Oh no, it’s unregulated!

A fitness article recently instructed readers to be careful because the fitness industry is largely unregulated. I reacted the way I often do when reading this common sentiment: Oh no! What are we going to do? I feel so unmoored and helpless!

Seriously folks, while you should exercise discernment with all of man’s wisdom, would introducing the government into the fitness industry really improve it? This unfounded belief in the goodness of regulation is why the government regulates in some fashion just about everything in our houses. It’s why the federal register is north of 70,000 pages. It’s a reason why the government spends half of the national GDP. I would love to do a study of an average business and see how much time and money is wasted complying with regulations. In my job, I see the distortions introduced by the tax code all the time.

Oh yes, people say, but if it were unregulated why our cars would be blowing up and our food would be poisoned! There are easy answers to this one. First, this stuff occurs despite the government. Approved drugs get recalled, government-inspected plants sell infected meat, etc. Second, in a free market a seller has something supremely valuable called a reputation. You don’t get a good reputation by poisoning and killing people. Buyers use private means such as watchdog articles and Amazon reviews. There are outside firms – UL comes to mind – that put their own stamp of approval on things. These could and should 100% replace the government.

The best argument against regulation is this: the government doesn’t do anything well. It lacks incentives. It lacks a price system to guide it.

Only dishonest politicians attach the words “smart” and “cost-effective” to government actions. We rarely hear of an industrious government worker. Instead the government is slow, corrupt, ham-handed, stupid. Its claim of independence is phony. Why would we want that entity regulating us?

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The least Christlike person of all

Almost every time someone comments that a certain Christian or Christian group isn’t being Christ-like, it’s when they actually are being Christ-like by calling sin – usually sodomy – “sin.” If those who make this glib comment actually understood the Scriptures, they would consider Jesus the least Christ-like person of all. Of course, this is because their understanding of Christ as a cosmic, “do as thou wilt” back-patter is a fiction.

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A&E’s magnanimity

Reading A&E’s reasoning for reinstating Phil Robertson reminded me of an old Joe Sobran quote:

Liberalism wants us to ‘set aside our differences,’ as if our differences don’t really matter as much as the things on which we can all agree with liberalism itself. You can almost define a liberal as one who demands that others reach his conclusions from their premises.

The usual buzzwords of unity, tolerance, and acceptance are all present. These words all mean the same thing in liberal parlance: those who disagree can privately do so but must avoid saying anything that brings about conviction of sin or that calls cherished perversions “perversions.” We tolerate those who agree with us. We also tolerate those who mildly disagree, but if you disagree root and branch, or if you aren’t part of the narrow band of colors in our rainbow of diversity, you will see your careers threatened. If possible, we’ll get laws passed to force you to comply. And we’ll force our views on you (at your expense) via public schools and government agencies. We’re defining what kind of dissent is reasonable here, so get on board. Or else.

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The real argument against government health care

I heard a radio host say that most people support a “right” to health care. However, support vanishes once people realize that coverage will go down and costs will go up. All true. But arguing from the vantage point of negative personal impact not only exposes you to the charge of selfishness, it fails to get at the root problem.

The real issue is the same twofold problem with all government spending. First, it involves the up-front of a commission of a crime. The government doesn’t have any money, so it takes money from people who would not voluntarily give it otherwise (i.e. it steals). Second, we live in a world of scarcity and limited resources. Unlike the free market, the government has no price system to guide it into sustainable behaviors. Instead, it thinks and acts politically. Politicians buy votes to maintain power. They do this by delivering booty: grants, subsidies, handouts, competition-stifling regulations, entitlements, etc. This rewards bad behavior in countless ways. The government is inefficient, it’s corrupt, and it wastes scarce resources.

That’s why the government should be out of the health care business.

And another thing: I’m tired of ignorant diatribes against profit. Profit is another word for sustainability. If you’re making a legitimate profit in your business, you’re not only serving customers who freely buy your products, you also have the means to sustain yourself so that the rest of us don’t have to. And you’re in a position to help others. From where do you think the government steals its money?

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The shutdown

I support the government shutdown, especially if they quit teasing me and make it permanent. Of course, only a small part of the government is shut down. And as has been said here many times, any politician who talks about cutting spending or “reining in the deficit” without proposing massive cuts in defense and entitlement spending is blowing smoke and unworthy of your attention.

