Ronin of the Spirit

Because reality is beautiful.

Health-care debate VII

Do we want to fix health care? Health care is a cross roads where health-care providers, health-care consumers, health-care insurers and government all meet up. I can not talk about reforming those things without getting into pretty serious conversation what government’s role in society is, and here is my “simple” answer…

Government has a legitimate monopoly on force. If the mafia says “Give us 30% of your paycheck, every paycheck, to spend on protecting you and if you don’t we will take your stuff and/or lock you up in a small room with highly abusive people,” we would call that a protection racket, a form of organized crime. The reason the government is allowed to do this, and other groups are not, is because the government has a legitimate monopoly on force.

Under normal circumstances, a person exposes themselves to force by contract. Your collectors have the right to take your stuff if you don’t pay because you signed a contract saying it was OK. The fact that you have many contractors to choose from and that you enter the contract of your free will, makes this type of force self regulating and legitimate.

Government, on the other hand has this right regardless of contract, and there is no competition. So, in the absence of voluntary contracts serving as a control to the force, freewill is expressed through democracy.

However, democracy requires a system in order to function well. The simple will of the majority for every government tasking would be disastrous, even it it were logistically feasible. Fifty-one percent could (and would) use their power over the government to use the government’s monopoly of force to seize the money and resources of the remaining 49%.

Also, the fact that the government has monopoly on force doesn’t mean the government is the best instrument to accomplish every job. Socialism basically means the rich pay more taxes and the money taken from the rich provides for the poor. In a totally socialist state, the government would make all economic decisions for the people. Historically, this works very poorly.

Americans, justifiably proud of their economy, often complain about socialist economic control. However, if people take the time to think, few people really want a totally capitalist society, in which the supply of anything is controlled only by market demand, and not by the government’s monopoly of force.

Prescriptions are a good example. In a totally capitalist society, people could buy whatever drugs they wanted. The supply of drugs would be controlled completely by the demand for them. However, we impose non-market control over drugs, denying people access to drugs regardless of their demand because, in this case, capitalism harms rather then helps society.

Why? Because capitalism is a means to an end and not an end to itself. Capitalism is great at providing a variety of products, and using competition to drive the price of those products down, but capitalism, like many tools, is without morals. It is neither good, nor bad; it just is. Sometimes we stop capitalism from working on moral grounds.

The military is another good example. Bill Gates pays about 15 million times more taxes than the average American. Yet, he receives exactly the same level of military protection as the homeless who live nearby. That is socialism at its most basic. Yet few Americans clamor to have the US military dismantled and replaced with competing mercenary bands. We turn capitalism off and utilize the government’s monopoly of force when it seems that taking unequally from all to provide equally to all is more moral than not. In a totally capitalist economy, the rich would have the best police, the best roads, the safest airplanes, just as in our current economy they have the best cars, the best houses, and the safest neighborhoods.

Morality is the test. The poor people in a police district get the exact same protection as the rich in the same district, flying first class is just as safe as flying other classes, and the military protects us all to the same degree regardless of income, because we have decided to tax those with money, to pay for a service for all.

The government has a responsibility to protect its citizens, thus everybody pays what the government thinks they are able, to receive the exact same level of military protection. This does not mean there is a universal right to military protection, for there is no such thing as a right to a service when no contract has been made; it simply means the government has a responsibility to provide the best military the people will fund.

Health-care is no different. The government has a responsibility to protect the lives of its citizens. If 50,000 people a year die in attacks, the government acts through the military. If 50,000 a year die in traffic accidents, the government acts through the Department of Transportation. If 50,000 a year die from inaccessible health-care…well then let’s not do a fucking thing because that would be socialism?

My. God. Obviously, morality calls for the limited suspension of capitalism in this case. France has the the highest value health-care on Earth. In a few other countries, people pay less but get far less (Chad for instance). In most other countries people pay far more and get a bit less. There are three keys: (1) There is a single payer (the government) for everything; (2) The book keeping is state of the art; (3) The doctors strike regularly.

It’s that simple. In response to the will of the people, the government sets price caps as low as possible. In response to the health care providers, the government raises price caps. Between the two, the providers get the incentive they need to stay in the market, and the people get what they need to be able to afford health care.

And it will not work in the U.S. for just as simple a reason – we lack the sort of democracy that allows it. In the U.S.’s single-member-district plurality representation, it’s all or nothing; 100% or 0%. That simply will not work for government price fixing. Let us suppose the Republicans side with the doctors, and the Democrats with the “more-for-less” voice of the people.

When the regime is Republican, the doctors will do well. When the regime is Democrat, the doctors will do poorly. In a society like France’s, the doctors will always win something, but never as much as they ask for…every year. The people will always win something but never as much as they ask for..every year. In the U.S., doctors will spend 4-8 years going broke followed by 4-8 years of getting paid. Though this averages out to the same thing, the fact is after 8 lean years, doctors will be leaving the field in droves. The profession of medicine cannot survive the zero sum game (0% or 100%) method of democracy; it needs proportional representation.

If we really want health-care reform, we need to partially socialize medicine. If we want that, and we want crops of new doctors to replace the retiring ones every year, we must have proportional democracy.

Proportional democracy, however, only works for large bodies of many representatives, like the House. For things like the Senate, or the Presidency, we still need to vote for one person. No matter how democratic the House, unless the Senate and the President are elected differently, we will have made huge change with no positive effects. The two-party system would still rule the executive branch and the Senate.

For these, we need a Condorcet vote. In this system, the voter rank candidates, and the overall winner gets the seat. This breaks the back of the two-party system and puts the President and the Senate in the same democratic boat as the House.

Without these, any attempt at health-care reform is so much verbal masturbation.

September 27, 2009 Posted by | atheism, Christianity, Government, Politics, Religion, Science, skepticism, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Health Care Debate III

I thought this was going to be an easy post.  I thought, hey, the insurance companies are a bunch a bastards, but it turns out insurance companies, while not blameless, are not quite the devils I’d thought.

Basically, health insurance is expensive because (1.) Continual, long term expenses are a really stupid thing to pay with insurance. (2.) Hospital bills are really high and require high premiums.  Could insurance be improved? Certainly, but it is not the real cause of high medical bills.

So, then I went into why hospital bills are so high.  Basically hospital bills are high for a few reasons. (1.) Fear of litigation, rather than litigation itself, causes a lot of unnecessary stuff to be done.  (2.) Hospitals are a skilled labor intensive industry, and skilled labor is very costly. (3.) The existing socialized care costs the hospital about 15% loss off of net, or about a 40% loss off of gross.  Could hospitals improve administration and information management?  Certainly, but those are marginal gains compared to over-treatment and labor costs.

So, can hospitals be run cheaper?  Yes.  Should they be?  Should is a surprising long word. Every war in history has been fought between the S and the D of should. Should implies is an ideological question, not an economic one.

So lets talk about ideology.  First off, do you have a right to health care?  Absolutely!  You have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Rights are tricky things though. The First Amendment says you have right to freedom of press.  Does this mean the government has to assist you in setting up your own news network? Or merely that the government is forbidden from preventing you from doing such?

You do have a right to life. You have right to not have the government forbid you from seeking health care. You categorically, do not have the right to have them provide it for you.  If you believe that health care is a right and the government must provide it, you must logically believe that government must provide printing presses to those to poor to afford them,  protests marches to those to poor to organize them, and guns to those to poor to buy them. (Your first and second amendment rights, respectively.)

Clearly, your right to life means the government cannot prevent you from seeking health care, not that it must provide it. So, accepting that fairly obvious fact, what is the health care problem? The fact the health care consumer is complaining health care costs too much really doesn’t amount to a hill of beans.  Consumer think everything cost too much.  Producers think everything goes too cheap. Demand drives prices up, supply drives them down. So, what’s the problem?

Two possible ones: false expectations and market failure.

First false expectation?  You are entitled to long life.  Actually you’re not. No one is. Long life is combination of four things, genetics, choices, luck, and health care.  You know what the leading cause of death is in the United States? Heart disease. You know why that is pathetic? BECAUSE 80% OF IT IS PREVENTABLE THROUGH LIFE STYLE CHANGE!  That’s right, 80% (Harvard School of Public Health, Department of Nutrition)  Over 600K people died in 2006 from heart disease,  480,000 at the end of a series of stupid ideas.  Even if the US had the best health care in the world, even if by some economic miracle it was free, 20.8% of all fatalities would have happened anyway because people found health care more attractive than responsible living.

Second false expectation? The Law of Diminishing returns  doesn’t apply to health.  Actually it does.  Moving the age of mortality from 45 to 55 takes pennies.  From 55 to 65, took much more.  Surgery is a risk. We choose the risk of surgery when it is lower then the risk of not having it.  Unnecessary surgery means risk for no reason, and that means expense and injury.  Which leads me nicely into the…

Third false expectation: Doctors will make decisions dispassionately, and never expose patients to extra risk just to cover their legal rear.  Actually, doctors are people too.  And the fear of litigation hangs over them like anvil on string.  They order to many tests, and treat too agressively for fear of malpractice suits.  Which leads finally, to the…

Forth false expectation: people are entitled to a risk free life, and are entitled to compensation when risk has consequences.   No.  Just plain no.  Life is risk.  Hospitals, treatments, etc, all have risk, and if a person is made aware of the risks and choose the course anyway, they aren’t entitled to any form of compensation.

That just leaves market failure.  I try to keep my blogs under 1000 words, so I will have to write that one later.

August 27, 2009 Posted by | atheism, Pharmacology, Politics, Science, Self discovery, skepticism, Slice of life, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rape 4 (The last one)

This is my last post on this ghastly topic.  In the first, I said that I agreed with the feminist party line that rape is caused purely by the addition of a rapist.  In the second, both in the comments and the post, I said I really struggle with the idea that no woman could be held even a little bit responsible.  Primarily this was because of my close relationship with a rape victim.  It seemed to me that if I said that a woman who was getting drunk and frisky with total strangers had the same total lack of fault as child who was raped (my friend) then I was somehow cheapening the horror and misery that latter felt.

While I rationally accepted the obvious truth that rape is cause by the addition of a rapist (something that did not seem so obvious to me a few years ago), I found this statement emotionally disturbing, and I wasn’t sure why.  So, post three was an attempt to explore my feelings about it.  I found two reasons to be disturbed.  The first was I had a lot of hate toward women when I was young man.  Though I never acted on these feelings, to accept that rape is just as evil towards a drunken, promiscuously dressed woman as it is towards a child, meant I had to look at my feelings in high school and college about my peers, not as the reasonable thoughts of frustrated young man, but as something profoundly unhealthy.

The other reason was the safety and security of my daughter.  Obviously, I had some unhealthy views about sex, love, and sexual roles.  I picked these views up in the malaise of church, camp, campus, books, and “positive Christian radio”.  I want my daughter to grew up healthy, strong, and, above all, free.  I want her to love freedom.  Free speech, free press, free trade, freedom of religion.  These are the things I believe in.  They bring me joy, and if I can only communicate one thing to her in my life it would be “Freedom is worth fighting for.”  Yet, having been the first trusted male for several rape victims.  I have heard about rape to a detail I could have never imagined, and I am terrified of teaching my daughter to believe something that could hurt her the way some of my beliefs hurt me.

So I arrive at my answer:  Rape victims are to blame for rape in exactly the way that soldiers are responsible for their injuries.  Right now my good friend Paul is “down range”.  He volunteered to join the Air Force.  He volunteered to go on the very dangerous mission he is on.  No one forced him to join.  No one forced him to go on this mission.  If he gets shot, it will happen at the end of chain of decisions for which there can be no one to blame but him.  Yet, if he gets shot my thought will not be “Well,  he was asking for it.”  Or, “Well of course, he got shot, wearing a US uniform in a place like that.”  Or “Well, a nice guy would not have been in that village with an M4 in the first place.”

It all boils down to reasonable expectation.  You see, I joined for a lot of reasons.  I was broke, I was tired of fighting the bad guys and never winning (we belonged to an inner city church). I was facing my fears.  There were a hundred reasons I joined, but in the end I joined to fight this misguided war on terror for one reason: So my daughter wouldn’t have too.  I made a decision about “reasonable expectation”.

The US has a reasonable expectation of acts of terror.  They are people out there who hate us. Regardless of whether their motivation has merit, their methods are horrific.  I volunteered for the Air Force during a war, a war that will never truly end.  I volunteered to endanger my life for an ideal, the ideal that terror should never be a reasonable expectation.

We fight for rights by using them.  We fight for freedom of speech by speaking freely.  The day we say “I’m not going to say that, I’m afraid of what the government might do” we have lost our free speech, regardless of what a old piece of parchment under glass in Washington says.  Couldn’t we blame Martin Luther King  for his assassination?  He could have stayed at home.  He could have stayed quiet.  But instead he fought for his right to free speech by speaking up.  He fought for his right to peacefully assemble by peacefully assembling.  He got shot because he stood up and said “Hate is not a reasonable exception.”

