How Do You Forgive?

April 23, 2012

One of the things my wife has struggled with for a long time is how to forgive.  Much to both our frustrations, I seem to be able to forgive easily, but haven’t been able to explain to her how I do it.  It’s one of those “you just do it” kind of things, which doesn’t help much when you don’t know HOW to do it. Last night, we had a conversation, where it seems we figured out the answer.  There are a few factors, so bear with me.

The first factor is understanding your relationship with Jesus.  There are many, many churches out there that preach hell-fire and damnation.  If you happen to come from that background, you are very likely to get the concept of “Jesus is Lord”, because you’ve heard about the law and the consequences for violating it.  Often, people from this background are saved by fear.  What they may not be able to identify with is “Jesus is Savior”.  By contrast, if you are from one of the many, many churches that preaches about the love of God, you may experience the reverse association.

The reality is that Jesus is Lord AND Savior.  He judges AND forgives.  He dispenses mercy AND justice.  If you don’t know Jesus is Lord, you are likely to have difficulty understanding how He disciplines us.  If you don’t know Jesus is Savior, you are likely to have difficulty forgiving yourself or others.

So, I think the first key to being able to forgive, is understanding that Jesus is your Savior.  What does this mean?  It means that every single thing you ever did wrong, and ever will do wrong, has been paid for.  However, you need to understand what the penalty was.  Jesus was literally beaten within an inch of his life to pay for it.  When that was done, he then had to carry a log on his shoulders through a  town.  Then he was crucified, the most torturous method of killing a person ever invented.  If you’ve watched The Passion of the Christ, you know what I’m talking about.  That’s what you deserve.  He took that for you.  And understand, you only have to do ONE thing wrong to deserve that.

So, how does that help you forgive?  Think about what makes you mad.  Is it when someone cuts you off in traffic?  Is it when someone is mean to you?  Perhaps it’s when someone disrespects you.  When you think, “I want that person to PAY!”  Understand that you are wishing them to go through what Christ went through for you.  Understand that you are wishing damnation on them.  Or you can forgive them, realizing they may have made an honest mistake, or don’t understand the ramifications of what they’re doing.

How do you forgive?  You love Jesus, and you want to see people come close to Him, too.  You understand the true consequences, and want to see them in Heaven, instead.

What is “Fair”?

October 11, 2011

One of the things I’ve seen a lot of, lately, is people complain about our system not being “fair”.  At that point, depending on which political camp the person is in, the person issuing the complaint will make one of two diametrically opposed types of suggestions.  At the heart of this is significantly different definitions of the word “fair”.

The basic arguments can be summed up in two quotes.  First, “It’s not fair that 1% of the people have 90% of the wealth!”  Second, “It’s not fair that some people pay no taxes and others pay more than 40% taxes!”.  The first definition is based on the idea that people should earn roughly the same amount of money, and that if this isn’t happening, the “haves” are getting more than their “fair share”.  The other takes the attitude that working hard and being more successful shouldn’t penalized by having a higher tax rate.

So what is at the heart of this?  It’s fairly simple.  Consider the statement “life isn’t fair”.  In this idea, if life were fair, everyone would get as much money as they wanted, or at least enough to live comfortably.  What this ignores is that not everyone puts the same amount of energy into living, earning income, etc.  Consider an extreme example: suppose one person sits on a couch all day in his mother’s basement, and the other works 60 hours a week as a greasemonkey in a garage.  Which one deserves deserves a flat-screen TV?  Which one deserves a Blue-Ray player?  If the slug deserves these things, on what basis?

The other perspective is that everyone can work hard, take risks, and sacrifice for a dream.  The taxes suggests that if the above imposer on his mother works 10 hours a week, that 10% of his income should be used to support the government (probably 0%), while 45% of the other person’s labor is needed by the government.  Couldn’t it be argued that the hard working person has done far more to contribute to society, and should pay less taxes?  At the very least, doesn’t the hard worker have as much right to the fruits of his labors as the one who spent little time working?

Ultimately, the question is this: do we want equal results from unequal efforts, or do we want equal rewards for equal efforts?  From the phrasing of my question, which is quite biased, it should be clear which I believe.  Risk deserves reward.  Work deserves reward.  If you compete for a low paying job, you deserve low pay.  If you class yourself so that people compete to have you work for them, you deserve high pay.

