Monday, April 02, 2012

Is This An Unbiased Survey?

I took a survey over the weekend. The further along I got in it, the more disturbed I became by the underlying assumptions that seemed to have been made.

My responses are posted below, but if you are so inclined you may take the survey as well first so your answers are not influenced by what you might read further down:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/JPBHPP2


I would certainly be curious to hear comments from those who take the survey - or simply from those who read my responses and simply feel like beating me up! :-)

“Rich and Poor Survey”

1. A person of middle-class passes by a homeless man. Should the cause of the man losing his money (job-loss due to recession vs. gambling) influence the decision for the middle-class person to spare some change for the man?

Yes
No

Why?
The decision to aid should be based upon need, not the cause of that need. Also, how many people are going to get involved in an extended discussion to determine how the homeless man came to be in his circumstances?

2. The government is considering to pass a law obligating households of middle-class and higher to pay a tax to assist people in the lower class. Do you agree or disagree with passing this law?

Agree
Disagree

Why?
Redistribution of wealth does nothing to ameliorate the plight of the less well off, and punishing success does not encourage others to strive for success in their own right.

3. Would a person of higher-class be more responsible for providing charity for the poor than a person of middle-class?

Yes
No

Why?
Charity is a matter of conscience, not class. Having more perhaps permits one to give more but certainly does not obligate that increased giving.

4. Would a higher-class person with inherited money have more responsibility to give charity to the poor than a higher-class person that has earned their fortune with hard work?

Yes
No

Why?
Of course not. How one's resources are obtained does not dictate how those resources should be deployed. To carry the question to a ridiculous extreme, is the lower-class person who benefited from charity more obligated to share their resources than an equally resourced lower class person who has obtained their money without the generosity of others?

5. Does the rich give or take from society?

Give
Take

Why?
It is trite, but true: wealthy people employ people, poor people do not.


6. What is the purpose of charity?

In my never to be confused with humble opinion, charity should first be a private concern and not a function of any government. Charity should strive to help those who are incapable of helping themselves and stabilize the condition of those who need a hand getting back on heir feet becoming self sufficient once again. In no case should charity ever enable the recipient to feel comfortable or complacent in their poverty.

7. Is universal equality ideal? Why or why not?

Universal equality is the worst possible thing that could ever happen to any society. When all are absolutely equal there is nothing to strive for, no reason to better oneself or one's position. Such a society would inevitably find itself in a downward spiral toward extinction.

8. Should we focus on non-financial aid more than financial aid? Why or why not?

Aid should be given in whatever manner most effectively accomplishes the aims of helping the helpless or aiding those who can become productive once again but need a hand in overcoming their present circumstances.

9. Should the rich give to the poor? Why or why not?

What is the imperative behind the "should" in this question? If the assumption is that simply having resources obligates one to share those resources then the answer is absolutely not. If, however, the questioner is posing the question based upon the assumption that a society comprised of productive achievers functions to the ever increasing benefit of rich and poor alike then by all means the rich should give to the poor. Not due to any moral or societal obligation but because it is in their own self interest to do so, with a by product being that it benefits not only the recipient of the charity given but other members of society as well.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

So That's My Problem

In a March 27, 2010 opinion piece in The New York Times, Frank Rich goes to great lengths of hyperbole to take some completely gratuitous cheap shots at Karl Rove, John Boehner, and others.

Frank's Momma should have also taught him that even more important than not being a sore loser is to not be a sore winner. Grace and dignity will win you far more cosmic brownie points in the long run. Though if that is a lesson he and his ilk refuse to take to heart, I'm okay with that.

Mr. Rich did, however point out one little fact in his essay that until now I was completely unaware of. He notes, "The conjunction of a black president and a female speaker of the House — topped off by a wise Latina on the Supreme Court and a powerful gay Congressional committee chairman — would sow fears of disenfranchisement among a dwindling and threatened minority in the country no matter what policies were in play. It’s not happenstance that Frank, Lewis and Cleaver — none of them major Democratic players in the health care push — received a major share of last weekend’s abuse. When you hear demonstrators chant the slogan “Take our country back!,” these are the people they want to take the country back from."

All along I've been thinking it was the shredding of the Constitution, the Federal Government takeover of private institutions and constraint of freedoms, and the economic policies that leave us the option of experiencing bankruptcy as a nation either in either the near future or even sooner than that with which I disagreed.

Instead, it seems I'm just a garden variety Racist Sexist Homophobe (who also happens to believe in God and owns a gun, can't forget that!). So much simpler than actually having to waste cognitive effort on coming up with reasons for disagreeing with those in control.

I do have one question for you, Mr. Rich. If your thesis is accurate then why do I also feel the same way about Harry Reid and his policies as I do about Pelosi, Obama et al.? As the slam dunk winner of The Whitest Boy in America Pageant, I should be calling him up and asking if he'd like to chug a few brewskies with me at the next NASCAR event. Shouldn't I?

Friday, November 06, 2009

Email to the Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States of America

The Speaker of the House has her (his, too, when it is a man?) web site, in addition to her congressional web page. I have taken advantage of the Speaker's page to contact her, as it invites me to do. I have done so fully understanding that she is no doubt disinclined to respond in any event, but also aware of the admonition from her district web site that ". . . the rules of Congressional courtesy prevent Representative Pelosi from replying to emails if she cannot determine that you are a constituent,. . .".


Speaker,

It is no longer surprising, yet continues to be distressing, that you seem compulsively incapable of opening your mouth without uttering a misrepresentation of fact. Your complete lack of honor and integrity diminishes you as a human being and arguably disqualifies you for the office you hold. More importantly, your actions demean that office in a way that is unfair to your predecessors and those who will follow after.

One more recent example of your non-existent ethics:

(http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2009/11/pelosi_breaks_pledge_to_put_he.asp)On September 24, Speaker Nancy Pelosi told THE WEEKLY STANDARD that she was "absolutely" committed to putting the text of the final House bill online for 72 hours before the House votes:

TWS: Madam Speaker, do you support the measure to put the final House bill online for 72 hours before it's voted on at the very end?

PELOSI: Absolutely. Without question.

But tonight, when asked if Speaker Pelosi will leave the bill online for 72 hours after we see what's in the rule, Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly replied in an email: "No; [the] pledge was to have manager’s amendment online for 72 hours, and we will do that."

Apparently Pelosi's agreement to leave the "final" bill online "at the very end" of the process wasn't such a straightforward pledge.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Who's the Joker?




One is racist hatemongering. End of Discussion.

One is patriotic dissension and an exercise of constitutionally protected free speech.

Really?

