Virtue and Liberty

March 10, 2008

Two quotes by a favorite president of mine, John Adams.

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our constitution as a whale goes through a net.”

“Liberty can no more exist without virtue and independence than the body can live and move without a soul.”

Advertisements

A Bible study on poverty

March 10, 2008

Joseph Farah at WorldNetDaily touches on the Bible and poverty in a recent article. To say the least, I agree with his statement that,

Notice Jesus did not suggest those listening to Him lobby Herod to take care of the poor. Notice Jesus did not suggest this was Caesar’s responsibility. Notice Jesus did not suggest people, listening to His words then or reading them 2,000 years later, should mug the rich and distribute their wealth to the poor.

The Bible does not command us to solve poverty by religious means. Christendom has been an important part of the development of Western civilization, which has brought us capitalism and prosperity to even some of the poorest people.

A poor man in America might drive a old model Chevrolet and a rich man drives a Cadillac, but both people have cars. A car is a car. The same goes for televisions, microwaves, and dozens of other now-necessities of life. Rich people may have a better standard of living but capitalism has lowered the price of goods to where poor people might buy them too.  But back to the topic at hand.

Joseph Farah has it dead on. The Bible does not command redistribution of wealth except by voluntary means. By voluntary giving and charity work, those who will truly benefit from the kind act will be helped. When government mandates, say, unemployment and other forms of welfare, there will be more unemployment and other forms of welfare. Subsidies create more of it.

The solution to poverty is to get the government out of the economy and allow private property in the means of production. Only then will standards of living increase and poor people in America might be rich compared to even some European nations.

A hiatus

March 9, 2008

I’ll be taking this week off from the blog to focus on school and other things. My good friend Ben Shepard has graciously agreed to keep the blog going. He’ll be posting and I should be back next Sunday.

Updated: My friend and boss over at Political Inquirer, Lance, has also agreed to post this week. There should be no shortage of awesomeness this week.

No experience needed

March 9, 2008

The New York Times adds their voice to the “Obama Has No Experience” chorus with a cover story detailing Obama’s “minor role” in the Senate.

He went to the Senate intent on learning the ways of the institution, telling reporters he would be “looking for the washroom and trying to figure out how the phones work.” But frustrated by his lack of influence and what he called the “glacial pace,” he soon opted to exploit his star power. He was running for president even as he was still getting lost in the Capitol’s corridors.

Outside Washington, Mr. Obama was a multimedia sensation — people offered free tickets to his book readings for $125 on eBay and contributed thousands of dollars each to his political action committee to watch him on stage questioning policy experts.

But inside the Senate, Mr. Obama, the junior senator from Illinois, was 99th in seniority and in the minority party his first two years. In committee hearings, he had to wait his turn until every other senator had asked questions. He once telephoned reporters himself to draw attention to his amendments. And some senior colleagues were cool to the newcomer, whom they considered naïve.

Determined to be viewed as substantive, Mr. Obama kept his head down, declining Sunday talk show invitations for his first year, and consulted Senate elders for advice. He was cautious — even on the Iraq war, which he had opposed as a Senate candidate. He voted against the withdrawal of troops and proposed legislation calling for a drawdown only after he was running for president and polls showed voters favoring it.

Which of course is the kind of thing that a person like Hillary Clinton would never do.

This the wrong way to attack Obama. The Clinton Machine is doing it, her pundits are doing it, and now big media is doing it. But it’s absurd; you cannot launch “No Substance” missiles from the Hillary Clinton base. Mrs. Clinton embodies celebrity without substance. What has Mrs. Clinton done, in many more years and vastly more opportunities than Obama? What has she accomplished? The answer is nothing. She’s married to Bill Clinton–that is her political magnum opus. Everyone knows this. All these attacks will do is turn on their originators.

One more thing:

Finally, Mr. Obama did what he had done when he first arrived in the Senate, quietly consulting those who knew the institution well — Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Daschle — for advice on whether to run.

They told him that these chances come along rarely. His celebrity was undeniable. And yes, he was green, but that also meant he did not have the burden of a long record.

“For somebody to come in with none of that history is a real advantage,” Mr. Daschle said. “I told him that he has a window to do this. He should never count on that window staying open.”

The point here (and elsewhere in the story) is that Obama has obtained his celebrity prowess (thus, presumably, also his ideas) from veteran Democrats. This is designed to offset the charge made by the Obama campaign that a vote for Hillary is a vote for the [corrupt] political establishment in Washington. If Obama is behind closed doors with the same people Hillary publicly parades herself with, why should he be thought of as truly different?

This, unfortunately for the Obama campaign, is a legitimate criticism. It is very difficult to argue against “the establishment” in politics, particularly when one’s success has come largely from the guidance (as most politicians’ have) of that very establishment. Obama might very well be different, but he’s not a revolution.

