reasoning..

"[Hitler] was an opportunistic liar whose words cannot be trusted" The God Delusion, pg. 274

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Will Obama's ex-girlfriends please step forward..

While former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey (D) may have been the poster boy of a repressed sexual orientation of a public figure, at least he had a second female he could point to, his ex-wife Karen, in addition to his second marriage to Dina Matos that at least gave the semblance of heterosexuality for a time while he was a public figure. Writer Jack Cashill, who exposed domestic terrorist Bill Ayers as the ghost writer for Barack Obama's book Dreams From My Father recently mused...

"In his 600-plus page Obama-friendly biography, The Bridge, David Remnick lays down the baseline of what the mainstream media know about the president – or at least what they want us to know.

Where Remnick falls oddly silent – not even to hector the blogosphere, which he does often – is on the question of Obama's amours.

As it happens, Obama spent 13 years as a single man on the mainland before he married Michelle in 1992 – 10 of those before he met her.

And yet, unless I missed something, despite scores of interviews with Obama acquaintances, never do we actually hear from a woman who dated Barack Obama, either in Remnick's book or in any Obama biography.

In "Dreams," Obama talks of his love life on only one occasion. When his half-sister Auma visits him in Chicago pre-Michelle, he tells Auma about a ruptured relationship with a white woman back in New York.

Obama adds, with more than a little calculation, "There are several black ladies out there who've broken my heart just as good," but we do not read as much as a single sentence about any of these ladies.

Although he speaks of the white woman briefly and in retrospect, he does so vividly and lovingly. "She was white," he tells Auma. "She had dark hair, and specks of green in her eyes."

This is no casual relationship. "We saw each other for almost a year. On the weekends, mostly. Sometimes in her apartment, sometimes in mine. You know how you can fall into your own private world? Just two people, hidden and warm. Your own language. Your own customs. That's how it was."

This nameless young woman had grown up on a sprawling estate in the country. It was during a visit to the country home that Obama began to see the distance between "our two worlds." That distance ultimately leads to their separation. "I pushed her away," Obama tells Auma ruefully.

An interracial romance should have been grist for an aspiring writer's mill, especially a writer as obsessed with racial identity as Obama, but he gives this tale only a few paragraphs.

I was not the only one to have noticed Obama's curious silence on this issue. One correspondent of mine made a compelling case that Obama's mystery woman was drawn fully from the memory of Bill Ayers and based on the great love of Ayers's life, the late Diana Oughton."

In the above linked article, Cashill lays down all of the similarities between Obama's alleged ex-girlfriend and a former paramour that Ayers is apparently obsessed with. Not that any of this really matters in relation to the performance of his job duties, I just find it quite interesting that nobody in the MSM even bothers asking the question, quote,..

"where are Obama's old girlfriends? Unlike every other president, they just don't seem to exist and there's hardly a woman alive who once had an even remotely notable lover that isn't eager to let the world know that they were once an item. If a woman has ever dated a musician or an athlete, she'll be sure to let you know about it... and there is no way that a woman who was involved with a president, let alone this particular president, would keep her mouth shut."

Monday, December 20, 2010

An Argument from the Emerald Isle on Abortion

Mary Kenny writes in the Irish newspaper, the Independent, that which she claims are some real-life examples that aren't often considered when the topic of abortion comes up...

"Picture a couple of former lovers meeting up again after 20 years, and finding, in their 50s that they have exactly the same loving feelings they had for one another in their 30s. And then the woman says to the man, ruefully: "Our child would have been 17 now. Wasn't it the stupidest thing we ever did?" She has never had subsequent children: he has.

