Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

This blog will be written from an orthodox Christian point of view. There may be some topic that is out of bounds, but at present I don't know what it will be. Politics is a part of life. Theology and philosophy are disciplines that we all participate in even if we don't think so. The Bible has a lot to say about economics. How about self defense? Is war ethical? Think of all the things that someone tells you we should not touch and let's give it a try. Everything that is a part of life should be an expression of worship.

Keep it courteous and be kind to those less blessed than you, but by all means don't worry about agreeing. We learn more when we get backed into a corner.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Opus 2012-211, Headlines: Shooters and Shootees

Recently I had the news on briefly as I was driving to work.  Alistair Begg had finished his sermon and I was almost to my first stop so I had switched briefly to the radio.  The talk was on a “breaking story” about a shooting in New York City.  My initial reaction was, “How is this possible?  New York is a gun free zone.  It is illegal to have a gun.”  The anti-second amendment spin is always a part of what is going on in reporting the news.  The news reader did not mention the fact that people have been arrested in New York when their plane was re-routed through the airport and they had been, legally, transporting a firearm in their checked luggage.  Legal, that is, in every airport except New York.  They did not plan on landing in New York.  It did not matter.  The news reader did not tell you that the average citizen cannot legally own a handgun in the city. 

Another interesting spin was that when they reported the casualties they included the shooter as if he were just another victim.  This raises the numbers for people who don’t think about what they are hearing.

When I was leaving home I had the radio on for a few minutes and the dynamic duo hosts were commenting on recent shootings in Chicago.  You may have seen that headline also.  Gun Banning Chicago is on track to overtake Gun Banning Washington, D.C. as the murder capital of the country.  I don’t think any of the cities in Right to Carry Florida are high on the list.  Of course they did not mention that but they did comment that most of the killing seem to take place in just a few neighborhoods.  That wasn’t on the news section either.

Two reports on the news.  Two cases where banning guns is counter-productive.  But when it comes to limiting our liberty we know that facts and reality are sent to the closet. 

homo unius libri

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Opus 2012-210, Headlines: The Scramble to Buy Votes

It continues.  According to an article I was reading both parties are trying to buy the votes of Iowa by passing out more of your money.  They bought the votes a few years ago with subsidies for ethanol production, now they want to subsidize windmills.  Both will produce energy but they consume more resources than they put out.  They are endless holes of deficit spending, buying votes at your expense.

When will this stop?  It is possible that someday solar and wind power may actually be viable sources of power.  If the government keeps trying to direct development it will take a lot longer than if they will get out of the way and let supply and demand do its thing.  The kind of innovation that will produce durable storage batteries, efficient solar panels and workable wind generators will not come because a congressional committee came up with some specs that are designed to keep another set of votes bought.  It will happen because some entrepreneur risked his money and beat his brain to come up with something that people will actually pay for.

Let’s get back to freedom instead of bribery.

November is coming.  Vote the (blood) suckers out.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Opus 2012-209, School Starts, The Babysitter Is In

For me and teachers on my district the grind has started.  The day we report for duty may be the worse day of the entire year.  Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t the kids.  We don’t see them until the third day.  The first day belongs to administration.  We start out with a district wide rally at one of the High Schools.  To let you begin to get the tone we were informed about this through snail mail, e-mails from multiple sources, and automated phone messages.  The first sentence uses the words “invited” and “please.”  The second sentence uses the word, “mandatory.”  One e-mail explained what “mandatory” means by telling us attendance is required.

We were informed that we would be starting sharply at 8:15.  They actually started at 8:23, thus setting an example that the students will follow the rest of the year.  We started with the drum corps from one of the high schools.  I am not a fan of drums but I can enjoy a bit of rhythm.  The crowd of teachers went wild.  People were standing up and gyrating in their seats.  They cheered and clapped.  To be honest, our middle school drum corps is just as good, if not better.  In fact, the “song” (what do you call what a drum corps plays?) was the same one that our kids play when they perform at an assembly.

Then we had the presenting of the colors.  It went well.  The ROTC students kept in step and had the flags in the right order.  We said the pledge of allegiance.  The national anthem was announced and the student performer was introduced.  Unfortunately no one had bothered to find out if she was with us.  After looking at each other for a few moments they announced she was a no-show.

Then we had the comments by the powerful.  Our school board president said some nice things about life in general.  I am sure she is in favor of puppies and solar power also.  The problem I had was when she started talking about the problems on the district and she said, “The problems have to do with money and nothing else.”  That is a direct quote.  I wrote it down.  Let’s see now, teen pregnancies, illiteracy, violence.  All of these are just because your tax rates are not high enough.  She then went on to shill for an initiative on the ballot.  I think that is illegal, but who can question a school board president.

Then we had some comments by our superintendent of schools.  This is the one who makes about $245,000.00 before benefits.  He also seemed in favor of puppies and solar power.  He was being pleasant and even humorous, then he got serious.  He commented on how the media was attacking education and all we heard was how bad public schools were.  Then he gave his snappy comeback, and I quote, “All the evidence we see tells us the opposite is true.”  Then he went on to say, “Public education is much healthier than people think it is.”  That would not be hard but I don’t think that was his point.

So now we go off to get started on the year.  We know that our problem is just money and that we are doing an awesome job.  If I may paraphrase a comedian I have heard quoted, “Who are you going to believe, them or your own lying eyes?”

homo unius libri

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Opus 2012-208, Tax Dollars at Work: Real Homes for Real Trash

A few months ago I was driving through the library parking lot and noticed that they were taking away a few parking places for some kind of construction.  Since the state was in a severe budget crunch I was hoping that this would be something we desperately needed.

I will let you be the judge.

They were building a home for trash.  I use the word “home” on purpose.  This was not an enclosure or a bin, this was nice.  I am not sure I wouldn’t be able to live in it.  They started with decorative concrete block walls.  Not just cheap cinder block, these were the high grade, split concrete to simulate stone.  They added some nice steel doors to keep out the violent and psychopathic no doubt.  To top it off is a roof with Spanish tile.  Nice.

Times can’t be as bad as it seems.  Our local government has money to build houses for our trash. 

homo unius libri

Monday, August 27, 2012

Opus 2012-207, The Best Protection Against Heresy

Once again I was listening to Alistair Begg’s preaching.  School is starting and it will once again be a part of my morning routine.  He was commenting on why people should bring and use their Bibles.  I liked what he said because I have said the same thing many times.  Strange how that works, isn’t it?

He said the congregation needs to know and study their Bible so that they will know if he is preaching truth.  The congregation should be prepared to call the preacher to account for heresy or drifting off the plantation.  This is a sad reality.  So often if you look at the “liberal” churches it is not the people in the pew but the ones behind the pulpit that are pushing the churches toward hell fire.  It is important to know the word yourself.

This would also apply in our civil lives.  Know the Declaration of Independence.  Know the Constitution.  The elected and the appointed think they are the anointed.  They feel they are above our founding documents.  Hold their feet to the fire.

We believe that the Bible is eternal truth and is the measuring stick of all truth.  It is strange that we also believe that the Constitution holds truth and is not to be “interpreted” to mean what it does not say.  The two seem to go together because both require a belief in truth and acknowledge that there is good and bad.

We are on the side of good.

homo unius libri

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Opus 2012-206, Green Pieces: Levels of Environmentalists, Level 4, Gorites

Now we come to the people who believe that they should never let a crisis go to waste.  These are the ones who are from the government and are here to help you.  They know what is best for you even if you don’t want it.  For want of a better name lets call them the The Gorites.  These are the elites who want to tell you how to live, even if they do not want to live that way.

These are the environmentalist whacks.  They preach concern for the environment but are only really concerned about gaining power and taking away your liberty.  They tend to be rich and are able to buy carbon credits.  Do you really think that Al Gore or George Soros turn down their thermostats in the winter or up in the summer?  Really?  I bet you believe that the oceans has stopped rising since Obama was elected. 

