San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas Health Care Parasites

I just received my health insurance bill in the mail yesterday.  I knew there was going to be a premium increase for 2016 and I was pleasantly surprised to discover it was only around 4%.  I had budgeted a 10% increase so I actually came out a bit ahead on my budget for 2016.  Of course I am still paying double what I was paying for the same deductible and co-payments prior to Obamacare but what am I going to do?  I take comfort in the fact that, thanks to Obamacare,  I now am covered for my many mental illnesses and my eventual and inevitable pregnancy.  My initial happiness at seeing the lower rate of increase in my premium was quickly offset however, as I pulled a special notice out of the envelope containing my bill.  Here is what the notice said:

"Special Fee Assessment for the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange.  Health plans in the state of Colorado are subject to a monthly Special Fee Assessment of $1.80 per subscriber to assist in the funding of the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange as set forth in applicable Colorado insurance regulation 4-2-52.  This fee is in addition to your monthly premiums going forward and is shown as a separate line item on your invoices beginning with your enclosed January premium invoice.  Note:  Please disregard this notice if you have coverage under Medicare.  Medicare plans are not subject to the Special Fee Assessment."

The Colorado Health Benefit Exchange is better known as Obamacare for Colorado.  As is the situation with all states that have adopted Obamacare, the program is losing money as the people who enroll under the coverage spend far more on health care services than they pay in premiums.  As is also the case in all states, the various permutations of Obamacare are already subsidized by taxpayer financed Medicare dollars yet they continue to lose money.  
In 1965 Medicare made up a little less than 1% of the total federal budget.  In 2014 Medicare made up 26% of all federal spending.  In 1965, 23% of the federal budget was spent on non-entitlement spending programs.  By 2014 non-entitlement programs had been reduced to just 6% of total spending, with most of that decrease being attributed to the higher cost of Medicare.  After just one short year Obamacare spending is out of control and career politicians and bureaucrats are searching for alternative sources of income to prop up a flawed and immoral system.  As a result, the responsible and productive among us have to foot the bill for the unproductive and irresponsible.  It is the perfect government system. 
I was unaware of Colorado insurance regulation 4-2-52.  So I went in search of it on the internet.  I discovered that the Colorado legislature had enacted a new law which forces all private health insurance carriers operating within the geo-political boundary known as Colorado to assess a $1.80 tax on each of their subscribers.  That tax is then paid to the state to supplement Obamacare costs.  The law specifically stated that the "fee" is not a "premium" so I am unable to deduct it on my tax return as a medical expense.  The law also was very careful not to call the "fee" a tax, even though it clearly is, once again leaving me unable to deduct it on my tax return.  I wonder what the Supreme Court of Jokers thinks about that state ruling?
Normally I would be incensed by what is happening here.  $43.20 is being stolen from me this year and given to people who are using Obamacare.  Those who are already on the government dole are exempt from the additional tax of course.  Once again I am expected to pay for the freight of the lower 51% of the income population.  But today is Christmas and I am finding it hard to summon up enough moral outrage to go on an extended rant about this disgusting new tax.  So rather than informing the blogosphere that transfer payments are a form of theft for which all who participate in them will be held morally accountable I have decided to take a different path.  I have decided to bless my enemies instead.  Merry Christmas to all you health care parasites.  May you live long and prosper and may you continue to use the democratic process to steal my money to pay your bills.  And, lest I forget, I wish you a happy and healthy new year. 

P.S.
The above diatribe is primarily directed against those folks who like to walk around carrying signs saying things like "Don't Take Away My Healthcare" and "Free Health Care Is A Civil Right."  I realize that some recipients of Obamacare are unwilling participants in the system.   Not everyone is a thief who rejoices in receiving stolen property  You have a financial gun put to your head, in the form of tax penalties for non-compliance, and you purchase your government subsidized policies in order to avoid trouble with the police-state.  In the spirit of Christmas I want you all to know that I forgive you for that act of theft.  And I hope that you will forgive me for the various acts of theft that I am forced to commit against you by the government of this God-hating land as well.  