Picture a woman in her late 60s -- a doughty campaigner for abortion rights -- enjoying a family meal with her son and daughter-in-law. A discussion about abortion arises, because it is in the news. The older feminist launches into a polemic about a woman's right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. Her daughter-in-law suddenly turns on her: "How can you say that? You know our children are adopted. If two heroic birth mothers hadn't gone through unwanted pregnancies, we would never have been able to have our family"

Imagine a homosexual man who, unexpectedly, on a Mediterranean holiday, has a crazy, but fun-filled affair with a bright, amusing woman. The woman then finds she is pregnant. She tells him she has no intention of continuing an unwanted pregnancy. He ardently begs her to continue the pregnancy: it will be his only chance, ever, of fathering a child -- he'll pay any amount of financial support and help out in any way she needs. She turns him down and terminates.

A student, in her early 20s, falls pregnant at the worst possible time for her exams. She terminates the pregnancy with relief. She does brilliantly in her exams, and splits up with the boyfriend in question. Later, she meets the love of her life. They get married, and in their early 30s, securely in possession of house and jobs, they decide to have a family. But no pregnancy occurs. They go for fertility treatment, with no success. They try IVF three times, also without success. Does she tell her husband that she once was pregnant?

All these cases have happened, and many more too...

Respect for new life is, moreover, a value upheld by Christians for many centuries, and, underlined by this very season which is almost upon us -- not coincidentally called the Nativity, in which a baby born in a manger, in dismal circumstances, to a homeless, unmarried mother becomes the shining centre of Redemption and the Prince of Peace."

I believe Ms. Kenny's intention was to provide some balance to the abortion debate and she states that it is an issue that should be guided, above all, by "conscience". Her article provides some insight as to how such weighty decisions as to have an abortion can play out in the years and decades to come. This further underlines the fact that when it comes to a decision being made to actually abort a child, there are no winners. Anywhere

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Response to 'Michadelic‏'

"The earliest gospel narrative is 40 years removed from the events.

I think the problem with the conservative/fundamentalist mindset here is that there really is no reason to believe that the gospels are factual accounts *unless* you are already predisposed to such a belief. But then, one is merely bolstering an assumption that fundamentally has nothing to do with objective evidence anyway. Evidence and objectivity become merely an appendix. There are plenty of writings and claims that Christians dismiss as irrelevant without ever investigating the value of those claims. For instance, how many Christians will spend their time pouring over the Book of Mormon or Koran? This is only natural and reasonable - we could spend our entire lives investigating claim after claim and never get on with actually living. It is enough (it has to be!) to weigh a claim against the background of the world as we know and experience it, and to either accept it or dismiss it as baseless or irrelevant. Muslims and Christians sound virtually identical in their apologetics, the names are changed and in each one the other party is condemned to hell. The problem is not which book is right or which one has the best 'evidence', the problem is in the entire expectation that God literally writes books. 'The whole head is sick', you might say. The whole paradigm is irrelevant.

A mature spiritual practice is fine with the role of myth and doesn't get hung up on matters of historical objectivity. It's not about that at all - and if the Christian narrative offers any truth, its truth will be true regardless of its historical objectivity. The US population has been in dialogue with other religions now for 60 years, and a great opportunity to benefit from that exchange is still being missed by most people, who would rather live in their cultural-religious shells. It really is a tragedy." Michadelic

The above was posted on Justin Vacula's intellectually vapid playground that he generously refers to as a "blog" in response to a comment that I posted there. I would first like to take issue with the opening statement "The earliest gospel narrative is 40 years removed from the events."

One of the primary reasons often cited by skeptics when arguing for a later late for the gospels is the prediction by Jesus of the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem which did not occur until after His crucifixion and was ultimately destroyed in 70 A.D. (See Mark, Chapter 13) Such argumentation presupposes that Jesus did not make such an accurate prediction and ignores the following point. If something like Jesus' prediction was being reported after the event, then why isn't it reported as such? For example, why doesn't the gospel of Mark state something along the lines of "Jesus predicted that the temple would be destroyed and just like he said, it surely was"? The narrative does not frame the prediction as such and thus provides evidence for an earlier date. If you were referring to other points raised by skeptics that argue for a later date, then feel free to list them here.