One of the key doctrines of the Elite class is that rules are for other people.  You may not be aware of it but congress usually exempts themselves from the laws they pass limiting your freedom.

These are the people who have taken away your cheap, clean lightbulbs.  They have given you toilets that don’t flush well and showers that dribble.  They have changed the formula in the detergent that you use in your dishwasher.  They want to put smart meters on you home so they can control the amount of energy you use.  They stop the construction of nuclear power plants and tax you to subsidize wind turbines.  In the People’s Republik of Kalifornia they refuse to allow new refineries to be built.  How much do I need to add before your anesthesia wears off and you begin to feel the pain, to realize what life used to be like?

Pick you label.  Know where people stand.  Remind people of the danger of too much government.  In the central valley they used to have signs that said, “Food grows where water flows.”  We need one engraved on each voting booth that says, “Control grows where Federal money flows.”

November is coming.  Don’t vote for subsidies.  Vote for liberty.

homo unius libri

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Opus 2012-205, Green Pieces: Levels of Environmentalists, Level 3, The Naturals

I wanted to use the label “The Unwashed Naive” to go along with “The Unwashed Masses,” but I decided that would not be kind.  There are some people who are really into back-to-nature.  Often they don’t believe in deodorants or frequent bathing.  They aren’t dirty, just natural.  Part of their mantra is nature and living as close to nature as possible. 

These people are not violent or nasty.  Often they live as far away from the rest of us as possible.  They practice what they preach but don’t feel like they have the right to cram it down everyone’s throats.

I call them naive because the life they want to live is impossible without killing off the vast majority of humanity and would be violent and short for them if they did not have the resources of the society they reject. 

Take for instance organic food.  I laugh because it is hard to imagine inorganic vegetables.  Understand that this is a technical term, not a simple adjective.  It means food that has been raised and harvested without chemicals or artificial aids.  This is not a real problem in our culture if you have the money to pay for the special treatment, or shall we say, lack of special treatment.  There are some areas in which they have genuine insights and concerns because we don’t know what will happen in the long run as a result of chemicals and genetically modified hybrids.

As long as they are a small part of the population we can thrive with their input.  The problem would be if everyone had to live that way.  Unfortunately it is fertilizers and pesticides that make it possible to raise the large amounts of food that the population needs.  If everyone had to go back to the old days we would all need to move back to the farm and spend most of our day with a hoe in our hands.  The alternative would be to starve to death.

I was reading a blog of a family that had gone off grid.  That means that they are not dependent on society for anything.  They have no water bill because they have a well.  If they have electricity they generate it themselves.  They grow their own food, and so forth.  The interesting part was when they said they did not have cable but watched videos on the DVD in their lap top.  Last time I checked, lap tops were a product of our industrial culture.  In a sense they were still on the grid or the residual wealth of the grid.

It sounds wonderful.  It sounds romantic.  It sounds impossible.  We can’t all go back to nature.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Friday, August 24, 2012

Opus 2012-204, Green Pieces: Levels of Environmentalists, Level 2, The Bill Payers

Level 2 is where I think most bloggers fit.  They are the bill payers, the foundation of society.  They are the ones who keep things going.  They budget and save.  They consider the issues and positions when they vote.  There are not enough of them any more to control the direction of the country.

These people enjoy and love nature.  Every once in awhile they will stop and look at a sunset and be enraptured.  They believe 5,000 year old redwoods are to be admired, protected and enjoyed.  They recognize that the Grand Canyon is more than a big hole in the ground.  They don’t like seeing the mansions of the rich taking up the best coast line.  They recycled before it was called recycling. 

At the same time they believe that trees in general are to be harvested and used to make life better.  They prefer wood furniture to vinyl coated particle board.  They want their A/C but they look for the most economical model. 

Although they are not all Bible believers they accept a couple of standards given there.  First, one of the earliest commandments that God laid down.
(Genesis 1:28 KJV)  And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Notice that it says to “replenish” as well as “subdue.”  Notice that human beings are to have “dominion” over the animals.

Second we have an example of how this works in a culture that used animals for work.
(Proverbs 12:10 KJV)  A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.
In other words, treat your animals well.
(Deuteronomy 25:4 KJV)  Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.
God designed the world just like He designed the human body.  It has the ability to heal itself.  Bacteria and oil slicks are an example.  Remember all the weeping and gnashing of teeth over the oil spills awhile back?  Remember how the President used it as an excuse to attack the oil companies and shut them down?  Have you heard about the natural (God’s) solution.  I didn’t think you had.  It seems that a bacteria appeared that started attacking and breaking down the oil and turning it into environmentally friendly substances.  In short, it ate the crude.  Who’d of thought?

God would.  It seems that the oceans are always leaking oil and these little creatures were put in the water to process this natural process.  Funny how that works.

So are oil spills good?  Of course not.  But they are not the end of the world.  They are no reason to stop drilling.  They are no reason to take away our cars.  They are not a legitimate reason for a freedom hating government to try to limit our access to mobility.

There are a lot of rational people doing the best they can to get along with nature.  We live in it too.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Opus 2012-203, Green Pieces: Levels of Environmentalists, Level 1, The Unwashed Masses

We need to admit something about life.  It is not a new insight.  It is the way it is.  Most people don’t have a clue.  The majority of people living in the Soviet Union during the days of Stalin probably got up, went to work, came home to dinner and went to bed.  They may have had complaints but that is normal.  They had no real opinions.  They had no society changing ambitions.  They were the sheep of the culture.  They were not hassled by the Communist government because they caused no problems and were no threat.

The majority of Americans and almost all Europeans fit into this category.  They have no sense of the long term.  If they can’t taste it, touch it or hear it, they don’t really care.  They have no real thoughts about the future.  I remember talking to man who was a third generation American.  His great grandparents came from Mexico.  He was a teacher and a great human being.  He had a comment about the families he served in the Los Angeles Unified School District.  He said they get a check.  The rent is due next week.  The utilities are due now.  They need groceries and school clothes.  What do they do?  They go to Disneyland.  That was what they wanted to do today.  Tomorrow they will complain because they don’t have any money.  Note this was his analysis, now mine.

Most people are this way about the environment.  They don’t even think about it.  It is not that they want to destroy it, but they are not tripping over trash now, so why not throw the cigarette out the window.  The kids I work with think nothing of brushing trash off their desk onto the floor, after all, that is what we have janitors for, right? 

This is where they are in life.  There is little in their entertainment and leisure that will change it.  The school is concerned about bullying and global warming.  The students are smart enough to roll their eyes and go back to texting.  They grow up and the behavior continues.  If they vote they will vote the way their parents did, usually on a straight party ticket.

You can tell them to recycle but they will still throw their empty cans out the window.  You can tell them to buy a Prius, they will still go for the horsepower and noise.  You can tell them, but they are not paying attention.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Opus 2012-202, Green Pieces: Levels of Environmentalists, Opening

Protecting the environment is a topic that has a lot of impact on our lives.  In one sense that is obvious.  If the environment is poisoned, we all die or at least live at a level that is ugly to contemplate.  So the environment is important.  No one who thinks will argue about that. 

After that we get into a lot of differing opinions and levels of concern.  At one end you have people who only know what they feel at the moment.  At the other extreme are people who consider human being pollution and don’t care if the species goes extinct as long as the Gaia feels good about herself.

Somewhere in between there must be a happy medium.  We should be able to recognize common sense, reasonable, affordable solutions to what are or could be real problems.  We should be able to discriminate between the “solutions” that are generated by people who stand to cash in or who have some other vested interest and those that actually make sense.

People fall into categories.  These categories need labels.  Why?  Because I find labels handy and they make better titles.

Just as all people have a philosophical position, all people have an environmental position.  They just don’t recognize it or don’t want to admit it.  Make that “won’t” as well as “don’t.”  Keep in mind that this is my current opinion.  I reserve the right to grow in my thinking.  The labels may overlap just like you have a few pro-life Democrats and too many pro-choice Republicans, life is complex.  There may be more levels.  I may not have been as complex in my thinking as you are in yours.  Also note, the order is not in level of importance but in level of intensity from the ignorant to the ignoble with most of us in between.

