Category Archives: Individualism

Evils of Equality

 

“Freedom is life’s great lie. Once you accept that, in your heart, you will know peace.”—Not Bernie Sanders but you’d be hard pressed to find a place where he disagrees with this idea.

So I’m sure we’re all tired of Bernie and his cult of stupid praising equality.  They’re quite an illiterate bunch. I call them illiterate because if he had ever picked up a book he might have had the chance to see the obvious evil of equality. Bradbury, Huxley, Orwell, and of course most beautifully Vonnegut in “Harrison Bergeron” show the clear dehumanizing nature of equality. Further these idiots have clearly been living in caves as I know everything from The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, Star Trek back in the day to episodes of the Simpsons—not to mention a slew of movies have also dealt with how equality is really a terrible thing (and I mean movies of quality not just whatever the latest teen dystopia is). But for those of you who might not be sure why I’m suggesting equality is terrible let me explain.

As an English teacher by day I like to make sure we all have the same definition going in when we discuss something, so let us begin with a quick definition:

equality: noun, the state of being equal, esp. in status, rights, and opportunities

But that really doesn’t help us now does it?  Except in giving us the idea that things that have equality are essentially the same thing. This is why we have to break down equality into lots of different categories such as potential, rights, under the law, access to opportunities, abilities, and results. (Yeah I’m going to cover all of those.)calvin-coolidge-quotes.jpg

Now not all equality is bad, because in many ways we are perfectly equal. For instance we are all equal in our potential. We all have the potential to reach into that part of ourselves that is part of God.  In a more immediate sense we all have the potential to make our lives, and possibly this world, a better place than we found it (but again not everyone lives up to that potential).

We are equal in our natural rights. By definition we are beings with bodies, reason, free will, and souls. Because we have bodies we have the right to life, because without that right we could not use any of those other things we have. Because we have reason and free will we all have the right to liberty so long as it does not infringe upon the liberty of anyone else. Because we have souls we not only have a right but a moral obligation to pursue our Happiness because that is what we are made for. Wrapped up in the pursuit of Happiness while in this world is liberty but also the right to property to see the effort of our labor made manifest. We are all equal in these rights. No one has a greater natural right to liberty than another…although if you prove to be a danger to those around you, for the safety of everyone you can lose your right to liberty.

And because of the nature of government it must be enforced that we are all equal under the law. That the writing and enforcement of the law cannot, must not, favor one group over another. If we didn’t enforce strict equality under the law (which by the way we don’t with such wonderful ethical violations as Affirmative Action, and the DOJ’s current racist enforcement of voting rights laws) the system would be by definition corrupt.

And then there is this tricky one about access to opportunities. This is where equality stops. When conservatives and libertarians talk about equal access to opportunity they are speaking about something we are all equal in regards to. We all have a right to seek opportunities that will lead to our happiness, and while we don’t have this in real life because of the government, we do have the natural right to seek any job, any profession, any piece of property and try to achieve them. However, since we do not have a right to getting these things, only the equal right to pursue getting them, some of us will not achieve our pursuit. And in this respect individuals are not equal. Some will find success/happiness in the opportunities, some will not. And that is a fact of reality.

These are all things we are equal in because they all deal with potential. We all have these rights to do things as we choose, but notice nothing is guaranteed to us; we have to work for every end. Only means are rights not ends.*

Liberals, however, when they mention equality of opportunity they think of something else. They think of the evil which I spoke of in the first paragraph. When they say everyone should have access to the same opportunities, they don’t think with the addendum that conservatives do “so long as you have worked for them.” Do you want to have a pay check, a better job, a life-style where you can take 2 months, or a year off? Conservatives want you to have those things, so long as you work for them. Liberals just want to skip that little work point and just say you should have the opportunity to live that kind of life. To hell with whether you’ve earned it.

And that’s the problem with equality of results. It denies that people have to earn things; that they just have to be given things. And while the pragmatic problem is that when a government gives people things you have to steal them from others which is evil in and of itself, it reduces the incentives to actually produce. This is why communist and socialist nations produce less, because there is no incentive to produce more–only capitalism produces that. Don’t believe me, look at pictures of any Soviet breadline, then, go take a look at how many types of bread you have to choose from at the local Safeway.

But aside from the pragmatics that guaranteeing equality of results doesn’t work there is an inherent evil in equality of ends. First off people are not equal. One person is smarter, one stronger, one a better painter, one a great accountant, another a great teacher, another a great writer, another a great parent. People have different talents. Most of have two or three things we’re good at. A rare few are exceptional in multiple fields. A rare few are gifted in almost nothing. But each of us has different skills. Now while we all have our purpose on this Earth, it does not mean all of us will fulfill that to our fullest potential. And to treat everyone as if their gifts were all the same is to deny that which makes us good. To say we all get paid the same, or have equal rights to healthcare, states that your gifts and talents and efforts and character are worth the same as the most talentless, ungifted, lazy jerk. And that’s exactly what equality of ends is endorsing. It says that the most pathetic excuse of a human being is worth the same as you. It is to say that the person who has turned their back on making the world a better place should receive the same as the person who strives to use all their gifts to their fullest potential. It is to say that there is no difference between those who choose the best in ourselves and work to that end and those who fall to the worst in ourselves and work to no end but destruction.

You cannot bring the worst of us up to the level of the best of us unless they choose to bring themselves up to that level. Thus to say that everyone, without qualification, deserves the same payment, healthcare, means you deserve the same rewards, healthcare, place in society. Equality says you are worth no more than the most lazy, illogical, uneducated person in the world. Is that right? No it’s evil. Only by embracing the best within us and rewarding that, do we acknowledge that there is a difference between the best and worst within us. (And you’ll notice that those best among us then offer more opportunities through personal charity to others to let them shine as well). The only way to establish equality is to destroy those of skill and gifts because otherwise they would be a reminder to those who do not have those skills and gifts that they are not equal (go read Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron”)…equality means that no one should be more special than any other or shine out from the crowd (go read Huxley’s Brave New World)…it means you cannot exercise your liberty because the full use of liberty means you might be different and better (go read 1984). Equality in the way liberals mean it is slavery.

Yes we need equality under the law, equality of rights, equality to pursue our dreams because we are humans. But that which makes us human allows us to progress at different rates, which by definition means an inequality of results. And to go against that is to go against what makes us human. It is an evil that denies the best within us.

*Liberals will of course bring up handicaps here.  Guess what real handicaps didn’t stop Keller, Hawking, or Reeves, humans have potential because of their soul and their brain and for the vast majority of people with handicaps we have no problem making legitimate accommodations when people legitimately have something that is out of the norm that might offer a small stumbling block to them demonstrating the full potential of their mind.  As for mental handicaps, well we as a society take care of those who literally can’t take care of themselves—it’s an incredibly small group and this minuscule exception doesn’t actually challenge the idea of rights and equality of opportunity being more important than equality of results.

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Filed under Equality, Evils of Liberalism, Individualism, Uncategorized

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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Filed under Aristotle, Books, Books for Conservatives, Evils of Liberalism, Individualism, People Are Stupid, Religion

Milton Friedman on the problems of government in medical care

This is a rather long lecture by Milton Friedman on the issues of government in medical care.  As it is so long I’m not going to write a lot, but you should watch it because, despite being over 3 decades old, every word is still very relevant.

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Filed under Capitalism, Conservative, Economics, Evils of Liberalism, Government is useless, Health Care, Individualism, Long Term Thinking, Natural Rights, Obama, Taxes, Tyranny

Social Issues on the Right—Penny Smart, Pound idiotic beyond idiotic

For years now there has been something that bothers me about the abortion argument. Yes I agree that there are far too many abortions.  I, however, tend to view it as a symptom of a larger problem caused by the entitlement culture devaluing life, its meaning, getting rid of virtue based ethics, offering incentives for short term thinking.  Abortion isn’t the problem it’s the government spending and rules that encourage it that are.  So I find the near obsession with abortion to be a distraction from the real cause.  But what’s worse is that in the desperation to win, social conservatives are giving progressives every bit of ammunition they need to further wreck society. I have noticed for the last few years a disturbing trend—and that trend is the biggest problem I have with the social conservative movement, they have given in to the leftist materialism.