Another point that you raise is "The whole head is sick', you might say. The whole paradigm is irrelevant." I would suggest that when investigating the historicity of claims made by the Bible, that such claims are analyzed through the lense of a historian, not a logician. When one begins with the mindset that once something if found to be false, then the entire statement (or in this case, belief system) is false it misses the larger point. When dealing with historical documents from various witnesses, yes, the accounts can differ. One of the great things about apologetics is that many of these inconsistencies HAVE been harmonized and there indeed are explanations should anyone like to seek them out with anything other than a mind that is completely closed.

Lastly, you bring up for comparison the Bible, the Book of Mormon and the Koran. I don't doubt that many Christians haven't poured over those other books that you cite and perhaps they should. However, in light of the fact that NOTHING from the Book of Mormon concerning the concept of 'Ancient America' has ever been verified by the Smithsonian Institute or any reputable historian for that matter, could one blame them for not trying? The Bible, in comparison, is rife with archeologically verifiable facts and thus it's practically a non-starter to compare the two.

This is before we get into analyzing another 'holy book' of the accounts of a certain pederast that sold women and children into slavery and led troops into battle and is held up as comparable to the teachings of Jesus. It just doesn't make sense from the get-go.

I hope that you have a Merry Christmas and a properous New Year.

Monday, December 13, 2010

On Liberal Protestants and Pacisfism

"..another popular liberal bumper sticker proclaims, "War Is not the Answer." It, too, is completely meaningless. If the question is, "What is the square root of 8?" war is not the answer. But if the question is "How do you stop genocidal regimes?" war probably is the answer." Dennis Prager

Today's article by Mark Tooley informs of of the growing uhber-pacifism movement among certain Christian denominations....

"The latest voice is distinguished evangelical New Testament scholar Ben Witherington (above), a frequent television commentator on biblical topics who commendably and thoughtfully has disputed the Jesus Seminar, the Da Vinci Code and other nonsense. Many religious pacifists of late, including prominent Evangelical Left activist Jim Wallis, are vague about their pacifism, speaking against war, while touting more benign "police" actions, as though they were non-violent. Witherington, in a recent exchange, more consistently suggests Christians must avoid serving in both military and police.

In that exchange with a fellow theologian, Witherington declared he did not think "Christians should either serve in the military or as police." And he wondered whether Christians could even serve as military chaplains or medics. Witherington insisted: "In short, for the Christian, there are plenty of things worth dying for and giving your life for, but nothing worth killing for, for life is of sacred worth, and we are called to save it, even from itself..."

America's Mainline Protestants have been displaced in influence by evangelicals. Unease by many young evangelicals with the length of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars has almost certainly fueled widening support for pacifism. But the old Social Gospel pacifism of the last century has been displaced by Anabaptist notions of at least superficial separatism and ambivalence about the state. Old Evangelical Left fixtures, like Jim Wallis, still motivated by 1960s era anti-war activism, and relentless fans of Big Government, have ironically embraced some Anabaptist themes in their wider campaigns against American force. More traditional Evangelicals and Protestants, sometimes unsure of their own tradition, are too often absent from the debate.

Insisting that Christians shun not only the military but also law enforcement, as Witherington suggested, is more faithful to historic Anabaptist separatist beliefs and more morally consistent than what Evangelical Leftists like Wallis usually assert. But removing Christians from government hardly bodes well for a nation increasingly spiritually adrift. And debating pacifism during America's next major crisis, as many Mainline Protestant elites were during even World War II, hardly seems wise. Lawson Stone's exchange with Witherington hopefully will help motivate other evangelicals to burnish their intellectual and spiritual weapons for an important debate that may help determine America's capacity for survival."

