Category Archives: Books

Apologists and revisionists are beginning to annoy me…

It’s always a little sad when a publication or web site you otherwise respect and trust starts publishing drivel. Regrettably such was the case over at the RealClear websites when they published (not just linked, but published) an article preposterously entitled, “Religion didn’t kill science in the Middle East” And while I tend to just ignore most historical revisionism as something utterly not worth my time, this article not only justifies the anti-intellectual attitudes that run through the “religion of peace” but it completely dismisses historical truth.

The article does correctly point out that at a certain point in history—the article conveniently says between the 9th and 13th centuries (I’ll come back to these dates)—the Islamic world was the height of civilization in terms of science and mathematics. This was the era that saw the invention of Algebra, and advances in chemistry, medicine, and astronomy. Okay so far. Then the author goes onto to point out why Islam began falling behind: like most historical revisionists he blames the Crusades in the 11th century and Columbus in the 15th century (easy punching bags for every lightweight pseudo-intellectual hack) as things that hurt the Islamic world, it’s ability to trade (and with it the prosperity to allow a culture to indulge in scientific research). Ridiculously, Genghis Khan and the fact that you can’t put Arabic into a printing press are also blamed.

The problem with all of this – the reasons given for the decline of scientific research were was in fact in decline before a Crusader ever set foot in the Middle East. In fact if we look at Charles Murray’s book Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950 we find that there is not a single major scientific advancement to come out of the Arabic world after 1025.* In fact we not only see scientific advancement disappear from the map but even art. Literature in the Islamic world goes from a massive output of quality work that still stands the test of time, to almost nothing past 1050**. As the First Crusade started in 1096 (and all the other points the author brought up occurred after that) I find it very hard to blame any of them for the death of intellectual output in the Muslim world which seemed to happen at least 50 years before that. It also seems to be very disingenuous of the author of the article to say the scientific achievements continued until the 13th century when really they died off in the 11th…it’s as if he picked a date that allowed him to blame the Crusades, to hell if it had no relation to facts.

Also if it was only the lack of prosperity and constant conflict that was the cause of the death of science in the Middle East…Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., Qatar, are all rolling in cash and have been fairly stable (by standards of the region they’re incredibly stable) yet at best we’re seeing them use the resources of Western intellect instead of breaking new ground. Something seems to ring very false. And if the argument of the article is false, is Islam and it’s core teachings to blame?

So what really killed the science in the Islamic World? Well the answer to that can be found in one simple name: Aristotle. In the 750’s the Abbasid Caliphate took control of the Islamic Empire and with them came a branch of Sunni Islam called Mu’tazilism (don’t be too shocked you haven’t ever heard of them, they’re all dead). The Mu’tazilites were the branch of Islam that actually bothered to read the works of the Ancient Greeks when the Islamic armies conquered all the cities in their new Empire. And there they found Aristotle, a man who wrote about physics, psychology, politics, ethics, biology, metaphysics…who held reason and logic as the guiding light for all of human existence. Despite the fact that Islam was never too hot on reason*** the common sense nature of Aristotle won out with Mu’tazilites who decided that reason not blind unthinking faith needed to be the guiding light. And for a couple centuries they were guiding force of culture (or at least a force in the 10th and 11th century) that you saw the major output and advances in mathematics, science, literature, and art. However in 1063 (you know around the time when everything stopped), as stated in The Closing of the Muslim Mind by Robert R. Reilly,

“Nizam al-Mulk, the power vizier to Seljuk sultan Alp-Arslan, had the curses [against the Ash’arites] stopped.   According to British Islam scholar W. Montgomery Watt, al-Muk also ‘began to implement a policy of supporting and strengthening the Ash’arites against the other theological and legal schools.’”

Who are the Ash’arites? They’re pretty much the archenemies of the Mu’tazilites (you may not know the name Ash’arite, but you’re more than familiar with their attitudes). They believe in faith as the only guide and reason as merely hubris.

They believed in following the Koran without interpretation, just following what it said. Their most famous scholar al-Ghazali published a book The Incoherence of Philosophy which among other things set out to destroy the usefulness of reason at anytime in any place for any purpose. Sharia Law is a direct outgrowth of Ash’arite belief. As the Ash’areites

It is the presence of the ideas of these two that creates scientific and cultural prosperity…it their lack which causes stagnation. This is true not just in the Middle East, but the world over.

came into power they not only challenged the Mu’tazilites, they had them killed and their works burned. And low and behold when this belief came into power, the intellectual output of Islam just dried up over night. Amazing how when you deny reason the fruits of reason disappear. All the advancement that apologist like to talk about for the Golden Age of Islam came from the time when the Mu’tazilites, who downplayed religion, were in power.

So is religion to blame? Yes, yes it is. Because the fact is that while my sympathies will always be for the Mu’tazilites I can also admit they were terrible Muslims. A good portion of Mu’tazilite writing is trying to explain away the contradictions between reason and Koran. The Bible starts with a statement that God gave man dominion over Earth (thus it might be intelligent to know what goes on here), praises intellect, and implies that the reason and free will of God exists in the human soul. All of this matches up very well with Aristotle…which is why St. Thomas Aquinas found it so easy to graft Aristotle onto Christianity in the 1300’s (you know right before the time that science and research were coming back into style in Europe). The Mu’tazilites had to do everything but outright deny the Koran to prop up the common sense reason of Aristotle. The Koran dismisses reason, allows for no room for free will or even the laws of physics as everything occurs by the will of Allah (you roll your pen off the table, it falls, according to Ash’arties it fell not because of gravity because there is no such thing…it fell because Allah willed it to fall, the god of Ash’arism is the micro-manager to an infinite degree…things seem to fall at a constant rate of 32 feet per second per second not because of laws of physics, but because God is a creature of habit)… please go read The Closing of the Muslim Mind if you think this is just my interpretation. Right, wrong, or indifferent, religious liberty aside, Islam is a religion that at its core is dead set against the mind/reason/logic. Other religions are more ambivalent, you can find evidence supporting faith and evidence supporting reason, but no sides come out a winner, but in Islam, and especially the Ash’arite interpretation which is still in fashion, reason always loses to faith…in fact there isn’t even a contest.

And it should be noted that while other religions don’t make it as hard to work with it is the Aristotelean spirit that drives culture and science to thrive. Now it may be as the author argues in The Cave and the Light that it is the battle between Aristotle and Plato that drives civilization and that even when you have too much Aristotle things get a little stagnant…be in The Closing of the Muslim Mind, Human Accomplishment, The Cave and the Light or the recently released The History of the Renaissance World: From the rediscovery of Aristotle to the conquest of Constantinople if you are going to judge what drives civilization to improve it is Aristotle. And the RealClear article which tries to free Islam of blame by ignoring what caused the growth of the Islamic world and how it was religion that got rid of the works of Aristotle, is intellectually baseless, trying only to relieve the only religion liberalism actually likes of it’s participation in hurting the advancement of civilization.

*There is one major figure in the field of medicine from the 1200’s but I think it’s safe to say his work in medicine was due to the Crusades more than hurt by them.

**It should also be noted that until the modern era the vast majority of literature that came from the Islamic world came from Sufi writers. The charges I make against Islam later in the article almost never apply the Sufism which philosophically does little more than pay lip service to the core tenets of Islam.

***The problem is this. In Islam there is no story that God made man in his own image, in fact the Koran states that nothing can be compared to Allah (112:1-4) and if we lack in the image (usually interpreted to be will and intellect) in common what good are those things in us, and unlike the Bible which in the old Testament praises Solomon for his intellect and the Gospel of John states “In the beginning was Reason, and Reason was with God and Reason was God.” (yes, that’s a more correct translation than what you’re used to reading)…there are no such lines praising reason and logic in the Koran, only faith. Blind, unthinking, unquestioning faith.

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Books for New Agers: Life Before Life—Children’s Memories of Previous Lives

Reincarnation

So I just finished reading Life Before Life—Children’s Memories of Previous Lives by Jim B. Tucker, M.D.  Yes it’s a book about reincarnation.  But unlike a lot of books about reincarnation that will look at one case of past life regression…or another case of someone having spontaneous memories and working through each case this is a summary of a collection of cases. 2,500 cases covering decades worth of research.  All of them involving children under the age of six, you know before you could theoretically prompt a child to say things.   These cases are being reviewed by the University of Virginia, Division of Personality studies.*

Let’s review some of the main points.

