Tuesday, February 26, 2013

New Jersey Activists Push Legislation to Ban “Anti-Gay” Therapies

I got a request yesterday to join a petition to force New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to sign legislation banning so-called “gay-conversion” therapy. The petitioner told sad stories of children forced by religious parents to enter gay-conversion therapy instead of accepting their gayness.  He further cited the American Psychiatric Association, which a couple of years back prohibited members from investigating, seeking todevelop or offering therapies designed to cure homosexuality. The APA stated "…potential risks of reparative therapy are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior."

I could not endorse this young man’s petition in support of this legislation because I believe it to be discriminatory and a clear violation of our right to believe as we wish, even though it may be stupid, as Senator Kerry recently pointed out.  I do believe, quite sincerely, that it is discriminatory to create laws that virtually prohibit anyone who is gay from seeking a therapeutic solution that would restore them to heterosexuality.  Why should people who do not wish to be gay be forced to be gay.  Americans seem to have decided in recent years that it is wrong to prevent people from being gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or trans-sexual.  We’ve even had some recent efforts to de-criminalize child pornography and sex with close relatives, minors and farm animals.  Thankfully, we’ve drawn the line on predatory sex - that is sex with someone who cannot or chooses not to participate. I believe the ban on gay-conversion therapy falls under the category of “choosing not to participate”.

The law already protects the gay community’s right to have gay sex.  In some state, gay marriage is even legalized and proclaimed a social equivalent of ordinary hetero-sexual marriage.  The Gay-Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, Trans-Sexual (GLBT) movement goes further in its condemnation of all efforts to “fix” any person’s gay orientation.  GLBT activists assert that being gay is "normal" and therefore the only appropriate therapy for gay individuals is to help them "accept their gayness." 

If your religious beliefs embrace the idea the idea that gay sex is sin, then any such law which prohibits even the research into the development of a therapy to alter one’s homosexual orientation or prevents persons from seeking a physical or counseling solution, is blatantly discriminatory against your beliefs.
We are nation that recognizes each individual's right to choose.  If any legislator were to put forward a bill prohibiting any person from being forced to undergo so-called gay conversion therapy that I could support.  If, however, one supports legislation that prohibits even research and development of treatments that would help gay people become hetero-sexual or prevents a therapist from offering such treatments, then I have a real problem with that. 

I don't believe people should be forced to or prohibited from undergoing sexual reassignment surgery, plastic surgery, breast augmentation, breast reduction, penile implants or any other treatment to correct or alter the sexuality of any individual.  You ought to be able to do what you want. As my liberal friends frequently point out, “The government has no business in my bedroom.” 
That includes the bedrooms of those who are gay and wish gender reassignment back to hetero-sexuality.  The anti-gay conversion therapy bill clearly restricts the rights of Americans to choose their sexual orientation.  I thought that was what the GLBT folk were marching for.  Given their support for bills like this, I am forced to conclude that the GLBT Alliance wants the freedom to move from being hetero-sexual to homo, trans or bi-sexuality, but that they actively oppose any efforts to help people move from homo-sexuality to hetero-sexuality. 

Because a discomfort with one’s own homosexuality is generally a feature of religious believers, and that religion is often part of the motivation behind wanting gay-conversion therapy in the first place, then laws which prohibit anyone from doing so or helping someone do so are clearly a violation of the first amendment.  Such laws establish a virtual ‘religious’ belief that if one is gay, one’s only choice is to accept that and get on with your life. We’ll give you a lift to the nearest gay bar.
Were the straight community to pursue creating laws that force heterosexuals not to experiment with gay sex, bi-sexuality, transvestite or trans-gender behaviors, the GLBT community would immediately rise up and accuse us of discrimination. Further we could count on being accused of trying to protect the pool of potential heterosexual partners and keep the numbers as large as possible.  We’d be accused of being predatory.