Can anyone out there provide a rational justification for this double standard? Disagreeing with a set of ideas based upon the substance of those ideas is not a function of the skin color of the mouthpiece for those ideas. Pulling out the race card every time one is challenged cheapens that defense, and will render it meaningless when it is truly deserved.

Anyone recall the Little Boy Who Cried Wolf?

Friday, October 09, 2009

Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize

The link in the title of this post is simply the first of many encountered, not necessarily of greater or lesser value than any others available.

This news is nothing short of the most incredible load of fertilizer imaginable. No one should be subjected to such a thing before breakfast, never mind without a first cup of coffee.

To say that the Nobel Peace Prize is diminished by this decision is an understatement. Al Gore's award was a horrid joke, receiving a "Peace" prize for junk science rather than any actual effort or accomplishment furthering the cause of peace amongst humanity. Even so, he at least made up that junk science and sold the world a bill of goods. Not to mention making a tidy personal profit through his various business ventures in the process.

Obama has not even done that. He's given some speeches. Rodney King did as much, arguably more, even, when he asked "Can we all just get along?"

Sorry, kids, but Barry O. is even less deserving than Jimmy Carter. Carter's great effort at promoting world peace would have to be the Camp David Accords - and we all know how idyllic life has been in the Middle East since 1978.

Oslo - I haven't advocated the elimination or ostracizing of any ethnic or religious group, I implore people not to kill their neighbors, and I think it would be truly swell if we could just help each other out and live harmoniously in the land of White Light and Fuzzy Bunnies. Heck, I can even write up a great piece on the impending terror of Global Cooling. That way, after all the Cap and Trade taxes have been wrung out of the world economy we can set up a whole new scheme to extract even more money to warm this place back up.

I know it's too late for 2009, but if you respond to this blog I will be happy to provide you with instructions for reaching me and awarding the 2010 Prize. Heck, I even boast Norwegian ancestry, so you can play up the fact that (a descendant of) one of your own has gone out in the world and made good.

At least give it some consideration. I'm clearly as worthy as some of your recent picks.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Prove It and We Will Come

For the bulk of this year we have been told how if only everything is turned over to the benevolent and competent hands of the government we will receive better health care at a lower cost than we now endure, and as an added bonus no patient will be left behind.

Rather than all the fighting and bickering that is going on now, why don't the powers that be take the simple step of proving how much better and cheaper they can run things? The federal government, or it's compelled partners the state governments, already control Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA health care systems. If they can do such an incredible job of providing improved health care at lower cost, let them prove it within the framework of these programs. Show us the savings you can realize. Show us how much better off the participants can be made through the application of smart government to the problem.

If they can do everything they claim is possible within those programs, I guarantee that every American will march on Washington and demand that the benefit of government brilliance be extended to everyone. One solid result will win far more converts than any number of pie in the sky promises.

Prove the truth, and no one can claim there is a lie.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Renault’s Ghosn Bucks Trend With Electric ‘Model T’

The above linked story extols the virtues of a new Renault electric vehicle, the Fluence sedan. The slant of the article is that Renault is producing the equivalent of the Model T for the electric vehicle world.

". . . will make Renault’s Fluence sedan the world’s first mass-market, zero- emission auto, [Chief Executive Officer Carlos] Ghosn said today at the Frankfurt Motor Show."

That's a really green, feel-good quote, Mr. Ghosen. Unfortunately, sir, TiVOing the carbon emissions from the tailpipe to the power plant across town does not make them go away. No matter how much you may wish it to be so, the electricity fairy does not come along in the middle of the night and top off your battery with magically carbon-neutral electricals. Until you create the initial energy in a non-polluting manner your efforts are nothing more than smoke and mirrors.

But keep trying!

How Many Of These Do You Recognize As Having Come To Pass So Far?

A Google search for the phrase "Communist Goals read into the Jan. 10, 1963 Congressional Record" will yield a number of results, including the one linked in the title above. As the search term suggests, the results concern a list of 45 Communist goals for America. Compiled in the 1958 Cleon Skousen book "The Naked Communist", the list was read into the Congressional Record for the U.S. House of Representatives on January 10, 1963.

What is interesting is not the fact that this material was entered into the Congressional Record, but rather the fact that so many of the stated goals have been achieved, creating the nation and world we live in today. Proving yet again that the best way for the bad guys to have their way with the world is to simply tell the reasonable people exactly what they plan to do. History proves we can be relied upon to ignore the bad news.

(Note: There is no direct link to this material because the Congressional Record is only available online back to 1994. Visit a Federal depository library for corroboration of this material.)

Congressional Record--Appendix, pp. A34-A35, January 10, 1963

1. U.S. acceptance of coexistence as the only alternative to atomic war.

2. U.S. willingness to capitulate in preference to engaging in atomic war.

3. Develop the illusion that total disarmament [by] the United States would be a demonstration of moral strength.

4. Permit free trade between all nations regardless of Communist affiliation and regardless of whether or not items could be used for war.

5. Extension of long-term loans to Russia and Soviet satellites.

6. Provide American aid to all nations regardless of Communist domination.

7. Grant recognition of Red China. Admission of Red China to the U.N.

8. Set up East and West Germany as separate states in spite of Khrushchev's promise in 1955 to settle the German question by free elections under supervision of the U.N.

9. Prolong the conferences to ban atomic tests because the United States has agreed to suspend tests as long as negotiations are in progress.

10. Allow all Soviet satellites individual representation in the U.N.

11. Promote the U.N. as the only hope for mankind. If its charter is rewritten, demand that it be set up as a one-world government with its own independent armed forces. (Some Communist leaders believe the world can be taken over as easily by the U.N. as by Moscow. Sometimes these two centers compete with each other as they are now doing in the Congo.)

12. Resist any attempt to outlaw the Communist Party.

13. Do away with all loyalty oaths.

14. Continue giving Russia access to the U.S. Patent Office.

15. Capture one or both of the political parties in the United States.

16. Use technical decisions of the courts to weaken basic American institutions by claiming their activities violate civil rights.

17. Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers' associations. Put the party line in textbooks.

18. Gain control of all student newspapers.

19. Use student riots to foment public protests against programs or organizations which are under Communist attack.

20. Infiltrate the press. Get control of book-review assignments, editorial writing, policy-making positions.

21. Gain control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures.

22. Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. An American Communist cell was told to "eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms."

23. Control art critics and directors of art museums. "Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art."

24. Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them "censorship" and a violation of free speech and free press.

25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.

26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as "normal, natural, healthy."

27. Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with "social" religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity, which does not need a "religious crutch."

28. Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of "separation of church and state."

29. Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis.

30. Discredit the American Founding Fathers. Present them as selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the "common man."

31. Belittle all forms of American culture and discourage the teaching of American history on the ground that it was only a minor part of the "big picture." Give more emphasis to Russian history since the Communists took over.

32. Support any socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture--education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health clinics, etc.

33. Eliminate all laws or procedures which interfere with the operation of the Communist apparatus.

34. Eliminate the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

35. Discredit and eventually dismantle the FBI.

36. Infiltrate and gain control of more unions.

37. Infiltrate and gain control of big business.

38. Transfer some of the powers of arrest from the police to social agencies. Treat all behavioral problems as psychiatric disorders which no one but psychiatrists can understand [or treat].

39. Dominate the psychiatric profession and use mental health laws as a means of gaining coercive control over those who oppose Communist goals.

40. Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.

41. Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.

42. Create the impression that violence and insurrection are legitimate aspects of the American tradition; that students and special-interest groups should rise up and use ["]united force["] to solve economic, political or social problems.

43. Overthrow all colonial governments before native populations are ready for self-government.

44. Internationalize the Panama Canal.

45. Repeal the Connally reservation so the United States cannot prevent the World Court from seizing jurisdiction [over domestic problems. Give the World Court jurisdiction] over nations and individuals alike.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Play Time's Over, Kids (Mommy and Daddy Aren't Famous Enough)

Rosie O'Donnell gets a pass on this when she dresses her 4-year-old daughter similarly (Note: the previous link is one of literally thousands available regarding the June 2207 O'Donnell incident, and was only selected as a representative account because it is posted by a "respectable" source - CBS News), but less well off citizens get hauled in and charged?

Clearly the two in this most recent case are not Parents of the Year material with the drugs and other issues around the home. However, it was the picture that drew government attention in the first place. Certainly one may choose to disagree with the notion of children being in possession of firearms, but a photograph of a child holding a weapon is hardly illegal, and there is no possible method of discerning from the photograph whether the guns were loaded at the time of the photoshoot. Even if the weapons were loaded, that does not in and of itself constitute child endangerment. The nanny-state concerns of a busybody, do-gooder friend or neighbor over the subject matter of a photograph that is not in and of itself depicting a criminal act hardly justifies violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Since the authorities gained access to the home due to information that did not exclusive of the establishment of other supporting facts constitute a crime and would never have otherwise drawn their involvement, all charges the couple face ought to be dismissed. From the photograph itself, as a cause of action for entry and search, it is not possible to determine where the photograph was taken or whether the guns are legally owned and registered. They should get off on this one not because the parents don't deserve to be charged but because we cannot permit the government or it's representatives to enter our homes without just cause and then conduct a fishing expedition.

If the standard for probable cause to enter and search private property is reduced to one citizen complaining that an illegal act might have taken place (or not - oops!) then the protections and privileges of private property cease to exist for all.

Just one more chink in the armor of civil liberties and protection against intrusive government.

Michael Moore: Bet You Won't Find His Money Running Where His Mouth Does

"Capitalism: A Love Story" is the latest offering to the cultural heritage of the planet by Michael Moore.

In the film, Moore "concludes" - though one suspects the conclusion was the starting framework around which selected supporting elements were wrapped - that capitalism is an evil, and needs to be replaced with something good for the people - like democracy!

Not only does Moore reveal his widely shared ignorance of the form of government established in the Constitution of the United States of America, that being a representative republic rather than a democracy, his conclusion also would seem to suggest that the successful function of capitalism is impossible and indeed undesirable within a democratic society.

Hmm. The workers control the means of production anyone?

Speaking in Venice, "Democracy is not a spectator sport, it's a participatory event," [Moore] told a news conference. "If we don't participate in it, it ceases to be a democracy. So Obama will rise or fall based not so much on what he does but on what we do to support him."

So all we need to do is gather 'round and launch a rousing chorus of Kumbaya My Lord Obama, Kumbaya, and the good times will soon be had by all.

I have no doubt that Michael Moore will join the chorus. How likely is it, though, that he will donate all his filthy, capitalist system generated millions to the cause?

Friday, September 04, 2009

More Mail For Congress

As a follow-up to the August 22 letter to the White House on Health Care Reform, the letter below was sent today to Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Robert Byrd, Jay Rockefeller, and Shelley Moore Capito.

For some strange reason, the President does not seem inclined to reciprocate when I reach out to correspond with him. I am optimistic that at least one of the five on today's mailing list will return a form letter assuring me my views are truly valued.

______________________________________

September 4, 2009

Representative Nancy Pelosi
United States House of Representatives
235 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-0508

Madame Speaker,

Please read the enclosed letter to the President.

As public servants and shepherds of the best interests of the collective citizens of the United States of America, it is Congress’ obligation to me and every other American to provide leadership and promote the wellbeing of all. Pillaging the treasury and saddling several future generations of Americans with a debt that makes the toxic housing loans of recent years appear conservative and completely responsible is an abrogation of your fiduciary responsibility to the public trust.

The only “trigger” that needs to be legislated and pulled is the one invoking common sense, maturity, and reason from those serving in Washington. Health care reform as it is presently contemplated is neither reform nor necessary.

I call upon you to do all within your power to derail this mad rush towards the oblivion today’s political leadership seems determined to force this nation into.


Sincerely,




Jacob D. Vreeland, Jr.
Bunker Hill, WV

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Senator Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy (February 22, 1932 – August 25, 2009)

Senator Kennedy, as you wend your way toward Arlington Cemetery, I bid you a respectful farewell. Though I found little common ground with you politically, and there was much in your personal life to find questionable and even objectionable, you were always an honorable proponent of your positions in your public life.

Be well.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Thoughts For the President on Health Care

August 22, 2009

The President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Mr. President,

Contrary to what you, and your masters at the Baby Oak Tree Organization, would appear to believe, the problem with the health care system in this country is not that you are failing to extract enough money from the pockets of Americans. The problem is that with health care, and much else in our country today, far too much money is already being removed from those pockets. I guarantee that I care far more about my own finances than you ever well, and that the average ten year old is probably better at making responsible money decisions than you and your sub-breed of political elites in Washington.

So, what can you do to apply some meaningful change (like the way I worked that word in there for you?!) to the health care situation in America that will result in vast improvements?

