Saturday, June 27, 2015

You’re Still Not Married.

“If you call a dog’s tail a leg, how many legs does it have?” – Abraham Lincoln (attrib)

So the Supreme Court decided that it could wave its hand and redefine marriage.  Beyond the horrific precedent this sets, this is so flawed on its own (lack of) merits, that I find myself stunned in spite of the fact this is the exact outcome I was expecting.  All over my FB timeline and in my personal life people I thought were sane are celebrating as though Christmas came early.  I can’t call them “F*cking Idiots” to their faces, but perhaps I can explain, here, why this is so bad.

First we have to settle a question: is marriage something created by Man which could have been created however we want, or is it something that exists on its own whether we like it or not?  Is it, in fact, mere custom, or is it a natural Law on the order of 2 + 2 = 4?

Let us see what we can discover.

Biologically, men and women are different.  This is important, because it takes both a man and a woman to bear children.  Further, for the time she is pregnant, the woman is especially in need of protection and care – protection and care which she cannot provide for herself.  Once the child is born, the child also needs exceptional protection and care until he or she is old enough to care for him- or herself.  If men impregnated women and then left them unprotected, child birth and survival rates would be low enough to jeopardize survival of the species.  Since every species is compelled to ensure its survival, it seems likely that ours would adapt accordingly, and that men would have an urge related to the urge to procreate which would cause them to care for and protect, to some degree at least, the woman who bears their children, and those children.

Sociologically, it is true that every society of which we have any inkling of their practices has embraced the same, or at least very similar, definition of marriage- it is a union between a man and a woman.  Without getting into the intricacies of polygamous societies, none of them have accepted or condoned homosexual relationships.  Few have even accepted or condoned heterosexual relationships between adults and adolescents.  This virtually universal definition of marriage served to protect women – protect them from violence, from poverty, and from abuse – and children, while providing the best chance for young single males to have a chance to procreate (and, thus, continue the species).

So it seems that there is good evidence that marriage is just a word we use to describe a natural phenomenon – the coming together of men and women to bear and rear children and thus propagate the species.  If there is evidence that we “just made it up,” I am unaware of it.

Now, if it is true that marriage is something that exists in nature, then the following is a true statement:  It cannot be redefined.  You cannot redefine marriage any more than you can redefine gravity or 2 + 2.  You can warp the language.  You can ignore the truth.  You can claim to believe a lie.  But you cannot change what marriage is.

So for all of those who are going to rush to get “married” to their homosexual partner:  You still won’t be married.  You will never be married.  You can call your relationship whatever you want.  You can refer to your partner as your “husband” or “wife” or “potato.”  I won’t matter.  I am married.  You are not.  You cannot change that, no matter how much you wish it.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Sic Semper Tyrannis

distress

 

The United States flag is never to be flown upside down except in times of great distress or emergency.  I believe we are in both.  We are in a perilous time in which the Supreme Court has decided on the one hand that the plain language of a law is not binding – that the Justices can read the minds of those who wrote the law, and that the will of the People is not binding upon them.  In short, the United States Supreme Court has just announced that we are no longer a Constitutional Federal Republic, that we are not even a Representative Democracy.  We are an oligarchy ruled ultimately by unelected, unaccountable judges who can now dictate law and ignore the Constitution and the will of the People.

On Thursday, the United States Supreme Court, in a 6 – 3 decision, decided that the words “Exchanges established by the States” meant “Exchanges established by the States or the Federal Government.”  This was not because of any ambiguity in the language of the law, the Justices so deciding admit that the language says only State established exchanges are eligible for subsidies under the ACA.  No, they believe they can divine the intent of the Congress by something other than their written and recorded words.  Apparently this is some magic into which Justices are initiated after they are appointed to the court.

Today, the Court found, in a 5 – 4 decision, that the People of 30 different states on multiple occasions had “acted stupidly,” in rejecting attempts to redefine marriage from it’s natural definition to one that is unnatural.  This was not based on the unconstitutionality of any law, and it was not based on any legal injustice; it was based on the fact that the way things were made 5 Justices sad.

These two decisions, between them, destroy the very fabric of our Constitution.  The Rule of Law is now dead, replaced by the Rule of the Whim of Men.

Whatever your position on Obamacare or on homosexual relationships, you should be looking at these decisions and trembling in fear.  If they can decide to ignore the plain language of the law and the will of the people, what can they not ignore?  What regime can they not institute by fiat?  How is this not tyranny?

There are few options left to those of us who believe in the Rule of Law.  Perhaps the States will finally stand up for themselves and say “Then let them enforce it.”  Perhaps an Article V Convention will be called in an attempt to reconcile Progressive’s desire to live in Utopia with Conservatives desire to be left alone.  Perhaps Conservative States will petition, and be allowed, to peaceably secede from this failed Union.