GLBT activists claim there is no effective treatment for homosexuality.  They are only partially right.  This is because GLBT activists have worked hard to stop the development of any effective treatment. When the APA was pressured by the gay community to drop homosexuality as a “diagnosis” from the APA Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, hundreds of thousands of gay Americans were instantly cured with the stroke of a pen. Not everyone in the psychiatric community agreed with the idea that homosexuality was not a “disorder”, but those who did not, have since found themselves hounded, pressured and persecuted for daring to do any research into a way to treat or cure homosexual tendencies in their patients.  It matters not to the GLBT activist that the person may not want to be gay.  Their advice to any homosexual person is to get used to it.  Go ahead and be gay. The GBLT believes the topic is closed, settled and finished.  Taking their cue from global warming alarmists, the GBLT community has declared the science “settled” and shouts down anyone who says otherwise as dangerous cranks.

Our freedoms are being eroded on all sides. While I cannot compete with the massive organizational capabilities of the GLBT community on this issue, I certainly will not sign a petition in support of it.  My liberties are already wearing pretty damned thin.  Cannabis supporters want marijuana use to be not just legalized, but normalized.  They’ve won in the issue in two states already. Nudists want to run loose in San Francisco. Ru Paul is a popular celebrity. Reality TV has people eating bugs in prime time – something once reserved for the Jerry Springer show during the afternoon when decent people are taking naps.

So what’s next?

I suspect that farm animals will soon need to start watching their backs.

© 2013  Tom King

Monday, February 18, 2013

Supreme Court - Farmer vs. Monsanto

I hope this old guy wins. 

Vernon Hugh Bowman, a 75-year-old Indiana farmer figured out how to squeeze an extra bonus crop out of the growing season and to get around seed-giant Monsanto's strict monopoly on weed-killer resistant seeds. Tuesday he goes up against the monolithic agricultural company in the supreme court.

The deal is this:  Bowman bought Monsanto's patented Roundup-resistant seeds for his first crop.  Roundup, by the way, is also a Monsanto product.  For a risky, late season crop, however, Bowman needed a cheap source of seed. Monsanto doesn't allow farmers to reuse some ot the second generation seeds from their own crops, a practice that has kept farming viable for millenia.  Since Bowman can't reuse his own beans and he can't buy seeds from other farmers who are also bound by the agreement they are forced to sign when buying Monsanto seed.  Few dealers carry cheap unmodified seeds, especially later in the season and a late season crop is too risky to buy the more expensive seeds.
What Bowman did was go down to a grain elevator that had a supply of viable soybeans that they usually sell for livestock feed or milling, but not as seed.  Bowman figured most of those beans would be resistant to weed killers and would grow just fine.  He continued the practice, not keeping it a secret from anyone, for eight years before Monsanto, smelling a profit to be made, or rather to be lost and sued him for violating their patent.

Monsanto, too my way of thinking, is a bit too much of a monopoly. They hold a virtual stranglehold on agricultural seed production with up to 90% of the seed market in some places. Monsanto claims to own the gene for weed-killer resistant soybeans, corn and other genetically altered seeds, even unto the third and fourth generation as the Book of Judges would put it.  I'm not sure that's quite fair.  If you look at how other industrial patents and copyrights are treated, it seems Monsanto is being treated rather better than some of us.

For instance, I'm a writer. My book is posted on Amazon.com. My publisher and I own the rights to those books as my intellectual property.  When my publisher prints a copy and sells it, they pay me a small royalty.  My books are also sold on Amazon.com.  If they are sold new, I make about $3 per book.  Amazon.com  also sells used copies of my book that belong to people who bought it new and no longer need it sitting around on their shelves.  I receive absolutely no royalties for those used books, whether or not I own the intellectual property rights.  I only profit from what I actually produce. I get paid for first sale of my product, but I don't get paid when my product gets resold, lent out or stuck on a library shelf for anyone with a library card to read. It's the same for any other patent or copyright holder. If I buy a Ford Mustang new from the company, keep it 40 years in mint condition and resell it for 10 times its original value, Ford does not get a penny from my good fortune.