All the children are under the age of six.

All children recall having been someone in a previous life.

About two-thirds of the cases have been “solved”, that is they have identified a specific individual that the child has memories of being.

About a fifth of cases the child has a birth mark or structural defect where the person they claim to have been received a major wound (e.g., a child is born with a birth mark where a shunt had been in their previous life or a child who had memories of being a cop who had died when a bullet destroyed his aorta, being born with a bad aorta that had to replaced).  225 of these solved cases that involve birthmarks and other physical markers are covered apparently in great detail in a 2,000+ page, 2 volume study entitled  “Reincarnation and Biology: A Contribution to the Etiology of Birthmarks and Birth Defects”.

There’s a lot of specific evidence I’m not going over because I actually think you should read the book.  But trust me there is evidence.lifeafterlife

Particular cases are reviewed, their flaws and strengths are laid out and the author goes through other possibilities of explanation which are reviewed.  Tucker spends a great deal of time on the only other remotely possible answer for these children knowing what they could not, that being fraud on the part of the parents.  But given that numerous cases for the U.S. where subjects don’t believe in reincarnation, it seems odd that they would try to fake a case of reincarnation.  Further even fraud leaves too many unanswered questions…reincarnation does not.
The book is an excellent summary of the scientific findings of this group at the University of Virginia** and so while much of the scientific and statistical evidence isn’t presented, it does lay out a sound scientific case for reincarnation.  It deals with the challenges skeptics would bring up and addresses them, then tears them down.

I would highly recommend anyone interested in reincarnation, or looking for scientific proof to back up their faith, read this book.

Some of the more interesting highlights from the book include:

Apparently you are more likely to remember a past life if that life ended only a year or two before your rebirth, there are relatively few memories of distant past lives among these children.

Gender Identify Disorder may, at least in many cases, be related to a soul switching from one gender to another between the two lives and the confusion from change.

The after life, at times, may be as chaotic as this life.

Not everyone remembers heaven, but some do, and you are less likely to remember it if your death in your previous life was particularly violent or sudden.

If you meditate you are more likely to remember heaven in your next incarnation.

There are cases of children remembering their last incarnation being a fetus that was aborted or miscarried.

All that said this book raises some questions that I have and if anyone has any information on this I would love to know.  After reading this book it appears that cases where children are remembering their past lives are becoming more common, or at least it appears that way to me.  I’ll admit that it may simply be that this is only being studied recently, whereas in the past it was not.  However there are cases in the past of people remembering their past lives, Gen. George S. Patton for instance, but these seem to be very rare in the past, where the 2,500 cases collected by the University of Virginia (and you know if they can find 2,500 there have to be ten times that many they didn’t find) don’t make it common, but it certainly does not seem to be uncommon. This makes me wonder if the memories are becoming more and more common.  Since, quite frankly, none of the children in this book  come off as enlightened beings (nor any of their previous incarnations) these memories do not seem to be caused by the individual soul’s level of spiritual enlightenment, my question is does this maybe indicate a greater awakening in the collective soul of humanity?  Certainly this is not going to be answered anytime soon, but it’s something to think about.

Also, the birthmark and other biological signs described in the book are suggested to be related not to karma but more to the mind’s ability to affect the body (the book references the ability to make a hypnotized person believe they are being burned to the point that their skin blisters or the fact that signs of the stigmata are now believed to be caused by psychological not miraculous factors).  Now if the mind, and specifically it’s attachment to certain memorable events (usually what killed you would have a more powerful impact on you, or at least you would think), and we also take into account the issue of some souls not being able to fully adjust to their new gender in the form of Gender Identity Disorder…I have to ask in lesser cases could a soul attached to their previous gender affect the DNA of their new body, thus being the spiritual cause of the genetic factor in homosexuality?  And I bring this up because I have also seen this suggested in the book The Messengers and the issues of Gender Identity Disorder reminded me of it.

*The book was published in 2005.  And deals primarily with 1,100 cases that had been entered into a computer system for statistical analysis.  I can only assume that both the computer database and the total number of cases has increased since the book was published.

** For my conservative readers, it is funded by private endowment, not by tax-payers (although I assume the same researchers are paid by tax payer funds for any teaching they do at the University) so don’t even begin to question if money should be paid for this.

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Filed under Books, Books for New Agers, Faith, God, Karma, New Age, philosophy, Purpose of Life, Reincarnation, 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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Weekly Meditation: Have Faith

If you’re a regular on this blog you already know that Tuesday night and Wednesday will never be recorded as the happiest days of my life.

Any rational assessment of the situation is a fairly dark one.  Barring some kind of miracle, the nation and the world are in for economic hardships, stagnation, and suffering (and possibly worse).  The people who claimed they care about others more just condemned multitudes to more anguish.  Very compassionate, I’m sure.  And this left me extremely depressed.

But depression doesn’t last forever.*

And as I said in my last blog I believe that everything happens for a reason.  I’m still not entirely sure what that reason is, I have some speculative thoughts (which I will cover in another blog), but I can’t fully fathom what this reason is with certainty.

However, this uncertainty is not worrying me all that much.  Because in the midst of my despair I remember something I think I briefly forgot. Faith.

And this is where we get to this week’s meditation.  Between the hectic life of the holiday season, declining economics, lowered levels of sun light and random other factors of life, this can be a frustrating time of the year even if you’re not obsessed with politics like I am.  We need to remind ourselves that there is something higher and more important than the day-to-day frustrations.

For me the passage I turn to (and need to remember to turn to more often) is from the opening of A Course In Miracles:

Nothing real can be harmed.

If you haven’t read it, you should.

Nothing unreal exists.

Herein lies the peace of God.

This lines always reminds me  (you may have a different line that reminds you, feel free to share) that first and foremost you are a soul—infinite, immortal, beyond harm and suffering—and nothing that happens in this world can truly harm you. That this too shall pass, and some day, you will return to the perfection of being one with God.

So every day I would suggest you try and repeat this at least twice a day (every hour would be even more helpful) and spend a few moments letting it sink into your mind.

Think about those words.  Trust me, they have very calming effect and remind you that there is light at the end of the tunnel even if you can’t see it yet.

 Nothing real can be harmed.

Nothing unreal exists.

Herein lies the peace of God.

*If it is, seek psychiatric help, you’ll feel better for it.

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Liberals engage in voter fraud often and we need Voter ID to stop it

As good fortune had it, Puggy arrived on Election Day. He’d been on the street for less than an hour when a white van pulled up next to him. The driver, an older man, said something in Spanish and showed him a ten-dollar bill. Puggy, assuming the man wanted a blow job, said “Not interested.” The man immediately switched to English and explained that all Puggy had to do, for the ten, was vote.

“I’m not from here,” said Puggy.

“No problem,” said the man.

So Puggy got into the van. En route to the polling place, the older man picked up seven other voters, all men, some quite aromatic. At the polling place, they all walked right inside and the man told them what to do. The poll workers did not seem to have any problem with this.

When it was Puggy’s turn to vote, he gave his name, per instructions, as Albert Green, which he spelled “Allbert Gren.” The real Albert Green was a person who had died in 1991 but still voted often in Miami. Puggy cast Mr. Green’s ballot for a mayoral candidate named Carlos somebody, then went outside and collected his ten, which looked like a million dollars in his hand.

Puggy had never voted for anything before, but on that magical day, riding around in the white van, he voted in the Miami mayoral election four times at four different polling places. He got ten dollars each for the first three times, but the fourth time, the van man said the price was now five, and Puggy said OK. He felt he had already gotten a lot from the city of Miami, and he didn’t mind giving something back.

—Dave Barry, Big Trouble*

Liberals are whining about Voter ID laws lately and this is only going to get worse.

Why?  Because as they slip further and further out of power (as it appears they are really doing at this point ) then that’s all they’ll have to get to stay in power…after all this is the party that engaged in voter fraud right in the middle of its convention when corrupt L.A. mayor Villaraigosa called an overwhelming nay vote a yay vote (now some Republicans have unfairly hit the Democrats saying they were voting against putting God into the platform…this is untrue, they were voting against recognizing the capital of Israel because the Democratic party is clearly made up of anti-Semites).

Democratic cheating is a time honored tradition.  From Jim Crow laws to Joe Kennedy buying the election for his son, Democrats believe that you should vote early, vote often, and keep voting after you die.

