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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

5 Myths About the SCOTUS Marriage Decision



My concerns about the SCOTUS ruling in Obergefell fall into two separate categories that can be broadly described as political and religious. On one hand, I consider the impact on liberty in the United States from the perspective of the Constitution and the power of the judicial branch, on the other hand I have my moral and spiritual perspective as it pertains to my own faith. I believe reasonable, principled objections exist on both fronts, and although many others have opined on this subject already, I desire to add my own voice.

I had an interesting exchange on Facebook with someone who supports the Obergefell decision, which requires the governments of all 50 states to legally recognize unions of same-sex couples as "marriages." What was interesting was that despite my providing ample examples of principled objections (all of which were from the legal perspective, not the religious), he was so ideologically blinded that he was literally incapable of seeing a perspective other than his own. You either agreed with him, or you were a hateful bigot. Period. I found it surprising because this man appears to be reasonably intelligent; apparently even smart people can have closed minds. The points below include some of the items I brought to his attention, but which were instantly dismissed like a kid with fingers in his ears going "la la la la."

From the legal/political perspective, here are some of my principled objections to the SCOTUS ruling, provided as rebuttals to the myths being expounded by some of its supporters:

1. SCOTUS expanded freedom for everyone. No, this decision has nothing to do with freedom. "Since well before 1787, liberty has been understood as freedom from government action, not entitlement to government benefits." (from Thomas' dissent, emphasis added) Claiming, as many do, that this decision expands freedom is a misapplication of the basic tenets of this representative republic.

The High Court swiping power from the states injures democracy by improperly altering the checks and balances system that has served us well thus far. "The Constitution itself says nothing about marriage, and the Framers thereby entrusted the States with '[t]he whole subject of the domestic relations of husband and wife.'” (from Roberts' dissent) It is thus with the states, and the people, that the issue should have remained. Just because it went to the Supreme Court doesn't mean that gives the SCOTUS justices carte blanche to let their feelings rule the day rather than exercising proper judicial restraint.

2. SCOTUS lifted restrictions on marriage, weakening government power. No, immediately prior to this decision, there was no restriction on who could get married (with the obvious exceptions of age of consent and incest). That's because prior to this decision, marriage was defined as the legal union of a man and a woman. SCOTUS redefined the word "marriage" and imposed that definition on the states -- something the Constitution does not empower SCOTUS to do. (A simple example should suffice to clarify: any homosexual man was always free to marry a woman, and any homosexual woman was always free to marry a man. There was no restriction on anyone entering into what a marriage was, by definition.)

The decision clearly expanded government power. This idea that SCOTUS limited government power is manifestly absurd. As atheist blogger Christopher Cantwell points out:

The court decided that the constitution, despite lacking any language saying so, promises everybody a “right” to a “license” to marry... Firstly, a “license” is an indicator that you do not have a “right” to do something. Licenses are a thing government issues, specifically to prevent someone from doing something, until they get government permission to so do. They are, by their very definition, a constriction on rights, a limiter of freedom. To license a thing is to outlaw it, and to then grant one permission to break that law. To say that you are fighting for gay “rights” by seeking to have licenses issued to them, is not just a complete failure to understand rights, it is a complete failure to understand rudimentary English.

It is tomfoolery to claim the creation of this new "right" is at all the expansion of an existing right. And if people want this new "right," the correct mechanism is through state legislatures in this representative republic as conceived in the Constitution, not via judicial fiat. As Roberts states in his dissent: "The Court’s accumulation of power does not occur in a vacuum. It comes at the expense of the people." Claiming that this decision curtails government power is risible. On the contrary, this decision is yet another step away from liberty, as it concentrates power in a few hands (SCOTUS), stealing it from the people, who had previously utilized their right to self-determination via democratic means and within the constraints of the Constitution.

Justice Alito opens his dissent by stating that "The Constitution leaves [the question of defining marriage] to be decided by the people of each State." By ruling in this manner, it is clear that SCOTUS took power unto itself that was not rightfully the Court's to take. "In our system of government, ultimate sovereignty rests with the people, and the people have the right to control their own destiny," Alito said. Well, at least we used to have that right.

"Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. The [majority] opinion...robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves." (from Scalia's dissent)

This nation was founded on the principle of the government deriving its powers from the "consent of the governed" (see Declaration of Independence, 1776). We went to war with Great Britain over the idea of "taxation without representation." Now we have, as Scalia put it, "social transformation without representation," and it is a despicable turn of events that no American should be celebrating.