I think Monsanto is over-reaching by claiming that subsequent generation seed genes are covered under its patent. While I understand that Monsanto needs protection so that another seed company shouldn't be able to just start producing identical seeds for sale by using Monsanto's seed stock, we're not talking about patent infringement.  The farmers have already bought and paid for the original seeds. Mr. Bowman is merely wanting to use the seeds he already paid for to get an extra crop in the same year on his own farm.  Okay, so don't let him buy the seeds from the grain elevator.  Fine, you don't want grain elevators setting themselves up as seed companies using Monsanto's seeds.  But I think a farmer should be able to use the second generation seeds in the same year if he already paid for the seeds once.  It would give Monsanto a bit of good will with the farmers if they could okay farmers using second generation seeds in that way if they get them from their first harvest in order plant a risky second season crop.

Make it a one season deal on the contract. How hard would that be. Good for the economy because it makes risky second crops profitable for farmers, it increases the crop grown for that year and thereby reduces the price of soybeans and soybean products. Good for the farmer because it makes that second crop affordable. Good for consumers because it lowers prices. 

It's time American companies gave a little bit to help their direct customers and their indirect customers, the food-buying public. Monsanto, at 90% saturation of the seed market, looks a wee bit like a candidate for an anti-trust suit if you ask me.  I would think it wise if they stopped acting so much like robber barons that they draw the attention of some ambitious lawyer. Monsanto has the Obama administration in their pocket on this one thanks to generous campaign donations to Democrats, no doubt. Like too many corporations participating enthusiastically in what the dominant party calls "managed" capitalism, Monsanto doesn't much care if consumers pay for their protected business monopoly at the grocery store.

Like I say, I hope this old guy wins in the Supreme Court. It would be refreshing if the Supreme Court could encourage corporate giants to show a bit of compassion to their customers.  It isn't going to cost them anything in this case.  Bowman isn't going to risk a second crop if he has to buy the expensive seeds. Then he doesn't make a profit.  Had Monsanto taken a look at the situation and said, "Okay, this is fair use, we'll allow it," they would likely have saved themselves a lot of legal expense.  They're certainly not going to make more money if they win.  Bowman and other farmers will simply not plant that second crop and consumers will pay at the grocery store for higher priced food.

Besides, there are people starving in Africa. The more food we grow, the more we have to sell where people need food.  The more we sell, the more we can afford to give to the hungry around the world and in our own country. Where's the compassion Mr. President?  Here we have one of those evil corporations the president is always saying need to contribute a little more to the general welfare, AND we have a solution available that neither hurts the corporation, the farmer, the public nor the poor and starving of the world. It is not an expensive solution. It doesn't require the creation of a new government agency.  It requires only a slight change of wording on Monsanto contracts. Monsanto doesn't lose money. Arguably, it would never have had that money anyway.  Farmers won't do second crops with Monsanto first generation seeds. It's not worth the risk given the high cost of the investment. If Monsant's competition is smart, they'll get the cheap seeds out there for that second crop and capture that niche market.  After all, the fields have already been weeded, so the fields shouldn't need another dose of roundup.  You have to wonder how Mosanto is going to charge farmers for second use of weed-free fields if farmers start heavily using non-engineered seeds for high-risk second crops. Monsanto should stop worrying about its monopoly and start worrying about what's good for its customers.  Second use per season of their seeds would be a great way to show farmers and consumers that the company wasn't pulling a modern day version of the JP Morgan, John D. Rockefeller or Cornelius Vanderbuilt.monopolies that earned them the sobriquet - "robber barons".

Ah, but like someone once told me when a group of us proposed a low-cost and simple solution to a local transportation problem that seniors and people with disabilities were having, "The problem with your idea is that it's too simple and it's far too inexpensive, and besides," he grinned, "Nobody would make money on it and no politician would be able to take credit for it."

Our idea didn't get accepted and I don't hold out a lot of hope for poor old Mr. Bowman. It's too simple and only farmers and consumers would benefit. It would be far too difficult for any politician to take credit for and it certainly wouldn't help the Democrats (or the Republicans for that matter) to get re-elected.