To start, let’s impose a little bit of tort reform. Doctors around the nation are compelled to order many tests that in most cases are absolutely unnecessary, but need to be run just in case their patient is that one in one hundred million individual suffering from a disease that only has 93 recorded cases in the history of man. Why? Because if they don’t run that test and the patient dies from the most unlikely of afflictions, some lawyer will be hanging around ready to pounce on a huge malpractice and wrongful death verdict. It should be reasonably simple for a gathering of medical professionals, not beholden to government pressures, to identify what would constitute reasonable and prudent medical care in upwards of 95 percent of all medical encounters. Once doctors have met those standards, they should be considered to have met their legal obligations to the patient and be freed from the specter of lottery jackpot lawsuits.

A related matter is jury awards. Though only medical suits are addressed here, the concept truly has much broader applications. No doubt everyone loves Grampa Joe. Unquestionably he’s a swell old guy. However, he is not worth an $87 million jury award just because a doctor was slightly less successful than God at affecting a cure. No amount of money is going to bring old Grampa Joe back, and his family is not going to miss him any less from their vacation home in Tahiti than they would from their rent-controlled apartment in Queens. The same can be said of much younger workers as well. Sure, some people will grow up to be Bill Gates or Warren Buffet, but the truth is that most of us spend our lives earning a lifestyle closer to that enjoyed by Ralph Kramden. Multi-million dollar paydays for events that often fall under the heading of “sometimes (all natural organic fertilizer) happens” do not ameliorate the loss of the deceased’s loved ones nor do they serve the theoretically intended purpose of making medicine (products, services, etc.) better or safer for the general public.

The next item to be addressed in improving the cost and accessibility of medical care in the United States is creating a true free market subject to competition and the pressures of consumers willing and able to take their business elsewhere. For most people, privately purchased medical insurance is prohibitively expensive. The majority either take what is offered by their employer or take nothing at all. That can easily be addressed by changing two elements of the current system: letting individual consumers make the choice about where to spend health care dollars, and give them the opportunity to shop for plans across state lines. Just because the interstate commerce clause has been violated in the case of medical insurance for decades does not mean that it ever should have been or that the practice should continue.

In order for consumers to select their own plans, employers should pay unto a fund for their employees that would be modeled on current Flexible Spending Accounts or Health Savings Accounts. The employer pays in, each employee has the right to spend up to a defined amount per year, and whatever is left unspent at the end of the year returns to the employer. In order to ensure effective shopping and sound consumerism, employees should also be offered an incentive, such as receiving up to ten percent of their portion of the pool that is not spent – providing they do in fact obtain insurance for themselves and their families. Employees who are empowered to seek the greatest value in terms of services offered for costs paid will do so. Unlike governments, individuals need to balance budgets and generally do a pretty good job at getting as much bang as they possibly can for their buck. Or at least they do when some meddling bureaucrat isn’t getting in the way.

The consumer should also be able to compare and choose from plans offered in Detroit, and Des Moines, and Denver, and San Diego. In a world where the overwhelming majority of transactions are converted to an electronic event rather than being processed manually, and where a person calling for help is far more likely to attempt to communicate with someone in Bangalore than they are to converse with a native English speaker in Boston, there is no justification for suggesting that the insurance company writing the check to a doctor should be relatively local to the consumer.

Making the entire nation a single insurance pool spreads the risk evenly across the population, just as your plans purport to do. Making every insurance company compete with every other insurance company will offer increased services at decreased cost to the consumer. Those with good business practices will gain customers and flourish. Those who feel they should be able to continually inflate premiums and reduce services will lose customers and go out of business. Further, by switching from one job to another an employee would not lose health insurance coverage since the plan they have is a plan they shopped and paid for themselves. Thus, the problem of portability is also solved.

Does this address every issue that could be improved upon in our current health care system? Of course not. It is certainly a far superior framework than the current proposal which seeks to spend even more money that we don’t have in order to provide fewer and lower quality services to all.

I don’t think Grampa Joe is worth $87 million, but I also don’t think he should die because some government panel thinks he should toss back a few Vicodin and go gentle into that good night rather than receive a new heart, liver, or kidney.

This country is about hard work, innovation and moving forward. We are not about proving that we can screw up the great socialist experiment even better than was done by Europe and the Soviet Union. The kind of change I could believe in is where you showed leadership in solving the problems that face us rather than going out of your way to prove you can be the fountainhead for the destruction of the United States of America.


Sincerely,



Jacob D. Vreeland, Jr
Bunker Hill, WV

Friday, August 21, 2009

From the Declaration of Independence

(Note: Itallics, emphasis, and [bracketed] comments added by the blogger.)

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. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies [United States]; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former [present] systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [political princes of both parties] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

NIMBY

Display Your Tea Bagger Pride!

Have you been to a Tea Party - not the kind with doilies but rather the kind with patriotic Americans?

Do you consider yourself a "9-12"er?

Does the thought cross your mind every now and then that the clowns in charge in Washington these days couldn't find their collective rectal orifice even with the aid of the entire Capitol Page corps and a bank of klieg lights, mainly because their heads are stuck too far up the problem?

Are you convinced that everything you thought your country was all about is being stripped away and perverted into a sad parody of the Soviet Union - or worse, France?

If you can answer yes, or at least find common ground with any of these, then you are a Tea Bagger - just ask CNN's Anderson Cooper, who held forth as an authority on tea-bagging during a live CNN broadcast April 15. Ah, the wise and sober voice of experience.

Be proud, and in a very non-confrontational way let the world know who you are. Tie a couple of tea bags together and hang them over the rear view mirror in your car. That way, anyone who sees you will know.

They'll know you're just a man who wants to love his woman. Or a woman her man. Or any other combination that works for you - the plumbing isn't the point here.

You want to raise your kids right, go to work every day, and on weekends enjoy a cold beverage of your choice around the backyard grill with your friends.

You want to do your part to make this country work, and enjoy your life in the process. You don't want to be bothered with the nuts and bolts mechanics of keeping this magnificent machine that is the United States of America running.

But you are an American. And you will be damned if you'll sit idly by while a group of power hungry socialist thugs try to make this country over into something you wouldn't wish upon your worst enemy. Something that your parents, never mind the founding fathers, wouldn't even recognize. If they insist, then by God you'll stand up and do something about it.

So hang those tea bags and let them know you're coming.

Let them know exactly who you are and what you stand for.

Let them know you're mad as hell, they've gone more than far enough, and you're not going to take it any more.

Make sure they know you are an American, and that some fights are just too important to back down from no matter what threats may be leveled against you or your family.

Then have your family, friends, and neighbors hang their tea bags too.

E pluribus unum.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Because Disagreeing With Big Brother is a Thought Crime - And I am Proud to Be Guilty!

For those who are interested in keeping a tally of the emails actually sent to flag@whitehouse.gov courtesy of this particular blogger, they will be entered as comments to the August 9, 2009 post, "Be Careful What You Ask For, Mr. President". That way they are tracked, but don't create a long list of otherwise irrelevant posts.

