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23 Sure Fire Ways to End Gun Violence in America

I have come out several times on this blog on the issue of guns that has made some people believe that I have no solutions to offer.  To show that I am a reasonable fellow, and in honor of Obama’s recent list of ‘orders’ that are aimed towards curbing gun violence, I would like to suggest my own ideas.  Some of them actually are on his list, so that proves I’m willing to consider all sides of this issue.

  1. Have doctors ask patients if they own guns.
  2. Have health providers report threats of violence.
  3. Require patients to disclose to health providers that they wish to kill loads of people.
  4. Make it illegal to wantonly massacre people.
  5. Make it illegal to have magazines with more than 7 bullets in it.
  6. Require criminals to report gun sales transactions.
  7. Post ‘No guns allowed’ signs outside all places where 20 or more people congregate.
  8. Require everyone to request a permit entitling them to slaughtering dozens of people;  have severe penalties for those who kill people without first getting the proper permit.
  9. Have the fees for the permit (see #8) cost more in proportion to how many people they want to kill.  The cost of the permit should be high enough to deter people, but in fairness, a waiver program for those who are economically deprived should be established.  A cap–say, $20,000 for the right to kill 10 people–should be sufficient to stop all killing, cold.
  10. Require mass murderers to use revolvers when carrying out their dastardly deeds.
  11. Require ‘assault weapons’ to be painted pink, to make them less deadly.
  12. Require all guns to be painted pink;  first of all, how embarrassing is it to kill someone with a pink gun?  second of all, pink guns are less scary looking.  It’s a win-win.
  13. Revise the law so that references to the right to ‘bear arms’ are changed to the right to ‘bare arms.’  Then simply confiscate all guns.  There is precedent for this kind of sleight of hand.  See the government’s insistence that the Individual Mandate is not a tax, but a penalty, when selling it, and then their insistence that it was a tax, before the Supreme Court.   What do you care?  It would save ‘a single human life,’ and that is all that matters.
  14. Since it is well known that mass murderers love media attention (the Virginia Tech dude even sent out a media kit before his shootings.  Did you know that?), forbid the media from reporting mass murders.  Does this seem to infringe on the first amendment?  What?  You’d rather have 11,000 die each year to gun violence just so that you can have free speech?  “Anything that would save a single human life is worth doing.”
  15. Since it is well known that most gun violence is carried out by gang members, and gang members are often the casualties, make it illegal to be in a gang.
  16. Since most gun violence is carried out by black people on other black people, make it illegal for black people to own guns;  better yet, make it illegal to be black.
  17. #16 may be too politically incorrect, so instead of focusing on the race, focus on the gender.  Since most gun violence is perpetrated by men on men, make it illegal for men to own guns;  better yet, make it illegal to be a man.
  18. Make it required to store all guns at the local police department.  Require a deposit before they can be loaned back to their owners who are participating in their yearly ‘constitutional right to hunt.’
  19. Require that stolen guns be reported within 24 hours.
  20. Make it illegal to shoot responders.
  21. Make it illegal to shoot children.
  22. Make it illegal to buy ammunition.
  23. Eliminate every gun that has ever existed and forbid the entire world from manufacturing more.  Practically speaking, it may be easier to do this after all the nuclear weapons are removed from the world.  However, I think you will all agree, that if there are no guns, there obviously cannot be gun violence.  And if there is no more gun violence, there will be no more death.

If we find that after implementing these ideas, people are still being murdered by the bushel, perhaps because for some strange reason that defies the imagination someone refused to turn over their gun, or perhaps because they switch to knives, automobiles, or hammers, simply re-write the above.

But in honor of the principle that anything is worth doing if it saves a single life, let me propose two options that will address that with finality:

1., compel everyone to live inside padded, sanitized rooms, or

2.  Just kill everyone, since everyone now alive is going to die anyway, and by preventing all the living ones from having more children, this will spare those future children from future suffering, and death.  Don’t laugh.  It’s an idea worth considering.

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Today’s Gun Control Story: Law Abiding Citizen

Some folks wonder what keeps me so busy… here’s one thing.  I’m part of a community of authors producing short stories on a regular basis.  These stories are often inspired by things I’ve been thinking about.

Today, completely coincidentally–honest!–I have released a short story called Law Abiding Citizen that ties in a bit with Obama’s gun control activities and more directly, the media’s treatment of such issues.  And liberal hypocrisy in general, maybe.  🙂

You have to be a member to read it (or buy it from Kindle or Smashwords once it becomes available there) but free membership is available, although you must access it within 30 days of release to get it for free.  Here is what you need:

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Law Abiding Citizen by Anthony HorvathLAW ABIDING CITIZEN

by Anthony Horvath

What happens to a town when a man with a gun refuses to stop another man with a gun from killing people, just because it was against the law to bring the gun on school property?

Sheldon Knapp was caught in a photograph calling 9-11 with a gun in his hand, while a vicious gunman enters the school behind him. Initially regarded as a hero, the accolades turn into contempt, as people begin saying that he could have, and should have, done more.

Sheldon Knapp’s defense: He is a law abiding citizen.

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Pravda has a point: culture considerations in the gun control debate

The stalwart propaganda rag for Russia, Pravda, has published an article on gun control that makes a good point:

The excuse that people will start shooting each other is also plain and silly. So it is our politicians saying that our society is full of incapable adolescents who can never be trusted? Then, please explain how we can trust them or the police, who themselves grew up and came from the same culture?

I made a similar point in a blog entry a week or so ago titled “Somewhere somebody with a gun is protecting you.”  Gun control advocates make an argument that implicitly requires us to believe one of two things, and perhaps both:  1., that the people who protect us at our borders and in our communities–with guns–are knuckle-dragging loose cannons, just by virtue of the fact that a gun has fallen into their hands.  (Guns have mystical powers to gun control advocates… in the presence of one, people apparently must fight the sudden urge to kill everyone in their sight.)  2., that the people in our communities, from whom the people who protect us are drawn, are knuckle-dragging loose cannons.

In other words, the premise of gun control is an insult to every other human on the planet, including the one making the argument.

Clearly, there are people that we don’t want to have a gun… or a knife, or a hammer, or even a car.   Let me re-state that so that the pattern becomes more clear and the point more plain:

  • There are people we don’t want to have a gun
  • There are people we don’t want to have a hammer
  • There are people we don’t want to have a car
  • There are people we don’t want to have a rope
  • There are people we don’t want with access to poisons
  • There are people we don’t want with nuclear weapons
  • There are people we don’t want….

What do these have in common?  PEOPLE.  The people who tend to push for gun control, liberals and progressives, have this tendency in all of their activism:  they focus on objects and circumstances rather than people.

So a gun becomes a magic rock that turns otherwise normal people into psychotic killers.  People cannot possibly control their private parts, so we have to give them condoms and free birth control, and of course pay for their abortions.  People will just eat and drink whatever is in front of them, so we’ve got to ban certain items and make large sized drinks illegal.  It’s always the object’s fault.  The idea of personal responsibility is foreign to this mindset, because on their worldview, we are all really just conditioned like Pavlov’s dog.  If the dog bites someone, you don’t blame the dog, you blame the conditioning.  Guess what!  Your local, state, and Federal liberal stands ready to take over your Conditioning!

How nice of them.  You should just let them;  after all, they are nicer and smarter than you.  Their intentions?  Pure as the wind-driven snow.

So if we aren’t going to put our attention on objects as the solution of all problems, what are we going to do?

Clearly, there are individuals who are off their rockers.  Personally, I believe certain philosophies are fueling that madness, but in the grand scheme of things, as tragic as Sandy Hook was, it is nothing compared to what happens in certain American cities every year.  Chicago, for example, saw more than 500 gun homicides this last year, despite having some of the most stringent anti-gun laws in the nation;  indeed, they’ve gone overboard into illegality, which a Federal court is remedying in part by ordering Illinois to give up their ban on concealed weapons, which is, obviously, contrary to the law of the land as embodied in the Constitution.

What about the claim that the guns are still to blame for the bloodshed in these major American cities with tough (and illegal) laws against guns?  Isn’t this proof that gun laws don’t work?  It is then argued that, well, of course guns can be brought in from elsewhere;  the implication being that a world wide ban of guns (at least in private hands) is necessary.  But this argument is an example of intellectual contortion that would make an acrobat jealous.  It must contort into strange shapes, because it is trying to ignore the obvious:  while guns might still find their way into a city like Chicago where they are used to murder hundreds of people, they come from other places and regions where hundreds of people are not being murdered.

Or, to put it another directly, Chicago’s problem is its culture.  What is ‘culture’ but the patterns and trends that manifest when individuals are taken together for consideration?  Chicago has a people problem, not a gun problem.   Nearby Rockford, Illinois’s second largest city, is vulnerable to weapons coming into it just like Chicago but it doesn’t have the level of gun violence, even proportionally, that Chicago does.  (Trust me, I’m not saying that Rockford is perfect by any means).   Nearby Wisconsin has 2-3 times more citizens than Chicago, but its homicide/gun violence stats are a small fraction of what Chicago accomplishes alone, and that’s including Milwaukee, which has a significant gang problem.

The problem is not the things, its the culture.

Liberals are not above tampering with the culture.  They love doing that!  They feel obligated to do so, in fact, because they are good people (better and more compassionate than you, at least.)  However, because they do not know what a person really is, and insist on seeing people as products of a system–a social machine, if you will–that are helpless cogs that merely do what society has produced, their efforts in dealing with the cultural problem is bound to fail… if results matter.  Oh, they’ll change the culture alright.  But in the unlikely chance that they actually diminish the problem they targeted, they will create new problems.  Note:  they don’t mind this, either.  They love to solve new problems that emerge when trying to fix old problems!

But there is another approach.

One can view people as something other than animals merely acting on instincts and conditioning.  One can hold them personally accountable for their actions.  One can instill in them virtuous philosophies that raise them up, rather than philosophies that demean them and their fellow man.   This solution creates a ‘new problem.’  You cannot hold someone accountable for their actions unless you have a clear notion about what is right or wrong and have done your part to ensure that person is operating on the same moral principles.  But the idea that there is an objective morality is just the sort of thing that our liberal progressives find repulsive;  confronting the fact that certain societal problems illustrate the existence of such a morality is probably the only ‘new problem’ they don’t want to address.

This solution creates another ‘new problem.’  Our children are not just learning demeaning and destructive philosophies from their music and movies.  They are learning them in the very schools that we are presently concerned about.

So yea, I can understand why certain people would prefer to focus on objects and more laws.  To focus on the real problems would entail a radical overhaul and repudiation of one’s worldview.  This is never a very pleasant operation;  admitting that you are wrong rarely is.

 

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500 Christians Burned – FAKE IMAGE or STORY or BOTH

Yesterday I posted a story that came to me through a reliable source and my post included this caveat:

Caveat:  one theoretical benefit of having the mass media cover something is that they can validate and document particular claims and such.  Precisely because this incident hasn’t aroused the interest of anyone, it is difficult for me to be absolutely certain of the details.  I trust  my source, and include his comments below, and the link to a site in another language that seems to be talking about it.  God willing, more information will come to light on it.  If clarifications become necessary, I will make them.

