Saturday, November 7, 2015

On ISIS, Vietnam and the Military Industrial Complex

Right now, most conservatives truly believe that ISIS, and Islamic jihadists in general, are the greatest threat to American security on the globe.  That is total hogwash.  

Now, does that mean that I don't believe Islamic jihadists are dangerous?  No, I think they're dangerous, just like the communists in Vietnam were dangerous.  Are they 'greatest threat to American security on the globe, engage the entire US war machine' dangerous?  No way.  They are a localized threat to a distant region.  (At least that's all they would be if we left it alone!)  

In Vietnam, we were told by the American military propaganda machine that a failure to engage the communists would have a 'domino effect' - that communism would spread throughout the globe and that freedom everywhere would disappear.  Of course the only way to fight such an evil was with a limited, protracted military engagement that could never realistically be won but was guaranteed to keep the money flowing into corporate coffers.  (Sound familiar?)  And what good did it do?  Not a dang bit.  Saigon fell, we got the heck out, the communists took over and now we have trade and travel between our nations.  

Wait...  What?  

Yep, that's right, the domino effect was a lie.  After Saigon fell and the communists took over, their attempts to imprison the entire nation failed and eventually borders were opened and trade with Western nations was allowed.  And, just like the domino effect, the Islamic jihadist scare is also a lie.  You see, every totalitarian regime will eventually collapse under its own weight.  This is because it is impossible to enslave an entire population.  The average Vietnamese citizen was not a die-hard communist, just like the average Muslim is not a fanatical jihadist.  These are just people.  People with families, businesses, hopes and dreams.  In other words, they're just like us.  And if we, as a people, would rise up, dismantle the Military Industrial Complex, stop the senseless military engagements, bring the troops home and try something like, oh I don't know, free trade, we might just find that the average middle easterner would throw off the shackles the jihadists are trying to impose on them, and that political ideology would collapse under its own weight as well.

Monday, October 5, 2015

On the UCC shooting, gun control, and good and evil

Driving home from work the day after the UCC shooting, I heard local sports radio personality Jason Scukanec talking about the shooting and his reaction to it. He said that he was "tired of this happening" and that it made him want to "get rid of all of his guns". As a second amendment guy, my initial reaction was negative, but as I thought about it, I realized that his was a normal reaction for a good person to have to such a senseless, violent act. Good people do that, they see a problem and want to do something about it, even if it means personal sacrifice. Good people give and sacrifice for the good of others.

But that's not what bad people do. Bad people take. They take from others for their own ends, with no thought of the harm they are doing. That's the way of the world: there are good people and bad people - givers and takers - and even if all of the good people in the world threw all of their guns into the sea, it would not stop one bad person from continuing to use guns to take lives from others. The two actions are mutually exclusive.

Then I realized... we don't need to ban guns, we need to ban evil. If only there was a way, I thought, to gather all of the bad people up and send them off someplace where they could never interact with the good people again. That's what we need! Then it occurred to me, isn't that what heaven and hell are all about?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Danger Of Christian Conservatism

   Throughout the history of Christendom, whenever society has turned away from perceived Christian principles, (those of the denomination in power at the time), the church has turned to government coercion to force people to act according to said principles.  This is where we are in America right now.  Christian conservatives (chriscons) see sky-rocketing out-of-wedlock birth rates, gay marriage, abortion, and all manner of societal ills as evidence (sound evidence) that society is no longer bound by Christian principles.  And now these chriscons are looking for the government to step in and force people to live by biblical law.
   As a Christian Libertarian, I worry about this trend.  This tactic not only pushes for further governmental intrusion into private lives and beliefs, it also has the potential to backfire.  These chriscons trust certain "Christian" or "conservative" politicians to implement laws regulating private aspects of human behavior, never realizing that once we allow government jurisdiction over such private matters, we open the door for non-Christian, non-conservative politicians to use this new-found jurisdiction to legislate against those very Christian principles.  We see this today.  Christians push for laws excluding gays from marriage and certain other rights and, instead, we get laws requiring Christian businesses and churches to recognize and not discriminate against these things.
   So what's the alternative?  Well, the church should remain the church.  There is no biblical mandate in the New Testament for the church to govern man by coercion.  None.  And appeals to Old Testament laws are irrelevant to New Testament Christianity.  No, the church should insist strongly on the separation of church and state.  The church must wake up and recognize that the only way it will be free to be the church is if it is a separate entity entirely from government.  Therefore  it must sever all ties with government in order to eliminate any and all governmental influence and jurisdiction over spiritual matters.  The church must realize that once church and government become intertwined, government oversight of private matters is virtually guaranteed.
   Instead, the church should simply do what it was instructed to do: preach the gospel, pray, give to the poor... these are the biblical principles that will change society.

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Rush To War

ISIS beheads another Westerner and I suspect we'll soon be bombarded with pundits calling for more military actions against the terrorist organization. But shouldn't we be asking why they are making such public spectacles of these beheadings? It's almost like they want war! Well, believe it or not, they do. If you pay attention to what these Islamists are saying, they've been pretty clear about it, and the Islamist goal hasn't changed: they want to unite the Islamic world in war against the West. And they've discovered the perfect strategy to do so - incite the West into military action that is sure to kill civilians which, in turn, inflame Muslims into believing that the West just wants to kill them. Pretty simple and effective. And we fall for it every time! Of course there's lots of money to be made in war so the politicians don't really have too many qualms about any of this. Until the American people wake up and refuse to fall for this, we'll continue to be hoodwinked into endless war.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Proposed Constitutional Amendments

I recently tweeted three proposed Constitutional amendments on my Twitter page and I’d like to flesh out my reasons for doing so here (where I’m not bound by the 140 character limit).