More Occupy Wallstreet nonsense…

October 6, 2011

More of their idiocy keeps oozing out.  This time it’s on their blog: First, notice that they are calling it “September Revolution”.  It immediately reminds me of the French Revolution, not a very auspicious connotation.  Quoted items will be indented.

This statement is ours, and for anyone who will get behind it. Representing ourselves (not the movement as a whole), we bring this call for revolution.

Uh huh.  This just doesn’t bode well.  They’re putting out a call in the hopes that it will resonate.

We want freedom for all, without regards for identity, because we are all people, and because no other reason should be needed. However, this freedom has been largely taken from the people, and slowly made to trickle down, whenever we get angry.

Errr… huh?  What on earth is this?  They do know that they live in America, right?  While the liberal agendas have taken their toll, we still are the freest nation on earth.

Money, it has been said, has taken over politics. In truth, we say, money has always been part of the capitalist political system. A system based on the existence of have and have nots, where inequality is inherent to the system, will inevitably lead to a situation where the haves find a way to rule, whether by the sword or by the dollar.

Great thing about capitalism: anybody can become a have.  Smaller government that gets out of the way would help, but you get the feeling these people are going in a different direction.

We agree that we need to see election reform. However, the election reform proposed ignores the causes which allowed such a system to happen. Some will readily blame the federal reserve, but the political system has been beholden to political machinations of the wealthy well before its founding.

ALL political systems have political machinations… that’s kind of how it works.

We need to address the core facts: these corporations, even if they were unable to compete in the electoral arena, would still remain control of society. They would retain economic control, which would allow them to retain political control. Term limits would, again, not solve this, as many in the political class already leave politics to find themselves as part of the corporate elites.

OK, which corporations are they talking about?  The reality is that we, as a nation, could put any of them out of business in a few days.  Want Wal-Mart to go under?  Just get EVERYONE to refuse to shop there.  Simple, aside from the great prices they offer. The reality is that every individual has economic power, not the corporations.

We need to retake the freedom that has been stolen from the people, altogether.

  1. If you agree that freedom is the right to communicate, to live, to be, to go, to love, to do what you will without the impositions of others, then you might be one of us.
  2. If you agree that a person is entitled to the sweat of their brows, that being talented at management should not entitle others to act like overseers and overlords, that all workers should have the right to engage in decisions, democratically, then you might be one of us.
  3. If you agree that freedom for some is not the same as freedom for all, and that freedom for all is the only true freedom, then you might be one of us.
  4. If you agree that power is not right, that life trumps property, then you might be one of us.
  5. If you agree that state and corporation are merely two sides of the same oppressive power structure, if you realize how media distorts things to preserve it, how it pits the people against the people to remain in power, then you might be one of us.

These all sound good, but are not descriptions of the problems our society faces. They are asserting the value of things we have, are offering straw-man versions of how corporations work, and generally showing that they are idiots.  They do not realize that management is earning the sweat of their brows, even if it doesn’t look sweaty.  They don’t realize they have the rights they pretend not to have.  Heck, they ARE speaking, but act as if they are somehow being banned from speaking.

And so we call on people to act

  1. We call for protests to remain active in the cities. Those already there, to grow, to organize, to raise consciousnesses, for those cities where there are no protests, for protests to organize and disrupt the system.
  2. We call for workers to not only strike, but seize their workplaces collectively, and to organize them democratically. We call for students and teachers to act together, to teach democracy, not merely the teachers to the students, but the students to the teachers. To seize the classrooms and free minds together.
  3. We call for the unemployed to volunteer, to learn, to teach, to use what skills they have to support themselves as part of the revolting people as a community.
  4. We call for the organization of people’s assemblies in every city, every public square, every township.
  5. We call for the seizure and use of abandoned buildings, of abandoned land, of every property seized and abandoned by speculators, for the people, for every group that will organize them.

We call for a revolution of the mind as well as the body politic.

They are calling for theft of property, right after professing to believe in the value of property.  They are calling for theft of property, right after professing to believe in people deserving to reap the rewards of their labor.  In short, they are hypocrites.  What they believe in is anarchy and collectivism.  They believe in keeping what you earn with the sweat of your brow, as long as you get sweaty.  They want to throw out the managers of companies and manage the companies themselves, even though only the managers may have the perspective to do so.  If their demands are met, our economy would crumble into chaos, and businesses would fail.  Those that survived would find new managers rising in the place of the old, because organization is required to direct purposeful activity.