But the Government is no longer legitimate.  It no longer seeks to protect the Rights of Man.  This situation can only continue for so long before violence – violence no one wants – results.

“I beseech you in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.” ~Oliver Cromwell

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Banning History

cfb

 

After the Colonies rebelled against England and won their independence, they operated for a time under the Articles of Confederation.  This first attempt at founding an association of free states proved unworkable, and a new Constitution was created.  That Constitution enshrined slavery, counted slaves as 3/5 of a person, and would not have been passed if it had not.  At the time of its passage, the issue of slavery was already contentious, and one of the compromises necessary to see its adoption was that for a certain period, the new Federal government would not address the issue.

As time progressed, the northern states- largely industrial- became even less dependent upon slave labor (though many prominent Northerners still had slaves) and the South – largely agrarian – did not.  As slavery became more repugnant to more people, it is perhaps not surprising that this caused a schism between the two groups.  And perhaps this would have been handled diplomatically, but, for various reasons, it was not.

Now, it is important to understand that the Civil War did not start over slavery.  Read the words of the people who were there.  Even those in the North did not believe slavery was the reason for the war.  Certainly it was a reason for the war.  Certainly had slavery been abolished voluntarily by all parties, there would have been less reason for the war.  But there still would have been reason for it.

The Southern States, already skeptical of the Federal Government, had 50 years of grievances about what they saw as Federal Overreach.  The election of Abraham Lincoln and the still new Republican party – on a forced abolition platform – was a sign to the Southern States that the North no longer respected their sovereignty.  They seceded.  A war between the states was waged.

Now, this little history lesson is not a defense of slavery, which was and is a hateful institution.  It is not a defense of the Republican party, which is and has been the party of Liberty and Union.  It is a defense of Honor.  Whatever you think of their motives – and, again, slavery in and of itself was not at issue – the Confederates were noble, honorable, and courageous.  We in the south venerate those heroes who were willing to die for what they believed.

Fast forward to today.  A crazy racist killed nine men and women in Charleston, South Carolina.  A picture was found with him holding the flag commonly referred to as the Confederate Flag, more accurately referred to as the Confederate Battle Flag, and most accurately referred to as the Virginia Army Flag.  And Progressives, some looking for anything to blame other than the criminal, others seizing main chance, immediately blamed the flag for the despicable act.

Showing an unfortunate lack of historical knowledge, Mitt Romney called for the removal of the flag from the South Carolina State House grounds.  Reacting, I must hope, more on fear than on principle, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley called for its removal.

Were that all that had happened, this post would not exist, but it is not all that has happened.  Since those two misguided announcements, the furor over the flag has grown.  Stores like Wal-Mart and Amazon stopped selling renditions of the flag.  Apple removed all games which contain the now-hated symbol from it’s app store.  Apparently representing history is now a hate crime.  People have called for the destruction of statues and monuments to Confederate figures.

This is sad and amazing to me.  Forget the flag itself – the history lesson was only to show that there is proper reverence which can be shown for it – this “Ban All the Things” mentality is dangerous and un-American.  Capitulation to these demands is even more dangerous and un-American.  It sets a precedent – one I do not believe we wish to set.

Today it is a symbol which can honestly be viewed as a symbol of hate and racism (I do not deny that the flag has picked up those connotations).  But more than that, it is calls to erase history.  The Gettysburg museum has removed all of its merchandise with the symbol.  Where does it stop?

For Progressives, it doesn’t.  Today it is the flag and some monuments.  What will it be tomorrow?  There are already calls for more “gun control” laws, as though they would have done anything to stop this horrific crime.  Karl Rove has said that the only gun control strong enough would be complete confiscation – and he is wrong, even that would not be enough.

They want to ban our Right to act on our beliefs.

They want to ban our Right to say what we think.

They want to ban our Right to defend ourselves – both from criminals and from tyrants.

The longer we wait to tell them, “no,” the harder it will be to do, and the more likely we will either be forced into silence, or be forced into violence.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Did You Hear?



“Did you hear?”

“Did you hear?”

Everyone greeted everyone else with the same question, “Did you hear?”

“He has been defeated!  Laid low!  The champion of the enemy has fallen!”

For as long as I could remember, our enemy had oppressed us.  We had been driven from our rightful homes, exiled and outcast.  Our own king had treated with the usurper king before, always to return disappointed.  Princes we may have been, but princes cast out of our kingdom wielding only that authority that came with strength.  

The usurper king had been hounding us, attacking us since time immemorial.  Now, his champion had fallen at last.  Our other victories had been fleeting; this victory would not be.  Our king had struck down his champion at last – the grave claimed the one who was supposed to be our destroyer.

“Did you hear?”

“Did you hear?”

