Monday, January 21, 2019

Straddling the fence

Straddling the fence, to mean that you are unable or unwilling to take a stand, one side or another; silent and passive, without convictions or passions.  

Who or what controls you, your opinions, actions and all? 

Elie Wiesel wrote,
I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silences encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.
The time is coming when the decision to straddle will not be so easy, convenient or comfortable;  eventually, you must make choices--hard decisions--and the consequences will be costly, critical and even catastrophic--the longer the wait, the more difficult the decision(s), .  

Howard Zinn said, "It is hard to stand still on a moving train." 

To End an Eagle - the eagle as an icon


At this writing,the latest of completed stories, To End an Eagle, comes to mind; a heroes' journey of an eagle, Elli, who travels to ends of the world searching for his eaglets, his mate, only to finally give up his body, passing to the spiritual realm. 

One of the grievances of Eli, as he learns of the "unnatural" world, is how his image has been (and is) used as a icon; some sort of symbol apparently to represent things of honor, nobility and general goodness.  Eli cannot fully comprehend the wide span between these claims and actual practices, that is, the hypocrisy of these supposed higher beings, namely humans.   

Historically, the eagle has represented the Romans, Nazi Germany, the United States and much more--always to suggest that they represent qualities of the eagle, its superiority and strength among its species and more. In the chapter, "Tranquility", I write (Eli speaking): 

The old Romans traveled with routes made out of rock and leaders made out of the noble, like me. Their legions carried images, the Aquila that looked like me.  It was supposed to be an honor to carry the image but a most egregious event to lose it. The eagle image was iconic as though it be all that they worshiped and adored.  It was only an image and, more than likely, not the single item of sacredness, with all the things worshiped and hoped one god to the next. (p.47)
Still, there remains an eagle in me not lost altogether by the losses of life and living or the allure and attraction of the age; one not imagined or iconic but real and relevant.  What about you; do you have any eagle?  (p.48)  
Eli realizes the contrast (chasm) between him (or the natural) and the unnatural of the world that uses the eagle's image yet fails to hold to, or represent, the eagle's nature. His eyes, however sharp his vision, is opened to the fraud of the unnatural world (the world constructed by man), the corruption and criminality.

What about you?  
Whether you see 20/20 or less, how much do you really see, sense? 

The New Politics of Sex...Stephen Baskerville - Gender

My intermittent but continued writing on Stephen Baskerville's latest book is driven on the interest of this (these) subjects, topics and issues.  Certainly "Sex-based Politics" is nothing new, exotic or erotic, but it is an area for which I have been part of.  I

I must emphasis  (again) that the dangers that await a justice system that punishes and prosecutes based only on one witness, is corrupted; for the simple fact is that when a witness is allowed to say anything--without testing the veracity of their statements--then they will say everything that their conscience allows. Simply put, a witness will lie if they relieved from any repercussions.    When the accused is allowed no defense--effectively blocked by the courts--there again, the courts are corrupted.  

One must face and feel the distinct and definitive condemnation that comes via expedience, where the end justifies the means, only to realize that Due Process is dead, merely a myth or legend and nothing more.  As courts have and do default to expedience, circumventing the measures aimed to protect justice, they are guilty of intentionally failing to uphold justice. When/as the broader systems are inherently partial--in the context, to gender--they are  guilty of prejudice. Sadly, the justice system has come to such times, questioning the underlining intentions of the state, the natural patriarchy of family. 

What I say and believe on these matters is not to push the scale to the other extreme but rather to underscore the need of Due Process and impartiality as opposed to the current status for the protection of family, as described in The New Politics of Sex, (p.36).  
Our concern is with government policy.... The full dimensions of the family crisis can only be understood politically because the family is the pivotal intermediary between the individual and the state. Many basic questions raised by political philosophy are pointless without accounting for the family. [] Family decline carries serious implications for civic freedom in ways that likewise are not always obvious.
For me, this matter has always been about family, my family and the many that are dismantled by "government policy" ranging from no-fault and unilateral divorce to single-parent custody promoted through Title IV-D of the Social Security Act. 