When someone offers you a new vision, look for contradictions in what they espouse.  If you find them, the vision has not been thought out well, no matter how appealing it sounds.  A self-consistent vision that doesn’t sound as appealing at least stands a chance of working.

Occupy Wall Street Demands… A Rebuttal

October 5, 2011

FreeRepublic has listed the thirteen demands of the Occupy Wall Street loons here:

I’m going to respond to these with my thoughts.  Expect responses to get longer as I go along.

The “Occupy Wall Street” protesters have listed 13 proposed demands from their website.

Demand one: Restoration of the living wage. This demand can only be met by ending “Freetrade” by re-imposing trade tariffs on all imported goods entering the American market to level the playing field for domestic family farming and domestic manufacturing as most nations that are dumping cheap products onto the American market have radical wage and environmental regulation advantages. Another policy that must be instituted is raise the minimum wage to twenty dollars an hr.

My wife lived on 8 dollars an hour for a decade.  She didn’t have a lot of extra, but she was living, and supporting two cats.  It’s obvious these idiots haven’t thought about the consequences of raising the minimum wage.  I used to work at Arby’s when you could get the five for $5 deal, and minimum wage was about $4.38.  Stop and think about that for a minute.  Do you really look forward to Arby’s having a five for $20 deal?  What’s that going to do to the rest of the prices?  Further, what’s one of the drivers behind hiring illegal aliens?  They will work under the table for less than minimum wage!  This demand is based on the delusion that there will be no economic consequences.  A smarter demand would be to abolish the minimum wage.  Then work could be done for what it’s worth, and there would be no incentive to hire illegal aliens.

Demand two: Institute a universal single payer healthcare system.

It’s called Obamacare.  If the Supreme Court doesn’t overthrow it, it will become universal single payer within a decade.

Demand three: Guaranteed living wage income regardless of employment.

First, this is basically a reiteration of Demand one.  The fact that they didn’t even notice that is scary.  Worse, that means that I would be guaranteed $20 an hour for NOT working.  Think about the current strain on unemployment.  Now imagine adding the ability to be guaranteed $20 an hour for NOT working.  Would you want to be a bum for 60 hours a week, and get paid for all 60 hours?  I mean, I used to work 60 hours a week before I stubbed my toe and broke it!

Demand four: Free college education.

Sounds great!  And I happen to teach math at a local 2-year college.  So, who’s going to pay me to teach?  I mean, I love teaching, but I would like to get paid for it.  There is value in college reform.  There is value in looking at reforming the tenure system.  Personally, I think this would be accomplished more efficiently by privatizing ALL colleges, not by making them all public and free.  After all, look at how bad the public grade schools are these days.

Demand five: Begin a fast track process to bring the fossil fuel economy to an end while at the same bringing the alternative energy economy up to energy demand.

That sounds really great!  All we have to do is…  Oh wait, replace it with what?  Seriously, there is nothing in the vicinity of enough production of solar or wind technology to replace the current fossil fuels.  We could replace coal fired plants with nuclear, but that’s going to require the EPA granting permits instead of stalling them.  Vehicles simply don’t have an alternative to fossil fuels that is viable in a mass-production format.  Hydro-electric might be possible, but that would require even MORE electric capacity.

Demand six: One trillion dollars in infrastructure (Water, Sewer, Rail, Roads and Bridges and Electrical Grid) spending now.

Umm… no.  There isn’t one trillion dollars in needed spending.  Seriously, where did that number come from?  They obviously didn’t conduct any studies.  Can they begin to suggest how much of that one trillion should be spent on each infrastructure item?  I doubt it.

Demand seven: One trillion dollars in ecological restoration planting forests, reestablishing wetlands and the natural flow of river systems and decommissioning of all of America’s nuclear power plants.

Ecological restoration planting forests???  They obviously don’t realize that it’s already being done by the lumber companies.  They want to reestablish the natural flow of river systems?  I guess that means were going to need more rail and conventional power plants to make up for the loss of navigable rivers and hydroelectric plants.  Oh wait, they want to get rid of nuclear power?  So, along with demand five, that means no nuclear, no coal-fired, and no hydroelectric power plants.  Where do they think the power is going to come from, unicorn poop?

