Friday, March 30, 2012

I love my wife.

The yesterday, some government stooge calls my house.  I'm not home, but my wife is and she takes the call.  I'm fairly certain our Caller ID did not identify the caller as a government stooge, or she probably would have saved herself the trouble.  This government stooge informs her that he's doing an "energy survey" in regard to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA, or Porkulus, depending on who you ask).  He then informs her that, because of Porkulus, many home owners are eligible for up to $5000 of that sweet, sweet, government cheese.  "All" she had to do was tell him how much we spend each month in electricity.

After being informed that our highest bill last year (height of one of the hottest summers on record here in Texas) was around $200, and our bill averages around $130 (really it's less than that- we spend less than $100 most months- it's those summer months that kill us), he commiserated with her (or tried- I'm not sure how she didn't just laugh at him) about how extremely high our electric bill was, and he was sure we'd qualify for some of that sweet, sweet, government cheese.

Again, "all" we'd have to do is let some Government "Energy Consultant" come in and tell us how to run our house.  From here, I'll let my wife tell it her way:

Anyhow, he says to determine exactly how much credit we qualify for, they have an "Energy Consultant" who comes out to your house, checks it out and see what needs improvement, what things you're doing right, and what you could improve on. They've got some consultants who will be in our area in the next week or so, when would be a good time for me? (At this point I'm kinda pissed.) You want to send a government "consultant" to my house to tell me when to turn my lights off and how high my AC should be?? F-you! I launched into a bit of a rant... How about never? I think the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act(yep, I didn't use the acronym) is a joke and a flagrant abuse of political power. I think rewarding stupidity by handing out money is, well, stupid. Anyone with half a brain cell should know to turn off their lights when they're not in the room or not set their AC to freeze out penguins! I don't want anything to do with any bills enacted by our asshole president.
Note: all the above was a direct quote from an email I ask her to send me- any misspellings or grammatical errors/liberties are hers. Not that I'd notice most of them anyway

Now, what's the point of telling you this?  Well, besides the fact I thought it was awesome that my wife went off like that (she never does, to strangers), I thought about what it means that the Federal Government wants to send someone to my house and tell me "Ur doing it wrong!"  Worse- there are people who accept that as normal and okay.

The Federal Government has no business telling me how to use energy in my own home.  If I want to "freeze out penguins," I should be able to without penalty- beyond a sky-high electric bill.  Also there is the double meaning of sending out an "Energy Consultant."  Oh, sure, they'll tell you how you can get your hands on some of "Obama's Stash," but what are they going to do if I'm still using incandescent light bulbs, or if I've gotten my hands on an old toilet that still actually flushes, or if I happen to like my house at 62.5 degrees? 

Because as soon as you except their "help" you're bound to their rules.  Regaining Liberty surrendered usually comes at a very high price.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Barack Obama is a stuttering Flustercluck of a Miserable Tyrant.

Or, as I'm more apt to say on the Ace of Spades HQ: "Barack Obama is a stuttering clusterf*ck of a miserable tyrant."  I've been saying this (because it's important to note) for quite a while over at the HQ.  But I decided it would be good to point out exactly why I believe so.  To that end, I began thinking about the Declaration of Independence.

Most people remember "When in the course of Human Events..." and the nice stuff about "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness..."  Most people then forget that the vast majority of that so influential document was a list of the specific Tyrannies that King George had inflicted on the Colonies.  I decided to see how the SCOAMT stacked up.

Note: This list is probably not exhaustive, and you may well have examples that I've missed.  This is not exactly "off the top of my head" but I didn't spend much time researching, either.  I wanted to see what I could remember on my own.

Sound off in the Comments to add your own examples.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. –While this, directly, has not happened, that is only because we currently have a Democrat controlled Senate.  That said, does anyone believe he would not choose to Veto a bill repealing ObamaCare?

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.  – This he has done.  Arizona’s immigration law, Texas’s new Voter Id law, he has opposed these things and had them stymied, or stopped cold, in Court.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only. – Again, this, directly, has not happened- only because it hasn’t come up.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. – His “Recess” appointments are proof of this.  By his thinking, Congress is in “Recess” if there is not a quorum present at a given moment.  By this way of thinking, Recess appointments could be made during the early hours of the night, while Congress was merely sleeping.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people. – This has not happened, again, because the Senate is still Democrat controlled, so Congress cannot “oppos[e] with manly firmness” anything he does.  Even there, he believes (as per his “Recess” appointments) that it is the President, and not Congress, who gets to decide if Congress is in session or not.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within. – Again, not directly applicable to our time.  The closest we have to this is his frequent vacations and “Can’t I just finish my waffle” attitude.  If the President is not actually being President, our governmental processes suffer.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.  – In this he has done exactly the opposite.   