Since then, the original source and I have done some more research and it seems highly unlikely that this picture is of a recent church burning.  Allegedly, the image is of people burned in a gas explosion.  I found this page that linked to this page;  you will observe that the latter page no longer works.   I am sure some more sleuthing would allow me to get that missing information, but the fact that the former page is from a full year before the report I posted, and has the same image, strongly suggests that the two do not go together.

Was there a church burned down with 500 people in it recently?  I am willing to say probably not, but I can’t be sure.  Christians have been burned alive in Nigeria and elsewhere and it hasn’t made much of a ripple.  (Example)

Since the blogosphere does not have the resources of paid, professional journalists, things like this will happen.  Checks/balances/corrections take time to work out.   I am only glad that I am able to report it as soon afterwards and only regret that some who heard it through me might not get the update.

Perhaps more updates to come, but I am done researching this myself, unless and until someone provides further corroboration of the event.

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On the usefulness of Rocks

In another post, a friend felt that I had spoiled a perfectly good reporting of an atrocity by noting that the people murdered were Christians and speculating on reasons why the media–I must here specify the American media, because otherwise it could be construed to include all media everywhere, and I obviously don’t include in that analysis (for example) a college newspaper in Japan–did not cover the event.  (As you can see, I have been sufficiently chastened from using rhetorical flourishes such as the ‘world.’)  My friend protests the fact that I would take an interest in matters specifically relating to Christians and go further and compare the event against American coverage, implying, it seems to me, that in order to be spared the charge of bias in favor of my own ‘tribe,’ that in order to be taken seriously I must strip all such loyalties aside and post blog entries only on matters that bore me and and posted with no hint of bias of any kind.

This post is a stab at such an entry, however, I must apologize in advance, because I am acutely aware of the fact that to escape charges of publication bias or purposely excluding other related issues, this post would have to be, literally, infinitely long.  However, I have decided that since I cannot, literally, compose a post that is infinitely long, that I have to draw a line somewhere on just how in depth I am going to go.  The post will therefore be about a thousand words long.  I know that means the post will be of little consequence unless I did treat every aspect of the issue, but this really just has to be the way it is.

The topic I have chosen is rocks and their utility.

What is a rock?

Rocks come in various sizes and shapes.  We give them different names based on those and other factors, such as their considerations.  They are made up of minerals (depending on the rock… some things we call rocks, like coal, aren’t really rocks).

Rocks have many uses.  Smaller rocks can be used for landscaping.   Somewhat bigger ones can be used as paper weights.  The biggest rock that can fit in your hand can likely be used to bash a foe’s head in.  Bigger rocks can be used for that purpose, too, but you will have to find ways to propel or drop them on them.  Very big rocks are fun to climb and some have even been known to become tourist attractions.

One kind of rock is called ‘hard rock.’  There used to be a time when it was believed these rocks were from the devil.  No one thinks that any more.  Even so, hard rocks can still be used for harm.  Incarcerated people suspected of ill intent have been tortured by having to listen to hard rock at loud volumes.  Ironically, some people do this voluntarily, and claim to enjoy it.

The opposite of hard rock is soft rock.  Sandstone is very soft rock.  So is Billy Joel.  I once discovered that listening to Billy Joel for some has the effect of hard rock listened by hard rock at loud volumes.  I did not share this perspective, which is why I played it, proving once again, that even with soft rock, some people listen to it voluntarily, and claim to enjoy it.

Without rocks, our lives would not be the same.  In fact, we would not exist, because without rocks, we would be sucked into the earth’s liquid hot core.  But then, we could not be sucked into the earth’s liquid hot core if we did not exist, which we couldn’t do if there were not rocks, so I suppose this goes without saying.  However, since some people believe that the earth’s liquid hot core is actually liquid rock, then I also cannot say that in this scenario rocks do not exist.  So I guess I can say that without rocks, we would not have a place to stand.  More importantly, without rocks, there would not have been a surface for life to ferment on, which is something that some people consider is plausible.

The best part of rocks is the fact that it rhymes with socks.  I say that because as a child I read a book that had a fox with a problem with rocks in his socks, and it was a favorite story of mine, and the story would have been impossible if rocks sounded like something else, like petra.  At any rate, this proves that rocks can also be useful in literature–and satire.

I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention the rocks on mars.  That is the way some humans are (religionists, usually.  Enlightened humanists don’t do this).  We are very parochial, focusing only on things that pertain to our own tribe.  When we don’t mention things outside of our tribe’s perspective, it means we don’t know about them and don’t care about them.  That is why we need to go out of our ways to talk about rocks outside of earth.  Besides, my comments on the earth’s rocks cannot be taken seriously, since of course I am biased in favor of earth’s rocks.  Instead I will talk about the rocks on mars, because I know less about them.

I know that rocks on Mars are red.

That is all I know about the rocks on Mars.  However, I suspect that they could also be used for landscaping, as a paperweight, or as a head-bashing tool.   We might discover that hard martian rock might also be useful for torturing people of suspected ill intent.  Time will tell.

Now for rocks on Venus.

I know less about rocks on Venus, but I don’t want to be parochial and miss anything.

So let me also mention that rocks from 3 billion light years have this redeeming virtue:  they still rhyme with socks.

I was tempted to touch on the rocks 2.99999 light years away until I realized I would then also have to touch on the rocks 2.999998 light years away.  At this time I’m going to give up trying to talk about every rock out there, because of the aforementioned infinity problem.

Writing this post has been as difficult as I expected it to be.  Rocks are not the sort of thing that interests me, unless we are talking about sedimentary rock (that is, rock formed by water action) thousands of feet thick, appearing even at the earth’s highest points, containing fossils.  However, it is precisely because that interests me that I shouldn’t talk about it.  Whatever I said about that couldn’t be believed anyway, since I believe it, and that means it isn’t true.

For my next post, I shall talk about twigs.

Unless I decide to bash my head against a rock, which this post is on the verge of driving me to.

Which goes to show you that rocks really do have lots of uses, just as I said.

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In honor of my friend, and with all good humor.

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25 killed in Sandy Hook, the world mourns. 500 Christians burned alive in a Nigerian Church, *yawn*

UPDATE: I have determined that this image DOES NOT go with this event, so I think it unlikely that the event itself did not happen. I await further clarifications. In the meantime, the post remains the same as it was for posterity’s sake.  Details.

bannedimage-facebook

What happened in Sandy Hook was a horror upon horror, but there are many horrors in the world–so many that there is no way we can keep track of all of them.  So many that if we knew even a handful more than we know already, we would be overwhelmed.  But how is it that we know of the ones we do know about?  I think this question is important.

Some horrors are better made for television broadcast.  Some horrors fit prevailing narratives better than others.  Some horrors feed into private agendas better than other.  To what degree this might be the case in any particular choice by the media to highlight something will be forever cloaked to the majority of us.  Probably only 1 person out of 10,000 knows by name 5 TV or radio producers or story editors.

Of course, while these people are thinking about what motivates them (personal agendas and financial reward being high on the list, of course) they are also thinking about what motivates us.  They know that we prefer the clean, tidy narrative with a clear enemy that is safe to to target.  The NRA is safe to target.  Peaceful, law-abiding gun owners are safe to target (eg and eg).  White male Christians are safe to target, because despite what everyone says or implies, deep down they know that they are least likely to retaliate.

The intrinsic problem with this arrangement is that it is entirely possible that we will remain ignorant of real threats in our communities and in the world.   There are atrocities that don’t fit the narrative or are not easily televised that may be committed by people who will retaliate that do not surface for our attention.  Thank God for the Internet… but then, that takes a little effort, while getting spoon fed from the media is, well, getting spoon fed.

So below I give you an atrocity that I was just made aware of through one of sources of information.  500 Christians (because as it turns out, Christians of all makes and models are safe to target, not just the white male ones) were burned alive by Muslims in a church in Nigeria.  Here is a pic to feast your eyes on:

nigerian-church-burning

Note, my understanding is that Facebook has banned this from its site, so be careful in posting it. Please let me know if you post it and how it fares.

I believe we might be able to find 20 children in there, somewhere.

Nothing about this story fits into the formulas that would put it into the major media news cycles and of course this kind of picture would be printed or displayed.

In my estimation, there is also the problem of the culprits:  they were Muslims.  And if you call attention to the violent nature of Islam, or speak negatively about it at all, really, it is well known that you risk being stabbed on the street, beheaded, or otherwise targeted for destruction.  So, this is a story that one will likely want to avoid… a bit like how the tragedy unfolding in Egypt has largely been forgotten by the media, now that Egypt’s dictator has been toppled and replaced by Islamic militants.

Also of note, these people were all burned alive– not gunned down by a white male psychopath.  It would be most difficult to outlaw or regulate fire, and an outright ban is out of the question, so there isn’t even much hope that such a story would resonate with the personal agendas of any or our media elites.  So, if not for the blogosphere, you would not know about this, or many, many other horrors, perpetuated in many cases by people who represent real threats.

Caveat:  one theoretical benefit of having the mass media cover something is that they can validate and document particular claims and such.  Precisely because this incident hasn’t aroused the interest of anyone, it is difficult for me to be absolutely certain of the details.  I trust  my source, and include his comments below, and the link to a site in another language that seems to be talking about it.  God willing, more information will come to light on it.  If clarifications become necessary, I will make them.

I hope this post might help fuel a new narrative that aims to protect the people who are really vulnerable to attack from the people who are actually most likely to carry them out. At the very least, I would hope that it would serve as a warning to us not to be played for dupes, drinking up the talking points of whatever our mass media chooses to distribute today.

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Note from my source:

How can America lift her head with pride knowing that our tax money and our military are supporting the ideology that burned the Christians whose charred remains are shown below?
The nation that wept over the horrors of Hitler’s gas chambers is turning a blind eye to the savage murders of people who truly share our values and our faith.

BTW, I was able to verify this story by going to the Spanish language site where the original text appears (see below this commentary). Nigerian Christians have had their churches burned by the local Muslims for many years so this is nothing new. It just happens to be perhaps the first time a photo of the charred remains has been sent to the public.

Here is the link he provides:  http://www.religionenlibertad.com/articulo.asp?idarticulo=25283

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This appears to be a translation of that page:

    Statement by Father Juan Carlos Martos

This is a brutal example of how far the struggle between Muslims and Catholics in Nigeria has reached.
Muslims are determined to impose their ‘religion’ all over Africa as well as in other continents and countries
of the world. Islam has but one goal: to rule the world at any cost!

And where are the International Human Rights’ Organizations?

Christians are burnt alive in Nigeria: a horrific Holocaust right in front of International indifference! as denounced by Father Juan Carlos Martos, on behalf of the Missionari Clarettiani, via del Sacro Cuore di Maria, Rome, Italy.By publishing this graphic document on Facebook, I have intended to make the world aware of certain terrible events totally ignored or minimized by the mainstream media; an authentic genocide so cruel and inhuman only comparable with the most hateful and vile acts in the Nazi extermination camps.

To my great surprise, Facebook has criticized me for the publication of this graphic document as a proof of the Holocaust that Christians have been suffering in Nigeria in the last ten years. According to Facebook’s
Security policy of the ‘social’ Network, this photo has been classified as ‘pornographic’, ‘violent’ or ‘inappropriate’ and hence I was disallowed to publish any picture for a week. And I was threatened drastic measures if I insist publishing any document that prove the terrible violations of Human Rights in Nigeria.

