One Young Man

Social, Political, and Biblical analysis.

Striking Syria Was Wrong.

Why the Syrian strike was wrong.

 

Well, I can’t say it was completely wrong. It’s a tough decision to weigh out. I think the strike could produce some positives for us, namely sending a message to the world to look out, there is a new sheriff in town! The question has been posed so many times in the last 24 hours- how can you say defending innocent children being killed by chemical warfare is wrong? There is more than one reason but whether you agree with me or not comes down to one thing- Your view of America’s place in the world. No, not any of that were number one stuff, of course we are and we should be. The question is does your world view allow the U.S. to intervene in the world theatre? Mine does not, or at least only in a few circumstances.  Here’s why;

 

  • If we do not learn from the mistakes of history, we are doomed to repeat them. -Churchill (sort of)

Let’s take a few minutes to think about our recent involvement in the middle east, our track record is not very good. We intervened in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya among others. Can anyone really make an honest argument that we made the situation in any of those places better? Saddam was no saint mind you, Gadaffi was no gem either but look at what has filled the void since we intervened and we took those regimes out. Chaos. Lots of Chaos and death far worse than the dictators we toppled. Similarly, Assad in Syria is no Mother Theresa, in fact he is downright evil in using chemical weapons against his own people but would taking him out lend to anything better? Would you prefer ISIS fill the vacuum in Syria as they have in Iraq? Some would argue the withdraw of our troops in Iraq is what gave way to ISIS. They would be correct. But should our troops have been there in the first place? Saddam was not good but at least he gave stability to the region. Saddam filled the vacuum radical Islamist hanker for. However, we did take out Saddam and we did send our troops into Iraq and we are here today. So, should we occupy indefinitely? If the drawdown caused ISIS then when we intervene in these mid-eastern countries we must plan on occupying them forever, right? We must plan on making them U.S. territories, right? Is that the long-term plan in Syria? If we attack are we going to occupy forever? But even that does not solve the problem because more bad regimes will just spring up in other parts of the world. We are not fighting flesh and blood, we are fighting an ideology that is widespread. If we insist on taking out these regimes we will be forced to occupy to stabilize the regions and those regions will just keep growing and growing. Essentially, we need a plan to take over the world. We are dealing with an ideological game of deadly Whac-A-Mole. As soon as we strike down a bad guy, another one springs up in another country.  It is just not feasible for us to police the world. The classic American way is not to fire first. We fire when fired upon and if you dare fire on America we WILL kick your ass.

 

  • We cannot afford it.

This Sounds like I am putting a price tag on a human life, a soul. I sincerely am not trying to be callused but with nearly $20,000,000,000,000 in debt, which is our entire annual GDP. We simply cannot afford to get bogged down in another conflict which is not vital to our national security. Syria is not an imminent, direct physical threat to the U.S. and yet we just spent approximately $90,000,000 in a single strike against them. We have been dumping Billions and trillions of dollars into these mid-eastern conflicts that really do not concern our national security. My heart goes out to the innocent men, women, and especially children who died a brutal death but innocent people die every single day, we cannot stop it all. In fact, we are on a financial titanic as a nation, if changes are not made soon we will not be able to help ourselves, let alone anyone else. Chemical warfare is no way to go but would we have sent 59 Tomahawk missiles into Syria if those 80+ people had been shot with an AK? Probably not. We would have condemned it but we would not have struck. Are we saying a life only has value if it dies a gruesome death? Is it, not ok but permissible, to put lead in the heads of your country men but not death by other means? Death is death, it’s brutal and ugly, if it’s not justifiable to strike over genocide by one means we shouldn’t strike over genocide by chemical weapons.

 

  • It wasn’t constitutional.

