Ronin of the Spirit

Because reality is beautiful.

It’s all just pretend.

Thank you all.  It’s so great to have comments.  Sometimes I feel like I am shouting into a dark empty room.  I confess, I had a secret hope that when I started that my blog would be so good I could make a living at it.  I know, thats a pretty stupid, empty hope, but don’t laugh.

I’m still writing my decon story.  I had yet another realization today.  I was a Christian.  No, seriously, I was a Christian.  That means so much.  First it means I really was.  All those years waiting for the magic feeling I never got?  All that time carefully looking at others and trying to decide if I was what I was supposed to be?  All that time I was a Christian, because (Point 2) that’s what Christianity is, and (Point 3) I’m not any more. (Point 4) because it’s all just pretend.

That was the question that got me to really question Christianity in the first place.  It hit me one day.  I was waiting for the manifestation of the Holy Spirit to hit me, watching my friends roll around on the ground.  And I thought, “What if it’s all just pretend?

Though I’ve called myself an atheist off and on for about 6 months now, but I guess in my heart, I thought of myself more as man God called to be damned to atheism that truly accepting the fact that there is no personal God.  And now, I’ve truly accepted that there is no God.

This makes my mortality a bit stranger.  Though I’ve long known I wasn;t going to heaven, I didn’t want to go to hell.  Now, I don’t believe in Hell.  When I die, I’m just gone, like data in RAM when the power goes out.  Gone. Forever.

And there is no story.  If something happens to my wife or daughter, just gone.  There is no ultimate justice that says I get to see them again.  We are not part of some cosmic play, acting out our lines to a great hidden script.  I seems horribly wrong that my daughter, so full of life and sparkle, could be removed from earth by the random selection that says 1 out of x number of children will die before they see 10.  But she could. Or me.  Or my wife.

My best friend leaves for Iraq soon for one of the most dangerous jobs available.  We are both sons of the church, rejected, and happily apostate.  If he dies in a firefight, it’s not because our Heavenly Father decided it was time to take him home. It’s because 2 objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time, and his brain, the seat of his beautiful mind, cannot occupy the same space as 7.62mm slug doing over mach 1.

I love him like a brother.  I don’t want him to die, I want him to live.  But wanting bad enough doesn’t change physics anymore.  It never did, but I used to believe that it did.  I can’t change that he leaves.  I can’t change whether he lives or dies.  The only thing I can change is how I am a friend right now.  That’s the morality of atheism. Accepting reality makes me a better friend right now, because it matters right now.

And when I really think about, every truly good thing I ever did for or with God, everything that every really helped someone, I accepted my powerless where I was powerless, and took what action I could. Even when I was a Christian the most moral acts I did where the ones that were the most godless.

Advertisements

November 30, 2008 Posted by | atheism, Religion, Self discovery, skepticism, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Guns, Gun manufacturing, and Graft

Well the Associated Press has done it again. They have trotted out pure crap and called it news, and done such a shoddy investigation that the editor of a high school paper would pull his hair out.

The gem is a story called “Colt’s grip on the military rifle criticized”. Normally I would post the whole article here on my page but honestly, this story is such crap that I refuse to reprint it. If yellow journalism rocks your socks here’s the link.

Let me draw attention first of all to paragraph two. This is where the AP informs you, that like a toddler who just made stinky, you should be very proud of the outstanding job they did, “…according to interviews and research conducted by the Associated Press.” Aren’t you proud, Mommy? I did interviews and research and everything!!!

Let me draw a series of statements, emphasis mine.

Page 1 paragraph 1: Colt Defense of Hartford Connecticut

Page 1 paragraph 3: “What we have is a fat contractor in Colt who’s gotten very rich off our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” says Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.” Oklahoma

Page 1 paragraph 5: “The fact is, the American GI today doesn’t have the best weapon. And they ought to.”

Page 2 paragraph 2: “Coburn is the M4’s harshest and most vocal critic.”

Ok, now lets go look at another article

“Coburn asked the Army to hold a “free and open competition” before inking sole-source contracts worth about $375 million to M4 manufacturer, West Hartford, Conn.-based Colt Defense..” Specifically he mentioned the HK416, made by Heckler and Koch

Here the good senator has this to say “incoming Secretary of the Army Pete Geren agreed in July 2007 to hold a “dust chamber” test, pitting the M4 against H&K’s HK416 and XM8, as well as rival Fabrique Nationale’s SOF Combat Assault Rifle (SCAR) design. Coburn had threatened to stop Geren’s Senate confirmation if he did not agree to the test.” Here he specifically mentions the FN SCAR

These two rifles the HK416 and the SCAR are mentioned many times in the original AP article, as is senator Coburn.

The AP article basically says that the M16/M4 rifle currently being manufactured by the Colt Company of Hartford Connecticut is an inferior weapon to the Fabrique Nationale SCAR or the H&K HK416. The article begins and ends with quotes by Senetor Coburn, and he is the spark plug for this whole issue. Fabrique Nationale, by the way, just happens to own Winchester and Browning. Colt is the last US weapons manufacture capable of providing battle rifles in the quantity demanded by the DOD that belongs to a US company.

So who is Senetor Colburn? Had the AP actuallly done that investigating they were talking about they would have discovered the following:

Coburn is a member of the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

Coburn, despite his statements above about making sure our troops in Afghanistan have the best weapon, seems to think they are ok without funding. He’s voted against them being funded twice now.

What about Oklahoma? Read the following April 21, 2004 press release from the Oklahoma State Senate here.

Or read my highlights

There are parts of the country that are hostile to gun manufacturing. What we want to do is get the word out that we welcome these jobs. Oklahoma has a great western heritage and a college that has a top-notch gunsmith program. We want these companies to know we’d be a perfect fit”

“This is a multi-billion dollar industry. But those high-dollar manufacturing jobs are in states where those companies aren’t even wanted. There are 75 major firearm manufacturers with facilities in 12 states. I think if we get the word out about what we have to offer in terms of education programs and economic development incentives, we could bring some of those jobs here”

“We have an excellent gunsmith curriculum at Murray…We’d be able to provide a highly-trained work-force for an industry that Oklahomans would appreciate having here. This is something we really needed to pursue.” (Murray State College has the US’ largest and most prestigious gun smithing school.)

“Attracting these businesses here would not only create jobs in firearm manufacturing, but it would also boost economic development through the domino effect new companies have when they locate here. This ultimately will benefit our entire state

And finally one last quote, again a Oklahoma State Senate press release, this time from March 13, 2007. This the real kicker, in my opinion.

I can tell you right now that we are in negotiations with a leading gun manufacturing company interested in bringing some very good-paying jobs to Oklahoma. I believe this legislation will help us make an even more favorable impression. If we are successful in these talks, it’s going to be good economic news for our state.”

So the good Senator Coburn just happens…

to serve a on a committee that puts him in regular contact with gun manufacturers.

to represent the state that has the largest gunsmith school in the US

to represent a state in active negotiations with a leading gun manufacturer, and finally,

to TOTALLY COINCIDENTLY want to keep Colt from getting a weapons contract. But that is totally coincidental. He’s just doing it for the troops… that he won’t vote to give funding to.

May I remind you all. Fabrique Nationale, and H&K are not US companies. Browning and Winchester belong to the Belgian super company Fabrique Nationale. Smith and Wesson does not make rifles. They rebrand Stag Arms rifles and Stag does not have the industrial capacity to take the M4 contract. If we take the battle rifle from Colt, we will be turning our arms industry over to Europe. Yep, Senator Coburn sure is pro-American.

April 21, 2008 Posted by | Government, guns, Politics, 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