This attitude by the (Spanish) Facebook Management is an attack to the freedom of expression as much as a shameful insult to the 500 victims (only in this horrible episode) slaughtered by Islamic terror only for being Christian.
I thought that this social network, originated in the United States, would not bend its knees in front of terror. Especially, when still healing their wounds suffered in the gruesome 9/11 attack, just as our own 3/11 at Madrid railway station, all innocent victims of the wild fury and insanity of Islamic terror.This seems even more unacceptable in Spain, a Democratic state, where the rights of opinion, expression and religion are guaranteed by the Constitution (Art. 16 and 20), if there is an attempt to limit such rights, let alone through threats and coercion thus weakening their freedom of expression by condemning as “inappropriate” a graphic document
(not a photomontage) which reflects a brutal reality in all its crudeness.Contrarily, the Administrators of Facebook Spain should welcome this public protest advocating that such a barbarian act will never be replicated and that its perpetrators will be brought to justice. This is a right and duty of every citizen: a service to society, ultimate goal, I feel, of any network that defines itself as ‘social’. 

Regrettably, if the murders continue, this is greatly because truth is always hidden to the sovereign people, so that they may not be aware and ‘disdained’ by it: complicit silence by the mainstream media leads to the indifference of the
international political community facing this unspeakable Holocaust! Let alone the cowardice already rooted in the western world facing the Islamic terror. A consequence of the stupid “Alliance of civilizations”: another regrettable incident of our former Prime Minister Rodriguez Zapatero. 

Can you imagine the reaction of the Islamic terrorist organization in the (impossible) case of a massacre of Muslims in a mosque, by the hands of Christian terrorists? And how widely would our media cover and condemn the crime and the criminals??

Therefore, from this modest blog, I ask a favor from all people who are reading me: please distribute this photo and its comments using all the media you have. If only for commemorating these martyrs since, unfortunately, Facebook seems to be on the side of the executioners by preventing the publication of such tragic events.

FROM: Juan Carlos Martos cmf Segretariato di PVMissionari ClarettianiVia Sacro Cuore à Maria-500197-Rome
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Should States Decide Which Lives are Worth More than Others? A response to Jaime King’s Article In Nature Magazine

In the November 2012 issue of Nature professor Jaime S. King has an article titled “Politics and fetal diagnostics collide.”  The summary:  “Without better regulation, non-invasive prenatal genetic tests will be targeted by US anti-abortion lobbyists.”

For the record, I have notified Professor King of this post.  UPDATE:  She has replied and says she will write a response.  I have also found an online copy of the article that won’t cost you $32 to download.

Clearly, King and I will be world’s apart on the issue of abortion.  It follows that there is much that I find in her article objectionable and could not possibly respond to every item.   It is unclear, however, what precisely she means by ‘better regulation’ that would not be targeted by ‘anti-abortion lobbyists.’  I suppose on this she means people like me.  If genetic testing was not merely a preliminary stage of the abortion process as it seems to so often be, then it would not be a target.  That doesn’t seem to be in view in her article, but I don’t see otherwise how ‘better regulation’ would have the effect she is hoping for, since she frames the whole issue as having to do with ‘women’s reproductive autonomy.’

She makes this comment:  “As the use of NIPT becomes more widespread, pro-life advocates will almost certainly see the technology as a reason to further constrain women’s abortion rights.”

This is a tired argument that is all the worse for being simplistic.  Let us take just a couple of examples, here.  The editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics, Julian Savulescu has gone even further than King’s article, which highlighted selective abortions on the basis of gender and disability.  He believes we should select based on things such as “potential alcoholism, psychopathy and dispositions to violence” and “If it were possible to genetically select good impulse control, we should do so.”  Indeed:

…you could argue that people have a moral obligation to select ethically better children. They are, after all, less likely to harm themselves and others. That doesn’t necessarily imply that people should be coerced into making a choice, but we should encourage them.

I ask you:  how exactly does ‘encouraging’ people to screen out children who are girls (most gender selective abortions are of girls;  oh the irony), have disabilities, potential alcoholism, psychopathy, and dispositions of violence comport with a ‘woman’s reproductive autonomy’?  The devil is in the details.  While Savulescu is hanging his hat on the allegedly uncoerced, encouraged ‘voluntary’ approach, ‘bioethicist’ Jacob Appel shows a little more consistency, arguing that in fact the state should require that certain traits be screened out, and moreover, that the question of whether or not children born with a disability should be euthanized should be decided by the state and doctors, not parents, because parents can’t be expected to be objective in regards to the “suffering for children.”

I ask again, where is the autonomy?

Perhaps two more examples will do;  John Holdren, the current ‘science czar’ in the Obama administration once joined with Paul Ehrlich  in saying,

Indeed, it has been concluded that compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society.

This was shortly after Planned Parenthood itself, that bastion of “women’s autonomy” sat down to work out some ideas for handling the ‘population crisis’ listed “compulsory abortion” as one of several other ideas that I doubt Professor King would consider consistent with a “woman’s autonomy.”

We will do well to remember that it was the staunch eugenicist SC Reed, one of the earliest promoters of genetic counseling (and a board member of Planned Parenthood in the 40s and 50s), who said in an essay called “The Local Eugenics Society” “Our present day use of the term ‘human genetics’ instead of ‘eugenics’ may be financially and politically expedient but there is no great philosophical distinction between them.”  Reed would eventually lead the way in Minnesota for newborn screening and other genetic counseling programs… which, I wonder, does Professor King realize that early eugenicsts believed were actually eugenics?  (See also Frederick Osborn and past president of the American Society of Human Genetics, Lee R. Dice.  Incidentally, both Reed and Dice were presidents of this organization, a current advocate for genetic counseling… which, you may believe if you like has nothing to do with eugenic coercion.)

To put this point more plainly, eugenicists past and present, as well as abortion advocates past and present, have not been afraid to dispense with a ‘woman’s autonomy’ or override a woman’s ‘reproductive rights.’  It is not hard to see why;  if you really believe that we ought to screen out genetic flaws and ease human suffering, then whatever Savulescu (for example) might say, Appel and the rest are right in saying that this issue cannot be left to individuals.  The dispassionate state must intervene;  and think of the money that will be saved by not bringing a disabled child into the world.  (Don’t laugh–this was the exact argument used by Reed and his fellow eugenicists for why the state of Minnesota should be engaged in genetic counseling and newborn screening.)

If Professor King were really worried about a woman’s ‘autonomy’ and ‘reproductive rights’, she would do well to broaden the scope of her concerns beyond ‘anti-abortion lobbyists’ and include those who support abortion but for entirely different reasons.  I am reminded of an article by Diane Francis in 2009 where she argued that “A planetary law, such as China’s one-child policy, is the only way to reverse the disastrous global birthrate currently.”  And if that doesn’t fly in the face of ‘autonomy’ and ‘reproductive rights’ I don’t know what does;  compulsory abortion and sterilization “is the only way” to implement such a policy, as China has demonstrated.

I don’t know whether or not Professor King shares such views.  For all I know, she does.  I hope, obviously, she doesn’t.  But it is really besides the point:  the idea that that it is the pro-lifers who have it out for a woman’s reproductive rights is absurd.  Pro-lifers are not animated by that at all, except insofar as they chafe at the idea of government bureaucrats penalizing childbearing.  For a pro-lifer, the idea of ‘reproductive rights’ is something that they support… they just don’t believe that the sum total of the concept is represented in the right to kill the human growing in a woman’s womb.  In the meantime, the real dangers of autonomy and ‘reproductive rights’ are gathering from the left, not the right.

But the section that really had me grinding my teeth was this one:

Ideally, no fetus would ever be aborted because of its sex or skin colour. […] But forcing women to have children they do not want will not end prejudice.  Instead, it will create a slew of problems.  Greater restrictions on abortion may result in more suffering for children.  Bills restricting terminations sought for particular reasons will drive a wedge between patients and providers.  They will encourage women to withhold information or lie, and they will punish providers serving clients who tell them the truth.  Moreover, by dictating which fetuses can legally be aborted, states are entering the dangerous territory of valuing some lives more than others.

Let’s take this one piece by piece.

Ideally, no fetus would ever be aborted because of its sex or skin colour.

Ah, the fetus.  Not a baby.  We must make this point clear, because of course if we’re only talking about a fetus, then we must ask Professor King why it should not be ‘ideal’ to eliminated it based on its sex or skin color, or any other reason.  It is just a fetus, after all.  But by issuing the caveat that it is not ‘ideal’ my opinion is that Professor King is tacitly admitting that it isn’t ‘just a fetus.’

The lie we tell ourselves is that a fetus is an inoffensive, neutral, scientific term merely reflecting one stage of human development, but of course in real life we all know that the only difference between a fetus and a baby is that the former may not be wanted while that latter is.  By the waving of a magical rhetorical wand, that ‘thing’ in the womb magically becomes something else, merely by virtue of some other person’s perception of it.  Not very neutral and scientific if you ask me.

But forcing women to have children they do not want will not end prejudice.  Instead, it will create a slew of problems.

One of the observations I have made about what I call the ‘culture of death’ is that it is distinguishable in part by the fact that it views death as a solution of problems.   I note, for example, that having children one does want creates a slew of problems;  how to feed them, where to house them, where to school them, how to pay for their health care as they age, and finally where to bury them.  This is in fact the whole point of those believe that ‘family planning’ is a solution to ‘over-population.’   All of life entails a ‘slew of problems.’  Choosing not to steal a million dollars from the bank creates a ‘slew of problems.’  Of course, stealing from the bank also creates a ‘slew of problems.’  Obviously, the morality and rightness of a particular deed is not bound up very tightly with whether or not it will ’cause problems.’    Some would even go so far as to say the one has nothing to do with the other.

Will forcing women to have children they don’t want create a slew of problems?  Probably, but that is no reason to shy away from doing the right thing.  There are many alternatives to simply making the new human being DEAD.  There are hundreds of thousands of people ready to adopt those children, for example.  I am prepared to adopt your unwanted child… there.  Your ‘problem’ is over.  My email is director@athanatosministries.org.  I’m pretty sure we can find a way to address the problems of unwanted people in this world in much the same way we address the problems that arise from the presence of wanted people in this world–that is, besides killing them.

Greater restrictions on abortion may result in more suffering for children.

Is the key word in this sentence, ‘may’?  Even so, let us concede this for a moment.  Conceding it, what difference does it make?  The aforementioned Jacob Appel supports the Groningen Protocol with one minor tweak:  letting the doctors decide whether or not the already born child will suffer.  Appel nobly has the “neonate’s” interest in mind, but Francisco Minerva and Alberto Giubilini have gone further in an article published in Savulescu’s journal.  The article is titled “After Birth Abortion:  why should the baby live?”

They explicitly address this issue but from another angle I’d like to call attention to:  not being aborted may not result in “more suffering for children.”  Before I get accused of being the Master of the Obvious, let me observe that Minverva and Giubilini say that even if they do not suffer, even if they have already been born, they can still be killed.  (At that point, I suppose, the ‘baby’ becomes a ‘neonate’, so no harm done.)

Although it is reasonable to predict that living with a very severe condition is against the best interest of the newborn, it is hard to find definitive arguments to the effect that life with certain pathologies is not worth living, even when those pathologies would constitute acceptable reasons for abortion.  It might even be maintained that ‘even allowing for the more optimistic assessments of the potential of Down’s syndrome children, this potential cannot be said to be equal to that of a normal child’.  But, in fact, people with Down’s syndrome, as well as people affected by many other severe disabilities, are often reported to be happy.