But let’s focus on the government worker. They think that their jobs are what they are, and that they deserve to exist. But as with any job funded out of government tax receipts, the jobs only exist because of the threat of fines, jail time, or worse.

I’m amazed at how many people do not care about the burdens they impose on others. An outraged government worker is little different than a welfare recipients who believes that productive society isn’t giving them as much as they deserve. Both of these groups rely on the state to steal on their behalf. Imagine someone who makes unwanted crafts getting a law passed saying that everyone must buy his handiwork because this is his livelihood. His family is counting on him! How dare you starve his children!

I don’t wish job loss on others, but government workers at all levels need to lose their jobs permanently so that they are in sustainable work that doesn’t force others to carry them like slaves toting Pharaoh’s platform.

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A slight compliment

Well, if I can issue a slight compliment to Barack Obama, the abortionist’s friend, he does seem a bit more reluctant than your average Republican to play bombs away in other countries. Of course, lots of killing continues in Afghanistan, and I do wonder how many innocents the Nobel-winning Dronemaster and his order-takers have destroyed via the joystick.

Sorrowfully, it seems as if some Christians do believe in some sort of jihad. Eh, if there is some collateral damage over there, what the heck, that’s what they get for having terrorists in their midst. They were probably secretly supportive. And they’re Muslims anyway. I think many people believe it thoughtlessly, from repetition on Fox News or conservative blogs.

Remember what Gandalf said to Frodo: “Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends.” While we await the day of the Lord when his enemies will be crushed, we should remember that vengeance is the Lord’s. He is just. He is the Creator. He knows the ends. The Turk may be the wrath of God and the servant of the raging devil, as Luther said, but still the Muslim is made in the image of God. There is no Biblical warrant for us to go off destroying those who have not attacked us.

Twenty years ago I joined the chorus of people calling Bill Clinton a draft dodger. Now I would refuse to fight. Why should I murder a man who has not attacked me for the red, white, and blue, or for a cold war, or for a politician? It’s unjust.

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The end of the buzz

I highly commend the series of Riddleblog articles on “the buzz” in Orange County in the second half of the 20th century. Start at the beginning or with its terrific conclusion. The series explores the cool factor of many SoCal celebrity ministries and what happened after the crowds stopped pickin’ up good vibrations.

You know the names: Paul and Jan Crouch, Chuck Swindoll, Robert Schuller, Pastor Chuck (Smith), Walter Martin. And of course, Rick Warren.

A teaser:

[Rick] Warren is now old news here in the OC, suffering the fate of every “new” ministry when the “new” wears off. “Now what do we do?” “How do we keep it all going?” I’d bet the farm that figuring out what strategic step to take next occupies the time and energy of the staffs and governing boards of the remaining evangelical megachurches. Pity the poor staff person or board member who suggests going back to the basics of preaching the gospel!

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A time for peace

Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. -Matt 10:16

I get the sense that I didn’t learn the lesson “Fruitvale Station” intended. It’s a movie about the last day in the life of a black man named Oscar Grant. We learn he has a live-in girlfriend and a young daughter he loves (Do not even the tax collectors do the same?). He tries to reclaim a job he lost due to tardiness. He considers selling drugs, but thinks better of it. It put him in the clink in the past and he doesn’t want to go back.

That evening attends a birthday party for his mother. He’s a flawed but often decent man.

Then he takes the fateful trip to watch a fireworks show in the city. After an enjoyable time downtown, he ends up in a fight that he did not start at an Oakland BART station. The cops nab him before he can escape, and he is wrestled to the ground in Fruitvale Station. Angry and hostile, he resists arrest to some degree, although he is not violent. As an officer tries to subdue Grant’s hands to cuff him, Grant is mortally wounded.

It’s unclear why the officer shot him. Was there malice? Did he panic? Did the cop mean to tase Oscar Grant and mistakenly shoot him instead?

Let me pause here to say that I do not trust the police any more than I trust any other government agency, and for the same reasons. They can legally oppress you. Like everything else the government does, they are bureaucratic, expensive, and often corrupt. They lack the profit motive that leads them to serve their supposed customer. They waste everyone’s time and money enforcing non-offenses (e.g. handing out tickets for expired license plates). Fully privatized security would be much better.

That said, consider The Man’s vantage point at Fruitvale Station. They come upon strangers in a train station who are verbally abusive and making semi-aggressive gestures. The cops deal all day with drug addicts, domestic abusers, and criminals. They get a jaded view of things. They don’t know Oscar’s back story that humanizes him in our eyes. Adrenaline is rushing in a tense situation.