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Two Effective Means By Which I May Plunder My Neighbor

It is Christmas Eve and I am sitting here pondering the nature of Mr. Scrooge.  Many good economists, generally those not funded by the federal government, have written lengthy essays in defense of Dicken's Scrooge character.  They point out that he is involved in many good deeds as he loans money to credit-worthy individuals who then use those funds to produce goods and services for other people who are willing to purchase them.  As a result of his capitalistic activities hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people are raised out of poverty.  In general I agree with those who believe that Scrooge has been given a bum rap when it comes to his character....almost.
According to the Bible a man should be generous.  God does not specify a particular amount of money that should be given to people in need but the Bible clearly teaches that men who are generous with their money are blessed by God for being so.  There is no sanction for not being generous so I could not bring any charges against Scrooge for his refusal to donate to the local charities but there is still a biblical emphasis upon the importance of being charitable.
Biblical charity is not as the world sees it.  It is not indiscriminate and it is not based upon the simple fact that another human being has a need.  Biblical charity is always to Christians first and it is discriminatory.  The apostle Paul writes that "if a man will not work, neither shall he eat."  Biblical charity never subsidizes laziness or sloth as so much of what passes for charity today does.  On the other hand, the will of God for those fellow believers who are in need is clear.  The apostle John writes, "But whoever has the world's goods and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?"  The answer is, it doesn't.
In contrast to biblical charity is the charity of the world.  The charity of the world is forced upon people by government rules and regulations.  The charity of the world believes there is a collective of people, always called "we" or "us" or "our," that has a moral claim on the money of the top 49% of the income population.  According to the charitable principles of the world system, humble and noble people in the political majority have the moral right and responsibility to steal money from the evil and immoral members of the top 49% and distribute it to those in need, as they define need.  "Need" as it is presently defined includes such things as the need for an abortion, the need for a cell phone, the need for a free college education, the need for free health care services, the need for a free high school education, the need for a free lunch and breakfast in the government school, and so on.  Charity, as it is defined by the political majority, is the transfer of wealth from the evil rich to the noble poor, less 10% for handling by the federal bureaucracy that administers the program.
In the spirit of Christmas I would like to describe two effective means by which you can use the government system to plunder your neighbor, charitably of course.  These two means were enshrined as economic principles by a fellow of the name of Kershner.  Mr. Kershner was brought to my attention in a comment posted to my blog post of December 7th of this year.  It was there, in the comment written by Mr. Motes, that I learned about Kershner's two economic laws.  Let's consider them for a while today.

Kershner’s First Law
“When a self-governing people confer upon their government the power to take from some and give to others, the process will not stop until the last bone of the last taxpayer is picked bare.”

The key phrase in Kershner's First Law is "self-governing people."  Kings, Queens, oligarchs, dictators and other assorted tyrants have always taken from one group to give to another.  The political philosophy behind democracy is the errant belief that if all men are endowed with the ability to govern, by means of the vote, the ability for tyrants to oppress the people will disappear.  The hidden presupposition behind that argument is that all men are basically good in nature.  How many times have we encountered that patently false presupposition in this blog over the past four years?  Let's set the record straight once again. Men are basically evil.  All men are not as evil as they might possibly be but no man is good.  Understanding the basic truth about the depravity of man enabled Kershner to postulate his first law.
Under democracy a "self-governing people confer upon their government" the power to tax.  They do this by means of the vote whereby one politician is selected over another.  Politicians, being even more evil than the rank and file, quickly realized that they could become career politicians if they promised to play Robin Hood once elected.  Voters, being greedy, envy-filled monsters, line up to vote for career politicians who promise to tax the politically unprotected top 49% of the income population.  Both career politicians and voters agree that the members of the top 49% of the income population are evil people who deserved to be forced to carry 98% of the federal tax bill each year.  It is the perfect system, until it all collapses.  Kershner observes that eventually the "last bone of the last taxpayer is picked bare."  When that happens there is nobody left to fleece and the entire system collapses upon itself.
Primarily due to the amazing propensity of capitalists to produce wealth, operating in a semi-free market burdened with excess regulations, we are still a long way from picking the last bone of the last taxpayer bare.  Nevertheless, the Socialist Democracy of Amerika is well on its way to self destruction as the top 49% of the population now pays almost the entire federal tax bill.  The greed of the lower 51% is insatiable.  They will demand more and more freebies.  They will create more scenarios in which they are being wronged by the evil rich and the evil rich will be taxed even more.  So this Christmas I suggest that if you are one of the envy-filled members of the lower 51% of the income population who believes that the wealth of the top 49% really belongs to you, commit yourself to vote for career politicians like Bernie Saunders.  He wants to tax the top 49% into oblivion.  Good for him.