Demand eight: Racial and gender equal rights amendment.

I think we have that.  Let me check real quick.  13th Amendment, 15th Amendment, 19th Amendment, and 24th Amendment all seem to cover most of it.  What rights, exactly, do they think are not currently protected for all races/genders?

Demand nine: Open borders migration. anyone can travel anywhere to work and live.

Uh huh.  So, Al-Qaeda can walk into New York with bombs strapped to their backs and we can’t tell them we’d prefer it if they stay out?  Mexicans can come, work under the table (for less than $20 per hour), and leave again without protest?  I have a better idea, let’s just throw out the Constitution and replace it with Sharia.  That way, at least, we won’t have to suffer the violence that would immediately ensue with such a nonsense policy.  Oh, and my family will be moving to someplace that values it’s borders, like China.

Demand ten: Bring American elections up to international standards of a paper ballot precinct counted and recounted in front of an independent and party observers system.

Ah yes, because nothing sounds like as much fun as a repeat of Al Gore claiming the election was stolen in 2000, and arguments about hanging chads.  Granted, most of these people were only seven or eight years old back then, but they might as well suggest we get rid of keyboards and go back to punch-card readers while we’re at it.  Oh, and let’s not forget how paper ballots were “found” for Al Franken’s senate bid.  We set international standards, not follow them.

Demand eleven: Immediate across the board debt forgiveness for all.

This is an incredibly bad idea.  What these idiots don’t realize, is that every time you deposit money in your bank, you are LOANING it to the bank.  If all debts are immediately forgiven, any millionaire would immediately be broke.  Anyone who had been saving for a new car would be broke.  The ONLY people who would have money would be those who had cash, and the banks.  No employer would have the money to pay anyone $20 per hour.  No debit card would work.  No 401K would have any value.  It would ALL BE GONE!

Demand twelve: Outlaw all credit reporting agencies.

Yes!  Let’s do that at the same time as demand eleven!  That way, when you go to reapply for credit (now that you’re broke) you’ll have to wait for the background check that will come with every credit application.  Hopefully, you can live off the food in your refrigerator while you wait a couple weeks for the results to come back.  Outlawing credit reporting agencies will NOT stop banks from checking on your credit-worthiness.  It will just make the process take a LOT longer.

Demand thirteen: Allow all workers to sign a ballot at any time during a union organizing campaign or at any time that represents their yeah or nay to having a union represent them in collective bargaining or to form a union.

And now we find out who is behind all this nonsense: communists and unionists.  I will always vote “Nay”, but that shouldn’t be a real surprise.  Artificially raising wages just prices you out of competition.  All the other demands are based on the idea of NOT competing globally.  The result would be the American economy being isolated from the rest of the world.  There would be no trade, because our tariffs would be too high for imports, and our prices too high for exports.  No worries, though, it’s hard to manufacture anything on a reliable basis with rolling blackouts due to non-existent power supply.

In summary, the Occupy Wall Street people are certified idiots who can’t think beyond a sound-bite.

I remember 9/11

September 11, 2011

It’s interesting, ten years later. Today I can shed the tears I could not shed then. Perhaps it’s the shock that has worn off.

I was teaching algebra to college students. Class started at 8am, and we took our first break at 9am. I left the break with word that a plane had hit the towers. At the 10am break, I watched a tiny television, and I knew we had been attacked. There was a half hour left of that class, that I managed to forge through. At 10:30am we switched classes, and I didn’t teach anything. We were all in shock, and no one could think about manipulating x’s and y’s.

In the days that followed, we learned that followers of Islam had declared Jihad on America. We learned that a man named Osama Bin Laden had succeeded in attacking us on our soil. We learned that Islam was a religion we were terribly ignorant of.

I have the fortune to have befriended some Muslims online since then. I have had the opportunity to learn about what it teaches. I have had the chance to be proud of our military, and ashamed of those who would rather be cowards than stand up to evil.

