San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Friday, December 19, 2014

Oil, Rocks And Trees

Environmentalists have been very successful at waging a propaganda war against free market capitalism.  If my experience corresponds in any way with the reality of life in the Socialist Democracy of Amerika, most of the citizens of this sad and sinful land are committed to the belief that free markets are immoral.  In conjunction with the belief that people freely producing goods and then trading those goods among themselves is immoral, is the belief that only civil government is able to provide the necessities of life in a morally acceptable fashion.  The fact that government is incapable of producing anything, and only capable of redistributing the goods that have been previously produced by the free market, is lost on those who religiously adhere to the tenets of environmentalism. 
Donald Miklick of Denver wrote a letter to the editor of the Denver Post last week in which he offered his opinion on a local debate about the relative merits of the University of Colorado's trust fund investments in oil and gas producing companies.  A previous letter writer had extolled the economic value of the drilling and pumping companies but Mr. Miklick was not convinced.  He wrote, "I do not doubt the accuracy of the benefits Giehl claims, but they are irrelevant.  The students do not say these investments are unprofitable.  Rather, because good solid science has now unequivocally shown that the burning of fossil fuels is damaging the biosphere, these profits are immoral."  And there you have it.  According to Donald, any and all profits derived from oil and gas operations are immoral because they "damage the biosphere", whatever that means.  Let's consider that for a while today.
Donald's comments are an easy mark for a diatribe against the stupidity of the theory of global warming.  Global warming was clearly on Donald's mind as he wrote his letter.  But I am not going to pursue that angle today.  I am not interested in proving that Donald's "solid science" consists of nothing more than a bunch of people being paid by the government discovering the one thing that will preserve their jobs and their pensions.  I am more concerned with Donald's view of the free market.  Although the free market as it exists in this country is a mammoth beast encompassing an uncountable number of avenues for the creation of new goods and services, the core of the free market is itself an amazingly simple thing to comprehend.  Practically everything that you see in your life is the by product of human labor being applied to just three basic elements.  Those three basic elements are oil, rocks and trees.
I am typing this blog post using a key board that was made from oil.  The keystrokes carry an electronic impulse to my computer screen via a wire that was made from a rock.  The wire is encased in a sheath that was made from oil.  I watch the progress of my writing on a scree that was made from a combination of rocks and oil.  The chair I am sitting in rolls on casters made from rocks.  The support structures of the chair are made from oil, as is the material that covers the chair and upon which I sit.  My computer sits upon a desk made from trees.  While I sit here typing away I notice that my room is warm.  It is made warm by the burning of an oil by-product in a machine standing in my basement.  The machine is made mostly of rocks.  The room in which I sit is a part of my home.  My home is constructed from trees and covered with shingles made from oil.  The foundation is made from rocks.  My plumbing comes from oil.  My electricity comes from rocks.  My flooring comes from trees, as does my cabinetry.  My carpet comes from oil and my counter tops are pure rock. 
I grew tired of all the sitting I was doing so I went to the store this morning to purchase a delicious cream filled long john.  As far as I can figure it out,  long johns are not made from oil, rocks or trees.  Still, they are very tasty.  I got into my car, unlocking the door with a key made from rocks and oil.  I settled into the seat of my car, made from oil, and put my hands on the steering wheel, also made from oil.  I fired up the engine and reached for the gear shift.  The gear shift is made from a combination of oil and rocks and connects to a gear box made from rocks.  I started down the road on the way to the doughnut shop, cruising smoothly on four tires made from oil while the engine hummed along, lubricated with oil.  The street I drove along was made from oil and rocks.  The traffic light I stopped for was made from rocks.  The front door to the doughnut shop was also made from rocks.
Because of the excessive number of calories I have consumed today I will be going to the gym this afternoon for a workout.  My gym is filled with weight machines all of which are made from rocks.  The carpet in the gym is made from oil.  The televisions suspended from the ceiling of the gym are made from rocks.  The mirrors along the wall of the weight room, where the pretty boys love to admire their guns, is made from rocks.  The paper towels I use to wipe up the sweat after my workout are made from trees.  The people who man the front desk at my gym are humans, as far as I can tell. 