So what labels would I put on people in regard to the environment? 

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Opus 2012-201, On the Street: New Concepts for a New Generation

Recently I was waiting in the car as my wife ran into a store for a “quick” purchase.  This was one of those rare moments when I did not bring a book so I was reading anything in sight.  Today that included a tastefully done kiosk close to the car.  It was labeled as an “Oops, clean-up station, a convenience for pets on the go.”  I assume a pun was intended.  It had plastic bags available and a place to put them.  There are benefits to shopping in an affluent area.

Do you remember seeing “Curb Your Dog” signs?  We have moved that to a new level.  What a country.

homo unius libri

Monday, August 20, 2012

Opus 2012-200, DEFCON: CCCP

I was at the convention moving toward my next session.  I was still too far away to see if I would be able to get in but I am never too far away to stop watching people.  The variety is encouraging. 

It is also frightening.  As I walked along I noticed a t-shirt.  It was red with dark letters on the back and a logo.  This is a fairly standard outfit for DEFCON.  The Goons wear red shirts.  “Goons” is the official title of the con’s security people.  It says it right on the shirt.  Just like the police have black shirts with “Police” printed in yellow, the goons have red shirts with “Goon” printed in black and white.  I think the guy in front of me was a goon wannabe.

What was sad was the letters and logo.  The letters were CCCP.  The logo was a hammer and sickle.  The body inside the shirt was about eighteen.  I don’t think he had any idea of what CCCP represented.  He probably thought it was a rock band.  Maybe it is and I am the ignorant one. 

I did not want to embarrass him or myself so I did not say anything.  He is part of that ignorant class of people who wear “Che” shirts and have no idea of history.  These people hold up Che as heroes and often chant, “Bush lied, people died.”  They worship a man who is known to be a killer and deprecate a man who at most was wrong. 

I hope it was just a rock band of ignorant people not an entire generation.

homo unius libri

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Opus 2012-199, Healthy Insights: A Word of Hope for Diabetics, Part 3 of 3

Currently my A1c is 5.  My fasting glucose ranges from 85 to 103.  My blood pressure was 120/65.  All my numbers are good.  This is the danger time.

Am I cured?  No.  I never will be.  This is a lifestyle change.  I think of it like being an alcoholic.  I may be in control but I will always be a diabetic.  Will things change?  Maybe.  Our bodies get older, things wear out.  But for now I am healthier than I was ten years ago.  The charts still say I am overweight so don’t pay too much attention to them.  Everyone thinks I am skinny.  Believe it or not, my wife is now nagging be that I should eat more.  I am in not danger of becoming anorexic.  I am still around 215 pounds at 6'3".  I can maintain that.  I am still eating 2,500 calories a day.  I can live with that.  God willing, I will remain in control.

It might not work for you.  I understand that.  Don’t feel guilt if you are doing everything right and it isn’t working for you.  But please, if you have never given weight loss a serious try, check it out.  It has worked for me.  I can only hope that you might also be one of that undiscovered 5%.

To be continued in life, if not on this blog.

homo unius libri

Opus 2012-198, Healthy Insights: A Word of Hope for Diabetics, Part 2 of 3

I was slow getting serious about dealing with my diabetes.  The problems were sloth and gluttony.  I did not want to be bothered and I enjoyed eating.  Food is my big sin.  I don’t drink, smoke, do drugs, chase women, gossip or watch sports all the time.  I eat.  I wanted to hang on to that.

I tried counting carbohydrates and walking.  The GP gave me a goal of 200 grams of carbs a day and I was able to do that.  It slowed things down but did not stop the upward swing.  Counting carbohydrates works well for gluttons.  Think of all the great foods that are carb free:  Cheese, steak, and fish.  I could really scarf and feel righteous about it.  But the numbers don’t lie.

Finally, when my wife was out of town and I had complete control of what I ate and no one to blame for my overeating I took the plunge.  I began to get serious about what I ate.

My first step was twofold.  I kept my carbohydrates below 200 grams and my calories below 2,500 a day.  I am a big guy.  I began to lose weight on 2,500 calories a day.  I was not after a big showy loss.  Like most overweight people, I have lost weight before.  I am not impressed by losing weight.  It is like some people who stop smoking.  They have done it many times.  I was in for the long hall.  As long as I was going down I was happy.

I also tried to get away from focusing on weight and diet and tried to zero in on change of lifestyle.  I only weighed once a week.  Most weeks I lost.  I also kept track of what I ate so that I could look back and see what was going into my body.  I wrote everything down in a little notebook.  I weighed everything I could and went on line to find sites that could give me information when I ate out.  By doing this I could take the weeks when I did not lose anything because I knew what I was doing would work.  I had the numbers.

My numbers began to go down with the weight.  I reached a point where I asked the doctor if I could ignore the carbohydrate counting and we gave it a try.  The numbers kept getting better.  We cut back on my diabetes medication.  The numbers kept getting better.  Eventually he took me off of all diabetes medication, blood pressure medication and cholesterol medication.  The number kept going down.  I have not taken any of those for about six months and my numbers are great.

I just saw my GP and he went though all the blood and urine tests.  Everything is well into the normal range.  My diabetes doctor says I am one of the 5%.  I hope that remains true in the future. 

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Opus 2012-197, Links: Hope from Another Source

While I am on the subject of hope for diabetics let me share something I came across this morning.  It is at a blog titled “The White Man” and the post is “Outliving a ‘Death Sentence’.”  If you have just been diagnosed or are living in fear of the future, give it a read.

homo unius libri

Opus 2012-196, Healthy Insights: A Word of Hope for Diabetics, Part 1 of 3

I want to give a word of hope for people suffering with diabetes.  Before I do I want to offer some serious disclaimers.  And I really mean them.  I am aware that everyone is different and everyone’s body responds differently.  What works for one often does not work for another.  This is not a guilt trip but a word of encouragement. 

My parents had four sons.  We developed diabetes.  Each of us has followed a different road.  The two that were the most vigorous and in the best condition have the worst experiences.  My younger brother has always been normal sized.  He was athletic and only slightly overweight.  When he was diagnosed, he lost weight and did what he was supposed to do.  Today he is taking several pills and using a needle.  I was the least active and at the same time the last one to be diagnosed.  For years the doctor kept telling me to lose weight or I would develop diabetes.  I did not lose and I did develop.  I did the same things my brother did and while he is popping pills and using a needle, I am medication free.

This is not bragging or preaching.  I just want to say that there are some things that can make your life better if you are one of those who have a body that responds. 

I patted my doctor on the head and ignored the nagging of my wife for years.  When my A1c reached 10 and my fasting glucose reached 200 my GP referred me to a specialist.  Some of you are much higher than that but this was my wake up call.  For some reason God seemed to let me know that the party was over.  I got serious.

Let me share you what has worked for me but remember it may not work for you.  Then again, it might.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Friday, August 17, 2012

Opus 2012-195 Labels, Pro and Con, Part 2 of 2

Sometimes our rejection of good terms is based on ignorance.  Some find labels offensive because they don’t understand the difference between generalizations and stereotypes.  One is a useful tool for dealing with the world.  The other is a tool of insult and manipulation.  Let me explain briefly.

Generalizations are true statements based on honest data.  For instance, if we say that men tend to be taller than women, we can go out and measure the population and look at the facts.  We will find that, on the average, men are taller.  Generalizations are true as stated but not when turned into stereotypes.

A stereotype would be to state that if you are a man, you are taller than women.  This is obviously not true, that is why I chose it as an example.  Some women are taller than some men.  That does not change the generalization but means that you cannot assume.  Stereotypes are usually used to judge and discriminate unfairly.  Stereotypes are misused and twisted generalizations.