Rape is not a reasonable expectation.  No matter what the statistics say, no matter how many lives are destroyed, no matter what, it is never a reasonable expectation.  We fight for the right of people to dress how they like, speak how they like, and act how they like without fear acts of hate by dressing how we like, speaking how we like and acting how we like regardless of the consequences.

I joined the Air Force because I believed that planes full of innocents crashing into buildings was not a reasonable expectation.  This life style choice is a risk, but I believe in this ideal so much, I will risk my life for it.  For the belief that rape is not a reasonable expectation I will believe things that put my daughter at risk, because I would rather have her live a life of danger and freedom than cower in fearful security.

March 21, 2009 Posted by | atheism, Christianity, Politics, Religion, Self discovery, skepticism, Slice of life, Uncategorized | , , , , , | 5 Comments

Of Sex and Sin

Published with typos and without editing until I have more motivation.

When I was kid, growing up in the church, world view was very important.  If the basic world view of a person or group fit the Church’s, that person or group was seen to be basically good.  Rush Limbaugh and Doctor Laura are both good examples of this.  Both treat callers in an abusive and vindictive way totally incongruous with teachings of Christ, but both have managed, to one degree or another to remain the darlings of the Church.

Feminists stood up for things that Church cared about like abused moms and not objectifying women, but also things that Paul commanded the church to care about which weren’t always followed, like feeding the children of the poor. The Church held against feminists their pro-abortion stance and their anti-patriarchal leanings, and could never find anything good to say about them.  I remember Rush Limbaugh’s old saw “Feminism was created to put ugly women in power” being repeated often.

Dr. Laura’s belief that there was no Messiah (She’s Jewish) was remarkably, not an impediment to her heroization by people who believe that “If you deny the son you deny the father.”   People who aligned themselves with the world view of the Church were courted by it, and people who did not were ostracized, in both cases, totally regardless of theology.  (Bill Clinton, seen by many people I knew at the time as a harbinger of the Antichrist, was a Southern Baptist.)

The world view the Church gave us was a comprehensive package, with something to think about every issue we might run into.  Sex, of course, is of utmost importance to the Church’s world view.  There was an unofficial party line to every issue that might relate to sex in even the tenuous way.  Sex must be with the right person (your wife) at the right time (after marriage), in the right emotional way (out of love, not lust) and the right physical way (un-protected or barrier method birth control only after hours of prayerful consideration).

There were also a lot of “gray” areas that would be stated gray, but preferred action was black and white.  Masturbation was a good example of this.  The view was that while the Bible did not expressly forbid masturbation, it did forbid sexual fantasy.  Thus, masturbation is not being per say condemned, but of course it is.  What would be the possible point of masturbation without some kind of sexual thinking behind it.

Even sexual fantasies about one’s spouse were discouraged, again by the same gray-stated-black-and-white applied principals.  The argument went like this: Sexually fantasizing about your spouse acting a in manner your spouse would not normally act, was projecting the sexual heart of someone else into your spouses body.  Thus you were, in fact, not fantasizing about your spouse, you were fantasizing about someone else, (who just happened to look just like them) which was lust, and thus a sin.

By this token pornography was definite no no.  Pornography was a great evil, at a personal level, and a social one.  First off, to look at it was the sin of lust.  Second, to look and masturbate was equal to having sex with that person.  Didn’t Jesus say if you looked at a woman to lust, you had committed adultery in your heart?  Third, it was addictive.  Once you started looking at it, you couldn’t stop.  You would start missing work to masturbate and look at porn.  I was totally possible you would leave your wife if you looked at porn.  Forth, masturbating while looking at porn was giving a sexual experience that was rightfully your wife’s to a whore.  (This was true even if you were not married, because you were say, 14 years old.  God had a planned spouse for you, to “emotionally have sex” with any other was a form of adultery.  Fifth, porn would destroy you ability to have normal relationships with woman because you would  objectify woman and see their only purpose as meeting your sexual needs, instead of considering their needs. Sixth, by purchasing pornography, you were supplying helping keep woman in sexual slavery, and seven, by looking at pornography at home, you opened a pipeline of the demonic that would attack your whole family.

Hearing feminist demonized as I did, I was puzzled to find there is a group within the feminist movement as radically opposed to pornography as the Church, and with some minor restatement, for almost identical reasons.  When I began to read Christian books about the destructiveness of pornography, (I was terrified I was addicted) I was very surprised to find radical feminists, rejected even by mainstream feminist radicals, as the primary source of this information about how destructive porn is.

When I came to the conclusion that, if Christianity was true, the form I had been taught was at best, compromised, sexual behavior, and thus pornography was one of the first issues I had to deal with.

I wanted to reevaluate everything, start my world view with a clean slate.  I would, I decided, do what ever I wanted, regardless of whether it was a sin or not.  The first couple days, I was (pleasantly) surprised to find, that even with out Christ holding me back, I didn’t solicited a hooker.  I’d always been told that without God, one’s desires couldn’t be controlled and I knew I really liked sex, so I was surprised.

I decided that I wasn’t going to feel guilty for looking at porn anymore.  I was man, God made me a man, made me straight, and for thirteen years, had never provided me with any victory over this sin.  Those first day, I looked at a lot of porn.  It felt wonderful.  Since I was 12, I had looked at porn.  I’d felt like shit afterwards every time. To look at it and not fell bad was wonderful.

And then the next day… something strange happened.  I had the house to myself, I could look at porn all day, which is probably what I would have done the week before.  But the knowledge that I could look at it whenever I wanted changed something.  The internet would still be there latter that night, and latter that week.

Once I didn’t think it was a filthy, horrible disfiguring sin, I had no reason to never do it again.  And with no reason to never do it again, I had no reason to make every chance I had an all-you-can-view pornothon.

It’s been three years since that first “victory over sin”.  For awhile I thought porn was the coolest thing in the world.  I guess I was just growing up late. That’s a totally normal feeling for a 17 year old, though unbecoming in a grow man. Now, even though I still look at it from time to time, I see where the anti-porn people are coming from.  I know guys who really get into porn, it’s their whole life.  There is something not-quite-right in them.

I always looked at porn from a desire to be with women, not a desire to hurt them or master them.  So, I didn’t really understand what people where talking about when they said that porn is about men dominating woman.  Now, because I get to talk to a lot more people about a lot more things than I did when I was a Christian, I’ve talked to men who watch porn because they hate women, though rarely would they put it that way.

I think they hate women because they are jealous of them.  They would do anything to have sex with attractive famous women, yet the women do nothing to try and have sex with them.  At some deep level, it offends their sense of reciprocity.  They talk about it at work often.  They make masturbatory motions and say things like “That’s what you get, bitch.”

So, to the radicals who say porn is purely about hurting women, and to the radicals who say porn has no effect, I say, you’re both wrong, and I offer my explanation: Pornography is art and art has a message. When art must sell that message must be something that people want to hear.  Sadly, the message that a lot of men want to hear is “Woman are just here for you to use.”

But the fact that most purchasers want that message does not mean that all who enjoy the art do.  As I’ve grown as a person, pornography has become increasingly less satisfying to me.  I don’t look at it nearly as much as I used too, because for me, the message is wrong.  But if there was porn made with the message that I want, I want to look at it all the time, and I refuse to be ashamed.

The message I want is this:  one, that all woman are beautiful and two, that two people meeting sexually as equals is beautiful. I will not apologize for thinking that that is a beautiful statement, and I will not apologize for wanting to see art that celebrates it.  Most of the negative things said about porn are true.  Life doesn’t imitate art, art matches life’s message. The kind of people who really like the message “Woman are for me to use” are abusive little jackals, and the porn they like isn’t the only indicator.

But it’s not what I like, and I’m not going to pretend that I think seeing a real woman with the shape  that life and her choices have given her is bad just to not be confused with the jackals.

November 22, 2008 Posted by | atheism, Religion, Self discovery, skepticism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Skeptics Constitution

I’m a  big believer in the theory that you really learn the ins and outs of something by trying to do it or model it yourself.  To better understand politics, I’m trying to write my own constitution.  It’s shockingly difficult.  I mean, I did expect that it would be hard, but this is crazy.  One of the first ideas I had to let go of was my theory of no contraband.  My basic thought here was guns, drugs, and pornography. I know some conservative person just read this and is now convinced, more than ever, that I am rapidly going to hell.  Allow me to explain.  

I don’t believe in bad objects.  I believe the morality of an object is decided by its use.  To try and legislate against an object, instead of its use is to say to the world at large, “You’re all either to stupid to use this responsibly, or just plain evil.  Either way, you couldn’t possible use this object morally.  No one could!  So the object is banned, banned I say!”  I think that is wrong and sort of stupid.  

Let me make a parallel to free speech.  True free speech means speech you don’t like.  It’s that freakin’ simple.  Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, they all believed in a kind of free speech!  They all believed they should be free to say whatever they wanted.  It was the freedom of others to speak they made illegal.  Because we, and the people we agree with, want to be free, we grudging accept the fact that everyone is going to have to be free, and we tolerate other’s ridiculous babble so that we allowed our Righteous Pulpit of Truth. 

Free ownership is the same.  Free ownership means some people are going to own things some people don’t like.  Again, communist tyrants and the kings of old were very pro-private property: the party or royals should be free to own anything and maybe everything. The people, not so much.  Since we all want to own things that some people aren’t going to like, we must grudgingly accept the fact that everyone is going to have to be free, and we must tolerate others ridiculous and vile possesions, so we may keep our treasured and divine baubles. (To the moralists who might think they don’t have or want any offensive possession, I remind you that every religion’s holy book has been banned in part or totality at one time or another.)

I always thought it bizarre that people I knew who were the most pro-gun seemed to support any new anti-drug law which came down the pipe. My father is rabidly pro gun ownership, believing any restriction at all on gun ownership is a plot to disarm law abiding people and take over the country.   But, on the other hand, I remember Dad explaining to me once that even though some people might have the self control to use, rather than abuse drugs, most people would not.  Their abuse would cost society in lives, crime, and money.  Thus it was better to have drugs be illegal.  “But, Dad, if that’s true of drugs why not guns?  I mean some people might have the self responsibility to use rather than abuse guns, but most people wouldn’t.  Their abuse would cost society in lives, crime, and money.  So shouldn’t guns be restricted?”  

Oh no, he assured me.  Gun crime was lowest in the places with the least restrictions on guns, proving guns had a positive effect on society.  “But wouldn’t legalizing drugs have the same effect?  Where we have drug dealers now, we’d have tax paying pharmacies.   Where criminally supporting addicts need to steal thousands of dollars now, they’d only need to steal tens of dollars for the same high.”  

We never did come to see eye to eye on the issue.

I still see it the same way, though.  Guns can be for recreation and utility.  They can provide a fun afternoon of target shooting, put meat on the table, money in the economy (in the form of hunting licenses, boat licenses etc.) and they can save your life from an attacker.  That’s using a gun.  They can also be abused. They can rob a bank, terrorize your fellow man, kill someone accidently, or even murder.  Drugs are the same.  They give people something to gather around, they numb heartache and physical pain.  Many can be grown in your backyard and sold (if legal) at a farmers’ market.  They can also kill, drive to desperate acts, and destroy families.  Use or abuse, the choice is up to you.  

And I think porn is the same.  Porn can be an outlet for the outlet-less, a fun way to kill an afternoon, a business opportunity, and, if both partners enjoy it, a relationship builder.  It can also be an obsession, a perversion, a gateway to far more damaging behavior, an avenue to exploitation, and, if both partners don’t enjoy it, it can eat a relationship alive. 

So my original idea, to prevent the government from promoting the freedom of one group to dislike something over the freedom of another to like it, was to simply remove all laws defining “contraband.”

Congress shall make no law forming any contraband of any kind.

My theory was that, yes, this would allow people to own crazy, dangerous things, but; (1.) You can already own anything you want in any society. Illegality just makes the profit margin thicker for the seller because it does nothing to decrease demand, but increases the scarcity of supply; (2.) Making it legal would decrease demand because it’s not as cool anymore; (3.) Just because something is legal doesn’t mean you can get it.  Cyanide is deadly and dangerous, but legal.  It’s used in some welding operations. Anyone can get it, they just have to have the right bits of paper first; (4.) Just because something is legal doesn’t mean you can afford it.  It’s not illegal for a person to own radioactive material, for instance.  There’s some in your smoke detector.  But the price to quantity ratio makes it unlikely that anyone will do anything antisocial with it; (5.)  We tend to misunderstand risks of legality all the time.  Car’s kill around 50,000 people a year in the US alone.  Auto accidents are the leading cause of death for people under 40.  Cars are legal and kill in the tens of thousands.   Treehouses (stats on treehouses as a cause of death, anyone?) are illegal in many cities.  

It’s a good theory on all of the above points.  I don’t believe in punishing people for the capacity to do wrong which certain objects might give them.  You shouldn’t prevent someone from owning a gun when there is no reason to believe they won’t use it responsibly.  You shouldn’t prevent them from growing poppies or weed or owning a car or having a treehouse because they are assumed to be responsible and free until they prove they are going to use their freedom to harm others, instead of just themselves.  