Are you getting the point yet?  No?  Let me tell you some more.  A new Dunkin Donuts store is being constructed a couple of miles from my home.  The framing is up.  Trees were used to frame the store.  Behind the store is a new apartment complex, being constructed with trees.  I noticed that one roof had received numerous bundles of shingles, all made from oil.  The sun was coming up while I was gazing upon the future Dunkin Donut store so I put on my sunglasses.  The sunglasses were made from a combination of oil and rocks.  I turned on my CD player as I drove home.  It is made of oil and it plays CDs made of oil as well.  Being a novice coffee drinker I inadvertently spilled some on my lap when I hit a bump in the road.  The coffee hit my pants, which are made of oil and rocks.  I cursed the cup, rather than its holder, for allowing the coffee to spill out.  The cup was made of oil.  I pressed the button that causes my window to roll down, the button is made of oil and the window is made from rocks, and I cast the offending cup onto the street.  The ticket that I received for littering from the costume-clad government agent shortly thereafter was made from trees.  The ink on it was made from oil. The pad that allowed me to sign it without tearing a hole in the paper was made from rocks.
Where has this superabundance of materials goods come from?  Just look around your house.  Just look around your town. Allow yourself to contemplate the things that you see that man has made.  Look at the homes, the stores, and the buildings that surround you.  Look at the things inside your home, the electronics, the furnishings, and the decor.  If you ever have a chance, as I do, to hike to a high place looking out over a town or a city, do it.  Stop and look. Contemplate the reality that is the free market.  Consider that the free market is solely responsible for everything you see before you.  It is an amazing and marvelous miracle (not the supernatural kind) to realize just how much man has accomplished by simply applying his labor to oil, rocks and trees. 
Now turn your attention to the religion of environmentalism and government worship.  What are three of the most hated demons in the environmentalist pantheon?  You guess it.  Oil, rocks and trees.  Think about if for a moment.  What are environmentalist preachers always decrying as the greatest examples of sinfulness in our world today?  We are told that evil businessmen are raping and pillaging the earth by clear cutting old growth forests for profit.  There go the trees.  We are told that evil businessmen are raping and pillaging the earth by strip mining for rocks for profit.  There goes the rocks.  And we are told that evil businessmen are raping and pillaging the earth by drilling for oil.  There goes the oil.  It is not a coincidence that government loving, God hating environmentalists viciously attack the three pillars of capital creation.  It is not an accident that environmentalists seek to use government to create laws to forbid the extraction and use of oil, rocks and trees in capital creation. 
Donald, the man who wrote the letter to the editor, believes that all profits derived from oil production are necessarily immoral.  In this case he is in lock step with his fellow believers in the religion of environmentalism.  To be consistent he should also believe that all profits derived from the use of rocks and trees are also immoral.  I don't know if he believes that or not, but he should.  Certainly many of his fellow believers adhere to that doctrine.  Regardless, Donald is at least forced to the logically necessary conclusion that all goods produced or derived from the immoral oil must also be immoral.  It is not possible to begin with an immoral entity, develop that entity, sell it to others at a profit and end up with something that is morally pure.  Does Donald have any idea how many of the things he owns and uses every single day exist only because of oil?  I wonder if Donald has a computer?  A car?  A bicycle?  Clothing made from nylon or rayon or spandex?  I wonder if he drinks bottled water? I could go on forever here but I won't.  Donald is a serious hypocrite.  All environmentalists are serious hypocrites.  They need to shut their mouths and leave the serious work of exercising dominion over God's creation to those of us who love our fellow man and who prove our love for our fellow man by pursuing the profits that can be derived from selling that which we produce.  Man hating, God hating, government loving idiots need not apply.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

It Is Official...Evangelicals Love Torture

The Washington Post just finished tabulating the results of a poll about torture.  Respondents were divided into 21 different demographic categories and then ranked according to how enthusiastic they were about torturing their fellow human beings.  The final results contained some surprising revelations about the propensity of different groups to enjoy inflicting torture upon other members of the human race.  Not surprising was the fact that the group most in favor of using torture was Conservative Republicans, where the Post found that 72% of them think inflicting pain on citizens of other countries is a pretty good idea.  On the heels of that group, with a 71% torture approval rating, were those who called themselves simple Republicans.  What happened next might surprise you.  Or, then again, maybe it won't.