Here is the problem with the modern anti-abortion movement: they hold as gospel truth the idea that life begins at conception.  They maintain this because somehow just because a sperm cell and egg cell join together then you have a full genetic code and the modern anti-abortion movement is based on this idea that if you have a full genetic code then you’re a human being.  Thus every single embryo frozen in fertility clinics is a human being—I’m sorry but this is certainly one of the dumbest, and certainly in the running for the dumbest, idea I have ever heard.  A human being is something far more than just a genetic code.   But the modern abortion movement in its desperation to oppose all abortion and prove that abortion at any time, for any reason, under any circumstance, for any purpose, in any place, by any person, in any manner, way, shape or form is evil has given into the leftist materialism.  They hold that human life is nothing but genetics.  That it is our genetics that make us special.  That the complexity of genes somehow puts us above all other forms of life.  You know that .1% that sets us off from a chimp can’t be the source of our uniqueness in the universe.  (Nor can even the 30% of our DNA we don’t share with the sea sponge).    I’m sorry this is wrong, this is as wrong as wrong can be.  What makes a human life have value has nothing, not a single thing, to do with DNA.   It has to do with having a soul; the human soul is what makes a human being have value…so unless you can PROVE that the human soul enters the embryo at conception then you have no case that human life begins at conception.  None.  Now from my New Ager perspective I can point to several concepts where the soul does not enter the body until the third trimester…but social conservatives (and I do mean the very vocal, very powerful, Santorum-esque fringe here, I think it’s too large a fringe, but it is not everyone who simply calls themselves a social conservative…I just mean the people who only vote on this issue with blinders on to all others) will not even entertain what I consider evidence so it’s really not relevant to this conversation.  You could argue that it’s still living cells but that doesn’t work because if you remove my kidney for a transplant it’s still a living clump of cells, but it does not have rights in and of itself because the soul is not directly attached to the kidney.

cute baby

This is a human being. Not because of genetics. Not because of its brain. But because of its soul.

Now why have social conservative done this?  They didn’t use to hold this line.  But I think they got tired of having to argue a spiritual point with people who aren’t very spiritual…and you can’t really prove when the soul enters the body (at least not from a traditional Judeo-Christian viewpoint)…and then there is that problem that as far as I remember the Bible only ever associates the soul with breath (as was the common metaphor in the ancient world), which kind of has that problem of suggesting the soul only enters upon birth.  Of course that would at least suggest a far more logical God than the idiot that the modern abortion movement implies—an idiot who despite infinite prescient knowledge will stick a soul into a frozen embryo that could sit there for years (think of that soul’s existence, that’s about as close to Hell as you could possibly get if God is really that dumb). I refuse to believe in an idiot God.  God does not follow arbitrary rules for the sake of following reason, because to do so would mean that God does not believe in reason.  And if that is the case, then God is not God.

But instead they chose to go with a simple scientific argument and completely ignore the soul.  You can get people in the middle with a purely scientific argument.  You can get them to more than agree to ban 2nd trimester abortions and put even more regulations on first trimester abortions if you’re just making the argument that life begins at conception because of genetics.  Yeah, they could prove that the soul is there before hand if you turned to modern science and studies on life after death and reincarnation, or just to modern psychology which shows that children learn even in the womb…but none of that evidence goes back to conception, and remember that the unwavering goal of social conservatism is that ALL abortion must be outlawed.  THERE MUST BE NO EXCEPTION, the goal is that all abortions will eventually be banned (as if you can stop black markets, but let’s ignore economics here).  And all other points of policy, philosophy and goals are secondary to abortion when it comes to social conservatives.   Since social conservatives can only win with the genetic argument that life is nothing but a full genetic code and living cells, the soul and its importance gets left behind.

And this is where it gets dangerous.  What have we seen in history?  We have seen, time and time and time again that when the soul is not valued, that when religion or spirituality does not have a place in society, that when government and society say that human life is merely a pack of genes and a group of cells then you see the value of a human being fall apart.  Why?  Because genes are chemicals. They have no intrinsic value except what you can use them for, what you can get out of them.  They become merely a means to an end, and cease being the end in itself.  You see ethics fall aside and utilitarianism prevail. You see eugenics or transhumanism say these genes aren’t any good or aren’t good enough, let’s get rid of them and replace them with something we deem better (who deems what is good is only guided by utilitary value, because if human life had intrinsic value you’d never go down this road).  You see the argument of let’s get rid of these people because they are of no value and aren’t getting rid of themselves fast enough on their own.  You see this or that group is deemed inferior because they do not serve the utilitarian needs of those in power.  Let us sterilize and put them off to the side because we can get nothing from them…you see tyranny, fascism, communism.  The argument of that life is just being living cells, an argument detached from the soul, leads to a mind-set based in materialism.  I would be foolish to claim all atheists are unethical, but history has shown that when society embraces that kind of materialism that denies the soul (1930’s Germany, Russia, China) you get that kind of mass genocide, without exception.  You could say that religious people could never lead us down the path where the soul isn’t valued, but look to every time that religion has gone insane, it is always in the name of dogma and policy on Earth that leads to religious bloodbaths—it never comes from a side that believes that the soul, by virtue of being a human soul, has value.  The places that believe people are equal throughout history (from an early version of this ideal in the Hellenistic Era, to Poland not giving into Europe’s anti-Semitism, to the spread of religious liberties seen during parts of the Enlightenment, to America stating “that all men are created equal”*), when people value human life because of the soul (whether that’s the word they use or not) you see prosperity…when they don’t you see misery.  Without exception.

you are a soul

I love the picture and the quote, because it’s true… but C.S. Lewis probably did not say this .

It is the eagerness of social conservatives to win on this one little issue of abortion that affects a miniscule amount of society that is giving this kind of materialism the long range tools of philosophy to devalue all life.  They have given progressives the inroad to destroy the true value of human life. They devalue life with their argument and they perpetuate it…sure we don’t see a lot of it now (although caring more about body counts than liberty when it comes to foreign action, when a country doesn’t go into full on demands for heads to roll when some asks “what difference does it make” to the administration aiding and abetting murder, where people care only about their right to put poison into their body more than the need to fix the system…you could say we’re already seeing the devaluation of human life, but maybe I’m reading too much into that).    And to save lives they have given their enemies the greatest tool to destroy life. And I am seriously worried that in the desperation to win the abortion argument by giving up the religious based argument and going for gross materialism social conservatives are actually sowing the seeds for a worse blood bath than the one they believe they are stopping.  And all for bans on 2nd term abortions. What a bargain!

What profit social conservatives should they gain abortion but lose liberty?

*Yes, none of these are perfect examples and you will always be able to point to people or groups or policies that contradict the value of the soul.  It’s because people and society are a mass of contradictions, but in the eras I list they were more dominated by valuing the soul than not.

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Why modern liberalism is Evil.

Let me first clarify my use of the word “evil.”  As a New Ager I believe that every single soul in the universe will one day reach enlightenment and be welcomed into heaven. Don’t try and list off really evil people in history because they too will, one day, make it back to God. So my belief is that people aren’t evil, they can be very ignorant of what they’re doing, but they themselves and their souls are not evil. But I do classify their actions as evil. I classify such actions as Evil when their actions not only delay their own return to enlightenment, but also hurt the progression of others, whether the act is malicious or well-intentioned…

…So to my liberal friends out there: I’m insulting your idiotic beliefs, not you.

Okay, so we’ve got that out of the way, why is modern liberalism evil? Doesn’t liberalism support equal rights of life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness for all humanity, democratic republicanism, the rule of law over force, and all are equal before the law and all that stuff? No, you’re thinking of Classical Liberalism, a philosophy which is at the heart of the Enlightenment and American Revolution. Modern conservatism and modern liberalism are both out growths of Classical liberalism. Philosophically modern conservatism is more of Classical Liberalism’s heir (in practice it sadly falls a little short), modern liberalism is Classical Liberalism’s idiot bastard child.

Why? you ask. After all, as a friend of mine recently said:

“As a Democrat, I support social welfare programs — that’s not ‘babysitting the populace.’ I think that government has a responsibility to provide programs for those in need.”

burn-books-ban-music-hate-blacks-murder-gays-become-symbol-of-hope-and-freedome-che-guevara-300x225

And it should come as no shock that this butcher is a hero to modern liberals.

Isn’t that a good thing? Wanting to help those in need? It seems so good?…And yet, it is evil. And let me explain why.(And I’m not attacking my friend in particular, I’m pretty sure almost every liberal in America would agree with that statement in its entirety).

Let’s look closely at the 2nd sentence in that statement (mostly because the first sentence is self-contradictory).

The government has a responsibility to provide programs for those in need.