The problem is an odd and specific one; items, the creation of which requires breaking the law, but are not stolen.  Example one: bits of an endangered species.  So, you go to the store and you buy a white tiger robe.  You didn’t kill a white tiger; the poacher did, and once the tiger was dead, it’s not like you could make it alive by not buying it.  If there is no contraband, then a person cannot get in trouble for owning a white tiger robe, only for killing the white tiger to get it.  So, supply is illegal, but demand is fine.  

There is a solution to example one.  All free game belongs to the people, whose right over it is administered by the State. (It’s already that way in New Jersey, by the way.)  Then, owning it constitutes owning stolen property, as such, it can be seized, and returned to it’s rightful owner, and the un-rightful owner held to various consequences depending on their level of involvement in the original theft.

Example two is a bit more evil: child pornography. While I believe that any consenting adult should be able to see (and do) pretty much anything regarding another consenting adult, the sexual exploitation of children is never acceptable.  Applying a parallel of example one doesn’t work, because even if all children are the property of the state (a profoundly lousy idea) the image of a crime is not identical to the crime.   Owning a stolen tiger pelt is not the same as having a picture of someone stealing one.  

My basic theory was that property is not good or bad, but can only be used for good or bad, but this sort of falls apart with child pornography. There is no good side to child pornography.  There is no way to “use” rather than abuse it.  For it to exist something unconscionable must happen.  How can a society embrace the freedom of adults to own what they wish, and follow the general truism of the amorality of tangible things, and yet keep this one thing contraband?

My answer is this: what makes child pornography is wrong is the exploitation.  The photo is amoral. The evil is the exploitation which went into making the photo.  As such, the real problem here is one of exploitation.  Pornography of a non-consenting adult is no more and no less wrong.   That being the case, exploitive pornography is treated as any other evidence of a crime (in this case rape).  The holder of the evidence is accused as an accomplice to the crime until they can provide evidence otherwise.  Child pornography is especially evil, but we need not throw out due process to pursue and punish it.

November 17, 2008 Posted by | Government, Politics, skepticism, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Focus on the Family’s “A Letter from 2012 in Obama’s America” analysis

I struggled to figure out the best way to present this data. This is an actual letter written by the people of Focus on the Family and taken from here: http://focusfamaction.edgeboss.net/download/focusfamaction/pdfs/10-22-08_2012letter.pdf I want to explain exactly what is so wrong with this, but there is so much so wrong at so many levels that, at first, I didn’t know how to tie it all together. The single thing I will use to tie this all together is the concept of projection.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection Projection is a coping mechanism whereby one attributes desires he finds shameful or undesirable to others around him. It is my theory that the senior staff of Focus on the Family is projecting their megalomania onto homosexuals. I don’t want to delete any part of this lest I be accused of selective deletion, so I will reduce the font size of the sections I don’t wish to comment on. Material which deals directly with homosexuals will be in pink font and normal size, remaining text will be black font normal size. My comments will be in blue front, normal size. Any italics are mine.

Letter from 2012 in Obama’s America What will the United States be like if Senator Obama is elected? The most reliable way of predicting people’s future actions is by looking at their past actions. Jesus himself taught, “You will recognize them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16). Anyone who has hired employees knows that – the best predictor of a person’s future job performance is not what he tells you he can do but what he has actually done in the past. So here is a picture of the changes that are likely or at least very possible if Senator Obama is elected and the far-left segments of the Democratic Party gain control of the White House, the Congress, and perhaps then the Supreme Court. The entire letter is written as a “What if?” exercise, but that does not make it empty speculation because every future “event” described here is based on established legal and political trends that can already be abundantly documented and that only need a “tipping point” such as the election of Senator Obama and a Democratic House and Senate to begin to put them into place. Every past event named in this letter (everything prior to October 22, 2008) is established fact and has already taken place. This letter is not “predicting” that all of the imaginative future “events” named in this letter will happen. But it is saying that each one of these changes could happen and also that each change would be a the natural outcome of (a) published legal opinions already written by liberal judges, (b) trends already seen in states with liberal-dominated courts such as California and Massachusetts, (c) recent past promises, practices, and legislative initiatives of the current liberal leadership of the Democratic Party and (d) Senator Obama’s previous actions, previous voting record, and previous public promises to the far-left groups that won the nomination for him. Many of these changes, if they occur, will have significant implications for Christians. This letter is addressed particularly to their concerns so they will be aware of what is at stake before the November 4 election. Some will respond to this letter by saying, “Well, I hope hardship and even persecution come to the church. It will strengthen the church!” But hoping for suffering is wrong. It is similar to saying, “I hope I get some serious illness because it will strengthen my faith.” Jesus taught us to pray the opposite: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matt. 6:13). Paul urged us to pray not for persecution but “for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Tim. 2:2). So Christians should hope and pray that such difficult times do not come. But if they do come, then it will be right to trust God to bring good out of them and also bring them to an end. Of course, there are many evangelical Christians supporting Senator Obama as well as many supporting Senator McCain in this election. Christians on both sides should continue to respect and cherish each other’s friendship as well as the freedom people have in the United States to differ on these issues and to freely speak our opinions about them to one another. October 22, 2012 Dear friends, I can hardly sing “The Star Spangled Banner” any more. When I hear the words, O say, does that star spangled banner yet wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave? I get tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. Now in October of 2012, after seeing what has happened in the last four years, I don’t think I can still answer, “Yes,” to that question. We are not “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” Many of our freedoms have been taken away by a liberal Supreme Court and a majority of Democrats in both the House and the Senate, and hardly any brave citizen dares to resist the new government policies any more.

(a.) Freedom cannot be taken away. It can only be given away by those who refuse to fight for it. Freedom belongs to who ever will fight for it. This is why black people are allowed to sit wherever they want on the bus. (b.) “The majority of Democrats” in Congress. If a majority of Democrats is associated with a reduction of freedom, then the opposite must be true: A majority of Republicans would mean an increase in freedom. Yet, analysis of the years of Republican domination of Congress will yield no victories in the issues about to be discussed.

The 2008 election was closer than anybody expected, but Barack Obama still won. Many Christians voted for Obama – younger evangelicals actually provided him with the needed margin to defeat John McCain – but they didn’t think he would really follow through on the far left policies that had marked his entire previous career. They were wrong. The Supreme Court On January 20, 2009, President Obama’s inauguration went smoothly, and he spoke eloquently of reaching out to Republicans who would work with him. Even in the next month, when Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John Paul Stevens announced that they would step down from the Supreme Court, nobody was very surprised – Ginsburg was already 75 year old and in ill health1 and Stevens, 88. President Obama nominated two far-left, American Civil Liberties Union-oriented judges and the Democratic Senate confirmed them quickly. They are brilliant, articulate, and in their early 40s, so they can expect to stay on the Court for 30 or 40 years. But things seemed the same because the Court retained its 4-4 split between liberals and conservatives with Justice Anthony Kennedy as the swing vote. The decisive changes on the Supreme Court started in June, when Justice Kennedy resigned – he was 72 and had grown weary of the unrelenting responsibility. His replacement – another young liberal Obama appointment – gave a 5-4 majority to justices who were eager to create new laws from the bench. The four conservative justices who remained — John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito — were suddenly in the minority. Then in August, 2009, two months after Kennedy resigned, Justice Scalia unexpectedly announced his resignation due to health reasons and by October of 2009 another Obama appointment took his oath and joined the Court. The three remaining conservatives (known as “originalists” because they hold that the meaning of the Constitution is its “original public meaning”) kept objecting that the role of the Supreme Court should not be to create new laws but only to interpret the Constitution and the laws that had been passed by Congress and the state legislatures. But the six liberal justices paid no attention. They decided cases in light of their understanding of the needs of society, and they took more and more precedents not from the U. S. Constitution but from international laws when it suited their agenda. From the end of 2009, Justices Roberts, Thomas, and Alito have been constantly outvoted 6-3 and they are essentially powerless. It might now be 20 or 30 more years before enough new appointments could be made to change the far-left dominance of the Supreme Court.

Notice the assumption that people who disagree with the views held by the senior staff of Focus on the Family (Liberals) are assumed to have an “agenda”. In a little bit, people who agree with Focus will be characterized as good people acting in mass, but never as people with an agenda. Is it impossible that people who disagree with Focus might work towards common goals because of common desires and not some “agenda”?

Finally the far-left had the highest prize: complete control of the Supreme Court. And they set about quickly to expedite cases by which they would enact the entire agenda of the far left in American politics – everything that they had hoped for and more just took a few key decisions.

Now the agenda is illuminated: complete control to enact their entire agenda and achieve everything they hoped for. It is here, I think that Focus on the Family most clearly projects their desire: to completely control the American political process.

Same-sex marriage The most far-reaching transformation of American society came from the Supreme Court’s stunning affirmation, in early 2010, that homosexual marriage was a “constitutional” right that had to be respected by all 50 states because laws barring same-sex marriage violated the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. Suddenly homosexual marriage was the law of the land in all 50 states and no state legislature, no state Supreme Court, no state Constitutional amendment, not even Congress had any power to change it.

Here the writer again shows his fantasy: that a law can be made from which there could be no recourse. Of course, it’s not true. The Supreme Court’s decisions are non-binding. They appear binding because, in the last 50 years, Congress, the President and the State governments have chosen to follow the recommendations of the Supreme Court as to what is constitutional and what is not. But there is no law which says they must. That is one of the checks and balances built into our system. But in the writer’s delusion of controlling the US, he could make a law and “not even Congress” could stop him. It is what he wants, so he assumes it of those he distrusts, even though its not, in this case, true or possible.

The Supreme Court had ruled, and the discussion was over.

Again with the total power fantasy. Rule without discussion.

This was a blatant example of creating new law by the court, for homosexual marriage was mentioned nowhere in the Constitution,

The Supreme Court saying the Constitution must be followed for homosexuals as well as everyone else is creating new law why? Because “homosexual marriage” was not mentioned in the constitution. By that logic, the First Amendment would only apply to actual speech, since newspapers, books, and radio are not mentioned in the constitution.

Nor would any of the original authors have imagined that same sex marriage could be derived from their words.

Probably true, but meaningless. It is doubtful any of them imagined that female suffrage would be derived from their words. Should we then deny women the vote?

But it just followed the precedents that had been already set by state Supreme Courts in Massachusetts (2003),2 California (2008),3 and Connecticut (2008).4 President Obama repeated his declaration that he personally was against same sex marriage, but he told the nation that there was nothing now that he could do. The Supreme Court had ruled, and it was now the law of the land. The President asked the entire nation to support the decision.

Again, the writer projects his desire for a group that cannot be argued with in anyway to be in charge, when this is frankly, not how the Supreme Court operates.

After that decision, many other policies changed, and several previous Supreme Court cases were reversed rather quickly — raising the question, “Is America still the land of the free?”

How does the reversal of previous decisions and the quick change of policy raise the question “Is America still the land of the free?” When President Lincoln made policy changes that reversed the status of slaves, did that raise a similar question? I seek here not to compare Obama to Lincoln, but to point out the absurdity of this line of reasoning. Unless, of course, the author means any change to policies he personally likes is an assault on freedom. Let’s find out more about the author’s idea of freedom.

(1) Boy Scouts: “The land of the free”? The Boy Scouts no longer exist as an organization. They chose to disband rather than be forced to obey the Supreme Court decision that they would have to hire homosexual scoutmasters and allow them to sleep in tents with young boys. (This was to be expected with a change in the Court, since the 2000 decision Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, which affirmed the right of the Boy Scouts as a private organization 2 Goodridge v. Department of Health, decided by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, November 18, 2003. 3 In re: Marriage Cases, decided by the California State Supreme Court, May 15, 2008. 4 Kerrigan v, Commissioner of Public Health, decided by the Connecticut State Supreme Court, October 10, 2008. to dismiss a homosexual scoutmaster, was a 5-4 decision, with Stevens, Ginsburg, Souter, and Breyer dissenting even then.) 5

Focus on the Family” TM describes it’s mission “To cooperate with the Holy Spirit in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as possible by nurturing and defending the God-ordained institution of the family and promoting biblical truths worldwide.” Biblical truths perhaps, but the Scouts can be lied about with impunity. Scoutmasters don’t sleep in tents with young or any other kind of boy. Ever. The Boy Scouts of America are aware of the risks of pedophiles and enforce a strict 2 person policy at all times. A Scoutmaster who attempted to sleep “in tents with young boys” would be out of the BSA before the night was up.