Third on the list of those groups of citizens in the Socialist Democracy of Amerika who would support the use of torture of foreign nationals was White Evangelical Protestants.  69% of Evangelicals believe that torture is biblically permissible.  Remember that an Evangelical is, by definition, a Christian who professes to believe that the Bible is his sole guide for life.  Anything that an Evangelical presumably believes in can theoretically be found somewhere in biblical teaching.  Only 11% of Evangelicals said that torture is never justified.  That means 89% of professing Bible believers, who happen to be white, believe that God thinks torture is a good thing to do under certain circumstances. 
In a rather stark contrast to Evangelicals, people who profess to have "no religion" were in favor of the use of torture much less frequently.  Only 30% of those who do not believe the Bible thought that torture should be used as a part of our foreign relations.  A full 32% of them believe that torture is never right.  The non-religious people were only eclipsed by the Liberal Democrats where we find that 33% of them believe that torture is always wrong.  I can conclude from the survey that Evangelicals are the group that is third most prone to use torture whereas those who reject the teachings of evangelical Christianity are the second least likely to advocate the use of torture.  All of this raises a question in my mind.  What does God think about the use of torture?
Clearly most people who believe the Bible is the Word of God think that God endorses the practice of torture.  Equally as clear is the fact that most people who do not believe that the Bible is the Word of God think that God does not endorse the use of torture.  Does the Word of God say anything about torture and, if so, what does it say?
God believes in torture.  That much we can say with absolute certainty.  How do we know this?  Because He Himself will torture a great many people for eternity.  The word used in the Bible is "torment" instead of our word "torture" but it means the same thing.  Those whom God has designated as reprobate will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire in a state of perpetual torture.  So if we are asking the simple question if God endorses the use of torture the answer must be a resounding yes.  But the question is not quite that simple.
Why does God torture the reprobate?  That answer is also simple.  God tortures the reprobate as a judicial punishment for their refusal to acknowledge Him as God and give Him the worship that He is due.  In addition, He tortures them as punishment for all of their evil deeds, which is every deed performed throughout each reprobate's life.  Some reprobates committed more evil deeds than others but no reprobate ever performed a morally good deed.  As a result, all reprobates will be tortured in the Lake of Fire by a morally perfect God for eternity.  But note, God's torture is a punishment for sin, not a means to extract dubious information from an enemy combatant.  To use the fact that God will torture some men as proof for the argument that we can use torture to extract dubious information from foreign citizens is a different matter entirely.
Does God have an opinion about using torture to extract information from enemy combatants?  I think that He does.  The answer, however, is not what you think it might be.  If torture is going to be morally permissible it must first be within the context of a morally permissible war.  In other words, if torture is ever going to be morally proper, and at this point I am not saying that it is,  it must first occur within the context of a biblically justifiable war.  So the first question that must be asked is this, is the war in which the torture is taking place biblically justifiable?  I have written on this topic previously.  You can find the post here.  In that post I concluded that neither the Vietnam war, the Iraq I war, the Afghanistan war nor the Iraq II war were morally defensible.  You can read that post for the details but the argument essentially boils down to the fact that a morally permissible war must be defensive in nature.  Any war that is offensive in nature is, by definition, immoral.  This is the "just war" doctrine first expounded by Saint Augustine and often held as a standard of truth throughout the history of orthodox Christianity.  Since all of our recent wars have been wars of imperial conquest, they are all immoral and torture is never justified.  It therefore follows that all of the recent examples of torture are immoral.
Evangelicals will disagree with me at this point.  They will scream at the top of their lungs that it was absolutely necessary and consistent with God's revealed will to use torture in order to kill Osama bin Laden.  That is the argument being used by Fox News and other conservative news outlets.  In fact, it seems as if it is the only argument being used in favor of the torture recently committed by the SDA on select foreign nationals.  Let's consider that for a moment.
