Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Fetuses are people?

This absurd pic has been circulated around the internet of late. Under the guise of being ironic there are some ridiculous assertions made here.

First, are there any laws in the United States preventing gay people from voting or from paying taxes? Of course not. Are there any laws in this country preventing gay people from having a ceremony or from associating with each other, or from living together? None that I know of.

I'm not quite sure when the United States government ever prevented anyone from paying taxes but the comment about voting is obviously meant to make us think gays are being treated as blacks were treated for quite some time in America's past (ironically, by Democrats, not by Republicans). And that is the absurdity here: that gays are trying to force everyone to accept the idea that marriage has always meant anyone can marry anyone. The fact is there has never been a time in American history where this was true, and I'd like to see an example of any time any where in which it was.

Every civilized society has rules about what marriage means and what it doesn't mean. In some societies a man can marry more than one woman; this is not the case in America - if you are married you do not have a right to marry another. There are some societies where a 50-something year old man can marry (and consummate the marriage with) a 9 year old girl; but that is not American society. There are some societies where one person can be legally forced to marry another, against their will; but not here. The concept of marriage is one of the fundamentals of civilization, and there are limits on it. These limits are necessary to help sustain a peaceable society. Another very common limitation is that marriage can occur only between a man and a woman.

Gay activists do not like this latter limitation. But to better promote their agenda we are told gays are "born that way" just as people of dark skin color are "born that way." Numerous studies have been conducted to prove this assertion about gays, and failed. But we are not supposed to mention this - we are supposed to "know" each premise of the gay agenda is perfectly reliable when in fact no one knows anything of the kind. We are not supposed to question anything the gay agenda says or fails to say. We are not supposed to think for ourselves about the alleged connections between gay activism and the civil rights movement. The proper thing for us to do is turn of our minds in the name of open mindedness. To avoid being called ignorant we are to avoid thinking through the argument at all. In our modern progressive culture tolerance no longer means tolerance; it means acceptance. We are to allow convictions to substitute for facts.

There are others who ignorantly suggest hypocrisy on the part of those who challenge the idea of "gay marriage." It seems fairly clear that short lived celebrity marriages, adultery, rampant divorce, and other things are in fact significantly contributing to ever increasing strife in our society. Most people who oppose changing the currently accepted definition of marriage typically also acknowledge the harm these other foolish and/or selfish acts inflict upon civilization.

But, just like marriage, there are limits on tolerance and open mindedness (and honesty). Anyone who understands the necessity of limitations on marriage are not to be tolerated. Hate speech against those who recognize those limitations is regarded as compassion. The situation is not to be acknowledged as an attempt to change marriage, only as a denial of rights. The tragic situation of dysfunctional personal relationships and broken families (which is evidence that dishonoring marriage actually does inflict harm on society) are perversely used as further justification of the gay agenda. Another irony is that gay activists are entitled to see the situation as they wish, but no one who may disagree in the slightest degree is entitled to an opinion the matter.

Another absurd suggestion from the above photo is that gay people are denied their very humanity, just as it was for a time denied that blacks were people at all. There is actually another group of people who currently are legally denied their very humanity. The law of the land denies this group are people at all, so that they have no rights. If any contemporary group can legitimately be compared to slavery or to the civil rights movement it is not gays, but a different group entirely.
If our society really valued justice and despised hate and discrimination it would be infinitely more indignant about the abuse of children in the womb. If discrimination really harms society (which in many cases it does) so too does abortion. If you agree, please feel free to share this photo.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Do we want to get rid of racism?

It is a most curious thing to see conservatism so often associated with bigotry, of various forms. I mean "associated" only rhetorically, as it is discussed in political and cultural circles. In my experience it is not conservatives who actually practice such bigotry, but they usually get the blame for it.

Given the history of the political left it is quite absurd to blame Republicans and conservatives for the racial sins of America's past. Let me bring a few facts to light:
  • who, by and large, supported and defended slavery while it was still legal in the U.S.?
  • who created the KKK?
  • who made, supported, and enforced Jim Crow laws?
In case you haven't guessed yet, and it seems many Americans would guess incorrectly, it was not Republicans who did these things - it was Democrats. This is why Martin Luther King and Martin Luther King, Jr. were both Repulbicans. And yet American culture seems to unquestioningly accept the idea that Republicans are responsible for these despicable episodes of America's past.