Nonetheless, to bring up such children might be an unbearable burden on the family and on society as a whole, when the state economically provides for their care.  On these grounds, the fact that a fetus has a potential to become a person who will have an (at least) acceptable life is no reason for prohibiting abortion.  Therefore, we argue that, when circumstances occur after birth such that they would have justified abortion, what we call after-birth abortion should be permissible.  [bold mine, italics theirs]

So there you have it;  just as it did not matter what gender or skin color the ‘fetus’ has as to whether or not it can be aborted, neither do we find it matters if they ‘may suffer’ or not.  The putative suffering is irrelevant in the cause of autonomy… but is it really autonomy?  i observe that these two scholars are not content to restrict their concern to the suffering or non-suffering of the child, nor limit it to the burden on the family, but also “society as a whole, when the state economically provides for their care.”

Now, what happens if the family does not think the child is an ‘unbearable burden’ but society does?  I mean, if the state is economically providing for the care of the child–and we aren’t talking about an unborn child here, we’re talking about one already born, now–shouldn’t it have some say in whether or not it should continue to live, regardless of whether or not the child is happy?

It is not hard to see how such arguments necessarily progress in proportion to the courage of the scholar to extend them to their logical conclusion.    Giubilini and Minerva were very courageous, Appel respectably courageous, and Savulescu moderately–depending on what he meant by ‘encouraged.’  In the meantime, Obama’s chief science advisor, John Holdren, is ready with an interpretation of the Constitution to that will justify compulsory abortion.  And if compulsory abortion can be so justified, certainly compulsory after-birth abortion can be justified, no?

I note in passing Giubilini and Minerva’s usage of the phrase “life […] not worth living.”

You know, I think I know where they got this idea/phrase from:  Karl Binding and Alfred Hoche.  They actually wrote a book about it, basically citing all of the above arguments, up to and including the possibility that someone may suffer, the right of parents/spouses/children-of-decrepit-old-people to end such a life, noting in particular the special interest of “society as a whole, when the state economically provides for their care.”  It was called “Allowing the Destruction of Life Unworthy of Life” and it provided the guiding principles and ethical cover for what was to become the German T4 program, which saw the deaths of hundreds of thousands of disabled children, adults, etc, for their own good, and the good of the state.***

In point of fact, as someone who is the parent of a child with a disability who once sat across from a genetic counselor, let me assure you that such lives very much are worth living, and our daughter is absolutely “equal to that of a normal child,” and not merely because we wanted her, or ‘chose’ not to abort her.  Indeed, I find the whole notion despicable and beneath contempt.  She is not leading a life of suffering, but as it happens, even if she were, she would still have a life worth living, and suffering can be managed–all the more so as technology continues to advance.

I don’t usually reference my daughter on this blog, but since Professor King will not otherwise know about this personal dimension, I felt like I ought to say something about it.  Here is a video of my precious daughter who may or may not be among those who suffer–you decide… if it actually matters in this debate at all… and I’m inclined to think it doesn’t at all.

That is my ‘family’s unbearable burden’:  Joy unleashed on any and all my daughter meets.  This is a girl that arguably fits the criteria for a ‘child that may suffer’ more than most, but I defy any insinuation that aborting her was the ‘solution.’  I reject Professor King’s implication that she is the one with the compassionate view, as though the rest of us are indifferent to potential and actual suffering.

Giubilini and Minerva are quite right:  many children with disabilities are happy, do bring their families great joy,and  do not lead a ‘life unworthy of life.’  Mine is one of them.  Professor King may be right:  not aborting such a child “may result in more suffering for children” but it may not.  Having any child at all may result in more suffering.   At any moment, my own life might descend into suffering–eg, if I get hit by a car and find myself paralyzed.  In anticipation of this possibility, should I commit suicide?  Absurd.  The notion that there may be suffering is any kind of consideration is completely irrelevant to the issue.  Don’t take my word for it;  the experts who wrote the “After-Birth Abortion” article, who see it just so.

(True story: Peter Singer recently argued on the issue of whether or not we ‘may’ suffer by pointing out that indeed we know for a fact that we all will suffer, and so will all future children:  for this reason the whole human race should be sterilized, sparing them all lives of suffering!  This whole line of argument has no non-arbitrary cutoff point.  It only boils down to what degree someone is willing to extend the principles and act on them.)

Bills restricting […]  tell them the truth.

I would like to address this one but as this is getting quite long, will have to let it go for now.

Moreover, by dictating which fetuses can legally be aborted, states are entering the dangerous territory of valuing some lives more than others.

I was left scratching my head on this one.  Do I understand correctly that Professor King is suggesting that, in order to value some lives more than others, we value all of them, equally, as having no value?

This is better than valuing some more than others?  It is better to regard all fetuses as having no value than ‘entering the dangerous territory of valuing some lives more than others’?  Putting no value on lives at all is far more dangerous territory.

The whole justification for abortion on demand is premised upon the notion that the ‘fetus’ only has value insofar as a woman (un-encouraged and completely autonomously) wants the child, so it necessarily follows that it does not have intrinsic value.  If it did have intrinsic value, we would not allow women to kill the ‘fetus’ except possibly in view of the most dire of circumstances.  So the whole system requires us to assume that the fetus is a cypher as far as ‘value’ goes, taking ‘content’ only if a woman decides to provide it.

But the real irony is that the whole premise of her article is to advocate for more genetic testing and counseling with women having the ‘right’ to abort the ‘fetus’ that tests reveal as ‘inferior’ or merely undesirable.  The whole article thus represents a headlong rush into “the dangerous territory of valuing some lives more than others.”

Hence my confusion about who ‘better regulation’ of genetic testing was necessary or the pro-lifers would become agitated.   Is it Professor King’s point that the only people permitted to enter this “dangerous territory” are the (can I call them) mothers?  Ie, women acting autonomously can decide which lives have more value than others, but the states ought not?

If that is what she means, then I find myself in both agreement and disagreement:  I agree that it is dangerous indeed to begin trying to sort out which lives have more value than others, but only because I firmly maintain that all lives equally have value, not that lives equally have no value unless the woman or the state decides it does.  The state should be protecting all life, and especially the lives that are completely defenseless and unable to protect themselves.  Autonomy only goes so far:  I have the right to make decisions for my own body, but if I reach out with my body to slay another body, society has the right to register an opinion about that, and perhaps act on that opinion.

But from the foregoing, you can see that I doubt very much that a woman’s autonomy and ‘reproductive freedom’ is really the guiding principle behind this whole debate, and likewise dispute the idea that abortion is the primary area of concern.  Scholars have and will continue to make the same arguments, pushing them further and further along their logical progression.  I was concerned, therefore, when Professor King said this:

“The FDA must step up its involvement to ensure that NIPT is integrated into prenatal care carefully–and, especially, to prevent it from being offered directly to consumers, as are other genetic tests.”

I read this to be saying that this test, along with all the other tests, should be administered within the doctor-patient relationship, with guidance… or is it ‘encouragement’… from genetic counselors.  King perhaps thinks that this will preserve a woman’s autonomy and ‘reproductive rights.’  I think the opposite: Julian Savulescu, SC Reed, Lee Dice, and Frederick Osborn and other eugenicists are counting on the women believing their action is completely voluntary.  I for one believe that if a genetic counselor sits in front of you and spells out all the horrible outcomes and the life of suffering a child may experience, and oh, by the way, the burden may be unbearable for the family, (and under one’s breath, for the state, too), this is tantamount to coercion.

But what value am I and my opinion?  I am merely a bipedal primate (former fetus, former neonate, etc).

I walked away from Professor King’s article believing that I was more concerned about a woman’s autonomy and reproductive rights than she was, and I’m the pro-life ‘lobbyist.’

*** Of course I acknowledge that just because Giubilin and Minerva’s arguments are identical to Binding and Hoche’s, they do not envision that the ideas justify throwing millions of people into ovens.  Neither did Binding and Hoche.

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The False Premises of Gun Control Advocates

The premises that drive gun control advocates are all false, which is why the well-meaning ones will always fail in their efforts.  As I argue in this recent blog post, all people will die.   What can be worse than death?  Why waste time fighting guns when we should be fighting death?  The answer is easy enough;  at present, no one believes that anything can be done about the problem of ‘death.’  One solution has been put forward, but it has terms that many reject (Christianity).  If anyone seriously proposed getting rid of death, the error would be obvious and no one would give it another thought.  It is as impossible to prevent people from trying to kill large groups of other people as it is to end death.  It cannot be done.  It is less as obvious, but it is nonetheless just as true.  They’ve done it with swords, they’ve done it with bombs, they’ve done it with poison, they’ve done it with machetes, they’ve done it with cars.  For every successful mass slaughter there are dozens of attempts.  So it is, so it will always be.

But understanding why this is the case is the critical issue.  The real problem is spiritual.  But many people do not believe we are spiritual, because they do not believe in spirits.  And if they do not believe in spirits, they will not believe that we are spirits in rebellion.  But that is what we are.  Everyone of us.

Like any other true thing, there are an infinite variety of false contentions.  If the assertion is “George Washington was the first president of the United States” there are an infinite number of false variations, such as “George Clooney was the first president.”   Because of the number of false, rival explanations for why people try to slaughter each other, I cannot possibly address all of them.  However, there is one general explanation commonly accepted by gun control advocates, which we will loosely describe as liberal secular humanism.  These folks tend to be atheists, but even when they aren’t, they are virtually indistinguishable from materialists in their politics.  On their mechanist view, we are not souls, we are machines.  ‘Meat’ machines, but machines, nonetheless.

From this point of view, then, everything is an object.  The system is a collection of objects.  A gun is an object.  A person is a thing.  A person is a complicated thing, to be sure, but it is still just a thing.  The brain and mind are one and the same: stuff.  If a machine is not running properly because sand keeps getting into it, the solution is simple enough:  remove the sand.  The idea that the machine itself is intentionally clogging up its own works is unfathomable on this view.  If the machine does such a thing, then that means that there is a gear out of whack somewhere that just needs to be tinkered with.  For the liberal secular humanist, this means giving out anti-psychotic drugs, increasing the bureaucratic reach of this ‘expert’ or that ‘expert,’ and passing laws.  But we aren’t machines.  The problem is not physical, it is spiritual.  Hence, no non-spiritual solution is possible.

Gun control proposals, like most proposals by liberals, completely fail to take into account human nature as it really is.  This fundamental failure leads to fundamentally flawed proposals.  What would a reasonable gun control measure look like if it did take into account human nature as it really is?

Far from being an exception, the question is just a subset of every other issue humanity grapples when one person attempts to coexist with another person without killing each other.

Take for example the laws against driving under the influence in the United States.  Presumably, the reader knows that typically, many more people die in car accidents every year than are killed by guns.  Here are some sobering facts:

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 32,885 people died in traffic crashes in 2010 in the United States (latest figures available), including an estimated 10,228 people who died in drunk driving crashes, accounting for 31% of all traffic deaths last year.

According to the CDC, in the same year, 11,078 were murdered by guns.  (Interestingly, 544 were murdered by suffocation.)