Kershner’s Second Law
“Throughout history periods of sound money have been marked by moral advance and prosperity. Conversely, periods of unsound money have been accompanied by moral decline.”

Kershner makes an interesting observation about sound money although I am not sure, from the limited quote above, if he is attempting to describe the relationship of unsound money to moral decline as correlative or causative.  As I have considered the law I believe that there is a causative function involved but I also believe Kershner has it backwards.  The world I see has created unsound money because it is morally reprobate.  It did not become morally reprobate because of the creation of unsound money.
Unsound money is just another term for counterfeit money which is just another term for inflation.  Most people know what inflation is (an increase in the supply of money) and some people understand the vagaries by which the Fed and Treasury conspire to create counterfeit money but almost no one understands why the whole process came into being in the first place.  Let me enlighten you.  Career politicians needed to buy more votes from the public in order to remain career politicians but those poor career politicians realized that the amount of money needed to provide all the freebies to the people who voted for them was more than they could raise by mere taxation.  In order to get more money to buy votes the career politicians concocted a scam in which a national bank was created.  The national bank of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika, called the Fed, exists only to loan money to Treasury which, in turn spends that money on whatever  Congress tells it to.  Now, if you do understand the vagaries of the Fed, you know that the Fed does not take deposits from investors.  The money it loans to Treasury is money that it creates out of thin air.  It is counterfeit money, pure and simple.  The Fed becomes the perfect means by which politicians can spend more money than they receive in tax revenues.  Thanks to the Fed we have a national debt of $18.8 trillion.  Hey, it takes a lot of money to buy votes from envy-filled voters.
In Kershner's Second Law the "moral decline" part is easy.  Men are totally depraved.  Apart from the regeneration of the Holy Spirit (from the Bible) no man is able to rise above his immoral nature and perform an altruistic action.  Since the great majority of the citizens of the SDA have not been regenerated it necessarily follows that we are in a serious moral decline.  What is a perfect example of that moral decline?  The presence of counterfeit, or unsound, money.
I leave you with a single observation.  Although I am prone to blame career politicians for everything wrong with this sad and immoral country the truth remains that Kershner's First Law best describes our problem most succinctly.  Career politicians could never become career politicians were it not for the immoral support of the majority of the citizens of this land.  As the process of transformation from a constitutional republic to a democracy has changed the fundamental nature of the SDA government, so the role of the voter-citizen has created the immoral situation under which we live today.  Somewhere along the line, I think it was when women received the right to vote, voters convinced themselves that something they would never dream of doing individually (robbing their neighbors at gunpoint) was perfectly fine to do corporately (robbing their neighbors by majority vote).  We are where we are today because this is precisely where the vast majority of the citizens of this land want to be.  So Merry Christmas to all of you Robin Hoods out there.  And Merry Christmas to all of you who vote for Robin Hood.  Just remember that, as one astute theologian once said, this life is the only piece of "heaven" you will ever know.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