(08-12-09, 21:45 - Updated title of this post from "Hate Crime" to "Thought Crime", which is what was originally intended. Far be it from me to be full of hate! :-) )

Monday, August 10, 2009

Paulette

Even though you're the baby sister, it's Happy Somewhat More Than 27th for you!

(Then again, birthdays start adding up long before anniversaries do. :-) )

Natalie

Happy 27th!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Be Careful What You Ask For, Mr. President

In a much talked about blog post on August 4, 2009, Macon Phillips posted that "Facts Are Stubborn Things". They are indeed, Mr. Phillips. And the fact is that despite the extraordinary lengths you went to in an effort to prove how audio and video can be manipulated to make someone (such as President Obama?) seem to be saying something they actually did not, BHO is in fact caught on numerous unedited audio and video recordings over the years saying exactly what you don't wish the American public to hear from his lips.

Denial does not make the truth go away, and obfuscation does not make it impossible for the mark to occasionally win at three-card Monte. The American People are not marks, and when you rouse us sufficiently we will eventually prevail.

Mr. Phillips, as a mouthpiece for the President you have asked that "If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov. To use an old proverb attributed to the Chinese, be careful what you ask for - you may get it.

Despite the fact that your request for "fishy" information to be forwarded is a blatant violation of the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. § 552a, I and no doubt millions of other Americans have no fear of the present administration when it comes to a possible chilling effect on our free speech rights. You want to try and chill us? Bring it on!

You want fishy, which by your definition would appear to be anything that contradicts or even so much as questions the party line, failing to fall into complete and lemming-like lockstep with Our Glorious Leader?

You got it.

I will send you fishy. Once an hour. Every hour. At the top of the hour. Starting with this blog and continuing with links to every article and opinion piece I can find that demonstrates the absolute rejection the American People have for an overwhelming majority of the policies, objectives, and actions of this administration. I would strongly urge anyone who is exposed to these words to do the same, to give you what you so desperately wish to have, and to share these words with others who feel likewise.

Chill out the free citizens of the United States of America? I think not. Rather, we will turn up the heat on you and yours until you get out of the kitchen and stop ruining everything you attempt to bake. Try as you might, you will never successfully enslave a fundamentally free people so long as they possess the will to thwart the aims of tyranny.

(For those who prefer links instead of typing to do their emailing, that White House email address again is flag@whitehouse.gov. Heck, you can call the White House Switchboard at (202)456-1414, or you may call their Comment Line at (202)456-1111. Your comment is very important to Barack Obama - the nice recorded lady said so at 5:00 PM on a Sunday. So important that they are available to let you make your voice heard between the hours of 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM Monday through Friday. Oh, and I probably wouldn't expect much in the way of someone answering on holidays, either.)

Friday, July 31, 2009

The People's Prayer

Barack Obama, Thou art in Washington,
Hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy People’s Utopia Come,
Thy vision of Change be done,
In the US as it was in the USSR.
Give us this day our daily dole.
And limit our health care,
As we pay for those who aren’t as foolish as we are.
And lead us not into prosperity,
But deliver us from Capitalism.
For we are but the proletariat,
And Thou art the Anointed One, with the One True Way,
For ever and ever.

Yes Sir.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Bush the Elder Understood the Concept of "Wouldn't Be Prudent"

July 23, 2009


The President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500


Mr. President,

To put it succinctly, what the heck were you thinking?

During the July 22, 2009, press conference you responded to a question by Lynn Sweet about the arrest in Cambridge, Massachusetts, of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., by saying ,” I don't know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that. But I think it's fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home, and, number three, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there's a long history in this country of African Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately."

News flash: You are the President of the United States of America, not Barry The Wonder Blogger purging his brain of all the news that is not even fit to print in The New York Times. You aren’t some hard working Joe venting his frustrations with the world at large in his neighborhood watering hole some evening after work. As President, it is expected that you can muster up a slightly higher personal standard than the common dolt can. Acting stupidly is not a luxury you are permitted.

By your own statement you did not have all the facts. Here’s a notion to keep in mind for future situations – keep it zipped until you do have all the facts available. Shooting from the hip is not something one in your position should be doing. “Well, we uh, thought the missile came from, uh, Russia so we emptied our arsenal against them. My bad!” is not exactly going to go over well when trying to explain yourself to the rest of the world. That last night’s question and answer was a completely trivial exchange by comparison does not negate the point.

Please stick to doing those things you are supposed to be doing, and that you are familiar with and educated about. We have learned that list does not include running automobile companies, the health insurance and medical delivery industries, banking, or even the workings of the Cambridge Police Department.

Keep trying, though. I am confident that if the country is fortunate enough to survive your efforts that long you will eventually find something for which you are competent.


Sincerely,




Jacob D. Vreeland, Jr.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Letter To The President

Written July 13, 2009, in the mailbox July 14.

July 13, 2009


The President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500


Professor,

I address you in this manner not to detract from your accomplishment in attaining the office you currently hold but rather because I am appealing to your oft self-proclaimed expertise as a Constitutional Law Professor.

It has been with great fascination that I have regarded the exploits of your administration for the past six months. Admittedly it is the fascination one feels when succumbing to the compulsion to examine the gore and twisted wreckage of a freeway accident, but it has been fascination all the same.

I do not pretend to lay claim to the title of Professor, or even Senior Lecturer, when it comes to matters of Constitutional law. I am, however, a literate man capable of conducting research and assimilating the information encountered. Try as I might though, I cannot find the Constitutional basis for many of the powers you have claimed for yourself and exercised.

There is no authority to terminate the employment of an officer of a private sector corporation. Yet you have exercised this authority.

There is no authority to decree the compensation structure of private sector corporations. You have done so without seeming compunction.

There is no authority to place inferior creditors before superior creditors in a bankruptcy proceeding, or reward them at a higher rate of return and disproportionate to their investment. You didn’t seem to mind though when you did these things in the cases of General Motors and Chrysler.

Don’t forget the ever growing list of extra-Constitutionally appointed czars, accountable to no one and nothing save you and your private whim

The list could easily extend at great length, but I will accept as given that you must certainly comprehend the point. Declaring a manufactured emergency and doing as you in your sole judgment deem appropriate or expedient without regard to the laws and guiding framework of this nation is not acceptable.

The Constitution does lay out a very limited and closely defined set of powers the Presidency is endowed with. The tenth Amendment reads “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” There is not a lot of ambiguity there. If a power or right is not specifically granted to the federal government, or specifically prohibited to the People, then the government is obliged to keep its grubby little mitts off.