It had become increasingly difficult for the Boy Scouts to find meeting places anyway, because in 2009 Congress passed and President Obama signed an expansion of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which extended federal civil rights protections to people engaging in homosexual behavior. So the Boy Scouts had already been kicked out of all public facilities. (2) Elementary schools: “The land of the free”? Elementary schools now include compulsory training in varieties of gender identity in Grade 1, including the goodness of homosexuality as one possible personal choice. Many parents tried to “opt out” their children from such sessions, but the courts have ruled that they cannot do this, noting that education experts in the government have decided that such training is essential to children’s psychological health. Many Christian teachers objected to teaching first graders that homosexuality was morally neutral and equal to heterosexuality. They said it violated their consciences to have to teach something the Bible viewed as morally wrong. But state after state ruled that their refusal to teach positively about homosexuality was the equivalent of hate speech, and they had to teach it or be fired. Tens of thousands of Christian teachers either quit or were fired, and there are hardly any evangelical teachers in public schools any more. Non-Christians found this hard to understand. “Why not just teach what the school says even if it’s not your personal opinion? So what? We can’t have every teacher deciding what he or she wants to teach, can we?” But the Christian teachers kept coming back to something Jesus said: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6). And they quit by the thousands, no matter what the personal cost, rather than commit what they believed to be a direct sin against God. In addition, many private Christian schools decided to shut down after the Supreme Court ruled that anti-discrimination laws that include sexual orientation extended to private institutions such as schools,6 and that private schools also had to obey the law and teach that homosexuality and heterosexuality are both morally good choices.

This one of the largest individual sections in the whole letter. In the article “They Only Know What You Teach Them http://www2.focusonthefamily.com/docstudy/newsletters/A000000229.cfm Focus on the Family’s founder Dr. Dobson says “Let’s put the welfare of our boys and girls ahead of our own convenience and teach them the difference between right and wrong. They need to hear that God is the author of their rights and liberties. Let’s teach them that He loves them and holds them to a high level of moral accountability.” But strangely, all that time spent with mom and and dad, the loving caring environment at home, hearing that God loves them, it can all be completely undone if the child hears the statement “homosexuality is just another way to be.” How curious. You’d think that spending the first 7 years purely in the presence of two straight, loving parents would imprint the kid pretty strongly, but Focus believes that children are so highly prone to indoctrination that just hearing something over and over again will force them to accept anything, even if its not true. Now, why would Focus believe that?

(3) Adoption agencies: “The land of the free”? There are no more Roman Catholic or evangelical Protestant adoption agencies in the United States. Following earlier rulings in New York 7and Massachusetts,8 the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011 ruled that these agencies had to agree to place children with homosexual couples or lose their licenses. Just as the Catholic Charities adoption agency had closed down for this reason in Massachusetts in 2006,9 so all the agencies across the United States have now closed down rather than violate their consciences about the moral wrong of homosexual behavior. 5 Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, decided by the United States Supreme Court, June 28, 2000. 6 Maggie Gallagher, “Banned in Boston,” The Weekly Standard, May 15, 2006 7 http://www.adopthelp.com/alternativeadoptions/alternatives2.html 8 Gallagher, op.cit 9 Patricia Wen, “Catholic Charities stuns state, ends adoptions,” Boston Globe March 11, 2006 Christian parents seeking to adopt have tried going through secular adoption agencies, but they are increasingly excluding parents with “narrow” or dangerous views on religion or homosexuality.

The basic idea here is that adoption agencies will be forced to allow homosexual couples do adopt. Current statistics say 28% of children in foster care have been sexually abused by their (straight) foster parents. If homosexual couples “only” sexually abused 14% of their children, a child would be twice as safe with gay parents as with foster parents. Obviously the best gay person is better than the wost straight person, but Focus claims otherwise. How would claiming so relate to the writer’s need to project his desire for domination onto homosexuals? Because nothing motivates people to surrender due process like children in danger.

(4) Businesses with government contracts: “The land of the free”? All businesses that have government contracts at the national, state, or local level now have to provide documentation of equal benefits for same sex couples. This was needed to overcome “systemic discrimination” against them and followed on a national level the pattern of policies already in place in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle.10

Doesn’t the fact that local governments are already putting these laws into effect disprove the idea of the Supreme Court creating these law? The Supreme Court’s purpose is determine if existing laws are constitutional or not.

(5) Public broadcasting: “The land of the free”? The Bible can no longer be freely preached over radio or television stations when the subject matter includes such “offensive” doctrines as homosexual conduct or the claim that people will go to hell if they do not believe in Jesus Christ. The Supreme Court agreed that these could be kept off the air as prohibited “hate speech” that is likely to incite violence and discrimination. These policies followed earlier broadcasting and print restrictions that were already in place prior to 2008 in Canada 11 and Sweden. 12

The reference to Canada is story about the Canadian equivalent of the FCC receiving one application for a all gay radio station and one application for an all Catholic station in Toronto. The gay station got the frequency despite having less than a 1/10 the listenership of the the Catholic station. This is because in Canada, and unlike the U,S the Supreme Court has the legal right demand compliance from Federal agencies. As to Sweden the only “evidence” offered is a link to an add for lecture given by…Focus on the Family. In neither case was a Christian agency picked on for its stance on homosexuality. The author is projecting his desire to single out homosexuals as homosexual’s desire to single out the religious right.

(6) Doctors and lawyers: “The land of the free”? Physicians who refuse to provide artificial insemination for lesbian couples now face significant fines or loss of their license to practice medicine, following the reasoning of a decision of the California Supreme Court in North Coast Women’s Care Medical Group v. Superior Court of San Diego County (Benitez),which had been announced August 18, 2008.

The idea complained against here is that doctors will be prevented from refusing to do procedures on moral grounds. A good Christian doctor will face repercussions for refusing to provide artificial insemination for a lesbian couple. If that is bad, then the author would have you believe that it would be better if doctors could refuse to provide services to people that he did not deem morally worthy. Rape victims, for instance, could be denied emergency care if the doctor thought they were dressed too provocatively. That’s what it looks like when doctors decide who is morally worthy and who is not. Focus favors such a world because they consider themselves to be the moral elite. They will decide for the rest of us what is moral and what is not.

which had been announced August 18, 2008. 13As a result, many Christian physicians have retired or left the practices of family medicine and obstetrics & gynecology. Lawyers who refuse to handle adoption cases for same-sex couples similarly now lose their licenses to practice law. (7) Counselors and social workers: “The land of the free”? All other professionals who are licensed by individual states are now also prohibited from discrimination against homosexuals. Social workers and counselors, even counselors in church staff positions, who refuse to provide “professional, appropriately nurturing marriage counseling” for homosexual couples lose their counseling licenses.14 Thousands of Christians have left these professions as a result.

Two statements are made: one, that counselors cannot discriminate against homosexuals and two, that counselors must provide nurturing care. Since this is put in the context of “..changes, if they occur, will have significant implications for Christians” (from the intro) then Focus on the Family stated (Christian) policy toward homosexuals must be the opposite. Focus on the Family then must want it to be acceptable to discriminate against homosexuals who are seeking help. How un-Christlike of them. Perhaps the author fears that if homosexuals got counseling, his jihad would lose its legitimacy.

(8) Homosexual weddings: “The land of the free”? Church buildings are now considered a “public accommodation” by the United States Supreme Court and churches have no freedom to refuse to allow their buildings to be used for wedding ceremonies for homosexual couples. If they refuse, they lose their tax exempt status, and they are increasingly becoming subject to fines and anti-discrimination lawsuits. 15 (9) Homosexual church staff members: “The land of the free”? While churches are still free to turn down homosexual applicants for the job of senior pastor, churches and parachurch organizations are no longer free to reject homosexual applicants for staff positions such 10 http://www.azpolicy.org/pdf/GFI/H4HomosexualDomesticPartnerBenefits.pdf 11 John Henry Weston, “Canadian Broadcast Regulators: Gay Toronto Radio OK, Catholic Radio No Way” LifeSite.com, April 6, 2006. 12 Same-Sex “Marriage” and the Fate of Religious Liberty, Heritage Foundation Symposium, May 22, 2008. 13 North Coast Women’s Care Medical Group v. Benitez, decided by the California State Supreme Court, August 18, 2008. 14 The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) presently has a case involving a woman who was fired by the Centers for Disease Control for declining to offer counseling for a same-sex relationship, but referred the client to another counselor who would help. See Walden v. Centers for Disease Control, filed in federal district court, July 14, 2008. 15 Robert Bluey, “’Marriage’ Changes May Shake Churches’ Tax Exemptions,” CNSNews.com, February 23, 2004. as part-time youth pastor or director of counseling. Those that rejected homosexual applicants have already had their tax-exempt status revoked, and now the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has begun to impose heavy monetary fines for each new instance of such “discrimination” which, they say, is “contrary to the U.S. Constitution as defined by the Supreme Court.” These fines follow the pattern of a precedent-setting case in February, 2008, in which the Diocese of Hereford in the Church of England was fined $94,000 (47,000 UK pounds) for turning down a homosexual applicant for a youth ministry position.16

“…they lose their tax exempt status”, “their tax-exempt status revoked As Hamlet says in Act III, Ay, there’s the rub. The public acceptance of homosexuality is seen as a threat to the the tax exempt status of religious property. How much tax exemption? About $5,000,000,000. Focus on the Family didn’t pay a dime in taxes on the 142 million in gross sales it turned in 2005.

(10) Homosexuals in the military: One change regarding the status of homosexuals did not wait for any Supreme Court decision. In the first week after his inauguration President Obama invited gay rights leaders from around the United States to join him at the White House as he signed an executive order directing all branches of the military to abandon their “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and to start actively recruiting homosexuals.

Don’t ask, don’t tell means “It’s OK to be gay as long as no one knows about it.” Why in the world would a Christian group support such an idea.

17 As a result, homosexuals are now given special bonuses for enlisting in military service (to attempt to compensate for past discrimination)

If saying “I’m gay” means a cash bonus, I predict a near 100% rate of homosexuality as soon as the policy is passed. Blacks do have a history of past discrimination in the military, yet no bonuses are given to blacks, so there is no precedent.

and all new recruits, and all active-duty and reserve personnel, are compelled to take many hours of “sensitivity training” to ensure that they demonstrate positive attitudes toward those with different sexual orientations and practices.

We all ready are! Everyone is required to take homosexuality policy awareness training every year. The policy of “It’s OK if you don’t get caught” is extremely difficult to navigate.

Any who seem hesitant or who object are routinely passed over for promotion.

I am struggling to keep a professional tone at this point. Members of the military who don’t follow military policy are subject to court martial and dishonorable discharge, not pleasantly “passed over for promotion”.

In addition, any chaplain who holds to an interpretation of Scripture that homosexual conduct is morally wrong and therefore does not espouse “mainstream values,” is dismissed from the military.18 This is not “the land of the free” for them.

First of all, chaplains are not permitted to claim that any religion is more or less true than any other, so they already cannot follow a literal interpretation of scripture. Many chaplains, in fact, lead different religion’s services at different times of the week to better serve their people. Chaplains are uniformed military members. Like all of us in uniform, what we personally believe about right and wrong takes a back seat to following orders. No mater how strong a person’s religious sentiments to not kill, for instance, disobeying an order to fire upon the enemy is punishable by death. The lack of research that went into this section is appalling. Ironically, when no one must obey (the Supreme Court) the author claims total obedience is required. When total obedience is required, the author speaks of vague compliance. This is scare tactics, as if to say “If you don’t vote our way, the military will be full of fags.”

Religious speech in the public square (11) High schools: “The land of the free”? High schools are no longer free to allow “see you at the pole” meetings where students pray together, or any student Bible studies even before or after school. The Supreme Court ruled that this is considered speech that is both “proselytizing” and involves “worship,” special categories of speech which, as liberal Justice John Paul Stevens had already argued in his dissent in Good News Club v. Milford Central School (2001), should not be allowed in public schools, since it is in a different category from other kinds of speech.19 (Justice Souter filed a similar dissent, which Justice Ginsburg joined). The new 6-3 liberal majority on the Supreme Court followed his reasoning and outlawed any use of school property for any kind of religious meeting, even outside of normal school hours. In addition, Christian students cannot raise religious objections to curriculum material that promotes homosexual behavior.

So, this section warns us of a time when worship is seen as a unique for of free speech subject to some restrictions, and tax supported building should not be available for worship. I don’t want to live in a world where anyone can worship in a public place with no restrictions, and few people do if they consider what some religions define as worship. Tantric Hindus worship through sex, for instance. Why would Focus on the Family want a world where people could worship in whatever way they wanted at their children’s high school? They don’t. They want total control over how everyone is allowed to worship. They don’t chafe under the idea of controlled worship, just anyone but them controlling it.

(12) Church use of school property: “The land of the free”? Tens of thousands of young churches suddenly had no place to meet when the Supreme Court ruled that public schools in all 50 states had to stop allowing churches to rent their facilities even on Sundays, when school was not in session. The Court said this was an unconstitutional use of government property for a religious purpose. Most of these churches have still been unable to find any suitable place to meet. Public libraries and public parks are similarly excluded from allowing churches to use their facilities.

So, buildings in which taxpayers already pay the property tax, light bill, and maintenance costs cannot be loaned out to a tax exempt organization to save even them even more money. Notice a trend here? If gays have rights, the church goes broke. No church, and then no one will buy 142 million dollars worth of Focus on the Family merchandise every year.