There are three key terms in this sentence: Responsibility, Provide, and Need. We’ll deal with each one separately

The Responsibility of Government

What is the responsibility of government? Well if you listen to Classical Liberalism and modern conservatives who have their heads screwed on correctly, government is there to do things. Protect your rights and do those things which only a force as large as government can. What are your rights? The classic list is Life, Liberty, Property/Pursuit of Happiness. What does it mean to protect these things? Does it mean the government should stop me from eating that Big Mac because that will cause a cholesterol build up which will one day lead to my death? Nope. Protection means to protect you from others forcibly destroying your life or liberty. Through this the government has a responsibility to create a military to protect you from outside sources, and a police force (FBI, State Police, Highway Patrol, Sheriffs, and Local Police) and a court system for internal threats. They are there to stop others from taking things away from you.

Notice in this understanding of government’s responsibility they are not giving you anything. You were born with life and liberty it’s just no one can rightfully take it away from you without justification.

The second issue is things that only something as large as government can tend to. Things like standards. Weights, measurement, currency, laws for conducting business, highway and streets (because they all need to be standardized, although upkeep and repair should be at least contracted out if not privatized).These things need to be standardized because without them you have about zero chance of pursing happiness successfully. For instance one of things government has a right to do is standardize what is and isn’t legal banking practices so that everyone is keeping their books in the same way and thus everyone (and by everyone I primarily mean mainly stockholder and potential stockholders) can make sure everything is proper and the system is working and not lying/cheating/taking advantage. Our government chooses to not partake in this responsibility—I say this because the banking practices on sub-prime loans of which all the banks currently are still engaging in by government directive, which were designed by Congress to effectively destroy the market (even if that wasn’t their intent), were and still are very legal. That’s right it’s legal to do something that will cause economic collapse. But does Congress rewrite the laws? No. It would rather discuss your right to health care (which does not exist).

And herein is where the evil lies in that. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, are things you are born with and that no one gives to you. Health care is something that is given to you. Why is this evil? Because, it is an insult to the value of humanity. The human soul is an end unto itself, completely capable through its work and mind of providing everything it needs for itself. It’s a concept called free will. To say that something must be given to you (aside from the rights granted by your Creator), that you are not capable of getting it for yourself means two things. You are not complete and have insufficient power to live a whole life, and that whoever does provide this for you does have that power. Traditionally the relationship is called that of the master and slave…and in the scenario of the modern liberalism, government is not playing the role of slave (which it should be).To say that government has a responsibility to provide anything perverts the concept of a right, it perverts the concept of government which should be used as a shield against the irrational forces which choose not to recognize your God given rights, but rather into the driving force that makes your life complete. It subordinates your will to the will of government…to the will of the party, the leader (what’s the German word for “leader”?), or the will of Big Brother.

What the Government should provide?

Well nothing is the obvious answer if you read the previous paragraphs. But there is another reason why the government providing anything is just plain evil. To provide something means the government has to get it from somewhere. Where does it get the money to operate? Taxes. Now we don’t pay our taxes out the goodness of our heart. If we are rational we pay for what the government should be doing because we recognize government is a necessary evil that requires funds to operate to protect us…That accounts for about 10 cents of every dollar the government collects. We pay the other 90 cents because the government has guns and prisons and thieves called the IRS who will go into your bank account and just take it without your permission.(Anyone else miss the good old days of Robin Hood and the American Revolution, when we knew what to do with tax collectors?).

But it’s not just their theft and extortion that’s evil. Back to health care. Notice what’s implied by the concept of you have a right to health care. That means a doctor has to treat you, whether you will pay them or not. If it’s an absolute right it can’t be ethically paid for. You don’t pay someone for your liberty or your life?  Do you? No, that would be evil. You can pay someone to protect those things, but you’re not paying them for life or liberty, you have those by being a human, you’re paying them to act as a shield against outside forces that seek to steal those things. So if health care was a Right that you have, it would be unethical or evil to demand payment for it. But if you have the right to demand the services of a doctor or a nurse, or demand the right to a drug that could save your life, what does that mean? It means that the doctor does not have the right to refuse you treatment, payment or no. And if the doctor doesn’t have the right to refuse treatment, the right to demand payment, doesn’t that mean he is a slave. Doesn’t it mean that the drug company and the scientist who came up with the drug are slaves to the person demanding the drug if they don’t have the right to determine what they think is a fair price for the drug.  You may have the right to keep up your health as an extension of your liberty, but you do not have the right to demand someone else look after your health.

I feel I need to make this clear. If the doctor has a right to demand payment for his knowledge and his service then health care must logically be conditional. Rights are not conditional. If health care is a right, then health care providers must logically be slaves. It’s one or the other. Rationally there can be no having health care as a right and not having slaves. Since modern liberalism states health care is a right, logically they are calling for the enslavement of an entire class of people, namely health care providers. Modern liberalism claims lots of things are rights, a livable wage, for instance, but when you run it through logically if it is a right then someone must be forced to provide this right. That person is called a slave.

So that’s twice now that modern liberalism has devalued human life to little more than slavery. Let’s take a look at the third part of the sentence.

Who are those in need?

Those in need—are we talking about those in need of protection from genocidal tyrants? Those in need of defense against a culture that debases women as less than human? Nope. From the context of the sentence it seems we’re talking about people who don’t have enough stuff/money according to our liberal friends. But before we give those in need everything they “need” let’s look at why they’re needy.

“You need only do three things in this country to avoid poverty – finish high school, marry before having a child, and marry after the age of 20. Only 8 percent of the families who do this are poor; 79 percent of those who fail to do this are poor.”

– William Galston, advisor to Bill Clinton.

So I’m not a sociologist here, but using the information provided for us by the Clinton administration, it would seem Five Pillars of Liberal Thoughtthat poverty is primarily caused by making really stupid choices. Taking another look at the statistics, as economist Thomas Sowell loves to point out in just about every book he writes, over half of those people who are below the poverty line are in their 20’s and won’t be below the poverty line in 10 years, having given up their places among the poor to a new set of 20 somethings. So it would seem that most people tend to learn from their youthful mistakes. Who would have thought in a capitalistic system that rewards hard work and intelligence that the stupid and lazy get the shaft.

But the call goes, ‘what about their children! The children of these people who live below the poverty line will never be able to break this cycle.’ To which I say: Bullshit. Every school I have ever worked at full-time could be called “at risk” education. And at every school some of my brightest students were not the children of middle class families, but the children of parents who lived in poverty. They saw how their family lived and they choose to get an education so that wouldn’t be them. The children who repeat the cycle of poverty are those who CHOOSE to not strive, to not learn, to not break the cycle. It is a choice, as the opportunity is always there in a capitalistic system to get out– it has nothing to do with race or gender or religion or your parent’s background. It is a matter of choice. To deny this denies free will,  oh wait there once again we find that to say that people are needy means that we don’t believe they have free will, the responsibility to take the consequences of their choices; once again liberalism has devalued human beings to little more than a mindless thing.

Modern liberalism’s problem is that it devalues the inherent value of human life.  It see personal charity not as something that should be done because it benefits the giver but only as a duty that must be obeyed without.  It sees all

Every person in this picture is an idiot.  Only one of them isn't bright enough to actually leave a mark on history for good or ill.  Guess which one.

Everyone of these people believed in government not liberty…they what we call in the modern day, liberals.

of humanity as either problems to fix or tools to use. But a human being is not a problem or a tool. It is an end unto itself. Only from this perspective can a life have value. Liberalism pushes everyone away from this value through its destruction of free will through its imposition of slavery and through its denial of human value. I’ll be the first to say that history is more than filled with far worse examples of this evil than your modern American liberal, but it is a difference in degree not kind. I will also admit that while this idea pushes people away from any kind of personal growth, it is the person’s choices to follow that philosophy, not the philosophy itself that is at fault for not achieving personal enlightenment. But it is still used as a tool for preventing the progression of many human lives…and in that sense it is absolute evil.

 

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Detroit, liberalism at its finest

Obama Detroit

Sadly, he doesn’t have a city….he has a country.

The fall of this city reads like the story of the Twentieth Century Motor Company.  Large government spends, overregulates, gives into unions at every turn, hampers business at every opportunity, a deference to cronyism without any concern for free markets, corruption, all leading to the destruction of a city that still has all the infrastructure necessary for growth. And the worst part is that this can be easily, EASILY reversed.  Lower taxes, remove regulations, gut the bureaucracy, open up school choice, tell the unions exactly where they stick all their whiny demands.  It would be a slow growth at first, and the city would need to redirect every single cent they get to police to clean up the dangerous streets of Detroit first (although allowing open carry and remove the restrictions that allows law abiding citizens to procure weapons to protect themselves could solve that problem, criminals tend to go where the targets are easy and a well armed populace is not that) and fix the crumbling infrastructure second.  If the city did these things and let the free market and individual choice drive the way the city would be thriving again within a decade.