The short on Title IV-D

 More to come.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

AMISTAD (yet again) - Calhoun spoils Van Buren's supper

Some context on President Van Buren, the politics:  first, the president is shown as stumping for re-election--which is foremost his objective (the Amistad case is more an annoyance); second, the nation is ebbing closer to war--not actually on the specific issue of slavery, but over increasing intrusion into the southern, agrarian economy in the form of tariffs and other means, methods.  Study the progressive Federal tariffs levied on imports/exports and the particular, adverse impact on southern commerce, economy. 

In this scene, John Calhoun (prior Vice President under John Quincy Adams) arrives at the President's banquet. His appearance is bemoaned by Van Buren because Calhoun is a staunch figure of state's rights and seemingly is threatening a further breach of regional relations, perhaps the gravity of the Amistad case but more so the tensions that have been growing from some years now  (as described above). 

I do not know if this event or Calhoun's described/depicted position is historical (this particular aspect of the story could be hyperbolic). The film does, by admission, stray from actual historical record. I do know that this moral issue could not have been the cause of the war: the state is amoral and thus is incapable of considering a moral grievance as a cause of contention, conflict. 

Here (link below), Calhoun shakes up the supper.

John Calhoun of SC

Human slavery is assuredly egregious, but in this scene, Calhoun is referring more to the economic plight of southern states under growing control(s) of the northern region in general and the Federal Government in particular.  While the south represented the predominance of slavery, as a percentage of the population, these persons of color were treated little if any better in the northern regions. Again, the morality of the matter was not the real point of derision, division, but finally, where the power will reside 

The state (politics) is renown for its use (abuse) of moral issues, tapping into the hearts of individuals who are indeed able to sense and suffer sin.  They (the state) will appear earnest in the appeals of morality but only as a means or method to achieve their only true interest or end, power.  Once (or as) this agenda is acknowledged, persons are able to accept that government's good intentions are merely the prelude for power. . 

AMISTAD (again) - illustrations from a book

On a higher note of the film, Amistad ("higher" that the corruption of the prosecution or state as covered in my last on this flim) is the moment illustrated above with video in the link below; here, two of dominate members among the 39 jailed are talking. 

One was given a Bible by Christians that line their route to the courthouse--and of course, he cannot read English.  Still, the one is able to put together some semblance and sequence of the Gospel using the Bible's illustrations (as you we see).   Called-out by the other of the two, he explains his discovery with each illustration beginning before the savior's birth and continuing through Jesus' ministry, crucifixion and resurrection.  

Near the end of his explanation, on illustration of the crucifixion, the one listening replies, 
"But this is only a story" 
On which the other responds, 
"But look, that's not the end of it."
On which he shows Jesus in the transfiguration, passing into the sky.  He (the one explaining) concludes that if they are to go to this same place when they die--presuming that death or execution is imminent--then it "doesn't look so bad". 

Amistad - two talk of Jesus 

It is a remarkable story of the story. 

Friday, January 18, 2019

Power - the dragon's breath of fire

Even children know something of dragons, the supposed fictional beast of the somewhat medieval age that generally wreak terror and render turmoil on a village and countryside, leaving a swath of death and destruction in its wake.  The dragon is indomitable, with practically no predators and what's more can fly and blow fire. 

Let's face it, the dragon is/was a reptile without rival--unless you believe in  dragon slayers. 

There is the actual dragon and the figurative one; the one with features partly shown above and the symbolism as something of beat, boundless and brimming with power, predominate and prodigious.

J.R.R. Tolkien said, 
Never laugh at live dragons. 
And whether you take such advise or believe in dragons at all, the truth is that as a symbol, dragons depict some....  They may not have scales, horns or wings, but they fume smoke and foment discord, discontent, disparity, deception, destruction and even death. 

Yes, dragons do/still exist. They may be cleverly disguised, hidden under some title or indeterminable among the crowd, but still, they live.  C.S. Lewis wrote in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,
Sleeping on a dragon's hoard with greedy, dragon's thoughts in his heart, he had become a dragon himself. . 
Yes, another fantasy or fiction, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, but does one become what he thinks, desires and dwells?  