However, despite the voter fraud and intimidation actions of ACORN and the New Black Panthers (both ignored by Eric

Attorney General and all around piece of scum Eric Holder’s bestest best friends, the New Black Panthers, caught on tape engaging in voter intimidation. Yes that’s him holding a pipe in his hands right in front of a polling place.  Holder treated this like he treats all real illegal actions, he did nothing…after all there were cartel to arm, potheads to prosecute, and constitutions to be shredded.

Holder), Democrats make silly claims like “Voter fraud doesn’t really occur.”

Okay let’s put that to the test.

A NAACP member in Mississippi was convicted of casting a dead person’s ballot. 

A Democratic candidate in Maryland had to withdraw from the race because it was shown she engaged in voter fraud.

A Democrat in Arkansas plead guilty to voter fraud.

Voter fraud in New York and Florida has already been discovered with absentee ballots. 

A ballot measure that will allow the inherently biased-toward-the-left open primaries in Arizona is believed to be on the ballot only because of voter fraud. 

Even NPR admits that right now there is just short of 2 million dead people on the voter rolls.

You can get another person’s ballot without any effort

The SEIU was involved in voter fraud in the Wisconsin recall.

 

Also it appears California union members voted in the Wisconsin elections.

And there was major voting fraud in Pennsylvania. 

And that’s just stuff from this year.

It doesn’t take much effort to find recent cases of voter fraud in 46 states. 

And this is ignoring a history of voter fraud throughout the country.

 

Then you have California Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez…she won the seat by 928 votes…a Congressional committee without really trying found 748 of those votes were cast by illegal immigrants (am I the only person who thinks finding over 700 illegal votes in one congressional district on only a cursory look is something that should have received national attention and calls for strict Voter ID laws from the federal level)…but in true liberal fashion that shouldn’t be enough to call the whole election into question

And being bluntly honest, if not for voter fraud, Al Franken would not be in the U.S. Senate.  (Just typing that sentence makes me sick.  That dimwitted hack should never have been allowed near any representative body.)

The fact of the matter is that cases of voter fraud are hard to find proof of and harder to convict on…so if you can find as many cases as are just shown here…then you guarantee there are a lot more.

So the fact is that there is voter fraud going on…to what degree it’s hard to tell.  But given the flexible way the DNC handled voice votes, the flexible way liberals historically deal with truth, the flexible morals of groups like ACORN, and the money that people like Soros ship to such groups it’s possible   And keep in mind this is the party that pays people to protest and ignored the heinous crimes of Occupy because it furthers their cause…is paying people to vote all that much further?

So how do we fix this?  Now the easiest way would be to end the secret ballot and tie every ballot to a name…it would be very easy to determine if your ballot was tampered with or submitted by someone who wasn’t you.  But this cure would be worse than the disease as it will lead to kind of voter intimidation that we fear card check brings with union votes.  I bring this up only because some well meaning but short sighted people on the internet were suggesting this as a cure for the voter fraud problem.

So the next most likely solution is Voter ID.

Voter ID is actually the only other way, besides getting rid of the secret ballot, to solve the election fraud problem because there is no other way to check for fraud.  (I mean guess we could come up with punishment so horrible and so Draconian that even the most corrupt would be afraid to even try…but I, like the rest of the civilized world, am firmly against making people listen to Obama speeches put on an endless loop as this violates the most basic and fundamental human rights).  Without some kind of basic check that you’re who you say you are there is absolutely no way to stop people from voting as other people.

(Now actually I think the voter rolls should be cleared out every few years and everyone needs to re-register every two years, which would help reduce the number of voters who have moved to a new state along with the dead and inactive…and while that would be effective to vastly reduce the opportunity for fraud, liberals will throw all the same arguments against it that they do against voter ID so there is no particular reason we should view them separately.**)

Why is voter ID effective?  Because it’s much harder to fake an ID than it is to say you’re such and such at this or that address (which is almost always in the public record).  It’s easy to get hold of this information in mass numbers.  It’s unbelievably hard to fake the number of ID’s it would take to swing a vote in a state with voter ID…to the point that I would say that it is not even remotely cost effective (not to mention that it increases the number of people in the criminal venture exponentially and leaves a far greater paper and evidence trail).  Voter ID laws won’t necessarily stop all Voter fraud, but what they will do is make it so that it becomes virtually unthinkable to try and sway an election through fraud without being easily caught in the attempt.

But liberals make all these silly arguments.  “It’s really hard.”  WTF?  Almost every teenager I know has an ID by the time they’re 15 (and as a High School English teacher, I know a quite a few teenagers)…if a teenager who can’t drive, can manage this, really how hard can it be?   “It costs too much money and therefore it’s a poll tax!”  Okay first of all, how exactly do you go through life without an ID?  I personally don’t get it.  There are so many things you need an ID to do, I don’t see how it doesn’t cost you more to not get an ID.  But ignoring that, I know of no state that has Voter ID laws that doesn’t have a corresponding system that allows for low income citizens to get free ID’s.  There–problem solved.  Will you have to fill out some extra paper work?  Yes.  But guess what, voting shouldn’t be easy, anything easy is not treated as valuable…and I find the right to determine the fate of my nation a fairly valuable thing.  “It’s not constitutional.” Yes, yes it is.  Please read Crawford v. Marion County Election Boardwhere the Supreme Court even said it’s constitutional***.  “It’s racist.”  Um…it’s only hurting minorities if they were incapable of going to fill out paperwork on their own, most conservatives don’t believe this****, it’s the liberals who seem to think this will stop minorities from voting (I guess because they think minorities are too stupid to get ID’s).

Look, let me speak on behalf of the most conservatives here, we don’t want to stop any ethnic group from voting, we want to stop liberals from stealing elections via illegal ballots being cast.  We don’t think minorities are the problem, we think liberals are.

But let’s say fact and reason don’t hold any sway for you and you still say that voting is a constitutional right and that ID laws are a violation of that right. Then let me try this thought experiment. Voting and owning a gun are both constitutional rights. Both have the power to protect my life if used well or ruin the lives of myself and others if used in- appropriately. In the hands of idiots who don’t know what they’re doing both can lead to unspeakable harm and evil.  In the hands of informed citizens both are a strong bulwark against tyranny and bad government.  Liberals would scream bloody murder if I said I shouldn’t have to show an ID to buy a gun, and I agree with them, I do believe you should have to show ID for a gun.  It’s too dangerous to sell without some kind of ID check.  You should have to show ID to get a gun even though it’s a constitutional right.

Yet these same liberals scream bloody murder if I say you should have to show an ID to vote.  It doesn’t follow.  If you are willing to say one requires an ID then you can’t say that you can’t require an ID for another because “it’s a constitutional right.”  Especially because, let’s be honest here, in the wrong hands a gun is only dangerous as long as it holds bullets and can only harm a limited amount of people (it might be a tragedy but it’s a limited one).  A vote, and especially a rigged election, can harm thousands, millions…and if it is any office with power of foreign policy, billions.  Tell me again why guns are so important that we need to check ID but that voting isn’t?

Voter fraud is real.  ID check is the single greatest way to counter it.  There are no legitimate arguments against. It needs to be implemented in all 50 states.

*It may be a fictional representation, but it’s a representation of what actually goes on.

**While arguments could be made that better and more informed voting would occur if we raised the voting age again (maybe to 30…I know very few people in their 20’s mature enough to be allowed to decide the fate of the nation…if you want to have a specific exception for soldier, fine, but this blanket 18-year-old shit is easily the one of the dumbest Amendments in the whole Constitution.

***Yes, I have said on numerous cases the Supreme Court has not made the right call.  I don’t however claim that just because the court is wrong that their mentally challenged ruling doesn’t have the force of law.  And so even if you disagree with Crawford it’s the law.

****I say most because there are pieces of shit in every party.  The main difference is that the Republican Party has some fringe elements (we’re trying to deport them to the libertarians as quickly as we can)…the Democratic Party through welfare, affirmative action, resistance to education reform, etc., supports racism as a major plank of the party platform.

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From Republicans and Reincarnation: Part of the Ethical Argument for Capitalism

Robbing Peter to Pay Paul vs. Peter giving to Paul

“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.” —Winston Churchill

            Let’s look at two hypothetical systems.