Just sayin'


Friday, February 15, 2013

Gun Control: The Afghan Conundrum

A liberal blogger recently made the statement that the death of Chris Dorner demonstrated once and for all the fallacy that a person can resist the government, so we might as well go ahead and give up our weapons.  She roundly criticized all those "nutty" pro-second amendment, knuckle dragging rednecks who resisted the perfectly rationale belief that if you take away everyone's guns it would put an end to gun violence.

So, let me pose one question. I'm a reasonable man and I have changed my opinions on things, so give me your best argument.  And my liberal friend's argument was nowhere near a "best argument". It was name-calling at best.  But give it a go, somebody.  I do listen to rationale arguments. That's how I went from being a leather fringe, moccasin booted, headband-wearing long-haired youth to being a member of my state's public transit advisory committee at the head of a massive bipartisan local rural transportation initiative.  Here goes:

My friend's argument as best I understand the argument, goes something like, "None of us could resist the government with private weapons if they want to take us down.  The Chris Dorner case proves it and proves we're nutty for thinking so, therefore there is no reason for us to cling to our guns."

So let me ask my pro gun control friends something.  Why did the Russians, arguably a very powerful nation, fail to subdue Afghan rebels armed with personal weapons and smuggled small arms?  Why also have American forces, arguably the most powerful in the world, failed to eliminate the Talaban resistance in Afghanistan.  If government can always subdue privately armed citizens, why haven't they done it?

For that matter, why did we retreat from Vietnam?  It wasn't the massed forces that beat us there.  We won every single military engagement we fought with Communist regulars.  It was the guerrillas that we couldn't beat. The citizen soldiers with private weapons (the kind that we would make illegal here if the President has his way.)

Are you saying that the United States government wouldn't have considerable trouble rolling into, say East Texas, and disarming or subduing the millions of armed East Texans living out in the woods there?  That it was only the Taliban that was capable of resisting government forces?  Americans, who whipped a nation ten times its size (TWICE) largely with private weapons, couldn't provide a creditable resistance?

I'm here to tell you that the only way the government could suppress a real rebellion in East Texas would be to nuke the whole region and what American soldier would willingly press the button to wage that kind of war against his own kin and his neighbors. How many would join them?  The only reason there hasn't been such a war is because these armed citizens are honest, hard-working law-abiding citizens. So why would you want to disarm the good guys is what I want to know?

An armed citizenry gives the government pause when it decides to use even what the president called for in a campaign speech "a constabulary force as powerful as the US military" to suppress disagreement.  That ability to suppress citizen disagreement with government policy is a two-edged sword.  It threatens both Democrats and Republicans, Green Party and Tea Party. 

It's all been done before.  In post-Tsarist Russia the citizens were first disarmed in the name of public safety and then they went for mental health-based crowd control solution.  If you disagreed with the Communist authorities, you were dubbed mentally ill and sent to the gulags in Siberia to get some fresh air and exercise. If you pulled out your old rifle from your days in the Army during WWII, you could be declared insane and off to the gulags you went.

This is not paranoia.  This is history. What conservatives fear, and rightly so, is a steady creep toward full-fledged socialism and historically, full-fledged socialism has never ended well for anyone.  We believe the President and his advisors when they say things about what they want to do.  We don't dismiss them as liars just because we can't really believe they're saying when they talk about collectivism, nationalizing industry, and collapsing the economy deliberately to provide an avenue for the establishment of socialism as the law of the land. When they talk about redistribution of wealth, getting rid of guns, universal housing, healthcare and taking over the energy industry for our own good, we conservatives believe them.  We think the insanity is not to.  We recognize the pattern we see here and we look at societies where the things they are talking about have been done.  Russia - 56 million dead, China 160 million dead, Cambodia - who knows how many million dead and the list goes on and on. 