 A dragon is born a dragon but is a person becomes like/as one when their belief and behavior is so.  Yes, they figuratively or literally fly about, committing terror, reigning their deep and dark, high and low, far and wide. 

But then again, more fairy tales, fiction and fantasy, that remind or reassure the child within us that with dragons come slayers, those with enough courage to at least confront the beast if not capture or conquer it--so says G. K Chesterton in Tremendous Trifles. 
What fairly tales give the child (like) is his first clear idea of the possible defeat.... The [child knows of] the dragon...but the fairy tale provides [a courageous sort]. 

Being a sheeple is baaaaaad

Edward R. Murrow said it best, 
A nation of sheep will soon have a government of wolves.  
Of course, this description of persons suggest that their willingness to follow without thinking; their conformance to any and all authority, compliance to all orders regardless of its aim, intention or justification.  

Sheep must be led, yes, but do they think at all or do they go blindly forward, possibly over the precipice as shown above? 

Aldous Huxley said, 
You shall know the truth and the truth will make you mad.
Could it be that many (most) simply avoid understanding because of the complimentary pain that the truth demands? 

There is also then the reaction expressed as a question:  "Even if/as I understand and come that much closer to this truth(es), what can I do about it the wrong or wretched discovered," in the understanding, revelations?  Yes, knowledge and understanding is power but then, the action in consequence is a test and measure of power too.

Which is better; to go blindly forward, possibly to the precipice or to gain understanding--to think for yourself? Well, you must decide that...and within your capability and capacity, to consider that, finally, you are responsible for you.  Again, Huxley, 
I wanted to change the world, but I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself.
Is his statement or understanding true as well:  Can we change ourselves, ideally for the better? Huxley once more, 
I am I, and I wish I weren't.
We do not have to like things about ourselves and in truth we might each find things about us a repulsive, disappointing and destructive. If/when such is discovered or realized, what then?  Do we continue down this course, perhaps another path to the precipice, or do we stop, make sense out of it, and stubbornly refuse to continue such ways?  If we somehow choose to stop..., can we do this by our own will,capability and capacity, our must we call from hope and help from others?  

Think about it and then, try to stop such ways.   

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Keeping-up appearances

Some may think of the British comedy series by the same name, "Keeping Up Appearances" (and yes, I have seen the comedy on occasion and found it entertaining to the extent that I can keep up with all the antics and the sometimes strong accents of some of the characters), and for those who have never seen the one of the series, here is the short thanks to Wikipedia,
Keeping Up Appearances is a British sitcom created and written by Roy Clarke. It aired on BBC One from 1990 to 1995. The central character is eccentric and snobbish middle class social climber, Hyacinth Bucket (Patricia Routledge), who insists that her surname is pronounced “Bouquet”. The sitcom follows Hyacinth in her attempts to prove her social superiority, and to gain standing with those she considers upper class. Her attempts are constantly hampered by her lower class extended family...
While the name is synonymous with the sitcom, the message of my writing is not particularly about the series, but more about the effort and energy that we exert to appear--or be perceived--as something more our desire than is actually possible in "real life". Yes, some will go very far to capture the right brand or portray that right persona--all of which is a show or act aimed to impress others and hide doubts and discontent about who we really are. 

Who are we (each), really?   Can we really nail ourselves down as to who we are or what we are? If you play this or that part--all to seemingly please or pleasure others--is it not that much more difficult to know who you are?  How to describe or define you?  
I am a aging man who does ________ and likes to do _________. My interests are ________ and ________.   I come from a family of ________ who originated in ________ and come from ________.  My race is _______ and my marital status is ________.
And so on and so forth, but ever more, one must learn and know thyself, both the constant and the changes.    

