San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Friday, March 7, 2014

I Have Never Changed Anyone's Mind

I was sitting around thinking about my life last night when I was struck by a strange thought.  It occurred to me that although I have written hundreds of polemics in my career, I have never successfully changed the opinion of one single person about any single topic.  Never.  So, I reasoned with myself, what is the point of all this chatter that I am constantly producing?  I didn't have an answer to that question.
"Stop being selfish," I told myself, "and think of others."  So I did. And when I did I realized something else about the nature of human communications.  Nobody has ever changed anyone's mind on any topic.  Ever.  I am not the only one who is speaking and writing into thin air.  Everybody does.  So, I continued to reason to myself, why do human beings talk about anything other than sports and the weather?  What is the point of all this useless chatter?
I took another sip of wine and settled back a little more deeply into my rocking chair to ponder these new found revelations. As I did, several other thoughts came to the surface.  Saying that nobody has ever changed the mind of anyone else can be the same thing as saying that everyone has always maintained the same position.  But that observation is patently false.  All of us can think of things we once believed to be true that we reject today.  So, I wondered, what is the process by which we change our opinions and how does that process relate to the fact that no other human agent is ever responsible for those changes of opinion?  Now I was on to something.
I have delivered hundreds, perhaps thousands, of arguments as to why free market economics is superior to all forms of government interventionism.  To date I have never had a person tell me that he changed from being a socialist to a freedom lover as a result of my arguments.  In every single instance where I have addressed the issue the people who received my arguments either already agreed with me and had their preexisting opinions reinforced or they already disagreed with me and spent the entire time telling themselves that I was wrong.  I believe it is fair to say that I failed to communicate in both instances.  In both cases the person receiving my arguments had already made up his mind and there was nothing I could say that was going to change it.  So why should I bother speaking or writing at all?
I then took a moment to consider all of the theological debates I have had in my life.  They also must number in the thousands.  Once again I discovered that I could not think of a single instance where someone changed his opinion on a theological topic as a direct result of my brilliant logic and insightful reasoning.  Never.  Oh sure, there have been cases where people changed their minds on theological issues but I was never the proximate cause of that change.  Inevitably it is the case that people change their minds because they see the folly of their first position and it makes sense for them to modify their views.  Any change that takes place always takes place as a result of the new information they have perceived and not as a result of any new information I have presented.  Once again I wondered why I should bother having theological discussions at all.
As I considered my total inability to impact the minds of my fellow human beings it occurred to me that I have witnessed several transformations in those with whom I was speaking.  Sometimes, due to nothing more than sheer logical bludgeoning, I have been able to get a hapless person to admit that my argument is correct and his is wrong.  Initially I rejoiced in the fact that I had actually changed someone's mind.  But guess what happened after that?  Nothing.  Nothing at all.  The debate that I won had no material impact upon the life of the other person.  I may have successfully forced him to concede that I was correct but he continued to live his life consistently with the position he previously held.  My "correct" position was totally ignored when it came to the real world.  I realized, once again, that I had not successfully changed anyone's mind.
As I considered the utter futility of all human communication on topics other than weather and sports it occurred to me that there are two inviolable characteristics of human thought that make it almost impossible for us to really have a material impact upon one another's minds and actions.  The first thing that characterizes all human thought is the fact that we are heavily biased to defend what we already believe and prone to totally disregard any argument against our present beliefs regardless of its power or logical necessity.  Any objective observer of economic phenomena can easily discern that free market economics produces the most capital and enriches the greatest number of people.  Despite that fact the great majority of people continue to believe that socialism is the best way to increase capital and enrich humanity.  It makes no sense but it is true.
Debates about the doctrine of election (predestination, for the uninitiated) dominate theological blogs.  Does God choose people to be saved without any regard to their actions?  Calvinists say "yes" and Pelagians (also erroneously known as Arminians) say "no."  Both camps appeal to the Bible in support of their position.  Romans 9-11 directly addresses the issue and explicitly states that, in reference to God's sovereign election of Jacob and His sovereign reprobation (damnation) of Esau, "for though the twins were not yet born, and had not done anything good or bad, in order that God's purpose according to His choice might stand, not because of works, but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, the older shall serve the younger...So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy."  Now that seems like a pretty straightforward answer to the question, does it not?  Yet you would be amazed at how Pelagians can read that passage and come to the conclusion that it teaches that men have free will to choose God and God does not predestine anyone to salvation.  It makes no sense but it is true.
Once human beings have an idea in their heads that they like there is no way to remove it.  It does not matter what argument is presented, or how an argument is presented, or where or why an argument is presented; if an idea already exists in the mind of a human being that idea will be what he believes forever.  And that brings me to the second inviolable rule of human thought....men choose to believe in the things they believe in for just one simple reason; it makes them feel good.  How can a man reject the clear empirical evidence in favor of free markets?  Because he loves the sinful feeling of envy when it wells up in his heart and he loves to watch the government redistribute the wealth of the rich to him.  Why does a Pelagian reject the clear teaching of Romans 9?  Because he loves the way he feels about himself when he believes he is defending the character and nature of God by pronouncing Calvinism to be in error.  In both cases it has nothing to do with the objective truth being discussed.  It never does.  In both cases it has to do only with the subjective feelings that are associated with the beliefs in each man's head.  Feelings always win.  Always.
The fact that people believe what they believe, regardless of its veracity, because it makes them feel good about themselves creates a great number of serious problems.  First, it makes it impossible for us to ever truly communicate.  Second, it makes people incapable of ever changing their minds, even when what they believe is false.  Third, in the case of theological issues, it endangers the state of their eternal souls.  These are serious problems.  Sadly, these problems will never be addressed because human beings are too emotionally insecure to permit their beliefs to be challenged.
So I end up back where I began.  I see no reason to write this daily blog.  I see no reason to engage people in discussions on anything but the weather and football.  I see no reason to play the game and pretend that we are actually having an objective discussion on a serious topic that could materially impact the way we believe and live when we both know we are never going to change.  It will never happen so why do I bother?
As I pondered that last question it occurred to me that I am just like everyone else.  Do you know why I bother?  It is not because I ever expect to have a material impact upon anyone.  I bother continuing to write and speak for the simple reason that it makes me feel good to do so.  Imagine that.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Epcot Center vs The Holy Land Experience