Osama denied that he was responsible for 9/11.  The FBI, the NSA, the CIA and all of the other alphabet soup intelligence agencies agree that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was the mastermind of the 9/11 events.  If that is true, why was it so important to kill bin Laden?  Indeed, it seems as if the immoral execution of bin Laden was little more than a publicity stunt designed to garner political favor for those who were in power at the time.  Khalid, on the other hand, was captured in Pakistan in 2003 and sent to Gitmo where he suffered through 183 waterboardings.  He is still there.  The alleged purpose of the waterboarding tortures was to obtain additional information about Al-Qaeda and its operatives.  Most Evangelicals believe that torturing Khalid was morally correct because he was an enemy combatant and he had information that was necessary to protect the lives of SDA citizens.  Whether that is true remains to be seen.  He certainly did not provide the SDA with any relevant information about Osama's whereabouts as Osama wasn't found until many years later.  And although he confessed, under torture, to every crime the SDA wanted to pin on him, he provided no information about future attacks on the SDA and there is no evidence whatsoever that any of the information obtained from him via torture was in any way instrumental in preventing even one Amerikan death.  Additionally, it is impossible to argue that any of the information provided by him was instrumental in preventing any additional assaults on Amerikan property.  It would therefore seem quite difficult to argue that torturing Khalid could in any way be construed as a defensive military action utilized during a biblically justified war time situation. 
There is one issue the Evangelicals refuse to consider.  Al-Qaeda is not a country. It is essentially a club, or group of people united under a common purpose.  It exists in many different countries around the world.  As such it is not much different than the Black Panthers, the Black Liberation Army, the Earth Liberation Front or the Symbionese Liberation Army.  These were all "domestic terrorist" organizations that have operated in our past.  Interestingly, the SDA government did not declare war on itself when it set out to eradicate these groups.  On the contrary, it treated them as groups of people subject to the law of the land and went after them by means of a police action rather than a military action.  This historical reality raises an interesting question for SDA citizens in favor of torture.  How did the military attacks upon Iraq and Afghanistan have anything to do with attempting to bring members of Al-Qaeda to justice for the attack on 9/11?  Furthermore, if the scope of the action against Al-Qaeda really is a police action and not a military one, how do you justify using torture in a criminal proceeding? 
The SDA war against Iraq is immoral and all parts of it, including torture, are immoral.  The SDA war against the Taliban in Afghanistan is immoral and all parts of it, including torture, are immoral.  The SDA execution of Osama bin Laden, an alleged criminal, without a trial was immoral.  The SDA torture of Khalid, another alleged criminal, was immoral.  Indeed, I believe a strong biblical case can be made that there is no set of circumstances under which torture is morally justifiable.  This would include the situation where a war is biblically justified and an enemy combatant has been captured who might have information of value to the SDA.  The enemy should be killed, not tortured.  Prior to being killed the enemy could be given the opportunity to give up any information he might want to but he cannot be tortured in order to obtain information of dubious veracity.  During times of war there are no trials and there are no interrogations.  There are also no prisoners.  If a person is an enemy combatant he should be killed, immediately.  There are things that are worse than death and torture is one of them.  No human being has the right to inflict torment upon another human being at any time or for any reason.
So why do Evangelicals find themselves so enamored with torture?  The answer is a theological one so you might want to check out now.  Evangelicals love torture because the evangelical Church in the SDA is a powerful manifestation of the False Prophet found in Revelation.  The False Prophet exists to magnify the glory of the Beast, which is the SDA government and military machine.  Evangelicals love torture because the False Prophet loves the Beast and encourages all people to bow down and worship before the creature that no one can wage war against.  The Beast uses torture to extend its power and sphere of influence so the False Prophet thoroughly supports the use of torture.  It is really that simple and it is really that wrong.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Obeying A Lawful Order

I have been thinking about orders recently.  Not the good kind of orders but the bad kind.  I think we all know what the good kind of orders are.  When I ring up Pizza Hut and order a large supreme pizza, that is an example of a good order.  When you go to your favorite restaurant and the waiter asks if he can take your order, we have another example of a good order.  Those types of orders are issued by people who want to buy something from someone else and they are never associated with force of any type.  If the person on the receiving end of the order can't deliver the goods the person issuing the order will simply walk away and take his business elsewhere.  Nobody gets hurt.  The types of orders I am thinking about today are the ones that have been in the news recently as talking heads have repeatedly said something like, "so and so refused to follow a lawful order, so he was gunned down by cops who felt threatened by that fact."  These are orders that always have coercion associated with them.  These are orders that do not end with both parties walking away satisfied from the meeting.  In fact, these days, it seems to be the case that one of the parties to these types of meetings is unable to walk away after the order has been issued because he is lying on the ground in a pool of blood or writhing in pain with a couple of taser needles sticking out of his body.  Let's think about coercive orders today for a while.