The religion of science

March 9, 2008

Score one for Vox Day:

I am not anti-science, I am pro-science reform. But the haughty language and baseless arrogance of the would-be secular priesthood has caused me to conclude that not only is there a massive difference between scientody and scientistry, but that science would be very well served by a significant culling of a scientific community that has gotten well above itself. The absurd figure of the secular scientist evangelist pontificating on matters having little or nothing to do with science proper, and making no use of either reason or scientody to do so, should be as egregiously offensive to scientists truly devoted to the scientific method as the behavior of the Borgia Pope is to devout Catholic Christians today.

Tears for Obama

March 9, 2008

Josh Harris has a deeply affecting blog on his five year old son, Barack Obama, and the most important social issue of our generation.

My five-year-old son, Joshua Quinn, has been following the presidential election with his dad. To him it’s another sport alongside football and NASCAR. Someone wins. Someone loses. He can understand that.

He has seen various candidates on TV and he’s been drawn to Barack Obama. Is it any wonder? Even for a young boy Obama’s words and demeanor are magnetic. But one day I mentioned the fact that Mr. Obama is pro-choice. Joshua Quinn had only recently been informed about the sad reality of abortion. When he learned that Mr. Obama supported abortion, he burst into tears. He was heart-broken.

Read the rest of this entry »

In my view

March 8, 2008

I thought it would be a neat addition to the blog if I occasionally posted some photographs of my surroundings. I hope you enjoy these attempts to make staring at a computer screen a little more beautiful.

______________

Louisville, 6:00 p.m.

p9090134.jpg

There are very few bloggers on the internet that I respect more than Brian LePort. Always thoughtful, never caustic and many times right, Brian’s blog is required reading for anyone interested in some serious theologically cultural thinking. But I think he misses a few things in his recent post dealing with the nature of violence.

Let me first of all I say that I agree with Brian’s main thesis: Violence does beget violence. It’s pretty obvious: Just visit a group of 5 year olds to understand how contagious pushing and shoving can be. Christ taught this principle starting from the inside: That sin within the heart is the source of visible sin, or “violence.”

Where I disagree with Brian is in his line of thinking that seeks to apply these principle to republican government. This paragraph suffices:

On the other hand, whether the words of Jesus concerning the response to violence being “turn the other cheek” are pragmatic, or transferable to all cases of received violence, though debatable, must at least be recognized as a warning to those who believe that violence can somehow stop violence. It cannot.

When 9/11 took place we realized how terrible violence is. Our response? More violence in Afghanistan and Iraq (and now we talk about going further into Pakistan or into Iran). While almost three thousand people died on 9/11, over four thousand coalition soldiers have died in Iraq alone (almost four thousand of those being Americans) and we have lost an addition eight hundred (rounded off) in Afghanistan. The Iraqi death total has almost reached thirty-nine thousand (13x’s that of 9/11!).

Admittedly, the numbers are staggering. But I think his implication is off a bit.

Read the rest of this entry »

No place like home

March 8, 2008

An appellate court in California has ruled rather decisively that parents in California have no constiutional right educate their children at home. This, of course, poses some serious problems to the homeschooling families in the state. The written opinion is erudite, lawful, and, apparently, fairly ironclad. One appreciates the clarity of language represented in passages like this one:

The trial court’s reason for declining to order public or private schooling for the
children was its belief that parents have a constitutional right to school their children in
their own home. However, California courts have held that under provisions in the
Education Code, parents do not have a constitutional right to home school their
children.

The opinion spends the overwhelming majority of its space detailing how legal precendent demonstrates that home education by the parents is not recognized as satisfying the compulsory education requirements of the state. The sheer amount of cases alone is difficult to respond to, and any appeal of this ruling will most likely fail.

Read the rest of this entry »

Green air

March 6, 2008

This is absurd.

A major airline is under fire from environmentalists for flying an aircraft across the Atlantic with only five passengers on board.

The flight from Chicago to London meant that the plane, a Boeing 777, used 22,000 gallons of fuel.

 

It led to American Airlines being accused of reckless behaviour by green lobby groups.

The latest “eco- scandal” flight took place on February 9 after American was forced to cancel one of its four daily services from Chicago to London.

While it was able to find places for nearly all the passengers on the fully-booked flight, five still had to be accommodated. Those who did fly were upgraded to the business class cabin.

But while they enjoyed lavish hospitality, the airline was accused of an “obscene waste of fuel” by Friends of the Earth.

Richard Dyer, Friends of the Earth’s transport campaigner said: “Flying virtually empty planes is an obscene waste of fuel. Through no fault of their own , each passenger’s carbon footprint for this flight is about 45 times what it would have been if the plane had been full.

Amazing. Five people should been left stranded because their carbon footprint was going to be too high.

Here’s a question. What’s the biggest waste: Taking five passengers where they need to go, or leaving them behind because of a highly controversial scientific/political opinion?

The point is: We are NOT servants of the earth. If global warming enthusiasts want to make for themselves a religion of naturalism, by all means let them. Just keep them away from the government. What next, passenger quotas for private planes?