"Ah, but..." the socialists argue. "We'll never choose leaders like Stalin and Mao and Pol-Pot.  We'll choose wise leaders like Obama, Biden and Clinton."  They can be trusted.

Is that right?  Remember, the Russians trusted Trotsky and he wasn't a bad guy.  Stalin had him killed.  They trusted Lenin and he was only a bit more dictatorial.  He died rather younger than expected and Stalin maneuvered himself into place and started making deals with Hitler and later, slaughtered anyone who disagreed with him.

"Power does not corrupt," wrote Frank Herbert. "Power attracts the corruptible."

I've never understood how the left can talk about how our government cannot create democracies nor deliver justice at the point of a sword everywhere else in the world and yet be so eager to take away our own swords and deliver them into the hands of the government in our own country.

"Insanity," pointed out Albert Einstein, "Is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  Under the US Constitution, our nation has become the wealthiest, most powerful and free nation on Earth.  People risk their lives to get here for the chance to live in freedom and to have the opportunity to make their fortunes.  We are the last refuge for them.  If we fall, the free peoples of the Earth have no place else to go.  If we fall, I believe human liberty falls.  The corruptible are lurking at the gates waiting for the first opportunity to seize power over their fellow man.  If we fall, it will be a long time before we can win it back our freedom.

Just one man's opinion...

Tom King

Thursday, February 7, 2013

What Can We Do About........?

The Secret of Getting the Grassroots Growing
(c) 2012 by Tom King

You hear it every day in places ranging from the supermarket checkout line to Facebook to the nightly news. What can we do about ___(insert public issue here)___?  Most of the time we just talk about stuff like this and never really do anything about it.  We hope the politicians will get the message when they see the polls, but we block our phone numbers to robocalls and refuse to do "surveys" which is where the pollsters get their information.

Well, I hate robocalls in the middle of supper as much as anybody, but I also would like to get my way in Washington, Austin or Olympia (or wherever my statehouse currently is). The thing is, if you care about an issue, you can do something about it.  I did and apparently what I did and the group I was leading at the time did, made a difference.  I actually spoke with the head of a committee who asked me what I'd done to get him all those phone calls, emails and letters. I think he believed I must have hired people to write all those individual letters because he got hundreds of letters, each individual and most handwritten. He got dozens of phone calls stretching over weeks.  As a result, he sent the bill we wanted voted on out of committee to the floor for a vote. He's a Democrat.  I'm a Republican. Our group was made up of people on both sides of the aisle. That's what a true grassroots movement looks like.

If you want something done about an issue you are interested in, be prepared to work.  You can't get a politician's attention by chaining yourself to a bus. The media loves that.  Politicians hate it. If you really want to get their attention at the state capitol or even in Washington it can be done.  Washington's a tougher row to hoe than the statehouse, but not as impossible as you might think.  It takes determination and focus, but anyone can do it and thanks to the miracle of the Internet, it isn't as expensive as it used to be.

Starting the Grassroots Growing

Step 1:  Gather a like-minded crowd of local voters. The reason conservatives like me like smaller, more local government is that it makes it easier for real people like me to get to them.  It's a lot easier for me to get a face to face with my state rep than with my Congressman.  And my senator in Washington?  Fuhgettaboutit!

Step 2: Establish communications.  Set up a weblog, a Ning website with a forum, a Facebook group or some way for people to meet and share in cyberspace. Don't leave out the technically illiterate.  Use the telephone and snail mail to engage these folk.  In a way, they are your group's most powerful allies.