16 See http://www.christian.org.uk/news/20080212/47000-fine-for-bishop-sued-by-homosexual-youth-worker/ 17 See http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/04/10/obama.gay.ap/index.html 18 See http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/10/03/politics/main2057198.shtml?source=RSSattr=U.S._2057198 19 Good News Club v. Milford Central Schools, dissent written by Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, June 11, 2001. Once again, the reasoning of liberal justices Stevens, Souter, and Ginsburg in 2001 in Good News Club (see above) was able to garner 6-3 support with the new Court, and they prevailed. (13) Campus ministries: “The land of the free”? Campus organizations such as Campus Crusade for Christ, InterVarsity, Navigators, Baptist Campus Ministry, and Reformed University Fellowship have shrunk to mere skeleton organizations, and in many states they have simply ceased to exist. After the Supreme Court ruled that “proselytizing” speech and “worship” speech did not have the same First Amendment protection as other speech, and after it declared same-sex marriage to be the law of the United States, a subsequent Supreme Court decision predictably ruled that universities had to prohibit campus organizations that promote “hate speech” and have discriminatory policies. Therefore these Christian ministries have been prohibited from all use of campus buildings, all campus bulletin boards, all advertising in campus newspapers, and all use of dormitory rooms or common rooms for Bible studies.20

Actually, no. Most campuses have areas called free speech zones, where anyone can literally say anything, even criminal things. It is, in fact in these free speech zones, that most missionaries on campus work.

Their staff members are no longer allowed to trespass on university property.

Again no. Campuses do not prevent entry based on belief, only on actions. The fact that Focus looks at a group and assumes they would implement thought control says a lot of about how the senior leadership of Focus would run college campuses if they could.

The only ministries allowed to function on campuses are “non-discriminatory” ministries that agree to allow practicing homosexuals and members of other religions on their governing boards.

Again, no. The campus Republicans are not required to set Democrats on their governing board. Phi Kappa Delta is not required to let Psi Sigma Gamma on their board. There is no basis for this in reality at all. However, we can be assured, if Focus on the Family had the reach into American politics they wished to, there would be a Focus on the Family approved member on every board of every group which disagreed with them.

With the new Supreme Court appointed by President Obama, the long years of liberal opposition to these evangelical ministries finally bore fruit, and only liberal ministries are left on campuses. (14) Pledge of allegiance: “The land of the free”? Public school teachers are no longer free to lead students in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the United States. The U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard a new challenge to the phrase “under God” in the pledge, and, as it had in 2002 in Newdow v. United States Congress, Elk Grove Unified School District, et al., it held the wording to be unconstitutional. Now the Supreme Court has upheld this decision.

Compulsorily swearing the Pledge of Allegiance in school was not mandated until 1940, 48 years after its writing. The phrase “…under God…” was not added till 1954.

Abortion (15) Freedom of Choice Act: Congress lost no time in solidifying abortion rights under President Obama. In fact, Obama had promised, “The first thing I’ll do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act” (July 17, 2007, speech to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund).21 This Federal law immediately nullified hundreds of state laws that had created even the slightest barrier to abortion.22 Now states can no longer require parental involvement for minors who wish to have an abortion, or any waiting period, or any informed consent rules, or any restrictions on late-term abortions. The act reversed the Hyde Amendment, so that the government now funds Medicaid abortions for any reason. As a result, the number of abortions has increased dramatically. The Freedom of Choice Act also reversed the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, so that infants can be killed outright just seconds before they would be born alive. States whose laws were overturned challenged the law in court but it was upheld by the 20 These cases are unfortunately common on many public university campuses. ADF has several examples from public universities such as the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Rutgers University, University of California-San Diego, to name just a few. 21 See http://www.citizenlink.org/CLtopstories/A000007601.cfm 22 The Freedom of Choice Act: Endangering Women and Silencing the Voices of Everyday Americans, See http://www.aul.org/FOCA Obama Supreme Court. “The land of the free”? There is no freedom for these infants who are killed by the millions.

I do not like abortion. I do like the idea of my daughter being able to get one without telling me. I do not like the idea of them being easier to get. I do not like the idea of there being more of them. From reading Focus’s pages I know they like them less than I (for instance “…blood of thousands of these dismembered babies will forever be on the hands of five justices..” http://www2.focusonthefamily.com/docstudy/newsletters/A000000760.cfmBBut Focus’s approach to this terrifies me. On the subject of homosexual marriage, the author said that not even a constitutional amendment could be made anymore. But on the subject of abortion, which is mentioned in the constitution, and can be stopped with an amendment, there is nothing said. In fact, a quick search of “amendment” on the website shows 56 articles about the “Marriage Amendment”…and one about Roe VS Wade. I can find no moral explanation for why a group who believes that abortion is murder would work harder to prevent gays from getting married then it would to prevent the unborn form being murdered. The only explanation that I can find is totally cynical: abortion as a lighting rod issue had begun to lose it’s zing. The pictures of the dead unborn no longer motived the sort of shock that Focus needs to maintain control over it’s diverse followers. A new whipping boy was needed, and the senior leadership chose homosexuals.

(16) Nurses and abortions: “The land of the free”? Nurses are no longer free to refuse to participate in abortions for reasons of conscience.23 If they refuse to participate, they lose their jobs, for they are now failing to comply with Federal law. Many Christian nurses have left the health care field entirely rather than violate their consciences. A number of Christian nurses challenged their loss of jobs in court, but the Supreme Court ruled that medical professionals do not have the freedom to refuse nonessential, elective care on the basis of conscience. In their decision, the Supreme Court followed the reasoning of the California Supreme Court in the 2008 Benitez case (see section (13) below).24

Nurses haven’t been able to refuse to participate in abortions for many years due to hospital policy. If one does not wish to participate in them, one does not work OB/GYN.

(17) Doctors and abortions: “The land of the free”? The same restrictions apply to doctors: Doctors who refuse to perform abortions can no longer be licensed to deliver babies at hospitals in any state. As a result, many Christian doctors have left family medicine and obstetrics, and many have simply retired.

See above, and the response to (6).

Pornography (18) Pornography: “The land of the free”? It’s almost impossible now to keep any children from seeing pornography. The Supreme Court in 2011 nullified all Federal Communications Commission restrictions on obscene speech or visual content in radio and TV broadcasts, and television programs at all hours of the day now contain explicit portrayals of sexual acts.

The Supreme Court has no power whatsoever to do that.

The Court simply applied more broadly the “Miller test” from the 1973 decision in Miller v. California, by which a work could not be found obscene unless “the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, and scientific value.” In the 2011 decision the Court essentially found that any pornographic work had some measure of “serious artistic value,” at least according to some observers, and thus any censorship of any kind of pornographic material was an unconstitutional restriction on the First Amendment freedom of speech and freedom of the press. In addition, all city and county laws restricting pornography were struck down by this decision. As a result, pornographic magazines are now openly displayed in gas stations, grocery stores, and newsstands (as they have been in some European countries for several years).

You shouldn’t decide you can look at, the government should decide. Advised by Focus, of course. Focus would probably continue to sell its 44 books and CD’s about about sex, but the Kuma Sutra, in print for 2000 years, would probably nixed.

In addition, law enforcement officials can no longer stop the distribution of child pornography, after the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that the such distribution violated freedom of speech and interstate commerce laws.

Absolutely absurd. If the United States legalized child pornography we would have trade sanctions applied to us from every part of the globe. Since we are one of the largest exporters in the world, this would totally destroy the economy.

Gun ownership (19) Guns: “The land of the free”? It is now illegal for private citizens to own guns for self defense in eight states, and the number is growing with increasing Democratic control of state legislatures and governorships. This was the result of a 6-3 Supreme Court decision in which the Court reversed its 5-4 decision that had upheld private gun ownership in District of 23 The Freedom of Choice Act: Endangering Women and Silencing the Voices of Everyday Americans, See http://www.aul.org/FOCA 24 North Coast, op.cit. Columbia v. Heller (2008).25 In the new decision, a response to test cases from Oregon, Massachusetts, and Vermont, the Court adopted the view of the Second Amendment that had already been defended in Heller by the four liberal justices, Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer. 26 In this new decision the Court specified that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms” was limited to that purpose they said was specified in the Second Amendment, namely, to those people who were part of a “well regulated militia” in the various states. To those who argued that this view was not the “original intent” of the framers, they pointed to a long history of dispute over the interpretation of the expression and then said that, in any case, the Constitution was an “evolving” document that must change with the times, and so what may have been applicable in 1790 need no longer be decisive.

Personally, I believe that law abiding citizens have a right to deadly weapons. My view aside, the argument here is that the constitution is not an evolving document. Obviously, it is. First white men could vote, then white women, then blacks. It evolved, it changed. Why does Focus fear this evolution? Because money buys power, and Focus has money. The first amendment evolving to remove their tax status would strip them of money, and thus of power.

Therefore they allowed cities and states to limit gun ownership to active duty military personnel and police officers. Citizens in those areas who are discovered owning guns have been subjected to heavy fines and imprisonment. Inner-city violent crime has increased dramatically.

Education (20) Home schooling: “The land of the free”? Parents’ freedom to teach their children has been severely restricted. The Supreme Court, to the delight of the National Education Association, followed the legal reasoning of a February 28, 2008 ruling in Re: Rachel L by the Second District Court of Appeal in California (although that ruling had been later reversed).27 The Court declared that home schooling was an illegal violation of state educational requirements except in cases where the parents (a) had an education certificate from an accredited state program, (b) agreed to use state-approved textbooks in all courses, and (c) agreed not to not to teach their children that homosexual conduct is wrong, or that Jesus is the only way to God, since these ideas have been found to hinder students’ social adjustment and acceptance of other lifestyles and beliefs, and to run counter to the state’s interest in educating its children to be good citizens. Parents found in violation of this ruling have been subject to prosecutions for truancy violation, resulting in heavy fines and eventual removal of their children from the home.

After this section, the arguments become progressively more ridiculous than even previously, and I going to give them less thought. Note here that one somewhat likely idea is tied to silly one to increase it’s seeming likelihood. The likely one is that the state would require some standards upon homes schoolers. Right now, in many states there is nothing there is no legal way to for the state to discern which children are home schooled and which children are simply not in school. This idea is tied to the illegality of teaching that “ Jesus is the only way to God”. 50% of the United States public says they are born again. Politicians won’t alienate that many voters.

28 Thousands of home schooling parents, seeing no alternative in the United States, have begun to emigrate to other countries,particularly Australia 29and New Zealand, 30 where home schooling is still quite prevalent. President Obama’s response to the Supreme Court After many of these decisions, especially those that restricted religious speech in public places, President Obama publicly expressed strong personal disapproval of the decision and said 25 District of Columbia v. Heller, decided by the United States Supreme Court, June 26, 2008. 26 Ibid, 27 In re; Rachel L, decided by California Court of Appeal, Second District, August 8, 2008. 28 Alan Sears, What began in Germany has come to the U.S. See http://www.alliancedefensefund.org/issues/religiousfreedom/default.aspx?cid=4431 29 http://homeschooling.families.com/blog/homeschooling-around-the-world-australia-amp-new-zealand 30 http://homeschooling.families.com/blog/homeschooling-around-the-world-australia-amp-new-zealand that the Supreme Court had gone far beyond anything that he ever expected or thought that it would do. But he has also stated repeatedly that he had sworn to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States,” and, now that the Supreme Court had ruled, he had no choice but to uphold the law, for these decisions were now the law of the land.

Actually, immigrating to those countries is quite difficult. Intriguingly for Focus merchandising, however, Focus on the Family Australia, and Focus on the Family New Zealand are the two most profitable overseas Focus subsidiaries.

Military policy In his role as Commander in Chief, President Obama has been reluctant to send our armed forces to any new overseas commitment.

Would that be the new all gay force, or the old some-gay-but-pretending-not-to-be force?

(21) Iraq: “The home of the brave”? President Obama fulfilled his campaign promise and began regular withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, completing it in the promised 16 months, by April, 2010. 31All was peaceful during those months, but then in May, 2010, Al Qaida operatives from Syria and Iran poured into Iraq in a flood and completely overwhelmed the Iraqi security forces. A Taliban-like oppression has now taken over in Iraq, and hundreds of thousands of American sympathizers” have been labeled as traitors, imprisoned, tortured, and killed. The number put to death may soon reach into the millions. Al Qaida leaders have been emboldened by what they are calling this American “defeat” and their ranks are swelling in dozens of countries.

If you vote for Obama, millions will die.

(22) Terrorist attacks: “The home of the brave”? President Obama directed U.S. intelligence services to cease all wiretapping of alleged terrorist phone calls unless they first obtained a specific court warrant for each case.

The author, who has spent the entire article complaining about modern re-interpretations of the constitution, now reverses course, and says that fourth amendment shouldn’t apply to anyone even suspected of a crime. It leads me to believe the constitution itself means nothing to these people, only power. Who should decide who is a terrorist or not? Why the politicians allied with Focus, of course.

Terrorists captured overseas, instead of being tried in military tribunals, are now given full trials in the U.S. court system, and they have to be allowed access to a number of government secrets to prepare their defense.

Why would allowing the trials give them security clearances? This is a total non sequitur.