Now, I lack your Harvard Law education, and I cannot seem to locate my secret decoder ring anywhere. So I ask you, please provide an explanation that offers Constitutional justification for the specific actions cited above and numerous similar ones you have taken. Ideally your arguments will be based in fact, and not rely upon words such as “ACORN”, “Progressive”, or “because” to justify your position.


Respectfully,




Jacob D. Vreeland, Jr
Bunker Hill, West Virginia

Thursday, June 11, 2009

James W. von Brunn

James W. von Brunn is the sort of individual who gives Radical Right-Wing Extremist Nut Jobs a bad name. I'm going to submit a motion that he be excluded from all future meetings.

Even though he is already 88 years old, I can only hope he survives his gunshot wounds and lives an amazingly long, completely lucid, and miserably pain filled existence. Granted that much, conviction would only be a pleasant bonus.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

W.O.R.M.S.

Whip Our Recesion Most Swiftly

Since debasing the currency is clearly of no concern to the current administration, let's go ahead and turn this economy around tomorrow. Two quick steps would put people back in the stores immediately and spur spending like this world has never seen.

Step one - add three zeroes to the balance of every non-commercial bank or savings and loan account in the country. Immediately the housing market rockets to levels never before imagined, and it will be all but impossible to keep merchandise on the shelves.

Step two - send a book of blank Stimulus Checks to every American to be used as they wish. Be sure to include all those non-traditional citizens on the mailing list. Economic stimulus is too important to our survival to discriminate against someone whose only shortcoming is having entered the country illegally and remained here without proper authorization. Not everyone has the luxury of a bank account, and it is important that everyone be able to do their part to drag us away from the abyss! The checks can be written in any amount for any purchase, and the government will honor the transaction.

Lest the business world feel left out, they can agree to a temporary three month period of paying twenty percent of all gross revenues as a special windfall economic stimulus contribution. Foreign bondholders can be paid off and the United States will once again be the dominant economic powerhouse on the planet.

No doubt there are some anti-success economists out there who will wail about inflation and other evils and pitfalls inherent in the plan. They need to get with the program. An era of Change has dawned upon the world, and the old rules simply don't apply any more.

Hail to the Thief . . . er, Chief!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

What's the Secret?

There are many "Secret" sites out there, such as PostSecret and SecretTweet just to name two.

What is most interesting about reading these sites is coming to the realization that no matter how "unique" one's personal drama that "no one else has ever experienced or could possibly understand" is, many others are going through exactly the same thing.

Does that diminish or further humanize our pains?

Sunday, May 03, 2009

It's What's for Dinner

No, not beef.

The other white meat.

Pork.

Yeah, that's right, I eat pork and continue to do so. Pork spare ribs last night. Pork sausage with breakfast. Pork loin tonight. (Happenstance, not planning or political statement!)

Just because the rest of the planet wants to panic over the fact that "swine" shows up in the name of the flu strain that's out there doesn't mean I have to play. News reports indicate that avian and human flu strain genetic markers are also present. Has anyone checked to make sure that people who have contracted the bug and recovered don't have a sudden compulsion to engage in acts of bestiality?

No? I didn't think so.

Tell the media where they can stick their global panic. Exercise common sense hygiene practices - the same ones you should be exercising without thought even on days we are not all DOOMED TO EXTINCTION BY THE (CATASTROPHE DU JOUR) PANDEMIC!!!

Now, go out there and think for yourself.

Here kitty, kitty, kitty . . . ..

Friday, April 24, 2009

Good Morning Carnivore, ECHELON, and All Your Pals

Is giving them up really the only way to “preserve” our freedoms? In that case, count me out.

For more understanding, search the internet for words found in the title of this post and related topics. Yes, the terms are slightly dated but the concepts, unfortunately, are not. Post your own list, just to keep the self-proclaimed good guys on their toes.

Albert Allah America Arnold Assassinate
Baby Barack Biden Bilderbergers Blow Bomber Bruce Bureau Bush
Carter Chavez Cheney Christian Clinton Communist Conspiracy Council
Danforth Democrat Destroy Device
Earl Enemy Explosive Extremist
Fear Federal Foreign Frederick Freedom
Genocide George Gore Government
Herbert Hugo Hussein
Illuminati Improvised Investigation Iran Iraq Islam Israel
James Jefferson Jew Joseph
Kill Klan Klux Ku
McVeigh Mondale Murder Muslim
Obama Overthrow
Party People Plot Power
Quayle
Racist Radical Reagan Relations Republican Revolution Richard Right Robinette Ronald
Socialist Soldier States Suicide Supremacist
Tax Tea Terrorist Timothy
Underground United
Vast Veteran Violent
Waco Walker Walter War White William Wilson Wing

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Families of Man – Conclusion (Seventh and final part in a series.)

It should be obvious by now that the various social units of humanity, like most other organized structures in this universe, are simply increasingly larger and more complex replications of the unit preceding. Individual to Family, Family to Community, Community to County, County to State, State to Country, Country to World: All of these are structures that are fundamentally the same, just as the rings spreading out from a rock tossed into a pond are larger than the ones inside but otherwise little different.

Few individuals can be successful unto themselves. Even those who are eventually fail, since if they don’t permit their existence to spread beyond themselves then their existence ceases with their death, and might as well never have been. To have one’s genes, one’s thoughts, one’s very acts upon the physical World disappear with their final breath is a compelling definition of “pointlessness”.

Therefore, we must reach beyond ourselves, to grasp and shape a meaning for the existence we enjoy. We bond with others in webs of ever-increasing complexity to provide security and access to resources in order to shape and produce our contribution to the endless mosaic of life. The more we protect, nurture, guide and help others, the more we will receive those same benefits in return. Taking without giving back, withdrawing rather than stepping forth, we add nothing to the whole and concurrently diminish the self.

Helping needs to be an interactive and mutually beneficial process. Taking from one person and simply giving to another creates nothing; it only moves what already exists from one place to another. One individual consuming resource to produce something of value to another, and that other providing resource in exchange for that value increases the net value to all. An expanding web of increased value spreads out, growing endlessly larger and endlessly complex.

The best thing anyone – any person, any group, any government can do is to stay out of the way of producers. The more that is confiscated of a producers resources, the less future value will be able to be produced. When the value of what is produced becomes less than the value of what it takes to do the producing, production inevitably grinds to a halt. It is foolish to expend more effort that will be realized in return.