3. Now that SCOTUS has settled this once and for all, we can all just get along. No, this will, without question, serve to be a pyrrhic victory. As Roberts notes: "However heartened the proponents of same-sex marriage might be on this day, it is worth acknowledging what they have lost, and lost forever: the opportunity to win the true acceptance that comes from persuading their fellow citizens of the justice of their cause." To wit, SCOTUS has proclaimed, "Because I said so!" and closed all debate, insulting and alienating the majority of the citizens plus 34 of the states, for no other reason than "they felt it best" -- with no actual Constitutional authority to do so. When the "rainbow high" wears off, things are going to be more contentious than ever. We have learned from past experience that if you cross the militant homosexual agenda, they will hurt you.

4. The SCOTUS decision won't affect churches. No, there are factions who will now see this as an opportunity to cause problems for churches and religious people; you can bet they will continue to push their agenda, not satisfied with what they have thus far obtained. "In our society, marriage is not simply a governmental institution; it is a religious institution as well. Today’s decision might change the former, but it cannot change the latter. It appears all but inevitable that the two will come into conflict, particularly as individuals and churches are confronted with demands to participate in and endorse civil marriages between same-sex couples." (from Thomas' dissent) Meanwhile, Alito warns, "[This] decision will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy." Ya think?

There will definitely be ramifications to this heavy-handed approach by SCOTUS. Roberts says, "Today’s decision...creates serious questions about religious liberty. Many good and decent people oppose same-sex marriage as a tenet of faith, and their freedom to exercise religion is—unlike the right imagined by the majority—actually spelled out in the Constitution. Amdt. 1." Even amici supporters of the decision warn that it will "have unavoidable and wide-ranging implications for religious liberty.”

Alito sees a bleak future for anyone on the losing side of this decision: "I assume that those who cling to old beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes, but if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers, and schools." Sadly, his vision of the future has already been proven to be true, just ask one of the cultural martyrs such as Brendan Eich, who have paid dearly for their beliefs.

This poorly-reasoned, emotion-based exercise of federal overreach by five unnaccountable, unelected black-robe wearers will only serve to create more major infringements on religious liberty. More acrimony is ahead. More lawsuits are coming. More persecution of conscience will abound. This is a mess, and it needn't have been handled this way -- in fact, the Constitution says it shouldn't have been.

5. The ends justify the means. No, they don't. It amazes me that some people are so happy to cede inappropriate powers to each of the three branches of government, as long as they use that power to please them. They are too shortsighted to consider what will happen when parties not likeminded later fill those roles and wield that same inappropriate power. It's all fun and games until the anti-you takes the reins back. Why not just properly restrict the power to begin with?

The central government usurping power from the states and the people violates the spirit and letter of Constitutional law, which, of necessity, endangers other liberties, including religious freedom. Thomas notes, "Had the majority allowed the definition of marriage to be left to the political process—as the Constitution requires—the People could have considered the religious liberty implications of deviating from the traditional definition as part of their deliberative process. Instead, the majority’s decision short-circuits that process, with potentially ruinous consequences for religious liberty."

So, even if I were of a mind to approve of same-sex "marriage" (which I am not, for the principled religious reasons spelled out here), I would wholly object to the philosophical gymnastics and Constitutional chicanery used to arrive at this decision. If I were, for example, a 19th century Latter-day Saint who supported plural marriage, and the SCOTUS made polygamy legal in all 50 states using similarly awful jurisprudence that resulted in an assault on the Constitution and a usurpation of state authority, I would be just as flabbergasted and defiant.

Those who celebrate this decision are cheering their own eventual demise. The "gay marriage" movement has been used as a pawn in concentrating government power and setting terribly dangerous precedents regarding the manner in which SCOTUS power may be wielded. This should trouble everybody, including those benefitting from the decision. Surely supporters of the decision can see that the same tactics used to obtain a result that they *dislike* would have been just as unacceptable. What the High Court did was, as Alito stated, "far beyond the outer reaches of this Court’s authority."

But who cares, as long as you got what you wanted, right? No need to look past the end of your own male enhancement to what may lay ahead now that this Pandora's Box has been opened. Alito puts it clearly: "Today’s decision will also have a fundamental effect on this Court and its ability to uphold the rule of law. If a bare majority of Justices can invent a new right and impose that right on the rest of the country, the only real limit on what future majorities will be able to do is their own sense of what those with political power and cultural influence are willing to tolerate. Even enthusiastic supporters of same-sex marriage should worry." Indeed, we should all be very worried.

If you love our country, if you love liberty, and if you love the Constitution, this decision is chilling. As I have said elsewhere regarding tortured reasoning, the Constitution will say whatever you want it to say, if you waterboard it enough.