But we know they won’t do that.  And so the city will continue to decay.

 

But I’m sure if you asked idiots like Paul Krugman or Barry the answer would clearly be that we just didn’t spend enough money and we didn’t regulate enough.  Because that’s always the problem for liberals.  Government is never the problem and always the solution, even though they don’t have a single shred of evidence to back that claim up.




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Is Capitalism Humane?

The great Milton Friedman on the ethics of capitalism.

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A Tyranny by any other name would be just as terrible…Why Communism, Fascism and Socialism are really the same thing.

“You can’t call Obama a socialist!”
“You can’t call Obama a communist!”
“You can’t call Obama a fascist!”
“You don’t know what words mean!”
“Obama’s a moderate!”

I’ve heard all of these. All of these statements are incorrect. Why are they are incorrect? Because they like to play fast and loose with the meaning of words. They like to ignore that often in political philosophy there are ideal systems and there are pragmatic realities. That there are actual actions and there is PR. There is where the society is headed and where it is now. And liberals will always use the definition you’re not actually using in context.

For instance if you say that France is socialist, they’ll point out that some industries haven’t been nationalized thus it is not a socialist nation it’s a mixed economy. You’re looking at the fact that France is headed in that direction and the pragmatic reality, they’re looking at is where it is now. If you complain that Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a Communist, they’ll point out that she hasn’t endorsed this or that policy from Soviet Russia. You’re looking at where they’re heading and what their ideals are, they only look at the words spoken so far and not making logical connections as to motives. You point out there is no difference between complete Socialism and complete Communism in reality; they’ll start talking about ideals and the utopia to come.

So let’s clear some things up.

There is the Communist Utopia, that place where government dissolves and everybody lives together in a global commune and sings “Kumbaya” and does their best and the shmoo run wild providing all our needs. This place never existed and never will exist on a national or international level. It can work with small groups of people who willingly join, but like pure democracy, it tends to fall apart when the group gets bigger than a couple dozen. This is what liberals claim they mean by socialism, but they forget that this pipe dream requires full and complete ideal Socialism first, even in their own arguments. They just think that the tyrannical government can somehow also be perfectly benevolent and will magically give up power when it has accomplished its goals (in a way no tyrant ever gave up power). And of course this is all silly anyway because history has shown without exception that the system ideal Communism really likes is anarchy, which only ever leads to post-apocalyptic wastelands.

Then there is practical Communism. Soviet Russia, Maoist China, North Korea, Cuba. This has near complete control over all aspects of the economy. They have numerous laws in both social and economic sectors. They are enforced with viciousness by police who basically answer to no one. The governments are controlled by a small cabal of people who have control of everything and while there may be the pretense of elections, the outcome is always the same. Slave labor and murder of citizens is how the populace is kept in its place. And all the time this is called socialism (because this is ideal socialism, although like in ideal communism, there is this foolish belief that it will be a perfect utopia where everyone is happy).

Strangely enough, this is almost identical to another form of government known commonly by a different name, but which saw itself as socialism. Specifically I’m thinking of the National Socialist German Worker’s Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei), of course known more commonly by the abbreviation, Nazi. But what exactly is the difference? Control of the economy? Check. Control of social order? Check. Slave labor? Check. Death camps. Check. Power of an unelected elite, no rule of law, state sponsored atheism*, no protection of natural rights.

That about sums it up.  But I'm always open to being proven wrong...How in any practical way is communism different from fascism or from what socialist say they want?

That about sums it up. But I’m always open to being proven wrong…How in any practical way is communism different from fascism or from what socialist say they want?

Check, check, check, and check. You know what the difference is between Fascism and Communism? It’s not in the type of government you have, it’s in the propaganda. Communism promises you a utopia where everyone is equal because they have done away with class, and every terrible act is justified to accomplish this greater good. Fascism is completely different in every way. Fascism promises you a utopia where everyone is equal because they have done away with everyone from a different heritage, and every terrible act is justified to accomplish this greater good.

There’s also a type of fascism that replaces race with religion, but most religions don’t work well with this because most religions argue that the human soul is divine, hence it works against fascist/communist principles that glorify only the whole and degrade the individual. In fact I can think of only one traditional religion that denies the divinity of the human soul and requires you to submit absolutely to the will of God.

Now I guess you could have something really bad which uses the racism of fascism and the class warfare of communism, and the religious overtones of Islamofascism, in one…oh wait, we do have that, it’s called North Korea. Otherwise known as the worst place on Earth.

There isn’t any practical difference between Communism in practice, Socialism in theory, and Fascism. They have the same means, the same methods, the same procedures. And they all have the same result. Suffering. Mountains and mountains of suffering. So, yes, calling someone by all three names is correct because all of them boil down to the lack of liberty in the name of the greater good.

‘But, but, but,’ I can hear the leftist whine now, ‘fascism is ultra-right not ultra-left.’ Okay, one, join the 21st century, the single axis right-left thing has been replaced by two and three axis plots of political leanings…and on those communism and fascism are pretty close to each other. The only reason some original idiot put fascism on the right was because they equated the love of country of the right wing America and Britain (which was based on the ideals of the nation) with the love of nation seen in fascism (which was based on things like race and ethnicity, you know the exact opposite of ideals). So let’s chalk up another moment in idiocy for political scientists.

‘But, but, but,’ they whiners will continue…and then they’ll bring up what we typically call socialism, the mixed-economy, and they’ll say that works. And the problem here is that the mixed-economy model covers a whole wide range of economic systems. Let’s start as the most free, the mixed-economy that leans towards capitalism (America in more recent history). Typically this tends to work and create prosperity. Then you moved to a truly mixed economy that are truly using a bit of capitalism and a bit of socialism (Israel, Poland, Mexico, France) depending on a lot of factors such as resources, culture, infrastructure, terrorism and crime issues, etc., this can work decently or not, but it tends not to create truly thriving and flourishing economies. Then you have your socialist leaning mixed economies like Greece (yeah they’re doing well) or India and China (where the media likes to focus on some people doing well, but somehow the socialism is still providing not much prosperity to the masses). But since all of these are called mixed-economies, idiots like to point to the successes of the capitalist leaning ones or the ones that benefit also from strong cultural issues, and use that as a justification for the socialist policies. However, this is silly, because when you line up countries by how economically free they are versus the prosperity there is, has always been, and will always be a strong relationship between economic liberty and prosperity. In fact there is a strong relationship to a lot of things we like (standard of living, life expectancy, low corruption) that comes with more economic freedom.

Yes maybe one country listed as a 67 by the Heritage scale of economic freedom isn’t doing as well as one rated as 57, and maybe one country did better one year even though its numbers dropped a little in that year, but as I said there are a lot of other factors that effect this or that individual nation but overall, every country does better the more economic liberty it has. So when socialists try to tell you about the joys of the mixed economy, point out that actually those benefits are what comes from capitalism not the socialist aspects of the mixed economy.

Now I could get into the fact that only capitalism within a Classically Liberal republic (or as close as we have gotten to it) has been shown to offer real protection of rights and real prosperity, but you’ve seen me do that before…or that cronyism, which is really a form of the socialist mixed economy, creates a lot of problem that capitalism gets blamed for, even though it has nothing to do with capitalism, but those are a bit off topic from my original point.

So back to my first quotes.

“You can’t call Obama a socialist!”
“You can’t call Obama a communist!”
“You can’t call Obama a fascist!”
“You don’t know what words mean!”
“Obama’s a moderate!”

Yes, I do know what those words mean. Now it would take a whole other blog to PROVE that Obama’s attacks on the free market and natural rights qualified him for those appellations, but I trust your common sense to make the prima facie case on your own, because I think it’s fair to say that every action he has taken over the last 5 years has moved us away from the benefits of capitalism and more and more toward the economic nightmares of socialism/communism/fascism. The only real question is, is it intentional or just gross idiocy?

Types of Government

*Yes, the Nazis just like every form of Communism embrace, encourages, and enforces state run atheism.

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The Core Values of True Conservative Belief

“We ought not to listen to those who exhort us, because we are human, to think of human things.…We ought rather to take on immortality as much as possible, and do all that we can to live in accordance with the highest element within us; for even if its bulk is small, in its power and value it far exceeds everything.” — Aristotle

Knowledge of Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe; to know what he ought to desire; and to know what he ought to do. – St. Thomas Aquinas, Two Precepts of Charity.