The above links are quite informative if anyone is interested in this type of debate. I think Witherington commits an error by arguing during the exchange that "Jesus said no violence" which is overly simplistic to say the least. True, Jesus did say "Blessed are the peacemakers.." and also extolled the virtues of turning the other cheek. However at no point is the concept of "Peace" uplifted over all others and nor did He command His followers to push for peace no matter what the potential price in human suffering could result in such prioritization. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment box below.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The poor you will always have with you..

The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. Matthew 26:11

John Stossel examines one of the main reasons why poverty is so persistent in certain areas of the world...

"Hernando de Soto taught me that the biggest difference may be property rights.

I first met de Soto maybe 15 years ago. It was at one of those lunches where people sit around wondering how to end poverty. I go to these things because it bugs me that much of the world hasn't yet figured out what gave us Americans the power to prosper.

I go, but I'm skeptical. There sits de Soto, president of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy in Peru, and he starts pulling pictures out showing slum dwellings built on top of each other. I wondered what they meant.

As de Soto explained: "These pictures show that roughly 4 billion people in the world actually build their homes and own their businesses outside the legal system. ... Because of the lack of rule of law (and) the definition of who owns what, and because they don't have addresses, they can't get credit (for investment loans)."

They don't have addresses?

"To get an address, somebody's got to recognize that that's where you live. That means ... you've a got mailing address. ... When you make a deal with someone, you can be identified. But until property is defined by law, people can't ... specialize and create wealth. The day they get title (is) the day that the businesses in their homes, the sewing machines, the cotton gins, the car repair shop finally gets recognized. They can start expanding."..

Americans marked off property, courts recognized that property, and the people got deeds that meant everyone knew their property was theirs. They could then buy and sell and borrow against it as they saw fit...

De Soto started his work in Peru, as an economic adviser to the president, trying to establish property rights there. He was successful enough that leaders of 23 countries, including Russia, Libya, Egypt, Honduras and the Philippines, now pay him to teach them about property rights. Those leaders at least get that they're doing something wrong.

"They get it easier than a North American," he said, "because the people who brought the rule of law and property rights to the United States (lived) in the 18th and 19th centuries. They were your great-great-great-great-granddaddies."

De Soto says we've forgotten what made us prosperous. "But (leaders in the developing world) see that they're pot-poor relative to your wealth." They are beginning to grasp the importance of private property."

I hope that the leaders of the aforementioned countries take what de Soto is saying to heart. Meanwhile, we here in the developed West seem to be oblivious to such UN initiatives as Agenda 21 and the concept of "Sustainable Development" as the creep towards the elimination of private property slowly and steadily advances.

Friday, December 3, 2010

On Southern Baptists, Don't Ask-Don't Tell, and a Coconut in the Sun

While Ann Coulter explains her view that WikiLeaks contributing traitor editor Bradley Manning could serve as a "poster boy for the don't ask, don't tell' " debate, Baptist Press brings us up to speed on some of the latest developments in this ongoing contraversy. I found the perceived, unintended consequences of repealing such a policy to be quite noteworthy...

"Of those surveyed, 30 percent of the total, 43 percent of the Marines, 48 percent of Army combat units and 58 percent of Marine combat units believe that a repeal of the law would have a negative or very negative impact on their units' ability to work together to get the job done," (Sen. John) McCain said. "Furthermore, 67 percent of Marines and nearly 58 percent of Army soldiers in combat units believe that repeal of the law would have negative consequences on unit cohesion in a field environment or out at sea."

McCain added, "I remain concerned ... as demonstrated in this study that the closer we get to service members in combat, the more we encounter concerns about whether Don't Ask, Don't Tell should be repealed and what impact that would have on the ability of these units to perform their mission."

Another point raised in the Baptist Press article is one that you seldom (if ever) hear brought up in the Mainstream Media..