Now, don’t we have laws against drunk driving?  And yet it is the case that people are still driving drunk, and killing people while doing so.  What then is the purpose of the law?  In the main, it is useless as a deterrent.  At best, the law is going to be applicable for enforcement purposes.  After someone breaks the law–and by now I think any sober-minded person knows the law will be broken!–it can be used to give a proper punishment.

The only people who are likely to be impacted by these laws are people who are already law abiding.  People who for whatever reason choose to continue to drink and drive will continue to do so until the cows come home.  Likewise, people who intend on killing loads of people at a go are going to make the attempt, law or no law.  And no matter what you do, there will always be people who fit in this category.  There will always be people who drink and drive.  There will always be people who steal at every opportunity.  There will always be people who are lawless, because all people are lawless at heart;  people are broken, and nobody–not even our super-intelligent liberal expert bureaucrats using the best science–can fix them.

Would I then be prepared to dispense with laws against drinking and driving?  Yea, pretty much.  It’s kind of like the laws against texting;  we already have laws against distracted driving, what is the point of creating one more law that is a subset of that?  We also have laws against harming and killing people.  If someone behaves recklessly, they should be punished appropriately.  Stop letting people off for third, fifth, and tenth violations, until the inevitable death that comes.  And when they do kill someone, if they themselves survive, I think execution should be on the table.  Now that would be a deterrent–for some.  There would still be people who drive drunk.  Should the rest of us be prohibited from driving?  No, and no one believes that, but if they were logical, they would.  (It would not surprise me, though, if there were liberals who do believe this–although maybe for other reasons, like ‘saving the earth.’)

It is not my purpose to press that particular point, but rather to note that in attempting to deal with the problem of people driving drunk, they did take the logic out a little ways:  they restricted the right of sensible, law-abiding people to drive with an opened can of beer in their car.  In other words, society does what they always do when faced with human nature as it really is:  it refused to accept human nature as it really was and instead passed laws that put restrictions on the people who needed those restrictions the least.

Wonder of wonder, drunk driving fatalities still persist.  What’s the next step?  Perhaps we should try to get rid of alcohol altogether?  Let’s just prohibit all alcoholic beverages…

Oh wait… that was tried.  It failed miserably.  It turned otherwise law abiding people into law breakers overnight.   Worse, the people who were already inclined to disregard the laws of the land saw an opportunity, and seized it.  It created crime syndicates that probably persist to this day.  It took the honest, sensible people out of the business of alcohol creation and distribution and left only the criminals.   The law generated even more lawlessness.

No one should have been surprised by this outcome but of course the progressives of the era were shocked, just shocked, by it.  They were proceeding under a false premise:  that removing the object from the system of objects would clear up the problem forthwith.  No thing is at the heart of humanity’s problems.  You can remove one ‘thing’ and something else will rush into the vacuum.  So it was, so it is, so it always will be.

I would like to then close with some observations.  First of all, I observe that those who believe that people are objects, that the system/state is a machine made of sub-machines, that tweaking external circumstances will remedy all our problems, always put forth proposals that eliminate and diminish freedoms from the very people who east need to have those freedoms addressed.    I secondly note that their proposals always fail in ending the problem they aim to resolve and succeed in taking away the liberties of their fellow man.

Finally, I return to the question:  “Is there anything worse than death?’

As a Christian, I answer that in the affirmative, of course.   But not counting the eternal realities I believe are facing us, I still believe that even temporally, the answer is a resounding yes.  The 20th century saw one attempt after another of people trying to ‘tweak the machine’ to produce the perfect society, the perfect state.   These people gravitated to the levers of power that would give them the ability to do this.  Not only did their every attempt fail to create Utopia but they found that they needed to lubricate their machine in the blood of the masses to make any ‘progress’ at all.  Whatever harm your random mass shooter has done, it pales in comparison to the well-meaning men and women of the 20th century who managed to slay hundreds of millions of people, just as today the government of Syria has killed some 40,000 of its own in just the span of a few months.  And when they weren’t stacking bodies, they were shoving people into gulags and enslaving the rest.  Yes, there are things worse than death.

No proposal for managing guns that does not take these realities into account is worth considering.  They will only serve to take away liberties from people who are the least worrisome and embolden those who are of most concern.  If you want to really address the ‘mass shooter’ problem, then you should be thinking about how to move people from the latter category into the former.  All else is futile at best, and a recipe for a nightmare at worst.

And how does one move people from one category into the other?  By first acknowledging that people are fallen spirits.  But I have a feeling there isn’t much interest in going that direction.  That has implications that modern man finds more intolerable than the deaths of innocents in our nation’s schoolyards.

Another article that expresses similar ideas, although much more powerfully, is this one, which I highly commend.

For reference:

2010-violence-deaths

 

 

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Somewhere, there is someone with a gun… protecting your freedoms

Did you hear about the great nation of Pacifotopia?   It was the first nation run and administered by pacifists.  They were earnest in their pacifism, giving up all weapons of war in virtuous cause of non-violence.  Heard of it?  No?  That’s because the next day it was gobbled up by random country X.

I bring up this country of well-intentioned heroes to make the very important observation that there never was, is not, and never will be a nation of pacifists.  Indeed, the only reason why anyone can be a pacifist at all is because there are men with an entirely different outlook manning the borders and preserving the peace.

The thing that burns me up about debates about gun control is the attitude that we are only kept safe by well-meaning bureaucrats passing good intentioned laws that of course are followed by all the nice citizens.   The insinuation is that people who want guns are violent people;  the mere fact that they want or have one is proof positive that they are suspect individuals.  They are unstable folk that you need to keep your eye on.

Now, in point of fact, every single person in this world, in whatever country they happen to reside in, depends on men* with guns for any bit of freedom they might have.**

Any country that did not have armed men on its border would be a country that soon was absorbed by its neighbor;  if they had any freedoms under the rule of their neighbor, it is because their conqueror had men with guns at its border.  In other words, all of our freedoms are secured by violent, suspect, unstable men.

Few things offend me, but I am offended by the flaky rhetoric of our politicians and a great chunk of the citizenry who make arguments that in effect denigrate the many people with guns who protect us, each and every day.

Obviously, they have no concept that their statements mean, in effect, that the security of our cities, states, and nation is preserved by bloodthirsty loose cannons.   Indeed, I doubt very much thought goes into their statements at all.  Even calling them ‘arguments’ is probably giving them too much credit;  it is more of an attitude and and insinuation, coupled with their chest-thumping posture as the ones occupying the high ground.  In the meantime, their very ability to open their mouths to class our nation’s many heroes with murderous barbarians is preserved by the very same people.

There is another way out of this predicament that is not as unflattering to our soldiers, police officers and national guardsmen, but it merely shifts the insult to a larger group of people–their fellow citizens.   The people who make this argument suggest that only people with the highest level of training can possibly act intelligently and bravely;  these of course are in the armed forces and what not.  As for the rest of us, we are slathering morons who sink even further into the black hole of irrationality when a gun is presented to their senses.  The sight of a gun sparks a primal instinct that compels them to quickly snatch it up and begin blazing away at enemies seen, and unseen.

You see this attitude in defenses of waiting periods, or comments about things turning into the ‘wild west’, even though 49 out of the 50 states have adopted laws allowing for concealed carry of firearms, with not one of them turning into anything like a John Wayne movie.  If anything, it is the one hold out that seems like it is the land of outlaws.  Perhaps the recent Federal court judgement compelling Illinois to comply with the Constitution will have the happy side effect of saving the state (ie, Chicago) from the liberals there hell-bound on keeping law abiding people perpetually at the mercy of criminals.  We shall see.

Now, I do not have to be persuaded to the idea that there are dangerous people who ought not have guns.  I am a Christian and believe in sin, original and otherwise.  I believe that power corrupts, and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely.  But I also believe that we are made in the image of God, everyone of us.  Some brave people become soldiers and police officers.  Some become firemen.  Some become teachers and throw their bodies over students or strive to hold doors shut against madmen.  Some are fathers and mothers standing as sentinels over their charges, every bit as self-controlled and capable as a sentry on the border.  The idea that people, in the main, are blathering idiots that cannot be trusted to manage the responsibility of protecting themselves, their families, and their neighborhoods is noxious.

(I see an eerie similarity to the argument that we absolutely must give out condoms to little boys and girls because their animal minds will be incapable of resisting their natural impulses.)

Gun control advocates believe that theirs is the position that will ensure a humane society that preserves human dignity but if their arguments are correct then there is no basis whatsoever for assigning dignity to any human at all:  none can be trusted to do anything;  best to set experts over them who know how to properly manage a herd.

And yet, these experts can only do their work because good, strong men who are prepared to fight and die protect them night and day.  These people, in turn, are not created out of test tubes.  They come from wider society, where we still find men and women, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters willing to lay down their lives for their kin and community.  Are they dangerous?  You’re damn right they’re dangerous;  they are just the sort of people that criminals and real barbarians try to avoid.  If we removed all the dangerous people of this sort from society, or de-fanged them, you can be quite certain that the bad sort of dangerous people will be thrilled.

Bottom line, one way or another, there is a person with a gun protecting your liberties and freedoms.  If it isn’t your local policemen (ie, you live in Britian) it’ll be someone on a SWAT team or in the military (even Britain allows their soldiers to have guns…).   If we’re going to have a conversation about gun control, I would cordially request that we frame it in a way that respects the fact that we are only having that conversation because people with guns are minding the store.  They aren’t thugs;  they are members of our family, friends of ours, and they are made of the same stuff as the rest of us.

*There are of course some women with guns fulfilling this role, but let’s be honest, most of them are men.  Not that I have any problem with ‘dangerous’ women or any thought that they can’t do some of those roles, but let’s give some credit where credit is due:  rough men ready to do violence upon our enemies stand guard everywhere.

**Even in places like Iran and North Korea… but I fully admit and acknowledge that in some places the men with guns really are evil, or, at least, they follow the orders of really evil people.  All the more reason to ensure that the world’s citizens are not defenseless.  Governments regularly kill more people on a wider scale than criminals do.

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“Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste”-Obama and Sandy Hook

“Are we prepared that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?”  Obama.

Anyone surprised by the direction Obama goes from here isn’t paying attention.  He is a man who longs for the Big Crisis, because the Big Crisis means opportunity.  The Big Crisis means taking severe steps, steps that normally people would oppose, but in light of the magnitude of the Big Crisis may view as necessary.

As illustrated in Obama’s remark, those ‘steps’ often entail restrictions on freedom, because, according to Obama, they are “somehow the price of our freedom.”

The purpose of this essay is to dispute that premise.

Two of my atheists friends have chafed at my insistence that gun control legislation is utterly useless for solving such crimes, but rather than deal with the many illustrations I gave showing how such legislation did not work or could not work (ie, the person followed all the rules, or acquired the guns even though they were illegal, or–shocker, used knives in their mass slaying!) their retort is “So what is your solution?”

All real solutions must begin by taking the world as it really is. Anything else is suspect;  at the best, they only make us feel better.  At worst, they are a way to exploit people for reasons they will rarely learn.  Here is a real world fact:  All people die.

Apart from two documented cases that many will find disputable, every person who has ever lived, has died.  Every first grader that has ever existed eventually died, or they will be dead within the next hundred years or so.   This observation is irrefutable (DB, Tim, would you like to dispute it?) but it doesn’t follow that we should be happy about it, or that we shouldn’t try to postpone it, or make the intervening years enjoyable and worthwhile.  It does mean that here is a problem that has no solution.