Stop the tape! A lesson present itself: you may not like that you are being detained, but this is not the time to fight the power. Afterward, with an attorney, through peaceful marches, or in the media… yes. In the heat of an amped up scene… no. You’re being rassled by a guy with superior firepower. If anything happens, the deck is stacked against you and in favor of the government bureaucrat. That’s the way it is.

Oscar Grant fought the law and the law won. Like the house in a casino, it usually does. There’s a time for war and a time for peace.

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A one-way dialogue

One thing I’ve noticed over the last 30 years is that when liberals go on about our need for “dialogue” and “conversation,” what they really want is a monologue. We talk, you listen. We: bench. You: dock. “Dialogue” now means dealing in bad faith.

I’m hardly a fan of the establishment neocon Rich Lowry, but he makes salient points here. As he notes, during “such an open discussion, it is particularly important that dissenting voices be swiftly condemned.”

C.S. Lewis once noted that there are “people who want to keep our sex instinct inflamed in order to make money out of us. Because, of course, a man with an obsession is a man who has very little sales-resistance.” I think this explains a lot of the media coverage of events like Martin / Zimmerman, which has little to do with getting at the truth and a lot to do with whipping up resentments (better ratings) and political sentiment (more contributions).

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The world’s unforgiveable sin

Nothing ruins a career faster than the use of the “N” word. You may have used it 20 years ago, but no matter. From here forward, the world has been served notice: you are an unreliable element. You have hate in your heart. You are damaged goods. There’s no coming back from this one.

Men may free themselves from Christianity, but they will invent new moralities to replace the old. Usually it’s a corrupted form of something that is right. I enjoy getting to know people of other cultures. It’s noble to treat others with dignity. We should avoid giving unnecessary offense– the “N” word gives plenty of that. But of all the ways in which we fall short in loving our brother, in which we show a corrupted tribalism, why is this one plucked from the multitude of sins and seen as the transgression that is irredeemable?

The “N” word now functions as an arbitrary litmus test that allows people to feel morally superior to others, and this is so often a tasty morsel. You can have 2 abortions, 5 “affairs,” dress like a whore every day, support perversions, worship mammon, and curse others. You can be downright hostile. But don’t use that word!

If we took a panel of wise men selected across time and cultures, and this panel judged our culture against others, I wonder if ours would be judged the silliest in the history of the world?

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When you wish upon a star…

Wish hard enough fathers, and this can be you. Possibilities. I mean, who woulda thunk it? OK, wealth, fame, and power cover a multitude of sins, but anyhoo…

Think of all the young women out there who’ve benefited from this role model’s guidance and kindnesses.

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Howard Phillips, RIP

Howard Phillips died a few days ago, and I trust he went to be with the Lord. He ran for president several times on the Constitution Party ticket. He was a principled conservative who was a founder of the Moral Majority and a Ron Paul supporter.

Back in the deathly dull vacuum of the 1996 Dole-Clinton presidential “contest,” Phillips and Libertarian Harry Browne were third-party candidates and frequent guests on shows like Larry King. Trust me, they were the only interesting things about that campaign. Their debates were funny and illuminating, even if they bounced right off Larry King’s uncomprehending noggin.

Phillips was always great at soundbites. He was a frequent guest on CNN’s influential show “Crossfire” in the 1980s (he may have been an occasional co-host; time is the tide to a seashore on one’s memory). I actually remember watching his testimony where he was nearly alone in warning (from the right) against David Souter’s nomination to the Supreme Court. This was while we were being continually assured by Souter’s promoters in the Bush Sr. Administration (e.g. John Sununu) and elsewhere that Souter was a reliable conservative.

Souter ended up being reliable all right: reliably liberal. Later we were told that the Souter choice was a mistake, but how could anyone have known that this unassuming, retiring bachelor from New Hampshire would be another Earl Warren? Well, Phillips warned them ahead of time. (Cynical me, I think they knew better all along, but at least Howard made those excuses seem hollow).

A hefty man with a booming voice, Howard Phillips never minced words. He spoke naturally in concise, strong tones. He believed what he said, and I think he saw the wit in throwing a good, hard punch. He was a voluminous intellect and a fun listen.

The public airwaves are emptier without men like him.