Since 2009 terrorist bombs have exploded in two large and two small U.S. cities, killing hundreds, and the entire country is now fearful, for no place seems safe. President Obama in each case has vowed “to pursue and arrest and prosecute those responsible,” but no arrests have yet been made. However, he has also challenged the nation to increase foreign aid to the poorer nations that were the breeding grounds for terrorism, so that people could have an opportunity to escape from the cycles of poverty and violence in which generations had been trapped.

Vote for Obama and US cities will explode.

(23) Russia: “The home of the brave”? As Vice President Joe Biden had predicted on Oct. 20, 2008, some hostile foreign countries “tested” President Obama in his first few months in office. 32 The first test came from Russia. In early 2009 they followed the pattern they had begun in Georgia in 2008 and sent troops to occupy and re-take several Eastern European countries, starting with the Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. President Obama appealed to the United Nations (UN), taking the same approach as he had in his initial statements when Russia invaded Georgia in August 2008 and he said, “Now is the time for Georgia and Russia to show restraint, and to avoid an escalation to full scale war,” and “All sides should enter into direct talks on behalf of stability in Georgia, and the United States, the United Nations Security Council, and the international community should fully support a peaceful resolution to this crisis,”33 But Russia sits on the Security Council, and no UN action has yet been taken. Then in the next three years Russia occupied additional countries that had been previous Soviet satellite nations, including Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Bulgaria, with no 31 “Obama Calls Iraq War a ‘Dangerous Distraction,” CNN.com, July 15, 2008 http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/07/15/obama.iraq/index.html?eref=rss_topstories 32 See http://www.nypost.com/seven/10212008/news/politics/joe_doh_puts_o_in_crisis_mode_134547.htm 33 Barack Obama Statement on Georgia Crisis, August 8, 2008 military response from the U.S. or the UN. Meetings of NATO heads of state have severely condemned Russia’s actions each time but they could never reach consensus on any military action. Liberal TV commentators in both the US and Europe have uniformly expressed deep regret at the loss of freedom of these countries but have also observed that “the U.S. cannot be the world’s policeman.”

Vote for Obama and the commies will take over the world! Focus on the family’s radio show reaches 220 million people a day in 160 countries. But no one is forced to listen to God’s truth. Perhaps with the US military enforcing a Focus approved policy world wide, something could be done about that.

President Obama’s popularity dropped somewhat after each of these crises, but media criticism was remarkably muted. And Vice President Joe Biden reminded the nation that on October 20, 2008, he had predicted that Russia might be one of “four or five scenarios” where an international crisis” would arise. “It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy” and that Obama would have to make “some incredibly tough decisions,” and that “it’s not gonna be apparent initially, it’s not gonna be apparent that we’re right”34 (24) Latin America: President Obama has also moved to deepen U.S. ties and U.S. trade with Communist regimes in Cuba, Venezuela, and Bolivia, regimes that had long enjoyed the favor of far-left factions in the Democratic Party. Several other Latin American countries now seem ready to succumb to insurgent Communist revolutionary factions funded and armed by millions of petrodollars from Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.

If Obama wins the commies win!

(25) Israel: “The home of the brave”? In mid-2010 Iran launched a nuclear bomb which exploded in the middle of Tel Aviv, destroying much of that city. They then demanded that Israel cede huge amounts of territory to the Palestinians, and after an anguished all-night cabinet meeting, Israel’s Prime Minister agreed. Israel is now reduced to a much smaller country, hardly able to defend itself, and its future remains uncertain.

Vote for Obama and your just nuking the the Holy Land!

President Obama said that he abhorred what Iran had done and he hoped that the UN would unanimously condemn this crime against humanity. He also declared that the U.S. would be part of any international peacekeeping force if authorized by the UN, but the Muslim nations in the UN have so far prevented any UN action. Health care (26) Health care systems: The new Congress under President Obama passed a nationalized “single provider” health care system, in which the U.S. government is now the provider of all health care in the United States, following the pattern of nationalized medicine the United Kingdom and Canada. The great benefit is that medical care is now free for everyone — if you can get it. Now that health care is free it seems that everybody wants more of it. The waiting list for prostate cancer surgery is 3 years. The waiting list for ovarian cancer is 2 years. Just as the Canadian experience had shown prior to 2008 with its nationalized health care, so now in the US only a small number of MRIs are performed — only 10% of what they were in the U.S. in 2008 – because they are just too expensive, and they turn out to discover more problems that need treatment, so they are almost never authorized.

This is actually one of the more reasonable complaints. Sadly of course, it doesn’t mention the fact that HMOs have already caused the same problem, while profiting billions.

(27) Limited care for older Americans: “The land of the free”? Because medical resources now must be rationed carefully by the government, people over 80 have essentially no access to hospitals or surgical procedures. Their “duty” is increasingly thought to be to go home to die, so that they don’t drain scarce resources from the medical system. Euthanasia is becoming more and more common.

Obama is going to kill your Grandma.

Taxes, the economy, and the poor: 34 ABC News online, Oct. 20, 2008. Many Christians who voted for Obama did so because they thought his tax policies were more fair and his “middle class tax cuts” would bring the economy out of its 2008 crisis. But once he took office he followed the consistent pattern of the Democratic Party and the pattern of his own past record and asked Congress for a large tax increase. He explained that the deficit had grown so large under President Bush, and the needs of the nation were so great, that we simply couldn’t afford to cut taxes at the present time. And several of Obama’s economic policies have hurt the poor most of all because they have decreased production, increased inflation, and increased unemployment. Here is what happened: (28) Taxes: Tax rates have gone up on personal income, dividends, capital gains, corporations, and inheritance transfers. The amount of income subject to Social Security tax has nearly doubled. The effect on the economy has been devastating. We have experienced a prolonged recession. Everybody has been hurt by this, but the poor have been hurt most of all. In dozens of cities there are just no jobs to be found. It turns out that the people President Obama called “the rich” were mostly not all that rich. They were just ordinary people who worked hard, saved, and built small businesses that provided jobs and brought economic growth. They were the people who kept inventing new and better ways to produce things and bring prices down. They were the people whose companies produced the goods and services that gave us the highest standard of living in history of world. They were the people who provided the competition that kept prices of everything so low. And the top 50% of earners were already paying 97% of income taxes collected by the U.S. government in 2006.

Aren’t we experiencing a prolonged recession right now under a Republican president. Didn’t we have a our most recent bubble of prosperity under Clinton? President Obama increased their tax burden so much that many business owners decided they didn’t want to work any harder when the government was taking so much away. “The land of the free?” Not for the most productive workers in the American economy. Just as nearly two million citizens in the decade prior to 2008 had moved out of California and New York when the Democrats had control and kept raising state taxes, many of these entrepreneurs have now moved their money, their factories, and often themselves, overseas. So many jobs have been lost that welfare rolls have swelled, and President Obama is calling for more taxes to meet the needs of those without work.

Vote for Obama and the US economy will explode.

However, Obama’s tax bill still included “tax credits” for the lowest 40% of earners, who were said to “need the most help.” Since the bottom 40% were not paying any Federal income taxes in the first place, these “tax cuts” were actually a gigantic redistribution of income, a huge welfare payment, a way to “spread the wealth around,”35 as Obama had told “Joe the Plumber” on October 13, 2008.

Wait, so Focus just said “Not paying taxes equals a giant welfare payment, and is socialist wealth redistribution.” What a funny thing for 142 million dollar a year nonprofit agency to say. Apparently handouts are OK for multi-million dollar multi-national corporations like Focus, but not for the poorest families in America. I think that’s all we need to see about Focus’s tax policy.

When critics objected that Obama’s tax policies were leading to inflation and unemployment, he responded that our goal should not be merely to increase America’s materialism and wealth and prosperity, but to obtain a more just distribution of wealth, even if it costs everybody a little to achieve that important goal. (29) Budget deficit: The Federal budget deficit has increased dramatically under President Obama, in spite of higher tax rates. It turned out that increasing tax rates on “the rich” did nothing to reduce the deficit because the economy shrank so much with reduced investment 35 “Obama to Plumber: My Plan Will ‘Spread the Wealth Around’”, Fox News.com. October 13, 2008. Seehttp://elections.foxnews.com/2008/10/13/obama-plumber-plan-spread-wealth/comments/ that the total dollars collected in taxes actually decreased, even though most people’s tax rate is now higher. As numerous economists had predicted, higher tax rates in practice meant that the government took in less money. When reporters asked Obama why he still favored higher taxes on the rich when it brought in no more money, he replied that it was important that the rich pay their fair share. (30) Union organizing: “The land of the free”? Congress passed in 2009, and President Obama quickly signed, a “card check” program that nullified the requirement for secret ballots when voting on whether workers wanted a union shop.36 Now the union simply has to get signatures from a majority of workers in any business, and unions around the country are now using strong-arm tactics to intimidate anyone who stands in their way. Several industries are now completely unionized and prices of goods produced by those industries have shot up as a result.

I have no real idea why Focus would take an anti-union stance. The AFL-CIO for instance will only back anti-abortion candidates. Through direct action or fear of direct action, labor unions are why people make overtime when they work more than 40 hours a week, and why children don’t work in sweatshops anymore. The only thing I figure is that Focus looks at any group which competes with them for the affection of the US public with rancor. Or perhaps its because on September 30th, not long before this was written they laid of 46 people, when they hired out their online business to a cheaper subcontractor in another state. This will save them 50% on distribution costs. http://www.thechronicleonline.net/content/view/971/508/

(31) Energy: World demand for oil continues to climb, and prices keep going up, but President Obama for four years has refused to allow any additional drilling for oil in the United States or offshore. Gas now costs more than $7.00 per gallon, and many Democrats now openly applaud this, since high prices reduce oil consumption and thus reduce carbon dioxide output. But working Americans are hit especially hard by these costs. Nuclear energy would provide a substitute for oil in some uses, and could generate electricity to power electric cars, but environmentalist legal challenges have prevented the construction of any new nuclear plants, and the courts have been leaning so far in a pro-environmentalist direction that nobody expects the construction of any new nuclear plants for several decades, if ever. Obama keeps reminding people that we cannot guarantee that it will be safe.

Gas costs that much or more in Germany, France, and England, yet these countries have higher productivity per person per hour than the US.

As for coal, President Obama directed the Environmental Protection Agency to implement strict new carbon emission standards that drove many coal-powered electric plants out of business. The country now has less total electric power available than in 2008, and periodic blackouts to conserve energy occur on a regular schedule throughout the nation. The price of electricity has tripled in some places like California, which also faces rolling blackouts during peak energy periods. The impact on our economy, and on the comfort of our homes, has been devastating.

Regular blackouts do not a second presidency win.

Talk radio Through the actions of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Congress,Democrats were able to largely silence the largest source of conservative opposition: talk radio.

Focus owns 7,000 radio stations, all tax free.

(32) Fairness doctrine: “The land of the free”? By the summer of 2009, the 5-member Federal Communication Commission (FCC) was controlled by Democratic appointees – including a chairman appointed by President Obama. The “Fairness Doctrine” became a topic of FCC consideration following pressure from Democratic Congressional leaders who initially did not have sufficient votes to pass the measure in Congress. The FCC quickly implemented the Fairness Doctrine” which required that radio stations provide “equal time” for alternative views on political questions. As a result, all radio stations had to provide equal time to contrasting views for every politics-related program they broadcast by talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Dennis Prager, Janet Parshall, Michael Medved, and Hugh Hewitt, and broadcasters like James Dobson.

The audacity of mentioning the Focus’s founder’s name in this is just stunning.

36 Donald Lambro, “Obama supports union organizing,” Washington Times, July 31, 2008. Every conservative talk show began to be followed by an instant rebuttal to the program by a liberal “watchdog” group that followed each conservative broadcaster. Many listeners gave up in frustration, advertising (and donation) revenues dropped dramatically, and nearly all conservative stations have now gone out of business or switched to alternative formats such as country or gospel or other music. Conservative talk radio, for all intents and purposes, was shut down by the end of 2010.

Vote for Obama and Focus’s donations will go down. No wonder they are so afraid.

In order to solidify the Fairness Doctrine at the FCC, the Congress in 2010 passed, and President Obama signed, legislation making it permanent.Many legal scholars had predicted that the Fairness Doctrine would be declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. But the new liberal Obama Court upheld it easily. Of course, this bill fit the deeper purpose of the liberal-left wing of American politics, which trumps all other purposes, and that is getting and increasing their power so as to impose their agenda on the nation. It was not surprising the liberal Supreme Court went along.

So, Focus considers the goal of any organization that opposes it to be “… getting and increasing their power so as to impose their agenda on the nation…” This is an example of the projecting I was mentioned earlier. This is what Focus clearly wants to do, so it is the motivation that they attribute to all others.

Christian publishers

(33) Christian books: After the Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage, homosexual activist groups targeted three large Christian book publishers that had publications arguing that homosexual conduct was wrong based on the teachings of the Bible. The activists staged marches and protests at Barnes and Noble stores around the country, demanding that the stores remove all books published by these “hate-mongering” publishers.