So I have been looking for the core of conservative belief lately.  What is conservative, what isn’t.

Why is this even an important question?  Well because the conservative movement is overly obsessed with the idea of what a true conservative is (it doesn’t help when your main opposition is a bunch of blind followers in the Democrat party who will kneel before anyone who promises them more shit, and libertarians* who will promise them pot).  Paeloconservatives.  Neoconservatives.  Fiscal conservatives.  Social Conservatives.  Compassionate Conservatives.  (Hint I consider only two of these terms not be contradictions).  It’s a wide range.

And there is no big help when looking to intellectuals.  Sure there is Russell Kirk’s famous list of highly dense academic speak, I even used it in Republicans and Reincarnation, but over the course of his career he kept changing the last few points, making it more and more isolationist, and it’s so complicated as to be useless.

The Wizard's Rules Sword of Truth

Meanwhile, while I love Goodkind’s eleven wizard’s rules, and think them an excellent companion to Aristotelian philosophy, they’re not all that specific.

Then of course you could name certain policies…but that doesn’t work because what is conservative today isn’t conservative tomorrow.  Facts of reality change, priorities get shifted…for instance every conservative needs to be a fiscal conservative, however one can still be a conservative and willing to make a deal to that would raise deficit spending when a more important goal is present, say, toppling an evil empire.  And real conservatives, love the nature of America to take pieces of every culture and incorporate them into the melting pot of this nation…but right now reality and sanity dictate we need to concentrate on border control and being a little more picky about who gets in.

So the problem I’ve had for nearly a year is to find something that is accessible, adaptable, and always accurate in describing the core beliefs of conservatism.  And I just realized it was so bluntly obvious that I didn’t see it (but then again I haven’t seen anyone else talk about it all this time either)..I’ve even stated it, it’s just always been implied.

What are the core values of conservatism that remain the core values at any time any place any situation? The thing that binds Aristotle to Cicero to Aquinas to Locke to Burke to Smith to Adams to Goldwater to Reagan?

The Four Cardinal Virtues and the Three Theological Virtues.

Four Cardinal Virtues
Temperance, Prudence, Fortitude, Justice

Prudence

Temperance

Fortitude

Justice

Faith
Hope

Love

The first four come from Aristotle, the last three from Paul (although I would argue they are implicit in Aristotle if you read all of his works) and they are the basis for the most perfect system of ethics ever created.

Think about it.   Liberals only care about results, damn what rights or means you have to violate to create your Utopia (and that’s even before you consider they lack the follow through to do anything); the crazier members of the Libertarian party only care about means and an absolutist idea of right, to hell if you need some minor infringement to make a society properly function or to secure the vast majority of your rights.  Only the virtue based ethics of Aristotle deal in the reality of needing to consider ends and means.  And this refusal to look at only ends or means is one of the first reasons why the virtue ethics are inherently conservative—conservatives by nature see the whole.

Now let’s look at the virtues themselves.

Yes, Aristotle listed a lot of other virtues,

Sense of Shame

Pride

Wit

Proper Ambition

Truthfulness

Righteous Indignation

Generosity

Friendliness

Magnificence

Good Temper

But all of these are natural extensions of the other seven.  So let’s go over them and show why they are at the heart of conservatism.

In the order which most highlights the political aspects.

Cardinal Virtues
Justice.  Conservatives believe in the concept of Justice, that people should be rewarded and/or punished by what they deserve.  Merit.  Earning.  The basis of meritocracy of free market capitalism.  This is of course opposed to the liberal obsession with fair. It’s not fair.  Things should be fair.  Life’s not fair.  And of course whereas Justice requires the equality of opportunity and equality before the law, liberals want the equality of fairness where everyone has equal results.

Prudence.  While a highly complex concept that the word prudence doesn’t quite convey the complexity for the classical concept, it might be best defined as the knowledge of what should be valued.  With Prudence comes the understanding that the only truly valuable thing is Happiness (again I’m using the classical definition of a life lived well) and to value all the subordinate good that are required for Happiness.  This includes liberty, because Happiness cannot be achieved without free will, actual achievement.  Liberalism values material things and sees no higher point to life other than living, social conservatives only value society and some perverted view of God and not the individual or their happiness

Temperance.  Often mistaken for moderation, Temperance is taking the knowledge of what to value from Prudence, and deciding how much you should value it, at what time, in what place and in what manner.  In very simple terms this is the pragmatism of what works so clearly Keynesian economic and the libertarian desire to wipe everything out in one fell swoop without letting society adjust are right out.

Fortitude.  Again often misunderstood to just be courage, it is more tied into the previous three virtues as the will to do what you know to be right.  This throws out RINOs who stand for nothing, and worst of all the politically apathetic who seem to feel that there is no value in anything and nothing worth fighting for.

For purposes here, I am going to take Faith and Hope together because this is the primary difference between paleo and neoconservatives.  Paleoconservatives with their isolationist ways at their core are only looking out for themselves (clearly also lacking in that last virtue) but this is also because they do not have any faith in humanity or hope in the inevitability that republicanism and capitalism will spread to everyone.

Love, the last of the theological virtues and what must be required for all stable society. It is the belief that other humans have value and worth, and must be respected and helped when possible. This is actually the basis for capitalism, democratic-republics, friendship and all progress.  The belief that human beings are worth it (it’s a belief you don’t find in many political beliefs).

I have no doubt that I will come back to this theme over and over…but it has become clear to me that one or all of these virtues is missing in every political philosophy other than true conservatism.

(This will be the first post in an ongoing series on these virtues.)

*Not that all libertarians are this bad, but you have to admit there is a disturbing high number of single issue voters in your party…and their single issue is one that is really dumb. Of course Republicans have social conservatives who are just as stupid.

**I’m just going to gloss over these for now, don’t worry I’ll eventually have numerous blogs dedicated to this now that I’ve figured this out.

 

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Movies that show the rich as good #2: Meet Joe Black

“Should I be afraid?”
“Not a man like you.”

Meet Joe Black is a great movie for several reasons. A powerful love story. An insightful look at what life is about. And oddly enough a story about a businessman making sure his life work remains great. (Also the only time in history the IRS was even tangentially heroic…and not, you know, worthy of the treatment at the end of Braveheart).

Meet Joe BlackNow some might think that the story about the businessman trying to keep hold of his business when he knows for certain he will die in the immediate future is really a secondary plot line—that the love story of Death (Joe Black) and Susan is far more important than Anthony Hopkins business tales. And people who edit movies for TV and in-flight movies would agree with those people. However the director Martin Brest thought that it so ruined the movie that he got the Director’s Guild to agree that his name could be removed from the cut without the business story line—the Director’s Guild receives hundreds, some years, thousands of requests to have directors names removed because the director was unhappy with the result…virtually all of them are denied.* So that this was granted tells you that this plot line involving Hopkins’ character of Bill Parish is absolutely important.

Why? Or as Death puts it:

Joe Black: Bill, why at this juncture are you letting yourself be so concerned by business matters?
William Parrish: I don’t want anybody buying up my life’s work! Turning it into something it wasn’t meant to be. A man wants to leave something behind. And he wants it left behind the way he made it. He wants it to be run the way he ran it, with a sense of honor, of dedication, of truth. Okay?

Because this film shows us that life isn’t just about love. It is about life. The big and the small things (like peanut butter). And this movie shows the depth of love, not just romantic love, but the love of parents and children, of friendship, of siblings, and of life itself. Love is one of those massively important things…but so is accomplishment. In fact, if you look at the needs of people’s accomplishments, achievements, the attainment of goals is, according to psychologist Abraham Maslow and his hierarchy of needs, is the next thing we need to achieve in our quest for Happiness.

Now the liberals out there are probably rolling their eyes when they hear attainment of goals or achievement, as theyMeet Joe Black Dance think that you attain goals you must do so by taking from others. They see a world of static wealth and prosperity, where if I am to be successful another must fail, where if I am to be wealthy another must be poor, where if I am to be happy another must be miserable. Which is why they must tear down the strong, the successful, the happy, because in their warped mind those people are taking strength, success and happiness from others. Reality tends to be quite different. Whereas historically most economic and political systems have done the liberal thing and only shifted money and resources around, or at best created wealth at an astoundingly slow rate…capitalism literally creates wealth where it did not exist before. It takes work, ideas, creativity, individual and cooperation, risk, and planning to create wealth…but capitalism is the only system that can sustain long term innovation to create wealth out of what was previously worthless. Wealth thus has no limit, so long as there is liberty and drive to keep creating it. It parallels the other thing we seek for constantly in life: love. Just because I love my spouse doesn’t mean I have to love my parents, my siblings, or my children, or my friends less…they may all be different kinds of love, but an increase in one does not diminish the others. And the movie is quite clear; we need love in our lives:

Bill Parish: Love is passion, obsession, someone you can’t live without. I say, fall head over heels. Find someone you can love like crazy and who will love you the same way back. How do you find him? Well, you forget your head, and you listen to your heart. And I’m not hearing any heart. Cause the truth is, honey, there’s no sense living your life without this.