"Planned Parenthood" and Other Misnomers

On the eve of Christmas Eve I wonder....do those who believe in the moral propriety of abortion believe that if Mary had aborted Jesus while He was still in the first trimester it would have been a morally neutral action, like having liposuction?  Would the God of the Bible have been pleased by that amoral medical procedure?  After all, He was not yet a human being.  He was just a zygote, made up of extraneous tissue that can be discarded with ethical ease, right?  To be logically consistent, which abortionists certainly do not give a hoot about, they would have to assert that aborting Jesus in the first trimester would not constitute the act of killing the Son of God.  How it would then come to pass that as a direct result of that allegedly non-murderous act of abortion, the Son of God would never be born, is something I have never heard any of them explain.  How could Jesus, after becoming incarnate in the virgin Mary, then cease to exist  if He had not been previously killed?  I have never asked an abortionist this question, nor have I heard of anyone else who has done so.  If you get the opportunity at some point in the future, give it a go and see what happens.  I certainly will.
The Congress of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika just approved the next fiscal year's budget.  Included in that budget was ample provision for the abortion advocacy group called Planned Parenthood.  Although PP is not legally permitted to spend the over half a billion dollars in taxpayer funds it will receive next year on abortions, it galls me to think that my tax dollars are going to support an institution that primarily exists to murder babies.  The accountants at PP can shuffle the numbers around any way they want but it will not change the fact that some, perhaps most,  of my money is being used to kill babies.
Even if PP was not in the business of murdering babies, it would still be immoral for the law of the land to extract income from me to support PP even if all it did was dispense advice about how to use birth control devices.  The government of the SDA has no business taking money from the politically unprotected top 49% of the income population and giving it to a group that it favors, no matter how noble the cause.  Indeed, it would still be immoral (the sin is called "theft") for the government of the SDA to take my money to provide food for people who might otherwise starve to death without that food.  Simply put, the government is always behaving immorally when it takes money from the top 49% of the income population to fund programs that are not necessary for national defense and the administration of biblical justice exclusively.
Last week I made a comment in this blog about how Planned Parenthood is a misnomer.  Planned Parenthood does not exist to help people plan to be parents.  Planned Parenthood exists to keep people from becoming parents, both before and after pregnancy.  In that sense the organization should more accurately be called Planning Against Parenthood.  After I posted that comment, and totally unrelated to it I am sure, Marcia Wolf of Denver wrote a letter to the editor of the Denver Post accusing people who oppose the immoral act of abortion of deceptively using terms that are misnomers.  I would like to address her letter here today.  I quote it here in full:

"Two commonly used terms, in my opinion, are misnomers:
1.  'Pro-life.'  Except for people intent on murdering someone, most people are pro-life and value life, even the lives of those with whom they disagree.
2.  'Baby killers.'  These are the most inflammatory words commonly used by anti-choice zealots.  Aside from the discussion on whether or not life begins at conception, a zygote is not a baby.  Yes, it is a potential human life, but to equate it with a 'baby' is a stretch by anyone's imagination.
So let's get our terms right when deciding to support, as I have for years, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and other vital organizations that ensure women's health; or be one of the inhumane individuals who champion defunding those venues that serve not only women, but teens and men as well."