Why set our sights so low as “How can we stop mass deaths?” Why not, “How can we stop all deaths?”

Shouldn’t we be looking for a solution to death itself?  I think it is safe to say that all my readers will agree with me that there is no solution to death within the power of any man to implement.   Can you imagine a conversation with a ‘death control’ advocate?  “We should outlaw death!”  Followed by me, saying, “Uh, no matter what you do, people are going to die, always and everywhere.”  Then they say, “So, what is your solution?”

What kind of conversation can you have, here?  Our hypothetical death control advocate’s argument has implicit assumptions that are completely out of tune with actual reality.

Likewise, Obama.  The idea that these slayings are connected ‘somehow to the price of our freedom’ is absurd.  Mass slayings have always existed.  Murder has always been part of human history.  Before there were guns.  Even when murder was not legal.   Knives, cars, bombs, fire, rope, you name it: all have been deployed to kill people in numbers small or large.  Mass slayings exist in ‘free’ countries and in tightly controlled countries.  If not by gun, then by machete.

Superficially, it seems as though we could end or reduce mass slayings.  In actual fact, it is a problem that has no solution.  It has no solution because people are the way people are.  People are the way they have been for centuries.   The modern myth that today we are ‘more sophisticated and progressive’ then people in, say, the 1500s is just that, a myth.  People are the same.  They will not change.  On their own, human power, they cannot change.

The great innovation of the United States is that for the first time in human history, a government was built up based on the way people really are.  Significant and meaningful checks and balances were erected because they knew that without them, the tyranny they fled in Europe would return to them.  They viewed the ‘right to bear arms’ as the ultimate check and balance against that tyranny, should the Constitution’s checks and balances on the government be insufficient.  And wisely so:  historically and to the present day, most mass murders have been perpetrated by governments upon their own people.  (See Democide.)

As of this writing, in the last few months, Syria has slaughtered some 40,000 of its own citizens.

What is your solution to this?  I have an idea.  Let’s create something called the ‘United Nations.’  We’ll give the countries of the world the power to influence other countries to behave civilly.   They can pass resolutions and treaties.  And no more people will die at the hands of their own government… Problem solved!

Of course, this ‘solution’ has been tried, and has been a miserable failure from Syria to Sudan, from Rwanda to North Korea.  If anything, the naiveté embodied in this ‘solution’ is more likely to fuel oppression and mass slaughter for the decades to come.

Only by realizing that there are some things that have no solution can we begin to fashion a reasonable, rational, reality-based response.

Mass murder by crazy people, with guns and without, is such a thing.  It has nothing to do with the fact that we are a free society.   The fact that we are a free society merely shapes the form in which the mass murder takes place.  Where guns are banned, lunatics turn to other means, or manage to acquire guns anyway.  This is reality.

A reasonable, rational, reality-based response will begin by taking people as they really are and drop the notion that we can find a ‘solution.’  It will dispense with the idea that such incidents are connected to the societal structure in a place–no matter where you are, such things will happen–while being aware that the form in which the incidents occur might vary based on that structure.

So what does that mean going forward?  Well, I have my own ideas, of course, but I think it would be better for my liberal friends and activist occupant of the White House to accept my argument and think through the conclusions for themselves.  If they are my ideas, they will never accept them.

But I can say what it won’t mean:  restricting the liberties and freedoms of law-abiding men and women like myself.  By definition, law breakers do not follow laws, only the law-abiding do.  Laws and regulation will only restrict the rights and liberties of the only people who don’t need those laws and regulation, and leave them vulnerable to those who are not curbed by those laws and regulations.

No crisis, big or small, is able to dispense with this, which is just common sense.

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Ban Guns, Exploit Tragedy, Produce More Tragedies

As usual, the long knives are out for guns again.

Whenever things like this happen, I am reminded of a leisurely walk through Napoleon’s wife’s garden in Strasbourg, France, I once made at midnight with some fine fellows, one of them a young Frenchman.  I was impressed by the high amount of activity in the park and how safe it seemed.  I remarked that there were few parks in America where we could do such a thing.  The young Frenchman asked why, and I explained that getting mugged–or worse–was a real possibility.   He said, “Oh!  We have laws against that sort of thing in France.”

This illustrates a big part of the problem in trying to address events such as what occurred last week.  One whole chunk of the population fails to understand that lawbreakers do not follow laws.

By definition.

New laws only serve to further restrict people who already follow laws.

By definition.

Since something as really elementary as this is not appreciated by huge numbers of people, again and again we have to face a raft of knee-jerk calls for this and that additional regulation, none of which will have any other effect than making people feel better.  They won’t be a lick safer.  If anything, they’ll be in even more danger, suffering under the delusion that their new laws will keep bad people from doing bad things.   (Of course, these same people tend to dispute the idea that there are bad people.  I realize that.)

The ingredients that go into making such horrific incidents are diverse and varied and very complicated.   There are stands relating to mental health, strands relating to the nihilism rampant in our amoral society, and other components that are hard to measure and track in a given event.  However, the perpetuation of these incidents is itself a separate question, and for that I think we would be remiss if we failed to note one of the main culprits:

The media.

With the way our media covers these events, it is easy to see how someone who feels marginalized in our society can see a way to become famous.  There are some who say that if we removed every gun from the universe, mass slayings would cease.  I doubt that very much.  What I don’t doubt is that if mass slayings received no media coverage whatsoever, incidents such as this one would dwindle in number, if not cease altogether.

I think that I could probably get a lot of gun control advocates to agree with me on this.  It’s really hard to dispute.  Examples abound of the media behaving almost as rabidly as the misfits do.  Here’s one.

So why not we ban newspapers, radio stations, cable news networks, and all other news sources from covering mass murders such as this one?  Perhaps you might say that it is the speed in which this information flows–perhaps we shall only ban automatic, instantaneous news agencies?  Perhaps only slow, semi-automatic outfits such as monthly news magazines should be allowed.  Certainly, no live television, that streams bullet-bits on a 24/7 basis into the brains of all Americans, including those most vulnerable to the enticement of that kind of publicity.

But you say:  “The Freedom of the Press is one of our fundamental rights.  It is enshrined in the Bill of Rights!”

Are we really going to let a little thing like that get in the way of preventing the mass murder of dozens of school children?

Someone will no doubt rush to show how there have been mass murders in the past, when no mass media was present.  The moral, of course, being that getting rid of news coverage won’t stop people from killing people.

I am being somewhat facetious, obviously.  I do believe that the media is actually much to blame, but I do not believe it is the sole contributor.  It would be stupid and simplistic to try to reduce it to this one thing and then tell each other that if we did this one little thing, all would be well in the world.  We need to actually engage our brains.

And that’s a lesson I suggest we apply to other solutions being floated right now, almost all of them looking at the weapon the lawbreaker used, instead of the lawbreaker himself.

Not everything we may wish to consider will actually make us safer. It will only make us feel safer.

And there is a big difference between those two ideas.

 

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Dan Barker’s War on Religion, Though Childish, Has Adult Implications

Dan Barker’s Freedom from Religion Foundation is immersed in their annual war against all things religious.  That is of course how they view it:  a war.  In this war, they have had quite a few successes, in large part because they realized early on that public sentiment was not on their side.  That is, they could never achieve their goals legislatively.  Their only hope was to turn to the courts, and here the playing field is more to their advantage.  After all, it is easier to persuade one judge or three than it is a million, hundred thousand, etc.

In a guest view posted today in the La Crosse Tribune, Dan Barker comes out in defense of the ‘in your face tactics’ that his organization has been employing.  Basically his argument is this:  religious people have been ridiculing nonbelievers for thousands of years, so turnabout is fair play.  We of course will bear in mind the common view taken by nonbelievers that they are morally superior to believers–the present example a good illustration of how well they ‘rise above’ the bad behavior of religious people… by joining in.

“What is wrong with ridicule?  What is wrong with protest?” Dan Barker wants to know.  “Protestantism is based on protest–it’s right there in the word itself.”  The irony, here of course, is that Dan Barker and his ilk does wish to immunize their viewpoints from public scrutiny and ridicule.  If you raise your voice, even ever so slightly, with a new atheist, you will practically drive them to tears and indignation.  You see, they can be as rude as they like.  Not only must you treat them with extreme politeness, but of course you must give into their every whim in the name of ‘tolerance’ and ‘diversity.’

One searches for the appropriate prism by which to view such attitudes, and I think we have at least our first hint in Barker’s letter.  “To us nonbelievers, the nativity scene is a ridicule of human nature. … Believers might see a cute baby in a manger, but most nonbelievers see a reprehensible put-down of humanity.”

This is akin to the claims often heard that the mere sight of Ten Commandment tablets on public property, or lighted crosses, or whatever, causes them great mental anguish.  Of course, we know the truth:  they need to say such absolutely asinine and ridiculous things in order for their court cases to go forward.  Personally, I doubt very much that they are as effected, but let’s take Barker at his word in this case:  the mere sight of a nativity scene evokes the sense that they are being ridiculed and reprehensibly put-down.

Through what prism should we view such people?  I think we must regard them as being more like children than anything else.  If there is anything that drives children batty, it’s seeing other people enjoying a toy that they themselves cannot have.  If they can arrange it–and bullies have some skill with this–when they get the toy, they will guard it fiercely to keep others from sharing in the pleasure.  In my household, I have seen my own children hide items that they had lost all interest in just so that their siblings couldn’t have them.

Similarly, the mere sight of something that offends a new atheist is enough to drive them batty.  Not content to do what adults learn to do (change the channel, avert their eyes, shop somewhere else, ignore, etc) they’ve got to put a stop to it.  After they’ve put a stop to it, of course they have to make sure that no one else can do the same, even if it doesn’t impact them in the slightest.  I don’t know how else to view this behavior other than childish.

I will now be seen as ‘ridiculing’ them by this characterization.   Well, sometimes the truth hurts.  Mere ridicule is meant to merely hurt.  Telling the truth is meant to convey a benefit.  I do earnestly wish the new atheists would grow up.  After all, if you put children in charge of the operation of heavy machinery, the odds are that someone will soon get very hurt.  However, if someone decides to view it simply as mockery, then I appeal to Dan Barker for my defense:  “What is wrong with ridicule?  What is wrong with protest?”

Another characteristic of children is that they can dish it out, but they can’t take it.   I doubt we’ll see anything in the comment section on this that will prove me wrong in my assessment.  In religion they see a perceived slight, and in response to this perception, they have no qualms against dishing out actual slights.  They expect everyone to be cowed by this, but having been on the receiving end of actual physical threats by new atheists, I assure you, this is one writer that won’t be.

Unfortunately, these children are more canny than most and, again, most unfortunately, have access to ‘heavy machinery.’

Buried in Barker’s screed is an even more pernicious goal that his FFRF has, beyond merely being jerks trying to prove a point:

In America, Christians are welcome to celebrate whatever they want. We are happy to share the season with them. They just can’t use the government to privilege their party over everyone else’s.

[…]

Christians can do whatever they like in their churches and private property, but in the American public square, there is room at the inn for all of us.

 The idea that putting up nativity scenes or other icons of religion ‘privileges’ religious folks is so absurd that I cannot even believe that we have to take it seriously.  I think it is clear from the foregoing that on the merits, I don’t.  However, the argument and attitude encapsulated in the two quotes above must be taken very seriously because the stakes are very high, indeed.