Now, not only was the champion laid low, but the usurper king’s plans fallen apart.  While the champion was preparing – while he looked like he would win – he had gathered followers.  The followers were given power beyond their station.  They were even ceded some of the usurper’s authority to wield against us.

Now, with the champion defeated, his followers were scattered.  They fled from us, and from those who served us.  While the champion had been with them, they were brave lions.  Now, they were curs, cowering from the hand which would strike them.

As we had feared for generation upon generation, we let them fear.  They fled, and we laughed.  For once it was we who had the power and the authority!  They could suffer in shameful indignity as we had suffered.

“Did you hear?”

“Did you hear?”

The question had a different tone, now.  Something had gone wrong – terribly wrong.  

“What did you say?  Empty?  How can a grave be empty?”

“Surely this is some joke.”

“It must be a misunderstanding.”

Slowly the news percolated through us all.  The champion’s grave was empty.  Where had he gone?  What had happened?  Our servants had sworn he would be watched!

“NO! IT CANNOT BE!” the voice of our king cried across the barren wastes which had been our prison for so long.  “I DEFEATED HIM! I STRUCK HIM DOWN! NO!”

What is this?  What is this blinding light?  It burns!  The agony!  WHAT IS THIS!?

No!  It can’t be the champion!  He is dead!  We saw the act!  

The light! Oh, Great Lucifer!  The light burns!  Bring back the darkness!  

What is this sound?  Like bells and trumpets; it assaults my ears.  Bring back the violent cacophony!

“Very well,” the words are almost a whisper, but they pierce my ears like a knife, “If that is what you wish, your will be done.”

The light is gone.  The screeching and wailing return.  Darkness rules over our home; our refuge.

“Did you hear?”

“Did you hear?”

“The king is chained.  He does not even reign here.  He has been imprisoned!”

A trick!  A trick!  It was all a trick.  The champion’s death was supposed to be our crowning moment!  It should have been our greatest day!

Somehow he has broken the chains of death with which he should have been bound, and used them to bind our king.  His grave – empty.  Our king – defeated.  Our crowning moment – our ultimate defeat.

Did you hear?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Charity and the #IndianaLaw

So earlier I discussed the Virtue of Charity- and specifically what is required to see a resurgence in its practice.  Now I would like to turn to the idiocy among a certain segment of our population as it relates to the Indiana RFRA.

I am not going to explain what an RFRA really is- go over to the Ace of Spades HQ, we’ll probably be talking about it there if you’re really interested.  Or [search engine of choice] Bill Clinton’s 1993 Federal RFRA.

I’m going to discuss Charity as it relates to the RFRA.

First- that there has to be an RFRA at all shows a failure of charity.  Whether or not I agree with same sex marriage, my business is mine to conduct.  If I do not wish to do business with you, that may be bad.  In some cases it may be a failure of charity on my part (it normally is not, however).  However, it is *certainly* a failure of charity, and a much worse one, to impoverish me and have the Government force me at the point of a gun to do business with you.  Had everyone been charitable, then no RFRA would be necessary- wedding cake designers would not be having to make cakes for ceremonies they believe to be sinful, but would be as helpful as possible outside those bounds (in most cases, they are already fulfilling that second part).  The government would not be seizing sacred objects from Indian tribes, and Indian tribes would not be bothering others with their sacred items.

Second- The RFRA is not a license for Christians to be uncharitable, and I have heard of no particular case where they have been.  It is not uncharitable to say, “No, I do not wish to do business with you.”  It might be uncharitable if my objection to doing business with you was something you could not control (your ethnicity, or gender)- but it wouldn’t necessarily be.  It is certainly not uncharitable when my objection is to an action you are going to take because it violates my own moral code.

The Gay Lobby is either ignorant (or, more likely, does not care) of the fact that to Christians and Jews homosexuality is morally reprehensible.  Considering that the wedding ceremony is specifically a Religious one, homosexual weddings are not just immoral; they are making a mockery of Christianity.  And while that is not, no its own, a reason to make them illegal or even prevent them from having legitimacy in the eyes of the State, that is ample reason for a Christian to elect not to support one with his labor.

Do you want charity to rule in this case?  I agree with you.  So let’s all agree to be charitable.  But at this point, there’s only one side that isn’t living up to that bargain.

On Virtue: Charity

In Mere Christianity CS Lewis points out that the “Christian” virtue of “Charity” is not simply “giving to the poor.”  Rather, it is a classic term for love, or as he says, “Love, in the Christian sense.”  Giving to the poor is part of it, certainly, but not even the greatest part.

The virtue of Charity (I believe it is not unique to Christianity, though Christianity broadens its scope) is about treating people nicely.  It is kindness and gentleness.  It is patience.  Even pagan religions taught charity to one extent or another.  “Love your neighbor as yourself” was an Old Testament teaching.  Other groups at the time had similar directives.  The uniquely Christian spin on the virtue was not that it was wholly new, but that Christ defined “your neighbor” as “your hated enemy.”

