Truth In Front of Ours Eyes

Recently my wife has begun writing, from a Christian perspective, about popular culture – music, books, movies, etc.  Her premise has been that the soul cries out to God even if the person doesn’t yet realize it.  We have long talked about how, if you listen carefully, you can hear the questions, the pains, the need for the Creator within the secular words and stories told as the author, performer, or director as they try to put the cries of the soul into their work.  It’s a wonderful way to speak with people about God and the longing of their hearts and souls, via questions that often can be broken down into “I wonder why…” or “I wonder how…” that open the door from concepts that are easier to speak about with nonbelievers to concepts of God that are harder to explain and even harder to understand without a baseline understanding that believers are blessed, hopefully, to have already.

Applying this to another part of life is the application of popular culture to understand current events.  With that said, the event I want to talk about is the Donald Trump phenomenon.  Donald Trump is a businessman who decided to run for President.  He’s running as a Republican and has entranced many conservatives to his bandwagon, yet the concepts he talks about and the words he uses are those of a liberal demagogue.  He identified a yearning in the American public and he is playing to it perfectly.

What yearning?

Anger.

Americans are angry at the government, at politicians, at men and women who promise the moon and then either fail to deliver, or turn around and do exactly the op opposite of what they promised in the first place.

Americans are angry at a lack of justice.

  • Justice under the law (Trump’s initial rise can be directly attributed to the hard line he took on illegal immigration and the promise to punish law breakers and “send them back” and promises of building a wall that another country will finance – never mind that we would have to declare war on Mexico in order to force them to pay for it.)  Also, the criminality of actions by politicians such as Hillary Clinton – lying about the contents of a private, unpermitted, unsecured, and unprotected email server in her home during her time as Secretary of State in order to avoid the documentation preservation rules for all Federal government appointees and employees – used to be called what they are under the color of law – espionage and fraud.  When oaths and laws mean nothing, the law-abiding grow angry.
  • Social justice (the intolerance of the tolerance movement is something I’ve written about before as there are “activists” that aren’t just happy with being permitted to do what they please, but rather want you to celebrate their behavior and their uniqueness as superior to your own – gay marriage/adoption movements, Black Lives Matter, and other such movements fall into this camp squarely.  It has even got so absurd that “All Lives Matter” has been called a racist phrase because Black Lives are apparently more equal than yours.  When you are told that you are worth less and someone else is worth more for any reason is racism whether you are black, white, yellow, red, or green.  There is no justice when ANYONE is elevated above another and the aggrieved grow angry.
  • Economic justice (When banks deemed “too big to fail” are given money via the Federal Reserve, which increases the volume of money thus decreasing the value of money and robbing everyone of stored wealth and income, there is a growing feeling of a economic aristocracy.  When businesses, with politicians beholden to them for campaign contributions and future employment as lobbyists, have laws and taxes written on their behalf to squash competition in the open market or to have the economic advantage of a decreased tax burden comparatively to others in the same market – the government is seen as picking winners and losers.  When good hard-working people lose their jobs because their businesses are regulated out of existence due to profitability problems, when good hard-working people lose their homes because banks deemed “too big to fail” and given money freely to avoid their seemingly inevitable bankruptcies won’t rewrite the terms of their mortgages and force a family into destitution how can there be anything other than a growing anger.

I’m sure you sense a theme now.  Anger is growing in this country.  It is palatable now.  There’s no sense of courtesy anymore.  No consideration of the other person.  No compassion.  What is your first reaction when someone does something unexpected on the road while you’re driving?  Cursing, yelling, honking, aggressively driving with a vendetta toward the other person?  Are these symptoms of love or anger?  I think the answer is obvious.

With this in mind, consider this quote from the great sage of film, Yoda.

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger.  Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

We have passed the point of fear.  The fear is there, but it is deeper, it is foundational.  The fear that our country, our way of life, is changing permanently.  That the freedoms, rights, and privileges we hold as Americans are lessening, not growing.  This is true whether you politically are left or right of center.  There is fear that our jobs are not secure.  There is fear that an economic wall is not just being built, but has been built by those in the highest tier to prevent anyone that they don’t want from joining their ranks.  There is fear that everything that has been accepted as given for so long is simply not so, and the fear is that if the givens are no longer constant, than how can we function without playing “the game.”