Using God for the state's agenda

The Nazi German army were sworn to an oath, as follows; 
I swear by God this sacred oath: That I shall render unconditional obedience to Adolf Hitler, Fuhrer of the German Reich and people, Supreme commander of the Armed Forces. And that i shall at all times be ready, as a brave soldier, to give my life for this oath.
There is a tendency for think that God is "with us" and thus, is against them--whomever "them" is (or they are)--aimed to add some obvious justification to the cause, conflict and conquest--God's will or approval.   

Can it really be possible to use God in this way; to exploit the name of God for such evil and wicked causes?   Are there other nations of war where God is used glibly, given notions that, first, the nation's actions are right and just and, second, God endorses or approves?  

Many years ago (1871), Thomas Jefferson said it right, 
Indeed I tremble for my country when reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference!
Here, the relationship or order is accurately described where God is supreme and we--nor any other nation--is not.

AMISTAD (1839) - "Give us free"

Another favorite film, Amistad is an historically based story of Africans swept-up in the slave trade in/around 1839.  Key characters, as shown above, join ranks to attempt to emancipate some 39 men, women and children illegally attained off the Ivory Coast, shuttled to Cuba to be auctioned-off as slaves and now in route to the U.S., their owners.  

While in passage, one of the abducted (auctioned) breaks loose his shackles and, freeing others, overtakes the ship of the same name, La'Amistad.  Incidentally, this same schooner ( as used in the film) has traveled the Atlantic coast (some years ago), with stops locally at Saint Augustine and Jacksonville; during which, I was able to see it.  The most memorable moment was to realize how small the boat is (was)--considering the occupants.  

I find this film (or story) fascinating in that the great political powers aim to hold these Africans for murder (on the high seas), while the group above--the most credible being John Quincy Adams--work arduously and passionately not only to prove that the Africans were abducted illegally but that, consequently, they should be released from jail, possibly returned to their homeland.  Here is a clip at a crucial moment of the trial.  

Were they born in Africa? 

And although this appointed judge rules in the African's favor, the powers at be continue their plotting by forcing the case to the U.S. Supreme Court; and it is here that John Qunicy Adams becomes active, directly involved, as the defense lawyer.  

John Qunicy Adams Supreme Court  

Stepping back to an earlier court session (prior to the Supreme Court), an argument is raised by the Prosecutor that the witness' testimony about slave ships casting their slaves overboard during the voyage is preposterous.   How could the slave trade possibly be profitable if such practices occur; the casting of at least some occupants overboard to drown? 

Prosecutor attempts to dispute witness testimony

Again, the Prosecutor aims to discount or discredit the witness. It is not that the Prosecutor really doubts the origin of the witness (African) or the illegality committed in his (their) capture, but never the less, the attorney (and the Secretary of State, Forsyth) team-up to do what they believe is necessary to return the slaves to captivity, possibly to be executed for murder.

Simply put, the truth--no matter how evident--does not matter to the state. 

Following the plaintiff's questioning, the young defense attorney (played by Matt McConaughey) counters by reasoning with a British sea captain regarding the practice as well other parts of the witness' account of his abduction, etc. 

Is the sea captain a credible witness; that is, does he likely understand what happens to slaves on the high seas? Yes, since he sees these things happening.... On describing this ordeal, the disposal of the ships's cargo, the Prosecutor replies, 
"It hardly seems a lucrative business, this slave trade..."
The sea captain understands the business and, as well, why the slaves are disposed of; the situations that drive the crew to kill their cargo in mass. Again, his understanding is from hands-on experience--but still, his testimony is doubted and disputed by the Prosecutor. 

Why do I like this film?   Because it provides a vivid portrayal of the state's corruption--where power is applied to crush the truth by hook or crook.  

What do they--any person want--but to "give us free"; the humane conduct to choose--really choose--and not be forced, overtly or covertly. In this film, the matter of freedom, these Africans desperate desire for such conduct is undermined by the state--who view them as unworthy of justice, even life, for reasons of state interest, amoral as it always is.  