I went to Epcot Center last week.  It was a wonderful and uplifting experience.  Christians tell me that I should not go to Epcot Center because Disney sponsors a "gay day" at the place.  In fact, many Christians make it an article of faith that one must permanently boycott anything associated with Disney so as to not support homosexual behavior in any way.  The day I visited was not "gay day."  I probably would not visit the park on "gay day."  Still I do not see why I should boycott a theme park just because it admits sinful people.  If rubbing elbows with flagrant sinners is supposed to keep me from going out I will end up spending all of my days in my basement.  Although I enjoy the time I spend in my basement I really don't want to spend my entire life there. So a friend joined my wife and me for a day at Epcot Center.
I also went to the Holy Land Experience last week.  Christians tell me that I should go to the Holy Land Experience.  From what I could tell only Christians go there; although you would be hard-pressed to know that by the way business is conducted.  Everything is designed to evangelize the people who attend.  Being a Christian already I found it a bit burdensome to be continually evangelized.  But I will write more about that in a moment.  The Holy Land Experience is in Orlando, just a short distance across the swampland from Epcot. It is owned by the Trinity Broadcasting Network and I had seen commercials advertising it over the last couple of months.  I thought it would be fun to spend a day in a theme park designed to replicate many features of what Christians call the "Holy Land."  Man was I mistaken.  My time spent there was an oppressive and soul-crushing experience.  Allow me to tell you my tale of two theme park visits.
Walt Disney was a creative genius.  The theme park that bears his name in Florida is a testament to his vision and life-long goal of serving the entertainment desires of the consuming public.  I believe it is fair to say that he did more to make consumers of various entertainment services more happy than any other person in history.  Disney is a massive corporation that has grown to its immense size by giving people what they want for a price they are willing to pay.  Everything done by Disney is designed to put a smile on the face of the customer.  Indeed, Disney World is the "happiest place on earth."
We arrived at Epcot center just prior to the scheduled opening at 9:00 am.  We were able to find a parking place in the lot closest to the entrance, only a couple of rows away from the front gate.  Disney parking is a marvel. Although serving thousands of people every day, they are capable of moving all of those cars with no more backups or slowdowns than I encounter at my local grocery store.  Everything has been thought through and designed to move cars quickly and efficiently from one place to another.
Soon we had our tickets and entered the park where we were greeted by friendly "cast members", as Disney calls its employees.   Our goal this day was to take the ride known as "Soar" and then spend the rest of the day exploring the World Showcase portion of Epcot Center.  I first rode "Soar" eight years ago and was amazed at what it did.  If you have never ridden "Soar", you should.  You are suspended on a ski lift type ride with a huge movie screen surrounding you.  From there you embark upon a hang gliding experience that takes you through some of the most amazing parts of California.  As you ride along you experience changes in temperature, humidity and aroma.  I have never flown a hang glider but I would guess that "Soar" comes about as close to recreating the experience as anything does.  After a thoroughly enjoyable "Soar" we were off to the World Showcase.
I have visited the World Showcase many times and never failed to have a good time.  For those of you who have not been there, it is built around a large lake.  As you walk around the lake you enter various replications of different countries from around the world.  I always go clockwise so my order ends up being Mexico, Norway, Germany, Japan, China, Morocco, France, Great Britain, Canada, plus a few others I am forgetting at this moment.  Each country is designed to look like a particular place that really exists in that country and is fully staffed with native peoples from those countries.  They are always willing to talk about their homeland and I never fail to have a great time asking them questions about their lives and experiences at home.  The foods are imported from the homelands as well.  I have finished every trip there with some North Atlantic cod and a pint of Guinness, poured in exactly 120 seconds, at the Great Britain exhibit.  The evening concludes with an impressive fireworks display that is always worth sticking around for.
As we were leaving the park the night crew was coming on shift.  They are the folks who clean up our messes and resupply all the stores and restaurants before the next day starts.  They were standing, lining the paths to the exits, and cheerfully waving goodbye to us as we left.  Now where have you ever seen that?  As we were leaving I also noticed a couple of security personnel.  I had not noticed them during the day, even though we were surrounded by huge crowds of people all day long.  They were greeting the customers cheerfully.  They were not carrying any weapons that I could see.  It felt just like a scene out of the Andy Griffith show.  Everything about Epcot and Disney put a smile on our faces and we left very satisfied customers.
The next day we set off for the Holy Land Experience, which also opened at 9:00 am.  We were one of the first to arrive at a much smaller parking area.  The first thing I saw was a sign informing me that the entrance to the lot I wanted to use was closed and I would not be admitted to the park if I tried to use it.  So I drove on until I reached the entrance I was supposed to take.  Immediately after turning into the lot I was accosted, or should I say greeted, by three cops sporting very large weapons on their hips.  One of them stopped me.  I rolled down my window and she thrust a placard into my hand and told me to read it prior to entering the park.  I parked the car near the entrance and read the placard.  It was a list of twelve things I was forbidden to do while on park property.  As I read the card I realized I was not at Disney World any longer.
I found the line to the ticket office which I discovered did not open until 9:00 am, the same time the park opened.  I had become accustomed to Disney where the ticket lines are open prior to the opening of the park.  That helps people move along more efficiently.  So much for customer service.  I stood in a line that seemed to take forever and eventually purchased our tickets.  Posted in at least three places that I could see near the ticket window was the warning "NO REFUNDS".  I never consider that to be a good sign.  We turned a corner and entered the park.
The first thing that we encountered as we entered the park was a costume clad employee inviting us to come "celebrate communion with Jesus."  Due to my presuppositions about what was taking place inside the park, I thought that sounded like fun.  I would have enjoyed watching a reenactment of the Last Supper in the Upper Room.  That, however, is not what we were being invited to attend.  My wife grabbed my arm, steered me away from the man and told me she thought that it was an invitation to attend a real communion service with some actor calling himself Jesus.  I told her she must be mistaken as we had not entered a church service but had come into a park to witness recreations of biblical events.  She disagreed with me.  As it turned out she was correct. 
Narrowly having avoided the communion service we made our way to where the Jesus-actor was delivering his version of the Sermon on the Mount.  Due to our delay in getting into the park we arrived just as he was leaving.  As he exited the platform he placed a cardboard standup image of himself, as Jesus, where he had been standing.  The standup portrayed him flashing a big smile and looking downright happy with himself.  We soon noticed that these cardboard standups were everywhere.  One of them was in the middle of the pond where it was supposed to portray Jesus walking on the water.  We thought they just looked silly.  Were we really expected to believe that a visitor to the ancient Holy Land would see cardboard standups of Jesus everywhere?
The featured events in the park all took place in a 2000 seat auditorium where various biblical stories were performed on stage.  Everyone was expected to arrive at the auditorium for each performance and the performances themselves were not-so-slick productions designed to elicit emotional responses from immature people that would theoretically end up in some sort of conversion experience.  Other than a large room that we discovered that was filled with a model of Herod's Temple in Jerusalem, there was very little that had anything to do with the Holy Land itself in the Holy Land Experience.  We had been deceived.  We had been trapped by a bunch of pentecostal Christians who wanted us to receive the Holy Ghost!
I am not kidding about the Holy Spirit.  Our guide to the park said that we were each entitled to receive a "free gift."  To claim our free gift we had to go to a particular place in the park where "Jesus" would breathe on us and we would receive the second blessing of the Holy Spirit as evidenced by speaking in tongues.  Needless to say, we did not pick up our free gift.
The day culminated in a production of the "passion."  About 400 of us gathered in the auditorium for what we were told would be the last production of the day.  A man on stage informed us that after the production was finished a pastor would pray for us and we were free to go.  We settled down to see how they would present the passion of the Christ.  It ended up being the most bizarre event of the entire day.  The Jesus character came on stage and did a good job reciting various passages while acting them out for us.  Then, in the middle of a passage about healing someone, he dashed into the audience and started conducting a Benny Hinn style healing service.  He was casting out demons and healing people from cancer left and right.  Then, without missing a beat, he was back on stage reciting more Scripture.  He then ordered all attendees to stand and to recite the "sinners prayer" after him.  We, of course, refused to do so.  By refusing to stand we ended up being the only three people in the auditorium who were not standing.  We could just imagine all the fervent prayers for our salvation that were being made as we sat there.  It was eventually over and the pastor prayed his prayer.  We rose to leave just as the Jesus character returned to the stage and told us all to stay for a good old-time worship service.  We practically ran out of the auditorium. 
There are many other comparisons that I could make between the Epcot Center and the Holy Land Experience.  Let me conclude simply by saying that at $100/person the Epcot Center was a steal.  At $45/person the Holy Land Experience was a ripoff.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Record Cold Caused By Global Warming

As much of the country experiences record cold temperatures this winter it is easy to take pot-shots at global warming alarmists.  How, after all, can the globe be warming while, at the same time, we are setting records for cold temperatures?  The highly biased proponents of man-made global warming assure us that, cold weather notwithstanding, the globe really is getting warmer and nothing short of spending trillions of taxpayer dollars on the problem is going to avert certain doom.  Just last night I saw a report informing me that the reason the Socialist Democracy of Amerika has had such a cold winter is due to the fact that Indonesia has experienced such a warm summer.  Thunderstorms in Indonesia, caused by global warming, are responsible for cold weather in the SDA.  Imagine that.  Heat causes cold.  Who would have thunk it?
Overlooked in all of the debate about man caused global warming is one simple scientific fact.  Why this fact has been ignored by proponents of global warming is easy to understand.  It is the one inconvenient truth that completely exposes their theory as false.  Why this fact would be ignored by those who do not adhere to the global warming propaganda is harder to understand.  Maybe it is not being ignored and I have simply not seen anyone else who presents this fact.  Unlike the government, I am not omniscient.  Are you ready?  Here is the one truth that exposes the theory of global warming for what it is, an erroneous theory:
Man-made global warming is predicated upon the scientific fact that "greenhouse gases" raise the ambient temperature of the air in which they are found when that air mass is exposed to solar radiation.  The relationship, and this is hugely important, between the temperature of the air mass and the presence of greenhouse gases is direct.   In other words, more greenhouse gas produces higher temperatures.  Less greenhouse gas produces lower temperatures.  It is never the case that, in a controlled experiment, the presence of more greenhouse gas will result in a reduction of air temperature.  Conversely, it is never the case that, in a controlled experiment, a reduction of green house gas will result in a higher temperature of the air.  This observation is highly significant for the theory of man caused global warming.
As you all probably know, carbon dioxide is the greenhouse gas of choice for global warming alarmists.  They study the presence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and produce graphs showing how, as the level of CO2 has increased, so has the average temperature of the air that encircles the globe increased.  I have copied two of their graphs below.  The first graph shows the level of CO2 in the atmosphere, measured in parts per million, for every year since 1900.  Notice how the curve is exponential.  If the theory of global warming is correct and there is a direct correlation between carbon dioxide and the temperature of the earth, the graph for the temperature of the earth should look pretty much the same.  Remember, it is not possible for the amount of CO2 in a closed system to rise and, at the same time, for that closed system to experience any decline in temperature.  If CO2 rises the temperature always rises.  A decrease in air temperature simultaneous with an increase in CO2 concentrations never happens in any scientific experiment and it should never happen in the real world if the proponents of anthropocentric global warming are correct.