Step 3: Create your message.  Do some public forums, attend meetings where folks are likely to be like minded.  If you want school vouchers for instance, here's how you create your message:
  1. Hit the PTAs, haunt the soccer fields and Little League games.  Talk to everyone about vouchers. Hand out cards to people who agree with you and ask them if you can contact them to help you get a bill passed.  
  2. Get the emails or phone numbers of people who "get it" and collect their contact information in a database. Send them a message immediately after you talk to them, thanking them for their input and letting them know about your website and any upcoming meetings, events or pertinent information. Handwritten notes are powerful, but even an email works.  
  3. Create a 30 second "elevator speech" you and your trusty lieutenants can use so that you have a quick, clear description of what you want done and why it should be done.  That way, like a commercial, you repeat a coherent message and when people see something about vouchers in the news or someone brings it up in conversation, they remember what you said.
  4. Find a bill or ask your local rep to start a bill through the legislature in favor of school vouchers.  It's likely some organized group already has that information and likely has a bill written.  Hook up with them, even if they aren't members of your favorite political party, if they share your belief about this one issue, find common ground with them.  Your efforts are far more powerful if they are bi-partisan. Remember every politician believes they win or lose by the moderate vote and they will confuse bi-partisanship with being a moderate. Don't confuse politicians, let them believe what they want about who you are.  Just make sure they know what you believe.
  5. Create a model letter/phone speech.  At each point in the battle, you need to tell people what's happening and why they should contact their representatives.
  6. Ask people to call and write about specific things at different points along the way. If the bill is stuck in committee, as people to call and write about getting it unstuck.  If there's a vote on the bill coming up, encourage your rep to be there for the vote and vote "yes".  If there's a public forum about the issue, call and write people and ask them to come.  Give people rides.  Old people have more time than busy parents, so they often will come along to support your issue if you'll give them a ride.  The personal contact is the key.  Ask people to do things. Remind them and then check up to see if they did it.
  7. Let people know when you've succeeded.  In doing the work I did on the state funding formula for rural transit, we let people know when the bill reached each stage toward passage.  People sent letters thanking their representative for his work on the bill and we told everybody when it passed and followed up later to let them know what changes were made as a result of their work.
I spoke with the chairman of the committee that initiated the transportation bill we worked on.  He couldn't believe how many ordinary people had contacted him.  He asked what we'd done.  I told him we talked with each other and passed around his address.  It was a little more than that, but I didn't want to demystify the process.

"You know," he told me, "I've changed my vote based on no more than a dozen unscripted letters in the past."  The kind of letters and calls we dumped on him and the rest of his committee got our attention, because they weren't form letters and they weren't canned speeches, scared the heck out of him and got them to act."

The dirty little secret of politics is that politicians are afraid of ordinary voters.  If they think regular voters are hacked off enough to simply pick up a pen and write a letter or call their offices on their own, they sense votes shifting away from them and can change a vote overnight. They'll vote the way a campaign donor asks in most cases, but not against a groundswell of his voting consitituency.  It would be political suicide to do so.

What can you do?
  Plenty.  Pick up the phone and call your representative or senator.  If it's a federal issue, call both your senators and your congressman.  Ask everyone who believes like you do.  Make you some cards to give people so you can contact them.  Keep a small pad to write down names and phone numbers and then nag people to write and call too.  Best thing you can do!

I'm just saying.

Tom King

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Ayn Rand Missed...The Rest of the Story

(c) 2013 by Tom King

Jesus upsets the insiders - offers no bailout!
Ayn Rand has always been problematic for Christians.  A staunch advocate of selfishness, she dismissed altruism as a tool of the government devils, designed to subserviate the needs of the one to the needs of the many.  And so the Golden Rule, she figures, has been perverted to evil usage.  No more recent example need be cited than the President's inaugural speech where he touted the virtues of collective action

Is it really unrestrained greed vs collectivism?  Ayn Rand fought the battle as though it were.  Progressive liberals approach it as though it were.  Tea Party or Green Party, the ideologies butt heads on our radios each day, the airwaves left echoing from the blows like a mountain pass carrying the sound of Bighorn Rams butting heads.

But taking a look from a Christian perspective doesn't require we give up the Golden Rule in order to agree at all with Ayn Rand's argument. Rand's complaint was with power hungry politicians and would-be rulers who use guilt as a tool to force otherwise free men and women to subserviate their own needs and desires to the needs and desires of the great unwashed masses - those legions of "people less fortunate than ourselves" that demand we fork over the fruits of our labors to make up for their lack of productivity.