Today, I have the misfortune of seeing a president who seeks to placate those who might be called to Jihad. I have the misfortune to see organizations like CAIR seek to protect Islam from criticism, rather than help guide it to be the religion of peace so many like to call it. Today, I see people in the media who have forgotten that there is an enemy that has declared war on us.

I remember 9/11. I remember that we were attacked. I remember that the enemy is still out there. Evil is real. We have only two choices: fight it with all our strength, or succumb to it.

If you are a Muslim, you have a choice as well: guide your fellow Muslims to a path of peace and justice, or join them in evil. If you mindlessly defend your brothers, you have joined them in evil.

The Politics of the Ten Commandments

August 15, 2011

KJV 20:1-17

1And God spake all these words, saying,  2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.  3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.  4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:  5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;  6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.  7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.  8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.  9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:  10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:  11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.  12 ¶Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.  13 Thou shalt not kill.  14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.  15 Thou shalt not steal.  16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.  17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.


NIV 20:1-17

1 And God spoke all these words:
2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before[a] me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
7 “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

Welcome to the ten commandments. I’ve read these many times, and always been inspired by them. They confirm what I know in my heart: that I am a sinner, and need God’s forgiveness.

When I read them a few days ago, however, I had a new reaction to them. After watching all the nonsense with the debt debate, it occurred to me that one political party, in particular, regularly violates these and encourages people to violate them. The other, while not perfect, is at least less flagrant about it.

My goal, today, is to go through the commandments and look at how the political movements in America react to them. I’m going to present each commandment in the NIV translations, but sometimes comment on the KJV as well, because it’s important to also recognize how people will use modern language to twist a much older translation into something it’s not.

1) I am the Lord your God…. You shall have no other gods before me.

Here, I deliberately skipped the part about God rescuing us from Egypt. Unless you are a Jew, or descended from one of the twelve tribes of Israel, it doesn’t apply to you. If you are a Christian you’ve been rescued from a metaphorical Egypt instead: sin.

For the nation of Israel to fulfill this commandment, they had to make religious instruction a major part of the lives of their children. They had religious holidays as special reminders of what God had done for them, and as teaching opportunities for the next generation.

What do we see today? Christians still show a natural desire to publicly display their faith, through crosses on the road, through public prayer, and through talking about Jesus. In the Republican party, this is generally supported. In the Democrat party, this is generally derided. In addition, the ACLU, which consistently supports Democrat causes, actively sues under the mythical “separation of church and state” to remove religious symbols wherever it finds them.

2) You shall not make idols.

Who are we to depend on for our sustenance? What shall be the embodiment of God, our provider, sustainer, and redeemer? For many people, the government fills that role. It used to be that someone in need would go to their local church for assistance, and seek to quickly get back on their feet. Today, those same people go to the unemployment office, the food-stamp office, government rental housing offices, etc. Many of those people never get off the system.

God has been taken out of the safety nets. The strange thing is, they were created by Christians, yet it is the Democrat Party that seeks to preserve them, despite the destructive effects they often have on people. Republicans question the wisdom of programs that fix nothing, and weaken people’s incentive to have relations with Christians.

3) You shall not misuse the name of God.

Let’s be honest. This has become a morass for our entire society. Disrespect for the name of God and Jesus is particularly bad in our entertainment media. Then again, so is mocking God and Christianity.

4) Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.

For most Christians, the Sabbath has been moved from Saturday to Sunday. In the Bible Belt, you can still find Blue Laws, laws meant to protect people’s ability to go to church by restricting how early most businesses can open on Sunday.

Respect for taking time off, preferably a full day, for time with God is eroding. The more Democrat-leaning a region is, the less respect their seems to be for taking time off to be with God.

5) Honor your father and your mother

As a frame of reference, in chapter 21, the penalty for hitting your father or mother was to be stoned to death. This was a serious command. It is also a command that is being eroded in many ways. How many of our nation’s elderly are subsisting on social security, instead of being taken care of by their children? Even as our parents to care of us as children, so we have a duty to take care of them when they become frail.

Unfortunately, when discussing programs like Medicare, or Social Security, we can’t talk about the adult children’s responsibility anymore. Everything is framed as a “right” to “what I paid into it”. Democrats are the champions of these programs, making the state responsible for honoring the elderly instead of their children.

6) You shall not murder.