Ironically, for any on the political or social right to mention or do anything even closely related to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. they can be criticized for it. After all, it is not Republicans who have a reprehensible history with racial issues to make up for.

But there is a popular, though once again largely unchallenged, assertion that the Democrat party was controlled by "conservatives" back then, and today they are not. It is the Republican party who is dominated by conservatives today, so the racial sins of America should therefore belong not to Democrats, but to conservatives - who constitute the political right. Instead of blindly accepting this idea, as we are so encouraged, let us actually look at it.

The notion that "conservatives" wanted to keep slavery legal is a non-sequitur. That absurdity is what leftists tell themselves and the rest of society. But that is not what conservatism is about. At its core, conservatism holds that those with power over others aught to be reluctant to use it, because power corrupts and easily devolves into oppression. For this reason the political right prefers small government. It is also the reason the conservatives of the early Republican party opposed slavery, which showed their concerns to be valid. After all, if the government has the power to decide who is a person and who is not, shouldn't we expect there to be a people group who are denied their humanity (and by extension everything that goes with it)? It is also the reason conservatives are often reluctant to embrace change. Despite the fact that the political right was the main force for change when slavery was legal (they fought to change the law of the land so as to ban slavery) today the force for change by and large promotes more power concentrated into the hands of an ever increasing government. So while a people group are oppressed and legally robbed of their humanity (the American slaves were denied personhood itself) conservatives fight for change. But when the force for change seeks to increase government control over the people's daily decisions (such as forcing us to purchase a product or service) they oppose it. Conservatives seek to avoid oppression, not to preserve the status quo.

But acknowledging this fact casts suspicion back to Democrats. Was the Democrat party dominated by conservatives when slavery was legal in America? Does that mean there were conservatives on the right battling against slavery, and conservatives on the left fighting to defend it? Of course not. Because the Democrats on the left were fighting to maintain the status quo, in order to maintain power over others - the antithesis of what conservatives do. Conservatives resist power over others; they favor an individual's power over him/herself.

This is one reason conservatives oppose both abortion and attempts to redefine marriage. According to the primary tenet of conservatism, denying a group of people their very personhood so as to deprive them all rights (including the right to live) is oppression. Likewise, redefining marriage so as to force us all to accept an idea that alters one of the fundamentals of civilization has profound and unknown implications - change that may be good or bad. While there are many people who oppose changing the definition of marriage, I see no one supporting any law that would prevent a gay man from marrying a woman who would consent. Those on the political right who would support alternatives (such as the civil union concept) are given little recognition for it, if any. No one is preventing anyone from holding a ceremony or from associating with whom ever they wish. Yet, the dominant narrative on both of these issues is the Democrat narrative. Gays are denied the right to force the rest of us to believe something, but we are not to look at denying children in the womb all rights in the same terms. No, for abortion, we are only supposed to look this issue in terms of the rights of women. Once again, the basic human rights of one group (children in the womb) are denied in the name of the constitutional rights of another group (women). If the civil rights movement can legitimately be compared to one of these two contemporary groups, it is children in the womb - who are denied their very humanity, just as were the slaves. A woman should have control over her own body we are told, and we should pretend we know for a fact the child in her womb is not a person at all, therefore has no rights society is bound to respect.

Oppressors of all political stripes desire to maintain their power. This desire is "preservative" not "conservative". To conserve, by definition, is to minimize the use of something. In an environmental context conservationists are "conservative" are they not? They desire to conserve on energy and resources. Being "conservative" in a political context means to minimize the use of power over the people - to minimize the oppression of forcing people to do or believe something. But if we are to accept the idea that a desire to maintain power is conservative, then by this reasoning we are all conservatives. The Soviets certainly wished to maintain their power; shall we call them conservative? The Democrat Party wishes to maintain its influence in American politics; shall we call them conservative? Planned Parenthood wants to maintain its influence in American society; shall we call them conservative? What ever definition is used to label the pro-slavery Democrats of the past as conservative is so broad as to include everyone.