Sounds harsh, huh?  Yes it does, particularly if you're a typical soft-hearted Christian type whose grandmothers, aunts and moms practically tattooed the Golden Rule on our foreheads.  Ah, but let's look at what the Golden Rule says.

  • Treat other people the way you would have them treat you.
In one simple sentence, Christ codified all the laws of the Medes and the Persians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Romans or anybody else that has ever tried to write laws to govern the affairs of men and women to keep them from killing, robbing or cheating each other.

If you check out Jesus' history, though, he was surprisingly quiet about charity.  He even admonished his disciples when they criticized Mary's outlay of money for an expensive gift for Christ alone and pointed out that the money could have better been spent on the poor.  Jesus' words seem a little harsh toward the poor. He said, "The poor you will have with you always........"

In Jesus' dealings with the beggars and the sick and destitute, He modeled true Christian charity for us.  He healed and forgave them and then sent them off to do something productive.  Neither Christ, nor Ayn Rand forbade us to forgo charity.  They merely pointed out that, as Paul pointed out to the Corinthians, "I might give all my wealth to the poor....but if I have not love, I am nothing."   We must make our charities and our sacrifices because we choose to or they are not likely to benefit anyone in the long run.

If our gifts to help solve the problems of the community around us are only given to appease the unruly mob so that they don't whip out the torches and pitchforks, storm our mansions and kill us in our beds, then there really is no charity to it in the Biblical sense.  A bribe is a bribe whether we pay it to a politicians or to an unruly mob of illegal immigrants, to an angry minority. to politicians or to grasping corporate power-brokers. There is no virtue in shuffling off your guilt onto the government so you can party in peace knowing the feds are taking care of "the less fortunate".

Christians really do believe in the old saw about teaching men to fish.  Teaching men to fish is a mentoring job that calls for personal involvement with the actual poor person. It is not a sanitized process where someone else gets dirty on your behalf. Charity is about looking around you and seeing what needs done in your own community and coming up with ways to get it done.

It's not about passing a law that says everybody in that slum on the north side of town has two weeks to paint their houses or face a fine.  It's about seeing that your elderly neighbor's paint is pealing, knowing he is old and can't afford to hire painters, and dragging your church's youth group over one weekend to paint the old guy's house for him.  That's charity.  Cooking meals for a sick neighbor, mowing an injured neighbor's grass; giving them a lift to the doctor's if their car is broken.  Helping someone in your church or school find a job and get some food for his family till he gets his first check.

Noted liberal, Joy Behar, once observed that she'd rather pay the money to the government so they could take care of poor people and she wouldn't have to worry about it.  She's willing, then, to give up autonomy, freedom and (not to mention it), money all for the sake of not feeling guilty and passing off her responsibility for her fellow man to her neighbor.

Heroes are people who do the right thing for themselves and sometimes for others because it is the right thing and not because it solidifies your power.  It's not Might and strength IS right, but rather as T.H. White eloquently put it in "Once and Future King",  might should be exercised FOR right.  Heroes are those who do for others, not by swooping like Spiderman, Batman or Superman to save the day and then swooping out again to their upscale Bat Caves and Fortresses of Solitude.  Heroes are those who see that something needs doing and they do it.  Inevitably, such deeds turn to the benefit of the community.  And best of all, you don't need to spend half your gross domestic product to pay for bureaucrats and moneychangers to manage your charity for you.  Ayn Rand considered politicians and bureaucrats to be thieves and looters.  Jesus turned over their tables and chased them out of the temple with a whip.

I'd love to see Him get loose in the halls of congress. 

I'm just saying,


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Why History Makes Leftists Mad

(c) 2013 by Tom King

Dictators are what you get when you replace God.with a man.
I was going to write a piece this morning on the top ten nasty mass murderers of the past century.  In researching it, I found a nicely researched piece called the "Top Ten Most Evil Dictators of All Time". While the article covers more like the top ten of the past 100 years, it was nicely researched.  What I particularly loved was the comments section.