Fear leads to anger.

History can be our guide here because the world has seen rises to power like this in the past.  The circumstances of today closely mirror the circumstances of another time and the leaders that can spring out of times like these can restore us or drag us down into darkness.

  • Long-term bitterness makes brazen, bully-like tactics appealing as they see the candidate, in this case Trump, as their champion.
  • Ineffective government and laws give the perception of dual justice systems where certain crimes are excused for those deemed “worthy.”  Equal justice demands equal enforcement, so when selective enforcement is practiced openly faith in the government, police, legislators, and courts is eroded.
  • The usage of money by bureaucrats and politicians to enact personal policy via businesses, lobbying groups, and induced behavior (such as enforced purchases under pain of penalty – The Affordable Care Act mandates ALL people buy health insurance because they were born) reeks of corruption and tyranny.
  • The 24/7 news cycle and unmitigated lying and misleading by politicians (answering one question they want to answer instead of the question asked for instance) has lead to a soundbite culture that hinges not on ideas, but on emotions. It is not a far leap from there to attaching those negative emotions to a race of people, or a political belief, in order to ratchet up anger specifically directed.
  • The Cult of Personality around Mr. Trump is one in which his most ardent supporters don’t care what he says, does, or could do.  They support him fully, leading them to attack those that disagree verbally and, in some cases, physically.

Anger Leads to Hate

The time-period that I referenced above is the 1920s and 1930s in what was then called the Wiemar Republic.  We know it now as Pre-Nazi Germany.  The same conditions and cultural conditions were in place then as now.  I’m not claiming Donald Trump is the new Adolf Hitler, but the comparisons are worth considering.  At what point does he, or his bandwagon turn from expressions of anger to expressions of hate.  At what point do the long knives come out?

Hate Leads to Suffering

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. 

Galatians 5:22-23

I don’t sense any of the these attributes in Donald Trump, or anyone I’ve met who truly believes he is the best candidate for President this year.

I don’t argue to change your vote, your preference, or anything like that, but I do ask that you, regardless of who you support this year, to examine WHY you support them.

Are you making a decision out of fear? Anger?  Hate?  Suffering?  Do decisions made in the heat of passion or despair ever work out well?

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What’s in a Word

One of mine and my wife’s biggest grievances is the redefinition or misuse of words and phrases.

Whether these redefinitions or misusage is intentional or accidental is aside from the point.  The fact of the matter is that meaning and understanding are not possible when the terms used for meaning and understanding are constantly shifting.

2 + 2 always equals 4, unless you redefine 2 to mean 2.1.  It’s not really that different after all, but 2.1 + 2.1 doesn’t equal 4.  It equals 4.2.  It’s a rounding error really.  Get over it.  Just because words aren’t mathematical absolutes doesn’t alter the process and endgame of all this redefining.

Today I read this:

“Medicare-for-all is civilization. Campaign finance reform is civilization. Funding education is civilization. Progressive taxation is civilization. Dialing back the use of war is civilization”

What is civilization?

According to Merriam-Webster civilization is defined as follows:   a relatively high level of cultural and technological development;   the stage of cultural development at which writing and the keeping of written records is attained   the culture characteristic of a particular time or place

  1. 1a :  a relatively high level of cultural and technological development;specifically :  the stage of cultural development at which writing and the keeping of written records is attainedb :  the culture characteristic of a particular time or place

  2. 2:  the process of becoming civilized

  3. 3a :  refinement of thought, manners, or tasteb :  a situation of urban comfort

Oxford says:

The stage of human social development and organization that is considered most advanced:they equated the railroad with progress and civilization

The process by which a society or place reaches an advanced stage of social development and organization.

The society, culture, and way of life of a particular area:the great books of Western civilization the early civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt

The comfort and convenience of modern life, regarded as available only in towns and cities:the fur traders moved further and further from civilization

Writers, philosophers, lawyers, and cultural icons for millenia have used word redefinition to bring about cultural shifts and change opinions.

Redefinition doesn’t change the original meaning of a word or term, it just changes how you use it and how others hear or read it.  Culturally everyone usually is on the same page, but the problem really begins to rear it’s head when cultural schisms happen.

Conservatives believe one thing.  Liberals another.

Urbanites speak one way and countryfolk another.