Below you will find a graph, from NOAA no less, on the average temperature of the US for the same period of time shown for the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.  This graph shows many things.  First, it shows a "trend" from 1895 to the present in which the temperature of the earth has risen.  Second, it shows a "trend" from 2000 to the present in which the temperature of the earth has cooled.  Third, it does not show anything like what we would expect if the correlation between CO2 concentrations and global temperatures is direct.  CO2 concentrations were increasing rapidly during the period from 1950 to 1970 yet the clear trend for average temperature was decidedly lower.  How can that be if the correlation between CO2 and air temperature is direct?  The answer is simple, the correlation between CO2 and global air temperatures in the real world is not direct.  In fact, it is quite obvious from any comparison of the two graphs that CO2 and global temperatures do not correlate at all. 
It is true that in a closed system with no other variables the presence of CO2 and solar radiation will result in an increase in the temperature of the air within that system.  The more CO2, the more the temperature will increase.  But the earth is not a closed system.  There are millions of variables affecting temperature, many of which we are completely ignorant.  If it were also true that CO2 is responsible for global warming of the earth and if CO2 is constantly increasing, there would be no periods during which the air temperature would decline.  None.  How do you explain the huge drop in temperature from 2012 to 2013 if CO2 actually increased during that period?  You can't.  The only reasonable and scientifically honest conclusion that can be drawn after comparing the two graphs is that CO2 has little to no influence upon global temperatures.  Still, I do not expect honesty from the mouths and minds of global warming alarmists.  Their real goal is the expansion of the government and the elimination or strict control of all profit-seeking business enterprises.  To confuse them with the facts only gets in the way of their true agenda.  So my observations here, if read by more than the two or three people who read this blog each day, will be quickly dismissed. 


Contiguous U.S. Temperature, January-December, since 1895

Three Absurd Punishments For Three Non Offenses

I heard three stories yesterday that made me pause and scratch my head in bewilderment.  I scratch my head in bewilderment a lot these days.  That may explain why so little hair resides up there.  The three stories I heard are all typical of life in the Socialist Democracy of Amerika today.  Things have changed so much in such a short period of time that I constantly find myself being surprised by the strange things that happen to us at the hands of our rulers.  Let me tell you the three stories.  See if you agree with me that life in the SDA is more akin to life in a police state than life in a society of free men.
The first story is so commonplace today it has become routine.  We hardly even notice stories like this   anymore.  It turns out a ten year old boy attending a government school suddenly did something that ten year old boys constantly do.  While dutifully sitting in his classroom and with no prior warning that he was about to commit an almost unforgivable offense, he raised his hand and pretended that it was a gun.  None of his fellow students witnessed his horrible crime.  Only his teacher saw what he had done.  She immediately reported his transgression to the principal.  The principal immediately suspended the boy for three days.  The suspension was justified because the school had adopted a "zero tolerance" policy in regards to all violence and all simulated violence.  Why the mere act of pretending to hold a gun should be deemed an act of simulated violence was not explained.  I wonder what the punishment is for a second offense?  Does incarceration follow?  (Come to think of it, being forced to attend government school is a form of incarceration.  Maybe this kid is pretending to carry a gun to get out of jail.)  When this boy returns to school he had better place both of his hands in casts.  That will prevent him from ever again being able to pretend that he is carrying a gun while on government property. 
The second story is about a man in Philadelphia who fired a real gun into the air.  He fired the gun into the air in his neighborhood.  People live around him.  It was possible that the projectile that he shot skyward could descend and strike a person and do physical harm to that person.  Shooting guns into the air with people around you is not a wise or prudent behavior to engage in but it is not criminal unless some negative outcome actually takes place.  In this case the bullet fell harmlessly to the ground and nobody was harmed.  Did that matter to the gun carrying thugs who wear nice costumes with shiny badges on them?  Did that matter to the government agents who enforce absurd government rules upon hapless citizens?  Of course not.  The government prosecutor argued that the man committed a "potentially lethal offense" and that he should be imprisoned for his action that resulted in harm to no one.  The man was sentenced to 20 years in prison yesterday.  He harmed nobody.  He will spend the next twenty years of his life in a government prison cell.  Where is the justice in that?  It all makes me wonder....what is a "potentially lethal" action?  Every time I get in my car and drive down the road I am committing a potentially lethal action.  Every time I engage in any physical activity in the presence of other human beings I am engaging in potentially lethal actions.  Should I be arrested and incarcerated for twenty years for driving my car or chopping some wood?  After all, far more people are killed by cars and flying ax heads than bullets raining down from the sky.
My third story involves a friend of mine who decided he wanted to purchase a new baseball cap.  He decided to go down to his local Wal-Mart to buy one.  Being a frugal fellow, he hopped on his motor scooter and headed off to Wal-Mart.  He found a suitable cap and got back on his scooter to return home.  While driving along the major highway in his town his cap suddenly blew off in a gust of wind.  He pulled to the side of the road and jay-walked to the center median to retrieve his cap.  While doing so he found himself being observed by an officer of the rules, wearing a nice costume with a shiny badge and a gun on his hip while sitting in his taxpayer financed squad car.  My friend immediately thought he was about to get ticketed for jay-walking but decided to play it cool.  He jay-walked back to his scooter, got on it and proceeded homeward.  He looked in his rear view mirror and noticed the cop was following him.  Now this is where things get really interesting.
My friend pulled off the main highway onto a residential street that would take him to his home.  As he was driving up the residential side street he noticed that the cop had pulled up behind him.  As he came to a "Stop" sign the cop suddenly turned on his flashers.  Since my friend lives a mere one house away from the "Stop" sign, he made a right turn and proceeded one house down to his residence.  The cop suddenly felt threatened, went ballistic and called for reinforcements.  In a matter of minutes the street was crawling with squad cars and cops equipped with SWAT gear.  My friend was not aware any of this was happening.  He drove up to his house, opened his garage door and parked his scooter in the garage.  He sat down to await the cop and to find out why he was being pulled over.  The next thing he knew he was being ordered to the ground while cops encircled his property and invaded his home.  They searched his home, without a warrant and without finding anything that they were apparently looking for.  The cop claimed to have the authority to search his home without a warrant because he was fleeing arrest.  He was then arrested and charged with "fleeing arrest."  What he was going to be arrested for prior to allegedly fleeing was never defined. 
He just had his day in court.  "Fleeing arrest" is a felony charge.  He was told he could plead guilty to "attempting to flee arrest" and have the charge reduced to a misdemeanor.  He did.  He was found guilty of attempting to flee arrest and sentenced to many hours of "community service", whatever that is.
I am very confused about his conviction.  I understand what it means to flee from being arrested.  I do that all the time.  What I don't understand is how a person can be guilty of "attempting" to flee from being arrested.  If he had attempted to flee from being arrested how could he have actually been arrested?  The only way that could be true is if he failed at his attempt to flee from arrest in which case he was clearly not actually attempting to flee from arrest.  All of this logic was lost on the Judge who had little patience for his explanation about what had actually happened.  The cop who arrested him testified to the Judge that my friend was doing "60 miles per hour on the residential side street" and that was why he had turned on his flashers to pull him over.  He was not ticketed for speeding.   I have seen the motor scooter my friend was riding.  It could not reach 60 mph if it was shot out of a rocket launcher.  He was going uphill.  I can jog faster than that scooter can go uphill.  None of this mattered.  A brave man in blue was telling an equally heroic woman in black that my friend was a notorious felon because he went to Wal-Mart to buy a baseball cap.  As a result my friend finds himself spending his weekends working at the local Goodwill store.
These three stories are just three slices of life in the SDA.  They are not unusual in any way.  They describe events that we have all become accustomed to witnessing.  Few of us care anymore when these things happen.  The temperature of the water in the pot in which we are all sitting keeps going up and nobody is noticing it.  It won't be long until we are all nicely boiling.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Obamacare: A Good Reason To Quit Your Job