To make the journey and not fall deeply in love, well, you haven’t lived a life at all. But you have to try, cause if you haven’t tried, you haven’t lived.

But again back to the Maslow’s hierarchy, life isn’t complete with just love, we also need accomplishment. And the character of Bill Parish certainly has accomplished as the founder and chairman and CEO of a multinational media empire. As he discusses his business he states:

Meet Joe Black ConfrontationSee, I started in this business because this is what I wanted to do. I knew I wasn’t going to write the great American novel, but I also knew there was more to life than buying something for a dollar and selling it for two. I’d hoped to create something, something which could be held to the highest standards. And what I realized was I wanted to give the news to the world, and I wanted to give it unvarnished. The more we all know about each other, the greater the chance we will survive.

Sure, I want to make a profit. You can’t exist without one. But John Bontecou is all profit. Now if we give him license to absorb Parrish Communications, and he has his eye on a few others after us, in order to reach the world you will have to go through John Bontecou. And not only will you have to pay him to do this, far more important, you’ll have to agree with him.

He veers almost into the territory of an Atlas Shrugged hero there…Yes I love making money, but I love making my creation more and you could offer me all the money in the world to scrap what I have built and I would throw it in your face. He is a man of morals which are more important than just money. Which is something else that correct philosophers from Aristotle to Maslow understood, while there are charlatans that can make money, they often can’t keep it going and can’t create. Yeah there are terrible businessmen out there, but the majority of the rich, from the so called Robber Barons to Mitt Romney the rich who come to their money through work and achievement are among the most generous people in the world (Please see Who Really Cares by Arthur C. Brooks for further proof).

And it is this mixture of accomplishment and love and morality that makes the character of Bill Parish so admirable that even Death views him as someone to learn from.

The man from whose lips fall “rapture” and “passion” and “obsession”? All those admonitions about being “deliriously happy, that there is no sense in living your life without” all the sparks and energy you give off, the rosy advice you dispense in round pear shaped tones. […]It requires competence wisdom and experience, all those things they say about you in testimonials. And you’re the one.

And as we see through the course of the movie as he cares for his family and their happiness more than his business, and the achievements he has made more than just buying another day or two of his life, why when right before Death takes him he asks, “Should I be afraid?” The obvious reply to someone who has built and accomplished and loved the only answer can be, “Not a man like you.” Bill Parish stands out as a man who has excelled in every aspect of his life…and it’s amazing that Hollywood would show such a character as being.

Meet Joe Black Death

*If you ever see a movie directed by Alan Smithee, there is no Alan Smithee. That’s the name the Director’s Guild puts on films they allow the real director to distance themselves from. Producers or a studio have to ruin beyond the telling of it a director’s film before this is ever granted.

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Capitalism: The ONLY hope of Mankind

Capitalism is the only system that has been shown to raise people out of poverty. It is the only system that benefits the rich, the middle class, and the poor. It is the only system that can bring a nation out of destitution. It is the only system that works long term. It is the only system compatible with human nature. It is the only system of economics that is ethical. It is the only system of economics that is sustainable because only capitalism creates and encourages the innovation and imagination needs to deal with the constant slew of problems that life brings.

You can either be in favor of Capitalism or you can be an idiot who knows nothing about economics, history, psychology, philosophy, ethics, human nature, politics, reason, logic or facts.











Let me say again…You can either be in favor of Capitalism or you can be an idiot who knows nothing about economics, history, psychology, philosophy, ethics, human nature, politics, reason, logic or facts. That is all.

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Happy May Day! International Day of Celebrating Tyranny and Mass Murder.

So it’s May 1st the pagan holiday of Beltane.  If you celebrate, hope you have a wonderful day.

But more people know this day as May Day.  The international day of Communism and Socialism.  Over 100 Million dead!

TheBlackBookofCommunismLet’s take at the death toll of government that brought us gulags, killing fields, the resurgence of crucifixion (yes, the Chinese crucified Tibetan monks and dissidents).  Forced labor, controlled famines, repression…the death toll is, according the obscenely well researched book The Black Book of Communism: Crime, Terror, and Repression edited by Stepane Courtois puts the number of all Communist/Marxist (where religion is always persecuted and outlawed) at about 100 million dead. Now you could say it’s unfair that I just use the number the book lists and not say some Marxist tripe historian who probably put the number under 10 million…well I deal in reality and the fact that some historians have called the 100 Million estimate “too conservative,” I think I’m safe with sticking with that number.  But please go on, tell me that Communists have not killed millions.

So please remember if you see someone celebrating today for political reasons remember they are celebrating murder.  Don’t worry about them though, karma catches up with everyone (sometimes not in this life, but it always comes through).  But feel free to remind them they are reveling in death and torture.

Communism Deathcommunism posterSocialismCapitalism and Freedom

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The Importance of Religious Pluralism in the Journey of the Soul

Not sure why, but I’m seeing an upsurge in the frequency of people becoming more hostile about their religion being right and everyone else being wrong (and even for the people who aren’t making a big deal out of it, there is a certain ‘my religion is better than your religion’ arrogance in lots of groups, and it just feels like its getting worse).  And I’m not just talking about the psycho-fringe here (or I’m really underestimating the size of said “fringe”).  I always find this a puzzling concept.  Sure there are a few really insane beliefs out there–mostly the ones that dictate ‘my way or else I’ll kill you!’–but for the most part, most religions all have the same core values and differ only in forms, names, and rituals.  And quibbling over these relatively minor issues is pointless. First off most of these people who want to scream for their own religion and no others seem politically motivated (I’ve seen all sides engage in this religious idiocy) given that it only alienates people away from your political causes.  Further, reason doesn’t hold this up?   I mean, do you seriously believe that God, a being of supposed infinite love, compassion, understanding and wisdom, cares about what ritual you use to get closer to him, rather than if you actually get closer to him or not?

And it’s not just implicit in reason, recent scientific research into reincarnation and near-death experience also demonstrate this. Scientific studies have shown that reincarnation is a fact and that you change from religion to religion based on your life—if that’s the case it can’t be that God loves one religion and hates all others.  Similar studies have also shown that during near death experiences everybody goes to heaven, doesn’t matter what their religion is…it’s almost as if God doesn’t give a shit what name you call him by.

potala palace lhasa

The Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet…it seemed like a place both remote and spiritual enough to serve as the starting place for the soul.

So does this mean that all religions are worthless?  That there is just God and his children and it doesn’t matter what you believe…not exactly.   Now, with that knowledge of near death experiences and reincarnation studies, it seems to be that the majority of religions are correct, that life is a series of rebirths, a progression of lessons and stages of learning all leading to Enlightenment…but that still doesn’t invalidate the idea that you should follow the religion you feel called to. If the soul is on a journey toward Enlightenment, let’s think of it as a journey.   For the sake of metaphor let’s say all souls start out standing in the Potala Palace in Lhasa.  High in the Himalayas, disconnected from the rest of the world.  And you know you have to get somewhere (Enlightenment) you have had it roughly described to you, but you don’t quite know where you are going or exactly how to get there.

How you get there would be comparable to the mode of transportation you take.  Some ways like Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity, New Age belief and modern Paganism might be equivalent to walking, taking a bike, a boat, a car or a plane*, other religions maybe more like trying a unicycle with a flat tire, spinning in a circle believing you will magically teleport, digging through the center of the earth using a rusty spoon or launching yourself into orbit using high explosives and hoping you land in the right place. ** While in the minority there are religions that are all but useless in all cases…however most religions are more dependent on where you are in your journey. In this example if one religion is equivalent to riding in a car and you’ve hit the Pacific Ocean, it may have gotten you to this point but you need a different mode of transportation (a different belief system) to advance on the next stage of your journey.

Devil’s Bridge, Sedona, Arizona

Now for the sake of argument in this travel metaphor let’s say that Enlightenment exists at the Devil’s Bridge in Northern Arizona (chosen for the fact that it is beautiful, and the irony was just too good to pass up).

Now to get from our stating place in Tibet and ending place in Arizona there is no way a single mode of transportation is going to cut it the whole way.  You are at best going to have to walk part of the way, either take a boat or plane part of the way, and probably have to travel in some other forms of transportation for part of the journey.