In the same light that the Republican party opposed slavery and opposed Jim Crow, it also opposes racial laws today. It is conservatives who seek a racially color blind society. It is conservatives who, just like the Rev. King, seek a world where the color of one's skin is entirely ignored, where race is treated as irrelevant.

It makes sense that Democrats so strongly support affirmative action: favorable special treatment for minorities, rather than the negative special treatment they would suffer by discrimination. And, as mentioned before, Democrats have much to make up for. But special treatment is not equal treatment. And affirmative action does not move us toward a racially color blind mentality. Neither does contemporary political discourse.

If one listens to the self-proclaimed defenders of civil rights today what do we see? We see incitement of racial animosity. We don't see the political left promoting an attitude of brotherhood among all races. We see them fomenting racial strife. After all, when one gets paid to find racism it becomes very easy to see it, even when it isn't there. The same can be said of other politicians, political pundits, commentators, activists, et al. Those insinuating the Republican Party is the party of racism are themselves not trying to eliminate racism. It is only conservatives who are trying to rid society of this evil; it is conservatives who promote the only method by which this endeavor can succeed - ignoring race, and treating individuals as individuals, not as members of a meaningless factional division. In an enlightened society skin color should have no meaning. It is not conservatives who treat skin color as though it matters, it is merely conservatives who get accused of such. So the question remains, do we really want to end racism? I can see that conservatives do. What about you?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Is it a war on children?

Imagine, if you will, a war is going on. It's happening in some other country, so you don't have to see it for yourself. But you do hear news stories about it, describing the horrors of the fighting and the tragedies suffered by those involved. Now imagine there is a law in place requiring you to join the military, so you can be shipped off to that war and take your place in it.

What do you do? For those educated in public schools, let me tell you this is not a hypothetical scenario. A situation like this actually happened as recently as the 1960s. Let's take a look at it.

During the Vietnam war there were many who dodged the draft under the auspices of "conscientious objection". As the idea goes, some felt the war was unjust and therefore a violation of their conscience to be required to participate. Others thought it unjust to force a free people to engage in a government action, as the draft forced young men to join the military. Others simply didn't want to go to war regardless of other considerations, because killing violated their individual commitment to peace. Do you notice a pattern here?

Apparently the freedom of conscience was a big deal to many in the 60s and 70s. We even hear talk about this today, with Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) calling for a new military draft and the controversy still generated by the idea.

What exactly is this freedom of conscience? To put it simply, it is the freedom to abstain from something (even something required by law) because participating or contributing to it would violate one's conscience. But there are evidently some limits on this freedom.

In contemporary political discourse there is another issue in which freedom of conscience plays a role. It plays the same role as it did with anti-war protesters of the past when the draft was still in place. But now the issue is of a more domestic nature.

In October of 2011 MSNBC's Martin Bashir displayed a perfect example of oppression and the violation of the freedom of conscience. NewsBuster's Matthew Balan covered the incident in his Oct. 13 articled titled MSNBC's Bashir: 'Misogynist' GOP Wants to 'Let Women Die'.

On the issue of what is ironically called "abortion rights" Bashir takes an openly partisan stance on what remains a very controversial cultural divide. With the quoted material he presents and the guest speaker invited to join the discussion there is no question remaining as to Bashir's position on the issue. Having an opinion is one thing, and promoting it is another.

Throughout the segment on the October 13 show Bashir and his guest promoted the idea that women's rights were placed in danger by the newly proposed Protect Life Act, legislation offered by congressional Republicans. Advocates of the bill are portrayed by Bashir and his comrades as being uncompassionate while the issue is portrayed has having only one legitimate viewpoint: the right of women to choose. One might notice the conspicuous absence of any meaning for the "right to choose" when this phrase is used. "The right to choose what?" one might ask.

