Unless you have literally had your head in the sand this week you are undoubtably aware of the tragedy that unfolded on Valentines Day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. If you are a person who had their head in the sand, I envy you. Please go back to that activity, you will be much happier.
Many people, pundits, and scholars are scratching their heads trying to figure out why some one would do something as heinous as the actions of Nikolas Cruz. It is quite simple.
There Is No Truth.
We have raised an entire generation to believe there is no absolute truth. This generation, my generation, has been taught truth is subjective, it is whatever you decide in the moment or whatever is true for you and your truth is not necessarily true for anyone else (of course we know if you’re a Christian and a conservative your truth is false for everyone and you should die). For example, if you are a biological male you are not necessarily a man, you could be a woman and how dare you assume that all biological males are men. The reverse is equally true (there I go again, assuming my truth is your truth and universal), if you are born a biological female you are not necessarily a woman. It gets even worse, grown men are identifying as little girls and some individuals even identify as a different species altogether, such as a hippo or an elf. No, I am not using hypothetical scenario’s, these are real, documented claims. We have raised an entire generation to believe they can be whatever they want to be and whenever they want to be it. Furthermore, no one can challenge it. This completely undermines the principles of absolute, unchanging, non-subjective truth. Truth is only what you believe it is. The problem arises when a disturbed young person has the desire to wreak havoc in a school, as we saw in Florida this week, and as we have seen so many times before, how can we tell this person they are wrong? This person has been taught by our culture whatever they think or feel in any given moment is true and no one can condemn them for it. If there is no absolute truth, there is no constant standard by which to compare this young man and impossible to say what he did was wrong.
There Is No God.
Do you remember a few years ago when thousands of people, mostly young people, were leaving civilized countries and flocking to the Middle East and joining the ranks of ISIS? This had me perplexed for quite some time. Why would anyone leave the comforts of home and civilization to live in the middle of a desert, risk their life, and for what? The answer lies in the psychology of mankind. We are hardwired to believe in something greater than ourselves. We are social creatures that, on a very subconscious and primal level, crave being part of a movement or believing there is something more powerful than our own intellect and might. This is evident all throughout history as men have invented all sorts of interesting religions and idols. Today we are raising a godless generation that believes in nothing. Again, if there is no absolute truth, there is no absolute God over all creation. This generation, my generation, has been taught you cannot stand up for anything, you cannot bring a bible to school, you cannot wear a Jesus t-shirt and if you do, you are ridiculed and called a bigot or a homophobe. The problem arises when you remove God, religion, or any thought of something greater than our own intellect, you remove any reason to live. What is the purpose in waking up every day, trudging to school or work, paying taxes, not fitting in, struggling with your parents, boss, or co-workers if at the end of it all, you laid to rest and forgotten forever? If there is no God and no truth, why not shoot up a school? How can you say its wrong? Not believing in something, God or otherwise a movement or cause, greater than ourselves is the height of selfishness and drives man into despair. If there is not God or greater power, the world truly revolves around me and whatever my truth at that moment is. While we were founded as a Christian nation we have not remained so but even at the height of the Cold War, a time when America was already largely secular, we still taught our children to believe in something… America. Even when God was not at the forefront of society we still held up a cause to our young people that gave them purpose- American was great and communism was evil. This generation has been raised to believe that God and American are evil, bigoted, and offensive. Why would thousands of young people flock to join ISIS and commit unspeakable acts of violence? Because we have an entire generation longing to find a purpose in life, longing to have boundaries, longing to belong to something! This generation is lost, feels lost, and they desperately want to have meaning in their lives. When they can’t find it they will snap, it’s the human condition.
There Are No Consequences.
We raised an entire generation to believe there are no consequences to their actions. How many millennials received a spanking when they did something wrong? How many parents drew a “Line In The Sand” (sound familiar?) and when their children cross it they do nothing? We have conditioned this entire generation, my generation, to believe there are no real boundaries because there are no real consequences when you cross them. We have raised an entire generation with closets full of trophies and medals. Are we really all winners? No. But everyone gets a trophy! Whether you work hard and win or slack off and lose, you get a trophy and are insulated from the true reward and consequences of your actions. Another, smaller more anecdotal pet-peeve is video games. I don’t think there is anything wrong with relaxing in front of the tv and playing a video game but when its hours on end it becomes a problem. When you are trying to reach the next level of a game over and over again, and you hit the reset button thousands of times, what is that conditioning your brain to think? When you screw up, just hit reset. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way. When you take a young person who has been taught there is no truth other than what they are feeling in the moment, there is no God or greater power or cause, and there are no consequences when they cross what must be considered arbitrary societal lines, what do you think is going to happen when they decide they have had enough? When these are the cultural conditions under which we raise an entire generation should we be surprised when more and more young people have decided they have had enough?