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Past and future alike

History always has its progressives and collectivists who push for a better world through authoritarian measures. Violence– forcing people to do what they don’t want to do — is an inseparable part of all collectivism. The symbols of progressivism are the whip and the truncheon. How do you force people to do things they wouldn’t do otherwise? You threaten them with jail time and fines, you propagandize them at their expense (e.g. public schools, public service messages, etc), you create competitive disadvantages by funding compliant competitors, and so on.

A liberal will tell you that his point isn’t to threaten jail time, it’s to help vulnerable kids. But as Dr. Zhivago responded to the commissar who said that an enemy village had to be burned down to make a point: “Your point. Their village.” You are still applying the whip. There is no getting away from the involuntary nature of it. There is no getting away from the assault on another man’s liberty.

As some look to better world in the future, others think longingly of the past. Of course, there are times of war and tranquility in our lands, and times of joy and sorrow in our personal lives. However, C.S. Lewis’s words remain true:

Human life has always been lived on the edge of a precipice. Human culture has always had to exist under the shadow of something infinitely more important than itself. … We are mistaken when we compare war with “normal life”. Life has never been normal. Even those periods which we think most tranquil, like the nineteenth century, turn out, on closer inspection, to be full of cries, alarms, difficulties, emergencies. -from “Learning in War-time”

Sinful men doing sinful things, that is what our world is and has been. Heresies, the poor, wars and rumors of wars, these things we will always have among us until the consummation of Christ’s kingdom. Progressive attempts to play God and create a substitute world for Christ’s coming kingdom are always a disaster waiting to happen, and Christians should never tire of opposing salvation through statism. But none of us should substitute the progressive myth by looking to a past that probably, on closer examination, wasn’t much better.

I’m prone to romanticizing the past, so I write this to remind myself as much as anyone.

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The brave new world of marriage

The Westminster Confession states that marriage is between a man and woman, “ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife; for the increase of mankind with a legitimate issue, and of the Church with an holy seed; and for preventing of uncleanness.”

Marriage is hurriedly being relabeled. It’s clear that the “marriage equality” movement will see to it that all of us are forced to accept it with a smile. It’s not good enough to obey Big Brother; you must love him.

Question: If “marriage” is redefined to be a mere ceremony between two committed parties, why just stop at two men? Let a man marry his mother. His uncle. Twelve women and three men.

Gross, you say? Well, how dare you deny others their equality, you white-wigged freak! How daaaarrrreee youuuu!

Grandpa should be applauded for marrying an 8 year old. Oh for Pete’s sake, you say, it has to be “consenting” adults. Hey man, why all these rules? Who made you jury? Sign, sign, everywhere a sign, blocking out the scenery, breaking my mind.

Let’s follow Marlin into the Wild Kingdom, too. Let a man marry his dog. Let him have a mixed arrangement with three women and a goat. Don’t give this nonsense about consent either. Our cat never consented to being adopted, never signed off on the residence we bought, and she has definitely never bought off on the yearly vet visit.

Yes, you want equality, let’s have equality. Affirm every man to do what is right in his own eyes and skip all the outmoded morality crap. If you’re going to erase the line, don’t redraw it.

De gustibus non est disputandum.

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Less freedom, not more

Douglas Wilson has his eye on the ball on this gay marriage situation:

The same sex marriage crusade has nothing whatever to do with what people can do sexually in private, and it has everything to do with what you will be allowed to say about it in public. We are not talking about whether private homosexual behavior will be penalized, but whether public opposition to homosexual behavior will be penalized.

It finally dawned on me a few years ago that the whole push for “gay marriage” is being falsely, albeit effectively, couched in terms of personal freedom when it’s really about violating the free conscience (and wallets) of those who disagree.

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Cresting the hill

This “gay marriage” movement is like one long, tiresome political propaganda campaign. Come on everybody, get on board or get left behind!

The Supreme Court, from what I can tell, fills two roles. First and foremost, it puts the seal of approval on government usurpation of power, like the political equivalent of a sacrament. Second, from time to time it puts its foot on the seesaw of contentious topics based on whatever direction the political wind is blowing. I expect that the court will do its damage soon. Typically it tries to avoid an F5 storm in favor of an F3 or F4. Moderate damage. It’s the judicious thing to do.

