Monthly Archives: December 2012

In Defense of the Common Core Standards for Education

There is a move on the right to hate the upcoming common core standards.  And it’s not without justification.  No Child Left Behind partly due to the additions liberal Ted Kennedy made to the bill, and partly due to ineptitude on implementation by the Bush administration left a foul taste in a lot of people’s mouths over any federal reach into the education field.  Also there is understandable mistrust with the Obama administration trying to take the lead in the common core.  And there is the fact that the standards aren’t high enough.

That being said, the Common Core,  which are being adopted by the majority of the states in the union are a step in the right direction.

Why?

Well let’s deal with them in terms of their more common complaints.

Inaccuracy 1: The first is that this is a move by the federal government.

That is not entirely true.  The Common Core was originally endorsed by the National Governors Association.  It was originally a move by states in coordination with one other, without a great deal of help by the federal government.  The NGA may have announced the implementation of the Common Core in 2009  but most of its development occurred in 2008 before Obama was even elected.

Now the Obama administration has made adoption of the Common Core a requirement for certain grants.  And I’m sure that Obama would love to rewrite them in his own image. But that does not change the fact that these standards were not a move by the federal government, but rather by the states working together (i.e. that federalism we conservatives love so much) and if the states continue to drive this and not let the federal government dictate their wording this federal overreach will be halted.

Inaccuracy 2: That it will cut literature out of the curriculum, changing it all to non- fiction technical documents.

This probably is the most egregious claim.   The claim goes “A new school curriculum which will affect 46 out of 50 states will make it compulsory for at least 70 percent of books studied to be non-fiction, in an effort to ready pupils for the workplace.”

Now very technically this is true.  However what you’re probably thinking it means is that 70% of the things read in an English course are to be non-fiction.  This is not correct.  The Common Core calls for 70% of all of student’s reading in a year to be non-fiction.  Ignoring electives courses, every student should probably be taking an English, a Social Studies, a Math and a Science course in a year.  That means that the English course only takes up 25% of year…so actually the assumption here is that somewhere in the Math, Science, and Social Studies courses is where you would find that extra 5% of literature (probably mostly in Social Studies where literature helps illustrate a time period).  That’s not even mentioning good English courses do include at least some non-fiction reading.

Or in the dense wording on the Common Core Website:

The percentages on the table reflect the sum of student reading, not just reading in ELA settings. Teachers of senior English classes, for example, are not required to devote 70 percent of reading to informational texts. Rather, 70 percent of student reading across the grade should be informational.  

Further this claim goes that the Common Core calls for the elimination of classic works of literature.  Again wrong on two points.  The first is that all of the articles I’ve seen include that classic titles like Catcher in the Rye and To Kill A Mockingbird will be eliminated from the curriculumOn page 107 of the suggested literature title list you see, low and behold To Kill A Mockingbird (also keep in mind it says suggested, not required titles, the reading list makes it quite clear it is only a suggested to list to give an idea of where the quality of each year’s reading should be). Also I have issues with calling Catcher, a story of a self important whiny teenager bitching about how terrible life is, a classic.

 common core

Also take a look at some of the information texts suggested by the Common Core.

My god, what a collection of liberal tripe!  Common Sense! The Declaration and the Bill of Rights!  How dare we suggest students should read those!

Go and actually look at the reading list.  There are speeches by Reagan, plays by Shakespeare, novels by Hawthorne and Bronte, poetry by Whitman and Eliot.  It’s183 pages of suggestions!  It’s not exactly a limited list.  And by no means does the Common Core not suggest you should go off list.  Teachers are encouraged to, just so long it is on par or superior to the suggestions.

Keep in mind there are teachers out there who think Lovely Bones and Twilight are acceptable reading for high school courses! They’re not. This at least puts in writing a nation wide bare minimum.

Inaccuracy 3: This will only encourage teaching to the test.

Inaccuracy 4: The standards are not high enough.  

These two are tied together.  There has been for years the idiotic statement that teaching to the test hurts education.  Bullshit.  Good teachers teach.  And if you’re teaching appropriately then high quality education, in any subject area, will teach a student how to pass a test—especially low end tests like the ones that all states give.  If you teach them to read, to think, and to know the subject matter they’ll pass the test.  It’s people who only teach to the test that have their students fail.

“But,” teachers complain, “testing takes up time in class.”  Well, to do your job, and teach you need to test to see if students are learning the material.  You need to test. The complaint is that now you’re taking up time with two tests, the test for the state and the test for your class.  Trust me, there is overlap between those two, a good teacher uses the state testing to see how their students are doing in their own class and not retesting them on the same material.  But you know that would require actually looking at the test, and test results and actually doing your job of taking the time to see how best to teach your students.  And, sadly, so many teachers nowadays aren’t really there for teaching, they’re there for a job that pays them for 12 months but only requires that they work 8 and a half.  A good teacher teaches above the test, and their students pass.  A bad teacher complains about teaching to the test because that’s a bar they usually don’t try to reach, and their students don’t do as well.*

The other complaint is that the standards are not high enough.  This is partly correct.  However it ignores that standards in this sense are supposed to be a bare minimum bar—a point that should be met by even the worst teacher.  States can have standards above the common core, and teachers should go beyond that.  These standards are there to correct for the fact that a high school diploma is only worth what the bare minimum that it takes to get it.  And yes these standards are low.  But guess what a lot of the previous state standards were EVEN LOWER.  I live in Arizona where the previous state standard for High School English is more or less the standards for Middle School English under the Common Core.  There are numerous examples in other places.  This does nothing but raise the low end of the bar.  Good teachers must still go above that bar; anyone who just remains at that bar is a terrible teacher.

Would I like to see the Common Core standards be higher?  Yes.  Would I like to see less federal and more state input?  Yes. Would I like a lot of things that the Common Core doesn’t do?  Of course.  But it raises the minimum bar from where it currently stands and if states hold the line (as many seem to be doing in a lot of other aspects) and don’t allow the federal government to take over then this is a step in the right direction.  It doesn’t solve all the problems we face, but it does solve a couple of them.

What everyone needs to remember is that standards and testing exist in this field because there are bad teachers.  If teachers wanted to mercilessly purge their own ranks of inept teachers, if they wanted to act like professionals and not rely on unions to protect the incompetent, if they wanted to work in such a way as to be worth more than 40K a year, then maybe we wouldn’t need to bicker about standards and testing.  But teachers do not police their own.  They protect and defend the worst. They make the issues about money and benefits rather than address their failings.