System 1:

Peter is rich.  Very rich.  The government takes what it considers a reasonable amount of money (which has nothing to do with what a reasonable person would consider a reasonable amount).  Let’s say 31 cents on the dollar.  The government then takes that money and spends about 18 cents, of every dollar Peter makes, on Paul.  So what is the point of this system?  Supposedly it’s to help Paul improve his station in life.  We take money from Peter because Peter can afford it.  So now let’s looks at this.  Through the questions we established earlier.

  1. Is the action leading to a positive, neutral, or negative end?
  2. Is the action unethical or ethical?
  3. Is the benefit this action is providing removing a material or spiritual obstacle, or both?
  4. Is this a long-term benefit or short-term benefit?
  5. Is the action benefiting a large number of people or a small number?

I’m going to take these in reverse order, so bear with me.  This is hurting at least on face value a smaller portion of the population (not really, Peter as representative of “the rich”[1] is actually a fairly large portion of the population) to help a larger portion of the population (again not really, Paul as representative of those on the dole is a relatively small portion of the population[2]…but we’re going to play in the opposition ballpark for the moment).  So at least the argument (no matter how flimsy it is) is that few people are hurt and lots of people are helped.

But how are they helped?  Is this a long-term benefit or a short-term benefit?  When we talk about this we have to think about what Paul will do with that welfare check.  Now I couldn’t find figures on how many welfare checks are spent on capital investment or college tuitions, but given the fact that until the 1990’s welfare reform the number of people leaving the dole could not be described as a mass exodus, I think it’s a safe assumption that not much of that money was being used to better Paul.  Quite frankly it’s human nature.  People value things by what they sacrifice to get it, by the amount of work that goes into it, by what had to be done to earn it—thus money just thrown at you without strings has little value.  As such it will be spent on things of no lasting value.  Yes there are numerous examples of people who climbed their way out of welfare, and I applaud these people for the strength of character to fight human nature’s more lazy and apathetic tendencies, but no one can be foolish enough to say that these few examples are indicative of the whole—nor ignore the fact that many of these people who have gotten themselves out of the cycle of poverty are some of welfare’s harshest and most vocal critics.  Thus welfare in general is at best a short-term fix; it by no means attacks the root of the problem.[3]

So it helps lots of people, but is only a short-term solution.  Now obviously this has material benefit (at least for Paul, to hell if it actually depresses the economy as a whole) but does it actually have any spiritual benefits?  Sadly, and rather obviously, the answer is no.  Peter gets none of the spiritual benefits described in the previous chapter that come from giving, because he did not give by choice, the money was taken from him against his will.  Nor is Peter also likely to give to charity now, or at least not as much, because human nature is that once that money has been taken, then that person feels that they’ve already given, when they haven’t.  In fact if anything this leaves Peter more negative and bitter toward humanity as he now sees money stolen from him and given to people who are less than deserving and not using said money to better themselves.  This is likely to make Peter more bitter toward humanity around him, more cynical, and overall a worse human being.  So it’s actually a spiritual negative.  How about for Paul?  The answer is again in the negative.  Paul feels no need to earn this act of charity; it was given to him by an unfeeling, cold, heartless institution, not another human being.  The insult to self-esteem alone comes as a spiritual negative.  More often than not the psychological effects of such a handout will make Paul feel even in less control of his life than before because now that he must depend on the government for his existence—this increases his feelings of powerlessness, increases fear that he is not in control of his existence and rather a mere victim of fate and circumstance.  In short another spiritual negative.

Finally is it ethical?  No!  The phrase is “to rob Peter to pay Paul” for a reason.  It’s stealing money from a human being by force.  I know I don’t pay my taxes out of the goodness of my heart; I do it because I don’t wish to go to jail or have a standoff with the FBI and ATF.  I’m pretty sure that’s the same reason you pay your taxes.  They have jails and guns, a lot of them—certainly more than I would like to make a standoff against.  So in the end it’s theft.  A clear violation of “Thou shalt not steal” or its numerous variations in every religion on earth, and New Agers are no different on this point.  Stealing is stealing; it’s a complete and total violation of any conception of ethics I can think of.   Now we do honor the myth of Robin Hood, but not because he was a thief, as someone once tried to disprove my point that we never believe theft to be a good thing.  Notice that if you actually look at all the legends, it wasn’t that he robbed from the rich and gave to the poor (a more modern socialist reinterpretation) but rather robbed from the robbing tax collector and gave back to the people who had actually earned the money.  His heroism isn’t in the theft, it’s in putting his life on the line to get back for people what was stolen from them, what was originally theirs (which is what we would like to think the police do when they put their life on the line for us).

But don’t the ends justify the means you ask—to which I respond: did you read the previous paragraphs?  Even if there were cases where the ends justify the means, I can’t see how stealing hard-earned money from people is justified by short-term material benefits and long-term spiritual and economic harm.  The welfare system in all its myriad forms is actually harming the spiritual growth of everyone it touches.  Unless you were an atheist you couldn’t possibly support it, and even then to believe that this system pragmatically worked you’d need to be an atheist and a moron to… (Or am I being redundant there?)

System 2:

            So let’s say that starting today we started reducing all welfare entitlements.  Making them harder to get, requiring more oversight of the people who get them, and requiring even further time constraints in regards to how long you can be on the program.  In terms of social security this would be cutting benefits, raising retirement ages and begin to either privatize or simply eliminate[4] through a phased out process.  Now you might be wondering why I’m not suggesting this second system as being one of completely wiping welfare, social security, Medicaid, and Medicare simply off the face of the earth.  The answer would be that for better or much much worse, these programs have unfortunately become part of the country’s society and while they do eventually need to die, just cutting them with a machete, while greatly satisfying, will cause short-term chaos, and long term societal scars.  Welfare, like heroin, is not an addiction that one just quits cold turkey.[5]  There does need to be a large initial cut to show we mean business of somewhere in the ballpark of 10% cuts right off the top—but this needs to be followed by a 10 to 20 year plan of phasing these programs out of existence.

So assuming we do the right thing, and cutting these programs back with the intention of eventually leaving them only as significantly smaller local programs or just out and out killing them.  What are the benefits and losses?

First, how many people are helped?  While I’m sure we all agree that supply-side economics doesn’t work quite as well or as quickly as everyone thought it did back in the ‘80’s, but it does work, albeit its effects take time to work through.  When the economy improves everyone benefits, and when you cut government intrusion the economy improves…eventually.  But the fact of the matter is that more money in the hands of the people is still more money circulating through the economy and not being lost in some bureaucratic nightmare land that creates nothing but red tape and paperwork and thus doesn’t really add anything to the flow of the economy.  More money, more things being bought.  More things being bought, more profit.  More profit, more investment.  More investment, more jobs…you know how this goes.  So certainly this will take time, but then again that’s what we conservatives like—long-term fixes, not short term band-aids.  Further if we do this properly as a long term rollback of funds people receiving these handouts should have time to plan and adjust to the changing environment (like doing things of such a radical nature as getting an education, getting a job, or actually saving for retirement…I know it’s radical thinking, but I believe it just might work for most people).  So there is no harm to this group either.  So everyone makes out with the status quo if not better.

As I already said these are long-term benefits.  Long term the economy does better, more people have jobs, more people have control of their lives, and if we don’t fall in the trap of socialism again, this is a self-perpetuating system.  Yes, long term we will have recessions, can’t do anything about that, but they will work themselves out, and if people begin to learn how to save properly and educate themselves properly to be able to move from career to career if needed they will not need to worry.

But more than these advantages, this puts the control of a person’s life back in their own hands.  A major spiritual benefit.  For both Peter and Paul, the government is no longer butting into their lives more than it needs to.   This will reduce the likelihood of fear in their lives.  It will also increase the feelings of security since for Paul survival depends on himself now, and for Peter there is less worry about how much the Brownshirts at the IRS will be taking this year.  Further, as I pointed out previously, more money in Peter’s hands will increase the odds and amounts that Peter will give to charity, and this charity will come from living human beings who care about people not the cold, mechanical system of welfare.  With this charity to Paul comes the emotional and ethical ties that will force Paul to in some way to be worthy of the gift he has been given and improve himself.

So materially, psychologically, spiritually this provides long-term benefits to the majority of people.  But is it ethical?  Well we’re not stealing from anyone, so there it’s ethical.  And as I stipulated this program has to be carried out slowly, so were not just uprooting people from the system they have become accustomed to…But I hear one last objection about it being ethical coming from the far left: That people have a right to health care or a livable wage, or a right to care from the government in old age and that to deny them that right is unethical.