Marcia is a fine example of just how demented and depraved a human being can become when she wants to reorder the world around her to fit her world view.  Objective truth goes out the window.  Logical thinking and logically necessary deductions are also rejected.  All that matters is that she can turn the facts of the world around her into a series of lies that convince her she is not a sinner deserving the wrath of God.   Let's look at her comments in detail.
Marcia begins with a huge logical contradiction.  She hates the use of the term "pro-life" for those who oppose abortion because she believes she is in favor of all life, unlike the evil anti-abortion activists who go around killing abortionists.  In Marcia's mind she is morally superior to all anti-abortionists.  I only have three questions for her, which expose the weakness of her entire position.  Is a zygote alive?  If a zygote is alive, why do you kill it?  If you kill zygotes how can you proclaim to be pro-life?
Missing in Marcia's argument is the rather obvious truth that murderous abortionists who call themselves "pro-choice" are the most hypocritical of all parties to the debate.  To paraphrase Marcia, "except for people intent on taking away all choice, most people are pro-choice and value choice, even the choices of those with whom they disagree."  Hiding advocacy for murder behind the morally neutral term "pro-choice" is one of the most egregious examples of a misnomer I can conceive of, and Marcia is guilty of doing it.
Marcia does not like being called a baby killer.  I wonder how many abortions she has had?  I bet it is more than one.  Moral blindness of the sort she is displaying in her letter does not come about unless one has truly been down the path of great moral depravity.  Those who use the technically accurate term "baby killer" are labeled "zealots" while those who kill the babies are moral paragons.  What a strange world we live in.  Marcia resorts to the tired old refrain that a zygote is not a baby.  It is fascinating that she refers to the zygote as  "potential human life."  The DNA in the zygote is human.  It is alive.  Why is it merely a "potential" human life?  If it is only a "potential" human life is it possible it could grow up to be an earthworm or an elephant?  It would seem so if Marcia's flawed genetic analysis is correct.
Marcia proudly proclaims that she has made donations to PP for years.  I wonder if that is true?  I suspect she is lying.  If she is not lying, I wonder how much of her own money she has given to PP?  Marcia also believes that I am inhumane (I wonder....does that mean I am only a zygote?) because I believe that it is immoral to have my money stolen from me and given to a doctor and a pregnant woman to pay for the procedure to kill her baby.  As Marcia sees it, both murder and theft are humane and moral activities and my belief, which she would not kill me for holding, that babies should not be murdered and money should not be stolen are evidences of my inhumanity, whatever that is.
Marcia concludes by informing me that PP is a vital organization that dispenses health services to women, men and teenagers (gender neutral I suppose).  This is the only thing she writes that is true.  The men and male teenagers who have impregnated women are quite relieved when they can ship their wives, girl friends and one-night-stands off to a taxpayer financed abortion mill where the by-product of their true love can be brutally killed. They are all on the receiving end of a vital government service, praised be its name.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

To The FBI Agent Tracking My Blog

A handful of people are aware of the true identity of the Mad Welshman.  As I wrote in my introduction almost four years ago, I remain anonymous because my personal identity is totally irrelevant to the truths I present.  I could be King Obama or I could be future Queen Hillary and it would not matter.  I could be Bill Gates or Warren Buffet and it would not matter.  Truth is truth, regardless of the source.  Lies are lies, regardless of the source.  I believe the cult of personality, either negative or positive, causes many people to believe things they should not, or not believe things they should, and I endeavor to keep that from happening.  Not that I think a cult of personality could ever form around me.  In four years I have cultivated a robust 17 followers to this blog.  I consider that to be a rousing success since popularity is generally a sign of gross error.  In the real world I am nothing but a lowly Christian janitor who knows a thing or two about a handful of topics that I consider relevant to society today.  That is why I started this blog four years ago and that is why I continue posting to it today.
I don't consider what I write to be particularly inflammatory in nature.  Most everything that I write here can be found in either John Calvin, Thomas Jefferson or Murray Rothbard.  None of those men were revolutionaries bent upon the destruction of the state.  Indeed, Calvin preached submission to the state regardless of how evil it might become, just as I have in previous posts in this blog.  As Calvin saw things, which is precisely how I see things, God brings providential judgements upon the covenantal heads of the institution of civil government when they disobey His law and those who are under their authority cannot escape those judgments.  All men deserve to be punished for the idolatrous worship of the state and it is inevitable that the small number of non-idolaters in the group will end up bearing at least some of that punishment as well.  I tell myself that every time I pay my extortionate amount of taxes to the Treasury of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika.  Those who support and propagate immorality within civil government are especially likely to fall subject to the providential judgement of the God of the Bible, but that is God's business, not mine.  Regardless, some of those who know me have cautioned me to be careful about where I go and what I do because they believe I am being monitored by the FBI as a potential terrorist threat.  If that is the case, and I have no idea if it is, I have prepared an open letter to the anonymous FBI agent who might be tracking my blog:

Dear FBI Agent:
If you have read all 880+ posts to this blog you have a pretty good idea what I am about.  Not once in those 880+ posts have I ever recommended, encouraged, sanctioned or demanded that anyone do anything contrary to the law of the land.  This is true despite the fact that the law of this immoral land is highly immoral itself.  It is designed to steal from one group and give to the favored members of another government endorsed class.  It is designed to enshrine mere mortals as career politicians who then have the power to make or break the lives of the rest of us.  It is designed to foster and inculcate worship of itself, and its representatives.  It is immoral and God-hating through and through but until the law of this land forcibly requires me to commit immorality I have no right to rebel against it.
This is what the shooter at the abortion mill in Colorado Springs got wrong last month.  I understand his position, and you should too, that his actions prevented the murder of a couple of human beings that day.  What he got wrong is that God does not require us to take up arms against an immoral government that sanctions murder until we are personally required to engage in murder.  It is only when the FBI agent knocks on my door and informs me that my wife must have an abortion that I am permitted to take up arms against the state.
Christians do not believe in revolution, or at least they should not believe in revolution.  Many Christians were instrumental in bringing about the revolution against Britain that resulted in the founding of this immoral and envy-filled country but they were wrong in what they did.  They were following the incorrect teachings of a brawl-loving theologian by the name of John Knox.  Mr. Knox had corrupted the Reformed doctrine of submission to the state as taught by John Calvin.  Contrary to what Calvin taught, Knox believed that a "lesser magistrate" (usually just him and some of his drinking buddies) could constitute a civil body endowed by God with authority to rebel against the higher level of authority in the land.  You will search the Bible in vain for any such teaching.  God's will in this matter is clear.  He brings punishment, in the form of the tyrannical government you work for, to punish people for not worshiping Him as they should.  We have no right to rebel against this punishment.  On the contrary, we are required to bend our backs and receive our blows from your hand.  In this sense God is using you just like He used the Assyrians and the Babylonians to punish His covenant people.
To make things clear, I do not believe in "law and order" as you see it.  Your concept of law and order is nothing more than tyranny.  What I do believe in is a sovereign God who orders all things according to His purposes and that includes those things most people call evil.  Make no mistake, civil government as it operates in this envy-filled land today, as well as the multitude of police forces that enforce submission to the immoral laws of this land, is a God-hating institution that God will bring down.  After God finished using the Assyrians and the Babylonians to punish His people, He brought horrific and terrific judgement upon them for their God-hating ways.  You should expect the same.
Don't think that you will escape God's judgement in the future because you are just following the orders of your superiors and the law of the land as it is now written.  You will not.  God will not be mocked.  He requires you to submit to His law as revealed in the Bible.  He will judge you according to His law as revealed in the Bible.  If you are like most citizens of this depraved land you have no clue what the Law of God says.  Don't think that your ignorance of His revealed will in the Bible will spare you, it will not.  Maybe you are wondering (highly unlikely since the odds are overwhelmingly in favor of you being a God-hater, just like the rest of the people in power in this reprobate country) precisely what God is going to judge you for.  Let me give you a short list:
  1. The Bible forbids your practice of spying on the citizens of this country.
  2. The Bible forbids your practice of searching through the papers and possessions of the citizens of this country without a warrant alleging probable cause that a crime has been committed.
  3. The Bible forbids you to enforce laws that are contrary to biblical law.  That would be most of the laws that you currently enforce.
  4. You have no right to require bankers to inform you whenever a citizen of this country engages in a cash transaction in excess of $10,000.  You have no right to require investment brokers to inform you whenever a citizen of this country engages in a cash transaction in excess of $10,000.
  5. You have no right to go to internet service providers and demand they reveal the names and internet activity of their customers.  That is an invasion of privacy that is both illegal and immoral.
  6. You have no right to practice entrapment in order to make it appear as if you are saving the citizens of this land from terrorism.  This includes inciting people of marginal intelligence into planting bombs at the finish line of athletic events around the country.
  7. You have no right to infiltrate organizations within this country that are minding their own business and obeying the laws as they are written.
  8. Here is one little excerpt from biblical law that will amaze and confuse you.  God requires you to protect His Church in this country.  You are guilty of not only refusing to protect the Church in this God-hating land, you are guilty of persecuting it by refusing to enforce biblical law.
  9. You have no right to criminalize drugs and enforce draconian punishments upon people who are minding their own business and not doing any harm to their neighbors.
  10. You have a moral responsibility to criminalize pornography, fornication and adultery but you refuse to do so.
That is a very short list.  You are responsible for many more behaviors that you are not currently engaging in and you will be found guilty for a great many more of the things you are presently doing.  You steal from the taxpayers when you work for the Beast (civil government).  You become one of God's enemies when you work for and receive a retirement pension from the Beast.  A word of advice....you do not want to be one of God's enemies.
It is not too late for you to change your ways.  As long as you are alive it is possible to change the course you are on and go from being an enemy of God to a friend of God.  But doing so will cost you all of the hedonistic pleasures you enjoy today.  You will lose your job, your income, your pension and the support and admiration of your friends.  You will be labeled a kook and a nut-job for abandoning such a promising career to become a follower of Christ.
I do not know how God will bring judgment in the future, nor do I care to know.  All I do know is that He will do it.  If He is consistent with His nature, and He always is, He prefers to wait a long period of time before destroying a group of people for their sin.  As He likes to say, He waits for "the iniquity to fill up" prior to bringing His wrathful hand against a people.  The only reason we have not already seen His wrath is due to the fact He is waiting for us to do even more evil things.  You should endeavor to do the opposite.  You should stop doing evil things.  Despite the length of this open letter I really have only one word to say to you.  Repent.