He has encouraged, through various means, illegal immigration and the granting of rights- even voting rights, to illegal immigrants.  This, specifically, to benefit him and the Democrat party by creating a larger Entitlement Class which will vote for Democrats in perpetuity.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers. – Again, see his opposition to the AZ and TX immigration and voting laws. 

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries. - See his firing of the AG who investigated some of his friends.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance. – Czars.  Enough said.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature. – This is no longer applicable.  We have a standing army.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power. – In this, again, he does the extreme opposite.  He is seeking to render our military completely impotent.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation: - UN and other Treaties, allowing (or even considering allowing) US citizens to be tried abroad.

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us: - Not applicable to our time, though he has said he wants a “civilian force” as powerful and well trained as the Military.

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states: - Among the first things he did, taking office, was to have the charges against the New Black Panther Party dropped, in relation to voter intimidation, when the Government had already won that case.

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world: - Here, he does something similar, but not the same.  His foreign policies are so scattered, that you cannot pinpoint where he’s coming from at all.  He aids our enemies, and he restricts our allies.

For imposing taxes on us without our consent: - ObamaCare: it’s a Tax, now it’s Fine, wait, now it’s a Tax again.

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury: - Ask BP about this: they were required to start paying “damages” long before they had been convicted of any wrongdoing.

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:  -He has not done this, but he does believe the President can issue a unilateral decision to assassinate a US Citizen.

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies: - He has not done exactly this, but the GM and Chrysler Bankruptcies were in complete contempt of current law.  As though the President as power, simply by fiat, to change the law to suit his desires.

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments: - Again, see his treatment of TX and AZ.

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever. – See the TX redistricting.  Though that problem exists from before Obama’s time, does anyone think a Republican President would have pursued that as vigorously?

From this point forward, they speak of the War England was planning to bring on the Colonies.  Obviously we have not reached that point.  By the Grace of God we (hopefully) will not.  But we must, absolutely must, defeat Barack Obama in November.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Let Me Apologize: Government has a Moral Responsibility to the Governed.

We find the statement to be so self-evident that we mostly do not discuss it, that the Government should not be capricious and arbitrary.  We talk about the Rule of Law, and Equality Under the Law.  But what do these really mean?  They are all premised on this point: Just as the Moral Law affects us as individuals, so it should (must) influence Government and how Government interacts with the People.

If Government is to govern all the people, it must have a consistent standard to apply to all the people.  It must, in short, have some form of Morality.  This Morality would inform not just the civil and criminal legal code, but also the decisions made by the government in how to enforce those codes.  It would influence what areas of life the Government would leave alone, and those in which it would take an interest.  And, here, we must decide what form of Morality it should choose.

If it chooses to follow the Universal Moral Law, as we have discussed, then we know that the same rules that constrain our behavior, and that inform our policy would also constrain the Government's behavior and inform it's policies.  If the Government is constrained by the Universal Moral Law, it is held to the same standards of justice, compassion, and responsibility as we are individually.  It must consider what it does in light of all the people- knowing that any group which is arbitrarily benefited will necessarily harm some other group- and that is not just.  It would know that spending money it doesn't have, and raising taxes to punitive levels is neither compassionate, nor just.  But, because the Universal Moral law is not exactly the same as the Religious Law, it also knows that requiring, or promoting, any specific religion also fails to be just, compassionate, or responsible.

It is because of this that we have no reason to fear a Theocracy in America.  It is because of this that we can be comfortable "Legislating Morality."  A Government acting as though it is constrained by the Moral Law is one that we have no reason to fear.  It won't make the "disputable" thing illegal- because it knows it has no Moral Authority to do so.  It won't make arbitrary decisions- because such would be immoral.

Now, obviously, our current Government does not operate that way very well.  Largely this is because we have ceased expecting our Representatives to be Moral People.  More specifically, the Democrats have rejected the Moral Law in favor "what feels good" and selfishness.  But, even here, the Moral Law speaks.  It says that such blatant immorality should be forcefully opposed.  If we required Conservative politicians to be as Moral as we are, they would find the over-reach by Liberals so immoral, so heinous, that they would not submit to merely "moral" victories.  They would oppose the advance of Liberalism with every fiber of their being.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Let Me Apologize: Responsibility is part of the Moral Law.