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Netither Liberty nor Safety - Ideology and Groups

Returning to Robert Higgs' book, Neither Liberty nor Safety, more on ideology. Here (p.68), he writes: 
People acquire and sustain their personal identifies within groups by their interaction with other members: first in families, then in various primary and secondary reference groups. 
He describes the group(s) that one selects or is socially-connected as those that align with a person's interests, values and morals--the kind of person he thinks himself to be.  Certainly race and religion are important too; that is, their physical appearance, ethnicity, are also factors.  Dr. Higgs continues, 
People crave the comfort of association with those they recognize as their "own kind".  In the absence of community membership and involvement in a group's common purpose, people tend to feel alienated and depressed.
Needless to say that groups are important. When/as these groups diminish or disappear, what is left for those that remain but a sense of abandonment and alienation.  

In this time in our culture, alienation or atomization runs rampant; the fragmentation of a population into many small, seemingly insignificant parts, persons alone.   In desperation for relevance or significance (finally, power), such persons will join large groups--often politically-based,l according to Robert--using this association or platform for power.  

As (and how) these political groups grow is in part by using pressure and guilt to woo or compel others....  Sure, those that join have some satisfaction but at what risk; that is, to what degree must (or do) the persons compromise their individual or personal beliefs for the sometimes called or suggested as "the greater good".  He concludes, 
To behave differently, a person would have to act different; and being different would require the internalization of a different ideology. 
Some more questions: 

  • Why do we choose the groups we do?  
  • Why do we choose a group and then, for some significant reason, leave the group--going so far as to criticize or condemn that group?  
  • Why do we lead and/or follow, sometimes compromising our internal ideology, ethics and beliefs? 
Maybe in part because conformity is more important than compromise. 

 Social Groups: Crash Course Sociology #16

Courage and more...from G. K. Chesterton

I continue in Chesterton's book, What's Wrong with the World; this time, on courage.  To this much needed, personal quality, he writes (p. 23), 
The really courageous man is he who defies tyrannies...and superstitions....  The only true free-thinker is he whose intellect is a much free from the future as from the past. He cares as little for what we be and what has been. He cares only for what ought to be
Chesterton continues by suggesting that old conventions (namely, the patriarchal system of Highland clans) is potentially much better than "the unnatural sense of obeying cold and harsh strangers, bureaucrats and police"; that in the former, there is less evil. Here, in these thoughts and suggestions, he considers what the state (or British empire) does (or has done) to others (nations, communities and cultures). Simply put, one is likely far better off with and among their neighbors or countrymen than with one predisposed to force, conflict and contention, on the claims of an empire or similar rouge nation.  

What do you fear most? 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Can (Should) I do it?

To the question, "Can (should) I do it," is first another question:   

What is "it" (task or more...) that I am to do (should or could do)?   

But then, more questions...:
  1. How many times have you thought, I can do it, only to discover that "it" is more (or less) than you considered before; the effort, costs and benefits?  
  2. How many times have you, even with a good sense of it, continue to to try for one reason or another?  
  3. How often do you immediately and impulsively stop, accepting that either "it" is beyond your grasp or not worth the anticipated, added effort? 
How often must I (or you) be reminded that trying is not failing and that, even if your  fail, there is a wealth of learning to be had--painful though it be.  It is often said as well as lived, that there is much more learned through failure, loss(es) over winning, a win

"Keep trying", I say, and find a source of hope and help that keeps you there, "trying".  

Thinking of trying and failing, I think of a film, Running Brave:  based on a true story, the unlikely victory of a 10K Olympic runner, Billy Mills, does not give up/in, but keeps on trying.  From time to time, this video and the actual race, person, is visited for some of that sometimes needed inspiration; and below, a link.  

Running Brave - Billy Mills  

Saturday, January 12, 2019

ON TYRANNY, 20 Lessons... -- the one-party state

Do we live in a one-party state, could or should be a question for us against the show and charade of our supposed two-party system at the federal level.   Perception and reality are not the same. 