Monday, December 21, 2015

My Take On "The Hunger Games"

(Spoiler Alert:  I discuss some details from all four movies below.  If you have not seen them and are planning on seeing them in the future you might want to skip today's blog post, unless you have already read the books, in which case it does not matter what you do; can you think of any way I can make this run-on sentence any longer?)

My wife joined me at a showing of the fourth installment of the Hunger Games trilogy, plus 1, last week.  Let me say in advance that I am a huge fan of the books and the movies.  My wife introduced me to the books while on a trip to Death Valley several years ago.  She reads to me while I drive on some of our longer road trips.  The trip to Death Valley is a long one from the Denver metro area and she was able to get through a good portion of the first book on the way there.  I was so captivated by the dystopian nature of the first book I forced her to read the entire series to me while we sat  watching the sun go down on Telescope peak each night.  I have watched the first three movies multiple times and was looking forward to the fourth, and final, movie in the series.  I was not disappointed.
It is my understanding that the author of the Hunger Games intentionally wrote for an older teenage audience.  Hence the emphasis upon the teenage romantic threesome, with Katniss in the middle, features prominently in both the books and the movies.  I don't mind that but I know that a fair number of adult fans of the series find the romantic element somewhat tedious.  I don't believe it is fair to judge a book for being what it is.  The author had no responsibility to write the book for me and my socio-economic class and age cohort.  On the contrary, it is my responsibility as the reader to ascertain precisely what message, or messages, the author was attempting to convey to her readers.
I have a definition of art that many people find strange and filled with multiple errors.  The philosophical discipline of aesthetics is an important one that is generally ignored these days.  What is art?  What is beauty?  What makes art good or bad?  These are questions that I have considered over the years and I have developed a theory that I would like to tell you about today.
The first distinction that I make when it comes to defining art is that between a work of art and an artifact.  An artifact is something that many people consider to be beautiful but that only has social utility and conveys no additional message.  A work of art, on the other hand, is something that many people consider to be beautiful that may have utility but exists for the purpose of conveying a particular message.  For example, a piece of Hopi pottery can be considered beautiful by many people but a Hopi pot exists for the purpose of holding water or some foodstuff.   The spyrographic type designs on the surface of the pot can be considered "artistic" but if they do not convey any message to the observer the pot itself is an artifact and not a work of art.  Conversely, if an artist creates a painting of something with the intention of conveying the message that Christians will be persecuted if they do not comply with the world system, that painting is a work of art and not a simple artifact.
The second distinction I make is that between good art and bad art.  Good art successfully conveys the message that was in the mind of the author of the piece and bad art does not.  For example, Warhol's painting of a can of tomato soup is, in my opinion, merely an artifact.  I cannot conceive of any possible message being conveyed by the painting.  But it is possible, indeed even likely, that I am too dense to understand the message that Warhol is attempting to convey to those who observe his painting.  Maybe his meaning is that life is like a bowl of soup....sometimes hot and sometimes cold but always satisfying!  If that is the case the painting is a work of art but a poor one because he does not successfully convey the idea that was in his head as he painted to the mind of the person who observes the painting.
As a side note, I will get back to the Hunger Games soon, that is why I believe most all of what is called "modern art" is really nothing more than artifact.  I have asked people who create what they call pieces of art, that are nothing more than canvasses splashed with paint of various textures, what they were attempting to do.  They will describe, in intimate detail, the coalescing of the various colors and textures for me but when I ask them what it all means I receive nothing back but a blank stare.  It seems to me that most of what passes for art these days is nothing more than artifacts containing a wide variety of colors and textures in them that are then talked about by the artistic community, whoever that is (I think most of them live in Taos, NM) as being beautiful works of art. I don't buy it.  And I don't buy their "art."