I find the lack of regard for our founding document among ‘conservative’ circles astonishing! I expect it from Liberals and/or Democrats but it shocks and chills me that conservatives only care about the constitution when it backs them up. As soon as a conservative has an idea they like but is unconstitutional they wipe their ass with it and flush… twice… then comes the plunger because that old partridge doesn’t flush easily! I am sensing we are getting a little off topic? The fact remains the constitution clearly states it is up to the congress to declare war and the President to command the troops. Article 1, Section 8, The congress shall have to power to declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water… (it goes on to say) … To provide for the calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions. First, we were not repelling an invasion by striking Syria. Second, clearly it is congress who is to declare war. Article 2, Section 2 defines the president’s responsibilities. The president shall be commander in chief of the army and navy of the united states, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the states… The president does NOT have the constitutional authority to call the armed forces into service. ONLY congress can do that! It is against all the founding principles of this nation to suggest one man in Washington DC can unilaterally decide such policy on behalf of the entire federal government, all 50 states, and all citizens of this country! We elect Representatives to congress who are directly accountable to we the people and it was our founder’s intention that they consent to major policy decisions such as declaring war. The founders never intended for one government official to have such consolidated power. We are a nation of balanced, separated powers with checks and balances but; the executive branch is assuming congressional authority and the congress is standing their watching! Just one of the reasons it is necessary for congress to declare war is the issue discussed above- finances. The House of Representatives controls the purse strings for this country. War is expensive, before the Commander in Chief can spend $90,000,000 in a single strike the representatives of the people need to sign off on it. They are our fiscal watch dogs. Correction, they are SUPPOSED to be our fiscal watch dogs! Although Congress has not formerly declared war since WWII, we have found ourselves caught up in many, many conflicts- it is time the congress demand their constitutional power back! In 1973 congress passed the War Powers Resolution. President Nixon vetoed the law but congress overrode it. Under this legislation, the congress attempted to take back some of their constitutional authority after years of being caught up in conflict in Korea and Vietnam. The War Powers Resolution didn’t go far enough. Under the law the president can still order air strikes, missile strikes, and even boots on the ground for periods of time not to exceed 60 days with another 30 days’ allowance for a draw down. Yet nearly every president has avoided this timetable and still involved the nation in armed conflict without congress declaring war. Even under the War Powers Resolution the Syria strike should be condemned. The law states the president can only call for the militia without a congressional declaration of war in cases of national emergency such as when the homeland, U.S. territories, personnel or citizens, or other property are under attack. Last time I checked Syria had not attacked the U.S. nor are we in any immediate danger of being attacked. Some would argue Syria along with N. Korea and Iran, among others, pose a substantial threat to the U.S. While these countries are no friends of ours, at this time they pose no immediate danger to us. With this logic, we could attack any country who is armed and happens to not like us. All we would have to do is say we feel threatened and nuke them. Shouldn’t there be higher threshold before we attack other countries?

 

I call for a return to the constitution. We can disagree on foreign policy but every American should be able to agree our congressman should have a say before our nation is thrust into war and our boys in blue face the grim reaper.

Life In A Bubble

Usually when a ‘bubble’ metaphor is used it’s not a good thing but, it can be. The first example that springs to mind is economic or housing bubbles and just like soapy bubbles they tend to pop. When others accuse you of living in a bubble they are usually not implying it’s a valuable lifestyle. Living in a bubble is associated with being protected from the outside, being very brittle, or perhaps an echo chamber filled only with your opinions. However, the bubble metaphor is the best I have found for visualizing your natural born rights as a member of mankind. I chose that word (mankind) very carefully. Many conservatives tend to talk about our ‘constitutional rights’, while our natural born rights are indeed protected under the constitution, they are not derived from it.

Allow me to explain. Imagine your home and property being inside a giant superdome or a big, gigantic bubble. You are living inside your home, inside the superdome bubble but, obviously, you must leave your home and venture to the outside world. So, you hop in the car and hit the roads, you are now transitioning from your private property into the public arena. Just as you break through the edge of your superdome bubble, a little bubble, just bigger than your car, breaks off and surrounds you as you head down the road. These bubbles are like a forcefield of sorts. As I’m sure you have already imagined, when you arrive at your destination and exit your car, and your bubble, another smaller bubble breaks off and surrounds you as you head into the supermarket, post office, etc. I call all these bubbles freedom bubbles; they represent your rights as a person created by God himself and ordained with certain basic liberties.

When you are at home in your superdome bubble there is very little conflict. You control who enters your superdome bubble and you set the rules for all invitees. However, as you venture out into the public sector you will inevitably begin bumping into other people’s freedom bubbles and, no doubt, they will yours. This creates a conflict. I have had countless debates over any number of social, moral, and political topics, always arguing for maximum individual liberties, and the question is always posed to me ‘How far is too far’?  What is your right as an individual and what must you give up to live in a civilized society? With the freedom bubble metaphor or test, it is quite simple to resolve these questions with nearly any topic. You have all the freedom and liberty you can possibly exercise in your bubble, until you begin bumping into another person’s bubble and threatening to pop it.

 

Example; It is illegal and immoral to murder someone. Why? Because your bumping into their sphere of freedom, their bubble, and violating their right to life.