Notice the word: murder. It does not say “Thou shalt not kill”. The KJV version does, but you have to remember that translation is over 400 years old! Language changes with time. Think about the phrase “You’ve got mail.” Now think about its meaning 30 years ago.

This is a command against the intentional taking of another person’s life. Chapter 21 clarifies that the penalty is death. Period. If it is an accident, there is no punishment, but deliberate murder has one punishment: death.

Also, note that this does not apply to warfare. That is not murder, though people are killed.

Which political party has moved away from this standard? I see Democrats running around shouting nonsense like “meat is murder”. I see Democrats decrying the death penalty as “inhumane”. I see Democrats calling brave soldiers “murderers”. I see Democrats killing babies in the mother’s womb.

If murder is indulged, you get more of it. I watch Beyond Scared Straight on a regular basis. Look at all the men and women who are serving life sentences for murder there. If you want to scare a kid, take them past the graveyard of those killed by lethal injection for murder. See how cool the kid thinks murder is then.

7) You shall not commit adultery

Just to clarify, God takes sex very seriously. If a man and woman have sex, they have either just become married, or the man has committed rape and is sentenced to die, or one or both of them has committed adultery and is sentenced to die. Sex is NOT a form of recreation!

With that said, which political party hands out condoms to kids, birth control to kids, and abortion on demand? If people are having sex while married, these shouldn’t be necessary. In all other cases, there is adultery going on.

8) You shall not steal.

Sounds pretty simple, right? And yet, the government takes property from the wealthy, to spend on programs that don’t work, that give money to those who are not working. The penalty for stealing was to repay the amount stolen, with an additional ten percent. These days, a thief gets tossed in jail, and the victim rarely gets their money back.

9) You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

Tea partiers are terrorists!” “Conservatives are potential terrorists!” “Islam is the religion of peace!” Which party demonizes Christians?

10) You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, wife, animals, or other belongings.

Redistributing wealth” is two things: coveting what others have worked hard for, and then stealing it. Democrats don’t look to successful business men and say “Work hard so you can be like them,” they say “We’ll take what they worked hard for and give it to you!” Class envy, entitlement attitudes, these are all forms of coveting. It is the heart of the Democrat play book, and it is evil.


Analysis of a Conversation With a Liberal

July 23, 2011

My wonderful wife recently goaded me into getting an intensedebate account so I could respond to a bit of flagrant idiocy over at one of the sites.  Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to comment on other stories, and generally have a lot of fun.  One of the more interesting things that happened was I had the chance to engage in a bit of debate with a liberal.

I was reading about whether or not John Steward is a liar, when I saw a comment suggesting that Fox News Lies.  As a point of interest, Fox News is about the only news channel I voluntarily watch, so I went to the referenced site and found that their front page was citing less than one “lie” per week.  Given that BigJournalism and Breitbart TV are citing factual errors and misrepresentations on a daily basis, the “lie” rate was pretty laughable, and I said as much.

Rockerouter did have the decency to admit that all media outlets have an agenda, but then turned around and claimed Fox News has the worst record, which his own site puts the lie to.  He further suggested that we need a pure democracy to fix the system.  Now, he’s done two things, doubled down on stupid, and added another discussion point.

I responded to both discussion points, citing the numbers as rebuttal to FN being the worst outlet, and noting that to switch from a representative republic to a pure democracy would require a significant change to our current form of government and modifications or abandonment of our constitution.  I further rephrased “pure democracy” as “mob rule”.  It’s worth realizing that this is my first conversation with a Liberal in a forum like this.  I was expecting a response to both items.  I didn’t get that, however.

The response completely abandoned any attempt to further defend the “Fox News Lies” line, and respond only to my characterization of “pure democracy” as “mob rule”.  He(?) rephrased it as “majority rule” and implied that we need to get rid of the legislators.  He did claim he supports the Constitution, but feels it’s been misused by semantics.

I have to admit, I should have called him out on abandoning the “Fox News Lies” and offering up an inconsistent position.  Instead, I attempted to educate him on how the majority will vote for self interest, which would be economically suicidal given that more than half of all people pay no taxes in the US.  Finally, I pointed out that when the economic suicide manifests, the people turn into a mob, as seen in France, Greece, and Britain in recent years.