It has been said, “ten percent is good enough for God”, and there is a lot of truth in that sentiment. An increasing percentage of a decreasing pie results in smaller returns for the taxing authority. Government does require a revenue stream to enforce the security and freedom necessary for its citizens to flourish. Take too much though and that stream turns into a trickle. Those intended to benefit instead suffer, and the suffering tends to spread until all experience the hardship to some degree. Whenever a Family gets out of balance, when needed resources are withheld from some members the whole Family begins to feel the pain. Any government is simply an element of a larger Family, and it must execute its role in a manner that impacts the rest of the Family in the least negative manner possible. Take what is needed, but no more. Give assistance where required, but only when the other members of the Family have run out of options and the capacity to aid each other. That is how they grow stronger and more capable to face the future on their own. Let them teach each other to fish, rather than meeting the trawler at the dock and confiscating the catch to be distributed. Do that often enough and the captain will simply stop taking his ship out to sea.

To derive the greatest benefit from all the families one is a member of it is necessary to give those families the greatest benefit one has to offer. It is not possible to go it alone over the long haul.

Faith, and forward.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

World (Part 6 in a series.)

The largest possible Family available to us – so far! – is the World. Countries do join together in mutually beneficial partnerships that not only further their own interests but also yield benefits that are far greater than either party could on its own. This is no different whether those joining together are countries, communities, families, or, on the first rung of the ladder, two individuals. The result, in a successful union, is the same: added benefit for all.

Is it possible or even desirable for all the individual families of man to join together into a single mega-Family? Yes, and probably yes. Within individual families, members grow up to become artists and athletes and farmers. Some can turn out straight, some gay, and some are largely solitary by choice and comfortable with that choice as right for who they are. In successful families, all of these differences are acknowledged and embraced, and the Family is inevitably strengthened as a result.

As a World we could eventually reach that point, but we aren’t close to doing so yet. Too many of our families are dysfunctional, and do not accept or respect the differences of their members. A parent will insist upon disowning a gay child. One religious Community will fight against another for failing to believe correctly, or insisting upon believing at all. Interdependent communities squabble amongst themselves for access to mutually necessary resources, often to the detriment of both. Country fights Country, often for no better reason than they can, or worse because they always have.

None of which are reasons to give up the struggle. All of us, whether born in the United States or anywhere else have the right to enjoy the pursuit of happiness. So long as we continue to exercise that right, and insist that it not be hindered, we are moving in a right direction. It would be presumptuous to declare any particular direction as the right one, as so many are available and the eventual outcomes of any particular path largely unknowable. As long as we keep moving in a direction, we are likely to get somewhere. And if we don’t like it when we get there, nothing prevents us from moving on again.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Country (Part 5 in a series.)

When a Community of communities comes together for their mutual benefit and security, you have states and ultimately countries. A diverse group of individuals, families, and communities joined together with a core common principle: The expression of self, exercised in the security of an ever-widening web of Family for the benefit of those the self encounters. Whether others actively help the individual along their path of personal and familial growth is not important. What is important is that the ever greater Community does not actively impede the growth and expression unnecessarily.

The Country exists for the benefit of the individual, not the other way around. The primary objective of the Country should be the protection of its constituent members. Keep away those who would destroy or wantonly impede those members. Provide, but only in the instance of a last resort, for the succor and preservation of any constituent sub-unit of the Country. It is not the role of the Country to declare what color blanket a newborn child should be wrapped in, what manner of final disposal a newly deceased citizen should have, nor how any of a nearly uncountable number of choices should be made between those two life defining events.

The Country that is serving its citizens best is the Country that is serving its citizens least, and even then only when the service is desired and desirable. If two neighbors determine it is mutually beneficial to them to bridge the river between their properties, then in most cases it is best to leave it to them to amass their resources, affect the desired construction, and mutually reap the attendant benefits. Who is well served when the government steps in and builds that bridge for them, but also paves over their respective properties and renders their homesteads all but useless? Help is not at all helpful when it destroys that which it is purported to serve. As the scope of governments grows, an inverse square law of decreasing common sense would seem to apply. Those closest to the problem usually have the best answers, and are too often the least listened to when an ever more distant and disconnected government involves itself.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Community (Part 4 in a series.)

Just as a Family is a collection of individuals bonding together to create a stable and secure environment for the expression of self, a Community is a collection of individual families bonding together to form an environment secure from the depredations of others who might seek to take that which the Community values. The Family is an extension and a magnification of the individual, and in the same manner the Community is an extension of and allows for the magnification of the Family.

The Family exists so that the needs of the less capable can be met and nurtured, ideally raising the weak to a position of self-sufficiency. When it is functioning correctly, Community provides the same security for individual Families. Through a combination of individual skills, personal inclinations, and even largely uncontrollable circumstances, not all Families are going to have access to the same resources nor will the same resources be utilized with equal efficiency among different Family groups. What Community does is enable those members who are less competent or less fortunate, and even those to some degree who are unwilling to put forth the effort to be a fully participating and productive member of the Community, to enjoy the opportunity to survive and perhaps even thrive.

Each of us is ensured the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Life is the breath we draw as a consequence of being born, and no one individual has the right to deprive another of that right. Liberty is the freedom to engage in those actions that satisfy a need of the individual without infringing upon the right of another individual to do the same. The pursuit of happiness is presumably what the individual is after when exercising liberty. Some will seem to have it from birth, while others may strive a lifetime and always feel they have come up short of the goal. For most, a middle ground is the most likely place they will find themselves. Happiness is endlessly attained and relinquished; or, having attained one objective that defines happiness, another is discovered for which to strive. Pieces of one’s personal happiness goal may be held at different times though never all of the perceived pursuit at any one time. That is inherent in the pursuit of happiness: It is different for every human being, it is the privilege of every human being to strive for the attainment of happiness, but no one is guaranteed the success of reaching that idealized state.

Just as a Family will nurture their own and provide an environment in which they and grow and achieve new successes, so too must a Community of Families provide a safe haven in which all their members are free and secure to discover and explore their own paths. It is only through this process that new and unimagined benefits are returned to the Community for the benefit of, if not all, certainly many.

It is not the obligation of the Community to see that Widow Johansen down the street is cared for properly. She does make a mean batch of Christmas cookies each year that are to die for though. And does anyone remember the forty-seven years she spent teaching at the elementary school before they finally made her retire? She probably taught you, and your kids if you’ve been a member of the Community that long. Aren’t you better off for that helping hand she gave you? Is an hour to shovel her sidewalk too much to give back? A weekend spent repairing her roof to keep out the rain? Hasn’t she earned the simple pleasure of a cup of coffee with a fellow traveler once in a while, just to reassure he she’s not been forgotten or discarded? Are these comforts and protections that can truly be provided through a check from a faceless bureaucrat at the state or federal level?