Example; it is illegal and immoral to rob a business or person. Why? Because you are bumping into their freedom bubble. You are violating their right to own property and not be deprived of it without their consent.

Example; you can eat all the junk food you want. Why? Because your operating within your bubble and your actions do not affect the rights of those around you. Eating junk food and being morbidly obese effects your life and happiness but, it does not keep anyone else from eating as they please.

Example; You can smoke a cigarette. Why? We know it is unhealthy, we know it destroys your lungs, we know it’s not good for a budget but, you have the right to destroy your own health and wellbeing. You have the right to smoke a cigarette because it does not take away the right of another person. However, you do not have the right to blow your smoke in the face of, or vicinity of, another person. Doing so effects their health and subsequently their right to life and liberty, all bumps into their freedom bubble.

I maintain you, as an individual, have the right to do or say anything, so long as you are not violating the basic rights of another individual. It is very easy to get confused by the ‘Right to pursue happiness’ statement in the Declaration Of Independence. You could point out any number of examples of things that make us happy that may not work with the bubble test. It is important to distinguish what Thomas Jefferson meant by that statement and what it is construed to be today. You do not have the right to be happy, you do not have a right to goods or services that make you happy. You simply have the right to pursue happiness, to make choices that make you happy within your freedom bubble. Freedom bubbles will bump into one another in a free society. The purpose of our court system is to determine the best way to settle a conflict of rights while maintaining the highest possible level of liberty for both individuals. That is my opinion but, after all, I am just One Young Man.

Men Are Dogs

   Sitting here gazing at the newest addition to my family, a Great Dane pup named Bellum (Latin for war), my imagination begins to wander. I imagine of a primitive time when mangy packs of dogs ran wild and free across the prairie, stealthily slinked through the woods, and took down big game to feed their young. Those were the days of the dog! Imagine a pack of dogs with unkempt coats, vicious stairs, mean barks, and deadly bites, should you be so unfortunate to be locked between their jaws. These dogs, real dogs, would defend their turf and their land from inferior gangs of mutts, protecting their mates and their young. These dogs were nothing short of vicious and deadly, yet courageous and honorable, pledging their lives to the pack and sharing in all their spoils.

At some point, at a still primitive time, man recognized the courage and loyalty of said dogs. Realizing the immense value of such high levels of virtue and self-sacrifice he set out to harness these qualities to further his own physical wellbeing. It took a wise man to see past the mangy, tangled coat, the mean stare backing the vicious bark, and meaner bite, to the beauty that was within these wild beasts. Once the loyalty was won, however, the dog would be forever compelled to protect and defend his master, applying all the great virtues developed over thousands of years surviving in the harsh elements. Although this was no easy task, we know it was accomplished. Soon dogs were protecting mankind, herding livestock, and lifelong companions, one of the few comforts of such a harsh and primitive time.

As I look at the enormous paws my Bellum has been endowed, the square, strong jaw, the sharp canine teeth and claws, and the surprising strength for such a young pup, I realize this is no mere pet, this is a beast built for a purpose, a cause. Yet, one needs no imagination only to look around to see the pet that is the modern dog. At some point the dog began to become domesticated, it became less a tool for survival, and more a luxurious pleasure. The dog no longer earned his keep, guarded his own, or provided for his own. The dog began to lose his viciousness and along with it his honor and courage. These virtues that were the very DNA of the dog. Suddenly, the dog was no longer a dog at all! Gone were the days of roaming the prairie! Gone were the days the dog was a vital utensil to the survival of man! Ushered in are the days where the dog has his place, that place being on the living room couch. The pet dog enjoys a special soft bed in the family home, processed and prepared food, regular grooming and cleaning, among other luxuries. The pet dog, robbed of all his glory, has little value, he contributes nothing material to his family, he is a toy; I may even say he is a very sad joke. To call the pet dog a dog is to call my canoe a warship, hardly!

 

Does any of this sound familiar? It is an all too real, an all too chilling, reality. You see, Men Are Dogs. Oh, we read of the days of MEN! The man with wild, unkempt hair and beard, sinewy muscles, and eyes piercing with righteousness. The man clothed with the skin of the animals he hunted, his fingernails stained with their blood. The man who toiled endlessly in his occupation, whether it were hunting or farming, providing for the needs of his family. The man who grabbed his club, his rock, or fastened steel to stick to defended his family, his land, and least of all but including his life. We read of men who banded together, savagely beating senseless, cutting off the heads, and hanging from the trees those who would do their young, their mate, or their God injustice. These were the days of the MAN! For all his external terror, none was softer at heart than these man warriors, yes, warriors. One of the man warrior’s greatest strengths was not of biceps or triceps, not of thigh or calf, not even of abdominal fortitude. The man warrior’s greatest strength was to not only acknowledge his emotions but, to harness them for higher purpose. The man warrior fought not for emotions of vengeance and revenge but for love and liberty. The man warrior took no pleasure in vanquishing his enemies but make no mistake, he cared little what pleased himself. The man warrior worshiped his Creator, cared for his family, served his nation, and if there were any time or energy left he would prepare himself to do it all over again.