A couple of weeks ago the CBO analyzed the expected consequences of Obamacare to employment in this country and came to a conclusion that was both shocking and utterly predictable.  To the surprise of no one with a brain and a lick of sense, Obamacare creates a perverse set of incentives that will do economic harm to the Socialist Democracy of Amerika.  A fellow by the name of Mark Hendrickson (see the entire story by clicking his name), of Grove City College, wrote a piece for forbes.com that describes the ridiculous situation we find ourselves in today.  I quote his article at length below:
"The Congressional Budget Office’s recent analysis of the Affordable Care Act concludes that it will result in the equivalent of 2.3 million full-time workers leaving the work force to preserve their taxpayer-financed subsidies for health insurance....What is remarkable about the all-too-predictable loss of jobs resulting from Obamacare is the administration’s response. Jason Furman, the chairman of the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, tried to spin the projected net reduction in productive labor as a positive. He said, 'This is not businesses cutting back on jobs, this is people having new choices they didn’t use to have.' Team Obama’s attitude seems to be that it’s bad for society when businesses reduce jobs in the face of increased cost burdens—as if the primary reason businesses exist is to 'give' somebody a job rather than to produce wealth and serve consumer needs—but it’s good for society if individuals cut back their work hours and increasingly live on government support. Note the double standard: If businesses respond to Obamacare’s disincentives to employ people by reducing employment, that’s bad (and the IRS, without statutory authority, will play the grand inquisitor, and demand to know if Obamacare was the reason they cut employees’ jobs or workweeks) but if individuals respond to Obamacare’s disincentives to work by reducing their hours of work to qualify for larger government subsidies, that’s good....This administration’s desire to make it easier for people not to work and to live at taxpayer expense makes no economic sense. It reduces the amount of wealth produced and keeps people from ascending the ladder of individual economic progress. Politically, though, it makes a lot of sense to Obama and his progressive allies. By continually increasing the number of citizens economically dependent on the political process, Obama comes that much closer to achieving and securing a permanent Democratic majority over an increasingly shrinking productive sector." 
So let me get this straight.  Obamacare is likely going to result in the full time unemployment of 2.3 million people who are presently employed full time and King Obama believes this to be a good thing?  Only a King steeped in Orwellian traditions could come up with justifications for his health care plan like those being touted by the King's mouthpieces.  Jason Furman, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers to the King, tells us that putting 2.3 million people out of work is a good thing because those people were purportedly only continuing to work in order to keep their health insurance policies.  Now that they can force their neighbors who continue to work to pay the premiums for their policies. They have made the sudden and completely rational decision to stop working and let someone else pay their bills.  I would love to see how many of the 2.3 million people who decide to quit working take up new careers as artists, musicians and actors who can't make a penny doing what they allegedly love to do.  My guess is that most of them will also apply for unemployment benefits in order to allow them to remain permanently unemployed.  Many of them will no doubt suddenly contract some sort of disability that will allow them to collect another government check.  Those close enough to retirement age can also get social security.  What a deal.  If a guy plays his cards right he can retire and get three or four government checks a month.  It is downright scary to realize that the King's number one economic adviser, the guy who is supposed to know the most about how an economy works, would consider all of this to be good for the SDA economy. 
Hendrickson's analysis of the hypocritical contradiction in the results of Obamacare is spot on.  Many businesses have been forced to lay off employees and convert other employees to part-time status in order to be able to stay in business and comply with the onerous provisions of Obamacare.  Our King routinely declares such activity to be immoral and threatens profit seeking businesses that behave in that fashion with further government penalties.  On the other hand, when those same people decide to cut back their hours or quit outright in order to get greater subsidies from Obamacare, they are hailed as heroes who can now channel their abundant energies into socially beneficial activities that don't have to make a profit to continue to exist.  When profit seeking businesses do the exact same thing that people responding to government incentives do, namely laying off employees, they are considered to be evil.  When those same people end up unemployed as a result of their response to government incentives, namely deciding to not work, they are beacons of moral behavior.  Something is desperately wrong with this situation. 
Hendrickson's conclusion is what I have been writing in this blog for the past two years.  The SDA is rapidly becoming a country in which the 49% work for the 51%.  King Obama provides more and more reasons why we should not work.  He creates more and more programs that pay people to not work.  Those on the lower income scales are happy to oblige him and take the government checks they are told they are entitled to receive.  All the while the entire process is steeped in a constant litany of socialist propaganda designed to convince us that rich people are evil, income inequality is a bad thing and government is the source of all things good and pure.  Combine the efforts of the career politicians with the natural sinful nature of men and we have a perfect prescription for class envy and perpetual economic warfare.  
This entire process really bothers me because I am in the lower 51% of the income population.  But, unlike my fellow 51 percenters, I am not riddled with envy.  I do not want government to steal from my neighbor and transfer that money to me.  I want to be left alone.  I do not want to be an accessory to thievery.   On the other hand, the more I think about it the more attractive those government checks start to look.  Why should I knock myself out cleaning toilets for rich people when I can make almost as much money sitting at home writing the great SDA novel that will never get published?  Why should I strive to get into the upper 49% of the income population when my reward for doing so is having more of my income confiscated and given to the people I used to rub elbows with?  Yep, I think I just might retire.  Florida is looking pretty good to me right now.