When you combine these cultural trends with the divorce rate; mom and dad both working full time jobs; the schools (the government) raising the children for us; young people living in a virtual social media world where everyone’s life looks better than their own; our kids are going to snap, and we are foolish to not understand why. We can talk about gun control or more guns in schools by the appropriate staff, we can talk about metal detectors and increased security, we can talk about recognizing and dealing with mental illness, and we should talk about all these things, but these are only the symptoms of a much greater problem. Legislation to address these concerns are only a band aid on a sucking chest wound. The government cannot solve this problem, only we can solve this problem by taking a hard look at ourselves, our culture, and our society.
God help us.
Historic tax cuts have been passed by the House and Senate with some notable points being; reducing the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%; lowering taxes on capital brought back into the United States; and doubling the standard deduction. These are just a few of the headliners in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.
The Liberals have already made the forecast-everyone will die as a result of this bill’s passage! First, aren’t we already dead from the repeal of (not) Net Neutrality? Were we conservative zombies and the tax cuts have now driven a wooden stake through our skulls? I’m really getting desperate to know whether I’m dead, dead and dead again, or only about to die from conservative ideals.
One of the most interesting Liberal talking points labels this bill as a boon for the wealthy and a gift to big business on all the backs of the middle and lower class. While I can easily and soundly defeat this argument, shall we toy with our Liberal counterparts, give them all the benefit of the doubt, and still trounce them at their own game?
Let’s play along and pretend this IS a huge give away to wealthy executives, CEO’s, and corporations. So, what? No, I’m serious! What’s wrong with that? These classes are paying some of, if not, the highest tax rates in the world! They deserve a break! Of course, the Liberal counter protest is the lower and middle class will have to pick up this burden on behalf of the rich, greedy capitalist.
Even if the Liberal assertions were true and this bill did NOTHING for the middle and lower classes I would still fully support it because when you give these elites more of their own money guess what they will do? Being the rich, greedy capitalist, they are, they will attempt to make more money! (Gasp!) The horror! These wealthy businessmen and entrepreneurs will expand their business, buy more equipment, hire more people, AND make more money! The entire time however, they will be stimulating the manufacturing industry by buying more equipment, stimulating employment by hiring more people, and paying more in taxes because they will be earning MORE money! As more corporations and business have more money, and each desire to expand, they will be competing against one another to hire the talent they need to manufacture their product or offer their service. Wages will rise accordingly as companies offer better compensation to beat their competitors to the most highly qualified employees.
You see, tax cuts for the rich, greedy executive and big business equates to more money for EVERYONE! A win for business is a win for the lower and middle class. Do your Liberal friends still refuse to believe these historically accurate, capitalistic assertions? The ink was barely dry on the signatures from the House and Senate when AT&T announced they would be giving 200,000 Americans a $1,000 Christmas bonus AND invest an additional $1,000,000,000 in the U.S. during the coming year! Not enough? Boeing also announced they will be spending an additional $300,000,000 on employees and charitable contributions!
Oh! And by the way! This bill is NOT just a tax cut for the wealthy and big business, the lower and middle class win even more with doubled standard deductions and child tax credit!
Allow me to explain:
What is hell alleged to be? Hell is a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth; a lake of fire; a bottomless pit; a place created for the devil and his angels? These are just a few examples of what hell supposedly is. Hades is a place of eternal damnation, torture of the soul, and perhaps the most disturbing, it never ends. Can you fathom such a place? Everything we know has boundaries and limits. The universe thrives on law, order, and boundaries. Boundaries can be tangible such as mountains and oceans; or intangible such as gravity and time; or philosophical such as moral laws and taboo. Everything we know has boundaries and a beginning and an end.
Recognizing these things, can you imagine a place with no beginning, end, or boundaries? Can you comprehend the psychological torture of such a place combined with the torture of being cast into a lake of fire tormented for… ever! I try to wrap my head around such a place but cannot even begin to fathom it! We know of gruesome stories of torture here on this earth but the one thing that keeps a person sane (at least for a while) is hope. Hope that someone will come and save you, hope that you could strike a deal, at a certain point your hope may come to lie in the fact that soon you will be relieved from the situation through death. Through it all you have a sliver of hope and you can see the light at the end of the tunnel but, with hell there is no hope, there is no light at the end of the tunnel, there is no end… ever.