To explain, allow me to frame it this way.  Every December we have to deal with a bunch of whiny, perpetually offended atheists, chiseling away at all religious expression the public square.   Dan Barker says that ‘there is room at the inn for all of us’, but if he believes that, my regard for his intellect goes even lower than it was.  I think the evidence is that he does not believe that and in fact he is purposefully trying to achieve the opposite.  In Barker’s world, any religious expression in the public square constitutes ‘using the government to privilege one religion over another.’  “Christians can do whatever they like in their churches and private property” but in FFRF’s conduct we know that they cannot do anything they like outside their churches and off their private property.

By way of example, a slew of atheists filed an amicus brief against Hosanna-Tabor Lutheran School in their attempt to fire someone who flagrantly disregarded the beliefs and values of that institution.  The FFRF is not a signatory (a surprise, honestly) but they are all the same crew.  In the amicus we read:

 Amici wish to bolster the principle of religious neutrality that government may not prefer religion over nonreligion [..] A decision of this Court recognizing the ministerial exception would have the constitutionally impermissible effect of denying equal protection of the laws to the employees of religious organizations and of advancing religion by creating special rights for religious defendants, and in so doing undermine the rule of law.

 You can stop laughing now.  No, really. They actually said that they cared about the ‘rule of law.’  Stop your chuckling and attend to my words.

You see in this comment the exact reference to ‘the principle of religious neutrality’ that Barker made.

In a bizarre twist, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously against the atheists.  Where that puts the American Atheists/Humanist’s assertion that the Sixth Circuit’s argument was ‘based on a misreading of the Constitution’ I don’t know.  Still my point in referencing this example is to show that in point of fact, atheists do not think that “Christians can do whatever they like in their churches and private property.”  Actually, they believe that this constitutes ‘special rights for religious defendants.’

Now, are they lying about their true position or is their worldview so incoherent that even four fabulously progressive liberals on the Supreme Court couldn’t get it to align with reason?  I don’t have the answer to this question, but personally I think it is a little of both, with the addition that they say some of the stupid things they say as part of a legal strategem.  (Really?  They’re offended by a baby in a manger?  I find it hard to believe.)

For our purposes it doesn’t matter how we answer that.  What matters is that we are aware that there are bigger things afoot.

It is worth mentioning here that Hosanna-Tabor was up against the Federal government itself– the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.   In short, the Obama Administration.  (One more reason I’m perplexed by the decision, since two of the SCOTUS appointees were made by Obama.)

The Obama Administration buys into the new atheist argument that the Constitution implies a ‘principle of religious neutrality’ that entails no ‘special rights for religious defendants.’  Indeed, we just saw them enact HHS rules requiring religious organizations to fund behaviors that they find morally objectionable: contraception;  which of course sometimes is identical with abortion itself.  (I understand that many liberals view abortion itself as contraception.  I’m referring to the fact that some contraceptive drugs are actually abortifacients.)

Here again we discover that the secular humanists do not really believe that “Christians can do whatever they like in their churches and private property.”

What Obama has been saying is that the Constitution enshrines a ‘right to worship,’ but in his conduct, as well, we see the same sort of dilemma where we either have to conclude that he has jello for brains or he is simply a liar.  Even in his book, Christians can’t do whatever they like in their churches and private property.

Now let us compare these sentiments with the actual words of the Constitution:

 Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

 Usually we talk about the first half of this–the establishment of religion.  Atheists have made great headway towards creating the precedent that allowing nativity scenes on public property constitutes an ‘establishment of religion.’  On this view, a Christian’s bumper sticker on his car on a public road constitutes an ‘establishment of religion.’  He is, after all, on public property.  But my point is to the second part of the clause:  “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

I will casually note that the clause does not go on to say, “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof in their churches and private property.”

With all religious expression in the public square fiercely attacked every year at this time and the atheists and Federal agencies with Obama at the head pushing headlong into the affairs of ‘their churches and private property’ one is hard pressed to imagine just what kind of ‘free exercise’ these folks will actually allow.  To me, it seems to consist solely of singing Kum Bah Yah, provided that no one else can hear you.

This is a far cry from what the Constitution says or implies.  It is quite clear from the words of the first amendment that, contrary to modern assertions otherwise, that the government cannot limit religious expression in the public sphere, period.  Moreover, since the same sentence forbids and establishment of religion even as it forbids prohibiting the free exercise of religion, the framers obviously did not perceive that the latter necessarily amounted to the former.

We must think very seriously about what may happen if the lunatics consolidate their control over the asylum.  If the Obama administration and his atheist backers succeed in driving ‘religious expression’ into the deep recesses of our skulls, allowing it public expression only insofar as one is publicly seen moving from one’s car to one’s church, what kind of society can we expect?

I would like to answer this question by pointing out that Christmas is not the only holiday that Christians have given us.  The list is actually quite long–atheists of course have not given us any–but there is one in particular I want to emphasize:  Independence Day.

As Barker correctly notes, European settlers to the Americas were driven on in search of religious freedom.  (He incorrectly has the Puritans fleeing the Roman Catholics.)  The first people to come to America were deeply concerned about the ‘establishment of religion’, which is reinforced by the fact that the first ten words of the entire Bill of Rights moves to prohibit it, and the next six words insists that religious expression shall not be prohibited.  Then comes the right to free speech, the right of a free press, and so on.

Compare the placement of these words and their emphatic nature with a comparable document that would arise shortly after, in the ‘Declaration of the Rights of Man“, one of the founding documents of the French Revolution.

 10.  No one shall be disquieted on account of his opinions, including his religious views, provided their manifestation does not disturb the public order established by law.

 11.  The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of the rights of man. Every citizen may, accordingly, speak, write, and print with freedom, but shall be responsible for such abuses of this freedom as shall be defined by law.

 As the French Revolution played out, the import of the italicized caveats became clear.  Spurred on by Enlightenment principles (ie, ones that disparaged religion and held ‘free thought’ very high, indeed), in very short order there came massacre upon massacre.  Something called “the Committee of Public Safety” (not to be confused with the Health and Human Services department) established itself as a virtual dictatorship, and in the ‘Reign of Terror’ some 40,000 people were simply executed.   After all, each shall be responsible for the abuses of their freedom, and by no means should the public order be disturbed.

This is an aside, but an important one:  it may seem odd that the Committee of Public Safety, acting on principles espoused in a nice sounding document such as ‘the Declaration of the Rights of Man’ could turn so viciously upon their own fellowman, but there was something else in that declaration that goes far to explain it–

 3.  The principle of all sovereignty resides essentially in the nation. No body nor individual may exercise any authority which does not proceed directly from the nation.

 In other words, the nation comes first.  Individual rights come from the nation–and can be taken away.  The nation is everything, and anything that undermines the nation must be violently dealt with.

Compare and contrast with the first words of the American Declaration of Independence:

 We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

 In other words, the individual comes first.  Their rights come from God and not even a nation or ‘social contract’ can obliterate them.  The former principle led to the slaughter of tens of thousands, the latter principle to the freedom of millions.

With some exceptions, sadly:  the American founders did not do the right thing and abolish slavery as they ought to have done so right at the start.  In the name of the ‘nation’ (ie, the former principle, and not the latter) they sacrificed their own principles.  In about sixty years, Abraham Lincoln would rise victorious in a conflict that would slay 500,000 people:  in the name of the nation.  (Stand by for cheap shot:  It is probably a coincidence that Lincoln is a favorite of many atheists.)

I think it is safe to say that nothing but blood and terror has followed where the principle that the nation stands above everything else, and everything else must answer in accordance to whether or not it ‘disturbs the public order.’

The American framers understood that checks and balances were absolutely necessary for a fair and just society to exist–because “We are all damned sinners who need to be ‘saved’ by bowing down to the baby in the manger.”  In other words, they saw as a simple statement of truth about humans what atheists regard as a “reprehensible put-down of humanity.”  Original sin is real.  If you believe as such, liberty is the result.  If you don’t, the French Revolution, the American Civil War, the Bolshevik Revolution, the Holocaust, Pol Pot’s Killing Fields, and so on and so forth, is the result.

Understand why I say this.  It is different than the typical battle over atheism’s role in 20th century atrocities.  Yes, most of the revolutionaries referenced in these examples were atheists, but one does not need to be an atheist in order to fall into the trap that the ‘nation’ is a thing to be upheld at all costs.

That was a long aside, but it had to be said, because this is essentially the same issue that is before us today:  to what exactly will we give our highest allegiance and who will decide this question?

The Christian men and women of early America argued that God warrants our highest allegiance, but this question is worked out individually, not collectively.   Their beliefs gave us Independence Day, another holiday that ‘we get to stay home for.’  Driven on by their religious beliefs, they gave freedom to all.

To put the whole thing another way, just as you can only have pacifists in a country ringed by armed protectors, you can only have atheists in a country where the ‘free expression’ of religion in all spheres–public and private–are welcome.    Only in a country where it is actually the case, and not mere lip service, that “there is room at the inn for all of us”, can there be life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Dan Barker and the New Atheist Quest for the Freedom From Religion, if successful, will end in their own slavery, along with everyone else’s, because if ever our fellow man is given the right and authority to decide where we put our ultimate allegiances, abuse and tyranny is bound to follow.  So is the testimony of history.

So, while the efforts of the FFRF are very childish indeed, their successes do not bode well for the future.  Not ours, nor theirs, either.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Was Voter Fraud the Reason for Obama’s Election? One Hypothesis

About a month before the election I predicted a Romney landslide–if the election was fair.

I detailed a handful of reasons for why I believed that would be the case.  In particular, I felt the 2010 midterm elections and the statewide support for the GOP candidates even in locales such as Wisconsin, which not only voted for Governor Walker and Supreme Court justice David Prosser, but re-elected Walker in his recall election, which you may remember was only just this last summer.   And that’s in Wisconsin!

The results of this election were perplexing to me.  Obama won but the House remained firmly in the hands of Republicans.   In order for this to have happened, the very people who voted against Romney voted for their Republican congressman.  To make the point a little plainer, the people who voted for Obama still voted for their Republican congressman.  This would have had to have happened in the millions.  Who does this?

Is a liberal minded entitlement claimer really want to support Obama and simultaneously people who would oppose him?  Yet for the outcome of the election to have turned out the way it did, precisely such a thing needed to happen.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that voter fraud is a very plausible explanation.  With all of the Soros backed secretary of states and the wide open avenue for tampering with paperless electronic voting machines, combined with the already well known fact that Acorn-style vote manipulation is the Democratic modus operandi, along with the liberal propensity for bringing in illegal aliens with the sole purpose of creating anchor babies who will grow up to vote Liberal (babies born under Reagan’s amnesty program applying to parents who entered illegally prior to 1982 would be thirty years old today), the plausibility factor goes through the roof.  And then, there are reports like this one, where Obama won the same share of votes ‘voluntarily’ cast that Saddam Hussein did– 99%.  Oh really.