"More than 60 chaplains, including Southern Baptist chaplains, signed a letter to Obama and (Sec of Defense) Gates earlier this year expressing concern that overturning Don't Ask, Don't Tell would result in the marginalizing of "deeply held" religious beliefs and could harm religious liberty. They warned that changing the policy could influence everything from what a chaplain can say in a sermon to what he can say in a counseling session. The fear is that chaplains who speak against homosexuality will have a discrimination complaint filed against them. Chaplains who preach through entire books of the Bible, the letter said, would "inevitably present religious teachings that identify homosexual behavior as immoral."

"Thus, while chaplains fulfill their duty to God to preach the doctrines of their faith, they would find themselves speaking words that are in unequivocal conflict with official policies," the letter said."

Also weighing in on this debate is someone who is an occaisional commenter here, Coco Rico, who posted his thoughts on the matter over at his blog....

"In the military, you have no privacy; you sleep with the door open, you share your personal space with tons of other people, and you are often naked around people of the same sex. Tensions can get very high. Within two weeks, for instance, there were two suicides in my brigade. And suicides in the Reserves this year actually outpace suicides in the regular Army. The statistics obscure, also, people who kill themselves shortly after getting out of the military, or people who might have allowed themselves to get in harm's way down range.

What, in this scenario, makes you think it is urgent to repeal DADT?

Well, as usual, we have the melodramatic examples. There's the Air Force colonel, the Arabic translator, Lt. Dan Choi, people with horror stories from the 1980s, or mid 1990s, or some other time that had nothing to do with today."

When exactly are policymaking social engineers going to realize that the military is quite unlike either IBM or Westinghouse? The fact that the role of the military is quite different than these organizations is lost upon them as they try to initiate a gigantic social experiment on a group that often faces live enemy fire, IED's, land mines, etc. and the upmost importance of cohesion and working together doesn't merely benefit some quarterly financial projections, it directly affects whether one comes home alive or not and in one piece.

I agree that this is a terrible time to be debating this issue. With sectarian violence flaring in Iraq and the Taliban trying to reassert authority and undermine the kleptocracy fledgling government in Afghanistan, why don't they just wait until tensions on the Korean peninsula escalate to a full-scale, shooting war and then introduce a bill to vote on it's repeal? It would only be consistent with their demonstrated order of priorities. This was, after all, a campaign promise and we can't just let that go by now, can we?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

How the Left Legislates Morality

Christopher Taylor points out that while examples can be cited that Conservatives have legislated morality in the past, the Left cannot consider themselves immune from such behavior...

"One of the most repeated complaints against social conservatism is that you "cannot legislate morality." What is meant by this is that you cannot make people better through law, and people who try are not simply mistaken, but actually tyrannical by trying to force their ethical ideology down everyone else's throats. We're told this is what social conservatives want to do; ram Judeo-Christian ethics through the system and force everyone to live like a 1950's sitcom family. No drinking, no dancing, no fun.

The interesting thing, though, is that if you look at the actual record of what has been done in the past, it is actually the left which has tried to legislate morality, not the right. Consider.

In the 1970s, the left insisted that it was immoral to expect women to carry a child to birth when she didn't want to. So Roe v Wade forced legalized abortion on every state in the union. And that's just one example of what the left has done to enforce their moral vision on the rest of the nation.

Homosexual "marriage" is another such example, with left-leaning judges requiring that this be the law of various states over the will of the actual voters in most cases. In Oregon and California, leftist city and county official simply declared these unions legal without legal authority or popular support. Why? Because it was considered immoral to not allow homosexuals to marry by these people, so they used their positions of power to implement policy.

The examples go on. Leftist moral making has resulted in scores of laws and policies forced on the entire nation, such as low flow shower heads, the banning of incandescent bulbs, low capacity washing machines, nutritional information required at all restaurants (including the minimum size of the font!), bans on smoking in public places, and more.

These are all presented as moral imperatives, requirements we all must follow because it would be wrong not to do so. You're killing the planet, its a civil right, think of the children! All kids must wear bicycle helmets because its wrong to let children be hurt. All drives must wear seat belts because it is wrong for us to be hurt in accidents. All cars must have a certain mileage per gallon because it is wrong to use that much fuel."