It is because of the misuse of stereotypes that true statements are taken as insults.  At school I often will have a kid say, “You are old.”  Okay.  True statement.  They might have meant it as an insult because in their mind “old” is “bad.”  That is their problem, not mine.  I generally thank them for being observant.  Other ways they try to get under my skin is by calling me bald, pointing out my big feet or calling me four eyes.  All I can say is, “Thank you for noticing.”  Sometimes I add, “Compliments will get you nothing.”

Labels are generalizations.  That means they don’t tell you everything.  They are a guide.  There are a general reference point.  There are Republicans who are pro-abortion and Democrats who are pro-life.  The exception does not invalidate the rule.

So use labels but do it honestly and accurately.  If my Calvinist brothers want to tell me I am a no good, dirty, rotten sinner, I don’t mind.  Compared to the eternal holiness of God that is still a good generalization.  Having said that I don’t think you will find “no good, dirty, rotten sinner” in anything but the newest paraphrase of the Bible.  I prefer the generalization that Paul used to talk the church.  He calls us "saints."  I can live with either because I know what they mean and I am not bothered by labels.

homo unius libri

Opus 2012-194, Labels, Pro and Con, Part 1 of 2

Labels get a lot of bad press today but they are really very helpful if they are accurate and honest.  I will concede that much of the labeling we see is neither.  When a package of candy says it is “fat free” it may be accurate but the impression it gives is not honest.  It is all sugar which turns to fat. 

When the media talks about “Fundamentalists” in regard to Christians it is usually inaccurate and dishonest.  It is inaccurate because it is a technical term that they don’t take the time to understand.  It refers to a branch of devout believers who believe in turning the other cheek and going the extra mile.  They are dishonest because they lay deceitful impressions on top of the label.  They equate these people with fundamentalist Muslims who believe that it is okay to strap a bomb onto your child’s body and send them into a crowd.  Guilt by association.

One overlooked reason people don’t like labels today is because they are accurate.  Have you noticed that some Liberals are now Progressives?  Others call themselves Moderates.  That is because people have caught on to the agenda of the left and don’t like it.  So, change your label.  Have you noticed that Communists like to call themselves socialists?  These people don’t want you to know who they really are.

Moving into the church world, have you noticed that few people are willing to admit that they are Calvinists any more?  They like to call themselves Reform.  What they refuse to understand is that Wesley and Arminius were also part of the Reformation.  Have you noticed how many people claim to be Christians and at the same time reject things like the physical resurrection or the existence of Hell?  They reject the label of pagan, even though it is more accurate.

I find labels helpful.  When I walk into a Baptist church I have no trouble worshiping and calling the members “brother” and “sister.”  It does help to be warned ahead of time that I am going to need to filter out the TULIP proclamations.  I don’t hold it against them even if they consign me to the depths of hell.  When I talk to someone who rejects the traditional values of America it helps to know that they are on the left.  When I go to a family restaurant I want to know that it doesn’t have a rating of $$$$$ in the AAA Guidebook.

Labels help.  Why are they a problem?

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Opus 2012-193, Plow and Crown: A License to Hunt Deer

I was reading a post at Georges Grouse called “The Deer Look Awful.”  Take a look at what he has to say if you have not read it yet.

He questioned the motive of deer management and was so audacious as to suggest that poor people should be able to hunt without a license.  This got my mental juices flowing on one of my themes, the attempts of the elites to control the masses.

This goes back to medieval days.  In those times all of the land was owned by the king and his nobles.  The peasants were not allowed to hunt in the kings forest.  If you are familiar with the old movie about Robin Hood you might remember the feasting they did on “the king’s deer.”  That was probably as big a sin as appropriating the kings taxes.  The common folk were expected to go hungry while the deer ate their crops.  The nobles maintained a group of foresters who were to keep an eye on poachers and punish them.

When our ancestors first came to this new world did they need a permit to hunt?  I doubt it.  That is one of the reasons they came here.  Land could be owned by common people and the wild animals were there for whoever wanted to hunt them.  They had disagreements with the American Indian tribes but that was the same conflict that they had with each other.  It was survival, not permits in triplicate. 

Slowly but surely governments have been encroaching on what was once part of our liberty.  There are some obvious controls needed, such as hunting with a long range rifle next to a residential area but that is not what we are seeing.  From Georges comments and others I have read it also isn’t about managing the forest for the most yield.  That might be forgivable because we do have a lot of people. Again, that is not what this is really about.

The Control Freaks of the Elites want your liberty.  They are winning.  November is coming.

homo unius libri

Opus 2012-192, Links: On Not Passing the Buck

As I was reading I came across this comment at Christian Ear.  She writes short focused thoughts so it won’t take you long to check it out.

Her point is that too often we wait for others to speak up when we should be the one letting our voice be heard. 

You may find her blog worth a daily stop.

homo unius libri

Opus 2012-191, On the Street: “Check Your Facts”

We were making a quick run through Cosco to price some window air conditioners.  As we went down the aisle my wife began to do her soapbox preaching about Obama and the mess he has made of things.  Some people took one look, turned the other way and quickly departed.  One lady chose to engage. 

It was an interesting and frustrating discussion.

It was interesting because it is always challenging to dialog with someone who is willing to discuss issues.  It was frustrating because it was so typical of other discussions.

She was such a perfect poster child for the Obama campaign.  She was roughly my age.  She spoke well.  She was a retired public employee for Los Angeles County which means she was not hurting financially, yet.  She claimed to be a Republican.  Yet she voted for Obama last time and was not sure she could vote for Romney.  After all, he put all those people out of work.  At that she began reciting all the Obama/Media talking points. 

The extreme frustration was when she claimed that we needed to get our facts straight.  She did her research and would not believe anything we wanted to tell her.  So I started asking about specific sources.  I asked if she had read the Koran.  No.  Had she actually listened to Rush.  That started a tirade about Rush that assured me that she had not listened to him even though she said she had.  Anyone who tells me that Rush is harsh and hostile has obviously never listened to more than sound bites from Saturday Night Live.

I agree.  Check your facts.  The point I differ is that I actually try to do it instead of just listening to the same old mantra of the Progressive Press.  Check the actual numbers on employment.  How do you like the price of gas?  How big is the deficit again?  How much bigger than the terrible example Bush set?  What did Obama actually have to say about his goals in the autobiographies (two, count them) that he wrote?

November is coming. 

homo unius libri

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Opus 2012-190, Monday Pulpit: Thoughts on the Law

One of the topics that was touched on Sunday was the Law.  We were in the second chapter of Romans.  The Law is another one of those paradoxes that rear their heads in the study of the Bible.  I am sure you have heard it said that as Gentiles, we are not under Law, we are under grace.  At the same time Jesus did not throw the Law away.
(Matthew 5:17 KJV)  Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
So how does the Law relate to Christians?

One comment grabbed my attention.  This is not a quote, more of a paraphrase.
“Disobedience is not breaking the Law, it is rebellion and rejection.”
I think there is an important distinction.  Sin is sin, true.  But there is a real difference between someone breaking a law they may not have even known about and the wholesale rebellion that comes from knowing the truth and refusing to obey.

I am not geared for a long discussion, just had an opinion to express.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Opus 2012-189, Links: The Survival Mom

I followed a link from Georges Grouse to The Survival Mom.  The actual link led me to check out another post on the site called “Just for women: 23 Truths about Firearms.”  It was interesting but in the middle was one piece of advice that stood out.  It is a truth that enthusiasts about the second amendment tend to forget.  It was Truth 20.
"Nothing beats not being in the wrong place at the wrong time."
One bit of advice I keep hearing from people who have had the experience:  You don’t want to ever need to use a gun.

Notice that the advice is not “Don’t ever use a gun.”  These people all assume that there will be times when it is necessary to defend and protect yourself and what you hold dear.  Hear that but also hear that these “gun people” are not trigger happy.   They repeatedly remind the rest of us that if you ever have to kill someone it will change your life forever, even if you are totally right.