There is a class of people who love to declare that they believe in law and order.  Some individuals are described as being law and order types.  Politicians who are seeking to carve out a career in government will appeal to conservative types by announcing that they believe in law and order.  Not surprisingly, the concept of law and order is never defined.  As a result, those who proclaim to be in favor of law and order could be in favor of anything they want that phrase to mean. Usually that phrase means they want to arrest and incarcerate large segments of the population of the SDA, whether the members of those segments have done anything immoral or not.  The fact that SDA prisons are filled with prisoners who are there exclusively for drug law violations proves my point.  The fact that the SDA imprisons more of its citizens than any other country in the world also proves my point. 
The current United States Code has 51 Titles scattered throughout hundreds of volumes containing thousands of individual laws.  Lawyers have attempted to add up the total number of federal laws in the past but have inevitably given up, announcing that it is an impossible task to accomplish.  The Heritage Foundation announced that there are at least 4,450 federal laws that all citizens are expected to know and obey without question.  It is important to note that the United States Code contains federal laws only and does not include any state or local laws as well as any case law or regulations.  The book that holds all of the federal regulations we are expected to know and comply with now exceeds 170,000 pages in length.  To my knowledge no one has attempted to count the total number of federal regulations. 
Maybe we can get at the issue from another angle.  Just how many people does it take to enforce the laws that we are expected to know and obey?  According to the most recent count that I could find, there are 14,169 agencies that employ 708,569 officers of the law presently enforcing the laws we are expected to know and obey.  Here is where we run into a rather ironic twist in the tale of compliance with lawful orders.  The Supreme Court of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika just rendered a judicial decision (Heien vs North Carolina) in which the justices determined that law enforcement officers may use ignorance of the law to justify their unlawful actions.  You read that right.  When it comes down to the activities of the citizens of the SDA, the courts have consistently held that ignorance of the law is no excuse.  Now, however, when a law enforcement officer engages in an  illlegal action, he may plead that he was ignorant of the law and be freed from legal culpability for his actions.  Apparently what is good for the goose is not good for the gander.  Citizens must comply with the laws they cannot possibly be aware of but the police officers who enforce those unknowable laws need not worry about such trifles when they detain, interrogate and arrest people.
I conclude that, in the SDA, it is impossible to define what law and order means.  I also conclude that if you want to stay alive through any contact with an agent of the state who has the authority to harm you, you had best comply with his orders whether they be lawful or not.  The simple truth is nobody knows whether what the cops are saying is lawful.  The cops don't know, the citizens don't know and even the judges frequently don't know.  All that we do know is that the cops have guns and we do not.  When someone holding a gun tells you to do something, like dance for instance, you had better do it and dance with all of your might.  Can we be far away from the scenario of cops forcing us to all dance for their entertainment, while they fire round after round into the ground near our feet?
Still, my advice about how to handle a confrontation with officers of the SDA law should cause a person of conscience to take pause and object.  Setting aside the obvious threat to my life for noncompliance, why should I be forced to comply with an order from a costume clad government agent simply because he wears the government costume and carries a government issued gun?  Given the fact that nobody knows what the law is these days, why should I be expected to obey what may or may not be a real law?  Moreover, what if the lawful order I have just received is not moral?  Why should I be forced to violate my conscience and obey a command I believe is immoral?  Certainly we must all agree that many of the laws that are currently enforced in the SDA are not moral in nature.  For example, how can it be moral to smoke marijuana in Colorado but not in Kansas, a scant inch or two across the border?  How can it be moral to sell an individual cigarette to a person in New Jersey, but not in New York City, also a scant distance across a geo-political boundary?  If the laws of this land were based upon moral principles then the laws of this land would be uniform. The laws are nowhere near uniform so we must necessarily conclude that the laws of the SDA are whimsical, capricious and oftentimes immoral.  Now let me ask you a question, why should I be forced to comply with a whimsical, capricious and immoral law?