*This in no way negates the importance of the student in this.  Responsible students who care about their education will pass even with the worst teachers.  However, strangely most students are children, it’s odd how that works, and it is the requirement of good teachers to drag immature people across the finish line.  That does not negate the responsibility of the students to choose to succeed.  And of course there is parental responsibility in all this as well.

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Weekly Meditation: Looking forward to the New Year (or Tarot 101)

 

I always view the new year as a good time to look forward.  This involves planning and reflection.  But it can also involve asking the universe to help understand what is coming.

Generally I try to avoid meditations that would require you to buy something or believe in something other than just God and your own soul.  However if you have a Tarot deck (or any of the numerous variations you can get in the New Age section at any book store) I find this is an excellent time to use them.  I use them off and on depending on my stress or uncertainty level, sometimes going months without every picking them up, but I always do a reading for myself at New Year’s.

Now if you’re not used to doing a reading there are a few things to keep in mind.

Tarot CardsThe first it that should try to cleanse the cards of any energy from any previous use.  They’re physical objects and they tend to pick up the vibrations of the people who handle them.  And as most people have the very bad habit of turning to divination methods only when they feel lost or unsure (myself included) that means that generally the cards last use probably still has some of that negative energy left and it may affect the reading.  One of the easiest ways to cleanse cards is to leave them out in direct sunlight for about an hour.

Second you probably taken a few minutes to meditate, connect yourself to God and clear any negative energy from yourself.

Third before you even begin to shuffle ask that God or your guardian angels clear you and the card of the influence of any negative forces.  I don’t believe in demons, but there are the spirits of those who have died and can’t move on.  Some are mischievous and like to screw with people, some are down right malicious…they usually don’t have much actual contact with people but something like a card reading is so dependent on even tiny vibrations of energy effecting how the cards shuffle that you don’t want to risk it.

Shuffle the deck at least 7 times.

For this kind of reading I would do a reading of 12 cards–one for each month.  If you own multiple decks this can help as you can begin to see patterns emerge on the more important issues.

After you do the reading I would recommend writing down (or taking a picture) of the cards.  Why? Because you’re unlikely to remember the reading come August, and the point of reading is to give you a view of the whole year.

Now if this is the first time you’ve done something like this it might be best not to use this as a way to see what’s coming but rather to simply take notes and see what the cards said matches up with what actually happens. There is a lot of symbolism and interpretation involved and if you’re going to understand it, you have to get used to seeing how certain images appear in your own life.

So, if you’re comfortable with the idea, this is a good time of the year to do a long term reading.  However keep in mind always that this is more of a way to see what situations will occur, not what will happen, free will always rules every situation.

Obviously if you don’t believe in Tarot card readings this all sounds silly to you, but why did you get this far in the blog if you’re not open to it?

 

 

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Some More Quick Thoughts on Capitalism…

Not in the mood to write today, but felt like sharing some of the better videos and pictures I’ve seen lately.


The Miralce that is Roads
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Capitalism bread
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Capitalism hiroshima-detroit

And let’s be honest here to call what they have in Japan “capitalism” would be overly generous…but it still was more economically free than Detroit.


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Capitalism's power 1

The evils of Capitalism

And some will claim it’s an internet quote and he didn’t really say that. He said it on May 1st 1927 quoted on page 224 of the Biography Adolf Hilter by John Toland (and it other works in German but if you can’t read it it doesn’t help to check).  And then people will say he didn’t practice socialism…yeah because complete government control of all resources, all labor, all travel, all products, and all industry by the National SOCIALIST German WORKER’s Party  (Nazi for short) I’m sure isn’t  socialism even though it literally is.

Capitalism

 

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Movies for Conservatives: Les Miserables

Les Miserables Posters

“Do you hear the people sing? Singing the song of angry men.  It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again.”

Les Mis a movie for conservatives?

Yeah.

But let’s first talk about the qualities of the movie apart from political or philosophical points.

The High Points

This is the play in all its glory.  And the play is a truncated version of one of the most moving books ever written.  All the passion, all the empathy there.  You will cry for Fantine.  For Eponine.  For Gavrouche.  For the revolutionary Friends of the ABC.  For Javert. And of course for Valjean.  Bring tissues this is movie that you will cry at, a lot.

And this movie has a few truly wonderful scenes that supply motivation that was missing in the play.  For instance it has Javert arrive on the same day that Fantine is dismissed from her job, which gives a reason for Valjean not taking a more serious interest in her case.

The movie also supplies little moments from the book that were never in the play, like Grantaire standing by Enjolras at the moment of execution.

I think director Tom Hooper created something truly genius with the live singing way this movie was made…however it appears in the early scenes that there was certainly a learning curve involved in using this technique (I wish this wasn’t the first movie to do it so Hooper could have had something to reference).  But for any inconsistency it brings up at some moments, it adds deeply to the rest of the film and emotional impact of the songs.

Les Mis HathawayAnne Hathaway deserves an Oscar.

And Russell Crowe’s singing was a pleasant surprise.  He added more humanity to Javert than any actor I have previously seen.

The Low Points.

I feel there was a lot that got left on the editing room floor. At 2 hours and 37 minutes this was pushing it for most movies nowadays and I’m pretty sure if all the little things that were taken out were put back in it would be well over 3 hours.  And since Hollywood has no intention of returning to the idea of an intermission (to me this makes no sense as most of the money comes from concessions and if there is a break at an hour and a half we would be more willing to buy soda since we wouldn’t have to worry about running out to the rest room and we would buy food at the halfway mark as we would be hungrier by that point…but at least it seems that way, real data I’m not privy to might show otherwise) they were probably forced to make some heavy cuts to the movie.  This creates some odd pacing issues, where certain parts feel a little rushed.

Also, and it may be a personal issue that others may not have a problem with, I was not overly impressed by Jackman’s singing. It wasn’t bad, but I’m used to a deeper more sonorous voice for Valjean.

On the technical points, the movie is one of the best of the year, the acting and visual work was spectacular. The editing needs work (or at least a director’s cut DVD…please.) and the directing while exceptional still could have been just a little better (I think the high cost of production may have prevented doing reshoots that other films might have done)…Hooper gets an A not A+.

The Political/Philosophical Points

Did you know this was Ayn Rand’s favorite book?  It was.  Kind of puts any thoughts that Les Mis is liberal out of the “obviously” category doesn’t it.

Okay let’s look at some of the points. On their own merits.

“I am the master of hundreds of workers, they all look to me.  Can I abandon them, how will they live if I am not free. I speak I am condemned, if I stay silent, I am damned.”

Jean Valjean is a convict, yes. But while that’s all that Javert sees, we’re supposed to see more.  We’re supposed to see the successful businessman who not only created a whole industry in a town, bringing it out of poverty and into an economic renaissance, but who also out of Christian charity (not guilt, it should be noted that if you read the book Valjean is motivated by a desire to be a better person, not by guilt about his prior actions) creates hospitals and schools for the poor.  In a day and age when lesser writers like Dickens would just recycle the terrible image of the robber baron, Hugo gave us a noble businessman as an example of what others should be. It should also be noted that in a very Atlas Shrugged kind of way, Hugo has no illusions that once Valjean is forced to run the industry and the town is not able to survive in its thriving state without Valjean’s leadership. The book to a great degree, with touches still in the movie, shows that prosperity is driven by captains of industry.

“Take my hand I’ll lead you to salvation.  Take my love, for love is everlasting.  And remember the truth that once was spoken: to love another person is to see the face of God.”

Further it should be noted what a deeply religious story this story is.  It is God and the Bishop of Digne, not government that redeems Valjean.  God and faith permeate all levels of this story.  Faith ironically is what drives both Valjean and Javert.  And it never condemns any form of faith, showing that all those fallen (except sadly Javert, whom I’m sure Hugo would have placed there) together in heaven.

The novel, the play, and now the movie praise faith.  It’s a rarity these days in serious well produced films.  And given the desperate need for spirituality in our modern world, something like this must be embraced.

“Let us die facing our foe […] Let others rise to take our place until the Earth is FREE!”

And dare we forget that much of the second half of the story is taken up by an uprising by Republican revolutionaries, seeking a return to law and not the capricious whims of a king.

“But, but, but” some liberals will complain.  The book is about helping the poor, and how unjust the criminal justice system is.  Those are liberal issues. And what they fail to realize is that these are different times and different issues.  The poor in 19th century France were starving (a problem with accuracy is that even the slums of France look too pretty in this movie…honestly we wouldn’t have felt comfortable actually watching what the “The Miserable” of 19th century France looked like…it wasn’t quite Nazi Concentration Camp, but certainly not as pretty as this film depicts it), the poor in 21st century America are suffering an obesity epidemic.  Hugo critiqued those who were lazy and those who felt entitled.  Poverty of the kind Hugo witnessed in France was what he wanted us to feel empathy for, modern poverty would not likely bring as much empathy from Victor.  And he would be horrified by the lack of the churches and religion in the government welfare that modern liberals champion.  And don’t even get me started on the fact that you can’t compare the legal system that punished Valjean for 20 years and hounded him for life for stealing a loaf of bread to our modern system…yes we have problems, but we have the kind of problems Hugo would have only dreamed of.

“Then join in the fight that will give you the right to be free.”

Of course for me one of the most revealing passages in Les Miserable is when Hugo takes a moment to critique communism.

(It should be noted the terms Socialism and Communism at the time do not have the same meaning now…what he calls Communism would be more in line with modern European Socialism…the term Capitalism was first used in 1854, 8 years before Hugo published Les Miserables—it took him nearly 20 years to write—and its usage as a economic system did not begin until Marx used it in 1867, 5 years after Les Miserables was published.  So he could never expect to hear him use the term capitalism even thought that seems to be what he’s calling for.   He certainly did not have the term cronyism which describes the economics of 19th century France better than anything.  So pay attention to the systems and practices he is referring to, not the titles, as he had no access to the title we currently use.)

“The reader will not be surprised if, for various reasons, we do not here treat in a thorough manner, from the theoretical point of view, the questions raised by socialism. We confine ourselves to indicating them.

All the problems that the socialists proposed to themselves, cosmogonic visions, reverie and mysticism being cast aside, can be reduced to two principal problems.

First problem: To produce wealth.

Second problem: To share it.

The first problem contains the question of work.

The second contains the question of salary.

In the first problem the employment of forces is in question.

In the second, the distribution of enjoyment.

From the proper employment of forces results public power.

From a good distribution of enjoyments results individual happiness.

By a good distribution, not an equal but an equitable distribution must be understood.  The highest equality is equity.

From these two things combined, the public power without, individual happiness within, results social prosperity.

Social prosperity means the manhappy, the citizen free, the nation great.

England solves the first of these two problems. She creates wealth admirably, she divides it badly. This solution which is complete on one side only leads her fatally to two extremes: monstrous opulence, monstrous wretchedness. All enjoyments for some, all privations for the rest, that is to say, for the people; privilege, exception, monopoly, feudalism, born from toil itself. A false and dangerous situation, which sates public power or private misery, which sets the roots of the State in the sufferings of the individual. A badly constituted grandeur in which are combined all the material elements and into which no moral element enters.

Communism and agrarian law think that they solve the second problem. They are mistaken. Their division kills production. Equal partition abolishes emulation; and consequently labor.

It is a partition made by the butcher, which kills that which it divides.

It is therefore impossible to pause over these pretended solutions. Slaying wealth is not the same thing as dividing it.

The two problems require to be solved together, to be well solved. The two problems must be combined and made but one.

[…]

Solve the two problems, encourage the wealthy, and protect the poor, suppress misery, put an end to the unjust farming out of the feeble by the strong, put a bridle on the iniquitous jealousy of the man who is making his way against the man who has reached the goal, adjust, mathematically and fraternally, salary to labor, mingle gratuitous and compulsory education with the growth of childhood, and make of science the base of manliness, develop minds while keeping arms busy, be at one and the same time a powerful people and a family of happy men, render property democratic, not by abolishing it, but by making it universal, so that every citizen, without exception, may be a proprietor, an easier matter than is generally supposed; in two words, learn how to produce wealth and how to distribute it, and you will have at once moral and material greatness; and you will be worthy to call yourself France.”

[Emphasis added]

You will notice he is proposing such things as universal education, due process of law, and property rights.  He condemns any attempt for everyone to have their fair and equal share and envying the wealthy.  He proposes that people be paid just wages for their work (which was an issue then, not so much now). He proposes to make every man his own master, that everyone may earn wealth.  I can’t speak with certainty what political path Hugo would take in the modern world, but I can be fairly certain that if a modern day liberal went back to see him, Hugo would try to slap the stupid out of the Occupy trash.  I can also be mildly sure that Hugo might encourage the building of a few barricades against some of the government overreaches of the modern world.

All in all, the story is one of the value of liberty, of the individual, of redemption through works and of God.  Those are conservative themes if I ever heard them.

“Do you hear the people sing, lost in the valley of the night

It is the music of a people who are climbing to the light.

For the wretched of the Earth there is a flame that never dies,

Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.

We will live again in Freedom in the garden of the Lord.

We will walk behind the plowshares.  We will put away the sword.

The chain will be broken and all men will have their reward.

Will you join in our crusade?  Who will be strong and stand with me?

Somewhere beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see?

Do you hear the people sing, say do you hear the distant drums?

It is the future that we bring when tomorrow comes!”

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International Liberty

Last year, I shared this heartwarming holiday adoption video.

Keeping with that tradition, here’s a Christmas greeting to warm your heart…and offend the delicate sensibilities of statists.

The extra flash at the end is a nice touch. Sort of reminds me of this joke about the difference between conservatives, liberals, and Texans.

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The Weekly Meditation: Setting Goals For the New Year

So the new year is upon us.  I don’t know about you but 2012 is not going down as the best year in my life…and I wish it will go down as the worst year of my life (but I feel certain tyrants will put the next four in the running).

That aside, let’s look to the new year.

About now is when people start thinking about making New Year’s Resolutions.  This is usually a mistake that turns into a miserable failure.  Usually, I think, for two reasons. The first is that people make these grand resolutions and then when they don’t get done in the first couple of week people just give up. The second problem, I think because people tend to focus on only one aspect, thinking that improving one thing about themselves is all they need to worry about, when in reality were a multifaceted beings, and each part is connected to all other parts.  To just work on one small thing without adjusting all the parts to work in harmony will often fail.

 

So I’m going to propose for this week is in three parts the first is to meditate on areas of your life where you can improve for each of the seven chakras (to save space I’m not going to go over what each is unless someone asks).  If seven goals seems like too much, I might look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (which is deeply connected to the chakras) and look for 5 things you can improve on–look for 5 ways you can meet the 5 different categories of needs*.  The goal should be looking for multiple ways to make yourself a better person, a person you want to be, a person who is closer to God–way that in terms of habits, your physical nature, your emotions, your thoughts and beliefs are all better.

 

Chakra

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

 

After you have your goals in mind, goals that look to you as a whole person, I would recommend taking time to break that goal into 4-10 steps.

Write these goals and these steps out…post them in your house, they’re going to be your friends for the whole year. Bare minimum that’s 20 intermediate goals.  You will see progress on that no matter what if you put even a modicum of effort into this, which means there will be less chance of giving up due to not seeing results.

Finally, if this part doesn’t take all week at the end of the week (and probably at least once a week for the whole year) you should sit and envision yourself at the end of the having met every goal.  See the person who you have become and believe that it will be a fact.  Even if you don’t believe in the Law of Attraction and that thought creates reality, the psychological fact is that this will help reinforce your habits and desire to meet your goal.

Now matter what this will help you in your path of self improvement, which is what life is supposed to be about because that’s what leads to Happiness.

 

 

 

 

* Yes I know it’s a hierarchy and one should meet certain needs before others…but the fact of the matter even if we’re meeting needs most of us probably have a flaw or two in how we’re meeting them and can improve (we’re only human after all)…and by improving the foundation it makes meeting other needs easier.  Also by look to needs we haven’t met we can help provide ourselves the needed motivation to get past problems that involve us meeting our current needs.

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Philosophy Basics for Atheists (i.e. morons)



So I just read this truly stupid comment on tumblr in reference to my blog that historically any country that legally enforces atheism is far more violent and genocidal than nations that enforce other religions.*

“OK, atheism is not a religion and it’s certainly not a moral code. Atheism is just the non-belief in a god. That’s all it is. Now stop throwing straw men about and use that brain of yours you so proudly claim to have in your blog description.”**

This is a statement typical of the absolute idiocy of atheism. At least Christian nutjobs will admit that it’s faith and not reason that is behind their stupid ideas…but Atheists have not only the idiocy to mistake their faith for reason, but also the arrogance to then believe what they mistake for reason makes them better than anyone else.

So just to be clear I see two explicit lies here and on implicit lie.

  1. Atheism is not a religion: Lie.
  2. That the faith based metaphysical beliefs of not believing in a God have no effect on a moral code: Lie.
  3. Thus atheism does not come with a moral code: Lie.

So let’s go over these.

First, I’ve dealt with this dozens of times, but let’s go over it again: to not believe in God is an act of faith.

You have no proof that God doesn’t exist. Further it is logically impossible, let me repeat LOGICALLY IMPOSSIBLE, to prove a negative.  Thus to believe in something that cannot be proven in any way, shape, or form, is an act of faith.  It is believing in something you can’t know, and can’t prove, ever.  That’s faith.  That’s about as close to the definition of faith and religion as you can get.

And if you have a belief system based on an article of faith, that’s a religious belief.  It may not be an organized belief, it may be the very antithesis of the colloquial meaning of spiritual, but it is a religion.  Webster’s defines religion as: “7. a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith” and any atheist who wants to argue with me on that is insane, your belief in no God supplies the “cause, principle, or system of beliefs” the fact that you have no proof provides the “faith” and the fact that you’re arguing about it provides the “ardor.”  And it comes with its own sets of dogmatic beliefs.  There is the big bang, there is evolution. The fact that those theories still have some big holes in them, does not matter…nothing must deviate from the dogma.  Anyone who points out that the jump from random chemical to self replicating cells is a statistical impossibility and requires more than just the theory of evolution to make sense must be shouted down and burned at the stake.

But here let me pull another objection to my statement that atheism is a religion from the internet:

“Atheism isn’t a religion, and there are no atheists that I’ve ever heard of that have claimed themselves to be a “religion” of anything.  You’ve heard the arguments about atheism not being a religion before no doubt; you’ve just chosen to ignore them.”

Oh, so because atheists themselves don’t claim they’re a religion then they’re not.  You know, I’ve never heard any Nazis claim that they’re the personification of evil, and I’ve even heard arguments from Nazis that they’re right and good and true…I guess they must not be evil because they said so.  After all they said so.  Just because you argue you’re not something doesn’t make it true. O.J. tried to argue that he’s not a killer…reality said something different.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t think you’re a religion, you have a belief based on an article of faith that is utterly impossible to prove.  It only adds to the fact that this person is an idiot, that he thinks that dismissing the pointless claims that atheism isn’t a religion is stupid, yet the fact that there is evidence that God exists (not entirely conclusive evidence I’ll grant you, but evidence) and he just chooses to ignore that isn’t a problem for this moron at all.

“But you don’t have any proof that God does exist either” the standard line goes.   You’re right, except for the logical impossibility of an infinite regression series in causality***, the fact the big bang statistically should have produced as much matter and anti-mater making a psychical universe all but impossible, the fact that random chemicals can’t just turn into self replicating cells, the fact that evolved chimps can’t just magically become sentient, the fact that near death experiences show that memories are formed when there is no electrical charge in the brain, and a thousand other pieces of evidence that suggest that there is a soul and a God…yes, I have no evidence. And while each piece of evidence I could bring up could be explained away on its own, the totality of it suggests quite strongly that there is a God.

“But you don’t have iron clad arguments” the argument goes.  True, but I’m not claiming that I’m not relying on faith to fill in the places reason can’t provide an answer, you are.

atheists are idiots

When you lose the reason for causality the whole story just sounds stupid.

But then the idiot Atheists like to bring up the truly idiotic thought experiment called “Russell’s Teapot.”  It’s a silly thought experiment that says there might be a teapot orbiting the sun, but since no one has provided any proof then we must assume that it doesn’t exist until someone provides proof.  And thus the burden of proof is on people who believe in God to prove that he exists.  (This again ignores all the evidence that does exist, it’s very convenient that Atheist always equate lack of absolute proof with lack of any proof).  First of all whether there is or isn’t a teapot has no effect on my life which is one of the reason why it is totally incomparable to God.  There might be a massive asteroid hurtling toward earth that could destroy the whole place, since this will have an effect on our lives, we have telescopes looking for it even though it may not exist.  Just because you come up with a charming example that uses a teapot doesn’t just mean you get to decide who has the burden of proof.  If you want to be purely based in reason you take no stance and be an agnostic.  If you want to believe there is no God and hold that as a belief, then you have no burden of proof other than your own feelings. But if you want me to believe you don’t say that you don’t have to prove your beliefs—if you’re going to publically make a statement of fact (that there is no God) you better back it up.  You cannot say reason is on your side but someone has to prove you wrong and you don’t have to prove your case.

And finally Atheists I now see are trying something really stupid.  Now they’re calling themselves agnostic atheists.  In this bizarre argument, there are agnostic atheists and gnostic atheists, agnostic theists, and gnostic theists. The gnostics in both groups (in a bizarre perversion of the English meaning of the word Gnostic) believe deeply, whereas the agnostics aren’t sure and try to portray themselves as being purely reasonable. This of course is preposterous as every idiot I have heard describe themselves “agnostic atheist” (and thus should not feel the need to argue about a belief they do not hold strongly) will attack you like a rabid Doberman if you even so much as question the logical basis of atheism.  It’s like socialists describing themselves as “progressives” or “moderate” or “centrists” or anything else, doesn’t change the fact that you’re batshit crazy. Think of this being a gnostic theist would mean you believe you can prove God doesn’t exist (logically impossible) or a being an agnostic theist would mean you believe in something you believe you can’t know, even through faith (which would be just dumb).  So I doubt you’ll find anyone dumb enough to be in those two categories. So really you have atheists and theists…and you have people who don’t have a real opinion agnostics, which this stupid 4 part chart doesn’t account for. You may try to make yourself sound more logical, but you’re an atheist, end of story.

Further this distinction ignores that it doesn’t matter how strongly you believe in your atheism, it matters which side you picked.

And this brings up to the second lie, the implicit one, that being an atheist doesn’t affect the rest of your philosophical beliefs. Actually it does.  Choices have consequences.  Philosophy is not a buffet where you can pick and chose beliefs as the writer of lies above would have you believe.

So first some quick background (this will be a refresher course if you already read Republicans and Reincarnation).

 

There are four**** main branches of philosophy: Metaphysic, epistemology, ethics and politics.

Metaphysics: the philosophy about the nature of the universe, what is true, what exists, teleology, and of course religion.

Epistemology: the philosophy of how we know or if we can know.  It’s a really annoying field of lots of hair splitting and hypotheticals.  But this deals with the acceptability of reason and faith in finding truth.

Ethics: How individuals should act and what is the purpose of their actions.

Politics: The ethics of groups and how the individual relates to the group and vice versa.

The lie above would have you believe that these four branches are separated.  That my beliefs about God (i.e. metaphysics) has nothing to do with my beliefs about epistemology, ethics, or politics.

Wrong. Oh so wrong.

Metaphysics affects your beliefs about epistemology. If there is not God there is not Truth beyond the laws of nature, there is no ethical Truth, there is not political Truth, no moral Truth…no truth at all outside of the laws of physics…and even then epistemologically you’re on shaky ground finding a philosophical basis for getting past skepticism because without God all that brain of yours is a sack of meat and electrical signals, there is no philosophical ground to trust it actually knows what it’s doing.

And your Metaphysical and Epistemological beliefs directly create your ethics.  What is true and what you can know is what creates value and what has value is what we direct our life toward.  The values of life if there is a soul and God are radically different from the values without them.

And obviously this change in ethics forms the basis for radically divergent forms of government.

And this then all comes to the third lie, that Atheism is not a moral code.

Atheism holds there is no God. Thus there is no soul.  Thus there cannot be free will.  You cannot rationally hold that there is free will if there is no soul, because free will to be free must be free of the laws of physics.  Choice doesn’t exist, if all your actions are determined only by chemical reactions in your brain. If there is no soul then your brain is simply a collection of chemicals running certain chemical reactions based on stimuli from the outside environment.  Without a soul your brain is nothing but an extremely complex computer running a program.   It may break, it may not work properly, but there is not choice in the matter, there are only reactions determined by the laws of physics.

And if there is no soul and there is no free will the question of value becomes extremely difficult.  Why are you a collection of chemical reactions more valuable than a tree, or a rock, or chemical reaction in a high school chemistry lab?  All are just collections of chemicals operating without choice by the mindless sequence of physical reactions of the their base elements.  Now, atheist Ayn Rand tried make the argument that since we are self-aware and beings of reason we are ends in ourselves…but even her argument depends on free will and an intrinsic value of the human life (both dependent on the soul) and if she ever applied her logic that contradistinctions cannot exist to her own beliefs she would have seen this.

Without the soul and free will human life cannot have value in and of itself.  And any atheist who would like to claim that human life has value in and of itself, I would like to know how you can possibly claim one set of chemical reactions can have more value than another.  And to believe that life has no value is a moral code with very definite moral implications. Ah, but maybe it’s because we’re really complex systems of chemical reactions (why complexity should be valued more than simplicity is a moral judgment without philosophical basis in a Godless universe…also the universe prefers the simplicity of complete chaos and entropy…complexity can only occur in order and lack of chaos, very against the nature of the universe)…but let’s say for the moment it’s because of complexity.  That immediately requires you admit that something more complex would be of more value of human life…let’s call this more complex thing, oh I don’t know, the Herrenvolk…do I even have to explain where that moral code leads?

Not to say all atheists are immoral or act as if human life has no value, most act as if human life has value…but that’s kind of odd for people who rail about how their reason is superior to everyone else’s but somehow are acting on a belief they have no reasonable or logical cause to believe in.  I guess they take that human life has value as an act of faith.

You can’t logically say we should all treat each other with respect and dignity if you no metaphysical reason why humans are so special.

And politically this gets really screwed up, because if there is no intrinsic value to human life, then there are no natural rights, then at best the most you can come up with is a utilitarian system that aims for whatever goal or end you decide (because without the value of the soul, the individual ceases to be the ultimate value and thus value can be whatever you want it to be).  And under utilitarianism anything is permissible (as history has shown time and time again), any atrocity is acceptable so long as it accomplishes whatever your final goal and final solution is.

Now Atheists will like to tell you that this is wrong.  That they do believe in the value of the individual, but they can’t exactly give you a philosophical reason for it.  That they don’t believe in the evils of Unitarianism in practice (Nazism, socialism, communism) but oddly enough all of these governments in history have done everything they can to outlaw, to abolish and to prevent any religion other than atheism.  Why?  Because religion gives value to the individual, and thus rights and reason and free will and value and a soul. Something other than the State to believe in and follow.

To say that atheism does not come with a moral code is to say that ideas do not have consequences.  It is to say that they believe in reason but refuse to follow ideas to their logical conclusions.  You cannot have it both ways. Either you embrace reason and thus metaphysical points affects ethics and morality, or you don’t believe in reason.

And history has shown that the logical conclusion of atheism on any grand scale is never something we would call ethical.

Yes there are some truly psychotic and idiotic beliefs and morals in various religions, but the flaws in certain religions does not negate the massive flaws at the very heart of atheism:  Calling it faith, believes that choices do not have consequences, and believes that a belief that destroys the value of human life is not someone’s perverted moral code.

But please tell me where my logic is wrong…other than just whining that “Atheism isn’t a religion, atheism isn’t a religion.”

*Just in case some idiot doesn’t bother to read the article and want to make an argument without doing even the slightest bit of research, like, I don’t, clicking on the link, I do point out that enforcing any belief leads to bloodshed and that secular pluralistic governments are best…but as few atheists actually want a pluralistic society as shown by their vicious push to have everything but their beliefs banned by law, it’s not really a valid point.

**Before you ask I’m not linking to the fucking idiot who said this, they don’t deserve a higher hit count.

***The argument by cause is actually a very strong argument, as it logically requires something infinite, outside of time and space, with volition, and intelligence.  It is logically impossible for there not to be something like this, and as Aquinas would say, this we call God.  The problem with the argument by cause is it doesn’t tell you much about God, and that is why it is a weak argument–the other arguments are required to tell you anything about God.

****Five really, but aesthetics has little to do with this discussion.

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Filed under Atheism, Civil Liberties, Evils of Liberalism, Faith, Free Will, God, liberal arrogance, Long Term Thinking, People Are Stupid, philosophy, Purpose of Life, Religion, Spirituality, Tyranny, virtue

TV Shows for Conservatives (and everyone else)…a show all must watch!: Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld

Remember when I said we should help expose middle ground people to conservative ideas not necessarily through hard line news and books on economics, but through things that have conservative themes…

Red Eye w: Greg Gutfeld

Well I give you Red Eye, a news show funnier than the Daily Show, wittier than Colbert and it’s so sharp it if were a were a pair of scissors I would warn you to not run with it.

The show consists of conservative Greg Gutfeld, possibly the only man as funny as Dennis Miller, his repulsive side kick, sequential hermaphrodite, liberal Bill Schultz, and the pre-game, halftime and post-game wrap up with libertarian, TV’s Andy Levy.   (Think there were a lot of inside jokes there, there were…like Fluffy McNutter and Pinch).  Then the cast will be joined by 3 guests who span the political spectrum and while they discuss the news they say some of the most outrageous things you’ll ever here on TV.  This is show Ann Coulter goes on so she can appear the most calm and polite person in the world.

New York Times Correspondent Pinch

Still smarter than Red Eye guest Paul Mecurio

You should TIVO this thing religiously (3AM Eastern on FOXNews…yeah they have to bury it that late at night with some of the things they say) and once you get hooked you will never stop watching.

Fluffy McNutter Red EyeAnd then you need to introduce everyone you know to this shows…and slowly they will not only get balanced discussion on issues (from some very unbalanced people) but they will laugh until they cry.

Don’t believe me….
You can listen to them call former CIA agent and President of Security Firm Diligence Mike Baker the father of ugly racist children who must be put down…and Mike seems to not disagree…

Every night halfway through the show the guests are told if they got anything wrong by Red Eye Ombudsman TV’s Andy Levy’s in the Half Time Report

Sometimes we have guest Ombudsmen which leads to moments like this from Jesse Joyce and Dana Vachon

Every episode used to include a Gregalogue…it’s a monologue with Greg…and if you don’t agree with Greg then you are WORSE THAN HITLER!!!!!

Mike Baker’s halftime always include a bizarre number of charts…

Here are the Best Moments of 2011…I personally love Andy’s apology to rapper Chris Brown.

And then there was the first time Bob Beckel  was on Red Eye which included some of the strangest moments in Red Eye (and quite frankly TV’s history).

Lines such as:

“I get all my strength and wisdom from my love of cats, Bob.”

“Drugs, I can’t do them anymore but you still can.”

“I was just going to say I locked away a whole kilo of cocaine in a safety deposit box with 25 thousand and I can’t find it. It’sbeen 12 years.”

Fox often tries to take this clip down (can’t imagine why with admissions like that, but this page seems fairly stable if the video above isn’t working.

And who can forget the “Lightning Rooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooound”

Or you can see the Old Spice Guy pick up Ann Coulter for a Valentine’s date.


And the regularly has the lovely Jedediah Bila (beauty and brains) who regularly makes the correct point that anything Obama does is grounds for his impeachment.

And at 2:20 on this video we find out what Andy really thinks of Bill…

Also you have Paul Mecurio,regular guest who in all the years I have watched him, has yet to say anything even vaguely intelligent.  Monkeys at typewriters will produce the complete works of Steinbeck before Paul says anything even remotely intelligent.

And if you’re still not convinced…here’s a full episode.

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Filed under American Exceptionalism, Capitalism, Conservative, Humor, politics, Popular Culture

Weekly Meditation: Why

“In the beginning was Reason, and Reason was with God, and Reason was God.”–Gospel of John 1:1

What?  How do you translate the Greek work “Logos”?  The Word?  So let me get this straight any other work of philosophy from that time period we would translate logos as Reason or Logic, but in this one work we should translate it as “The Word”…yeah that makes sense.

 

My point here is that reason, logic, the critical power of the mind to analyze and come to conclusions is actually something that has been praised in religion.  Any correct interpretation of any sane religion places reason and faith on equal footing where they work together in harmony, not in opposition.  Thus to truly lead a spiritual life we must lead a life of reason…

Yeah modern culture has tried to teach you that the two are opposed, but they’re not.

It wasn’t a giant leap of faith that allowed Siddhartha to reach Enlightenment, he tried that for years to no avail–it was hearing the rational wisdom of a lyre player saying that “If the string is to tight it will break, if too loose it will not play” to his student. The reason that we must seek a middle path, or at the father of Western reason Aristotle would put it, the Golden Mean.

The Buddha under the boddhi tree

Granted reason without faith won’t get you to Enlightenment, but neither will faith without reason.

And for most of us I think it is the powers of reason they we neglect too much.  And if it is neglected too much than all the faith and crystals and holy books and yoga in the world won’t help you.  You need both and you need to make sure both your ability to believe and your ability to reason are functioning properly.

So this week I want you to ask the most basic question that is the beginning or reason: Why?

Why do you believe that?  Why should I believe that?  Why do you say that?  Why do you believe you’re right?

The goal should be that your internal conversation should sound like a conversation between these two.

The goal should be that your internal conversation should sound like a conversation between these two.

To every statement you hear, every fact provided to you, every thought you have, question it.  Try and reason it out and deduce if it is true, if it makes sense, if there is justification for it.  Everything, even the things you take for granted if only for the practice.

Now you may want to do this all internally, as doing it aloud is partly what got Socrates a death sentence.  If you have someone who enjoys a long conversation that will reduce any position down to its most basic premises, great, but those kind of people are few and far between.

Take this to both spiritual and world knowledge.  It will get tiring, because each answer will lead you to another “Why” and another and another…but the exercise will be worth it.

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Filed under Faith, Long Term Thinking, Meditation, New Age, philosophy, Religion, Spirituality

Reflections on the Election: Why I was wrong, Why Obama Won, and what the GOP needs to do. Part III

It’s been a month since the election…and as you can tell from the limited number of posts, I’m still kind of depressed Obama won, America Lostabout this (and overworked at work, but that’s another story).  I’m still shell-shocked that people could be that stupid—even I, who believe the masses are idiots, can’t fully comprehend that people are so fucking stupid as to vote in a tyrant not once but twice.  It baffles the mind.  If you care about only what you can get you should have voted for the guy who would guarantee a higher chance at raises and better jobs: Romney.  If you cared about other people you should have cared about the guy who would have done the most to improve the middle class: Mitt.  If you care about character it would be the guy who personally does charity whenever he can: Willard Mitt Romney. Intelligence, that would be the guy who got his J.D. and MBA in the same 4 years: The Governor.  Experience, class, vision, leadership, surrounding himself with qualified people.  On every criteria you can come up with it’s a no brainer, but, but, but…

People are really fucking short sighted, envious and dumb.

But are we just powerless to do anything? Are we at the mercy of party leadership to pull us out of this tailspin the country has voted itself in (dear god that’s a depressing thought)?  Luckily no.  Unfortunately I’m not promising anything easy either.

So what can we as individuals do?

Well first I would like to turn back to the exit polls.  Now looking at ethnicity or gender or even age is pointless because there is nothing we can do to change that.   People are what they are.  (Yes, age changes, but it’s not like we have any actual control over it).

2012 exit polls education

Now education can change (complete shocker that Obama the no intelligence/no high school bracket and the no real world experience/postgraduate bracket) but unless you’re a parent most of us can’t really affect people’s education.  If you are a parent, I might suggest that you state you’re not paying for any kind of college education unless they get a degree in the Math/Science area and thus have marketable skills (if they want to get a dual major and have a liberal art as well, well you can negotiate) but parents do not pay for Sociology degrees they are worthless and breed dumb liberals.

2012 exit polls single

Next we turn to gender and marriage status.  A lot of to do was made about women in this election, but as you see it wasn’t really women so much as single women.  And I have seen conservative writers talk about how the single women pose a threat to liberty as they seem to look to the government for the security nets…but it if you look at the data single men are also pretty dumb. The conclusion I’m drawing here isn’t that women are liberal, it’s that single people on the whole are liberal and need to be stopped.  (Yes, I as a bachelor, may not want to throw stones in a glass house, but I’m not as dumb as my fellow singles who voted for Barry…but if you are or know any single, intelligent, conservative, spiritually open women in the Phoenix area…well…my email address is posted…).  Now does this mean we should all go out and get married without standards or relationships, that marriage is an end unto itself. No.  One of the reasons we have a high divorce rate is that people don’t take the time to plan and make sure they’re making a right choice.  So really unless you want to start playing matchmaker which some of us are more qualified than others (this would certainly not be a skill of mine).

2012 exit polls religion

And then we see that Obama did well with the non-religious crowd* and Romney did well with the religious crowd.  Let me put these last two points in context. It doesn’t have as much to do with faith or companionship.  For a lot of people it is an issue of safety.  If you have a spouse, if you have an active church community you have someone you know you can fall back on if things go bad, if you don’t have these things, then the psychology of most people is to seek something you can fall back on: the government.  Now I would rather people evolve and see themselves as their fallback (or at least maybe God) but if we’re going to get there we first have to have an economic system that allows people to take care of themselves (i.e. we need to get rid of liberals and progressives at every level).

So what does this have to do with religion?  Well it means that if you’re a member of a church you need to encourage, push for, and if necessary demand, that your church be more active in the community—charity, public works and improvement projects, fundraisers not for the church but those honestly in need. This should have nothing to do with demonization or dogma.  Only about helping the community and strengthening the bonds of community.

If you’re not in a church, say a New Ager, it couldn’t hurt to find a non-pushy church out there and see if they would like help with those charity projects.

If you’re in a church that does do these kinds of charity projects then see if you can invite people you know to help, don’t proselytize, don’t make it about belief, only about helping others.  (Also may I suggest making your charity functions known to the local middle and high schools—students, especially college bound students, are more and more looking for community service on their resumes—and let them know their parents are invited as well).

This has nothing to do with dogma, it has to with a core tenet in every religion I can think of, charity, community, compassion.

Show people that government isn’t the only source that they can fall back on.  Look at it this way, the way people talk about others often shows how they themselves think.  I call it the “I am the world” fallacy, and I’m guilty of it myself sometimes, we all are.  We tend to make assumptions about the way people act based on our own habits and thoughts.  Conservatives naturally tend to think that the government isn’t needed because we ourselves are more generous and just assume everybody does the right thing.  Liberals assume others are avaricious, cruel, irrationally selfish, and miserly not because they’re saints and know everyone else is stingy, but because they themselves are not compassionate at their heart—they fear they will have no one to fall back on because in their heart of heart they know they won’t help other either.  (Liberals give to charity less than conservatives and they volunteer a hell of a lot less than conservatives, see Who Really Cares by Arthur C. Brooks).

But if we get people who might not usually attend church to come to charity events we can show them that people do care for people and that we don’t need government to care for us…and maybe we can even show them there is personal joy in compassion and charity.  Trust me, a person who does charity out of the joy it brings them never votes liberal, liberals give out of guilt not joy.

So get your church (or any other group that has the resources) involved in the community (if you’re not doing at least 3 events a month, it’s not enough), invite people to come just for the charity aspect, and watch their belief that the government is the only one looking out for them disappear (also with more human contact and larger social circles we might fix that single problem listed above).

Also this process will help destroy that one thing that Obama did well in “He cares about people like me.”

2012 exit polls key points

Charity and a strong community teach us that we are capable of caring for people who aren’t like ourselves.

But that can’t be all we have to do.  Liberals have done a great job with controlling the media.  News, movies, TV shows, you name it there are liberal messages.  But we cannot give in on this.

So there are a few things we can do.  The first is that we can try to pull their funding.  Here at the Conservative New Ager we’re going after that Goebbels style propaganda wing MSNBC.  We encourage people to write to their advertisers and pull their ads.  It works.  If a company just gets a hundred letters asking them to make sure the shows they are advertising on are only reporting the truth, they will either pull the ads or they will use the power their money buys them to get results.  We have already heard from P&G and UPS.

The next thing is that we need to expose people to the truth.  I would recommend everyone use all the social media they have to expose their friends to the truth.  Now you don’t have to repost a thousand articles every day, but don’t be afraid to share something for fear of losing a friend.  For everyone you lose you’ll likely help push a two or three that much closer to the truth.  (And if you’re like me you don’t have many liberal friends left anyway, it’s the middle we’re trying to win, not the ones beyond hope).

Also if you get a real newspaper (there aren’t many left: The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times…if it uses AP articles don’t bother) take it to work and leave it in the break room every day.  It can only help expose people to the truth.

But on that note we need to share the media that is conservative we need to focus on the stuff that isn’t the news and isn’t explicitly political.  Liberals have tried to infect every book, every movie, every show with liberal messages and just habituate people into thinking in liberal terms.  The problem is that most good literature is more conservative in its themes.  Self sufficiency, rational thought, ethical behavior, connection to God.  These subtle themes are in literature everywhere, even when it’s written by artists who are liberal themselves.  George Orwell was a socialist, but 1984 and Animal Farm are scathing critiques of the very state Orwell would likely have supported.   Given time, the truth will out, as a conservative writer once put it. What conservatives make the mistake of doing is trying to give people Atlas Shrugged and Ann Coulter and Thomas Sowell.  It doesn’t matter that we enjoy those, those books only preach to the choir.  If someone isn’t open to those ideas, if they’ve been indoctrinated to think conservatives are evil, Rand was psychotic, Coulter is vicious and Sowell is an Uncle Tom, it doesn’t matter if the facts are there, their emotional reaction to those works will prevent them from seeing the facts.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t share books and TV shows with friends, family, acquaintances. I’m sure we know lots of people who are not conservative but if they were introduced to those ideas the logic and reason of it would come out.  That is why I am putting together a list of books, movies and TV shows that depict the conservative themes and that we agree with, without being explicitly conservative.   The Individual, reason, ethical behavior, long term thinking, the truth.  These are things that bring people close to conservatism.  I would take a look at this list (and keep coming back as I hope to keep adding to it).  Lend these works out to people who you think might be open to them.  Give them as gifts for any holiday and any excuse you can.  And then discuss them with the person after they’ve read or watched it (never give out something you’re not familiar with already!  You don’t want to get caught where they make some silly liberal interpretation and don’t have a comeback for it).  It seems silly but ideas have power, and once they’re in a person’s mind they spread not just to affecting the other ideas of that mind but in the way they behave to others and the way they influence the ideas of others.  And if they get more conservative in their thoughts introduce them to the more explicitly conservative works…but don’t start with those, they’ll just shut people down.

Finally it’s the old stand-bys.  Write a blog or letters to editors.  Donate to organizations that promote your beliefs (right now I would focus on Heritage and Freedomwork because they do not seem overly obsessed with the social issues which are dragging this party down and giving the left too many easy targets), volunteer for campaigns, get involved.  We have four years where we can do next to nothing to save the economy or well being of our allies across the sea.  Nothing.  We have this idiot tyrant in charge and he will wreck the place as much as he can through a combination of stupidity and malice.  Focusing too much on that will be somewhat fruitless for us as individuals—but as individuals we do have the power to influence those around us and help bring them to our side.

*Also Obama did exceedingly well with people who aren’t not affiliated with any religion but are spiritual  you know, the kind of people the Republicans and Reincarnation was written specifically for.  If you know some of these people, could it hurt to give them a copy?

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