 

One needs no imagination, only look around and see the pet that is the modern man. As I look at the modern man I see him endowed with a tough physique, strong limbs, a sharp mind, access to more knowledge than he could ever possibly consume, and more resources than he could ever utilize.  At some point the man warrior began to become domesticated, he became less of a tool for physical and spiritual survival, and more of a luxurious pleasure. The man warrior no longer earned his keep, guarded his own, provided for his own. The man warrior began to lose his viciousness along with his honor and courage; the virtues that were the very DNA of the man. Suddenly, the man warrior was no longer a warrior at all! Gone were the days of guarding his family! Gone were the days he fought ruthlessly for righteousness! Ushered in are the days the pet man considers emotion weakness and anger strength. Ushered in are the days where the man has his place, that place being on the living room couch. The pet man enjoys a special soft bed in the family home, processed and prepared food, regular grooming and cleaning, among other luxuries. The pet man has little value, he contributes nothing to his family in terms of survival, he is a toy; I may even say he is a very sad joke. Perhaps saddest of all, the pet man has no idea what he has lost, no idea what is true strength and true weakness, and no idea he is coddled to believe he remains the warrior man he once was. However, to call the pet man a warrior is to call my canoe a warship, hardly!

Thus, is the sad tale of Men Are Dogs. Once magnificent creatures esteemed for their steadfast resolve, now a castrated, waste of flesh and bone of no more value to their family and their mates than a lace doily, perhaps less. There may be no shortage of reasons for the pet man but, as he lay obediently at the feet of his female master I must point out the Feminist movement. Has anything robbed the warrior man more the feminist movement? The warrior man could have fought for what was his, namely to shield his family and companion from the terrors of the harsher elements of society but, he chose to stand idly by while the very thing he was protecting destroyed him. Whether the man failed to fight for his rightful place against the Feminist movement or the Feminist movement simply filled the void the once warrior-esc man filled; either way, the modern, domesticated, pet men, devoid of all courage and honor, are not men at all.

 

You Liberal, Progressive, Conservative You.

That’s an oxymoron if you have ever seen one, or is it? On one hand, you have a modern liberal, someone you may generally classify as a person for socially liberal government policies. Policies like gay marriage, a minimum living wage, and free healthcare. Unfortunately, the modern brand of liberalism also seems to classify as fiscally liberal as well, championing economic stimulus packages, throwing more money at underperforming schools, and expanding welfare programs for the poor, to name a few. In many cases, the modern liberal properly diagnoses the issues but, turns to government to solve the problems of our day.

That leads us to the Big Government Progressive. The modern liberal would generally make this cut as noted in the examples above. Big government progressives are intent on controlling society through, well, big government. Whether it is spending more on state sponsored education, solving poverty by enlisting citizens in programs that do not empower them to rise above their current economic status, or controlling what you can eat, drink, or medicate with through bloated government agencies like the FDA, the ATF, or the war on drugs. Another sign of a big government progressive is social engineering through the tax code. Taxes like the soda tax in Philly, tobacco tax, vape tax, or gambling taxes, otherwise known as “vice taxes”, are designed to influence the day-to-day choices we make. The progressive income tax is another example of social engineering in the economic sense. It punishes the hard worker, the guy or gal who just wants to get ahead by using good old fashioned work ethic combined with strategic thinking and investments, by taxing them more than the “nine to five’r”. The big government progressive wants a hand in everything you do.

Which leads us to the, presumably, conservative. As someone who grew up in a, by many definitions, very conservative household I do not have to ponder long before several conservative attributes spring to mind. Most are simply the direct opposite of many of the things that define a modern liberal and big government progressive who are largely indistinguishable from each other. I think former President Barack Obama defined conservatives best when he referred to Pennsylvanians as bitterly clinging to their guns and their religion. Conservatives love the second amendment, and the first which guarantees their freedom to worship. Conservatives claim to be for small, limited government and they claim to be fiscally conservative. Generally speaking, conservatives are against gay marriage and oppressive taxes while applauding the war on illegal drugs, and the work of agencies keeping us safe like the FDA and the ATF. The conservative wants you to share their values, and in some instances, doesn’t mind using the government to do so.