NBC News informed me the other day that this change in the culture is because “gays” are coming out of the closet, and we all know them now. We all know they have their problems. Before we were all just dense and lacking in compassion (principled opposition is unthinkable). Agitpropsters always assume that their targets are fools and their opponents are knaves. They’re often right about the first part.

What’s really going on is that a determined minority has used television propaganda and benefited from the rise of desensitizing internet pornography and the decline of Christendon to persuade a large minority of the populace. The bandwagon gets rolling and there is a sea change in the culture where something once unthinkable becomes reality– snap, just like that. Most people are what Joe Sobran once called Gerald Ford: political driftwood.

Speaking of Sobran, he once asked how the immoralists would resist the next degradation in a probing and hilarious 1974 sendup of Hugh Hefner:

Still, Playboy [magazine] has to be careful how it gets indignant; it is paradoxically inhibited by its own libertinism. When, in a survey of current porn films, Contributing Editor Bruce Williamson tried to put his foot down, there was nowhere to put it. Straight and even gay films were okay with him, but films of bestiality… and sex with children were, he said, “weirdo junk” which “even dedicated swingers” “might” find “hard to stomach.” He didn’t go so far as to can for police action, or even to speak of a “shock to the conscience” (Williamson is no bluenose). He couldn’t: he could only sniff, mustering up the withering contempt of the tastemaker, that kiddie and doggie sex are sort of infra dig [beneath dignity], or infra dog, as the case may be. Weirdo junk indeed, frowned on by the right people.

So here we are, near the top of hill, our rollercoaster car ready to crest the next great mountain in the legitimization of homosexual degradation.

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She who pays the piper…

How great, therefore, the wickedness of human nature is! How many girls there are who prevent conception and kill and expel tender fetuses, although procreation is the work of God. -Martin Luther

Tim Bayly wrote today about something I mentioned in passing a few months ago. When abortion is raised, we almost instinctively now think about the president, Planned Parenthood, and assorted other scoundrels. We don’t really look to the main problem: the women having them. That’s ground zero.

I think this is another outgrowth of the success of feminism and focus-group demagoguery. Women are a victim class to many, and so the pro-life movement likes to play a victimhood tune that the world knows by heart. (For me, it’s more like an annoying jingle that I can’t get out of my head).

This kind of dealing in politically-correct PR may have its short-term advantages, but I think it does more damage than good. Its muddies instead of clarifies. It’s a form of dissembling that plays into a phony victim narrative. It does get politicians who aren’t going to do anything about the matter some fired-up campaign volunteers, though.

Unlike government-directed slaughters which are an ever-present facet of this world, abortion is millions of individual decisions. We can rightly scourge the assassin (Lee Roy Carhart) and his driver (Planned Parenthood, politicians, etc), but the one(s) who orders the hit is most at fault. After all, as abortion’s guardians and the (unjust) law itself tells us, it’s “her body.”

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No king but Caesar

Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” -John 19:15

One thing I notice in Facebook posts, articles, and TV snippets here and there is the unvarying faith of the media and much of populace in the state. With every policy discussion, the solution is invariably another law, more “investment,” more bureaucracy, more regulation, fewer impediments, more adherence to the state’s whims. The state must increase and liberty must decrease. For anyone who cares about liberty, it really is like wandering through a desert when you listen to these people. There are no signs of life. Their absolute faith in the state puts my own faith in the heavenly kingdom to shame. At times it’s eerily like watching different parts of the same organism (“I… am Landru.”)

Joe Sobran once asked a shrewd question:

What we really ought to ask the liberal, before we even begin addressing his agenda, is this: In what kind of society would he be a conservative?”

Four trillion a year in spending, a $16 trillion on-budget debt, $100+ trillion in unfunded liabilities, and 75,000 Federal Register pages later, we still haven’t hit that point. I don’t think we ever will.

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Ah, bygone youth

Sometimes I am teleported back to my days growing up in liberal protestantism. With certain people– Hillary Clinton comes to mind– you just get that stilted joylessness of one who quaffed from its poisoned wells of unbelief. “I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air.” Other times you witness people celebrating evil with a modulated ickiness that recalls the unmistakable odor of decaying protestantism. Take this egg for example, which appears as if it were nurtured and hatched in a mainline Sunday School classroom back in 1977. Gag.