So, in short: this decision was, plain and simple, a power grab by the centralized government. The supporters of this decision have it backwards, as usual, claiming it expanded freedom. But then, that is Satan's expertise -- flipping things 180-degrees from truth. (Yes, I mentioned Satan...no discussion of politics would be complete without a reference to ol' Lucifer, now would it?)


Okay, that's a brief summary of my legal/political objections. Now onto the issues I have with the way this is being handled culturally.

First, suggesting this ruling was about "love" is specious. If government licensing of marriage was about love, then not even heterosexual couples, prior to the 20th century (when marriage license schemes first came into effect) were allowed to love each other. And what of all those heterosexual couples who choose to cohabitate? Are they not actually allowed to love each other until they have obtained permission from the state? Puh-leeze. Utter nonsense.

Meanwhile, shutting down any opposing views by claiming that you're a hater if you disagree is a tool of tyranny. I don't have to agree with you to love you. And sometimes disagreeing with someone is, in fact, the best way to show love.

Speaking of love, the people using the vapid ‪#‎lovewins‬ hashtag are either full of malice or wildly lack self-awareness. That offensive, disingenuous tag implies there can be no principled objection to the SCOTUS ruling; it says that if you disagree, you are a hater and do not value love. It is as bigoted and closed-minded as can be. And it insultingly deflects from the real point of this issue, as if we're all stupid. I suggest a more accurate hashtag: ‪#‎constitutionloses‬.

If the decision's supporters really believed in "live and let live," and liberty, and government non-interference, they would reject this ruling and quit acting so self-righteous. Instead, they are already on the attack, using their silly arguments about "love" to try to shame all principled opposition into a corner labeled "hater." Yeah, that's super-tolerant of other peoples' beliefs...


As for my religious objections to the decision, it is all neatly summed up by this content from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It's worth reading the whole thing -- it will give you a clear understanding of where so many of us are coming from, and how we intend to deal with this situation. Suffice it to say, I stand with the Brethren.


As for the moral aspect of this newly created "right," it is a simple truth that homosexual behavior is a serious sin. Despite what SCOTUS has said, marriage is defined as the union of a man and a woman. Anything else is just an improper relationship masquerading as acceptable. I have had friends who were homosexual, and I thought they were very nice people and I got along with them very well. That doesn't mean I believed their behavior was correct, but I appreciate that we are all sons and daughters of God and we all have our failings and weaknesses. I love everybody. But I don't condone all behavior -- I would be a monster if I did. There are many laws that are not morally sound - such as the fact that abortion-on-demand is legal, and adultery is legal.  But as Elder Dallin H. Oaks said, "Man's laws cannot make moral what God has declared immoral." 

We should always -- always -- treat others with kindness and compassion, but we must also never, ever stop standing for truth and right.

Thankfully, I know that everything will work out right in the end. It's just going to be a very challenging ride until we get there.

*****

(C) 2015 Michael D. Britton 
Feel free to use any of my arguments above as you engage with your friends. Just please provide attribution and links back to here if you quote me. Much appreciated!




Tuesday, May 12, 2015

3 Reasons Why You Should Talk About Your Dreams



I just read an article at LinkedIn, and then perused the comments, where a self-described "Entrepreneur/Professional Speaker/People Mover/Branding/Marketing/Transformation Expert" (he must have a very large business card) provided a short list of steps to achieving major career goals. While some of his ideas seemed sound, I found myself vehemently disagreeing with his #2 item:

"Tell no one your dreams and desires - they will only pull you back."

What? Are you kidding me? That is TERRIBLE advice. Not only does it represent a horribly cynical view of humanity, but it's a great way to shoot yourself in the foot before you even begin the race. (HINT: If you're really surrounded by the kind of people who will tear down your dreams, telling them about your dreams is NOT the problem.)

Here are three important reasons why you should share your dreams as often as possible:

  1. Like speaking the name of Voldemort (or is that Beetlejuice?), every time you verbalize your dreams, they become more real. That is, speaking it aloud - to another human being - causes the dream to begin to coalesce, to gain a more concrete form, to develop a life of its own and get traction. If you don't believe in your dream and in yourself enough to share it with others, you probably won't succeed. Also, speaking of the dream keeps it at the front of your thoughts, not simmering somewhere on a forgotten backburner. Thoughts lead to words, words lead to actions. Don't short circuit that process by staying silent about the things that matter to you most -- things that should occupy a rightful place in your daily conversations.
  2. Telling someone else (or lots of someone elses) about what you plan to do adds an important component of accountability to your dream. You may not actually say, "Now, I expect you to hold me to that!" - but when you tell people about what you are working toward, it is at least implied. When you come into contact again, you may hear, "How's that dream coming along?" or some other form of benevolent "checking up" on you - a follow up that is offered out of sincere interest, because people like to see their friends succeed - it's inspiring. And their interest can be a catalyst to keep you doing a little something every day toward your goals - a reminder of the track you should be on.
  3. The more people you tell, the more likely you are to find someone who can actually HELP. It's a subtle form of networking. You may be able to do it alone, but if you can get assistance, all the better. Sharing your dream with others is a great way to build support - whether it be practical support or just moral support. 

So, if I may be so bold: don't listen to that blah-blah-blah-transformation expert dude. Dream your dream and shout it from the freaking rooftops. Talk about it to every single person you meet. Talk about it every day, ad nauseum. Sell your idea to those who can hop on board and add value to your plan, or simply point out ways you can improve on your strategy. Get others to believe in you and your dream and you'll go much farther than you can on your own steam alone.

But don't fall into the trap of being just a dreamer and a big talker. Remember, that critical process is think-speak-do. Figure out what you want. Discuss it openly with others regularly. And take action each day - even if it's just a little step - toward that goal...and your dreams can come true.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Cut It Out...NOW.


Enough is enough.

The federal government is expected to take in a record $3 trillion in taxes (approx.) this year from hardworking Americans – but many say it’s just not enough, and we need to raise taxes even higher. But revenue is not the problem…spending is. Done right, a lean, constitutionally-bound federal government could easily perform its intended limited functions on far, far less than the amount that it currently takes from citizens. Spending cuts are what’s in order, not higher taxes.

But how can we cut federal spending, you ask? Well, let me count the ways… here are a few common-sense, constitutionally-based ways to hack away at the behemoth federal budget.

Entitlements

Let’s start with the big elephant in the room: entitlement spending.

There are at least six ways to help reduce entitlement spending:

      1)      Via eligibility codes, require greater effort on the part of the welfare recipients to do their part to improve their circumstances (oh, I know, that’s so MEAN, huh? – actually, it is far more humane than endlessly enslaving them to welfare). Include drug testing as part of those requirements – we should not be subsidizing illegal drug use, a habit that keeps people difficult to employ.
      2)      Reduce welfare fraud and waste (which benefits the legitimate recipients).
      3)      Improve the economy by reducing taxes and regulations on businesses. Remember, most businesses are small businesses, not evil corporations that use regulations they’ve lobbied for to squeeze out smaller competition. This will allow the small businesses to afford to hire more people, helping the poor escape the welfare cycle.
      4)      Eliminate the federal minimum wage, which disproportionately hurts entry-level workers by forcibly pricing them out of the market. Minimum wage laws are the most anti-poor, anti-teenager, and anti-minority laws on the books today, and do nothing but damage the economy for everybody.
      5)      Provide tax incentives (tax breaks for employers) for approved on-the-job training/mentoring programs that lead to full-time employment.
      6)      Eliminate federal welfare programs and move it all to the state level, which will reduce a ton of bureaucratic costs and allow for greater diversity in programs, ideas, and innovation. The closer to “home” you can bring the social safety net, the better it is for everybody (the principle of subsidiarity).

Another big piece of the entitlement puzzle is Social Security. We need to look at privatizing SS. I still haven’t heard any good arguments against that approach, other than “But…but…big government should run everything!”

Military

The military is another large component of the budget, and it could stand to be trimmed and made more efficient.

We could start by reducing our permanent footprint in a number of foreign countries (allies) that are currently “cold spots” militarily. We don’t need to be everywhere all the time; let those countries pay for their own defense. We could also try getting a handle on contract spending that doesn’t make sense. We’ve all heard stories about $400 toilet seats and $800 hammers…I don’t know the validity of those tales, but it wouldn’t surprise me if someone somewhere was getting rich off the taxpayer dime – heck, that kind of corruption is the one thing the government is actually GOOD at. The more we can reduce the budget while not materially affecting our actual defense capabilities, the better.

Foreign Aid

Another area to cut is the billions of dollars we give out in “aid” to foreign nations each year – in particular, nations that hate us. Such action is deplorable, and not in our national interest. It sickens me to think that money I personally earned at my job is literally being sent to people who want to kill me and my family and want to destroy my beloved nation – and enabling them to do so. It is indefensible and treasonous (inasmuch as that word may apply in a not-necessarily-legal sense).

Bureaucracy

Then there are a handful of offices, agencies and departments that have no business existing. I don’t know how many people these units employ, how much they pay in salaries, benefits, office space, utilities, capital expenses, office supplies, travel, auto fleets, and other bureaucratic overheads, but I can bet it’s more than just a little.

Here’s a quick starter list of federal cuts we can make, starting today:

      ·         Eliminate the Office of National AIDS Policy
      ·         Eliminate the Office of Science and Technology Policy
      ·         Drastically cut the Office of the First Lady
      ·         Eliminate the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships
      ·         Eliminate the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion
      ·         Eliminate the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service
      ·         Eliminate the Minority Business Development Agency
      ·         Eliminate the National Center for Education Statistics
      ·         Eliminate the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools
      ·         Eliminate the Energy Information Administration
      ·         Eliminate the Administration on Aging
      ·         Eliminate the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
      ·         Eliminate the National Center for Health Statistics
      ·         Eliminate the Homeland Security's World Trade Center Captive Insurance Company
      ·         Eliminate the Homeland Security's Long Range Broad Agency Announcement Office
      ·         Eliminate the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT)
      ·         Eliminate the Science and Technology Directorate
      ·         Eliminate the Environmental Measurements Laboratory
      ·         Eliminate the Federal Housing Finance Agency
      ·         Eliminate the HUD's Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations
      ·         Eliminate the Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control
      ·         Eliminate the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization
      ·         Eliminate the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities
      ·         Eliminate the Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae)
      ·         Eliminate the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement
      ·         Eliminate the Office of Insular Affairs
      ·         Eliminate the DOJ's Community Oriented Policing Services
      ·         Eliminate the DOJ's Environment and Natural Resources Division
      ·         Eliminate the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission
      ·         Eliminate the Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management
      ·         Eliminate the Bureau of Justice Statistics
      ·         Eliminate the Community Capacity Development Office
      ·         Eliminate the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (they may be O SO SMART! – but they are not Constitutionally mandated)
      ·         Eliminate the Office on Violence Against Women
      ·         Eliminate the Professional Responsibility Advisory Office
      ·         Eliminate the United States Trustee Program
      ·         Eliminate the Bureau of International Labor Affairs
      ·         Eliminate the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division
      ·         Eliminate the Employees' Compensation Appeals Board
      ·         Eliminate the Department of Labor's Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management
      ·         Eliminate the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs
      ·         Eliminate the Office of Labor-Management Standards
      ·         Eliminate the Ombudsman for the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program
      ·         Eliminate the Office of the United States Global AIDS Coordinator
      ·         Eliminate the Department of State's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
      ·         Eliminate the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
      ·         Drastically reduce the size of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
      ·         Eliminate the Research and Innovative Technology Administration
      ·         Eliminate the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation
      ·         Eliminate the Bureau of Engraving and Printing
      ·         Eliminate the Bureau of the Public Debt (since they’re doing such a bang up job)
      ·         Eliminate the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund
      ·         Eliminate the Federal Consulting Group
      ·         Roll the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network into the FBI and reduce its size
      ·         Eliminate the Financial Management Service
      ·         Roll the National Cemetery Administration into the Pentagon and reduce its size
      ·         Eliminate the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
      ·         Eliminate the African Development Foundation
      ·         Eliminate the Corporation for National and Community Service
      ·         Eliminate the Export-Import Bank of the United States
      ·         Eliminate the Farm Credit Administration
      ·         Eliminate the Institute of Museum and Library Services
      ·         Eliminate the Inter-American Foundation
      ·         Eliminate the International Broadcasting Bureau
      ·         Eliminate the National Council on Disability
      ·         Eliminate the Merit Systems Protection Board
      ·         Eliminate the Overseas Private Investment Corporation
      ·         Eliminate the Panama Canal Commission

What, you didn't even realize those federal government agencies existed? Funny, neither did the Founders/Framers. 

Look, this list is just for starters. Almost all of the above can and should be handled at the state level or below; the rest are completely unnecessary. NONE of them are constitutionally required; most violate the 10th Amendment by being administered at the federal level. They are not legitimate functions of the federal government.

If your family was in as much debt as the feds (proportionally speaking), would you be spending frivolously on non-essentials, or would you take a serious look at your budget and man up?

While we’re speaking of feckless and unconstitutional agencies to eliminate, we also need to dissolve the Department of Education, and the Environmental Protection Agency. These have no business existing, and the Department of Education in particular has been a total failure.

Elitism

Eliminate pensions for elected officials (senators, representatives, the president, vice president, etc.). Nothing gives these overpaid “public servants” the right to keep collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars every year for the rest of their lives after they leave office. Put a reasonable cap on presidential vacation expenses – stop feeding the elitist leadership.

Where should revenues be?

We do not need as much taxation as we have now. We need to repeal the 16th Amendment (and 17th, while we’re at it!). Eliminate federal income tax, and switch to a flat 10% consumption tax. Disband the IRS (huge cost savings). Also, as long as we’re cleaning house, let’s audit the Federal Reserve (who could possibly be against that, and why?).

Rationale

This list is all just for starters. With these suggestions, we can drastically cut the federal budget. I make these suggestions not because I’m some crazy anarchist who wants the world to fall apart – but because I care about holding it together. My suggestions come because I love my country, honor the Constitution, and respect myself and my fellow-citizen.

If we don’t take drastic action to rein in this over-bloated and out-of-control federal nightmare ASAP, it will be too late for us and our children. There will NEVER be enough tax money to sustain this current system. Making these cuts is the only way to survive, is the morally right thing to do, and aligns with the intent of those who worked so hard and sacrificed so much to bring this country into existence.

I welcome civil and well-reasoned debate regarding why we should or should not implement any or all of these measures immediately.


It will just keep getting worse...only drastic cuts can save us. 


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Benevolent Sexism -- Wait, What?



Just ran across this article in the U.K.'s Daily Mail... apparently, Boston researchers have discovered that all men -- even the really nice ones -- are sexist pigs.

According to these eggheads:
"...acts of chivalry may actually be 'benevolent sexism' in disguise ... this type of sexism ... masquerades as gallantry...typified by paternal and protective behaviour, from encouraging smiles to holding doors open." 
Yes, you read that right: an encouraging smile is now inappropriate behavior. Letting the door smack that woman in the face? That's how it's done, if you want to be a non-sexist. Got it?

Professor Judith Hall:
"Benevolent sexism is like a wolf in sheep's clothing that perpetuates support for gender inequality among women. These supposed gestures of good faith may entice women to accept the status quo in society because sexism literally looks welcoming, appealing and harmless."
Uh, maybe that's because being nice to other people literally is harmless, you nitwit.

In the study, an example of "benevolent sexism" included believing "women should be rescued before men from a sinking ship." Tell you what -- next time I'm on a sinking ship, I'll be sure to make the radical feminists go to the back of the life-boat line. (I'm sure there's some kind of metaphor in there.)

The study also found that "benevolent sexists" smiled more, were "more patient," and were "warmer, friendlier and chattier."

Oh, the horrors! If only those awful men had frowned more, been less patient, and been cold, unfriendly and taciturn. What a better world it would be!

Study co-author Jin Goh:
"Benevolent sexist men hold women in high regard and are willing to sacrifice themselves to save and protect women."
And that is a huge problem. Because...radical feminists are insane. That's why.

These idiotic, agenda-driven researchers are railing against "gender inequality." As I have said before, equal DOES NOT MEAN identical, nor should it (unless you like to live in a world that is separate from reality). Moreover, if I have a tendency to smile at men and refrain from letting doors smack men in the face, is that okay with these nutjobs, or does that make me some kind of sexist, too?

Okay, it's obvious to anyone with a brain that these people are off their collective rockers. But...why? What is it that drives them to such ludicrous conclusions? Why can't they accept that men and women are different, and that different people/things/concepts are logically and rightfully to be treated in different ways? And our complementary differences are what makes the world beautiful! What do they hope to achieve by getting men to stop being nice to women? It's gotta be some kind of psychosis that makes them think there's something wrong with holding women in high regard. Are men supposed to hold women in LOW regard, then? No, because that would be...wait for it...sexist! Therefore, if you are a man, no matter how you think of women and no matter how you treat women, you are a sexist pig.

Women. Can't live with 'em...can't not be a sexist no matter what you do or don't do. And since I can't win no matter what I do, I am going to continue being courteous. Deal with it.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Big Picture: Politics & Religion, Part 3



This post is the third in a series, and attempts to tackle the flattering aspect of anti-agent ideology.

You might ask, why aren't we all on that left side of the sphere? Who wouldn't want to be a good, giving person? The Leftist ideology tells us that the Left is kind, compassionate, loving, caring, charitable, and, above all, fair. Who wouldn't want to be associated with such a magnanimous bunch? They are all good-hearted heroes -- they want to "save the world" through the cult of environmentalism, while the evil (and clearly self-defeating) conservatives only want to selfishly and short-sightedly destroy it, right? The Left wants everyone to be equal -- because inequality is bad, right? Take from the evil rich and give to the deserving poor...how can that be wrong?

The left is rife with secular humanistic self-righteousness. Satan flatters the Left into believing they are the good guys. But the policies associated with that brand of thinking all lead directly to the top of that sphere -- to totalitarianism and the ultimate in anti-agency. A perfect example is the canard that forced charity is charity at all. Nope - charity (the pure love of Christ) comes from the heart, and no government can dictate the nature of a citizen's heart.

Meanwhile, the right side of the sphere has its own flattery, in the form of "patriotism" and religious self-righteousness. If you don't recite the pledge of allegiance, you are evil! If you don't believe in my exact brand of religion, then you are going to burn in hell! Yeah, that sure wins a lot of people over. But it sure feels good, right? It's so very flattering to believe that you are better than everyone else because you are truly patriotic and because you have God's stamp of approval.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that I believe my church to be the only true church on the face of the earth. But that doesn't make me self-righteous. For one thing, I know that I am personally very flawed. For another, I know that there are many beliefs from many other people in the world that are worthwhile and valuable and can add to the overall goodness of the world. And I would never use my belief in my own "rightness" to make another person feel inferior. Rather than point out where others are wrong, I prefer to see the ways in which they are right and good. Rather than criticize, I prefer help people. And I know that if they don't want to be helped, I can't and shouldn't force them. I respect agency. I am not an anti-agent (that would go against the core of my faith system).

Thus, humility is a major key to defeating the flattery of Satan. You can't love others and lift them up or effectively help them change for the better if you are proud. If you are listening to Satan's flattery, and placing yourself above others (believing yourself to know what's best for them), you are being an anti-agent. If you are letting yourself be flattered into believing that the "left" or the "right" is the only way to go, then you've bought into the "linear spectrum" paradigm that is designed to obfuscate the true "spherical" paradigm, and you are thus on your way to the top of that sphere.

But as I have said, there are dangers in going too far the other way -- refraining from imposing any kind of moral-behavioral restraints on citizens (such as not punishing crimes like murder, or not acknowledging property rights) results in a different kind of anti-agency.

In the next installment, we'll take a look at why anarchy can be just as anti-agency as totalitarianism, and why it is so deceptively appealing to some.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Big Picture: Politics & Religion, Part 2

It's all lies.

In my previous post, I established some basic terminology that comprised a description of the general political landscape; namely the concept that regardless of the label (Republican, Democrat, communist, fascist, libertarian, Constitutionalist, anarchist), you are either pro-agency or anti-agency. Either you favor those forms of government, policies, and paradigms that lead to greater agency for individuals, or you prefer those that lead to lesser agency. It's easy to see that totalitarianism limits agency, but it should also be clear that anarchy also limits agency.

In a future post, I'll describe how Satan's goal is to destroy our agency (it has always been his goal). For now, to keep more directly on the subject of politics, I'll write under the assumption that it's Satan's goal to undermine agency, and address how he uses political mechanisms to achieve his ends.

As the "Father of Lies," deception is Satan's chief tool for dragging individuals down. He uses deception to blind our minds, to pit us against each other, to discourage us, to wrap us in addictions, to numb our minds, to distract us, and to dissuade us from our true purpose and identity. And he uses deception as a key method of driving political wedges between us.

The truth is, as children of God, we are all far more alike than we are different. And with a few exceptions, we all generally want the same things -- life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are high on the list. But Satan would rather you think that most of your brothers and sisters on this planet are your enemy -- that they are out to get you, and seek to compel you to do or not do things with which you personally disagree. Satan does his level best to make you believe that most other people are anti-agents, just like him.

Power, it turns out, is a great temptation for many people. I personally do not understand it -- I don't see the appeal and have never aspired to power. But Satan whispers to men and women that if they could just have sufficient power, they could do so much good for mankind. The person of power is a paragon of virtue, one who truly knows what is best for you, knows best how to spend your money, understands that certain controls on the people are for their own good, and of course, that they themselves have only the best of intentions and would never become corrupt. And thus, tyrants are born.

A governmental system that distributes power more diffusely is better suited to upholding agency and diminishing the likelihood of creating despots. Again, this aligns with the system designed by the founders/framers. Systems that concentrate power (communism, fascism) will always result in greater widespread misery and minimized agency for all but the elite few in control.

So, Satan pits us against each other, the "left" rooting for their champions who are pushing for one style of anti-agency, and the "right" rooting for their champions who are pushing for another style of anti-agency. Both sides demonize each other, while the government leviathan continues to grow and coalesce toward the top of the sphere (see previous post).

Deception is such a powerful and flexible tool. Sometimes I wonder if Satan is such a good and practiced liar that he's lying to himself. Has he fooled himself into believing that he's "right"? Does he truly and sincerely believe that removing everyone's agency is the best course? Does he think God is wrong? Or did he only think that during the War in Heaven, but afterward, when he lost, did he realize his mistake and get angry and bitter and desire everyone else's downfall? Or has he just been a liar from the very beginning?

In the end, it doesn't really matter. He continues to serve his purpose of providing opposition, so that we can continue to grow and learn and make our choice of whether we will choose good or evil.

But he makes that choice difficult by disguising evil as good and good as evil, pitting us against each other (as the author of contention), and discouraging us (by lying to us about who and what we really are, what our potential is, and what our relationship to each other really is).