At this point, Rockerouter has dropped the FN lies point, and he now drops any discussion of changing our form of government in favor of debating WHY people pay no taxes… namely that they don’t make enough and live paycheck to paycheck.  He wants improved wages to precede that, and suggests the Bush tax cuts are the cause of that.  He further suggests that I’d be crazy to continue the debate unless I’m a millionaire.

Turns out I live paycheck to paycheck as well, yet I also pay taxes.  I instead argue that I want my boss’s taxes to go down so he can pay me more.  I also suggest that I would like to become a millionaire, and would appreciate lower taxes to facilitate that.  I also state I would prefer to pay people for WORK than for POVERTY.  I finished with a quick recap, noting that he had abandoned at least 2 threads (implicitly conceding them to me).

He then brings up GE’s failure to pay taxes last year, and mocks my recap.  From what I’ve seen of debates, this screams of desperation.  He still didn’t rebut any of my points, just violated his own argument that those who pay no taxes are too poor to pay taxes.

I pointed out that GE’s 0 tax rate was a favor from the Democrats, and that it’s really millions of shareholders.  Finally, anyone with a 401k probably has stock in GE, and benefited accordingly, likely including him.

At this point, he reveals that he’s independently wealthy, lives a life of leisure now, and has no skin in the game of the economy (other than the success of his patents).  He did offer me a compliment, in that he thinks I could do well in politics.  This was his last post.

My final constructive point was that he could do more to help the poor directly than by funneling his money through the government.

In reviewing what happened, something interesting comes out: Liberals do not have defensible points.  The points they bring up sound good, but when pressed on the details of how they play out, or what has happened historically, they consistently abandon the point for a new one.  I encourage you to read through the back and forth, and find out how many points each side left unrebutted.  I attempted to respond to every factual point, while Rockerouter consistently failed to offer more than a token or tangential rebuttal.

I wonder what would have happened if I had not rebutted every point.  I suspect that he would have concluded he had won, even if it had only been on 1 out of 5 or 6 points.  What would have happened if I’d gotten tired of the back and forth?  Probably the same thing.  I felt like he was trying to wear me down, by just slinging one idea after another.

So what can we learn from this?  First of all, being a conservative requires that you know WHY you believe what you believe, and be able to articulate it.  Second, liberals can’t do that.  Ann Coulter writes numerous articles and books about this point, but engaging in a debate with a liberal will reinforce that view.  Finally, being a conservative requires a lot of determination when faced by liberals.  They will try to wear you down with question after question, point after point, idea after idea.

Be smart and determined.

Why people don’t buy the fuel-efficient cars.

July 18, 2011

Gas in my area is around $3.50 per gallon.  Given that it was $2.00 per gallon a few years ago, why don’t more people buy the super efficient cars?  Let’s think about a few things.  First of all, it’s important to understand what fuel efficiency saves you.  Assume you drive the 12,000 per year that most warranties reflect.  Let’s look at the annual fuel costs for various mileages.

20mpg: 12,000 miles per year / 20mpg = 600 gallons per year.  At $3.50, that’s $2100 per year.

25pmg: 12,000 miles per year / 25 mpg = 480 gallons per year.  At $3.50, that’s $1680 per year.

30mpg: 12,000 miles per year / 30mpg = 400 gallons per year.  At $3.50, that’s $1400 per year.

35mpg: 12,000 miles per year / 35 mpg = 343 gallons per year.  At $3.50, that’s $1200 per year.

40mpg: 12,000 miles per year / 40mpg = 300 gallons per year.  At $3.50, that’s $1050 per year.

Notice something important: for every gain of 5mpg, you have a diminishing return in gas savings.  Going from 20 to 25 mpg saves you $420.  Going from 35 to 40 mpg saves you $150.  If you extend that over the course of five years, that’s a decrease in savings from $2100 down to $750.

Now, the actual mileage you’ll get also depends on where you drive.  I drive mainly on the highway.  As a result, I get the higher end of my car’s potential mileage.  If you drive on the city streets, you can lose over 10 mpg in mileage.  You can’t just shop based on the “ideal” condition.  Speaking of “ideal”, don’t forget the electricity for a Chevy Volt costs money, too.