But I had some mental reservations.  If you’re going to steal an election, even if you are evil scoundrels like we know most of the top Democrats to be, would you really be so stupid as to only steal the presidential election, and not the rest?  A Democrat sweep would be believable, since, after all, that’s what we had in 2008.  Perhaps it was not stupidity, but inability;  maybe there were pragmatic reasons that prevented such a manipulation.  Such considerations are firmly in the realm of the theoretical.  Unless there is a whistle blower, we’d never find evidence of anything as far reaching as this.  Anyone who even has an inclination towards whistle-blowing has probably ‘already been taken care of.’  At any rate, this just didn’t add up.

Then I observed that here in Wisconsin–In Wisconsin!–the Republicans regained their control of the Senate and now control every branch–house, senate, governor, judiciary.  And yet… and yet… Tommy Thompson lost to the radical liberal homosexual Tammy Baldwin.  This, again, after Walker’s decisive victory only as recent as this summer.

Finally, I was intrigued by the popular vote results.  In 2012, we have Obama with about 61,170,405 and Romney with about 58,163,977.  But look at what it was in 2008:  Obama= 69,456,897  | McCain= 59,934,814.

There are two aspects that I just found remarkable with these figures.  First of all, Obama has received 7,000,000 fewer votes than he received in 2008.  Where did these Obama supporters go?  To Romney?  Look again!  At present count, Romney has received about 2,000,000 fewer votes than McCain did!

There are 9,000,000 votes left on the table compared to 2008.  Both sides of the aisle received fewer votes.  Inexplicably–especially taking into account the massive tide change in 2010–Romney received even fewer votes than McCain.

This got me thinking.

The 2010 midterms had a very respectable turnout of its own, and the Republicans won by a margin of about 5,000,000 votes.  As far as mid-terms go, it was 2,000,000 more than the turn out in 2006 and 8,000,000 more than in 2002!  As of this writing, the GOP lost the congressional popular vote in the 2012 election, while keeping control of the House, but the loss was just by a hair, 53,822,442 to the Dem’s 54,301,095.

I’m not too interested in the Dem’s victory there, per se.    After all, we expect them to win the high density urban centers.  That’s why we have checks and balances such as the electoral college and the senate.  But what I was interested was in the fact that in this case, the Republican vote was higher than in 2008.  In 2008, GOP candidates received 51,952,981 votes and this year it was 53,822,442.  That’s a swing in the Republican favor of almost 2,000,000 votes… nearly identical to the 2,000,000 less against the Republicans that Romney received.  Coincidence?

From this we may suppose that about 2,000,000 GOP-minded individuals went to the ballot box, cast a vote for their local GOP guy, and then cast no vote at all on the presidential ticket.

This 2 million swing puts Romney at an effective tie with Obama.

In 2008, there were many conservatives who were not pleased with the selection of McCain as their candidate.  The choice of Palin was encouraging, to them, but McCain’s subsequent decision to vote for the ‘stimulus’ and TARP was a real downer.  There was open conversation amongst conservatives about not casting a vote for McCain.  There was some discussion about sending the GOP a message that they wouldn’t tolerate such candidates in the future.  Then the tea party happened, and there was some notion that the GOP had finally got the message.  The result was a commanding landslide by the Republicans all across the country, not just in the House and Senate, but in governor’s races, state races, and local races.

Then, ‘moderate’ Romney was chosen to be the nominee in 2012.

New hypothesis:  The loss by McCain and the GOP 2010 midterm victories were a message to the GOP and the 2012 election is a re-statement of that same message:  we will vote for genuine conservative candidates and support them materially, but we will no longer support candidates who struggle to distinguish themselves from the ones they are running against.  They will not hold their nose and vote for the GOP moderate.  They’re just not going to do it.  But, as the 2012 House turnout shows, they will still vote for the GOP conservative.

If I’m right, the election was (largely) fair, and a message was sent, but it was not that the GOP needs to reach out to women, hispanics, and the youth.  It needs to reach out to the conservatives!

In fact, ‘reaching’ out to these subgroups in a manner that further makes GOP candidates indistinguishable from Liberals they are running against, and will force a further withdrawal of support for the GOP and its candidates.  The Tea Party has spoken:  they’re not going to take it any more, and they are NOT going to support RINOs.  Period.

This hypothesis does need some testing before it can be fully embraced.  For example, I think you’d have to do some analysis of a large number of individual elections.  If, for example, we see many House candidates receiving significantly more votes than Romney received in the same areas, even if those areas still ‘went’ for Romney, the discrepancy could clearly account for the aggregate state results not being enough to provide for a Romney victory, even if the local candidates win.

I also wonder about the value of exit polling in such issues.  When I get phone calls for polling, I always decline.  I’ve never met an exit poller, but it I did, I would decline to participate.  I suspect many conservatives are similar.  That is, they are not going to disclose to someone anything, let alone the fact that they did not vote for Romney but they did vote GOP elsewhere.  Do we have anyway to ascertain how many people voted GOP but chose not to vote for Romney?

I think I have talked myself into accepting this hypothesis, but I suppose the ‘powers that be’ will want to ground themselves in some hard data.  But perhaps they don’t care, and we already know they don’t care, and that’s how Romney became our candidate.

 

 

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I hate it when I’m wrong, and even more when I’m right

So my good friend Danny is just waiting to pounce, adding on to his epic fish slap the fact that my predicted Romney landslide did not take place.  There was no landslide.  There wasn’t even a Romney.  The post was:  Romney in a Landslide, if the election is fair.  I stated my reasoning in that article, but it is worth addressing some points again with the benefit of hindsight.

In 2010, the Dems were routed.  In liberal WI, the Dems were not only routed, but routed again when the Republican Supreme Court Justice David Prosser won, and again when Walker and most of the recalled senators kept their spots.  In the meantime, in the days leading up to the election, polls had Americans firmly wishing for the repeal of Obamacare by 15 points.  In this election, the GOP not only held the house, but held it in commanding fashion, yet Obama somehow wins the White House.  I’m having trouble wrapping myself around the idea that there are millions of Americans who voted for a GOP candidate and simultaneously voted for Obama, but if indeed the election is fair, that is what happened.  That the election was not fair is a plausible explanation.  More plausible then millions voting for GOP candidates and voting for Obama, in my mind.

Something that came onto my radar over the last couple of weeks were the existence of more people voting protest or not voting at all than I realized.  I myself was severely disappointed that Romney was my alternative to Obama.  I surprised myself somewhat by voting for Romney.  I saw it as a protest vote, and could not bring myself to campaign for Romney.  There may end up being a lot more people feeling the same way as I do, except they didn’t even cast the vote for Romney.  I’m not blaming them, mind you.  I’m fully sympathetic.    But it would be another plausible explanation.

As more data emerges, we may find some answers to this.  I believe it needs answers, if the phenomenon is genuine, and I hate giving Danny more fodder to thwack me with for being wrong (again), but I hate worse being right.

As soon as the phenomenon became apparent last night, I remembered that I had spoken to this two years ago after the Tea Party routed Liberals throughout the country.  The post was:  The election should make me happy, but it doesn’t.  In that post, I address the phenomena of a landslide route of the Dems in 2010 following a landslide route of the GOP in 2008.

It was only two years ago that the great mass of swing voters, so called independents and moderates, scurried over like lemmings to vote for Obama and the Democrats.  That any of them might have been surprised at what Obama and the Democrat congress actually did hints at a serious problem.   No doubt many of these people voted against Obama this year- but did they do it because they have more carefully deliberated on their principles and the lessons of history?

I think it is clear that many of them did.  Nonetheless, I am certain that a lot didn’t, and the fact that millions and millions still happily cast their lot with Obama and his socialist-by-another-name agenda shows that many people didn’t really move at all.

For a populace to swing wildly back and forth every two years is a madness that indicates there our mass of citizenry that is rocked back and forth on the waves of change, without anchor, without direction, without guiding principles grounded in fact and the realities of the universe.

I say:

The only difference between a dog and a human is that when a dog returns to its vomit, the dog knows what it is eating.    The human puts salt and pepper and garnish on it and imagines its new and thanks the chef- until he gets sick and dies, at which point he is at a loss wondering how he came to be in that predicament.

As it seems to me, the American people still haven’t figured it out.  The repudiation is not emphatic enough and the reasons and rationale of the American people at large are ambiguous.  Americans will never figure it out given what is arrayed against them.  The only hope for long lasting return to the Constitution and the principles that made America special is for the American people to suffer in darkness and despair for twenty to thirty years, wondering if ever they can emerge from it, and increasingly certain about how they got into the situation in the first place.

Thus, a GOP victory only delays the Great Loss that will bring about the only kind of victory that can last- that one that is based on knowledge of principle, understanding of the past, and the witness of experience.   We need a citizenry that understands that when you play with fire, you’ll get burned.  If the fireman keeps rushing in before you get scorched, the message doesn’t get through.

In short, people haven’t yet put 2 and 2 together, and my view is that our only hope is that we endure “the Great Loss” because otherwise no lessons will be learned.

The reason for my pessimism then and now has much to do with the fact that no matter who we elect at the ‘top’ the bottom layers are saturated with people who work to undermine the conservative worldview left and right.

In order to truly change the tide… well, a lot of things have to happen.  Churches need to get on board.  I mean, they really have to begin transmitting the faith in an effective way, instead of churning out future secular humanists.  They need to act on the faith that they express with their lips.  Our school system, public and otherwise, needs to be infused with the sort of education that actually exposes students to something other than the progressive worldview.  Our victory is temporary indeed when the progressives still control the education of our children.  In sum, we need to go further than just putting ‘our people’ in positions of government authority.  (Half the time, ‘our people’ are indistinguishable from liberals… another big problem).  We’ve actually got to persuade people of the wisdom and rightness of our view and lay brick after brick in the foundation of a person’s mental framework that leads them to be ‘conservative.’

That will be a tough task, given that that foundation has been dismantled brick by brick for more than a hundred years right underneath our noses.

Even so, unless this be done, this victory is temporary, and the next time the wind changes and some charismatic fellow comes along promising the stars, the lemmings will leap…  and maybe this time we’ll all fall to our deaths on the rocks below.

I was right:  Our victory is temporary indeed when we leave the education of our youth to those who undermine our values and do not stand for truth within our churches.  Sorry, Catholic Church, but drawing the line at the HHS mandate is not just too little, too late, but well after the cows have left the barn.   In their defense, our defense, my defense, the cows left the barn decades ago, before most of us were even born.

This election was just the symptom of a deeper problem, and the 2010 election was itself a symptom of that problem.  The “Great Loss” hasn’t entirely arrived.  Miraculously, the GOP held the House.  I’m not sure that that is a good thing, because it gives the Democrats and the topsy-turvy population someone else to blame when things go bad.  Or, perhaps we’ll prevent the bad from happening, which delays the “Great Lesson” that is necessary.  It would almost be better for them to step aside, step down, and hand things over to the Democrats so that there can be no doubt who is to blame as America continues its descent into Greece, Spain, and England.  Almost.  They are duty bound to fight the good fight.  We are duty bound to go down fighting.

But I do not doubt that in fact we are going down.

My recommendation is not to be like Lot’s wife, who looked back.

And, as I urged yesterday (in the case that Romney actually wins),

A change in the law is just one small part of the issue, because laws reflect the activity of representatives, who are elected by people in their local communities, who are led to believe certain things in their churches and schools.  Moral of the story:  be vigilant, be principled, and be courageous.

May I also suggest for further reading this post, urging an ‘orderly retreat’ in the culture wars, since it is evident we are losing, or have lost in that war.

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