The crux of this argument is that everyone has a right to these things.  If you believe this you A) have not the foggiest conception of what a right is and B) are just as confused about ethics.  No one has a right to health care or a livable wage or even happiness.  What you have a right to is that the government will not overtly deny you the chance to achieve, to earn, or to buy these things.  But neither the government, society, your neighbor, nor your brother owes you these things.  You have rights to what you come into this world with: Life, Liberty, and the ability to pursue happiness (emphasis on the pursue).  Nor is anyone ethically required to provide these things to you just because you exist (except for your parents as long as you can’t provide these things for yourself).  First and foremost a person is ethically bound to seek their own happiness, not yours.  Now we are ethically bound to help those in immediate need; the Parable of the Good Samaritan comes to mind, but notice that in that case the story revolves around people who are not victims of their own laziness but literally victims to the violence of others or circumstance completely out of their control.  Yes we are ethically bound to help those people.  We are even ethically called for to be generous and charitable, but keep in mind the entire concept of generosity and charity are dependant on the idea we are not bound to help people out of duty, law, or right…if we were it wouldn’t be generosity now would it?  Further generosity does not call for us to help everyone who would come and demand our help—that would bankrupt anyone and certainly lead to personal unhappiness, a very unethical end.  Charity, to have true meaning and worth, must be to those who will use it for their own long term benefit and betterment, not merely short term waste, and anyone who demands the work and property of others as their own isn’t someone who cares about personal betterment because this is indicative of a character that believes in not doing anything for themselves.  Anyone with this sort of entitlement and need for instant gratification can never better themselves, because they cannot even conceive of what is required to better themselves[6].  Hence they are not worthy of the generosity or charity you would give.

Charity is ethical.  But its generosity must be coupled with a desire to improve one’s self, otherwise whatever work or money that is given is merely wasted.  The claim that one has a right to other people’s works is an affront to that belief and merely helps to instill a feeling of helplessness and that is irresponsible.


[1] Of course this isn’t accurate as it is more like the top 50% of wage earners that liberals like to define as “the rich”…so ask yourself do you personally make more than $45,000…if you do, then many in Congress define you as “the rich”.

[2] Unless you count all those elderly people who were somehow too stupid to have any understanding of saving for retirement, and rather chose to live like leaches off people who actually have jobs and know what the stock market is for, but one has trouble feeling sympathy for someone who had over forty years to plan for the inevitable and didn’t do anything about it.  And if you tell me they expected the government to be there for them…well that makes me lose even more respect for them. Even the Sheriff of Nottingham wasn’t dumb enough to think Robin was going to give the money back to him when he retired.

[3] I’m actually going to exclude all job training and education problems from this critique as those do actually attack the root of the problem and do exhibit long-term thinking.  I have no problem in theory spending money on those…although I’m sure the money itself could be spent more wisely.

[4] Even privatizing the system is the government still saying you’re too incompetent to handle your own money…which I’ll grant you, a good portion of America does fit into that description, but it’s still the government calling you stupid…this from an organization currently run by some of the biggest buffoons the world has to offer.  A statement about pots and kettles comes to mind.

[5] Interestingly enough, welfare also shares the quality of heroin of leaving its users emaciated, soulless shells of their former selves.

[6] I would like to point out that this critique is not aimed necessarily at those who are poor, but rather at the demagogues and activists that propose such a system of entitlement and character flaws, who in effect create a system that encourages the poor to stay victims and not seek a better life.

To read more Republicans and Reincarnation: The Conscience of a New Age Conservative is available at AuthorHouse, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble 

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The Ethical Argument for Capitalism

Now for a more detailed argument for what was on this video you could read the book this video is based on, Arthur Brooks’ The Road to Freedom which came out this year (I have not read it yet, but know Brooks’ work and know it will be a good read…right now I’m working my way through Milton Friedman again so I have all the data to eviscerate Paulbots, and that takes time)…

Or…

You could read Chapters 5 &6 in Republican and Reincarnation which also offer the ethical argument for capitalism.  (I may bit biased in recommending which one you should try first).

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Only 100 days to go!!!!

Only 100 days to go until the release of Atlas Shrugged Part II. I’m still not sure why they felt the need to replace the entire cast, but I assume there is method to the madness.

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Weekly Meditation: God in the silence

This week we return to holy books for inspiration in meditation.

This week I’m pulling from the Bible.  I usually don’t because unlike a lot of other holy books, which were generally written more or less at one period by one person (or at least one group) and has more or less remained consistent through the ages, the Bible was written by numerous people, rewritten by numerous others, recollected, reordered, mistranslated, rewritten again throughout numerous ages with numerous different values and beliefs…Also while you can find some questionable content in most holy books (just about anything taken out of context of the passage, the time and the culture, can be twisted), the Bible is singular in ability to come up with a passage to justify just about anything (want to hate gays, we have a passage for that; want to love gays, we have a passage for that; want to justify capitalism, we have a passage for that; want to justify socialism we have a passage for that).   But that does not mean there is not Truth in the Bible, there is, a lot of it.  You just have use reason and good judgment and not take everything, pardon the phrase, on faith.

But there passages that, to me at least, are self-evidently true.

John the Baptist…err, I mean the Prophet Elijah (who says there’s no reincarnation in the Bible) hearing those tiny whispering voices.

For instance:

“Then the LORD said, “Go outside and stand on the mountain before the LORD; the LORD will be passing by.” A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD–but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake–but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was fire–but the LORD was not in the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound.” I Kings 19-11-12

The passage reflects a very accurate view that people look for God in giant powerful things, when it is in a small breeze that he can most easily be found.  Most commentaries on this passage tend to look at that last line as something along the lines of a statement of “and after the fire there was a breeze, and God was in the breeze.” And I’m not claiming to be making an incredibly new interpretation of this line, I’m not.  But I find this a very good passage because I often see so many people of many religions looking for God in miracles, huge events, lottery tickets, signs, portents, and burning bushes…when really they should be taking a minute to quiet their mind and listen to the voice of God that is always there.

So this week I want you to quiet your mind and listen…not just meditating on nothingness and keeping a blank mind, but focusing on what you hear.  Whether it’s in a corner of your house, on a grassy field, or even on a city bench (if that’s the only place you can find time alone).  No iPod, no radio, no friend talking or TV in the background, just whatever white noise is around you.  Every day for at least 10 minutes focus on the sounds around you, but don’t dwell on them, and see if you can hear that “tiny whispering voice” which is always there saying it loves you without restraint or qualification. 

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Books for Conservatives: Adler’s “Ten Philosophical Mistakes”

So someone I think is an idiot recommended that I read Robert Nozick’s book Anarchy, State, and Utopia.  Now my expectations weren’t high, as I said the person who recommended is in my informed opinion an idiot’s idiot, but I’m willing to look at other arguments…and the title alone really lowered my expectations.  Sadly my expectations were not low enough.  The preface to the book suggested that Nozick provided the intellectual basis for modern libertarianism…and I can now see why I think most modern libertarians are utterly impossible to deal with.  The short version is that Nozick takes Kant’s hideously flawed ethics and tries to shoehorn them into justifying limited government.  Now an intelligent person (i.e. someone who doesn’t spend their life in academia) might understand implicitly (even if they don’t always articulate it as such) that just looking at means is stupid…and they also tend to understand that just looking at ends is stupid.  Ends and means must be taken together and to focus on one to the exclusion of the others is preposterous at best.  I initially resisted the temptation to hurl the book into the trash even though the entire foundation of Nozick’s arguments were trash piled on trash…but by the halfway mark I couldn’t stand the terrible logic anymore, threw the book away as no one should be subjected to that claptrap and turned back to an old favorite of mine which I haven’t read since college: Mortimer Adler’s Ten Philosophical Mistakes.

 

The book sets out to describe where most of modern philosophy made its mistakes when breaking from classical realism (From Plato and Aristotle to Aquinas).  Adler, one of the most well spoken philosophers of the 20th century, although a bit dry, always does an excellent job in explaining why things are the way they are.  I will someday get around to most of his major books on philosophy, but let me give you a brief overview. Adler was known as the philosopher for the everyman. Not because his ideas were simple or plebian but because he recognized the massive importance of correct philosophical ideas in everyday life and tried to state the complex idea in terms that someone who is not a philosophy major can readily grasp.  Not to say that this makes the books he writes on par with the simplicity of Dr. Seuss, Harry Potter or Obama’s understanding of, well, anything…but he does put it in as simple but still precise terms as he can and he tries to give examples that are readily accessible.  As you can guess this makes him really unpopular with the intelligentsia who like to pretend that philosophy or an understanding of it isn’t something for the average person and thus spend an obscene amount of time trying to obfuscate any understanding of it under mountains of jargon

The under appreciated philosopher of the 20th Century

 

The problem, especially with this book is that the errors made by many of the philosophers in the modern age are very technical and more often in the metaphysical or epistemological area. Don’t yawn.  The reason why this is important is that those little technical errors compound into massive cracks in ethical thought and politics and in turn have a disastrous effect on our lives.  And because of this it is important to understand the mistake, what the correct opinion is and why.

 

Now I’m going to go over a brief summary of these ten categories of mistakes, but understand, yes my justification of why certain ideas are right and others wrong is going to be lacking…go read the book if you want the full justification.

First category:  “Consciousness and Its Objects” Adler deals with the mistakes of Locke, Descartes, Hume, and Kant, skepticism, solipsism, and subjectivism.  In dealing with our ability to use our minds, these philosophers made the gross mistake of driving too deep a wedge between our minds and the outside world.  Skeptics claim we can’t be sure if what we’re experiencing and the solipsists claim that we don’t actually experience in the outside world and really just experience in our minds with no connection to the outside world.  It may seem stupid to go over a category that seems so common sense…but the problem is that the attack on the correct idea–that your mind perceives a world that exists outside of your mind and that the things in our minds (ideas, sense, memories, imagined ideas and things, conceptions, other objects of thought) and the two are very related—is a more common problem than you think.  Ever have someone tell you “Well, you can’t know that” or “well that’s your opinion” after you state an article of fact.  It may seem like a rather esoteric issue, but in fact it is the root of many problems in ethics, politics, psychology, and human existence. *

 

David Hume comes out looking like the idiot he was in this book...

Second Category: “The Intellect and the Senses.”  If you thought the last one was esoteric, this one is even more so.  Common sense and reason tell us that there is a difference between our thoughts and our senses.  One is informed by the other, but they are not the same thing.  And you would think it would take a real moron to mistake the two.  Well, let me introduce you to Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, George Berkley, David Hume who basically thought they were one in the same…and Plato, Descartes, Kant and Hegel who thought that they had little to nothing to do with each other.  The reason this becomes a problem is that it begins to degrade the nature of language (I’ll spare you the steps on how this works, trust me this is what Adler points out)…and that this is also a basis for the arguments of crackpots who think that humans are not superior to animals. So if PETA has ever annoyed you, you can blame this logical error as being part of that problem.

 

Third Category: “Words and Meaning”.  Locke seemed to argue that words are useless in communicating ideas (one wonders why he wrote so much) and Hobbes and Russell seemed to think words can only be about real things and that reference to non-tangible things is to be just speaking gibberish (if you can’t touch or see it, it’s not real).  Common sense may immediately dismiss these preposterous ideas, but if you’ve ever gotten into an argument of semantics with a moron who thinks they know more than you do (when they don’t) you may begin to understand why this issue might become relevant.

 

Fourth Category: “Knowledge and Opinion.”  You know something when you believe something to be true, you have a reason to believe it is true, and it is true.  You could teach a child that 2+2=5…but they couldn’t know that 2+2=5 because it’s not true…similarly a child can repeat the phrase 2+2=4 but until they understand why that is, they don’t have knowledge.  Without reason and truth it is merely opinion.  And in common usage of the term knowledge we can know things we have evidence and reason for even if we don’t know it in the same way with the same absolute certainty of arithmetic.  For instance, I know that capitalism within a Classically Liberal society is better than any other system yet conceived, and I have mountain of evidence, logic and reason to back this up…although if you wanted to be really strict it is merely highly justified opinion…but for the common philosophic usage of the word, I know this for a fact. I’m guessing again this seems pretty obvious…but let me introduce you to David Hume who thinks you can’t know anything beyond math and since nothing can be known you can’t even really have justified opinions and thus all ideas are equally unfounded…oh there’s Immanuel Kant who tried to get around this by filling our mind with an out of the box operating system he calls a priori knowledge.  Adler takes several pages to really dig into the stupidity of Kant’s lacking understanding of how we know things, but let me share with you my favorite passage from the whole book:

Kant, justifiably, comes out even worse than Hume

“How anyone in the twentieth century can take Kant’s transcendental philosophy seriously is baffling, even though it may always remain admirable in certain respects as an extraordinarily elaborate and ingenious intellectual invention.”

Which has to be one of the best back handed compliments I’ve ever read.

Why do Hume and Kant lead to such problems with their inability to know anything about knowing?  Well because in one way or another it leads to destroying the value of scientific falsifiability and reasoned argument and reduces all knowledge to nothingness…which leads to a complete abdication of personal responsibility to know the truth of things.  Look at any organization that requires mindless following (Nazism, Communism, the Democratic National Committee, Islamofacism, numerous individual churches) and all the problems they create to see why this is an important issue to understand.

 

Fifth Category: “Moral Value.”  Hedonists (Epicurus, Mill) ethical skeptics (Hume, Russell, Ayer) and wacky deontological Kant get beat up in this.  The hedonists fail to make the important distinction between wants and needs and mistake the former for the latter.  Skeptics, deriving from the earlier mistakes believe foolishly that you can’t make any meaningful statements about ethics and so whatever is popular at the time goes (see the lack of ethics is sociology departments, multiculturalism, and ignoring the barbarism and oppression of women in Islam…not to mention backing a lot of evil in the recent history of the world by governments). And what evil isn’t backed by the skeptics usually can look to Kant and his categorical imperative which Adler states “is an empty recommendation.”  From the detached and survey nature of the book Adler simply states proper ethics is “We ought to desire whatever is really good for us and nothing else” and work toward that true good…but he points you to Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics for more details.

 

Sixth Category: “Happiness and Contentment”  Tied heavy to the last chapter is the true good in life: Happiness.  And happiness is collection of virtues in action not just material contentment as utilitarians like Mill and Dewey might mistake it as (or you know the current government).  And while not a very common mistake Adler as tears apart the Stoics (and Kant) who didn’t understand that while doing the right thing is very important, you also have to succeed some of the time to actually be happy

 

Seventh Category:”Freedom of choice.”  You have free will and anyone who says otherwise (determinists and scientists, those who say that there is only the physical world) have no reasonable grounding for their beliefs.  Although while your will is free, it is informed by the outside world, nature and nurture.  This one is actually important to understand because you wouldn’t believe how often I am seeing arguments that people are mere victims of their computer like minds and its programming, with no will of their own…and it shouldn’t take long to figure out what kind of government that will lead to.

 
Eighth Category: “Human Nature.”  The fact that this book was written in the early 80’s didn’t allow Adler to be familiar with the term multiculturalism, but he was shooting down the stupidity of that dumb idea long before it took hold. Human beings are human beings and their nature does not change by race, culture, time, or upbringing and this means that rights are the same and inalienable for everyone, they do not change for any other group.  Also, he tears apart those ideas of PETA in raising animals to the value of humans.

Ninth Category: “Human Society”.  In this section, Adler takes aim at Rosseau, Hobbes and Locke for their arguments about the state of nature.  His argument is that these three treat the state of nature as if it was a historical reality and not a thought experiment.  To be honest I’ve never heard anyone take this extreme stance (but I will admit I’m more familiar with Locke than the other two…but I also admit that academia is an odd place and easily see this chapter coming out of an argument with some professor at the University of Chicago where Adler taught.  He argues, as would any historian or anthropologist that society and government have grown over time because humans are naturally social creatures.  He then attacks anarchists who believe that mankind can ever be molded into a being that doesn’t need society, like Marx’s communist utopia.

Tenth Category: “Human Existence.”  This chapter really required a full understanding of the previous chapters to go into any detail…and since I wanted to keep this blog “manageable” (at least by my long winded standards)…so let me just say Adler maintains life has a purpose and meaning.

 

Again I realize I’ve glossed over a lot, but I highly recommend this book to anyone who deals with any kind of discussion of ideas (politics and religion especially), understanding the underlying premises that Adler goes over is infinitely important.  Adler is not as simplistic as Rand who makes a good primer in philosophy, but lacks practicality and depth, but nor is he as dry as the works of his beloved Aristotle or Aquinas.  He’s dry but not so much that it’s almost unreadable for pleasure, he has meat on the bones of his philosophy, and while a few decades out of date it is still modern enough that the languages used doesn’t suffer from the kind of gap you get with a lot of the older philosophers.  Oh, and he’s right ninety-nine times out a hundred.  Really you should read this book.

 

Now let me counter some obvious and addle brain responses I expect to get because I’ve reminded people that there is an excellent attack on all the BS philosophers so beloved by the Ivory Tower…

(1)“Adler isn’t respected by philosophers!”  Well, the philosophers you read must never have mentioned in their worthless tomes that popularity doesn’t equal truth.  All that matters is if the argument is a reasoned one and conclusion is true or not.  If every philosophy professor in the world said Adler (and by extension Aristotle and Aquinas, since Adler is more about reiterating the correct philosophies of others and adapting them to modern issues than coming up with his own ideas) was an idiot, it still wouldn’t prove that he was wrong, only truth and reason would do that.  (Now please don’t think that I think everything Adler said is true, he’s human, he’s wrong sometimes, but when compared to Descartes, Hume, Berkley, Foucault, Satre, James, Kierkegaard, Leibniz, Marx…you get the idea, he’s on a far more solid grounding of reason.)

(2)“Well you didn’t disprove (such and such philosopher] and their statement of [such and such bullshit] in your blog.  Thus you’re wrong.”   It’s a book review, it’s 200 pages long, of course I can’t get into specifics.

(3)“Well Adler didn’t disprove…”  Yes he did, you didn’t read the book.

(4)“I did read the book and he didn’t…” actually he did, see page…

(5)“I did read the book and he didn’t…” You’re right he didin’t. He did tear out all of the idea that that specific point is based on though which kind of makes tearing that point apart silly and redundant.

(6) “You didn’t accurately describe [such and such BS philopher’s] ideas correctly”  Probably not.  Do you get the concept of a book review or a blog?  If I made this a 200 page discussion why not just post all of Alder’s book?

(7) “Adler’s biased”…you mean he has a reasoned opinion and while he admits that there is grey in the world will not back down from self-evident truths because there is also black and white in the universe. Yes, in that case he is biased…Although you might then like his 1,000 page tome “The Great Ideas” where he actually discusses all of these philosophers and their ideas quite dispassionately.

(8) “I did read it and I don’t agree with anything he had to say!”  Why are you telling me this?  Like I care.  Don’t listen to my book reviews if you dislike them so much.  Really I don’t understand people who keep coming back to be infuriated because they disagree with me and want to express their displeasure.  I can understand trying to keep up with people you disagree with so that you can consider new idea…but I just don’t get the childish need seek out and bully those you disagree with.

 

*There is some important hair splitting to be done here in relationship to my views as New Ager, and if I get any requests, I’ll go into that…but (1) I can see where you might see some contradictions between this point and New Age belief that I would agree would constitute a prima facie case against my spiritual beliefs (2) I have considered them and I believe that while there is a prima facie case to be made it does not hold up under scrutiny.

**On another side note you may want to watch Lost before reading Adler’s book…otherwise you may have a knee jerk reaction into hating half the cast from day one…and I really love Hume on Lost.

 

 

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Weekly Meditation: Words of Wisdom

I still really like this as an all encompassing New Age symbol

As a New Ager I find truth in most of the religions in the world.  And while I love to quote from A Course In Miracles(and could probably do so for years going at the pace of one passage a week) it has occurred to me that I should, in true New Age fashion, pull a selection of quotes from other holy books.  Before anyone gets offended it is meant as a compliment, I’m not trying to insult your religion.

This week I thought I would pull a quote from the Tao Te Ching, the central text of Taoism.  Written by Lao-Tzu before departing China to escape it’s superficial and corrupt life, he left a short book of his wisdom for the people of China (yes I realize that there is a lot of myth tied to that story, I still like it). The book is probably the shortest holy text in the world (unless you want to count individual books of the Old, New, and Gnostic Testaments of the Bible).  Written as a series of 81 short poems, the Tao Te Ching (The Book of Virtues of the Way), the book is often a series of double and triple meanings crammed into short, cryptic phrases.  (Given that Chinese is also a language that poorly translates into English, poetry especially, it is always best to read three or four translations if you’re going to try to read the book.)

For this week I’m going to go with a quote from the 19th poem in the Tao.  (I’m just going to go with my favorite translation).

“Give up kindness, renounce morality.

And men will rediscover piety and love.”–Lao Tzu

So what does this mean?  That you should give up being kind and moral?  No, silly.  It means that you should stop doing things because you are supposed to them because they’re rules or codes or values you’re supposed to hold.  Things you’ve been taught to follow.  Ideals society wants you to do.  Why? Because when you force people to do things you breed resentment, hostility, rebellion.  You should do things because you want to, because your personal reason dictates it, because it makes you feel good…not because someone says you should.

 

Why is this the weekly meditation?  This week I want you to ask yourself if you’re doing something because you want to and it makes sense…or because you’re expected to.  Reason and your heart are fine things to follow, and they will often agree with society’s rules, but make sure they are before you act.  I promise you you will be more in tune with yourself and the universe if you do what you want and think is right more than what is only expected of you…even if it’s the same thing, the intent and the reason make a huge difference.

 

 

 

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Books for Conservatives–Faith of the Fallen

Possibly the best book in the series

Once again I come back to my favorite series of books Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series.  Partly because I’ve gotten away from this when I shouldn’t have…and partly because we have a lull in election season so I can concentrate on something else for a little while.  So, as I’ve done the first five books, here is book six, Faith of the Fallen.

This is probably my favorite book in the entire series.  As I have said I love this series for not only providing a well paced and character driven fantasy series, but because each book is thematically tied to what the author has the Wizard’s Rules…a series of 11 short simple ethical statements. These 11 wizard’s rules that are actually possibly the best set of rules I have ever seen for living one’s life, because they don’t discuss specific acts, which are always dependant on situations and variables, so myriad that no hard rule on behavior can ever fully cover them.  But Faith of the Fallen is probably my favorite, not just because the plot is even more character centered than most of the other books in the series, but because I love the wizard’s rule more than any of the others.

Wizard’s Sixth Rule:

The only sovereign you can allow to rule you is reason.

Explained as:

The first law of reason is this: what exists, exists, what is, is and from this irreducible bedrock principle, all knowledge is built. It is the foundation from which life is embraced.

Thinking is a choice. Wishes and whims are not facts nor are they a means to discover them. Reason is our only way of grasping reality; it is our basic tool of survival. We are free to evade the effort of thinking, to reject reason, but we are not free to avoid the penalty of the abyss that we refuse to see. Faith and feelings are the darkness to reason’s light. In rejecting reason, refusing to think, one embraces death.”

–Faith of the Fallen pg 319

Again, I’ll be vague in the plot summary so as not to spoil anything if you haven’t read the books to this point (but really this is, hands down, the best book in the series).

The hero of the story Richard Rahl is forced to leave his wife Kahlan to save her life.  He is blackmailed by the sorceress Nicci subject of his enemy the Emperor Jagang, that he must travel with her into the heart of Jagang’s Imperial Order and do exactly as she says or the lives of his beloved will be extinguished.  And while you might expect torture or mind games you find something much worse in the Imperial Order: communism.  Complete, total and utterly inefficient communism.  Government control of everything. Government corruption rampant.  Starvation.  Misery.  Masses living lives under a crushing totalitarian regime that makes life not worth living.  Nicci’s plan to crush Richard’s will and let him see the evil nature of mankind and turn him to her side…I will put in one spoiler: this plan fails (but that was kind of obvious).

I’m not sure but I suspect that Goodkind did an extensive amount of research on life in the USSR, Soviet Blocs and Maoist China as the world depicted in the Imperial Order could have easily come out of any textbook or autobiography on life in those nations.  The inefficiency, the corruption, the lack of basic needs due to stupidity of a system that is at every step controlled by an overarching authority.  Every aspect of life, from care of the environment to daily quality of life to even being able to enjoy sex is polluted and destroyed under totalitarianism.

What does this have to do with the idea that reason is the only thing that guides your actions?