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Tyranny in the nursery

Whenever is found what is called a paternal government, there is found state education. It has been discovered that the best way to ensure implicit obedience is to commence tyranny in the nursery. – Benjamin Disraeli, 1874

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Whipped up about nothing (2012 election, part 2)

When it comes to trusting the integrity and insight of a statement on a 1 to 10 scale, you might put words from your pastor or a “Slippery When Wet” sign in the hallway near 10, and email spam near 1. Well, right down there near 1 is where I’d put anything emanating from the Republican or Democratic parties, or any advocacy group or pundit that acts in a cheerleading role. At best the parties provide half-truths, such as “created 5 million jobs” without noting that 6 million were lost and the fact that they didn’t create any (private sector i.e. sustainable) jobs in the first place. It’s all a big game of shading the truth to attain and maintain power.

People are whipped up about this election, as if this is some titanic philosophical struggle. A lot of it comes back to a lack of perspective. You, me, Barack Obama, and Mitt Romney are going to die, and then comes the judgment (Heb. 9:27). However, people are under the influence of the major parties, who work most effectively through hysteria-inducing pundits and “independent” advocacy groups who toe the line once the latest nominee/hack is chosen. These are the people who’ve convinced many that, as every four years, it’s the most important election of our lifetime. That may turn out to be the case, but we have no way to know that ahead of time.

Furthermore, the framing of this as some titanic struggle for the soul of America is pure nonsense. The stakes are indeed high, but both parties have thrown their chips on a number that can’t win. The rhetoric differs, but there really is no practical difference between the candidates. Neither candidate has any plan or intention to truly cut spending. The deficit is going to keep escalating. The debt is going to grow massively, especially the off-budget entitlement debt. Defense spending will grow. The regulatory agencies that control so much of the economy will continue to grow. The violations of civil liberties will grow. Both candidates are Keynesians who support the existence of the great counterfeiting operation known as the Federal Reserve.

The government will lose none of its authority. This is what counts. In the 1940s the journalist John Flynn noted that a totalitarian government is one that acknowledges no restraint on its powers. The government doesn’t do everything, but it reserves the right to do as it pleases; all it needs is an appropriate crisis, as we saw in 2008. Electing Hack A instead of Hack B isn’t going to change that. Both candidates demagogue any attempt by the other to cut spending. Democrats savaged the Ryan plan, which doesn’t really cut anything anyway, while Karl Rove’s PAC criticized Obama’s plan to cut military spending (which Obama duly abandoned in the last debate).

Ah, yes, you say, but we should live in the real world and choose one of the choices, bad as they are. To which I say, why choose between two non-solutions? It’s like playing rock-paper-scissors and guessing apples. Or maybe strawberries.

Yes, but Mitt is the lesser of two evils, however slight! To which I retort, consider the 20th-century church battles with modernism, and note that those who did the real damage were the moderates. Supporting empty rhetoric saps a true opposition. The party that participates in compromises with the radical party toward greater levels of spending and regulation is the party that validates and legitimizes it, and that ultimately dampens discontent toward the state. It smooths the road to perdition. I think the winner of this election is going to be a disaster. If a currency crisis or some other disruption hits, the party in power is going to be discredited. If it’s the Republicans, then “free markets” (in other words, freedom) will be discredited (just as in 2008) since Republicans have been falsely carrying the “limited government” banner for decades.

So what about abortion? Well again, Mitt Romney isn’t pro-life. He’s been pro-choice most of his life. He isn’t going to do anything about it just as the Republicans didn’t do anything about it when they held all the branches of Congress. Those of us who hate it will still be forced to fund it. Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the country, will still get their money. Hospitals performing abortions will still be subsidized, as will the entitlement state. There is an abortion apparatus, and there isn’t enough political payoff to go after it even if someone had the courage and heart that Romney lacks. The Republicans had Congress and the presidency for years and they could not defund Planned Parenthood. There are powerful interests in the party who want it. It’s just an issue to run on in some districts. You vote on a meaningless measure that will never get through both houses of Congress, everyone gets the scores they want from the advocacy groups, and then everyone goes out for a beer.

All either party cares about is one thing, the same thing they’ve always cared about… “And nine rings were gifted to the race of men… who above all else, desire power.”

If they held an election and no one voted, that’d speak volumes more than participating in this racket. Voting only encourages them because it is an act of assent. Even if you reject this, I think it’s unquestionably true that governments rule by consent, and abortion will end when the people are persuaded that it should end. It does a great deal of good to remind our fellow citizens that abortion is evil. It’s this pounding of the drums that leads to change far greater than putting our trust in political power-mongers who are only using you to achieve their libido dominandi. You don’t hear much about gun control these days because public opinion has shifted.