So take the advice of the Survival Mom.  Avoid situations that might cause problems.

homo unius libri

Monday, August 13, 2012

Opus 2012-188, Living with Choices

My father rejected the model of the corporate employee.  He had a strong desire to not work for “the man.”  He paid his dues.  He had a family to support.  He was not a starry-eyed idealist who lived off his wife or parents.  He did what he had to do.

But he had a dream.  Wanted to be his own man.  He wanted to be self employed.  He started his own construction business and eventually qualified for a general contractor’s license.  He made less but lived life on his terms.

He paid the price for that dream.  There are things you give up when you start a small business and everything hangs on your shoulders.  You take few vacations.  No one pays the self employed when they take off.  There was no fancy retirement plan.  We never had health insurance.

We did not suffer for it.  We never went hungry.  I had holes in the knees of my jeans before it was a fashion statement, but we had iron on patches.  There were rewards that came from his determination that are often overlooked in our paycheck oriented society. 

We were blessed by his example.  I have three brothers.  Among us we have no police records,  no divorce and no children out of wedlock. 

He died with no money in the bank but also with no big debts.  A few days before he died unexpectedly he was surrounded by children and grandchildren.  All of them enjoyed being with him.

Choices have consequences.  He was rewarded.  I pray that I will come close and that you will also see the joys that are possible.

homo unius libri

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Opus 2012-187, Discernment Watch: The Dividing Line

Last week a finished a sci-fi novel called The Long Earth.  It was a good tale, well told with an interesting plot and believable characters.  In sum it was a good read.  Remember that as I begin to get critical.

Recently I wrote a series of posts on “Hidden Agendas.”  That was a reflection on re-reading the joys of my youth and seeing things I did not see then.  The trend continues.  One of the hidden themes that I see in modern science fiction and fantasy is a desperate attempt to find a way to explain the existence of intelligent life on earth and to find a meaning in life. 

Whether they want to admit it or not, scientific evidence does not support the common understanding of evolution and natural selection.  The three biggest problems are the complexity of life, the lack of time and the fact that all the links are missing.  But that is not my focus today. 

Today I am in general more on the meaning of life and in particular the nature of man.  As I was reading I came across the following sentence on page 160.  “People, unfettered, know how to live, how to treat each other.”  The basic view of the nature of man presented here is that which is at the heart of modern education and culture.  It says that human beings are basically good but are corrupted by the influences of our society.  The way this is applied it to deny evil and badness and assume that all problems can be fixed if we will listen to the social workers, psychologists and educators.  The problem is society, not the nature of man.

Although I did not go looking for it I think the authors had earlier referred to The Lord of the Flies.  It presents a more traditional, Judeo-Christian view of the nature of man.  In that story a group of children are stranded on an island for a period of time, “unfettered” as Prachett and Baxter would phrase it.  They descend into barbarism and violence.  It has been a long time since I reviewed the book but I think there was also cannibalism. 

Which side of the divide do you come from?  Do you think that people are basically good and all we need to do is give them the proper environment for a perfect society?  Or do you believe that man is flawed and will tend toward self-centeredness and selfishness?  It makes a difference in how you put things together.  Currently our schools, welfare system and courts are based on the “man is good” philosophy. 

Are you happy with the way things are going?

Prachett, Terry, and Baxter, Stephen.  The Long Earth.  New York:  Harper, 2012.

homo unius libri

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Opus 2012-186, Movie Mantras: 2016: Obama’s America

Yesterday we went to see a new movie called 2016:  Obama’s America.  It is an adaptation of a book by Dinesh D’Souza.  He travels the world interviewing people who knew Barak Obama and his family.  His goal is to outline in a clear way the roots of who Barak Obama is and what that will mean to the country if he is re-elected.

I was amazed at the people who were willing to talk to him.  D’Souza is not a secret conservative.  He should be well known to these people.  But they talked to him on camera.

His thesis is that to understand Obama you need to understand the historical philosophy he believes in and how we need to change America to bring it into the world as he sees it.  The key terms are “Colonialism” and “Anti-Colonialism.”  This comes straight out of the Communist playbook as they have gone into the third world and convinced people that their problems are all because of the greedy empire builders of Europe and America.  They are poor because we stole their wealth.  The answer is to make us poor.

For you this may be preaching to the choir but if you can get some of your fence sitting friends to see it with you and discuss it afterward it might help swing the election.

November is coming.  Do the names Sotomayor and Kagan ring any bells?  Elections matter.

homo unius libri

Opus 2012-185, Headlines: Romney Pick’s Ryan

It seems that Mitt Romney has made a choice for Vice-President.  It will be Paul Ryan.  This of course assumes that the nominating convention goes as expected and there is little reason to think it won’t.

At this point this seems a great choice.  We have already seen Ryan in action facing Obama and his minions.  He stood up well.  He knows his stuff.  He has a plan and Romney seems to be endorsing his ideas. 

I don’t know a lot about where Ryan stands on other issues I believe are important but he seems to be a great pick.  I assumed that because he would not run for president that he would be out of the box for vice-president.  That goes to show what assumptions will do.  That shows how willing some Americans are to set aside their personal lives for the good of the country.

This makes me more optimistic about Romney and the chances in November.

November is coming.  Does Federal Insolvency concern you?  Elections matter.

homo unius libri

Opus 2012-184, Big Brother Is Trying to Watch You

We received an interesting fund-raising letter from a college that we support.  It is a Christian School that has chosen to accept no federal aid, grants or loans for itself or its students.  That narrows the choices down, doesn’t it?  The president was attending a meeting hosted by the State Council of Higher Education for the presidents of private colleges and universities in the state.  He shared what he learned about that state and how it is invading the privacy of graduates in that state.

Through data bases that the schools are required to maintain and share with the federal government and organized by Social Security Numbers the state issues a “detailed database of everyone’s personal education and salary history!”  (emphasis in original).  This was in place in his state but he does not offer a comforting word.  He observes, “Bilateral agreements among unemployment compensation systems in other states will eventually catch everyone.”  And of course the most chilling is, “And the feds have graduation data on all the individuals, because every college that takes federal money is required by law to provide it, organized by Social Security Number.”  (emphasis in original)

Is this the end of the world?  Not by itself.  I am sure that the most honorable intentions are presented but how many of you gave permission for your personal information to be used this way. 

The data bases keep growing and you are in them.

This college president was concerned about privacy but even more the philosophical attitude that says income of graduates is the most important marker of a successful college.  He points out that many of their graduates go to work at nonprofit organizations and many continue on for advanced degrees at places like Harvard and Yale.  On this measurement scale they would drag down the average for the college even though they were being very successful.

How do you measure a successful school?  It is not as easy as governments proclaim.

homo unius libri

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Opus 2012-183, Discernment Watch: Hidden Agendas, Part 6, The Branches

The label of Darwinism is thrown in with a few terms you would easily identify with that philosophy:  Evolution and survival of the fittest.  What you may not have recognized as a part of the package is “economic determinism.”  You see this coming out of Washington today as the Progressives push their agenda.  Read Obamacare, Government take over of the auto industry, government regulation of light bulbs, shower head and toilets, redistribution of wealth.  The list could go on.  There are few areas of life that the government is not trying to regulate.  You of course have read about the schools forbidding parents from sending lunch with their children because the state knows better what they should eat?  You of course have read about the Mayor of New York trying to regulate what people drink? 

There was term that was popular but has fallen out of vogue:  Social Darwinism.  This applied the principles of natural selection to the social sphere.  It simply says that cultures follow the same trends as biology.  Stronger cultures subdue, dominate and often destroy weaker cultures.  Stronger means better.  This was justification for destroying the American Indians, the warrior tribes of Africa and for that matter the Japanese invasions of Korea and China.

Social Darwinism is not a popular phrase today but the principle is still consistent with the teaching of evolutionary principles in the schools.  It is the thinking behind much of the social agenda of the Progressives (Socialists, Communists, Liberals, Democrats) that are running our country.