Everyone speaks the same language, but with diverging philosophies and understandings of the world at large.  Words become very important to maintain a common

When the words we use are redefined or misused, that disconnect becomes increasingly more difficult to bridge because the meanings that both sides of that divide also differ.

Let’s go back to the civilization definition that I read today.  That definition is not what you find in the dictionary, but it is the understanding of the liberal left in America today.  The problem arises in that I, as a libertarian-leaning conservative, do not agree with the statement in whole or in part.

Medicare-for-all is civilization – forcing me to pay for someone else’s poor health decisions throughout life or lack of motivation to find an economically viable job in order to afford their own cost of care is slavery by taxation.  You, via the government, are forcing me to work and use the money I earn from that work to pay for someone else who chooses not to work or chose to destroy their body by smoking, banging, drugging, or drinking their life away.  Simply no.  That isn’t civilization.  That is barbarism, not unlike Vikings raiding prosperous farming communities because they didn’t want to work as hard and could “take” rather than “make.”  

Campaign finance reform is civilization – Really?  Legislating how someone spends their money (and yes, corporations are made up of people) is the opposite of civilization.  It is no different from the King “permitting” someone to petition the king knowing full well that that permission can be withdrawn ex post facto (after the fact) and the subject being fully subservient of the king and his life and speech are not free.

Funding education is civilization – I’ll admit that this one I can at least somewhat understand, but education though takes many forms.  Apprenticeships gave us some of the most brilliant thinkers in the world and many modern conveniences.  Higher education today has brought us runaway student loan debt and educational outcomes that aren’t reliant on the number of dollars spent per student.  Further, the question of where that funding comes from and who controls it is the real crux of this issue?  Is it really the best education if it comes from the top down (Common Core) and all students are to be taught to the exact same standards without deviation for talent in one field or another?  

Progressive taxation is civilization. Is it?  Punishing one group in order to reward the other?  How is this different from feudal lords requiring a percentage of the serfs crops for “protection”?  Using law to punish high wage earners is no different than economic slavery.  Progressive taxation is the exact opposite of due process when you really think about it.  All are not equal in the eyes of the law if progressive taxation is the law of the land because then some are “more” equal than others.  True equality would be a tax burden not divided proportionately, but rather levied as a percentage of income equal regardless of how much you make (the millionaire and the pensioner alike pay 10% of their income – a flat tax).

Dialing back the use of war is civilization.  This summary statement is just too broad to agree or disagree with.  Is war overused?  Yes.  Are some wars necessary?  Yes.  Can there be diplomatic peace between one nation and another that has sworn the destruction of the first?  Not a lasting one because there is no middle ground between the two.   This is no different morally than a woman telling her raper to only rape her halfway so they can go their separate ways.  It’s not going to work that way… it never does.  The only recourse for the “victim” nation or woman is to shoot their attacker in the face – to exert the ultimate deterrent force through the best, most effective, and most economic means at their disposal.  To do any less is to tell the offender that their life or nation is superior to one’s own.

So the statement made completely added to what is known as civilization.  Is civilization not dependent on steadfast standards, definitions, laws, and justice?

Is not the veneer of civilization threatened when the laws are twisted to allow what was once illegal?

Is not the veneer of civilization threatened when justice is denied or unequal based on who you are, what you are worth, or who you know?

You can’t redefine words, because the underlying truths remain unchanged.  Redefining the words alone does not make anything true, rather it denies the truth much like Orwell’s opus 1984 states

War is peace.

Freedom is slavery.

Ignorance is strength.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Slavery of Now

Consider this your warning – today I am going to put something out there that needs to be said.  I have wrestled with this and have been reluctant in the past to say something on the issue and have provided a limited discourse on the topic because frankly I have been told that I lack the necessary anatomy from some peoples’ points of view to have a valid and legitimate opinion on the matter.

When I started this whole experiment at shining the truth on life, culture, society, government, and current events, I promised myself that I would not hesitate to speak the truth and I’ve had a revelation on this topic.  So, with that said… off we go.

The rancor over abortion today and the debate on whether a fetus is a human being or just a mass of biological material is the exact same argument we had as a country from the moment we were founded.