Continuing with Timothy Synder's book, On Tyranny, is Lesson 3; here, he begins with this adaptation of his statement: 
We imagine our own righteous vigilance directed outward (against outside hostiles or threats). We see ourselves as a city on a hill..looking from threats from abroad. But the sense of the saying was entirely different (referring to the saying "eternal vigilance is the price of liberty"): that our nature is such that [liberty] must be defended from [internal threats; those who aim to take advantage of liberty] exploit freedom to bring about its end. 
He sites historical evidence, the outcome of a one-party system in and beyond Nazi Germany.  Once again, he responds, 
Certainly the early Americans who spoke of "eternal vigilance" would have thought so (referring to an internal threat). The logic of the system they devised was to mitigate the consequences (of a threat to liberty).
What are the risks, threats? 
We certainly face, as did the ancient Greeks, the problem of an oligarchy--even more threatening as globalization increases differences in wealth. The odd American idea that giving money to political campaigns is "free speech" means that the rich have far more speech (or power) [than the rest of us].   We believe that we have checks and balances...
But do we in an oligarchy...governed by a relative few of non-elected, wealthy?
Are there real checks and balances?

ON TYRANNY, 20 Lessons... - Institutions .

In the 2nd of 20 Lessons, Timothy Snyder urges individual readers to support institutions--those that bolster and build-up society, societal strength. Above, you see each type. A brief of my concerns: 
  • Family - a vital segment of society, much strength depends on the paternal family 
  • Politics - arguably a necessary evil, it is commonly associated to government or state; the more politics, the more corruption as an adverse effect to societal strength 
  • Religion - as with the individual and government, religion is too subject to corruption; that is, turning to carnality, secularist and sensual,that undermines faith and absolute truth
  • Media - with immense power, the media is used to mislead and manipulate public opinion/action; what physical force is to communism, the media is to any seemingly free society
  • Education - education is presumably about fostering free thinking, creativity and calculation, but when designed to frame and form compliance and conformity, it falls woefully into an instrument of the state 
  • Economy - as it is as a comment/question, "What is a "free market" but an opportunity for power to create a crisis for the many and a boon for a few; ideally, markets should run with a modicum of regulation, so as to form 
Tim writes, 
It is institutions that help us to preserve decency...Institutions do not protect themselves; they fall one after the other unless each is defended from the beginning..
He continues, referring to the rise of the Third Reich,  
It took less than a year for the new Nazi order to consolidate. By the end of 1933, Germany had become a one-party state in which all major institutions had been humbled...Some Germans voted as the Nazi leaders wanted them to in the hope that this gesture of loyalty would bind the new system to them. That was a vain hope.
 What/where is your hope?


Friday, January 11, 2019

Yes, They Live - another post...

Once again, I present the film, They Live.  

To understand and appreciate the film message is to see and sense the central message:  that things are not as it seems and that behind all the advertisements and other media that zone in on us, the realty is a relative few who (attempt) to control our thoughts, feelings and actions.  No, I am not referring to things spiritual, eternally, as to a belief in Christ as Lord, but am suggesting (as the film portrays) that consumerism and conformance is the religion of the debt-based culture, rooted in secularism.  

Once more, a clip from They Live; here, the main character, outfitted with special sunglasses, is shocked to see the fundamental themes beneath the surface of media.  

 They Live - See and Sense 

Our culture is much this way; the media's subliminal messages along with all other means and methods to manipulate each/all to not think or reason, but rather, "Do as we tell you to do."   Whether "they" are present and among us (as depicted, those with skeletal faces) is another matter to consider, but can you deny that with our culture's religion--the purpose for our existence--is an intense drive directed toward prosperity?  

Be careful and cautious, for this drive and direction will not end well.  

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

They Live - the film

Several years ago (2012), I watched They Live; a dystopian film whereby a transient discovers that aliens live among the population and control human behaviors such as consuming, conforming and compliance. More on this film at Wikipedia, 

They_Live - Wikipedia 

To fully appreciate the prescient value of this 1980's film is to first watch it and then identify how accurate, applicable, it is to the times and culture.  What is life?, living, really?

They Live - Trailer

So, put on your special sunglasses and prepare to be awakened, enlightened to the system that controls by captivating our human desires of materialism and consumption. 