Enough for now.  What are your roots?  What are the philosophical and religious principles that guide how you live and how you vote.

Think about it.

Apply it.

November is coming.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Opus 2012-182, Discernment Watch: Hidden Agendas, Part 5, The Roots

What brings people to think this way?  What kind of basic philosophy of life can lead the well meaning to accept the wholesale slaughter of millions of human beings in the name of progress?  At what level do you stop trying to force people to do what is good for them?  What are the roots.

The seed for this direction is society goes back to philosophy and religion.  All religion has a philosophy that is expressed by its theology.  Philosophy at its core has the aspects of belief that we associate with religion.  I know they are different but they intersect frequently.

In trying to explain why the genocidal culture being described in The Skylark of Space is so wonderful, Smith lays down his philosophical roots.  In order to achieve the perfection of society he envisions certain prerequisites are needed.  So he goes to the religion of this culture.  Remember, he intends this description as positive and cutting-edge.
"Well, as nearly as I can explain it, it's a funny kind of a mixture - partly theology, partly Darwinism, or at least, making a fetish of evolution, and partly pure economic determinism. They believe in a Supreme Being, whom they call the First Cause-that is the nearest English equivalent-and they recognize the existence of an immortal and unknowable life-principle, or soul. They believe that the First Cause has decreed the survival of the fittest as the fundamental law, which belief accounts for their perfect physiques...." (Garby and Smith, Kindle Loc. 3292-95)
Do any of those key words and phrases sound familiar?  This is at the heart of the raging clash between evolution and creation.  It is still alive and well in our schools.

To be continued...

Smith, Edward Elmer and Garby, Lee Hawkins.  The Skylark of Space.  Amazing Stories, 1928. 
    (Gutenberg Ebook).

homo unius libri

Opus 2012-181, DEFCON: Conversations, Traffic and the Economy

What do you use to evaluate how the economy is doing?  Someone said a recession is when you are out of a job, a depression is when I am out of a job.  So much is perception.  I know my salary was cut last year but I am so much better off than millions.

I have an unofficial barometer:  Traffic.  How many people are on the freeway at the time to go to work.  It isn’t very scientific and has no consistency, but I can see it.

Recently I was in Sin City, Las Vegas for DEFCON.  If traffic was an indicator, the economy is doing well.  Almost everywhere I went it was heavy and slow.  People were out.  When I flew in the airplane was full.  When I drove home the interstate was heavy.  All indications were that the economy was cooking.

But wait a minute.  I was at dinner with some of my son’s friends.  One of the members of the party was a bartender at one of the local big name, hot spots.  I won’t mention the name to protect the identity of the not so innocent.  He said that the season had still not started and it was way past due.  Business was slow.  All indications were that the economy was not cooking.

It was happening at Chipolte.  This is a chain of restaurants that is expanding across the country.  Twice I entered a Chipolte only to turn around and leave because they were so jammed.

My analysis?  Many are out of work.  Those with work are still traveling and seeking entertainment but they are being more frugal with their money.  They are budgeting.  They are stopping at the places that give them more value for their money.

If you are out of work, I feel for you.  I thank God on a regular basis that I am still employed.  I hope things will get better for you.  Those still working are gaining in wisdom. 

Sometimes wisdom is hard won.

Remember, elections matter.  November is coming.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Opus 2012-180, Discernment Watch: Hidden Agendas, Part 4, The Logical Conclusion

This was of course to be done for their own good.  The elites often have the best of intentions.  It is like you taking your pet to be neutered.  It is for their own good.  Or better yet, for the good of society.  Read what Goldberg had to say about what was happening in Germany at this time.  Notice the date given in this quote and realize it was eight years before the novel I am looking at.
“In Germany, before the Jews were rounded up, hundreds of thousands of disabled, elderly, and mentally ill ‘pure’ Germans were eliminated on the grounds they were ‘useless bread gobblers’ or ‘life unworthy of life’..., a term that first appeared in Germany in 1920.”  (Goldberg p. 268)
This began before the Jews were targeted.  Hold on to that and compare it to this quote from what was a popular science fiction work of 1928.
“They have attained this condition by centuries of weeding out the unfit. They have no hospitals for the feeble-minded or feeble-bodied - abnormal persons are not allowed to live. The same reasoning accounts for their perfect cleanliness, moral and physical. Vice is practically unknown. They believe that clean living and clean thinking are rewarded by the production of a better physical and mental type...."  (The Skylark of Space, Loc. 3300-3310)
This is not the ravings of a KKK newsletter or the writing of a fanatical Nazi.  This is not the right wing crazies or Christian fundamentalists, it is the mainline left.  You have the hero of the story who has stumbled across another planet with two races, one good and bad.  It is chilling that this was being spoken by one of the good guys in an approving way.  This book, in reprint and paperback, was available to young people of the 60's and 70's.  This is the kind of thing that was being pushed below the radar by the progressive movement. 

And what were the roots of this thinking?  Where does it come from?

To be continued...

Goldberg, Jonah.  Liberal Fascism.  New York:  Doubleday, 2007.

Smith, Edward Elmer and Garby, Lee Hawkins.  The Skylark of Space.  Amazing Stories, 1928. 
    (Gutenberg Ebook).

homo unius libri

Opus 2012-179, DEFCON: How Soon They Forget

Do you ever spend time complaining about the boss?  Maybe you are a boss.  Do you spend time stressing out about the guy you just promoted and now you can’t remember why you did it?  As teachers we sit around complaining about administration.  What always amazes us is that these people used to be teachers and used to understand what we were dealing with.  It seems that as soon as they are promoted to power they experience a type of dementia and forget all that they had gone through before.  What happens?

It is not unusual.  Think of all the people who made a name as reformers, became accepted and soon became part of the power structure and part of the problem.  I remember a man who was running for school board.  He wanted to change things.  He wanted reform.  He had good ideas and presented himself well.  He planted seeds of hope.  People listened and he was elected.  The results?  Same-O, Same-O.  It was like Jekyll and Hyde.  What happened?

Think of the labor movement.  Most people will admit that there has been a place for organized labor.  They would disagree on when and where but the movement emerged because of real problems.  At the same time, most people I know who are unionized would agree that the Unions do not represent their real interests.  The unions seem to be in bed with the corporate bosses and are lining their own nests.  What happened?

I am at DEFCON.  I have been coming for at least ten years.  I am not a geek, that is my son’s role in the family.  I always learn something and grow by being here but I am really an outside observer.  As an outside observer I may not understand the subtle aspects of binary code or the latest jargon of techies, but I do have an overview that sees what they miss.  I have watched with sadness the maturing of the hacker community. 

Part of this is healthy.  They are getting older.  In spite of their wild party mantra they have the same desires as the rest of humanity.  They are marrying, having children and buying homes.  This causes a natural difference in attitude.  Single, poor, immature, outsiders become married, comfortable, wiser insiders.  Priorities change.  Values find a different foundation.  It is the way life is.  That is why we don’t put children in charge of our culture, or at least we didn’t in the past.

Part of it is sad.  The cutting edge of rebellion is dissipating.  And they don’t seem to see it.  They still think they are rebels.  I guess so but it is the same way that my old t-shirt is still red.  It just doesn’t have the stand-out fire that lit it up in the past.  People on panels of the rebel class have spoken in favor of more government regulation and they don’t seem to see it. 

This week I attended a panel that focused on an international meeting that was looking at redoing the agreements on how the internet functioned.  They were really concerned about what would emerge.  They were worried about international regulations cutting into their freedom to follow the joy of their lives.  What hit me was that one of the primary panel members was singing the praises for the U.N. at the same time he was concerned about international controls taking away his freedom.  He praised the U.N.’s peace keeping role.  What?  Are we talking about the powerless blue hats that have been caught in rape and pillage?  Is this the same UN that wants to push an international treaty that will take away our rights as parents?  Is this the same UN that wants to put the resources of the ocean under the control of committees of third world dictators?  Is this the same UN that puts Tyrants on committees about human rights?  Is this the same UN that wants to take away our second amendment?  I wondered what planet he was on.  Of more concern was the fact that there was not even a blink from the “rebels.”