The Hunger Games is a work of art and I joyfully plunked down my fee to enter the theater to watch it.  There is one main message associated with the story and several corollaries to that message as well.  The main message of the Hunger Games is that absolute power corrupts absolutely.  One of the corollaries of the movies is that the most unscrupulous among us are those who seek absolute power.  Another of the corollaries of the movies is that those who are closely associated with those in power are blessed while those who are not in favor of the current establishment are cursed.  Yet another corollary found in the movies is that people who cherish freedom and personal responsibility want to live under conditions of laissez faire capitalism.  Allow me to explain my understanding of the author's intentional messages in the Hunger Games.
The message that absolute power corrupts absolutely is not new.  It is, however, a message that must be continually repeated as men have a propensity to forget it quite quickly.  Due to the natural desire in most sinful human beings to worship some sort of civil government, it is inevitably that God, in His providence, will give men the sort of government they want which will eventually function as a curse upon them for their statist idolatry.  The Capitol is the source of all decadence in the dystopian world of the Hunger Games.  The gut-wrenching practice of gathering two children from each of the twelve districts each year for a contest in which they will battle to the death for the entertainment of the ruling class is, for me, a most powerful metaphor of the tyrannical state.  I simply can't get the emotions associated with that contest out of my head.  I have watched the first movie multiple times and I cry like a baby when Pru dies and Katniss buries her under the watchful eye of the Capitol's cameras.  What a stark contrast is exhibited between an act of human compassion and the deadly power of a corrupt state.
It is not long into the fourth movie when we learn that Katniss has come to realize that the military power associated with the 13th District, in combination with her star-power, is going to create another version of the Capitol, only worse in that it does not hesitate to kill its own people to advance its cause.  A comparison to the Socialist Democracy of Amerika is impossible to avoid at that point in the movie. The ultimate irony of the entire movie is the decision of the President of the victorious rebels to continue to practice of the Hunger Games, only using the children of the Capitol city as its cannon fodder.  Small wonder that, when given the chance, Katniss executes the President of the 13th District and spares the life of President Snow.
President Coin illustrates one of the corollaries.  Although initially appearing to be virtuous and selfless, she turns out to be like all rent-seeking politicians.  She assumes power for herself, even attempting to have Katniss killed in battle (in a scene eerily reminiscent of what David did to Uriah in the biblical story) so as to avoid a conflict with her when the rebellion is complete.  Coin ends up being morally inferior to Snow, who was the paragon of immorality prior to Coin's appearance.
The end of the movie, although no doubt considered far too sweet by many people, portrays a happy married couple with children living in District 12.  For the time being at least, the civil government is being restrained by being populated and controlled by people who have not yet become corrupt.  During this short window of opportunity the world becomes a better place.  The literal change of seasons that takes place in the final scene of the movie, from the stark deadness of winter to the beautiful vibrant greens of summer, dramatically portrays the truth that men and women who live in freedom end up prospering.  There is no government there to tyrannize them.  They are free to do as they please and for the first time in the entire movie we see Katniss with a smile on her face.  What a beautiful sight it was to see a smiling Katniss tenderly cradling her infant in her arms.  And what a beautiful work of art the Hunger Games series turns out to be.