These kinds of historical laundry lists always bring out all kinds of garbled nonsense from all the wonderful leftist trolls that inhabit cyberspace. You have to know that when you list the sins of truly evil people, you are going to catch hell from the left. These lists of mass murderers, especially if you include facts to back your list up, they inevitably highlight the preponderance of socialists that make your top ten. 

Inevitably when socialism goes off the rails, the only way the socialist leaders can preserve their power is to kill anyone who objects to them continuing to wreck the country.  There are no US presidents on this list because every single one stood down willingly at the end of their terms.  None had a strong enough need to hold on to power, so none had to kill to keep it. Every American president has understood that power is only lent to him for a time.  So far every president has accepted the office as a privilege to serve, granted for a short time only. Each president does his best to execute his duties well and then stands down when his time is done.

America's system of minimal government, balanced between legislative, administrative and judicial branches has proved a powerful stabilizer in the United States. It has created a nation that, while it has risen to be the most powerful nation-state in the world, has felt no need to establish an empire.  As much as you may disagree with the wars America has fought in the past century, we left every country we have fought with in the hands of its own people when it was over and paid for its rebuilding to boot.  You may hate the gulf wars, but we are gone from Iraq and extricating ourselves from Afghanistan as quickly as possible. That is not the act of despots or empire builders. 

In the end we're businessmen. What America wants is what's good for business.  When we can establish open trade between our nations, we all make a little money and the people of our nations are a little better off for it. Is there corruption?  Sure.  But isn't it better for the government to be in the business of rooting out corruption in business than it is for all of us to try and root out corruption in a too-powerful government.  Power corrupts and, as the saying goes, absolute power corrupts absolutely. 

Centrally planned, centrally controlled socialist nations seldom last long.  Once all the wealth is taken from the rich and distributed to the "people" through the government, then the government has to turn back to the people and take back from them.  The only problem is that the people have by then used up what was redistributed from the wealthy and nothing was produced as a result (except maybe some votes for the people in power). 

There is nothing more ravenous and destructive than a powerful central government that can't get its hands on enough wealth to keep it strong.  Soon it beginst to either cannabalize its own economy or it attacks its neighbors.  Placing the record of history where socialists and others can see it always makes the socialist true-believers incoherent with anger. You can read it in some of the comments on the article linked above. The sociology ideology must be right whatever history reveals and if the facts don't quite support the ideology, they become downright frantic.  One commentator screams, "STOP SAYING STALIN WAS A “COMMUNIST”!! He wasn’t a communist at all."  The last resort of socialists, when confronted with the massive failures of socialism, is to simply claim whatever dictator we're talking about wasn't a "real" socialist.  They are always certain that someone more pure could have done it right.

And there's the fallacy. Only God could pull off socialism. The almost absolute power, inevitably given to the leadership of socialist movements, corrupts absolutely. Humans have not the capacity to engineer something as complex as an economy or a culture.  Nobody's smart enough. It's a mistake to try.  It's not an accident that atheism almost always comes hand-in-hand with socialist movements.  It's because socialism is little more than an attempt to build a political Tower of Babel.

The Tower of Babel was meant to create a place for man above the level of the flood so that God could no longer interfere with man's behavior.  Socialism is nothing more than an attempt by man to create Heaven here on Earth.  If we can do that, men reason, then we have no need for God.

If we can just eliminate God, the atheist/socialist reasons, then I no longer have to feel guilty about my naughty behavior and if I no longer feel guilty, I can do anything I want to and.................it begins.  The long slide toward misery, war and mass murder.  It happens time and time again and we can see it in history.

But we don't want to see the evidence of history, because, if we can't create Heaven on Earth, then our only hope is God and if we serve Him, we cannot serve ourselves and we cannot be naughty without guilt. So, in order to support the illusion of socialism, we simply ignore the actual results and stick to the ideology.

And it gives us delightful characters like Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il and Fidel Castro. 

I'm just saying,

Tom King

You may now continue foaming and ranting.....