It has to do with the fact that there is this thing called human nature.  Human nature is always trying to find the best in life.  We are naturally selfish from the most rational of us to the least rational of us; human nature has this odd behavior of caring about our needs first.  Now granted the more rational and educated a person is the more they think toward long term and spiritual and emotional benefits to themselves than the immediate but we are all motivated by self interest, it is simple basic fact.  And everyone agrees that it cannot be changed, from the radical atheist that sees us as nothing but being motivated by a biological imperative to survive to the wises of spiritual masters who tell you to love yourself as much as you love any other person, who tell you to reach enlightenment as your primary goal, who even tell you that you are connected to everyone and that the good you do for others is good done to you, every person with even the smallest fraction of intelligence acknowledges that human beings are motivated by self interest. Now you can accept that fact and accept that it cannot be changed, or you can choose to deny it.  Now if you accept the fact that mankind is motivated by self interest then you would try to make sure that your nation had laws that would try to move that self interest in the most useful ways, encouraging policies and practices that benefited not only the individual pursuing self interest, but also everyone they associate with.  Or as Adam Smith observed, “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we can expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”  Capitalism is that system.  Or you could try to deny facts, deny reason, and suggest that both the biological and spiritual imperative toward self-interest can somehow be destroyed by government fiat and try fascism or socialism or communism or some odd mixture of all three (I think it’s called Obamaism).  You can accept something about human nature to be true and work with it or you can deny facts and try to change what cannot be changed. Which plan is guided by Reason and which is guided by only irrational faith and feelings.

And at every level of the economy from the individual level to the nation wide Faith of the Fallen shows how this rejection of reason is a rejection of humanity.  At first it merely leads to inefficiencies but will soon corrupt and destroy whole systems and lives—killing hope, drive, happiness and in the end, life.  And in opposition to this an embrace of self-interest is an embrace of life in all it’s glory (the book makes this point very clearly near the end with artistic point).  Now I know that any liberal that has stumbled upon this review is probably having seizures by my praising self-interest trying to list all the terrible things that self-interest can lead to.  Yeah?  Duh.  Self-interest is a fact.  The question is whether you are using reason to guide your self-interest or if you let your feeling guide it.  Reason by nature thinks long term and by nature looks for win-win scenarios. Even without compassion or empathy guiding it, reason is a benevolent force. It is only when you let compassion or empathy rule instead of informed reason that you do things because it feels right, ignoring whether or not it will actually work.  And the book makes this very clear. Self-interest in itself is neither good or bad, it is merely a fact. You can either choose to let it be ruled by reason, which seeks a win-win, or you can try to deny it which builds nothing but misery, resentment and a viciousness to lash out at others. But then again to judge between the two requires reason to guide you.

And the other greatness of the philosophy of this book is that it shows how this principle permeates not just economics, politics, and military strategy.  It extends to even issues of art.  Inevitably art that embraces the denial of reality, the idea that self-interest must be condemned, must at all time deny the existence of heroes or greatness in the individual for to have such examples would be to give something for people to aspire to which in itself is another example of self-interest driving us, we want to be like the people whom we admire.  Thus intelligence, strength, character of both the hero and the common man must be denied and only suffering and inadequacy highlighted.  Charity is also perverted from an act of personal humanity and an acknowledgement of the potential in others, to nothing more than a duty from which no one should take pleasure in.

As always the relationship between the characters is even more enjoyable than the philosophy in Terry Gookind books…but as I said I don’t like giving away too much…although I would add that watching the character of Nicci go from being only motivated by the illogical desire to destroy self-interest to embracing life and reason is a hopeful one.

My one caveat on the sixth rule as Goodkind writes it is a small one.  He suggests that faith is opposed to reason. I would say that there are two kinds of faith, rational faith and irrational faith.  Faith about things that are not contradicted by reason (a belief in God for instance or what drives most people that they can do something that others say they can’t) is not a flaw in human reasoning but one of its greatest abilities.  It is only faith about something that reason directly contradicts (like the belief you can change human nature into something better than it is through laws and government power) that should be opposed and resisted.

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Our last 5th Chakra meditation for this round

This week I would like to recommend embracing different forms of art to help inspire your 5th chakra.  Read a poem, listen to music, look at a painting or statue, watch a movie.  Just make sure it moves you at some deep level so you can get in touch with the energies of your 5th chakra.

If you need some suggestions (and by no means think that these is the only ones you can use) may I recommend

For a poem Ulysses by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

For a piece of music Beethoven’s 9th Symphony

For a painting Dale Terbush’s “A Place in an Angel’s Dreams”

For a short story “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry

For a movie (if you don’t want to use anything from the current Christmas list) Casablanca

More than anything this week you need to embrace art that is created by someone else.

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The Super Committee Failure is a good thing…

So the Super Committee failed.  Yay! Mandatory cuts at last! And Newt and Rand Paul are right that this is a good thing.  It’s only with future spending.  That’s bad.

Now some conservatives are having a knee jerk reaction to spending cuts in defense…but let’s be honest here.  We all know there’s waste.  We all know that there are useless expenditures.  There is the half a billion to buy a jet engine the DOD doesn’t want …and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  Redundancy.  Poor spending programs.  Too many officers not enough enlisted. R&D in areas the military doesn’t actually want or know how to conduct (please go read a book entitled “The Pentagon Wars” by Col. James Burton if you want to how bad military R&D can get…and although it takes some liberties the movie also gives you a general idea of how bad it really is).  Knowing what I know about Federal spending I promise you if you got real accountants and real military personnel in there to go line by line over the budget, you could cut not just future spending but 10% of current spending AND have enough to buy every soldier brand new body armor.

 

And cuts to future spending in entitlement spending is a good thing.  But it’s certainly not enough.  Entitlement spending is like most government programs, it sounds good in theory, “let’s help the poor and needy”, but in fact all it does is make the situation worse.  You want to help the poor, cut the budgets for Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, Welfare, Food Stamps, and Unemployment benefits by AT LEAST 50% over the next 10 years…not future spending actual spending because the more you cut the better people will actually be.  We spend $250,000 a year per poor person in America (the fact that they’re still poor tells you how much overhead we have in government waste)

Of course that’s still not enough.  We need to cut, cut, and cut some more until we can say that at least 15% if not 25% of each year’s federal budget is paying off the principle (not just the interest) on the debt.  Then and only then will you see real growth in the economy.

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Weekly Meditaion: Poetry for the Fifth Chakra

So this week I wanted to share a poem with you.  As we are going over the fifth chakra, which deals with art, expression, and beauty, this poem came to mind.  As you read it consider what you consider to be beauty and maybe take a few minutes each day this week to consider what around you find beautiful.  This poem come from Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet:

Where shall you seek beauty, and how shall you find her unless she herself be your way and your guide?
And how shall you speak of her except she be the weaver of your speech?

The aggrieved and the injured say, “Beauty is kind and gentle.
Like a young mother half-shy of her own glory she walks among us.”
And the passionate say, “Nay, beauty is a thing of might and dread.
Like the tempest she shakes the earth beneath us and the sky above us.”

The tired and the weary say, “Beauty is of soft whisperings. She speaks in our spirit.
Her voice yields to our silences like a faint light that quivers in fear of the shadow.”
But the restless say, “We have heard her shouting among the mountains,
And with her cries came the sound of hoofs, and the beating of wings and the roaring of lions.”

At night the watchmen of the city say, “Beauty shall rise with the dawn from the east.”
And at noontide the toilers and the wayfarers say,
“We have seen her leaning over the earth from the windows of the sunset.”

In winter say the snow-bound, “She shall come with the spring leaping upon the hills.”
And in the summer heat the reapers say,
“We have seen her dancing with the autumn leaves,
and we saw a drift of snow in her hair.”
All these things have you said of beauty,
Yet in truth you spoke not of her but of needs unsatisfied,
And beauty is not a need but an ecstasy.
It is not a mouth thirsting nor an empty hand stretched forth,
But rather a heart enflamed and a soul enchanted.

It is not the image you would see nor the song you would hear,
But rather an image you see though you close your eyes and a song you hear though you shut your ears.
It is not the sap within the furrowed bark, nor a wing attached to a claw,
But rather a garden for ever in bloom and a flock of angels for ever in flight.

People of Orphalese, beauty is life when life unveils her holy face.
But you are life and you are the veil.
Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
But you are eternity and you are the mirror.

From Gibran’s “The Prophet”

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