Just remember the above cited examples by Taylor the next time that your favorite Leftist is carping about "legislating morality".

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

On Andrew Jackson and Sarah Palin

Columnist Jeffrey Lord has submitted a piece that examines the question, Is Sarah Palin Too Dumb to Be President?. Its a pertinent question being that the GOP saw huge gains in the recent congressional elections and that momentum may carry over for the 2012 presidential contest. Lord cites numerous examples from the history of the 20th century of where the liberal, media establishment predictably, time and again, tried to paint the Republican front-runner as, well, "dumb". Lord goes on to demonstrate that this has been a common tactic since the candidacies of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, George Romney, Ronald Reagan, Bush 41 and 43, Jack Kemp and others.

It's a thoroughly interesting article and the part I found most interesting was the comparison that Lord drew from an earlier era, that of the elections of 1824 and 1828 between presidential candidates Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams...

"In terms of the American presidency and those who wished to run for the job, the first American to seriously face this too-dumb-and unworthy attitude was the man now considered the co-founder of today's Democrats. That would be Andrew Jackson.

Facing John Quincy Adams for the presidency in 1824, the Jackson-Adams battle was infinitely more than a battle between two men of differing political views. Adams was American Establishment Royalty, a category already well come-to- life by the time this son of Founder and ex-president John Adams began his career. At an early age, freshly graduated from Harvard, Adams was set on a path well-salted by elitists of the day. He was elected to the Massachusetts State Legislature, served as a diplomat or Minister in the Netherlands, Portugal, Prussia, Russia, and Great Britain. He was elected to the U.S. Senate, served as a Professor of Rhetoric at Harvard, where he was known for speaking fluent Latin and reading the Bible in Greek. By the time he faced Jackson he was James Monroe's Secretary of State.

Jackson was everything Adams was not. A rough-and-tumble frontiersman, spottily educated but enough to become a country lawyer, he was the embodiment of what was then seen as the American Western frontier. His fame came from his role in the American military, a brutal Indian fighter who emerged as the hero of the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812. Briefly a U.S. Senator, Jackson was rough-hewn and plain-spoken, like Palin the very embodiment of everything the refined fledgling Eastern Establishment of the day simply could not abide.

After losing to Adams in a hotly controversial 1824 election settled in the House of Representatives (which Jacksonians dubbed "the corrupt bargain"), Jackson roared back in 1828 to serve two presidential terms as the bane of the American Establishment, launching among other things a successful war on the Bank of the United States, roughly speaking the Federal Reserve of its day. He was decidedly anything but too dumb to be president, and in fact well outranks Adams in those historian-generated "great presidents" ranking lists.

The point?

What began with the blistering fight between Jackson and Adams has in one fashion or another rooted itself in today's world as an ongoing battle between the American Liberal Establishment, its media acolytes (what Palin refers to as the "lamestream media") and American conservatives.

If Andrew Jackson was pilloried in the day as little short of a hot-tempered barbarian from the frontier who was not good enough or smart enough to wipe the soles of John Quincy Adams' fancy Boston boots, since at least 1952 the image of the dumb-conservative or dumb Republican has become the modern telling of this tale."

Lord goes on to ask, quote, "Based on all this history, just who is it among the prospective 2012 candidates that they think will escape the "too dumb to be president" treatment Palin will undergo were she to run? George Romney's son Mitt, like his father a successful businessman turned governor? Mike Huckabee? Or a Pawlenty, Daniels, Barbour, Rubio, Perry, Jindal etc., etc., etc.?"
Let us gauge the accuracy of Lord's interpretation of history by keeping our eyes and ears open to any characterizations of dumbness on the part of the Republican front-runner that will emerge and see if the Democrat candidate has no such characterization attached to them.