That is the security and the comfort that the Family of Community offers those Families and even those individual Family members that comprise it.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Family (Part 3 in a series.)

A life founded on Faith, on a belief that there is either something or someone greater than self for which to live or that the simple fact of existence grants one the capacity, right, and perhaps even obligation to define a meaning or purpose for that existence greater than the self, requires an outlet for the expression of that Faith. Though the opportunities for outlet are many, and the more that are indulged in the more effective and purposeful one’s life will be, the first and strongest outlet is Family.

Family is the basic unit upon which any society is built. The individual is important, but essentially useless without others. Thousands of bricks can be joined together to build a house. A single brick, though, is just a brick. It is important for the brick to be formed, but until that brick is joined with others in a purpose beyond its own single existence it has no reason for being. Once joined it provides a critical element in the creation of a much greater whole.

The individual is that brick. Having accepted the responsibility of Faith to look beyond the self, the individual can join with another and build something far greater than it would be possible to accomplish alone.

The traditional Family is vitally necessary. A man and a woman and their various offspring are necessary for the simple biological imperative of combining existing DNA into new and potentially greater patterns. Without the creation and nurturing of new DNA factories, Faith and all the rest really is meaningless. Is it possible to procreate outside the bonds of a traditional Family unit? Certainly. Biology could care less where it finds its Petri dish. As long as the experiment can be conducted, biology is satisfied. The advantage to the Family is that it provides a secure, stable environment in which new generations of DNA can be protected and nurtured by one parent while needed resources from the outside can be obtained and brought home by the other. It is not the only way to accomplish this, but it is among the most effective methods a long period of trial and error has devised.

Is a traditional Family unit of male, female, and biological offspring the only viable or even sensible structure? Of course not. Two males or two females, while incapable of producing their own biological offspring between themselves, certainly have the capacity to love, nurture, and provide for the growth and development of a new human life. Look around, there are plenty of little people in need of parents to help them along. Those children may be orphans, or the cast-off detritus of the unwanted consequences from biological urges being satisfied, or simply unfortunate enough to have come into a Family unit that was emotionally or financially too unstable to rear them.

This leads to the grand bugaboo of marriage. Marriage, at it core, is a social contract between two beings to be mutually supportive and to provide for the successful generation of offspring to carry the process forward. That contract, when defined by the specific word marriage, exists within the structure of religious teaching. That contract works equally well for many who take part in no formally recognized theological structure. The debate surrounding marriage tends to focus on the religious aspect of the institution and not the social contract element. Society benefits whenever two – or more – people are formally bound to each other in a publicly proclaimed and sanctioned contract of mutual support and obligation. That support includes financial, emotional, physical, and numerous other elements. It also includes caring for the children who will carry that society forward.

As long as those who choose to bond into a non-traditional Family unit respect the choices of those who have a religious and more overtly Faith-based foundation to their unions, they deserve to have that respect returned in kind. No one has to like or agree with the choices of another, but so long as those choices are not inflicted upon unwilling participants then there is no harm. Given its religious foundations, “marriage” is an emotionally charged word. Defenders of the Faith have no choice but to unite! Perhaps it is time to create a “legal union” for purposes of the State sanctioning and bestowal of the benefits and privileges of individuals joining together, and leave it up to the various Faiths of the world to define and confer the blessings of Marriage upon those deemed deserving of that privilege. Two similar but separate institutions for two similar but separate purposes.

Having secured the Family, one is then ready to embark upon the fabrication of a Community.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Faith (Part 2 in a series.)

This first point was originally conceived of as “God”. Reflection on the potentially inflammatory nature of that word led to the less specific, and therefore more encompassing, term “Faith”.

Faith is not a belief in God, or Allah, or Yahweh, or the Goddess, or even the grand harmonization between marshmallow, chocolate, and graham cracker known as S’mores. Faith certainly encompasses all of those things, and more, but like true Faith that definition is far too limiting. Faith does not require a grand cathedral, though some people do. Faith does not need a bonfire to dance naked around, but some insist upon doing so. Faith isn’t only happy when solitary upon a mountaintop, even though some only can be happy in that setting.

Faith is not simply a matter of which aspect of deity is recognized and worshiped. Indeed, Faith does not require acknowledgment of any deity at all. Faith does require that one look outside oneself and experience some greater purpose. Faith is the difference between simply existing as a recombinant DNA factory and living. It is not necessary to have Faith in order to go about the tasks of daily existence – eating, defecating, the odd bit of procreating – but it certainly can be used as a springboard for making of that mere existence something much greater than it otherwise would be. Whether it is the promise of a glorious after life or the simple guileless smile of a child, having a reason to get out of bed each day is what makes doing so something other than an exercise in futility.

Whatever Faith you follow, it is the best Faith there is. Proclaim your Belief, wear it proudly, allow it to be a defining element of who you are. If you don’t believe your Faith is the best, the most perfectly right, then why would you waste your time with it? Who could trust a Pope who proclaimed to St. Peter’s Square “Yes! We’re kinda alright, but man do those Muslims really got it going on!” Be proud of the Faith you follow, and hold to your convictions. Share your understanding with the world. More importantly, be ready to have all those you encounter in the world share their Faith with you. Don’t expect them to be any less fervent or impassioned about their Faith than you are. Demand it, in fact. Because if they don’t have conviction they lack a goal, and a purpose, and will be easily swayed by any enticing offer that comes along. Principles of convenience are no principles at all but merely the t-shirt being worn that day.

When you encounter those who do not share, even in broad terms, the Faith you hold dear, respect their difference. So long as they honestly and fervently hold to their beliefs, respect that fealty. Share your own convictions, but do not bludgeon your audience with them. True Faith obliges the follower to express their views fervently, but it is possible to have fervor without rancor. It is incumbent upon the individual to conduct social interactions in this manner. Listen to what those you meet have to say, respectfully and without resorting to simple derision of their ignorance. If at the end of the day neither of you is able to persuade the other to a new point of view that is fine. Accept that your Faith is strong, and that another has granted you a different viewpoint from which to examine your Faith, and be proud that you have respectfully offered the same service in return.

Faith is. Faith does not require blood to be shed on Its behalf in order to be defended. It is possible to command obedience through a greater capacity to apply force, but not respect. Any Faith that relies upon the physical force of Its adherents does not have respectful followers but simply has those who display obedience through compulsion. There is no Faith at all.

Once you do have your Faith, however, as a foundation upon which to build your life you are ready to embark upon the next point of responsibility for a sentient being: Family.