The key word in the concept of obeying a lawful order is "lawful."  Lawful must mean moral.  If it does not  I am under no moral obligation to obey, regardless of what the costumed, gun-toting government agent tells me.  I recognize that debating the morality of a law with a costumed Neanderthal who is pointing a gun in my direction is probably not a good idea if my goal in that situation is to come out alive.  But from the safety and security of my home, while sitting in front of my computer, it is high time we consider such things.  
Eric Garner was breaking the law because the law says that it is illegal to sell individual cigarettes on the streets of New York City.  The law about selling individual cigarettes on the streets of New York City exists to maximize the tax revenues to the city.  It has nothing to do with public health or welfare.  It has nothing to do with eliminating or preventing crime.  It is a pure revenue raiser and nothing else.  It is also an immoral law.  The government does not have the right to impose restrictions upon the free transactions of free individuals that do not involve the trading of immoral goods or services.  When the cops ordered Garner to stop selling cigarettes on the streets of New York City they were issuing an immoral order.  The order they issued was lawful, but not moral.  When he resisted an immoral order he was killed for noncompliance.  Is this the sort of land we want to live in?
Ultimately it does not matter.  It is the land we live in.  Costumed and armed thugs working for the various branches of government may issue orders with absolute legal impunity that you are required to obey under threat of deadly force.  It does not matter if the orders that are issued on the spur of the moment are based upon the law of the land or not.  It also does not matter whether the orders are issued upon a law that  is moral or not, since the enforcers are not required to know the law of the land and they certainly are not expected to know anything about morality.  All that matters is that an order has been issued and you are expected to comply or be harmed.  Law and order types believe this is a good state of affairs.  Because I believe in freedom I am forced to disagree.  But because I want to live the next time a cop orders me to dance I have only one question for him....a jig or a waltz?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Newtown Hypocrites Worship Government

Did you see the report?  According to the Denver Post today, "The families of nine people killed in the Newtown school massacre filed a lawsuit against the maker and sellers of the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle used in the shooting, saying the gun should not have been sold for civilian use because of its overwhelming firepower."  The report went on to say that, "to continue profiting from the sale of AR-15s, defendants chose to disregard the unreasonable risks the rifle posed outside of specialized, highly regulated institutions like the armed forces and law enforcement."  The basic argument of the families filing the lawsuit is that the manufacturers and sellers of the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle "could or should have known" that their gun would be used to kill a human being someday, somewhere, and that that knowledge should have caused them to stop making and selling the rifle.  Now that is an interesting argument, don't you think?
We are all familiar with this type of lawsuit.  They are extremely popular these days, primarily because they work.  Greedy lawyers and the equally greedy people they represent go after profit seeking corporations because they know there is an extreme bias against profit seeking corporations among the citizens of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika.  Stealing money from profit seeking corporations by means of a jury of SDA citizens being presented a series of fabricated legal charges is as easy as stealing candy from a baby.  The plaintiffs all get rich and the cost of their enrichment is born by millions of consumers who have to pay a couple of pennies more for the goods and services they purchase over the next year.  Who notices a couple of extra pennies?  Nobody and the scam works perfectly.
Using the argument of civil negligence because of what someone could or should have known has become quite popular.  In essence the Newtown families are saying that any company that manufactures guns should know in advance that one of their guns will someday be used to kill another human being.  Since they continued to manufacture those guns with the full awareness that one or more of them would one day be used to kill another human being they are guilty of some sort of civil equivalent of accessory to murder.  Then, in a bizarre twist of logic, they allege that the proper remedy for the families of the children who were killed is for them to receive boatloads of cash, even though none of them were actually murdered.  Let's get one thing straight.  If a person murders another person he should be executed and that is the end of the matter.  Giving cash to the families of people who have been murdered makes no sense at all.  Taking cash from the companies that made the guns that were used to kill people is equally senseless.  Let's all admit it, shall we?  This is just another way to punish profit seeking companies and enrich people who desperately want to see themselves as victims of one sort or another.