So, what are the trade-offs to get a more fuel-efficient car?  You can pay for a more expensive power-train; you can get a smaller, lighter, and probably less safe car; or you can accept a combination of the two.  More expensive can blow somebody’s budget, making the more fuel-efficient car unobtainable.  By the same token, nobody can build a car with a cardboard body and get it approved, even though you could get 60 mpg out of it.

So the result is this: you deal with perceived safety and up-front price against diminishing long-term savings.  In addition, if you need storage for a work vehicle or large family, that will force your vehicle to be larger and, as a result, less fuel-efficient.  In the end, we are approaching the limits of the process of converting potential energy to kinetic energy.  Gas simply has a limited amount of energy in it, and it is not possible to convert 100% of that to motion.  Electricity is still potential energy, and don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s free.

We are at the point of diminishing returns, and everyone knows it.

Why Some People Refuse To Be Saved

July 14, 2011

One of the things that confuses many Christians, especially those who were raised as Christians and saved as children, is why someone would choose not to be saved.  We see variations on this ranging from atheists like Christopher Hitchens, who refuse to acknowledge God’s existence, to people who were raised in church, but refuse to submit their lives to Christ.

I think it’s instructive to read Moses’ interactions with Pharaoh to gain insight into what’s happening.  Throughout the series of plagues, I get the sense that Pharaoh isn’t concerned with Moses’ God, just with the state of his slaves.  Think about this: Pharaoh is being asked to give up a significant part of his personal wealth, or at least risk it.  If all those slaves wander off into the desert (all that was asked for), what’s to stop them from walking away completely?  Further, it’s important to understand that Pharaoh was revered as a God by the Egyptians.  So the Israelites had a “perfectly good god to worship” right there.

With that framework, watch what happens.  Moses asks to go worship in the desert, and Pharaoh says no.  Kinda makes sense, given that Pharaoh thought they should worship him.  For the first few plagues, all Moses did was prove himself to be a more talented “magician” than Pharaoh’s.  I suspect Moses made Pharaoh nervous, but once the crisis was past, Pharaoh always regained his composure.  Later, as Moses did what Pharaoh’s magicians couldn’t, Pharaoh began to negotiate the details of this worship.  Notice, it starts with “no”, then becomes “only your men”, then “not your animals”, then ends with “get out!”.  Pharaoh wants to maintain leverage over the Israelites so they will have to return.

So, what does that have to do with us?  Think about it.  We, especially in America, like to rule our own lives.  If some Christians only seek God in emergencies, should we surprised if non-Christians resist seeking God at all?  Further, when God starts to place pressure on a person to come to him, is it surprising that someone would say, in effect, “I don’t want you in charge of my life!  Go away and let me run things.  I’ll figure it out!”?

It’s only as things get worse that people, Christian and non-Christian, tend to start negotiating with God.  We try to get God to let us have the following areas of our lives as our own if we’ll surrender those areas of our lives to Him.  We try to get God to agree to leave our pet sins, foibles, etc off the table.  “I’ll come to you if I can still watch porn/play football/sleep around/keep all my money/be foosball champion/gossip/whatever.”

We all know, instinctively, that God wants us to risk everything.  Are you rich?  God might tell you to give it all away.  Are you successful?  God might tell you to quit and become a missionary.  Are you chatty?  God might tell you to talk less and listen more.  Like Pharaoh, we all secretly want to rule our own lives, or at least 5-10% of our lives.  God asks for 100%.  That’s why people don’t want to be saved.

How to balance the U.S. budget in 3 easy steps.

July 12, 2011

OK, we have to balance the budget.  Got it.  How?

1) Start by estimating how much money will come into the US Treasury this year.  Don’t raise taxes, hope for a strong recovery out of nowhere, etc.  Just make a simple estimate.  That’s how much money you have to work with.

2) Look at all the existing programs.  Anything that is not BLATANTLY constitutional gets set an initial value of $0.  Notice: that means you actually have to read the constitution.  If you haven’t looked at it recently, you can look at it here:  That means the IRS is legit, the military is legit, the US Department of Education, Social Security, and Obamacare are a bit sketchier.

3) At this point, if there’s money left over, other programs can be looked at.  If you ran out of money, then you have to cut money out of the blatantly constitutional programs/departments.

As a side note, you could look at historical data about tax rates and revenue rates to try to pick a more optimal tax rate (it would be lower) for getting more revenue.  However, you have to work with what’s realistic.