What does that have to do with today?  Does anyone say we should not be charitable?

In reverse order: no, no one says we should not be charitable.  Nevertheless people are not charitable.  And their directives to be charitable are usually self-serving.  *YOU* are supposed to be charitable to *me.*

So, in a very real sense, much of our society has abandoned charity.

What does that have to do with today?  Well, it has direct consequences on just about everything.  Are you moaning about how uncivilized our “public discourse” has become?  Then it’s time to start calling for charity.  Are you complaining about judgmental attitudes?  Then it is time to start calling for charity.

But here’s the rub.  If you are going to call for charity, you must practice it yourself.  Otherwise it is simply self-serving sophistry (at best) and self-righteous hypocrisy at worst.

Friday, March 20, 2015

What Do Conservatives Want?

So, over at the HQ this morning, commenter jwest raised an interesting point.  His comment is too long to quote in its entirety, but the gist seems to be this:  Conservatives, especially in the blogosphere, are too ready to pull out the Long Knives whenever one of our allies (actual allies- a Perry, or Walker, or Cruz, or Lee) makes a tiny misstep.  So we should probably make some decisions, as a movement, about where we really stand.

So here are some areas he highlighted, and my thoughts on them (all quotes: sic; I'm not a proofreader).  I'll follow up with a couple more at the end.

1: Immigration/Border

On immigration, has anyone defined what the word "amnesty" means? We can't simply say "follow existing law", because than entails kicking in doors at 2am and dragging mothers away from their children (which looks bad on the evening news). It would be good to have a well written position on what true conservatives want.
Amnesty means "officially not administering just punishment for a crime."  Any "path to legalization" or "path to citizenship" is Amnesty.

Step 1 (before anything else) secure the border (or take real, substantive steps to secure it).  Step 2 Make explicit that illegal aliens are not eligible for any federal benefit, reduce Medicaid payments to States who pay State benefits for illegal aliens.  Step 3 Come down like "a ton of rectanular building things" on any employer- large or small- found to be hiring illegals.  Step 4 expedite deportation hearings, stop releasing illegals into their own recognizance.

2: ObamaCare/Health Care/Health Insurance

On healthcare, certainly everyone wants Obamacare repealed, but that's not a position. Never in the history of the U.S. has the government been able to give citizens free shit and then turn around and take it back. Those who think this is an option just aren't being serious. We need a conservative plan on what is going to replace Obamacare.

Burn it down. 
Scatter the stones. 
Salt the earth where it stood. 

The federal government has no authority over health care/health insurance.  The only space where the feds have authority is to end the prohibition on interstate sale of insurance.  Would consider making personal health insurance tax deductible, just like employer coverage... but that has issues (since I want the tax code to be much less complex).

3: Defense (esp. Defense Budget)


On defense, some are taking the position that patriotism can be gauged by how much we spend on the military. Others know that at some point, enough is enough. It's hard to make the case of being a budget hawk while handing out blank checks. We should nail this down so that voters know where we're at.


I'm sorry, Hawks, we don't have money.  I don't want to cut defense spending, but neither can we let it grow (or, at least, grow much).  Let's fix the procurement process, cut out the "diversity" stupidity, and see any other avenues available to make the defense budget more efficient.  If that's still not enough, *then* we can talk about more money.

4: Social Security


On Social Security, for decades the holy grail of the conservative side of the aisle was a plan to privatize SS. If this is still the plan, it could be marketed in such a way as to gain the black vote. Of course, our side needs to agree on plan first.


One-time payment of "your" SS money into an IRA.  Retirement planning is your business, not Daddy Government's.  For current or near retirees, we'll have to figure out a plan.  Some kind of phase-out will be necessary, but not sure exactly how that would work.

I'll add on top of that:

5: Taxes

A massively simplified tax code.  Flat tax, fair tax, even a progressive/graduated tax which is simple to understand would be far better than what we have today.  I don't think, realistically, we'll ever get a true "flat tax," and the "fair tax" scares me unless we can repeal the 16th Amendment.  Repeal the estate tax, drop corporate taxes to around 15%, stop taxing capital gains (and maybe dividends).

6: Budget


A balanced budget amendment is way over-due in this country.  Texas has one in our State Constitution, and it has contributed to tax surpluses (since people and especially businesses know that there aren't huge deficits, Texas is seen as very tax-payer friendly).

What are your thoughts?  Jwest is right- the sooner the *base* figures out our starting point, the easier it will be to judge when someone has deviated from it, and to what degree- thus (hopefully) preventing some of the circular firing squads which have led to the last two disastrous Republican presidential candidates.