In 1787 abolitionists existed, but in order to get the Constitution assembled and passed by the states, they compromised in order to fully incorporate the United States as we now know them.  The compromise that was worked into the Constitution was that blacks were not fully human – they were only considered to be three-fifths human.

It wasn’t until decades later that those abolitionists broke with the Whig party and formed what is known today as the Grand Ole Party, GOP, or Republican Party.  The first Republican President was an abolitionist – Abraham Lincoln, but that is not the point of this text today.

James Stewart eloquently puts the beliefs of abolitionists regarding the institution of slavery; “All people were equal in God’s sight; the souls of black folks were as valuable as those of whites; for one of God’s children to enslave another was a violation of the Higher Law, even if it was sanctioned by the Constitution,” (Holy Warriors: The Abolitionists and American Slavery, 1976).

How is this notably different than the very debate over abortion today?

Pro-Choice/Pro-Abortion advocates tout personal liberty, choice, reproductive freedom, and reproductive rights of the mother.

Pro-Life/Anti-Abortion advocates tout the rights of the unborn child.

A pro-choice advocate would heartily agree with the statement that a fetus is biologically unequal and genetically inferior to it’s mother until the point of becoming viable outside of the womb. This is no different than the argument of vehement slaveholders in the South that argued that blacks were biologically unequal and genetically inferior in defense of slavery (Igranick).  The same exact argument that justified slavery of an entire race of people and rationalized it because they believed that they were subhuman is the same exact argument that allows for the moral flexibility required to justify the destruction of an unborn child because of inconvenience on the part of the mother.

In our past, in the Dred Scott arguments before the Supreme Court, it was said that “Although he may have a heart and a brain, and he may be human life biologically, a slave is not a legal person,” (Vulgata Magazine).

A Wisconsin appellate court stated in an opinion that “the term ‘human being’ was not intended to refer to the unborn child,” (John Whitehead).

These two statements at their cores are not philosophically different as they assign a human qualification “score” to each which does not equate the slave (i.e. baby/fetus) with the slaveholder (i.e. mother).

The same comparisons can be drawn between the legal rights of slaves before emancipation (none) to that of unborn children prior to birth (none) amongst many others.

What this all comes down to is this – that men, despite our lack of the necessary anatomy, definitely have a dog in this fight, just as non-slaveholders had a dog in the fight over slavery over a century ago.  The argument over abortion has long been made one of choice rather than one of equality before the law, but when that choice is most definitely morally wrong and devoid of legal and rational consistency, then we must make our voices heard.

Everyone makes mistakes in life for which we can seek forgiveness, mercy, and grace, but we should not compound our mistakes willingly.  We need to recognize this present-day slavery for what it is and change not law, but rather the very heart of this nation and world.

 

Loving Your Neighbor

~ Radical thoughts to follow. ~

So many Christians these days are stuck in thinking of God as the almighty Creator of the universe, the final judge and authority on everything good, and they fear this powerful deity enthroned in unfathomable power.  They get so caught up in the God who utterly crushed Sodom and Gomorrah, caused the ground to swallow up disobedient men whole, and sent bears to maul dozens of “youths” in response to a curse by His prophet after their “teasing” of him.  If that is the God you know, you are missing Him… essentially in a forest for the trees moment.

Now let me get this straight – the God I’m talking about did all of those things, but He is so much more.  The God I’m talking about is not vengeful and destructive – He is creative, He is merciful, He is loving.  He is not hovering somewhere up in space ready to cast down lightning and hurl giant hailstones at you if you stumble and fall in trying to serve Him.

This is why the concept of God the Father is so important.  Think to your own children if you have them.  As a father, we only want the very best for them.  We teach them, guide them, influence them, discipline them, and love them as much as we can before we turn them loose on the world.  God the Father is no different, except that He doesn’t want us to ever get turned loose, but rather to turn back to Him – to love Him in return and to become not just His child, but rather also His friend.

Few men in the Bible were ever credited as friends of God – Abraham, Moses, David. These men didn’t go on and do measly things either. Abraham is the forefather of two great peoples – Jews through Isaac (by extension Christians) and Muslims. Moses became the first civil rights leader the world has ever seen – he led an entire nation from slavery to freedom.  David established Israel as a nation-state and also provided the family lineage for the Son of God to be born with a royal bloodline.  These men also give us a stark contrast though because of their friendship with God – Moses talked God out of destroying the idol worshiping Israelites, but He also repeatedly angered God as well to the point where he was forbidden from entering the Promised Land at the end of the decades-long journey to freedom.  David had a man killed because he thought his wife was smoking hot and wanted her for himself.  Neither of these men were perfectly moral, but they sought and loved God for who He was and unconditionally on their parts.