Obama's War On Christian Families

Government is a beast.  More precisely from a biblical perspective, government is the Beast.  It has only one goal and that is total domination of all the peoples of the world.  It does not matter what form the government takes.  It can be a communist dictatorship.  It can be a constitutional republic.  It can be a socialist democracy.  It really does not matter what form government comes in.  It is inevitable that government, or the State, will eventually conqueror the other two covenantal institutions that exist in this world.  Those two institutions are the Church and the Family.  It is not my purpose to describe how government and career politicians persecute the Church in today's post to this blog.  Today I want to describe how the State subjugates the Family as well.
I did not read the article but a friend told me that the Supreme Court of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika refused to hear the case of the German Christian family that had sought asylum in the SDA and was now to be deported back to Germany at the behest of our own King Obama.  Maybe you know the story.  One of the untold truths about the European Union is that it mandates government school attendance for all children.  Not only does it mandate that all children attend government school, any father or mother who decides to ignore that mandate and educate their children at home is arrested and imprisoned.  Any family that dares to contradict the supreme commander of the State will find itself in dire circumstances.  The children will be kidnapped by the government and given to another family that will toe the government's line on compulsory statist education.  The clear message being declared to the cowering masses is that children are the sole property of the State.  Families may keep children only as long as they do precisely what the State orders them to do. The government will force you to bear the financial burden of raising those children but in the final analysis the children belong to the government. 
God has an opinion on this matter.  He says that children belong to the family, not the state.  He says that the responsibility for educating children lies with their parents, not with taxpayer financed government school teachers.  He says that any man-made law dictating that children can be forcibly removed from their families because the parents refuse to obey the law of the land in regards to the education of their children is immoral.  Pagans are free to send their kids to government schools where they will find their authority undermined and their children indoctrinated into the ways of the idolatrous worship of the State and its career politicians.  That is their business.  Christians, on the other hand, must obey God rather than man.  That is where the problem starts.
A Christian German family with about a half dozen kids was going about its business and homeschooling its children.  The parents were doing their biblical duty and teaching what they consider to be of greatest importance to their children.  The German government could not stand that some uppity family would dare to violate its assertion of authority and ownership over all children who happen to be born in the geo-political zone known as Germany.  The parents were ordered to comply with the law of compulsory government school indoctrination or face the consequences.  They fled to the SDA in search of asylum. What a strange world we live in when the birthplace of Martin Luther ends up driving Christian families out of the country.  After arriving in the SDA King Obama heard about their plight.  He wasted no time entering the fracas.  Our King immediately declared that the Christian family should be deported back to Germany. 
It is a fascinating thing to realize that King Obama disagrees with Russian President Putin on this matter.  For you see, in Russia parents are free to homeschool their children.  The Russian government does not claim to own their children and it does not force them to send their children to Russian government schools for stastist indoctrination.  What a strange irony it is that Christian families would be better off under the political leadership of Putin in Russia than they are under Obama in the SDA.  What a strange irony that Christian families with children in Ukraine would be better off under Russian authority than they would be as members of the EU.  But that is another story.
Obama's minions prepared a brief for the Supreme Court in which he argued that children are the wards and property of the government and government has the moral and legal right to indoctrinate all children in the beliefs and practices of the State regardless of what the parents believe or desire.  Obama won.  The Supreme Court apparently refused to hear the case and the German family will be deported back to Germany where they will face a most unpleasant future.
I wonder....do you think Obama would have deported a gay or lesbian couple back to Russia if they were seeking asylum in the SDA?  Neither do I.  But when a Christian family is seeking asylum there is no place for them at the inn.  It is always open season on Christians.  They have no rights in the SDA.  Gays, lesbians, queers and the transgendered are all welcome to come to the SDA but Christians that do not worship the State need to leave.  
Let's get one thing very clear.  Government has no business intervening in the affairs of any family unless the parents in that family are violating biblical law in regards to their children.  In other words, the state can do nothing to a family unless dad is forcing his children to worship idols, or selling them out as  prostitutes, or beating them to the point of permanent physical impairment for no legitimate reason whatsoever.  Parents are free to teach their children whatever they want.  If I want to teach my kids that the moon is made of green cheese, the earth is flat and was created a couple of weeks ago, the universe revolves around the sun, there is no such thing as bacteria and the way to recovery from illness is to read a good book, I should be free to do so.  Yes, I should be free to do so.  Your opinion does not matter.  In my family I am sovereign, not you.  In my family I am sovereign, not the government. 
If I have twelve children and all twelve of them end up dying because I refuse to follow the dictates of modern medicine and get them inoculated that is my business.  If my kids all get sick and die because I will not use antibiotics that is my business.  The state has no right or authority to interfere if every kid I ever have ends up dying as a result of the practice of my religious beliefs.  I am sovereign over my family and I can do and teach my family members anything I want insofar as I do not violate biblical law.  My kids may grow up to be social misfits who can't find a job because of their complete lack of preparation for the real world but that is my business, not yours.  Leave me alone and let me raise my kids as I see fit.  I will do the same for you.  I promise that I will leave you alone when you make the soul killing decision to send your kids to government schools where they will be trained in the practices of state worship that will eventually, if left unchanged, result in their eternal condemnation.    Your kids are your business, not mine. So how about you promise to leave me alone when I make the soul nurturing decision to keep my kids out of the clutches of the government and raise them as I see fit?  Abortion advocates constantly rail that government should keep its hands off their bodies.  Well I believe that government should keep its hands off my children's bodies, as well as their minds.  Keep government out of the family.