You Liberal, Big Government Progressive, Conservative, You! Conservatives do not have a vastly different view on the fundamental purpose of government than the classes supposedly opposite of them. In reality, many conservatives have no problem with big government regulating the day-to-day choices of the citizenry, so long as the mandate is synchronized with their conservative or religious beliefs. Conservatives believe the government should regulate who can or cannot marry. Conservatives believe the government should regulate what people can consume, namely currently illegal drugs such as heroin, meth, and even marijuana. Many conservatives see no problem with businesses needing a license to sell alcohol or even wholesome food. Many conservatives also see the building permit and subsequent inspection process as a valuable tool to keep us safe. A private home is not open to the public, therefore what a homeowner chooses to build, and how they choose to build it does not fall under the fundamental responsibility of government. Many conservatives believe the government should ensure all children receive vaccines, no matter what the parent should decide.

Many conservatives do believe in big government if it promotes their agenda. Like it or not, many conservatives are not fundamentally different than their progressive counterparts, they simply have different policy views. Progressivism is focused on dictating the choices we as individuals make. Whether the mandate is pro-gay marriage or anti-gay marriage, or pro-marijuana or anti-marijuana, or a host of other societal issues, is of no consequence it is all progressivism. Thus Progressives, Liberals, and Conservatives may not be altogether different. The modern liberal will always look to the state to solve the problems of society. The progressive will always try to gain control through the institutions of government. The true conservative recognizes the individual to be sovereign over his own life. The true conservative desires each individual to work, eat, drink, and marry as they see fit, bear responsibility and accept the consequences, good or bad, of each choice. The motto on the first penny should be the motto of all conservative.

Mind Your Business.

Quote from Ronald Reagan

“Socialism only works in two places: Heaven where they don’t need it and hell where they already have it.” ~Ronald Reagan

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The beginning.

The following comments can be found under the About page on this blog, but I wanted to post them here, at the beginning, as the introduction of One Young Man.

 

 

 

1 Kings 13-18

13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?
14 And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
15 And the LORD said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria:
16 And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room.
17 And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay.
18 Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.

There is tremendous evil in the world and it seems more apparent now than ever before, or at least to me it does. It also is more apparent to me now than ever before the shocking number of people, even many Christians, who would stick their head in the sand and choose to ignore the darkness. No matter who you are, or what your background, you are no doubt familiar with the atrocities of ISIS, the millions of babies being murdered (and as we know now literally being butchered and sold for spare parts), some of the more cognizant among us are sure to feel our rights, the rights given us by our Creator, being stolen from us. Yet what do we do? What can we do? The darkness is so vast, so great, there is just a small candle of light, of truth, flickering, faintly flickering, and at this moment in time being suppressed by the darkness. It will be snuffed out soon and then only darkness, such evil darkness and cold calamity that this earth has never seen before will be all we know, all our children will ever know. Here I sit watching, heartbroken for this country, for my brothers, for my sisters, heartbroken over the fact that so few see or even want to see. What could I possibly do, for I am but One Young Man. I am just One Young Man against an entire world of people, some refusing to see, some seeing but refusing to believe, and some believing in the darkness and using it to suppress the light.

Just as with Elijah, it seems impossible that One Young Man could turn the tide of human events, and it is impossible. But what I know, what I believe, is that even though I am  just One Young Man, I know, just like in 1 Kings, there is a remnant out there. I know there is a mighty remnant of believers out there who see the light, who believe in principles, who stand on the word of God, who will never compromise. The truth is, the darkness has always been great, the light has always been small, but the remnant has always existed. So even on the days where I feel like I am the only one out there, I realize I am just One Young Man in the mighty army of Christ.

I started this blog with the hope of encouraging those who are part of this remnant, your not alone, there are more of us out there and I hope this blog is proof of that, proof that there are more people just like you. We all struggle, we all doubt at times, we all fall down, we all weary of fighting for truth, but we must always trust and believe in the light, the light of the Love of Jesus Christ. At the end of the day this blog is my commentary, thoughts, and analysis of social, political, and Biblical issues.  I don’t speak for the remnant of believers, I only speak for a teeny tiny part of it, after all this is the opinion of just One Young Man.

 

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