The rebels are growing up and are becoming establishment.  It is sad.  It is human.

DEFCON is celebrating its 20th year.  Maybe it is time to mark them “establishment” and look for the next generation of rebels.

homo unius libri

Monday, August 6, 2012

Opus 2012-178, Discernment Watch: Hidden Agendas, Part 3, Perpetual Fascism

Authors have opinions.  That is normal and expected.  It is part of the concept of a free press and freedom of speech.  In retrospect some were pretty nasty.  Political statements went totally under my radar.  I was young.  I was naive.  I would skip over a lot of philosophy to get to the action.  Not so as an adult.

I just reread The Skylark in Space.  This was the first in a series by E.E. Smith that I read during my high school years.  I realized then that the science was shaky but, again, he told a good story.  Like watching modern Star Wars movies, I was able to suspend belief and enjoy the moment.

What I totally missed was the political statement being made.  This book was published in the pulp fiction days in the SF magazine Amazing Stories.  The date of publication was 1928.  This was the time when America’s elite was openly in love with fascism and communism.  This was when Hitler and Mussolini were on the rise.  This was the era of Margaret Sanger and the eugenics movement.  Woodrow Wilson laid the groundwork and FDR will keep the ball rolling.

In his book, Liberal Fascism, Jonah Goldberg talks about the things that Wilson did to limit freedom.  In a summary of Wilson’s actions, Goldberg says,
“The first appearance of modern totalitarianism in the Western world wasn’t in Italy or Germany but in the United States of America.”  (Goldberg, p. 11)
Later in the book as he looks at the attempts of FDR to put his imprint on the country he says this,
“It is ironic that in the 1930s it was far from out of bounds to call the New Deal or FDR fascist.”  (Goldberg, p. 156)
There was a growing belief that an elite few should run the lives of the masses.  Actually, it wasn’t a new idea.  It was as old as Kings and Lords.  I came across Abraham Lincoln referring to the old argument.  He was discussing slavery and the Dred Scott decision.
“Those arguments that are made, that the inferior race are to be treated with as much allowance as they are capable of enjoying; that as much is to be done for them as their condition will allow,--what are these arguments? They are the arguments that kings have made for enslaving the people in all ages of the world. You will find that all the arguments in favor of kingcraft were of this class; they always bestrode the necks of the people not that they wanted to do it, but because the people were better off for being ridden.”  (Kindle Location - 388-96)
Part of the package of liberty is that we should be free to make our own mistakes and learn our own lessons as long as we don’t tread on or endanger others.  I don’t need masters in the DHS, DOJ or HSS trying to keep me safe from myself.  E.E. Smith felt I did.  Obama feels I do.

To be continued...

Goldberg, Jonah.  Liberal Fascism.  New York:  Doubleday, 2007.

Lincoln, Abraham.  The Writings of Abraham Lincoln - Volume 3: The Lincoln-Douglas
, Amazon Free Edition.

homo unius libri

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Opus 2012-177, Don’t Be Impressed by the Numbers

Recently I heard a missionary who had been allowed to visit Cuba talking about how a pastor there had to live on $18.00 a month.  We were supposed to gasp and reach for our wallets to relieve his distress.  The problem is that he showed pictures of the pastor and his family.  They were in an adequate home, were dressed well and did not look hungry.  I was forced to come to the conclusion that it must be possible to live on $18.00 a month in Cuba.  I don’t think that was the conclusion he was looking for.

Often we hear about how little money people make in the world.  We need to realize that those people do not live in the United States.  I am not trying to trivialize their conditions but if I grew most of my food, had no utilities to pay, had few clothes and washed them by hand, did not drive a car and paid no taxes, I could live on a few hundred dollars a year too.  I don’t live that way and don’t want to live that way, but it does not mean they are at death’s door.

I came across a statistic about how inflation has changed our costs.  The reference was about how a family could come out of poverty in the 19th century if the fathers would just stop drinking.  The key phrase in here is about half way through where the author says, “which at that time...”
“As a leader of the City Temperance Society, Hartley visited distilleries, debated their owners or managers, and wrote  a temperance pamphlet entitled "Way to Make the Poor Rich." He  pointed out that twelve-and-a-half cents a day spent on drink  amounted to $45.62 a year, which at that time was enough to buy three tons of coal, 1 load of wood, 2 barrels of flour, 200 pounds of  Indian meal, 200 pounds of pork, and 8 bushels of potatoes; ‘into a  house thus supplied,’ Hartley wrote, ‘hunger and cold could not enter.’”
When someone tries to use statistics and numbers to tweak your heart strings or manipulate your thinking, turn on your BS detector.  The numbers may be accurate.  That does not mean the conclusions are true.

Any time a politician quotes numbers, an environmentalist quotes numbers, a health nut quotes numbers, or your children quote numbers turn on your thinking cap.  Get skeptical.  Ask yourself, “Does that make sense?”  And be kind to them when it doesn’t.

Except the politicians.  Those suckers need to be voted out.

November is coming.

Olasky, Marvin.  The Tragedy of American Compassion.  Washington, D.C.:  Regnery
    Publishing, Inc., 1992, page 28 (Kindle Location 395-98)

homo unius libri

Opus 2012-176, Discernment Watch: Hidden Agendas, Part 2, Growing Pains

Another author that I stopped reading as I got older was Robert Heinlein.  He also told a great story and had great characters.  I read everything he wrote and enjoyed his craft.  I even bought some in hardback, new.  What stopped me reading was was a trend that emerged as his fan base brew.  He was fascinated with incest.  In a series of stories involving the same characters he had one hero who was sexually involved with his descendants.  He began to weave it more frequently into his plots. 

Recently I wondered if I had been wrong so I I reread one of Heinlein’s early works.  The dynamic of the story was still there but reading as an adult, knowing where he was going, I could see the groundwork being laid for his later advocacy of incest.  It was subtle and mentioned in passing but real.

I began to realize there was a pattern.  People who were great writers started off building a following based on their writing ability.  Often they had a hidden agenda.  It might be political.  It might be moral or religious, but it was real.  That agenda stayed hidden until they were famous enough to begin revealing it. 

Then the indoctrination began.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Opus 2012-175, Chic-Fil-A Boycott about Nothing

I am sure you are aware of the boycott that wasn’t.  There was a lot of ranting and raving about the hater who condemned homosexuals and homosexual marriage.  There is only one big problem that seems to have been lost in the noise:  He didn’t say anything about homosexual marriage.  I did not hear the interview but from what I can read all he did was say he was married to the same women and thanked God for His support in his life. 

So this is about hating Christians, not about hating homosexuals.  Chic-Fil-A has been in the crosshairs of the Progressives (liberals, left, communists, socialists, Democrats) for a long time.  Here is a successful business that stays closed on Sunday to honor the Lord.  It sounds like this owner has actually read his Bible.  That is what they are hating about. 

Don’t get confused by the hype.  Homosexuality is only one issue in the conflict and it wasn’t even mentioned by the hatee.

Is the company worried?  Yes, in the sense that no one likes to be attacked.  No, in the sense that it will damage their bottom line.  Who is a family restaurant going to try to please more, people who have children or people who can’t without scientific invasive techniques?  A homosexual couple can now adopt.  They can have artificial insemination.  They can live in a fantasy world.  The one thing they will have a hard time doing is have genetic children.  This is one reason why it is scientifically silly to consider homosexuality a trait passed on by evolution.  It is a dead end street.