But in this unabashedly biased display we do not see Bashir ignoring the freedom of conscience as he does the meaning of a right to choose. Quite the opposite, in fact. Bashir attacks the freedom of conscience directly:
The bill would go as far as to protect the right of a hospital to deny a woman a termination under any circumstances (sic), even in life-threatening situations. Hardly surprising, then, that the provision has earned the moniker the 'let women die act' from its opponents.
Imagine the freedom of conscience (the idea of individual freedom) being portrayed as anti-American during the Vietnam war. But here the very same freedom is portrayed as a great social evil, even an anti-American violation of women's constitutional rights (don't bother asking if men have reproductive rights). And Bashir demonstrates only one example that the freedom of conscience has only selective value to the political left, the supposed champions of individual liberty. Now the endeavor to protect the right to an opinion (in this case one differing from a progressive paradigm) is portrayed as a "war on women".

In regard to war, primarily U.S. involvement in war, conscientious objection is still touted as sacrosanct. If that is the cultural standard now in place in our society, so too should it be in the abortion controversy. What is anti-American here is the bullying of those who do not subscribe to a progressive point of view. This could easily be viewed as a war on children - as if Bashir were suggesting we ignore the constitution for some rights, and that the right to kill unborn children must be protected at all costs.

If you find Martin Bashir's treatment of this issue troublesome (or worse) I urge you to contribute to your local prolife/right to life organization. In my area, a group called Sav-A-Life is hosting its first annual banquet, on November 7 at 6:30pm. This will be held at Circlewood Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa, AL. This event functions as a fund raiser and as an effort to spread the message that there are good alternatives to abortion. This first banquet will feature Kirk Walden, who often speaks to pregnancy care centers and helps them raise funds for their admirable and vital work. You can find out more about Sav-A-Life at their website.

The Right to Life deserves protection and support as much as any other right of human kind. For Americans, this right is even explicitly mentioned in our founding documents (unlike the right to kill babies). Local right to life groups need your support. You can volunteer your time, donate funds to their cause, or contribute other material aid to your local groups.

If you can attend sporting events or concerts you can also spare just a fraction of that time or cost in support of the right to live. Please donate today.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What happened to separation between church and state?

If the United States of America is supposed to be a secular democracy why do we keep promoting Jesus' command of helping the needy and giving to the poor to justify talk about raising taxes and redistributing wealth but ridicule religion and warn against theocracy when anyone recommends voting for someone who actually believes Jesus is the Son of God? Jesus did not say we should let the government take care of people so we don't have to do it ourselves. Why do we so often pontificate about compassion but work so hard to abdicate our own personal responsibility? Could it be because we don't like religion when we might have to change our own lives but we like it a lot when we can force someone to do what we think is best?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Ace of Diamonds

George Washington
Farewell Address
September 19, 1796

George Washington (Patriæ Pater), 1824 painting by Rembrandt Peale
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness – these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them.

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Reading American history is one thing. Being able to recall facts and events in the middle of a discussion is quite another. This "Early America Edition" Quint game is designed to strengthen memory while also proving a fun reminder of America's invaluable patriotic history. For others, it's an education.

Friday, June 3, 2011

King of Diamonds

Benjamin Rush
from his essay "On Patriotism"
October 20, 1773

Benjamin Rush, 1818 painting by Charles Willson Peale
Patriotism is as much a virtue as justice, and is as necessary for the support of societies as natural affection is for the support of families. The Amor Patriæ is both a moral and a religious duty. It comprehends not only the love of our neighbors but of millions of our fellow creatures, not only of the present but of future generations.

Find more in the new card game Quint: Early America Edition. Quint is a 5-suit deck of playing cards. The "Early America Edition" features numerous quotations, with original source references, from America's founders and more.

Reading American history is one thing. Being able to recall facts and events in the middle of a discussion is quite another. This "Early America Edition" Quint game is designed to strengthen memory while also proving a fun reminder of America's invaluable patriotic history. For others, it's an education.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Queen of Diamonds

James Madison's proposed wording of the First Amendment
The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States
June 8, 1789

James Madison, CA 1809-1817 painting by David Edwin
The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established.
Madison's version of a "wall of separation".

Find more in the new card game Quint: Early America Edition. Quint is a 5-suit deck of playing cards. The "Early America Edition" features numerous quotations, with original source references, from America's founders and more.

Reading American history is one thing. Being able to recall facts and events in the middle of a discussion is quite another. This "Early America Edition" Quint game is designed to strengthen memory while also proving a fun reminder of America's invaluable patriotic history. For others, it's an education.