Fascinating. Focus assumes that other groups would boycott their viewpoint. Why? Perhaps because a quote from Focus could shed light on this question. “They joined hands to boycott the Disney Corporation for its immoral and violent television programming, books and films, and its consistent promotion of the homosexual lifestyle.”

Barnes and Noble resisted for a time, but the protests continued, there was a lot of vandalism and secret defacing of books in various stores, and eventually the cost was too great and Barnes and Noble gave in. The same thing happened at Borders and other chains. Then they staged a massive nationwide computer attack on Amazon.com, with the same demands, and the same result. As a result, those evangelical publishers could no longer distribute any of their books into in any of these chains. The same thing happens now to any other Christian publisher that dares to publish anything critical of homosexuality. Several Christian publishers have already gone out of business.

Prosecution of former Bush administration officials

34) Criminal charges against Republican officials: In his first week in office Obama followed President Clinton’s precedent and fired all 93 U.S. Attorneys, replacing them with his own appointments, many taken from the most active members of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). President Obama argued that this was not a selective political action like what President Bush had done, because Obama had fired all of them, conservatives and liberals alike.” The Justice Department soon began to file criminal and civil charges of various sorts against nearly every high Bush administration official who had any involvement with the Iraq war.37 During his campaign, Senator Obama said, “What I would want to do is to have my Justice Department and my Attorney General immediately review the information that’s already there and to find out are there inquiries that need to be pursued.”38 In order to facilitate these proceedings, President Obama rescinded President Bush’s executive order that had prevented presidential papers from being released, and millions of pages of previously secret White House 37 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/04/15/obama-would-immediately-r_n_96690.html and http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/attytood/Barack_on_torture.html38 Ibid. papers were posted on the Internet. ACLU attorneys have spent four years poring over these papers looking for possible violations of any law. Dozens of Bush officials, from the Cabinet level on down, are now in jail, and most of those are also bankrupt from legal costs.

Wait, so suspected terrorist should be wire tapped without due process, but suspected criminals in high office should be ignored. Why the double standard? Because one group is a friend of Focus and one isn’t. Why would Focus fear a investigation of high level Republicans? It might have to do with where 14.7 million dollars of Focus’s PAC went.http://www.eri-nonprofit-salaries.com/index.cfm?FuseAction=NPO.Form990&EIN=953188150

Where is the opposition? Has America completely lost God’s favor and protection as a nation? If it has, is this surprising? How can God continue to bless a nation whose official policies promote blatant violation of God’s commands regarding the protection of human life, and sexual morality?

The blessings of God are earned by obeying Focus?

Why should God bless any nation that elects officials who remove people’s freedom of religion and freedom of speech and freedom even to raise their own children? His Word says, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34). A lot of brave Christian men and women tried to resist some of these laws, and some Christian legal agencies tried to defend them, but they couldn’t resist the power of a 6-3 liberal majority on the Supreme Court. It seems as though many of the bravest ones actually went to jail or were driven to bankruptcy. And many of their reputations have been destroyed by a relentless press and the endless repetition of false accusations, against which no response was ever allowed in any nationwide public forum. The same question written in “The Star Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key in 1814 rings in the air: O say, does that star spangled banner yet wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave? Now in October of 2012, after seeing what has happened in the last four years, the answer to that question is “No.” Our freedoms have been systematically taken away. Many of “the brave” are now in jail. We are no longer “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” How did this happen? When did this all start? Christians share a lot of the blame. In 2008 many evangelicals thought that Senator Obama was an opportunity for a “change,” and they voted for him. They simply did not realize Obama’s far-left agenda would take away many of our freedoms as a nation, perhaps permanently (it is unlikely that the Supreme Court can be changed for perhaps 30 more years). Christians did not realize that by electing Barack Obama, the most liberal member ever to serve in the U.S. Senate,39 they would allow the law, in the hands of a liberal Congress and Supreme Court, to become a great instrument of oppression.

So Focus believes that placing control of the government in the hands of a small number of radicals would be oppression. And demands it be placed in the hands of its approved politicians.

Many people thought he sounded so thoughtful, so reasonable. And during the campaign, after he had won the Democratic nomination, he seemed to be moving to the center in his speeches, moving away from his earlier far-left record. No one thought he would enact such a far-left, extreme liberal agenda. But the record was all there for anyone to see. The agenda of the ACLU, the agenda of liberal activist judges in their dissenting opinions, the agenda of the homosexual activists, the 39 Amanda Carpenter, “Obama’s Voting Record Belies Moderate Image,” Human Events.com, January 16, 2007. agenda of the environmental activists, the agenda of the National Education Association, the agenda of the global warming activists, the agenda of the abortion rights activists, the agenda of the gun control activists, the agenda of the euthanasia supporters, the agenda of the one-world government pacifists, the agenda of far-left groups in Canada and Europe – all of these agendas were there in plain sight, and all of these groups provided huge support for Senator Obama. The liberal agenda was all there. But too many people just didn’t want to see it. Christians didn’t take time to find out who Barack Obama was when they voted for him. Why did they risk our nation’s future on him? It was a mistake that changed the course of history.

changed the course of history” The God of Focus is so weak, that only if Focus approved leader rules the US will be able to follow God’s plan.

What about our faith? Personally, I don’t know how we are going to get through tomorrow, for these are difficult times. But my faith in the Lord remains strong. I still believe that “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28). I still believe that “kingship belongs to the LORD, and he rules over the nations” (Psalm 22:28). I still believe that our salvation comes from no earthly government for “there is salvation in no one else” than Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12). I still believe that God is sovereign over all history, and though I don’t know why he has allowed these events to come about, it is still his purpose that will ultimately be accomplished. He alone can say of all history, “There is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose’” (Isaiah 46:9-10). Sincerely, A Christian from 2012

Conclusion. First, I think the case for Focus’s hypocrisy is clear. Calling reduced taxes a huge handout and complaining about the bottom 40% of tax payers getting it while simultaneously demanding that they continue to receive their handout is an amazing level of hypocrisy, for instance. I feel case for their meglomania is clear as well. Everywhere they look the see an agenda of total control, even to thoughts, and the indoctrination of children. Focus does not fear these things for the sake of them, but because the fear other’s treading on what the regard as their turf. They do not oppose books about sex, as long as they author them. They do not oppose indoctrinating children, as long as they are the indoctrinators. They do not oppose a huge military as long as they decide who gets to serve. Perhaps the most disturbing of all is the their misuse of the concept of freedom. This misuse is consistent with the views on their website. “We get deceived into thinking that doing whatever we desire is liberty when in reality it is enslavement to the wiles of the Enemy.” What then is true freedom? Being “…free to obey God…”. And “When God tells us to do something or not do something, it is because He has set us free and He wants to teach us to live as free people.” In short freedom is slavery, and slavery is freedom. How surprising that Focus would side with the InSoc in George Orwell’s 1984. Or perhaps when you consider that Focus claims to speak for God’s ultimate and unquestionable power in the realm of American politics, it’s not so surprising after all.

Copyright of “A letter…” Focus on the Family. Used without permission in accordance with fair use doctrine.

October 31, 2008 Posted by | atheism, Government, guns, Politics, Religion, skepticism, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Orgy of loneliness

Beautiful, isnt it.

Beautiful, isn't it.

I am often accused of being controversial for the fun of it.  Sometimes, I am.  However, often as not, I am just writing from the heart and my heart is, I guess, full of controversy.  If you are so offended by controversy that you cannot read something controversial to the end, please don’t read this, because I don’t want to deal with the questions and responses of people who only read half.  Also, if you don’t want to know about what I was thinking and doing in regards to sex when I was a teen, again, stop reading, because I am going to be totally honest.

I began looking at online pornography around the age of 12 or so.  Pornography is a available with many themes, and one that intrigued me was orgy themed pornography.  Orgy is a French loan word, which came to France via the Latin orgia, meaning secret rites or secret revels.  (For the not so literate, a revel is big party.) The idea here is a big party where secret rites are practiced.  I’m not clear on the etymology (story of the meaning of a word) but orgy came in English to almost exclusively mean “a bunch of people having sex with each other all at once”.

I wasn’t only attracted to the representation of orgy in pornography, I was attracted to the very idea of it, the concept of it.  This concerned me. As a young teen growing up in a very stereotypically Christian environment I had (obviously) the attendent sexual obsession, but also the attendent homophobia.  Half the people at an orgy were male. Though the men at an orgy were having sex with women, to be in a room where other men were having sex, even with women, seemed gay.  Homosexuality held absolutely no appeal whatsoever, but orgies seemed appealing.  I struggled to answer why.

Around the same time, I took an interest in cults.  I read everything I could get my hands on about cults, particularly ones that included sexual deviancy.  I think I did this because I considered the my desire for pornography, masturbation, sex, and particularly orgy to be a sin in and off it self. (A position, I might add, that the church agrees with.)  To look at porn and to masturbate were, in my mind, bad enough.  That I desired to do these things and to have sex with my female friends, and particularly desired to be having sex in a room full of other people having sex, was appalling to me.  I felt incredibly ashamed.  So, I guess it was natural that I looked for a group of people where everyone was like me, where my desires were not a deviancy to be ashamed off, but a communal value, perhaps, even a virtue.

When I discovered the record of the Oneida Community, it seemed that I had discovered paradise.  The Oneida Community was group of “Bible Communists” who lived in upstate New York.  They believed a lot fascinating things, but the ones of note here are their sexual practices.  Unlike many cults which have achieved infamy for their sexual oddity, the Oneida’s were not primary a “sex cult”, they were a real religious group which positively effected the world around them.  It just so happened they had some unique sexual practices.

The foundation of these practices, was called Complex Marriage.  Complex marriage was a theory.  In theory, every one in the commune was married to everyone else in the commune.  Everyone shared in parenting.  Sex was seen as both physical and spiritual.  They saw nothing sinful in sex as long it was practiced in their unique way.  They were not unaware of the procreative aspects of sex, and this figured into their social norms. They considered the ability to prevent ejaculation as spiritual discipline.  For this reason, young men were paired with post-menopausal women until they had mastered this control.  Men and women who were capable of prolonged and mutually enjoyable sexual encounters were considered spiritually mature.  Immature believers were paired with them until they learned the lessons, at which point they would also begin to rotate through the commune to spread “love”.  Each member had about 3 pairings a week.  All children were planned, wanted, and raised by all.

To me this sounded like the most wonderful state of human affairs on earth.  Of course, it didn’t last.  The values got corrupted and church leaders got the most nubile and young with whom they were not “spiritually disciplined” and had many babies, not all of which were wanted by the whole community.  Aside becoming selfish lovers, they also became selfish about those lovers.  Demanding that the laity share, the clergy refused to share their treasured few.

When I was 18, and looking to move out, I looked at several “swingers’ clubs”.  For the naive among you, a swingers club is often much more than a place where people interested in anonymous sex can meet (that’s what singles bars are for).  Swinger’s clubs have rules.  Often everyone gets together once a week.  In some clubs you can’t refuse anyone who asks, in others, there are certain formalities of asking.  Some clubs require that sex take place in front of all other guests.  Some require that it does not.   The point is, all of them have certain rules and methods of operation to prevent a sex cult from forming.  By “cult” I mean they struggle to make sure that everyone relates as equals, and no one had undo force on any other person, to ensure total consent.

None of them were attractive, and coming to undertand why helped me put two and two together.  The reason that orgy themed pornagraphy had interested me in spite of myself, the reason that the Oneida Community had seemed to call to me so much, the reason that the swingers clubs had so little appeal, was all the same:  What I wanted was the intimacy.  The reason that orgy as a lifestyle intrigued me was the idea of being so loved. To love a community of people, so much, and have that love be returned, to love the women so much that I could make love to any of them, and to love the men so much that I would share the women I loved with them was what I wanted… In short, I wanted to be loved. Not just by an individual, but loved by a whole group.

I wanted it, but I was a conservative Christian.  To me to turn my back on the values of Christianity was a death sentenence.  Once I even took one step on that road, the full consequences would be taken.  I didn’t really want to get into some freaky sex, I wanted to be loved.  I wanted, however, a love the church could not give me.  The church cannot love you for who you are, since you are at worst a sinner and at best a “saint who sins”. If who you are isn’t spiritual, then loving that part of you is sin.  They can love the part of you that prays, but not the part that works on trucks.  However if you pray and evanglize, then they can love the part of you that prays as well as the part of you that works for a living. They must love you because Jesus does.  I didn’t want to be loved out of duty or obligation, I wanted to be loved because I was unique and special.  My love of science is as much a part of who I am as my love of my wife and daughter.  I wanted to belong to a community that loved ALL of me, not just the spiritual parts.