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More than Abortion (2012 election, part 1)

I’m not voting for Mitt Romney, mainly because he is no different than his opponent (I’ll expand on this in a follow-up post). The dominant response I’ve received to that declaration isn’t a defense of Romney. Instead it comes back to abortion. If we can save one baby, I’m told, we should support Mitt Romney.

I respect consciences tender to the slaughter of infants. I’m repulsed by political cowards and the degenerates who take blood money from NARAL and Planned Parenthood (speaking of which, remind your neighbors that Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion provider; they don’t simply refer them, they do them).

Still, the “if we can save one baby” line makes me uncomfortable. Let’s say a politician comes to power who immediately outlaws all abortion and makes it a capital crime. However, this politician also cracks a few thousand skulls every year to keep his enemies in check. So, a million babies are saved and a few thousand children of dissidents end up with dead fathers. Not “optimal,” as the president might put it, but that’s the world we live in.

Would you put that politician’s sign in your yard? I wouldn’t.

Abortion is called a holocaust. That analogy breaks down in that the government isn’t directing it as the fascist and communist governments of the 20th century directed their holocausts. Each abortion involves a woman (sometimes encouraged by a man or family members) making an evil decision. Politicians who look the other way and take blood money are complicit, but in the end each woman is making the decision to slaughter her own child. Few if any abortions occur if that decision isn’t made.

I don’t think Mitt Romney is truly pro-life– his conversion reeks of political calculation — but even if he were a stalwart it seems to me that a single-minded focus on abortion is guarding only one breach in the wall.

Take for example the disturbing new power and authority that Republican presidents and congressmen (as surely as Democrats) wholly support. My hypothetical example from earlier may not eventually be so hypothetical. Presidents have started killing people without benefit of a trial. The government can now bypass habeas corpus. No one can predict what this will mean in the future, but this move toward extra-judicial killing and arrest seems to me a disturbing trend and a camel’s nose in the tent.

The ACLU has given “civil liberties” a bad name, but civil liberties should be of serious importance to the church. Under the guise of anti-terrorism, government has grown greatly since 911, and Republicans have egged it on. The most obvious examples the government’s presence at airports, where they are now swabbing drinks. They’ve been putting the clamps on cash and foreign transactions in various ways. There was recently a story of a man who was arrested for posts he made on a private Facebook group. I think the government has access to everything we’ve typed online, public or private. Not that they’ve researched everything… but they can if they want. Tools continue to improve the analyze and parse this data. Retina scan technology is bringing new possibilities to crowd control. The Patriot Act has eased surveillance barriers. The Bush and Obama administrations have expanded the use of drones to kill people in other countries (only the Lord knows how many), and now drones are coming to the states to aid local police forces (which are themselves becoming increasingly militarized).

How long until they start zapping “terrorists” here in the states? Since terrorism is a tactic and not an ideology, the definition of terrorism is whatever the government decides it is that day. Today it’s “radical Islam.” Tomorrow?

The tools for a police state are rapidly falling into place, which suits the crony capitalists in each party just fine. By and large, Christians are ignoring this.

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Homeschooling: opting out of the state

Here’s an excellent article by Gary North. He’s right that, far more than the Ron Paul movement, the one great and successful effort to “opt out of the state” is the homeschooling movement. Public schools are a colossal waste of money, time, and intellect. I mean that in the nicest possible way. OK, not really.

I’ve long believed that if we just made public schoolboys wear brown shirts, and the girls red scarves, it might underscore the social-shaping that goes on there.

One tenet of public school religion is recycling. I told a kid once that mandatory trash recycling programs are a waste of money. You’d think I’d shot him given the reaction. Such is life going against state propaganda, which is always parlayed as enlightened opinion by intellectuals who are themselves usually on the public dime in some way. (Mandatory trash recycling is a waste of money, which is why in areas with optional recycling it costs more per month to participate in recycling than it does to use the trash can. Someone has to waste gas driving around to pick the bins up and sort stuff, then they have to send it somewhere where they waste energy cleaning up the material. If it made economic sense, such as the recycling we all do with everything from plastic grocery bags to old socks, it wouldn’t have to be mandated.)