If the principle of civil liability about how finished goods are used by those who purchase them is to be applied consistently, we open an entire Pandora's box of dilemmas.  Automobile manufacturers know in advance that some of their cars will be used by the people who purchase them to run over and kill SDA citizens.  Why are they not sued into oblivion?  Knife manufacturers know in advance that some of the knives they make will be used by the people who purchase them to stab and kill other SDA citizens.  Why are they not sued into oblivion?  Rope manufacturers make ropes that will be used to strangle people, plastic bag manufacturers make plastic bags they know will be used to suffocate people, candlestick makers make candlesticks they know will be used to crush the skulls of other people; why are none of these businesses sued into oblivion?  Answer:  because they do not manufacture guns.
None of what I have written so far gets to the point I want to make today.  This has all just been an introduction.  In the title to this blog post I accused Newtown citizens of worshiping government.  What I have written so far does not make that case.  So let me make that case now.  The families in Newtown who have filed this suit are alleging that making and selling the Bushmaster rifle to SDA citizens is immoral.  That is the central core of their legal argument.  All profits realized by Bushmaster manufacturers off the sales of their guns are also alleged to be immoral profits.  In general, the families in Newtown want us to believe that gun manufacturers are a very immoral group of people, with one huge exception.
Did you notice the language in the lawsuit?  The families who filed the lawsuit do not want to stop the manufacturing and sale of Bushmaster rifles.  They only want to stop the manufacturing and sales of Bushmaster rifles to citizens of the SDA.  But they want Bushmaster rifles to continue to be made and sold provided the only people buying them are government agents.  Now isn't that fascinating?  The lawsuit alleges that Bushmaster rifles in the hands of civilians pose an "unreasonable risk" whereas the exact same rifle in the hand of a soldier or police officer does not pose an unreasonable risk.  How did they arrive at this conclusion?  They do not say.  The Newtown families believe it is immoral for a profit seeking gun manufacturer to sell guns to citizens but, at the same time, it is highly moral to make and sell the same gun to a government agent.  The only difference between the two examples is who is purchasing the weapon.  In other words, they tacitly admit that the gun itself is morally neutral, which they then turn around and proceed to specifically deny when they file suit against the gun makers.  That is known as a logical contradiction, but they don't see it since they are so blinded by greed.
There is a reason the founding fathers of the United States of America wrote a provision in the Bill of Rights that recognized the God-given right of citizens to arm themselves.  Citizens were allowed to arm themselves to protect themselves from the government agents who would come to deprive them of their lives, freedom and property.  My how things have changed, at least in Newtown.  In Newtown the citizens believe that only government should be allowed to arm itself.  Only government agents should be permitted to have Bushmaster rifles.  Why do they believe this?  Because they believe that government can protect them from homicidal maniacs in the future.  Can government protect them from homicidal maniacs?  Of course not, but they continue to believe that it can because their beliefs are religious in nature.  The hypocritical, immoral and greedy citizens of Newtown actually worship government.  Imagine that.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The "Mindfulness" Deceit

There is a new movement sweeping the country.  It is entitled "Mindfulness" and can be found here.  I would not have known about Mindfulness had I not watched 60 Minutes on the television last night.  I used to watch 60 Minutes faithfully but, for some reason I have not explored, it has been years since I last watched an episode.  Last night I was looking for something to fill the hour between the end of the Bronco game and the beginning of Undercover Boss when 60 Minutes came on.  I was surprised to see the government loving Anderson Cooper featured as one of the segment reporters.  He did a piece on a religious movement that is allegedly sweeping the country these days.  It is called Mindfulness and it caught my attention primarily because it served as a perfect example of what I wrote about in this blog last Friday.  Let me explain.
Last Friday I posted a piece in which I argued that almost every living human being on the face of the earth spends all of his waking hours in obsessive compulsive activities designed to shut out the light of natural revelation.  God says that everyone is aware that He exists and that He is morally perfect.  Furthermore, God says that everyone is aware that they are totally depraved and incapable of pleasing Him in any way, shape or fashion.  These truths, as you might expect, create a significant existential tension in mankind.  All men, according to God, live in perpetual fear of death because they know that after death comes judgement.  Judgement means hell today and the Lake of Fire in the eternal state.   To make matters worse, the Bible goes on to say that all men actively suppress these truths as an act of sinful rebellion against the God who made them. 
Suppressing the truth that is forcing itself into our minds and seen all around us at all times is difficult to do.  The point of my post last Friday is that most men are able to successfully suppress the truth by practicing behaviors that are generally described as being obsessive and compulsive.  Some obsessive compulsive behaviors are rewarded by society (things like sports performance and music creation) and others are condemned by society (things like alcohol consumption and marijuana smoking).  It really does not make any difference whether the OC behaviors are rewarded or punished however.  They all effectively accomplish the goal of shutting out the truth.
Immediately after writing that blog post I was treated to the report by Mr. Cooper.  He claims that he has had a religious experience that has changed his life as a direct result of practicing the principles of Mindfulness.  As near as I could tell the basic principles of Mindfulness are closely related to Buddhism, without most of the religious mumbo-jumbo related to various deities in the Buddhist pantheon.  Anderson filmed himself at a three day Mindfulness conference being conducted by the guru of the movement, a man who's name I have already forgotten.  By the end of the three days he pronounced himself to be a changed man, free of fear and anxiety and ready to go out and meet the world again.  How did this amazing spiritual transformation take place?  Through Mindful meditation.
Mindful meditation consists mostly of sitting quietly for long periods of time and thinking about nothing but one's own respiration.  Cooper pointed out that the entire three days was mostly made up of a long series of half hour sessions in which he sat still and focused exclusively upon his breathing.  During the conference he submitted himself to a brain scan that clearly indicated that he had made tremendous progress at calming himself down and entering into a state of mental and physical relaxation that was the direct result of the bio-feedback loop created by his meditative state.  I do not doubt his accomplishments.  What I doubt is the underlying presuppositions that support the Mindfulness movement.
As I was watching the show it occurred to me that Mindfulness is a perfect example of OC behavior.  The practitioner of Mindfulness is instructed to compulsively obsess upon nothing but his own breathing.  As I argued Friday, it is possible to become extremely tranquil or anxious by obsessively focusing on just one idea.  In this case, by focusing upon a physical action that is directly connected to the relaxation of the body and the mind, the practitioner is able to enter into a state of calm.  Most people chose to obsess on things that make them more anxious simply because the things most people are OC about involve vain attempts to control the behavior of people and things that are outside of their control. People want to control their children or their spouses so they obsess on their behavior.  People want to be free of illness so they obsess upon the condition of their bodies.  These OC behaviors only increase anxiety and lead to another cycle of OC behavior.   Mindfulness, on the other hand,  works precisely because it makes no attempt to control the behavior of anything but oneself.  That is why Mindfulness creates a state of calm rather than a state of anxiety.  Sadly, however, all of this blather misses the point.  Mindfulness does not connect anyone to reality and therefore ends up being utterly useless.
Practicing Mindfulness will relax the person who is practicing it but it will not bring the practitioner to any new information about himself or the world.  It is, after all, an OC activity.  OC activities are, by definition, like anesthetics that will not allow access to truth.  It does not matter, in the long run, how calm and relaxed a person can become by practicing Mindfulness because the end result leaves the practitioner a long way from the truth about God and himself.  In the end Mindfulness is just another Yuppie OC behavior that Yuppies and their ilk use to suppress the truth about God and themselves.  It may make their bodies and minds feel good for a little while but, in the end, their souls are no better off.
Ironically, Mindfulness most closely approximates a Christian behavior that really does work.   Although the Christian doctrine of prayer has been corrupted by evangelical preachers to the point where it is hardly recognizable as a historic Christian doctrine and practice, Christian prayer to the God of the Bible accomplishes all of the things Mindfulness seeks to accomplish, and more.  Christian prayer focuses the mind, body and soul upon the God who really exists.  Prayer is a meditative state that can, and often does, reduce stress and anxiety in the body and mind.  But, unlike Mindfulness, prayer connects the individual to the living God who created him for the purpose of real and genuine personal inter-communication.  Prayer to the God of the Bible is real and connects its practitioners to reality.  That is something Mindfulness deceitfully claims to accomplish but does not.