The Journey of the Soul Metaphor

If only the journey of the soul was this short a distance.

Let’s add to the fact that you’re not always sure where you’re headed.  Granted as long as you’re moving you may be getting closer, or at least have a better chance to learn where the right place is as opposed to the stupidity of staying still, but that still doesn’t always mean you’re moving in the right direction (as some religions that could be used to progress can be misused to put you further away from God…Westboro come to mind).

You could use this metaphor for a lot of things, and show it flawed in numerous other ways.  I just want to show that even on a journey you may use different modes of transportation, as different religions may serve different souls on their journey to Enlightenment.

And my overall point here is that reason tells you God is too perfect a being to care what name you call him by or what rituals you go through to honor him, it’s silly to think that one religion is the right one and all others are false.  Yes there are some blindingly stupid beliefs out there, and there may be beliefs that are wrong for you in your life (take a car when you’re on the ocean) but just because your religious beliefs work for you don’t assume they would work for everyone. The most you can do is ask if you find that your beliefs are leading you to God (if they are, bully for you) and if someone else’s beliefs could never in any way, shape, or form lead a person to God (a religion that calls for stoning people in the 21st century for instance) and oppose those vile beliefs will all your heart and soul.

So even if you aren’t decrying that your religion is better than all others, it might also be best to not always believe that (I know some will think I’m only critiquing Christians here, but really this my religion is better than your religion arrogance can be found in almost every religion)…your beliefs may be exactly what you personally need in your journey right now, but don’t believe that your beliefs will work for everyone at every time.

sedona rainbow

you can never have too many random pictures of Sedona

*Try not to match those up, the religions are in more or less chronological order and the modes of transportation are more or less random.

** I may or may not have had Scientology, Atheism, Keynesianism (it denies basic reality so much and requires so much be taken on faith it’s pretty much a cult) come to mind here…oh and I can’t think what religion I had in mind when I mentioned strapping high explosives to yourself…certainly not a religion of peace.  Not everyone following those beliefs is stuck at a stand still, it’s just highly, highly unlikely they’re going to be making a major push forward in that life.  And this is the balance to an acceptance of other beliefs, admitting that there are some really dumb beliefs out there.

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Hope, the American Way, and the “Man of Steel” Trailer


So there appears to be some brouhaha over the newest trailer for Man of Steel.  I have seen complaints about this on no less than 3 different political web sites, which seems a bit much for a trailer, but since they want to make a federal case over it, it should be pointed out that their case is baseless.   Namely the problem seems to be with the following lines:

Lois Lane: What’s the “S” stand for?

Superman: It’s not an “S.”  On my world it means “hope.”

Lois Lane: Here it’s an “S.”  How about Super…ManofSteelsymbol

Now the first complaint is that this is changing the story, where it has always stood for Superman.  This is a silly claim, especially for a comic book movie, which is based on comic books that have been restarted so many times with so many variations D.C. comics actually had to come up with a storyline about multiple universes just to keep all the versions straight (still didn’t help).   When you’re translating a story from one medium to another it’s pure insanity to think everything can remain the same.  Further, yes you might be justifiably angry at those changes…but only if those changes make the story worse.  The new Star Trek stripped all the good out of the original series and created a cheap sci-fi film that would never have gone anywhere without banking on the greatness of the original…so there bitching about the changes is justified.  Conversely, Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy took the Batman story from a more simplistic action/detective comic and created one of the deepest most meaningful films ever made.  Those changes made the story better, and so whining about purity of the original story is just bunk.  Rewriting stories is a part of literature dating back to when Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides rewrote the works of Homer for stage, nobody in their right mind claims they ruined the stories.  Now it may be that whatever changes Nolan and Snyder have made to the Superman myth in this film may make it better or worse, we’ll have to see, but change is not necessarily good or bad on its own.

The other reason this is silly (and keep in mind I’ve never read a Superman comic in my life, and even I could find this out easily) is that in terms of the meaning of the “S” they haven’t really changed anything.  In the original film starring Christopher Reeve, the symbol stood for the House of El, the Kryptonian family that Superman is a part of. But what about the “Hope” thing?  Apparently some on the Right are having knee-jerk reactions to the word and thinking that this is intended to be a reference to Obama.  It’s not.  This actually is taken directly from the 2004 comic Superman: Birthright written by Mark Waid (Obama had only come onto the national scene at the 2004 Democratic convention in July, the comic came out in September which means it was probably written well before July).  I will shortly come back to why using Waid’s work as a basis for this movie is a very, very good thing.

Finally there are of course the constant complaints still going on about the line from the last movie “Find out if he still stands for Truth, Justice, all that stuff” and how the writers shoved away the phrase “the American Way” and the worry that this will still continue in this film (this of course ignores that the line came from Perry White, the most cynical character in the Superman universe who probably would find the phrase silly).

ManofSteelAfter this trailer I especially find this fear also fairly unwarranted.

Why?

Well what is the American Way?

Contrary to what many believe, it has nothing to do with land, or resources, or economic success, or military prowess, or scientific achievement. America is America because of our ideals.  The ideals of liberty, of meritocracy, that anyone can achieve by their own will.  Or as I have stated before:

We’re the nation that fought to create a republic where the haves and have-nots gave equal measure.  We’re the nation that fought our own citizens to free slaves.  We’re the nation that pioneered capitalism and law that gave liberty and opportunity and progress to more people than any other country in history.  We’re the place where “tired, the poor, the huddled masses” come to be energetic, successful and stand on their own feet.  We’re the country that conquers whole nations so that others may be free then tries to rebuild them and then leaves without tribute or power.  If you don’t think we’re the “shining city on the hill” you don’t know history, philosophy or human nature.  We’re not perfect, we’re not always right, but we are consistently the nation that calls for the best in humanity to put down the worst.

The American way isn’t a habit, or a land, or a race, or even the citizens of this particular country, it is an ideal that believes the best in humanity can always rise above the worst in humanity, that the individual left to their own devices will rise to the pinnacle of achievement and not sink to the depth of depravity.

And just in this trailer alone, we see that way, that ideal.

We see it in Jor-El’s statement

What if a child dreamed of becoming something other than what society had intended?  What if a child aspired to something greater?

Are you going to tell me a line about how a single individual can rise above the shackles of whatever society throws on them, and achieve because of their own will and merit isn’t at the very heart of America?

Or perhaps Jonathan Kent’s:

I have to believe that you were sent here for a reason.  And even if it takes the rest of your life, you owe it to yourself to find out what that reason is.

The belief that life has a purpose.  It has been seen in philosophy since Aristotle, but it has never been realized until America.  And this quest to find meaning is a personal one, “you owe it to yourself,” not one laden down with obligations to family, or clan, or religion, or state, or culture, or history or whatever other un-American claptrap other nations have followed.

Or perhaps we should go to first trailer, with another line from Jor-El

You will give the people an ideal to strive towards.  They will race behind you.  They will stumble.  They will fall.  But in time they will join you in the sun—In time, you will help them accomplish wonders.

Shining city on the hill anyone?  The beacon of hope and light that America is supposed to be.

Oh I said “beacon of hope” which brings us back to the symbol and them taking that point from Mark Waid.  This is important that they are drawing form Waid’s version. Why?  I would direct you to an essay written by Waid in the book Superheroes and Philosophy entitled “The Real Truth About Superman and the Rest of Us, Too.” (It’s an excellent essay which you may want to read.)

The essay covers the thought process Waid went through when the head of D.C. asked him a simple question: “Why does Superman do what he does?  Why doesn’t absolute power absolutely corrupt in his case?”  He quickly found the stock answer of, because he’s Superman, to be unsatisfying to the employer who was hiring him to revitalize the franchise.

What follows is an argument that references two of my favorite philosophical beliefs.

The first is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  Waid starts from the premise that even though an alien, he has the same needs in the same order as any human.  Physical needs then Safety needs then Emotional Needs then Maslow's Hierarchy of NeedsAchievement needs then finally the need for Self Actualization.  (You’ll find that the American beliefs in liberty and capitalism parallel this order of needs quite well).  Now for Superman, the first two, physical and safety need, aren’t an issue at all.  So that leaves emotional, achievement and self actualization needs.  Now he might gain some emotional connections by just being mild mannered Clark Kent, but certainly not achievement or self actualization.  Which then comes to a question of how much does he need to achieve…and this is where Waid turns to another idea, a quote in fact (which I’m hoping against hope will make it into the movie):

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” [Italics on the last part added]

 

It is the realization that Superman is who he is because to do anything less would not lead to his Happiness, and that a central theme of the story has always been that we should all strive to the edge our abilities, as Kal-El does, not just to help others achieve their goals (You will help them accomplish wonders) but to also achieve our own Happiness (you owe it to yourself).