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Clinton the Statesman

Course I’m respectable. I’m old. Politicians, ugly buildings, and whores all get respectable if they last long enough. -Noah Cross in Chinatown

During his presidency, Bill Clinton was seen largely as a punch line. He was the self-absorbed, knavish, shameless “Slick Willie” of Troopergate, Whitewater, FBI file thefts, and siccing the IRS on his opponents. He never made a memorable speech. His most famous utterances were this lie and his lawyerly dissembling on the meaning of the word “is,” a Diet Coke at his side. His handlers told us on talk show after talk show that oral sex wasn’t really sex. Anything to keep the guy in office.

He was impeached. He still stuck around. No way he was going anywhere. On his last day in office he stayed up all night and lingered to the very end. Within a few years after leaving office he was very wealthy, ground he no doubt prepared carefully while in office. He was forever accusing his enemies of “cynicism.” His paranoia about the deviousness of his opponents made him the embodiment of the old saying that a fox smells its own hole.

The Starr Report. Paula Jones. Kathleen Willey. Safe, legal, and rare. Joe Sobran summed Clinton up best with a collection of 1990s essays entitled Hustler. It’s trustworthy contemporary accounts like Sobran’s that tell you more than the history books (c.f. John Flynn on Franklin Roosevelt).

Now, however, Bill Clinton is seen as a lodestar of fiscal responsibility in contrast to the “big spender” Obama. Unlike Obama (my opinion of whom is unchanged), Clinton supposedly balanced the budget.

This narrative overlooks inconvenient facts which are also inconvenient for Congressional Republicans of the time. First, the Clinton era coincided with huge productivity growth thanks to the rise of the web, which was accompanied by a massive Fed-induced boom that finally popped at the end of Clinton’s second term. Second, there never was a balanced budget if you include off-budget costs like unfunded entitlement liabilities. The government was simply spending money that it was supposed to save, a practice that continues today. Clinton had plenty of grandiose schemes. Clintonian spending was restrained compared to the ensuing George W. Bush years because Clinton shot himself in the foot too many times to ever gather the momentum to accomplish anything (something we can be thankful for).

Conservatives trumpeting Responsible Bill vs. Irresponsible Barack are just doing it for the need of the moment. Clinton is not a candidate and not a threat. Obama is. Romney needs the undecided lunkheads, so whatever you have to say to appeal to them, say it. After all, as we hear every four years, “it’s the most important election of our lifetime.”

Perhaps the needs of the election cycle will be the last barrier to Clinton being taken seriously, which is something that eluded him throughout his presidency. Richard Nixon was remembered in later years as a statesman. It looks like William J. Clinton’s time for respectability has come.

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Moderates do the real damage

I am coming more and more to agree with Lew Rockwell that voting is a waste of time, but what about the argument that we should vote for the man who will do less damage? Why not vote for the man who will drive off the cliff at 40mph instead of the man who’ll drive off the cliff at 50mph?

In the church, the moderates do the real damage. Few believers listen to strident liberals. More influential is the reasonable-sounding man who tries to edge things toward peace at all all costs, or the woman who appeals to civility as she suggests a small step that just so happens to undermine Biblical authority (and there will always be another step after that). It’s the evangelical with the disarming smile who is just kinda sorta trying to move the church toward — and really in just the most limited way — ordaining women deacons. He supplies the credentials and the legitimacy. He seals the deal.

I think it’s basically the same in politics. The man doing the real damage is the one who fraudulently claims to present a real alternative when he is 98% the same as the other guy (and actually even worse on some issues like war and civil liberties). The Republicans had Congress and the presidency for years and they could not defund Planned Parenthood. There are powerful interests in the party who want it. It’s just an issue to run on in some districts. You vote on a meaningless measure that will never get through both houses of Congress, everyone gets the scores they want from the advocacy groups, and let’s go have drinks.

The guy who gets your vote doesn’t care if you’re holding your nose while pulling the lever for him. It’s a vote all the same.

But here’s the larger problem: pulling the lever for empty rhetoric and table scraps enervates a true opposition. It saps it. It doesn’t act to reverse the train heading off the cliff or even stop the train, it stabilizes the engine so it can steam toward destruction. The 19th-century theologian R.L. Dabney put it well:

Its history is that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at least in the innovation. It is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will tomorrow be forced upon its timidity and will be succeeded by some third revolution; to be denounced and then adopted in its turn. American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward to perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader.

Moderates do the real damage.

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