And did you read about the company that makes Muppet toys.  They have told Chic-Fil-A that they can no longer give away their products.  Who will suffer from the Muppets withdrawal?  How many gays and lesbians buy Muppet puppets?  Maybe they can do for the Muppets what the rest of us have been doing for Chic-Fil-A.  Let me announce it here:  If you are a hater angry at Chic-Fil-A, buy a puppet.  Please stay away from the Chic-Fil-A locations, it is hard enough to get in to buy food now.

homo unius libri

Opus 2012-174, Discernment Watch: Hidden Agendas, Part 1, Loss of Innocence

I am enjoying my new technology, the Kindle.  I am exploring the books I am able to access through Amazon’s free ebooks, Project Gutenberg, Baen Books and public library sources such as the Southern California Digital Library.  I have even gone so far as to buy books I want to reread.

One of my new discoveries is that Project Gutenberg is making old science fiction available.  I saw a couple of titles of the Skylark series and downloaded them.   I have found Andre Norton, Algis Budrys, H. Beam Piper, and others I have not read in years.  It is like old home week.

I am learning that you can’t always go home again. 

In some cases the problem is that I have grown up.  I did not begin serious reading until I discovered science fiction in the school library during my seventh grade year.  I became a voracious reader.  I remember reading everything that Andre Norton wrote and loving every minute of it.  In a box somewhere in someone’s garage I have an extensive collection of her work. 

As an adult I have gone back and tried to re-read some of her stories.  It is amazing all of the detail that I missed.  Like many other science fiction writers of the day, she had an agenda.  I was blessed in that I was so naive that I did not see it.  She knew how to tell a good story and that was all I was after.  I missed the heavy doses of the occult that were mixed in with everything she wrote. 

She had a fascination with cats.  Her cats were not just pets or companions.  She was not into pot holders with pictures of kitties and tea pots made to look like pussy cats.  In going back and trying to read some of her stories the cats take on the role that witchcraft would call familiars.  They were strangely sentient and a major part of the story.

Other books had a heavy dose of witchcraft.  I remember her Witchworld series.  I loved them.  They were action stories set in a medieval, feudal fantasy world.  With my adult awareness of the demonic I have not had the heart to go back and read them again.

I missed it all at the time.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Friday, August 3, 2012

Opus 2012-173, Chic-Fil-A Boycott Boycotted

I don’t get to eat at Chic-Fil-A much.  They are just beginning to expand into the People’s Republik of Kalifornia.  There are none near me so I had to drive over a hill, through a valley and across a freeway to get to one yesterday to celebrate the boycott of their business.  I was really looking forward to some chicken nuggets and I was going to try their buffalo sauce this time.

Alas, I could not even get into their parking lot.  It was jammed.  And this was a large parking lot that was to provide parking for several other national chain stores.  I bet those other stores were a bit unhappy with the boycott.  I had to park far away and walk.  At the store there was a long, winding line. 

I know that these were people there to support Chic-Fil-A, not to protest.  How did I know?  They were polite and orderly.  They were smiling and talking to people around them.  No one was screaming and yelling.  Although a few needed haircuts, none needed baths or lessons in manners.  I did notice that there was one protestor there.  He was the one the news media were talking to.  At least I assumed he was a protestor.  I can’t see our media wasting their time talking to real people.

My wife called me from the east coast to say it was the same there. 

As the cows of Chic-Fil-A say, “Eat more chicken.”  One of the great things about Chic-Fil-A is that their chicken is lower calorie than the other chains that sell fast food chicken.  Tastes great, lose weight, fight fate.  And support a company whose only sin is to close on Sunday.

homo unius libri

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Opus 2012-172, Try the Back Door

Summer is my time to get to know the TSA up close and personal.  I spend a fair amount of time in airports.  Each trip means a trek through the screening process.  I am refusing to go through the new radiation dispensers so I live in suspense waiting to find out if I can walk through the old way or receive cheap thrills the new way.

My son introduced me to the marvelous efficiency of the screening process.  I was getting ready to get in line when he said, “Down stairs there is another entrance with short lines and no new scanners.”  Huh?  Sounds like a win-win to me, but can it be true?

Actually, yes.  We went down a level.  There was no line.  There were no radiation dispensers.  I walked up, showed my ID, emptied my pockets, took off my shoes and belt and walked through the non-golden arches.  All that was left was putting myself back together. 

If my geek son who can’t remember where he left his keys can figure this out, what about the terrorists?

Do you feel more secure?

homo unius libri

Opus 2012-171, DEFCON: Privacy Issues

One of the issues that comes up frequently at DEFCON is the right to privacy and the security of your personal information.  The Keynote speaker this year was General Keith Alexander from the NSA.  I attended a panel of people who had worked for various government agencies.  I sat through a discussion of the NSA and the Constitution.  Encryption, firewalls and fourth amendment rights were frequent concerns. 

It is kind of schizophrenic.  And typical of humanity.  The hackers live to penetrate the security of others and find their weak spots.  They resent the government telling them they are doing things that are illegal.  They have a right!  But at the same time they don’t think the government has the right to do the same thing to them. 

They probably are correct about the government on this issue.  The Constitution was written to limit the power of the federal government.  It was a list of rights for the citizens and the states, not a list of rights for the government.  So, yes, in this oven what is good for the goose is not good for the gander.

Why is privacy and secrecy so important?  A good question.  If you have not done anything illegal, what is the big deal, right?  Wrong.  Discussion and debate requires the ability to say what comes off the top of your head with the understanding that it is off the top of your head and may not be your final position.  You need the freedom to say stupid things because they need to be aired and knocked down.  If you are afraid you will be quoted for every mistake you make, you will not speak openly and the results will be much weaker than the result of free interchange.

How many politicians have been tripped up for what they said years ago as they were developing their positions?  Have they changed?  Sometimes, yes; sometimes, no.  There are reasons to bar the press with their total recording capabilities from some committee meetings.  It stifles discussion.

An important example of this is the Constitutional Convention that hammered out the framework of our government.  One of the first things that they did was invoke a gag rule.  They all pledged to reveal nothing about the discussions taking place.  They put armed guards at the doors.  They closed the windows.  This was in the summer before A/C.  This would be labeled a conspiracy today, and it was.  They had been sent with specific orders not to write a new constitution.  They did it anyway.  They needed the freedom to express themselves without being crucified. 

So privacy matters.  We need to be free to say stupid things because it makes for a richer discussion and allows us to work toward what is really important.  We need to write and publish what we want without fear of some security type trying to lock us up.  It is not conspiracy.  Keep in mind that the government is no better or no worse than each of us as individuals.  It just has more power and wealth so it needs to be limited.

Keep it in mind.  November is coming.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Opus 2012-170, Firsts: Dim Sum

One of the benefits of children is that they force us to learn new things.  All the lessons are not painful.  This summer, at DEFCON my son introduced me to Dim Sum.

Dim Sum is a dining experience that is best navigated with someone who knows what they are doing and is paying the bill.  It is a type of Chinese restaurant that combines a traditional menu with what amounts to a cafeteria on wheels. 

We were seated, and before we could get settled in we were offered chow mien.  I thought it was like a Mexican restaurant where they bring you chips and salsa, but when we said yes the guy picked up our bill and put a mark on it.  As we looked at the menu the mobile trays started to roll by and my son began to explain.  Each tray comes by with a selection of entrees in individual dishes like you would see in a cafeteria.  Each serving is on its own little hot or cold serving container. 

The servers we had did not speak much English so it became a pointing and nodding experience.  Almost everything looked good so the table began to fill up before we had looked at the menu.  We picked two items from the menu and continued to select from the mobile carts.

It is an interesting concept.  If you like what you tasted, the tray will be back.  It is an environment which could encourage slow eating and conversation once you know what you are doing.  It sets the stage for gluttony if you don’t understand how it works.  What surprised me was the bill.  It was reasonable when you consider what it usually costs my son to eat out.  The individual items went from $2.00 to $9.00 and the most expensive was counter-intuitive:  Broccoli. 

Give it a try or try to find a friend to introduce you.  If you are paying, I am available.

homo unius libri