As many of you know, when I was 18 I very seriously considered going to Philadelphia and starting a sex cult.  I never thought that this would be right or healthy.  In fact, even as I considered it, I thought that it would be corrosive to my very soul.  Ethylene glycol was an early antifreeze.  It is so like sugar that it even tastes sweet.  It brakes down into the blood just like sugar, cell by cell.  Then it goes to fuel the muscles just like sugar.  Then it metabolizes into poison, this poison is filtered out by the kidneys. They stop working, and you die.  Sex is so like real intimacy that its easy to confuse the two.  Then at some critical point in your life where you need intimacy to make it, all you have is sex, and a part of you dies.  I knew thats what would happen to me.  But I was so desperately lonely and hungry to be loved by a community of people, that I almost accepted the second best to nothing at all.  I didn’t care about the personal cost, I just wanted to be wanted, not because Jesus said so, but purely because of what I have to offer.

I didn’t go start a sex cult, I tried, instead, another avenue.  I thought maybe I should go into “ministry”.  I went to bible college, I tried campus groups, eventually, I even joined a wild eyed charismatic church who talked big about the coming revolution and change at any cost.  Let me make clear here.  My point is NOT is not about sex.  My point is that I was so desperate to be loved by a group of people that I would have used sex.  I would have done anything, I would have even given my life.  And so desperate was this desire, that knowing full well I counldn’t get it with sex, I was almost willing to to use sex just to feel like I had it when I did not.

None of it worked.  No mater what I did, I couldn’t be loved for what I have to offer, I had to be loved for who I knew, Jesus.  I couldn’t be loved for what I could do right now, I had to be loved for what I could do in some distant future.  And finally, and most painfully of all, I could not be loved for what I loved (science, skeptisicm, and rationality).  The community that I wanted so much was not available in the chuch.

Of late, I have been spending a lot of time in the company of athiests, agnostics, and skeptics.  For the first time in my life, I am loved by a group not because I am pimping Christ, not out of duty, and not because I have potential.  I am loved for what I am, and greatest of all, the things that are most important to me: critcal thought, freedom, and truth, are something that people admire about me instead of tolerate.  That which I am, is loved and respected instead of channeled into things which “support the cause”.

The desire that I have had since adolesnce to be loved by a group for who I am is finally fufilled.  The Oneida Ideal suddenly has no appeal for me as I get what I need from people who respect me.  I don’t to compromise who I am to be loved, I can simply be myself and people seek me out. That which the church denied to me for 25 years I have found in the rebels of the church.  I have that “one thing” and I won’t ever go back.


July 16, 2008 Posted by | Religion, Self discovery, skepticism, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Independence Day

On this day, the anniversary of the founding of our nation, I want to talk abit about magical thinking and how it applies to law.  I’m sure that all my readers have read me quote Wikipedia’s definition of magical thinking sufficiently at this point.  So, I will just use my own understanding to break it down this time, and skip the quote.

Magical thinking consists of several different basic issues: Correlation equaling causation, contagion, synchronicity, and symbol power.  All of them profoundly rooted in the laws of our land.

Correlation as causation is the idea that related events must cause each other.  People who own homes generally don’t get caught breaking into cars.  Thus, a multi-billion dollar tax write-off (mortgage payments being tax deductable) is foisted upon an unthinking public. (Obviously, owning a home does not cause good behavior, it is merely associated with it.)

Contagion is the idea that things placed near each other share some transfer of identity or quality. From this concept, the voodooist makes a doll of the persons’ clothes or hair, the clairvoyant needs something that belonged to the deceased, and the Catholic church claims healings resultant from holy relics.

Synchronicity seeks to relate a number of random events with unifying cause.  For instance, the charge that California suffers many earthquakes because it is the center of the United States pornography industry rather than because of the San Andres fault.

The power of symbols, is what I wish to talk about today.  Dwight Conquergood said this of symbol power “Symbols instill beliefs and shape attitudes that underpin social structures. The binding force of culture, by and large, is a web of symbols that enables people to control and make sense out of experience in patterned ways.”  Tarot for Dummies has this to say “You may not even realize it, but your life is shaped by symbols that are passed to you or inherited from your culture, your race, your peer and social groups, and your family” and further “The picture symbol of an evergreen tree decorated with lights and other ornaments is an archetype for Christmas. Without consciously thinking about it, you are prompted to think of snow and Christmas presents when you see a picture like this. (And depending on your past experiences, you may feel anything from excitement and hope to depression and anxiety.)”

Symbols have no more power than we give them, but often, as a society, we grant enormous power to certain symbols. Imagine you are lost and need to ask for directions. Think of a small plain building with a flagpole in front. On the flagpole flies Nestle Company flag.  Would you be comfortable stopping there?  Most likely. Now, imagine the same scene, only the building flying a Nazi flag.  Would you stop for directions?  If not (and most people do say “no”) why not?  From a logical stand point, why not stop?  In a democratic society there will obviously be people you disagree with.  Is a historical revisionist, white supremest somehow more evil corporate lawyer? (Turn your attention again to Nestle, it has purposefully marketed infant formula to developing nations’ mothers by having actresses dress has nurses and give away free samples until the mothers milk dries up, then begin charging for it.  They also use child slaves in the processing of their chocolate.)

The Nestle ImageThe Nazi Image

Despite the fact that both represent oppressive regimes, you would most likely stop for Nestle, but not for Nazi. The greatest absurdity, of course, is that a person’s adherence to bankrupt moral code has little to do with their capacity to get you from 10th Street to Mulligan Avenue.

That is the power of a symbol.  One associates so much with the mere symbol that the instant response is revulsion and fear.  That a symbol of 60 year old failed government induces more concern than the corporate herald of multi-billion dollar corporation that employs child slaves in the third world to make candies for child consumers in the first also shows how the power of symbols can have nothing to do with what is truly being represented, and everything to do with what people feel is represented. Finally, it shows how a group may maintain a symbol and operate under the social protection that the perception of that symbol provides.

How does this relate back to this Independence Day?  The constitution of our country is not the law of our land.  That which is fair and just is rarely simple. The constitution is not the law, but the heart of the law, the principals from which the laws are derived. The real “law of the land” is the United States Legal Code available here.  In a democracy, the law will never be simple.  Different groups and people will require compromise and specification. Which means volumes, rather than pages of law.

You will hear in these United States constant statements such as “The Constitution guarantees certain rights”.  And that, dear readers, is bullshit.  The constitution is lovely piece of old paper.   Next time your rights are being violated, call out to the constitution. See if it sprouts little parchment legs and comes running to your defense, a musty musket clutched to its flat, printed breast.  The constitution is a symbol.  It is not the symbol of justice which makes justice,but just men and women.  Rosa Parks was granted her rights not by the Constitution in a little glass box but by the work of her hands and the bravery in her heart.

The Constitution is the symbol of everything that is right in the country.  I mean it no disrespect.  But let us remember, today of all days, that it is not the symbol of freedom that guarantees our freedom.  It is free men and women, fighting to stay so.  Do not put your trust in the symbol of power, but its source: your own heart.

July 4, 2008 Posted by | Government, Politics, Religion, skepticism, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Americans Hate Freedom

I realized something today.

Americans hate freedom.

Now, this statement will offend some. They will cry out, “We are the freest nation on earth,” “Americans love freedom,” and “Americans love freedom so much they will fight for the freedom of others.” I say, bologna.

As to the first: “We are the freest nation on earth.” How would one measure that? Well, how about percentage of the population incarcerated? Communist China has a population of 1.3 billion with 1.5 million in prison. America has a population of 300 million with a total of 7 million in prison. (1.) The US has more people in prison, both as a percentage of the population and as raw numbers, than any other nation on earth. The United States has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s incarcerated population. (2.)

Perhaps it could be measured by the amount of red tape through which people have to wade? Well, the tax code (which is not even considered part of the enormous US legal code) is 13,458 pages in total length. (3.)

Well, perhaps, our constitution would tell us. Our first Amendment promises us, among other things, free speech. However, according to Brandenburg vs. Ohio, the Federal government is allowed to stop speech which will result in lawlessness. (4.) Boy, that would make it hard to organize the Boston Tea party, wouldn’t it? Also limited by B vs O is speech which hurts peoples feelings and speech which causes discontentment with the existing government. Second amendment? Superseded by US Code Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 44. What about the 3rd and 4th Amendment? Canceled by eminent domain. (Yes, I am aware that the Bush signed a law that says owners must receive just compensation. How do we figure a fair sale price for that which is stolen?) 5th Amendment? Still good. Except for the eminent domain part. 6th Amendment? Speedy Trial. Need I say more? 7th Amendment? Still good. 8th? Not so much, if you end up as an American citizen in a black site prison (5.) (6.) 9th Amendment? If we don’t follow the constitution, why would rights listed elsewhere be followed? 10th Amendment? Thats, funny. That would mean that any federal power not mentioned in the US constitution belongs to the states. Like the alphabet soup of Federal agencies that dot our political landscape, for instance.

So, pretty much the whole Bill of Rights has gone down the crapper. What about the “War for Iraqi Freedom”? Don’t we love the people of the world so much we will fight for their freedom for them? See, that’s kinda funny, to say “fight for their freedom for them” We go to someone else’s country and say, “We are free. You will be like us, and we will smart-bomb everyone who disagrees.” If you are not free to disagree with the occupying US government, exactly how much freedom are we exporting? You can’t fight someone else’s war for freedom. Not won’t. CAN’T. Freedom is a choice. You can’t make someone be free. It’s like a toddler with a gun saying “Have fun, or else.” Not much fun is it?

If you look at a pie chart of government expenses (Provided conveniently by the US accounting office.)

Federal Budget Pie - where it goes

the government's deceptive pie chart

So, you can see that at least 50% of the spending of the government is social programs. However, the truth is somewhat higher. Many things which you might not consider social programs at first blush, in fact, ARE social programs. The Department of Agriculture administers the Food Stamp program, the WIC program, and makes subsidy payments to agri-industry. $17 billion to Cargill for instance. Not to bad for a company that made $88 billion in sales and is the second largest privately held company on earth. (7.) (8.) Things like that make the above charts a little optimistic.

After spending around 20 to 30 hours (over severals months) here it seems the cost break down is more like 70% handout, 15% defense, 10% debt, and 5% all other federal costs. But, I digress. An examination of social security is sufficient to make the point that Americans hate freedom. The purpose of social security is to take a portion of your income for the rest of your life to pay for the current users. When you need the system you trust that your kids and any recent immigrants will make enough money that their income will pay for your RV. There is a name for an investment system where each set of new investors pays the dividends of the previous investors. It’s called a Ponzi scheme. What if you don’t want to trust a bunch of strangers and the future economy to provide for you? Well, you can still do your own retirement… while paying for everyone else who doesn’t. You can’t love freedom and social security! If you love freedom, you have a problem taking money from other people against their will for yourself, and you have a problem having your money taken away from you to give to other people. Love of freedom and acceptance of coercion can not dwell within the same heart.

So, I conclude, Americans hate freedom. We love coercion. We love it with every part of our hearts. We love telling others what they must do so much, we will surrender our right to decide what we want to do. I could go on and on. But this is only the setup for what I really wanted to talk about today, which is WHY American’s hate freedom.

I can only come up with 2 basic reasons that a person would hate freedom:

1. Freedom is hard work

and

2. Fear of responsibilty.

(One) breaks down into hard physical work and hard mental work. Imagine a person who is not very smart and not born to money. If they want to retire they will have to work many, many hours at unrewarding jobs for many years. They will have to live in bad parts of town (to have low rent) and never drive a new car. This is hard, and not fun, but not as hard as the mental part. The poor person who is trying to save does not get to buy whatever they want, they have to think about every purchase. If they are unintelligent, this will be very time consuming, and again, not enjoyable. They will have to chose work carefully to not spend too much time and money getting to work everyday. They will not be able to vote for whichever politician they like, for they will have to consider things very carefully before they vote or their hard earned money will go away.

(Two) This one is about fear. A person who loves freedom has no scape goat. When they suffer from heart disease at the age of 29, they cannot sue Krispy Kreme. They cannot blame bad parenting, or poor schooling. They can only say, “I did this of my own freewill. I alone am responsible and I alone bear the consequences.” This is anathema to the average American.

I say again. Americans hate freedom and love coercion. Americans hate freedom because they are lazy and afraid.

Now this presents me with a conundrum. All my life I have studied the form of government. I mistakenly thought the important part of government was the form. I realized this was false with the following thought experiment: Who rules more democratically? The king who fears revolution or the president who does not? Obviously, the ruler who must obey the desire of the people or lose his job rules more democratically. The form is meaningless. People who love freedom will self correct any error in form. People who hate freedom will bring coercion upon themselves.

The question facing all government, be it family government of children, church government, or national government is not, “What is the form?” It is this: how do we make people love freedom? The purpose of government is force. (I hear liberals whining about this. I say to them, “Do you think people would pay for those social programs you love so much if no one made them? Government is force.”) Since you can’t force someone to be free, government can do nothing to encourage freedom other than allow it.

But where does that leave me, the little man who wants to make the world a better place? How can I personally encourage freedom? I can’t force anyone to take it. I can’t talk about it for if people desire freedom only because of my words, they aren’t really free.

The only answer I know is this: I must be free. I must enjoy freedom whenever I can. I must fight for my freedom and allow others to do the same. People can then see my life and choose whether they like what they see or not.

March 17, 2008 Posted by | Government, Politics, skepticism, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment