Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pay no Attention to the Issue Behind the Curtain

The current healthcare debate was never actually about healthcare.

The town hall protests aren’t about Healthcare. They started long before the current plans were presented in Congress. As they did for Cap-and-@#$% and The Stimulus, Congress and the present administration have pressed plans, with a ironic urgency, that would not take effect until 2013. “This bill must pass THIS WEEK or we’re all doomed!” they say, even though they’re not obligated to actually DO anything for years. Don’t even investigate what the plan actually is, trust the few bureaucrats who wrote it when they say, “it should work.”

When confronted about the only plan that’s printed for the public, they’ve said “no the plan doesn’t say that,” referring to some other proposal that the public has no access to. But we should support this other plan anyway despite the fact that it does not exist in any concrete form. They ram through thousands of pages of regulations without a glance.

This is not democracy. This is a rubbers-stamp assembly, common in brutal dictatorships.

How did we come dangerously close to this? Even assuming best intentions, these plans are dubious. Certain people see a problem and, not trusting anyone else to fix it they way they think it should be fixed, insist on power to fix it themselves. Rare is the man who gives up this power once his “objective” is achieved(*pines for George Washington*). They imagine what other sorts of “good” they can do when they still have this power, or bargain it for some other “good” achieved, continually moving the proverbial goal-posts. More often, This approach is adopted by those less well-intentioned to gain power.

Even the well meaning fall prey to what I call Lord Acton’s Law: “Corruption is directly proportional to the amount of power concentrated.” The more power these few bureaucrats consolidate to “fix” things, the more likely they are to become corrupted and corrupt. Whether making bargains to get power or doing personal favors with it, corruption is inevitable even if well-intended.

Powerful do-gooders claim to bestow “rights” while interfering in natural rights. To quote Malcom Reynolds, “Don’t have to [win]. Just want to go my own way.” This is a natural right; one that government can only maintain by non-interference. Life, the “Pursuit of Happiness,” and the Liberty to maintain them. Government protects these by preventing interference by others, not by interfering itself. The bestowed “right” to health care is direct interference with the natural right to private property in the form of accumulated wealth.

All that with the well-intended ones.

This debate is about power. There are other reform plans out there, but knowledge of them is stifled. Knowledge is power, and that power is not compatible with those who now push these plans. Their denunciation of the TEA Parties and oposition pundits like Glenn Beck via advertisers is enough evidence that their intentions are not the best, so what will happen when Acton’s LAw is applied to them?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Observations on Higher Education

Evangelical Outpost (now officially graduated from blog to online journal) wonders about the true value of Higher Education in our culture. The opening anecdote:

"During the last weeks, as a result of stressing over this thesis, I have not been able to be with people I want to be with, sleep a healthy amount, and have actually had relationships ruined by my lack of availability. Ironic.”

This is education?

Indeed, It seems to be. The author goes on to ask whether such stress really is worth it for all these students whom we have told: "go to college, and make one million dollars more!" I was actually told this. The asterisk was that it was spread out over an average lifetime, during which much of that million services my college loans. But I degress.

I still regard college as beneficial to me. The key was registering which subject I really studied. College was a social, rather than academic, education for me. As a sheltered conservative home schooler, my eyes were opened to many new concepts(amongst other things ;-)) It was, in essence, my emotional public highshcool. Which is how many other students view it: four more years of living a carefree life off the generosity of others, thinly veiled by academics. And when that veil is ripped apart between original purpose and side benefit, the side benefit often becomes the purpose and vice versa.

But why is this? Colleges often complain of having to teach and re-teach what we should have learned in elementary school; important things like reading and grammar. Should it surprise us then that our emotional level reflects the same? In a civilization free of the realities of survival, why bother growing up?

Those responsible for education are as complicit as their students, as observed by Brian M. at Samizdata.net as a

"baleful impact upon education of our present government's mania for setting
targets (often involving exam results) and then rewarding institutions according
to how well they could fake reaching these targets."

He then points to commenter Rob Spence at David Hepworth's blog:

"So on the one hand we are accepting students with at best a mediocre academic
record, whose motivation is not study but lifestyle, and on the other we are
being penalised financially if we fail to retain them. No-one can be surprised
if these utterly apathetic students drift away, but the system insists that
every student who decides, for probably very good reasons, that they don't want
to carry on, represents a failure on the part of the university, which then gets
its funding reduced."

To survive, colleges are forced to lower their own standards to retain these students, and inflate the value of thier own degrees, forcing those interested in a "serious" education to study longer and harder.

Lives are longer, and people strive to maintain childhood longer. No longer forced to adress the realities of survival, the values of life itself become inflated. Our stressed out graduate was living on the old time-table. Life, in the minds of many, is no longer so short as to require complete education by age 25. It used to be age 16, back when the life expectancy was 52; it's now almost 80. By percentage of lifespan, we're not changing much, and that is a wasted oportunity.

The graduate above had indeed recieved an education. Anything valuable in life requires sleepless nights. Relationships will be strained and broken by diferent priorities. This education is that the friends who stuck by her for the long term during those sleepless nights are her true friends.

With longer life and lighter civilizational peril, the urgency is gone from our generation. We could still send kids to college at age 16, and sometimes still do. But maintaining the illusion of childhood cannot maintain a community nor a civilization.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Light at the End

I have been surrounded by an academic environment. Thinking was the act of choice, Deep Thinking and the discussion of those thoughts. But I am cut from a simpler mold. That of practicality, of achieving goals. Those around me have few goals other than achieving the Next Great Thought, and my own establishment of goals, not being given to Deep Thought, has been stunted. I don't just need a hobby. I need a building hobby. Something where progress can be measured more clearly than an MmmHmm of possible agreement.

Writing is not for me. I need to build a doghouse, or something..........Any project is limmited, though due to moving cross-country in a month. Then, I shall bloom.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A New Direction

I started this blog to post, among other things, political stuff to free up my facebook space. I have tried, and failed, to shake politics but it's in my blood now. As a result, it's easy to get discouraged at the recent events and rant incoherelty. Phil J. at my church felt similarly, but knew a better way. So we did someting not done in the recent history of our small church: we held a prayer meeting.

Silence. Long prayers in that silence, together with others praying silently for each other, the church leaders, and for our national leaders.

The thing about asking God for solutions is being willing to be part of the solution. Wether in politics, or life in general there is still work to be done. But, the focus must be right. Focus on the Kingdom of God, and the little things with which he entrusts us(including local politics, which more people should pay attention to). Jesus taught that if we are faithfull with a little, we will then be entrusted with more.

However, He is more than capable of handling those bigger things untill then.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Marriage Unconsitutional in Iowa?

Yet annother state ban on homosexual mariage was savagely ripped from the books by a State Supreme Court, this time in Iowa. Erick at RedState is annoyed, because this was the express will of the people's representatives in the legistature. He accuses these judges of jucicial activism, substituting personal prefferences for legitimate legal precedent. Ace of Spades disagrees, citing the rather vague Iowa State Constitution:

Article I, section 6 of the Iowa Constitution:All laws of a general natureshall
have auniform operation; the general assembly shall not grant to anycitizen
orclass of citizens, privileges or immunities, which, upon the sameterms
shallnot equally belong to all citizens.
The real question then becomes, how can any right completely belong to all citizens? Married people, Gay or Straight, are obvioulsy put in a “different class” than the rest of us and accorded certain priveliges and immunities. Then, is the *entire concept* of marriage unconstitutioonal in Iowa?

Your honor, I smirk in your general direction and rest my case.

Many libertarians, Glenn Reynolds included, think that may just be the case. I for one think that as diversifying culture, we can no longer expect such unifying traditions to be upheld by law. Personally, since there seems no longer to be a unified tradition, I think we shouldn’t bother with laws propping up those traditions. Still, I see where they’re coming from. “Equal protection” in any document is a ridiculously vague sentiment, and easy to bend to whatever will you happen to favor. Redstate commenter evanm highlights this disconcerting passage from the rulling:

The framers of the Iowa Constitution knew, as did the drafters ofthe United
States Constitution, that “times can blind us to certain truths andlater
generations can see that laws once thought necessary and proper in factserve
only to oppress,” and as our constitution “endures, persons in everygeneration
can invoke its principles in their own search for greater freedom”and equality.
See Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558, 578–79, 123 S. Ct. 2472,2484, 156 L. Ed. 2d
508, 526 (2003) (acknowledging intent of framers of FederalConstitution that
Constitution endure and be interpreted by future generations). . .
Times can bind us to certain truths? Each Generation...in thier own search for greater freedom and equality? Relativistic hogwash. What about freedom from something such as some atheists and anti-smokers claim? At some point the law may just have to throw it hands up and say "Deal with it!"Perhaps this is the kind of thing for an amendment anynow. Not only is that then permanently enshrined, no muck about legislator clauses can get in the way, and it’s completely F(r)ederalist!

As an aside, if there is enough non-assimilation into a unified "American" culture, there will be no United states, but a multi-cultural empire doomed to crumble like all its predecessors: Austria-Hungary, Poland-Lithuania, the Soviet Union, and all the colonial empires who had no loyalty for what was to them a "Foreign" government. So shall we become.

Pence rejected as speaker for Indy TeaParty

Being a fan of Mike Pence, and also a fan of the TeaParty Protests, I wondered if Pence was supporting/attending one. After leaving such a note on Pence's Facebook page, a supporter of his named Meredith sent me a note saying that he has been turned down from addressing the Indianapolis rally. I am is still waiting for a response from the rally organisers themselves to my email:

Dear sir,Thank you for taking the time to organize this outlet for Americans to
voice their frustrations with out out-of-control government. I myself hope to
attend the event up here in Elkhart. It has come to my attention that when he
offered, Rep. Mike Pence was denied the opportunity to address the crowd in Indy
because "that's not what this is about."

The event should not be about parties or specific elected officials. However, at some point this movement must have a goal besides opposition. We know what we do not want, but what shall we replace it with? I believe that as an individual, aside from parties and electioneering, Mike Pence is an excellent example by which to contrast those we oppose. He is one of the few politicians that I have seen to actually *believe* in the root sentiments of this movement, and I believe excluding him from the main event of this movement in our state is a huge mistake.

Regardless, I hope your event will be a success.

Good Luck and God bless.

I was listening to talk radio this morning, where complaints about lacking conservative recruiting and involvement were answered with "These protests are bringing [recruits] out of the woodwork." Hopefully we will come to the point of embracing these people that stand for something rather than clinging to a wandering mob mentality.