That’s simply one aspect of hell and not taking into acount the vitriolic evil you would be experiencing! I cannot even begin to imagine let alone attempt to describe the horrors of a place where the devil reigns unchecked. In hell every demonic fantasy would be reality and every devilish desire, practice.
I have laid out the very basics of what hell is alleged to be, even just scratching the surface it’s a pretty terrible thing but why do I say I don’t believe in hell and you probably don’t either? How many people have you told about hell this week? This month? Let’s even expand to a year? Have you told anyone? To open the field more broadly, have you told anyone of the Gospel or heaven this week, month, or year? I am not judging you or pointing the finger at you because I will openly confess I have not. How can you look me in the eye, or if I’m being honest how could I look you in the eye, and say you believe in hell when you may not have told one person about its dangers and evils? You may say, like myself, sure I believe in heaven and hell but actions speak louder than words. If we truly believed in a horrendously evil place such as hell, we would never do anything but shout its dangers from the rooftops! We would never do anything but beg our fellow man to listen to the horror of hell and the good news on how to avoid it! We would plead, and weep, and beg for someone, anyone to just take a few minuets and listen to us! How could we go through our lives and pursue such vain and temporary things on earth if we truly believe those around us could be headed toward eternal damnation and torture? Torture forever, not a week, not a year, not a lifetime; we are talking about never ending torture of the mind and soul that we cannot even begin to comprehend. You’re telling me you believe the masses are headed for such a place and you are just casually going through life trying to get that job promotion, bigger house, or nicer car?
At the very least, lets be honest with ourselves- we don’t actually believe there is a hell. Which begs a further question; do we believe in heaven, the Gospel, or even Jesus Christ?
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Sutherland Springs, Texas, Sunday, November 5, the scene of a tragedy. Bad man with a gun enters a small country church and begins unloading magazine after magazine into defenseless parishioners, killing 25 and wounding another 20. An average Sunday for the Sutherland Springs congregation was around 50 worshippers, that would mean there are very few who we not injured or killed by this mad man.
The bright side (if there is one)? A good guy with a gun.
Logic tells us had the good guy with the gun been there sooner fewer lives would have been lost. What if the good guy with the gun would have been a parishioner? Very few, if any, lives would have been lost. If we really wanted to analyze the situation, with a little preplanning and strategic placement of several good guys with guns the story would be vastly different.
Understandably, the calls for armed church security have ramped up dramatically in the last few weeks although It’s certainly not a new idea. I have been seeing this around the country churches near me in the northeast for some time. It’s a logical idea but is it a good idea?
It strikes quite deeply in my soul when fellow Brothers speak cavalierly about the taking of a human life. Some Christian men appear to almost welcome being put into a situation where they could justify drawing a bead on a fellow man. I do not understand this attitude, I find it highly repulsive, and I do not think it historically justified, if justified at all. If we look at history, when good men have killed for the greater good, it seems their attitude has not been cavalier but of reluctance and remorse. I would liken their attitude to a father taking the rod to his child. It’s not with joy and happiness that a father would drive foolishness from the heart of his child but with a sense of duty and responsibility that overpowers his reluctance to inflict pain upon his own flesh and blood.
Even with a somber attitude toward the taking of human life I could not put my stamp of approval on armed church security. As Christians we follow Christ, yes? Are we not called to be sheep following our Shepherd? When was the last time you saw sheep arm themselves and kill a predator? Do sheep not rely on their Shepherd for protection and guidance? When the evil men of this world came for Jesus, the Shepherd and our example, he instructed his followers to fight back and not allow themselves to be harmed, yes? No, he did not. In fact, when Peter fought back and cut off the ear of an evil man who meant harm, Jesus did good to His enemies! He healed the man who came to deliver Jesus and His life to the High Priest! If the very Son of God, the Creator of the universe, the Alpha and the Omega not only laid down His life willingly and without protest but also had compassion on His murderers how could we do any less? The man who was God, spotless and without blemish, the man who should command all honor and all glory laid Himself down on the altar for my sin and your sin.