So, how do we realign our supposed differences? We can start by dismissing the lies. We must seek unity. We must focus on our common ground. I'm not talking about all holding hands and singing kumbayah. But I do believe that if we are sufficiently humble, we can break free of the forces of anti-agency and choose to be better -- choose to stop our government from getting to the top of the sphere. And that requires an awakening that impacts the very souls of those who would seek power and become tyrants.

In the next installment of this series, I'll talk about the flattery Satan uses to trick people into believing the lies of the "left" and the "right" (upper half of the sphere).

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Big Picture: Politics & Religion, Part 1

Let's start with some definitions. (I really don't care if you agree with my definitions; I am merely defining my terms so that there's no confusion about what I mean when I say certain things.)

There are lots of different terms that float around in political discourse: leftist, right-wing, socialist, communist, fascist, tyranny, freedom, liberty, pro-this, anti-that, libertarian, liberal, conservative, centrist, statist, choice, control, big government, laissez-faire, wing-nut, moonbat, single-issue...the list goes on and on. One thing that many of these terms have in common is that they attempt to describe things in terms of a linear spectrum, usually represented by "left" and "right" at opposite ends of that spectrum.

I reject this simplistic and misleading construct, and prefer to use my own paradigm. And that paradigm is best described with a visual I created:


Each "side" of the sphere roughly represent what people generally call the "left" and the "right," but the extra dimensions add context and show important relationships.

At the bottom, we have anarchy -- the ultimate absence of any governing structure. At the top, we have totalitarianism -- the opposite of anarchy -- where the government controls everything and is everything. The labels are pretty self-explanatory, but it is useful to note that the further up the sphere you move, the closer the "left" and "right" get to each other, until they become indistinguishable for all intents and purposes. In practice, totalitarianism is totalitarianism, regardless of the flavor.

The sweet spot for most liberty-minded people is somewhere near the bottom of the sphere, though not so far down that you slip into anarchy and lose such basic concepts as the social contract, minimal social safety nets, and the simple order requisite for maintaining shared infrastructure and mutually-agreeable discourse (arbitrated to the minimal extent necessary).

Based on the way they wrote the Constitution, and the things they said in their writings, the founding fathers/framers liked to hang out right down there near the bottom, where personal liberty was greatest, but without going so far down that they sacrificed civility. They put systems in place to prevent our governance from creeping up either side of the sphere toward totalitarianism, because they rightly placed a high value on natural (God-given) rights, and understood the nature of man and the horrors of tyranny.

Keep in mind, mine is a three-dimensional model, so there can sometimes be "crossover" from one side of the sphere to the other, in terms of certain characteristics -- but generally speaking, these roles are fairly set. For example, economic libertarianism may be found in the lower left sometimes, and fascism can be found in the upper left sometimes. And aspects of socialism can exist on the upper right. Crony capitalism exists on both sides of the upper sphere. Secular humanistic morality lives in the lower left, while Judeo-Christian morality hangs out on the lower right -- but they can also trade places sometimes (depending on who you are, because everybody's different).

Toward the bottom, we have greater freedom; toward the top, greater tyranny. Tolerance for others exists toward the bottom of the sphere; intolerance at the top (it's important to remember this is the case on both sides). Near the bottom (excepting anarchy), we have a moderate social safety net; toward the top, utter dependence on the state. As you move up from the bottom, you trade liberty for security; autonomy for conformity. On the left side, the security usually takes the form of false financial security; on the right side, it's false military security. Tolerance for others is stronger in the lower right than the lower left. Intolerance for others is strong in the upper sphere on both sides (the left is intolerant of religion and any opposing or non-conforming views; the right is intolerant of differing belief systems).

So, instead of using the term "leftist," or any other confusing term like "fascist," I will be using a new term: anti-agency. Those who wish to destroy agency by either implementing ultimate government control (making us captive to authority) or by eliminating all governing structure (making us captive to chaos and self-destructive addiction) are anti-agency, or, anti-agents.

Okay...definitions done.

Now, why do my north and south poles look identical? Because if Satan can get us to either one of those locations, it serves his purposes just as well. His goal is to limit or destroy our agency. If the social structure is too oppressive (totalitarianism), or non-existent (anarchy), agency is severely limited, damaged, and removed.

Essentially, we have only two camps: those who favor agency, and those who oppose it. Sounds a lot like two other camps you may be familiar with, dating back to before the world was.

In the next installment, we'll take a look at some of the implications of these concepts in terms of spiritual ideas...since the war over agency that started in heaven continues in force today.

[Full disclosure: I am not affiliated with any political party.]