September 2009

25 Sep 2009

This article hits it on the head. Hollywood always treats abortion with plenty of dishonesty and euphemism. Usually the woman is raped or abused, or at worst she’s a teen who commits a youthful “indiscretion.” She earnestly ponders her situation, glad she has a choice. In the end she heroically decides to keep the child. Thus “choice” is celebrated while all the grimy emotions, moral degradation, and selfishness of aborting are swept nicely under the rug. It’s all so antiseptic.

Imagine a movie where a college student gets pregnant. The girl isn’t “ready” for a child and doesn’t want to impede her future, so she goes down to a clinic and writes a check for a few hundred bucks. The woman is in tears while they show the clinic workers skillfully using their tools. There is blood. Not the blood that attends the joy of a new life, but the blood that accompanies the draining of life. The blood of murder and death. Then later they show some nameless functionary putting the bloody remains into a garbage bag and throwing it in the dumpster out back.

That’s the flip side of the “choice” coin. It’s the side we never see in the “respectable” media or Hollywood. And we all know why. In all things, do no harm to the movement!

24 Sep 2009

Government is good at one thing: It knows how to break your legs, hand you a crutch, and say, “See, if it weren’t for the government, you wouldn’t be able to walk.” -Harry Browne

There was a town hall event a few weeks ago where it transpired that one of the people who was there calling for (if I remember correctly) the abolition of Medicare had to be treated by Medicare for an injury. Haha, what a hypocrite!

Really? The government takes over half of our incomes, perhaps 3/4 of it once you trace the taxes everywhere. The government creates the inflation that slowly robs people of their savings and taxes false gains (e.g. If you buy a stock for $50/share and sell it 10 years later for $75/share, you have to pay capital gains on $25/share even though much of that gain is due to currency debasement i.e. inflation). All of these factors have created hardships if both spouses are not working. The government’s massive subsidies and other interventions in the health care, education, and financial markets have jacked up costs to the point where it’s difficult to survive outside of the system. The government created a massive bubble with its monetary policies that are wreaking havoc on family wealth.

Given all this, it’s hard for people to avoid the government net at some point. It’s hard to avoid an elephant that spends $4 trillion a year, especially if the majority of your income goes to fund its large appetite. Even principled people may have to swim to some extent in the elephant’s cesspool.

As regular readers know, I state often that nothing will change until the collapse brought about by the unavoidable, coming tsunami (this may not necessarily hit at once; it could be a wave that hits over an entire generation and causes the standards of living to fall dramatically). The reason to inform people of the “freedom” position is to hopefully influence what happens “on the other side,” after a currency crisis or some other spark that causes broken government promises. This is when people will be looking for answers.

Things can work out for the better after the tsunami. One reason the founding fathers hated paper money was because they experienced the ravages of it during the Revolutionary war. A similar thing occurred after the demise of the Civil War greenback. The post-Civil War era (up until the Progressive era came along and began dismantling it) was perhaps the most prosperous and soundest economic era in the nation’s history. The government was far less invasive then.

Things can also work out for the worse. Germany and Russia of the early 20th century come to mind. So does the corrupt French monarchy, which fell to the wickedness of revolutionary France, which in turn fell to the warmongering Napoleonic state that ended hundreds of thousands of lives.

Lew Rockwell believes that the best thing “average” people can do is spread the word with friends, family, and others you can influence. Help to create an informed minority (speaking of which, Ron Paul’s book End the Fed is now out).

My pastor reminds me on occasion that this is how it works with the Christian life too. Sprout where you’re planted.

18 Sep 2009

Conservative talk radio is already abuzz about the 2010 mid-term elections. The hope is that Barack Obama is self-destructing, and a massive wave of discontent will lead to a great victory for the Republicans. Hopes are often dashed, but let’s assume the Republicans do sweep into Congress in 2010. Then what?