Update:
I had barely finished writing this post when I received an email telling me I was wrong.  I am wrong a lot so that fact did not surprise me.  What did surprise me is what the email said.  I quote it here:
"Less than 48 hours after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear their case, sentencing them to almost certain deportation, the Romeike family has received a reprieve.  The Home School Legal Defense Association confirmed today that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has granted the German homeschooling family 'indefinite deferred status,' allowing them to remain in the United States as long as they want."  So there you have it. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Governor Brewer Is A Freedom-Hating Hypocrite

I was out of town last week.  I managed to catch a few snippets of news while I was gone.  Unfortunately I had the opportunity to see a couple of minutes of a report on CNN that had this scrolling across the bottom of the screen:  "Religious Liberty of a License to Discriminate?"  It doesn't take a political genius to discern the bias of the reporter on this story.  The story was about the alleged need for the Governor of Arizona to veto the bill that had been sent to her desk allowing businessmen to exercise their right to choose who they will serve.  The bill was labeled as being "anti-gay" and clearly pitted the interests of Christians against radical homosexuals.  As usual, the homosexuals won.
Please explain to me why the government should be involved in my personal decisions about whom I might choose to serve.  If I own and operate a business, and I do (I am an independent janitor), why should I be forced to provide janitorial services to people I would prefer to not work for?  Why should the government write a law making it illegal for me to exercise my right to choose whom I might serve?  Why does the government have the right to put its filthy hands all over my body when I am making decisions about who I will serve and who I will exercise my right to choose not to serve?  The answer to these questions is simple.  The government has the right to do this because doing so gives the Republicans an opportunity to win the next presidential election.
The Republicans were stung when Mittens lost the last election.  They also are astute enough to realize that they lost the election because of the division created within their own party by the Tea Party advocates.  Ever since the election was lost the power brokers in the Republican party have been trying to marginalize the Tea Party members and "extend the tent" to cover some of the people who voted Democrat in the last election.  Although homosexuals make up a very small percentage of the voting population, they have a huge number of sympathizers.  The Republicans have made the decision to covet the votes of homosexuals and their sympathizers in the next election.  They believe it to be the only way they can defeat Hillary, who will most certainly win no matter what the hypocritical Republicans decide to do.  Arizona Governor Brewer is a Republican.  She should have signed the legislation that gave Christians the right to refuse to serve people they do not want to serve.  She vetoed the bill to appease the homosexual lobby in what will end up being a vain attempt to win the next presidential election for the Republicans.
Governor Brewer hates freedom.  There is no moral reason that would justify forcing a business owner to conduct business with someone he would rather not.  Just because a person conducts a business with members of the public does not mean the government has the right to make laws to force businessmen to conduct business with politically connected and advantaged lobby groups.  In debates I have seen on the issue the more astute debaters took this issue back to the civil rights movement.  According to them, if the government had the right to force white businessmen to serve black customers the government also has the right to force Christian businessmen to serve homosexual customers.  That argument is 100% logically correct.  It is also wrong.  The error is in the first premise.  The government did not have the right to force white businessmen to serve black customers.  It therefore follows that the government does not have the right to force Christians to serve homosexuals.  The war was lost decades ago when businessmen were forced by government to serve people they would rather not have served.
Go ahead, call me a racist.  It won't be the first time.  This, however, has nothing to do with racism and everything to do with freedom.  My services are my services and I own them.  The government does not own them and has no right to tell me how to use them.  I am free to discriminate in any way I see fit as long as I do not violate the life, freedom or property of my neighbor.  Refusing to serve a homosexual does not violate the life, freedom or property of anyone and I should be free to do so if I wish.  The militant homosexual lobby cries like a bunch of little girls when I say I don't want to serve them.  Homosexuals run screaming to the government to tell it that I have hurt their feelings by refusing to serve them.  Well Boo Hoo.  I don't care.  Grow up.  Get over it.  Try living in the real world where people have legitimate disagreements all the time without hurting each other's feelings and running to the government for protection.  What a bunch of sissies.
Governor Brewer is a hypocrite.  The first newscast I watched when I got home last week had a feature story about two women who have just opened a gym that does not allow male members.  Now wait a minute here!  What is going on?  Why are these two women permitted to discriminate against me, a white male, by refusing to serve my exercise needs?  Why is the Colorado law forcing businesses to serve anyone who wants to be a customer of that business not being enforced here?  The answer to these questions is also very simple.  White males are not a politically protected and favored class, unless they happen to be homosexual white males.  You are free to discriminate against Christian white males all you want and government will turn a blind eye to it.  That, my friends, is hypocrisy and all career politicians and the homosexuals who support them are raving hypocrites. 