It is friendship with God that brings with it God’s unconditional mercy.

Instead of fearing God because of His righteousness, power, and judgment, we should strive to befriend God because He is right there waiting for us to do just that.  It’s all that He wants as our Father…. the absolute best for us.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

Matthew 22:37

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Answer to Your Prayers?

Where do you turn when you’re in need?

Needs vary for each person – for one it might be something as simple as hunger or thirst, for another it could be anguish over the loss of a loved one, for a third it could be a chronic illness with their child, it could be the loss of a job, or personal financial collapse, homelessness, loneliness, and far more.

Who and where we turn varies as well.  Some turn to family, others to friends, some refuse to turn and stubbornly try to shoulder their needs by themselves without inconveniencing others.

Others turn to the government.

Hungry – we have SNAP, CSFP, TEFAP, and SFSP and those are just the Federal subsidies available.  State programs vary, but are just as comprehensive in scope.

Housing – we have HUD, public housing, vouchers, etc…

and on and on…

The problem here is one of dependency.

When you become dependent on something, anything to live, you become a slave, a servant. Your provider becomes, in essence, a god to you – able to provide ad nauseum for transient reasons, and as easily able to withdraw those provisions, or to eventually decide, for you, what you truly need… up to and including a bullet in the brain.

So whom do you serve?

The faux-god that is the government or the One True God?

 

 

 

The World Lies

Let’s talk about fairness.

The concept of fairness is one that permeates our society.  It’s considered a good thing to be thought of as fair – it is perceived to mean that one is tolerant, understanding, and even-handed, but it is a great lie.

Is the world fair?

Babies are born into wealth and poverty.  Some are born perfectly normal with fully functional minds and bodies and others are born with some sort of defect that will either hinder them their entire lives or leave them with an extremely abbreviated lifespan.

This is just one brief example of how the world is not fair.  To think it should be otherwise is our pride roaring within us. When we see unfairness, we want to hammer it out – correct it, fix it.

We are trying to claim the authority of God when we attempt to enforce fairness.  We are effectively saying to him that we know better.

We can no more force the world to be fair than we can tell gravity to not hold our feet to the ground.

The Truth – The only fairness we should expect is the fairness of God’s judgment for only He is perfect and righteous.  There can be no justice, equality, or perfect liberty without God.

When man enforces his will – the outcome will be imperfect and ultimately fail.  That is what has stricken our country and our world.  Mankind has thought that it has dominion over this world – we are at the top of the food chain, there are billions of us, and we have the tools and might to shake the world – or so we thought.  Despite all of our advances in technology, medicine, philosophy – all of our vaunted progress, the TRUTH is that we are nothing.

We generate power by splitting atoms, but millions sit in the dark.

We grow food from the ground, but cannot feed the world.

We speak lofty words of fairness, equality, tolerance, yet can only try to force such concepts into reality through naked force.

The world is not fair.  You have to accept this truth or you are deluding yourself in pride and envy.  You cannot look at someone who has something and wish the same for yourself just because you think or feel that you deserve it.  The simple fact is that we ultimately deserve only one thing – death.

The good news is that we have a righteous God who is love and compassion perfected.  He gave us the Truth.  He offers fairness, liberty, justice, mercy, and grace.  He will perfect the imperfect and only asks that we lay down our pride and envy and follow Him.

Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.

But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

Romans 3:19-26

 

 

Logic

“There is no logic in following the Constitution when you feel like it, and mocking it when you don’t.”

Yearning to Breathe Free

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore
Send these, the homeless and tempest-tossed to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Inscription on the Statue of Liberty

One of the first things people used to see when they emigrated to these United States of America for decades was the gleaming statue in New York Harbor.  What most people saw was the start of the new life.  They were close to the truth, and millions of men and women have looked on that statue and been reminded of the costs of liberty and the responsibility we all share to ensure that it never dies from this Earth again.