More to come.

Obedience as an obligation

Continuing with Tim Snyder's book, ON TYRANNY;  the first of 20 lessons, "Do not obey in advance".  

When is obedience an obligation, obligatory, versus a point at which one must obey superior powers--rather than man?  

In his first lesson, Tim writes: 
Most of the power of authoritarianism is freely given (obedience as an obligation). In times like these, individuals think ahead about what a more repressive government will want (and demand), and then offer themselves without being asked. A citizen who adapts in this way is teaching power what it can do. 
Using the developments in the 1930's rise of the Third Reich (Hitler, the annexing of Austria and other events) as an example of what happens when obedience or duty goes too far; that is, when intentions, good or not, produce prejudice, persecution and genocide of those peoples judged as deserving such treatment. What is more, that many who could have resisted and rejected these mandates turned a blind eye and then joined in the fray, exiling and exterminating those evidently with entitlement of any rights or supposed worthiness. Most however seemed to go about their business, ignoring the signs and symptoms of their submission.

Should we each be shocked by our willingness to submit to authority while forfeiting  righteousness, our own rights let alone those of other, deemed lesser?

More to come.   


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

What is Truth?

"What is truth," said Governor Pilate to Jesus.  Was this a statement or a question remains itself a question. For all intents and purposes, the question is not "What is truth" but whether truth really matters

In the words to follow, I will briefly address this question or condition supplemented with a video, link below. 

On Truth - what is happening.... 

"If you're wondering what is happening to truth, consider Relativism, how it works to destroy truth, facts and reality, supplanting absolutes with new norms.  

Intolerance(s), for example, are not universal; evidently, others can be intolerant to their supposition that you are intolerant because your values to not comport their beliefs or norms.  Further, intolerance is generally contextual, often applied or asserted with opinions of sexuality, deviations or disagreement from/with heterosexual convention.   

So-called "Hate Speech" is likewise exclusionary; this potential crime is more limited to critique lodged on only certain behaviors or classes; thus, the message is not so much a factor as the acclaimed target. What's good for me is not good for you. Your speech or comments are cruel only because I am the target--and I have exclusionary rights of protection.  

Terrorism is not universal either, but is more a determined act of violence toward a particular state or body that possesses the resources to pronounce it and then prosecute or retaliate. The best way to reduce terrorism is to stop committing it.   

This may sound like as an overdone refrain but the times are chang'in and the rules, well, favor only those who aim to rise above the rest on the belief that they are superior, entitled to preferential, exclusionary rights.  

And while this destruction of truth continues, society further fragments and those who aim to rise above the fray on some -ism will, in most cases, discover just how just such a system of justice really is--even for the exceptional.  

On Tyranny - Prologue, Timonty Snyder

On Tyranny is a short book published in 2017, written by Timothy Snyder; it offers 20 lessons from the 20th Century, warnings on the woes of tyrants. In the first of the series, I begin with lesson 1:  "Do not obey in advance".  

Ideally, persons are taught as children about obedience, respecting authority and generally, the law, but as to the latter, "law", few if any know of all the many laws, even for which they are subjected, as children or even adults. Yes, the proliferation of laws produce a dilemma for the "average citizen" who conceivably if not actually can be violating the law without any knowledge that such exist.  

In the prologue, Tim begins, 
History can familiarize, and it can warn.  In the late 19th century, just as in the late 20th..., the expansion of global trade generated expectations of progress. [] These hopes were challenged by new visions of mass politics in which a leader or a party claimed to directly represent the will of the people.
He sites examples in Europe of once relatively free societies falling to Fascism and Communism, in essence tyranny.   Still more, 
Both fascism and communism were responses to globalization, to the real and perceived inequalities it created, and the apparent helplessness...  Fascists rejected reason in the name of will, denying  objective truth in favor of glorious myth.
In one interview (link below) on the topic of truth, Tim touches on Relativism once more; that if there is no truth(s)--as accepted by persons--then all that remains is a mindless myth. He says that if there is no reality or facts, there can be no trust; and without trust there is no reverence or respect for law.