Abolish All Copyrights

I was watching the Simpsons last night and saw an episode I had not seen previously.  It was dedicated to showing the absurdity of copyright law.  Homer learned how to illegally download movies over the internet and then began showing those movies in his backyard to neighbors who paid a small fee to see them.  Marge feels guilty about pirating the movies and sends a $12 check to Hollywood to pay for her share of the ticket price as if she had gone to see the movie in a theater.  Hollywood passes the information on to the FBI and Homer soon finds himself in prison for doing nothing more than providing a couple of hours of entertainment to his friends.  Meanwhile, according to the episode, the FBI is not spending any time catching terrorists or serial killers as it focuses its attention almost exclusively upon those horrible people who violate the copyright laws of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika.
A reader of this blog, who happens to be a pastor, sent me a link to a story about how copyright law applies to a preacher's sermon catalog.  According to the law a sermon is the property of the church in which it is preached.  Or, more precisely, a sermon is the property of the church that is paying the preacher to preach it, regardless of where it is preached.  This raises a series of questions.  As this pastor asked, "Does this mean that a minister has to get some sort of legal permission from his own church to preach an old sermon as a visiting preacher -- a sermon that he had preached in his home pulpit?  If a man preaches without notes and says essentially the same thing that he has said before concerning a passage of Scripture in a previous church -- is he violating the 'ownership' of that interpretation or explanation of the scripture 'owned' by the previous church? If a man studies the Book of Revelation thoroughly, and then preaches from his knowledge gained -- can he use that knowledge in preaching from the Book of Revelation in another church?  Or does the 'original' church 'own' that knowledge even though it is in the memory of the preacher?"
His questions dramatically illustrate the bizarre nature of copyright law.  By attempting to control the free dissemination of ideas in the public square the federal government has created a Pandora's box that is rife with self-contradictions and absurd incentives with respect to those ideas.  It is impossible to control the free use and dissemination of the ideas that exist in the public domain, despite the best efforts of the jack-booted thugs employed by government who attempt to do so.  Copyright law is a creation of government in which it attempts to exercise attributes of deity over its subjects by claiming the ability to generate a protected income stream from something the original author of the work no longer owns.  That is economically impossible to do.  Let's consider the purpose of the copyright for a moment.
If I post a column to this blog I am putting up my ideas about something for everyone to read.  The government says that I can merely assert that I "copyright" the blog post and it is no longer legal for you to do anything with it other than read it.  The alleged moral basis for this immoral law is that I have created something and I deserve monopoly profits from my creation as well as the right to control the future use of the thing that I have created.  In essence the government is trying to force a monopoly upon the market that allows me to profit at everyone else's expense.  That is immoral.
In a free society I lose the ability to control something I have created the moment I sell it to someone or place it into the public domain.  If I write and perform a song it belongs to me.  If I record my performance and post it on You Tube it no longer belongs to me.  I have placed it into the public domain and anyone who wishes to download it can own a copy of what was previously my song.  If that person chooses to make copies of my song and sell those copies to someone else, that is his business.  If he can do so successfully, good for him.  The point is, I have no moral right to control anything that I produce that I voluntarily put into the public domain.  Once my product is in the public domain it no longer belongs to me.  If I do not want others to use or have my product, I should keep it to myself. 
I can just hear the screams coming from the two or three people who might read this blog.  How can I possibly believe it is a moral thing to argue for no copyright "protection" of any sort.  Why should an artist be punished by the free market by having his artistic endeavors "stolen" by people who violate copyright law?  The answer is simple.  What is mine is mine until it is no longer mine.  When I give something that I made to someone else, whether as a gift or in exchange for money, it is no longer mine and I have no right to control how it is used.  If I do not want my product to be used in a particular fashion, I should not sell or give it to anyone.  If I do sell or give my product to someone else I give up all rights to control how that good will be used by others in the future.  That is called being free.  That is called freedom.  Not surprisingly, freedom is hated by most citizens of the SDA.
Common sense should tell us that all attempts to create monopoly power are immoral.  All copyright law, as well as patent law by the way, is immoral.  It is nothing more than an attempt to force others to do my bidding simply because they happen to own something that I have created.  I have no claim over you simply because you have purchased something I have made.  I have no right to tell you how to use what you have purchased from me.  Let's cast off the shackles of monopoly power and behave as free adults.  Let's abolish all copyrights.