Here’s what: there will be more borrowing and spending. There will be the requisite complaining about the borrowing and spending to mollify the conservative base, but much of that base doesn’t really want entitlements cut any more than the rest of the electorate. Entitlement spending is the main reason why the tsunami is coming, but politicians don’t get elected by promising to cut such spending. Voters may congratulate politicians for straight talk about the coming insolvency, so long as it stays talk. Politicians know they’ll get safer mileage out of focusing on inconsequential discretionary spending and abstractions such as “We need to get our fiscal house in order!”

I’m all for driving a stake into Obamacare, but politicians who aren’t seeking to drastically cut entitlement spending are part of the problem because entitlement spending is the problem. In other words, all but a handful of Congressmen are part of the problem. That includes the conservative flavor of the week: Congressman Joe “You lie!” Wilson. It’s noteworthy that Rep. Wilson voted for Bush’s prescription drug entitlement, which now has liabilities exceeding $16 trillion. He voted for the September 2008 bank bailout, too.

The Republicans are using Obama’s dissembling about Medicare rationing against him. Do you think Republicans are going to turn around and push their own cuts to a Medicare Ponzi scheme that is $70+ trillion in the hole and well on its way to collapse? Are you kidding me? They aren’t going to touch it with a ten-foot pole. They know that people who hang around for an explosion tend to get blown up. (The idea that the government will move toward fiscal soundness before the collapse is as laughable as Barack Obama’s fondness of using the excuse that he inherited a economic crisis, as if he would’ve acted more fiscally responsible than George W. Bush. Who was that former senator from Illinois pushing for all that big government? It must have been the current president’s evil twin.)

Voters won’t accept that their entitlement programs are hosed until they’re actually hosed in the coming tsunami. Most of them contributed payroll taxes, and as the masterful and reprehensible FDR once said, “no d*** politician can ever scrap” such entitlements, even if they were a fraud from the beginning (which they were) and the money was spent long ago (which it was).

Republicans are often better than Democrats on key issues like gun rights and abortion funding, even if at best they tend to just maintain the status quo. However, unless the tsunami has already hit, the 2010 election won’t propel meaningful economic change, nor will it remove the inevitability of the tsunami… even if the Republicans win every contested seat in Congress.

16 Sep 2009

I don’t wish to gross anyone out here, but I post this article to note how perversions tend to cascade and to note how their proponents tend to seek acceptance through similar political movements using euphemisms and the language of the victim.

Being a “zoophile” [what a euphemism!] in modern American society, Beck says, is “like being gay in the 1950s. You feel like you have to hide, that if you say it out loud, people will look at you like a freak.” Now Beck believes he and other members of this minority sexual orientation, who often call themselves “zoos,” can follow the same path as the gay rights movement.

Our first instinct might be to laugh at the prospects of gaining cultural acceptance of something as degraded as bestiality, but given the success of the sodomy lobby over the last 40-50 years… Why?

Homosexuality is the next exit down the highway of perversion from feminism. Is bestiality the next exit down the highway from sodomy?

15 Sep 2009

We’ve reached a cultural milestone in the past few weeks with the stories about Van Jones and ACORN. The government has made major decisions based on reporting done by enterprising, internet-based reporters. Mainstream media outlets have almost completely ignored these stories, with the exception of Fox News, which has discovered a bonanza by popularizing them.

This seems to me a marker showing the continued marginalization and irrelevance of the formerly “mainstream” media. For years, they have played the gatekeeper, the government’s lover who faithfully and often successfully kept a lid on things not in accord with their elitist liberal tendencies. Now, as Gary North recently noted, the gates are still up but the walls have come down.

The Drudge Report noted that Mark Levin, a conservative radio host, has sold a million copies of his latest book without it being reviewed in major papers such as the Washington Post. Are the papers biased? Of course. But here’s the point: the book sold a million copies without them. Newspapers all over the country are going bankrupt. Even the New York Times is in trouble.

I still occasionally pay a visit to Newsbusters for a laugh, but really, who cares what, for example, ABC News says any longer? Their evening news anchor claimed this week to no even know about the ACORN story. How many more years will the major networks even have national news divisions?

Don’t sweat the mainstream media. They may be house organs for everything you hate, but they are becoming less important by the day. They’ve lost control.