It never will.  That statue welcomed those immigrants in days past as a beacon of hope at the end of a long journey.  Read that inscription again, but instead of Lady Liberty saying it… imagine them as the words of Christ.  In fact, He often said much the same things…

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

John 3:17

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

Luke 19:10

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore
Send these, the homeless and tempest-tossed to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.

Thomas Jefferson

The Death of the Republic: Action

It is time to act.

It is time to reject apathy.

It is time to reject ambivalence.

It is time to reject passivity, tolerance, and fairness.

It is time to embrace liberty.

It is time to ensure justice.

It is time to take a stand – to set in stone what you believe and prepare to vigorously defend it regardless of the cost to you personally.

How do we as a country solve this problem?

How do we conquer the attitude of “it doesn’t affect me?”

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.

Ephesians 4:25

For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.

1 John 3:11

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

John 13:34

It all affects you.  Every. Single. Last. Thing.  The change that must be made comes from within.  If you are not willing to stand up next to your brother, next to your neighbor, next to your fellow citizen against all evils and in every time of need, we will fall. We must change how we behave personally.

We must be a bulwark against tyranny, not for our own sake’s, but for our fellow citizens, our neighbors, our brothers, and our families.

We must passionately take up the standard of liberty, the Constitution, and the Word of Almighty God as the foundations of liberty – unshakeable, immovable, and eternal.

We must stand on fact, highlight truth, and shout it from the mountaintops for all to hear or the beacon of freedom in the world will be extinguished.  It may very well be extinguished one day, but the truth will never be extinguished as long as one man or woman has it on their lips.

We must take seriously Christ’s command to love God and love our neighbors.  We can say we love God, but if we do not take action to prove that love, what good is it?  We can say we love our neighbors, but if we do not act on their behalf even when they do not want or do not think that they need it, then we have not fulfilled the command.

We must display our passion for our ideals more than ever, and our willingness to not only take up arms to defend liberty, justice, equality, and freedom, but to lay down our lives ultimately if necessary for them.

We must, through our actions, through our voices, and through our lives – how we live and how we die – express with no reservations that there are some things worth giving it all to attain and preserve.

Proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants.

Leviticus 25:10

I hope to one day tell me sons that their father did not stand by indifferent and ambivalent about the future of their country and of earthly liberty.

I will one day stand in judgment before my Creator, and I will answer for whether when the time came whether I stood or sat idly by.

I will stand.

I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God.

Martin Luther

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

The Death of the Republic: Symptoms

Yesterday, I made clear my belief that the Republic known as the United States of America is in grave danger.  Today, I will show you why I believe that to be the case.  The problem is apathy, or if you prefer: indifference, inattention, ambivalence, or detachment. These corruptions within the culture and system cancers that have taken root because of an even more dangerous toxin inherent within America.

But you have planted wickedness,
you have reaped evil,
you have eaten the fruit of deception.
Because you have depended on your own strength
and on your many warriors

Hosea 10:14

Let him not deceive himself by trusting what is worthless,
for he will get nothing in return.

Job 15:31

The terror you inspire
and the pride of your heart have deceived you,
you who live in the clefts of the rocks,
who occupy the heights of the hill.
Though you build your nest as high as the eagle’s,
from there I will bring you down,”
declares the Lord.

Jeremiah 49:16

We, as Americans, have been made to be apathetic.  We feel untouchable, so we have neglected the public trust that citizenship in this republic was meant to bestow on each person.  Diversity, fairness, and tolerance are riding high, our economy is the benchmark of the world (even despite the failings in our recent past), and liberty seems to be safe, but the seeds of our own destruction have been sowed.  Our own understanding of liberty and freedom have been altered and changed from those demanding a responsible, attentive, and alert citizenry to those of a complacent one unwilling, unable, or uninterested in those same responsibilities, liberties, and freedoms.

Based on the Nielsen Ratings from the last few weeks, only two non-entertainment programs cracked the top ten watched television shows. Less than 7% of viewers watched news programs of the most watched programs on television.  The majority of viewers watched The Voice, the NBA Playoffs, or other entertaining programs rather than informational programs.  This is evident of a populace not engaged in the problems prevalent in our society, but rather wishing to ignore them or completely oblivious to them either consciously or unconsciously.