Here are the amendments:
  1. No public funds shall be used to subsidize, promote or foster any private enterprise or branch of industry.
  2. No individual, unless employed by the federal government, shall receive public funds.
  3. Any state passing a law declaring its intention to secede from the union shall be allowed to freely do so.

So let’s take them one at a time.
No public funds shall be used to subsidize, promote or foster any private enterprise or branch of industry.

This is pretty self-explanatory – this ends corporate welfare.  If enacted it would stop our politicians from rewarding their corporate sponsors.  It would also make this country a level playing field for businesses, because the government would no longer be able to pick winners and losers – the market (that’s us!) would do that!  Think about it, had this been the law of the land in 2008, the massive 700 billion dollar bailout of Wall Street would have been illegal. 
No individual, unless employed by the federal government, shall receive public funds.

This is similar to #1 only it is aimed at individuals.  This would make it illegal for the government to take money from one person and give it to another.  Now, before everyone gets all up in arms about the poor and needy, let me just point out that there is a way for the government to support the poor and needy – it would have to hire them!  That’s right – instead of giving people money because they are poor, the government would have to give them a job.  No more “money for nothing”!
Any state passing a law declaring its intention to secede from the union shall be allowed to freely do so.

OK, this is probably the most controversial one – if only because we’ve been conditioned to equate “secession” with “slavery” in this country.  This has nothing to do with slavery however; it is all about checks and balances.   The Articles of Confederation – the law of the land before the Constitution – created a government that was essentially a loose confederation of sovereign states.  Because of this, many of the framers of the Constitution were very concerned that a new federal government would eventually engulf and obliterate the states.  They spent hours debating ways to create branches of government that would be independent of one another and, if need be, oppose one another.  The idea was to combat tyranny – which would certainly creep in if one branch of government got too powerful or if two branches could collude together with no way for another to oppose them.  Well, the ability for a state to secede from the union is a check on federal power.  This is nothing new, there was talk of secession almost from the beginning, but there are those in power now who would insist (as Lincoln did) that no state has the right to secede and that all measures – including war – can be used to stop that from happening.  That, friends, is tyranny!  This union of states – if not voluntary – is coerced.  This amendment would end that once and for all.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Currently Reading...

The Anti-Federalist Papers and the Constitutional Convention Debates

I bought this for the Anti-Federalist papers (I'd heard of the Federalist papers but had never heard of the Anti-Federalist papers) but the first half of the book is taken up by the Constitutional convention debates.  So far, those are very interesting - especially Alexander Hamilton's push for complete central government authority.  I have yet to get to the actual Anti-Federalist papers.

The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War

Wow! This one has been a real eye opener.  I had no idea Lincoln was such a tyrant (and there's really no other word that adequately describes him!)

The Bill of Rights Primer: A Citizen's Guidebook to The American Bill of Rights

Very good book.  Really enlightening - especially for the way it contextualizes the document and explains the perspectives and motives of the authors.  The section on trial by jury alone is worth the price of admission!

A Second Federalist: Congress Creates A Government

Brief excerpts from early congressional debates that show Congress grappling with issues of power, authority, liberty and state's rights.  I find it interesting that as early as 1800 measures were already being discussed to limit the freedom of the press.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Why Amnesty Doesn't Solve The Problem

The Senate recently passed, and the House is currently debating, legislation that would give amnesty to the 11+ million illegal immigrants currently in the United States.  At the same time, it would also increase border security.

This legislation is self-defeating.  What's the point of increasing border security and doubling down on future illegal immigration while at the same time rewarding past illegal immigration?  Talk about sending a mixed message! 

If we really want to allow people to just walk over the border and become citizens - then we should change the law to allow that! - OR - If we really want to keep people from just walking over the border and becoming citizens - then we should enforce the law to stop that!  Stop pussyfooting around!  Take a damn stand!  Quit pretending you're "for border security" if you're really going to undermine it and reward those who got past our Border Patrol.  And quit pretending you have "compassion for those who just want a better life" if you're going to turn around and "get tough" to stop them from now on!   We can't have our cake and eat it too. 

The problem is that those who really want to open the borders don't have the guts to do that and those who really want to enforce border security don't have the guts to do that.  So they all take the 'back door' method: making another "one-time exception" while leaving the existing immigration laws intact.  The system is broken and politicians are cowards.  Until we start electing courageous men and women who will actually say what they really think and stand on those principles, we're destined to see more of this kind of back door, "try to please everyone so I can get re-elected (and not be accused of racism)" legislation. 

That this nation is in serious need of immigration reform is beyond debate.  The system we have in place now is ridiculous.  We have: A) people lined up for years, jumping through hoop after hoop to come here legally; B) people who just walk across the border, settle in and become part of society with no real problem; and C) the same government on the one hand enforcing every jot and tittle of immigration law and on the other refusing to enforce it at all.

We need to decide, once and for all, what it should take to become an American citizen or legal resident alien.  That's the issue.  Congress needs to debate that, change the law to reflect that, then stand behind that.