Influence is decentralizing. It is relentlessly moving to blogs and web sites and social networks like Facebook (where you can influence those who actually know you!). These are great places to influence others, both for good and ill. Christians should use these means, particularly Facebook. There is a lot of “ill” out there, and a need for good.

14 Sep 2009

Perhaps it’s a waste of time to debate the merits of Obamacare, Cap and Trade, or the latest stimulus measures. None may matter due to one overriding reason: they will all be deluged in the tsunami to come. They’re all empty promises.

The tsunami will slam ashore once the crisis occurs over the national debt. This is the key political issue of our time (at least economically) that frames all others, and yet it is largely ignored. People are hoping against hope. Some politicians and citizens are wary, but the borrowing and spending continues unabated. Remember putting three pieces of bubble gum in your mouth and blowing a bubble the size of your head as a kid? It was awesome watching it grow and grow… until it popped all over your face and hair.

There’s no way to know if the tsunami will hit in a month, a year, or ten years. We can only speculate what will initiate it: the end of foreign debt buying, a Fed shell game uncovered, a series of major bank failures, a sudden submarining of confidence in the dollar… who knows. I know one thing: it’s coming, unless our Lord comes first. It’s coming for the same reason that a street drunk ends up in the gutter after a bender and for the same reason that punching a brick wall hurts your hand. It may hit more like a hurricane than a sudden wave, but nothing will be the same after the tsunami. There is no legitimate way to pay off the debt and the deficits are escalating. It is what it is. At this point, I don’t think there’s any way to escape the island. All the escape boats have been set adrift.

I have no idea how much damage the tsunami will do, but I think a few things are inescapable: (a) the standard of living is going to be much lower for years, perhaps a generation, and (b) some government programs may survive, but they’re going to handle fewer people with far less benefits in real purchasing power, and (c) A lot of people are going to be hurting. War, hunger, and anarchy wouldn’t be a surprise, nor would successful secession movements. More likely are the rise of multi-generational families under one roof, mending clothes, an emphasis on local communities, more crime, fewer imports, poorer health care, used cars, back yard garden plots, less travel, oil shortages, people working until they die, and hopefully fewer animal rights supporters and environmentalists (chic causes during prosperity give way to survival during lean times). This is just off the top of my head. You can follow the logic and come up with your own predictions.

Yes, everything will change in the tsunami’s wake, but Christians will do well to remember what C.S. Lewis noted back in 1939 as England fell into a cataclysmic war:

The war creates no absolutely new situation: it simply aggravates the permanent human situation so that we can no longer ignore it. Human life has always been lived on the edge of a precipice. Human culture has always had to exist under the shadow of something infinitely more important than itself. … We are mistaken when we compare war with “normal life”. Life has never been normal. Even those periods which we think most tranquil, like the nineteenth century, turn out, on closer inspection, to be full of cries, alarms, difficulties, emergencies. -C.S. Lewis, “Learning in War-Time”

God is still a very present help in trouble. Eternity is still forever.

Note: I have created a new category for posts on the economy and the coming tsunami.

09 Sep 2009

We’ve heard more than one person tell us that cost is no object when it comes to our basic right to health care. This is like saying that air is no object when it comes to breathing.

Cost always matters because scarcity is a fact of life. Scarcity is there whether the government “provides” health care or not. Now, some say that health care is so important that we must spare no expense in providing it. Looking beyond the obvious objection that this immorally sanctions us to raid our neighbor’s wallet, there simply isn’t enough wealth to continue on our present financial path (and the government is always busy with new regulations that harm future wealth-building). Medicare and Medicaid alone, using conservative estimates, are almost $50 trillion in debt. That’s way more than the U.S. can ever afford. Government revenues for 2009 are projected in the $2 trillion range. Every new dollar spent is a borrowed dollar.

I tell people this, they disregard it, and basically retort that it needs to happen anyway. Well, pigs need to be able to fly, too. These people are like a Party Boy who gets his paycheck and spends it all on a big blowout keg party. Never mind what’ll happen later when the landlord comes calling for the rent.