So this is why I’m happy they are pulling from Waid, with the concept of Superman being a symbol of hope, the city on the Hill, because it places the whole story in a very strong and correct footing of spiritual values and Aristotelian virtue based ethics.

Now while Waid, or Marianne Williamson who first wrote this in her book A Return to Love: Reflections on A Course in Miracles, don’t make the connection, it is only through the American Way of personal liberty and personal achievement that we achieve the heights of shining our brightest.  So I feel the need to again point out, that the American Way is being championed in this movie already, whether they say the words or not.

Now, no one has seen this film yet, so it could either suck or make the Dark Knight Rises look like an F film student’s half-hearted attempt…or anything in between. I am merely pointing out that the complaints based only on this trailer are completely unfounded.  This movie appears to appeal to the best in this story, the core ideals that have let it rise above whatever flaws have plagued the various incarnations over the years.

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Drop the meaningless phrase “Judeo-Christian Values” and other ways for Conservatives to win

Okay so several times I have asked what the phrase “Judeo-Christian Values” means and how it is different from the values of other beliefs and religions.  I haven’t received many good answers.  Yes there are certainly differences between them in the nature of God or in the rituals and the structure of the community…but in terms of values there is little difference…everyone regards the soul as divine in some way* and proper understanding of any of these religions lends one to a virtue based ethics in line with the Classical Realism of Aristotle and Plato.  In fact, when you look at most religions there are some pretty strong parallels in all the virtues—some may be more detailed than others in some areas and less in others, but they seem to focus on the same general virtues.

virtue

Granted there is not a point for point comparison between the virtues that I am showing here, and there are shades of difference and meaning, often caused more by culture and period of time they were written in, but in terms of broad swaths, every religion believes in the same general set of virtues. Also this chart could be much more inclusive of a variety of religions and still hold true…but I think you get the point.

So the term Judeo-Christian values, which supposedly would mean the virtues and ethics this group holds to be good and right and true is just the same as the virtues of every other religion, then it’s not that meaningful a phrase.  Yes there are differences between Judeo-Christian beliefs and other religions, but none of these differences have anything to do with the political context of how the phrase “Judeo-Christian values” is used.

The phrase is meant to draw a contrast between spiritual/religious values and those of the secular, progressive, fascist, fanatical sections of society that actually don’t share either a belief in virtue based ethics or have some very radically different values.

So why is this an important point to bring up?

Well because it makes a pretty clear distinction between those who follow Judeo-Christianity and everyone else.  Including people of lots of different faiths who were not intended to be alienated.  Is this relevant?

Well first off I think it’s a fair statement that the term Judeo-Christian values is primarily used by conservatives.  Second I would assume we want to win.  We lost the last election by 3.9% points.  A 3% shift of the vote would have given Romney the popular and Electoral College vote and about 6 Senate seats (i.e., complete Republican control).  So it then becomes a question, is there 3% of the electorate who is religious and spiritual, not already voting Republican, that is not in the Judeo-Christian bracket?

Let’s look at the polls.

Trends in Religion PewPew does a major poll every year looking at the trends in religion in America.  It’s a sample of 17,000 people so it’s fairly accurate as polls go.

So of the “other” religion we have 6% of the nation and of the “nothing in particular” group we have 13.9% of the population.  Together they make 19.9% of the population.  Common sense alone says that if you have 20% of the country, two-thirds of whom are voting against your party, then maybe if you stopped alienating them with an us vs. them term (or at least picked a new term) you could pick up a few…maybe?

So let’s look at the 19.9% a little more closely.  Okay so we can discount about 1% of the “other” group as they are the “religion of peace” and their fairly fascist beliefs are moderately antithetical to conservative principles and the values/ethics being promoted.  So we’re down to 18.9% up for grabs.

Now the let’s look at how the remaining 5% of the “Other” and the 13.9% of “nothing in particular.”  Now a flaw of this report is that they lump the ““nothing in particular” in with Atheists and Agnostics under the heading of Unaffiliated (but for Trend in Religion by party Pewthe purpose of this let’s just assume the numbers are about the same throughout all the unaffiliated, it doesn’t make a terribly large difference anyway).  From the data we can see that only about 57% of the Other group and 69% of the unaffiliated are voting for Democrats (trust me the math works).  So give or take (you know there are some independents we’re not taking into account) that’s about 12%.  12% that probably share the values of the Christian voters who lean toward voting Republican, but for some reason aren’t voting Republican.  Do you think that term “Judeo-Christianity” might have something, even a small part, to do with it?

Isn’t this just a call for political correctness?  No.  The idiocy of political correctness is saying you have to watch everything you say because it might hurt someone’s feelings.   And it is for all levels of life, from the public and political to the personal.  I am not saying you have to adjust your personal language or beliefs.  This is merely a political reality.  We as conservatives have certain values and policies we know will work and better the lives of everyone.  Politics is as much about emotion and perception as it is about facts and plans, probably more so. Political Correctness has nothing to do with practical ends, which is why it has to be enforced by the left so viciously else reason would drive most people to that end anyway; what I am talking about is something very different than being PC, I’m talking about selling an idea with very real consequences.  A term like “Judeo-Christian values” is loaded from the get go, it creates an us vs. them mentality, at a time when we need more of the people in the “them” category to vote for us.  If we switched to using the term “spiritual value” or “God centered” more often, it would mean the exact same thing in terms of everything relevant to politics and ethics, and it wouldn’t emotionally alienate those we are trying to win over.  You can still use “Judeo-Christian” if you really feel strongly about it, but do it knowing you’re hurting the chance to actually see your goals accomplished.

Is this stupid?  Yeah.  It’s silly and ridiculous to think we should have to be this nitpicky about our language and terms to win people to our side.  But, the last time I checked we already had reason, logic, facts, truth, plans, and vision on our side.  Didn’t notice that doing us any good.  Oh, wait this is politics. Stupid thing like word choice do matter.  Is it stupid?  Yeah, but it’s something you have to do.

New Age beliefsBut should we end our discussion of this group of “nothing in particular” with just this term?  Well that might work towards making in-roads with maybe 1% of those 12%, in-roads that would allow the rest of our arguments to make a difference, and that 1% we get to follow reason would be a third of the way we need to go, but it’s still not enough.

Let’s take a look at some of the actual beliefs of this group.  Namely that 25% of them believe in reincarnation (If you assume that all the atheists and agnostics do not believe in reincarnation then it’s actually about 35% of the “nothing in particular” group…or about 4% of the general public.)  Further while there is nothing in this year’s report, previous year’s reports showed that a belief in reincarnation was more popular with women, minorities, the young, Democrats, liberals, moderates, independents, and Christians who attend church less often (i.e., the people we need to win over).

So it is safe to assume that most of those in that 4% are not voting Republican.

But they should.

A belief in reincarnation by its very nature lends to long term thinking—the policies I put in place today won’t just affect my children and grandchildren, they’ll affect me over and over and over again.  Thus anyone who believes in reincarnation has to believe in plans that aren’t as concerned with momentary problems, but with building long term systems that self-perpetuate and offer prosperity to the most people for the longest time with most chance of growth…that would be the capitalism and republicanism officered by real conservative belief.  This is an argument I’ve made before, extensively in Republicans & Reincarnation, and one that we should all make to anyone who holds this article of faith in reincarnation.  If you actually approach them on their own terms, and showed that the logical consequence of their beliefs is conservatism, we could get another 1% of that group…which means of the 49% left we only have to convince another 1% and given the abysmal failure of a second Obama term, that should be easy.

You don’t have to agree with people on faith. But you’re not going to convince them on politics if your stance is mine is the only religion worth following by using terms like “Judeo-Christian value.”  Say “spiritual values” instead, it means the same thing, it still separates you from the secular liberal base you are trying to show a contrast with, and it may pick up a few votes. And if you’re arguing with someone who doesn’t agree with your religion or your politics, you’ll never convince them to give up a faith because of reason, it just doesn’t work (even if you do show contradictions and put them on the path to agreeing with you spiritually, it will initially only dig in their heels more on every other topic against you)…but if you approach them on their terms spiritually and show them how their beliefs do dictate a conservative point of view, then you at least get something.

*The only two exceptions to this are followers of the religion of peace (Sufis excluded) and atheists.

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