Friday, April 3, 2015
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
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.
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
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.
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: TaxesA 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).
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.
Sunday, March 1, 2015
We make men without chests and expect from them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst
--C.S. Lewis The Abolition of Man
It is often said that Conservatives can't simply be "against" things, we have "to have a positive message." Many Conservatives then protest that we *do* have a positive message, it just gets drowned out because we have to oppose all the cultural rot, or the Progressive agenda, or whatever.
While there is a point there, it must be said that our message *does* get drowned out. So it is good, from time to time, to remember what it is we are for. But what are Conservatives for? What do we want to "conserve?"
I would suggest that Conservatives are for Virtue. Honor, Courage, Justice, Thrift, Sobriety, and Industry are character traits seemingly in short supply. Anyone who argues against government expansion, but does argue for personal virtue is arguing for chaos.
John Adams is quoted as saying "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
We have fallen into the trap C.S. Lewis mentioned in The Abolition of man. Every "advancement" of the progressive era has served to remove virtue. Welfare has assaulted industry and thrift. The Left's assault on self-defense (see also: Martin, Trayvon) is an assault on courage. Every HBO or Showtime show seems to be an assault on sobriety, and often justice.
The results have been predictable. A society which will not maintain its own virtue will require an ever growing government. A People which does not practice Honor and Justice will become a police-state. A People which does not practice Thrift, Sobriety, and Industry, will become one constantly on the verge of economic disaster.
Conservatives seek to promote Virtue. A People of Personal Virtue are a people who do not need a big government.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Now, I'm not going to go over anything Drew says there. Read the whole thing, it's worth it.
So what we have here is the GOP, once again, trying to have their cake and eat it, too. The Chamber of Commerce really likes Amnesty. They've made no attempt to hide that fact. The Chamber of Commerce is a big Republican donor. No one has tried to hide that fact, either.
So when the SCOAMT enacted Executive Amnesty, the CoC and the Republican establishment were jubilant (in private, anyway). The CoC gets what it wants (amnesty) and Republicans get to pretend that they had nothing to do with it and no way to stop it.
Except then November 2014 comes along, and Republicans retake the Senate- largely on promises to stop ObamaCare (how's that going?) and Executive Amnesty, so the GOP is in a bind. If they actually act on their promise, they tick off the CoC and lose donation money. If they do nothing, they tick off the base and become the minority party again.
So rather than showing some moral fiber, making a decision, and explaining it like men, they hide behind this pathetic move attempting to be seen as trying to do something, while their actions actually make it impossible for anything to be done.
A commenter at the HQ summed it up like this:
"Or to paraphrase Rudy Giuliani, 'They do not love the American people.'"
This is correct.
The rest of this post goes out to the few Republicans who *do* love the American people.
Please join us. Various pundits, bloggers, and commenters have mentioned a 3rd party. The Republican party is going the way of the Whigs- they care too much for their privilege and "unity" than they do doing what is right.
It is time for a 3rd party. It is a time for you, you remnant of the Conservative Right, to stand up and say "No more." While you support Mitch McConnel and John Boehner even simply by wearing the same party label, you are supporting people who are willing to sacrifice the American People to their privilege.
You must disassociate with them. You must form your own bloc, your own Party. If you lead, there are countless Conservatives who will follow. You will be amazed at the support.
If you love this country- if you love her people- you will stand for what is right, even though the cost will be high. The cost will be so much higher if you do not.
Sunday, February 22, 2015
Anyone who went over to the Ace of Spades HQ’s Sunday Book Tread, saw this:
Moron commenter AllenG is attempting to crowdsource his writing of a fantasy novel, which if I am reading his description correctly, will be called "Fire & Frost". It takes place on a world that is not your usual mountains-and-forests fantasy fare
Well, he is indeed reading correctly. I have written a novel, and started a GoFundMe page to pay for publishing costs- line editing, graphic design, and a publishing service.
You can click over there and contribute, but this is really a thanks to Ace & Oregon Muse for highlighting me on the Sunday Book Thread.
Thanks you guys.