Despite all this talk about Medicare savings that has the elderly up in arms, Obamacare will on net add trillions to already unsustainable levels of spending. Its supporters aren’t calling for us to forgo anything to fund all this new spending, except for perhaps military expenditures. While I’m all for bringing the troops home, eliminating the entire military budget (not just war spending) saves around $500 billion dollars a year. Now, $500 billion is a lot of money, but the U.S. deficit is $1.5-$2 trillion this year alone. So even eliminating the entire military budget, which of course will never happen, doesn’t resolve the deficit or future liabilities. Financially, the bigger problem is entitlement spending– Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, prescription drugs. Most Obamacare supporters believe that these things are sacred, and now they want a massive new program added to the list.

Isn’t the denial of reality, the utter foolishness and childishness of this, obvious?

Let’s say there is a church that built a million-dollar sanctuary back during the boom years. The bust occurred, and now the congregation has lost jobs and tithing is half what it once was. The church can’t meet its commitments. What would any sane session do at this church? Would they vote to borrow money to add another wing? Would they tell the congregation that funding xyz ministry’s is so important that “cost is no object?” Of course not. They would instead cut costs to the bone. They would recognize their earlier foolishness and consider moving to a place the congregation can afford. There is no more important work than that done by a faithful church, but that doesn’t mean that every church has a “right” to a large sanctuary or an expensive ministry to the poor. It has a right to what it can afford. The faithful church works with God’s provision (Rev. 2:8-9).

And so it should be with health care. Any system must be sustainable. Otherwise its will eventually fall victim to severe rationing, just like Party Boy will end up eating ramen noodles and fighting eviction. The system may even fall apart completely. Given that scarcity is a fact of life, I would much prefer the efficiencies, quality, innovation, and sustainability that spring from free-market competition instead of the deficits and wastefulness of government. We want the computer industry, not the post office.

Sometimes I just want to shake people and tell them to stop acting like children. If the dollar collapses as a result of the unsustainable spending and debt, then the chickens will really come home to roost for all the people who’ve pushed and pushed to extend the government spending to unsustainable levels. They are contributing to a disaster greater than any problem they wanted to solve.

08 Sep 2009

For many years, Robert Novak was one of my favorite columnists. There are certain media figures you just know you’d like if you knew them. Lyn Nofziger was like that. Pat Buchanan is too. Robert Novak, who died August 18, always seemed that way to me, too, and this has been happily confirmed by the remembrances of those who knew him. He was principled and decent.

Novak’s autobiography, The Prince of Darkness, is a good read. The anecdote I most remember from it was his time as a Unitarian. However, several remembrances of him noted how he was about to speak one night at Syracuse University in the 1990s. A female student asked him if he had joined the Catholic Church. He said he had been going to mass for a few years, but he hadn’t joined. The young woman responded: “Life is short, but eternity is forever.” This moment hit like a stake in Novak’s heart. He could barely finish his speech that night. He was baptized soon afterward. We never know when God may use something we say in a life-changing way.

Although it doesn’t change my orthodox protestant view that Rome (sadly) pushes “another Gospel” (Gal. 1:8-9), what a statement for all to consider: “Life is short, but eternity is forever.”

01 Sep 2009

You broke the bonds and You
Loosed the chains
Carried the cross
Of my shame
Of my shame
You know I believe it

But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for
-U2, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

Twenty-plus years after its release, there still isn’t a song with a more propulsive verse that leads into a lousier chorus. Yeah, you bore the cross and freed me from darkness and all that, but that’s not quite what I was looking for. What more do you want… Eternal life? All things? Oh, wait, you get all that too (Rom 8:32).

Chesterton noted that the object of opening the mind, as with opening the mouth, is to shut it on something solid. It’s cool and easy to be one who seeks but never finds. The eternal searcher bypasses obligations. He offends no one.

Kerry Livgren (“Carry On My Wayward Son”) searched and found, and then proclaimed it. That offended people. It eventually fractured his band. He went from playing arenas to playing small churches. He discovered the pearl of great price.