For years, with the notable exception of the youth turnout for then-Senator Barack Obama in 2008, the voter turnout has been decreasing as a percentage of eligible voters as they become more disengaged with politics and governmental affairs, apathetic in general, or dissatisfied with the process.

With the revelation of the IRS political-enemies targeting, Justice Department press wiretapping, and NSA wide-swath metadata collection programs, there has been little if any outrage outside of the politically knowledgeable, which make up a small percentage of the population.  In fact, with all of the revelations of scandals of late dating from the ATF’s Fast and Furious gun-running program, through the Benghazi botched response and follow-through, and all of the rest since, the lack of outrage and even a baseline of knowledge amongst the hoi polloi has been shameful as I have observed generally and in the total lack of even a base understanding of what happened, let alone the causes or repercussions.  This lack of knowledge is a sign of the apathy that has taken root amongst the generations today.

The surveillance programs in particular rely on an understanding of the political news cycle that the worst scandals can be swept under the rug in a hurry because the public en masse no longer has the desire to hold the government’s feet to the fire over abuses and usurpations as long as they disappear from the collective radar quickly so they can get back to their entertainment.  The collective attention span has dropped so precipitously that the seriousness of each of these scandals has failed to register.  The scandals, each one, would be enough to bring down an administration in the past, but the speed at which they are being revealed and then replaced in the public consciousness additionally produces a weariness in the public mind.  This same weariness was observed during the last few campaign cycles because politicians never took an off day and the public eventually just tuned it all out.

When apathy becomes an useful tool of the politician to force the public to go along with their plans, that politician has become dangerous to liberty and freedom.  It is not because they convince people to follow their ideas or even have great ideas, it’s that they proverbially beat them until the abused electorate acquiesces to the beatings and just says “whatever you say, I don’t care.”  In addition, when those politicians intentionally obfuscate the political environment and make it difficult to understood who is involved, why, or in what way, they make it easier to fool the public.  As a result blatant positional and topical contradictions go unnoticed because the people simply no longer care to rectify what they hear with what they see.

I. Don’t. Care.  These are the three most critically damaging words in the English language.  But is that not what we’re seeing in the response to the revelations about NSA’s Operation PRISM.  The American public has been beaten over the head for over a decade as to the threat of terrorism and as a result, a majority thinks that the program is fine despite the fact that it casts a wide net and over half of the citizens of this country are under warrantless and illegal searches of their private communications.  What makes it even worse is that these obvious Constitutional violations require an apathetic public, not just after-the-fact, but during it.

Apathy is destroying the United States of America – this is truth, but apathy is only partially to blame.  There is a deeper fault that is causing the apathy even… the apathy is surely a cancer, but the deeper disease is a loss of and lack of passion.

Passion?

Look at the divorce rate (53% of all marriages end in divorce).  What passion do men and women have for maintaining what was supposed to be a lifelong commitment?  Maintain a lifelong love takes hard work and devotion and our culture celebrates this lack of passion now.

Look at the voter participation rate (barely half of the eligible population votes).  What passion do we have as a people for participating in our democratic republic?  When barely half of eligible voters even bother to cast a ballot, the other half is abdicating their right to choose their representatives.  I may not agree with how you personally choose to vote in a particular instance, but a representative republic does not serve the people if the people do not make their beliefs clear through voting, petition, and redress.

Compare the government approval rate and how likely you are as an incumbent to be reelected (Congress approval rate is treading water at 16%, yet 90% of incumbents were reelected in 2012).  What passion do we have about the problems of our day if we keep sending back the same disliked idiots every two or six years to keep just doing what they’ve been doing?  We say that we hate the performance of Congress and then rehire them come November at a near-unanimous rate.

We do not have passion in this country or for this country.

We have apathy.

We have ambivalence…

and it is killing us.

Without passion for this country and passion in general, how can we honestly expect the next generation to understand the importance of our liberties and freedoms, of the moral, theological, logical, and philosophical foundations upon which those liberties and freedoms were derived?

How can we honestly expect the next generation to care if we do not care?

How can we honestly expect our government to abide by the constraints put upon it by mortal men nearly three hundred years ago if we do not understand those constraints and possess a heart and mind for defending them with words, deeds, and arms if necessary?

How will apathy end up killing us in the end?  Tune in tomorrow.

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