If the most righteous man to ever walk this earth did that, who are we to do any different? We are sinners whose righteousness is filthy rags and we cannot bring ourselves to lay down our lives which are void and worthless without our Savior? Jesus said forgive others or you will not be forgiven. When the evil men came for Jesus He did not resist, He laid down His life willingly and even preemptively forgave His attackers! When the evil one comes for us will we forgive? If Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in all His power and purity counted His earthly life less valuable than any other life how could we esteem our earthly lives over any other? The Son of God, when given the chance to judge the value of His perfect life against the lives of sinners, chose to count His life worthless and the evil lives valuable. How could we as sinners judge our lives to be of value and the lives of an evil one to be worthless? Aside from Christ are we not worthless? In Christ we know our destiny, our value is not life on earth but our soul heaven. how could we choose to send a lost soul into eternal damnation over laying down our own lives to be with our Savior?
The Gospel message is a message of Love, Forgiveness, and Grace. If Jesus showed these qualities to His attackers how could we not do the same? If we don’t how can we call ourselves followers of Christ? When the evil one comes for us will we choose grace, or will we repay vengeance with vengeance? Will we choose forgiveness, or will we choose an eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth? This is not simply making a valuation of my life versus another, this is a choice between Gods grace and the Old Testament Law. Will we choose to accept His forgiveness and forgive others, or will we choose to take an eye for an eye and perish as sinners who could never attain righteousness under the law? Folks tried to live under the law for thousands of years but couldn’t do it. The best man under the law still fell short of eternal life. Thank God for the Gospel of Grace.
During an evening in recent history my family went for a walk around a small lake in a local, State Park. The party consisted on myself pushing a stroller with my young son in it, my wife, several of my sisters, my brother, his girlfriend, my father, and a couple brothers riding their bikes. At first, we all started out as one big group but quickly separated into our own cliques strolling at our own individual pace. I tried to stick with the crowd but it seemed the slower I walked to be with everyone, the slower they walked. Odd. At one point, we were barely moving. Everyone was having a good time, talking, laughing, taking pictures of the scenic lake at dusk; it was quite tranquil. However, not being allowed in the park after dark I recognized we needed to pick up the pace or risk an unpleasant interaction with the park rangers. I began charging ahead leading the way, leading my tribe around the lake at a pace I felt adequate. As I walked briskly, pushing the stroller and semi-listening to my two-year old’s chatter, my mind began to contemplate leadership. You see, it was quite lonely leading the way, quite a distance from the closest clique of evening walkers. Also, I had to navigate a trail that was the victim of torrential downpours that had exposed previously undiscovered rocks and roots not to mention the mini gullies washed through the pathway. This was not an easy feat with a stroller, at dusk, through the woods.
Isn’t that like leadership? Sometimes leadership can be lonely. It’s more fun to be a populist and hang back with the crowd but, as noted before, if someone isn’t setting the pace the group stops. It really isn’t much fun being the first to figure out how to navigate the trail either, hitting a root which causes the stroller handle to land in the pit of your stomach or stubbing your toe on that newly exposed rock, but somebody had to do it.
In what way are you a leader? A father or mother? Pastor? Older brother? Friend? Sometimes leadership is downright lonely but somebody needs to set the pace. What pace are you setting for your group? Interesting observation; make the pace realistic! It did not take long for me to realize the pace I initially charged ahead with, in all my passion and dedication, was not being matched by my group. They picked up the pace from the earlier dawdling but still was not nearly matching mine. I had to strike a balance between what I wanted and what my group could realistically accomplish. What if I had charged way ahead on the stroll? What would have happened if someone had twisted an ankle? What if a passing dog bit my sibling or my wife? What if a fellow lake goer had a few too many adult beverages and was a little tipsy… and handsy? If I had charged full steam ahead I may have been leading but of no practical help to my group. I had to set a challenging example but still walk with my group to help them along the way. One thing I failed to do on our evening stroll was engage my group to encourage them to walk a bit faster.
A leader must also find those pitfalls to warn his group about, be it a rock, root, or mini ravine. Or in your leadership role is it keeping an eye on pop culture, movies, music, social media, messaging, the list goes on and on!
Leadership isn’t always as glamorous as Colonel Chamberlain leading his men in a bayonet charge when they ran out of ammo. Sometimes it’s just setting the pace walking around the lake, or other seemingly insignificant daily tasks that may amount to more than you initially think. We need real leaders in this country, in the church, in government, now perhaps more than ever! And, yes, sometimes leadership is lonely along the way… BUT necessary and someone has to be willing to stand up and lead!
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;
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.