ON TYRANNY: Lessons From the 20th Century with Author Timothy Snyder

More to come. 

G. K. Chesterton - "A Last Instance"

Some months ago, I got G. K. Chesterton's book, What's Wrong with the World; and gradually have tried to digest it.  Here below , near the end of the book, is my first entry.

In the closing chapter, under the title of "A Last Instance", he tells a story using two symbolic-political characters named Hudge and Gudge. The first, Hudge, is described as a idealist- progressive; one who is seemingly in search and support of human rights. The second, Gudge, is the plutocrat that, with amassed wealth, is always seeking to grow his fortune. 

In the story, Chesterton begins by noting that these two appear to be at odds, opposed as observed in some corridors of a congress; and in this display, divide the population into one camp or the other, capitalist or progressive. Chesterton believes however that secretly these two (types) are in partnership, co-conspirators in the hidden corners of those corridors. 
Chesterton writes, 
Gudge wants women-workers because they are cheaper [while] Hudge calls the women's work "freedom to live her own life."
He explains:  Gudge wants steady and obedient workmen (and women...a tame and obedient population that will not resist tyranny, while Hudge proves from Tolstoy that nobody must take up arms against anything.  Gudge rules (in truth) by a course and cruel system...which is totally inconsistent with the free family--and "which is bound to destroy it".  Hudge endorses and enervates Gudge by projecting the family as an artifact; this pillar of a strong society as something that has served its time and is no longer needed, even wanted.  

 Hudge, Gudge and their ilk are against freedom, families and society. 

Monday, January 7, 2019

The New Politics of Sex - the problem with this idealogy

First, what is an ideology?  It is opinion or belief of a group, often political. 

Continuing with Baskerville's book, he writes (p. 29), 
The paradox of sexual ideology is that each newly demanded sexual freedom comes with a corresponding criminal punishment.  
This ideology is political in that it produces legal reforms that invariably fall into the abstract, manifested in family court, domestic matters and such.  These reforms bypass so called Due Process and in practicality yield a verdict of guilty (or analogous punishment)  without so much as a hearing let alone a trial. Yes, this reform is expedience, where the end--which is to reduce the other--justifies the means.  

One or another might say, "Well, he is after all a man and therefore must be guilty," but the problem with this presumption is that it will invariably infiltrate all prosecution, no matter the case, rendering Due Process and merely words or documents--and nothing more.  

On the domestic front, this ideology has been a clear and present danger as Baskerville continues, 
The potential of sexual politics is...the steady erosion of family integrity, personal privacy, critical thought, and civic freedom.
How?, you might ask.   

When/as the state receives the power to sunder the supposed presumed innocent to their chamber under expedience, it no doubt will continue while expanding such powers to consume even those who, as Baskerville puts it, 
...ideologies eventually go wrong, as the power they confer is used by other people for other purposes; zealots themselves become victims  as the revolution "devours its own children."
Again, the state is a fearful master; and thus, when one or another solicit its help, sooner or later, they succumb--seduced by an insatiable force.  

More on Bly - accepting ashes in life

Once again, Robert Bly offers some sage insight into both the matter and mystery of maturing; and specifically, of accepting loss(es) using the metaphor of ashes (the dispensing of energy and then, what remains).  

It may sound morbid but "ashes" is more moribund, a dying not necessarily of the flesh or body but more of the heart; a coming to terms with one life, potential and promise.  Bly writes,
Ashes present a great diminishing away from the living tree with its huge crown and its abundant shade. The recognition of this diminishing is a proper experience for men who are thirty. 
And if the ashes are not accepted, then 
If a man does not experience the diminishing sharply, he will retain his inflation and continue to identify himself with all in him that can fly; his sexual drive, his mind, his refusal to commit himself, his addiction, his transcendence, his coolness.  
Ashes is after all about facing truths--the certainty of death and the diminishing approaching our last days in this body.  A man may (or will) attempt and to keep the fire blazing for as long as folly and pride allow.