Quite often, when we discus the Moral Law, we talk about things like Murder and Theft.  Christians often talk about Lust and even Gluttony.  But, as I said, I'm trying to keep this out of a purely Religious argument, and keep it to the "universal" Moral Law.  The Religious Moral Law is concerned with consequences after death.  The Universal Moral Law is concerned with consequences now.  In either case, a key component of the Moral Law is Responsibility.

I've written in this space before that Responsibility is the inverse of, or the balance to, Liberty.  As regards the Moral Law, responsibility is both a duty and a balance.  It simultaneously requires that we "man up" to our mistakes, and that we deal with the consequences thereof.  It requires a "confession" of sorts, while it also requires its own form of "penance."

Taking responsibility for one's actions is, itself, a moral action.  This requires the admission of mistakes and the confession of wrong-doing.  In this sense, responsibility is as much a choice, as much a verb, as it is a simple explanation of events.  More than simple admission or confession, it requires that one place one's self directly in the path of whatever the consequences of those wrong actions will be.  It requires bearing the burden you have created.  This is Moral for two reasons.

First, this is Moral- universally moral- because it is a natural form of "negative reinforcement."  Much like getting burned when you place your hand on a hot iron, this is not some cosmic "punishment," though it may function as same.  It is simply the natural result of your actions.  In this way, we might not even call this "responsibility" except for two things.  First, this kind of responsibility is often delayed.  Unlike touching a hot iron, Moral Responsibility can come minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, or even years or decades after the actual offense.  From dealing with the lack of trust shown to you after you've lied to someone, to dealing with the pain you've caused others and yourself from some other lapse, these are still natural results of your actions, they are just delayed from the incident.  Second, this kind of consequence can be avoided, to some extent.  You can avoid telling people you lied to them, and, if you're clever and lucky, not get caught in your lie.  Even if you are caught, you can refuse to be held accountable for it, and just avoid the person to whom you lied.  It is this ability to be avoided that changes these natural results from mere "consequence" to "responsibility."

Second, this is Universally Moral because you have the power, in accepting or rejecting responsibility, to take a Moral Action.  It is very, very easy, when you've had a lapse of judgement, or moral failing of any kind, to allow others to take the fall, or to allow them to get "caught in the cross-fire."  Indeed, it is often our natural reaction to these consequences to seek some kind of shelter from them- and that shelter is often our family, friends, and acquaintances.  By shouldering the responsibility, by being willing to bear the cost of your decisions on your own, you are taking Moral Action by sparing them that burden.

So, we have shown that Responsibility is part of- or at least necessary to- the Moral Law.  And, again, this is the Universal Moral Law, the one that everyone understands, even if they hold no religious convictions of any kind.  Box 10 checked.  Next: The Government has a Moral Responsibility to the Governed.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Let me Apologize: The Moral Law is not the same as Religious Law.

I said before that the Moral Law is nearly universally recognized.  This is true.  However, some people have a better, a more true, understanding of it than do others.  The people who have the best, clearest understanding of the Moral Law are religious.  Specifically they tend to be Christian.  Read some Christian authors for more on this, but you will find few others who tend to have as strong logical and philosophical foundations for their moral pronouncements.  The problem with this is that not everyone agrees with everything they say.  In some cases, people do not accept the premise of a given argument, and much of the disputed premise is an issue of faith.

For instance, the Catholic Church, as I understand it (I'm not Catholic) preaches that all forms of abortiofacients (birth control pills, the "Plan B" pill, IUDs, etc.) are wrong, because they are the same thing as abortion.  They believe that life begins at fertilization: that is, the moment the sperm enters the egg, they believe life has been created.  Most Protestant religions believe that life begins at conception- that point when the zygote attaches to the uterine wall.  They believe that most forms of birth control are permissible, in the right circumstances.  Both are beginning from a similar, but distinctly different premise.  Now, if either of these groups were to legislate this particular piece of doctrine, we would have a problem.  For one thing, both groups have solid foundational principles for their stand, and both have Moral claims to non-interference.  So what do we do?

Well, while we do enshrine the common pieces of Moral Law in the Civic Law, when an issue is disputed- such as when life begins- we believe that the Civic Law should stay silent.  It should neither support one position, nor prohibit another. 

There are other issues that are even more doctrinal.  That is, they have no specific Moral Component other than our general reverence for the Creator and His Creation.  Catholics going to Mass is one of these areas, as is the Rite of Confession practiced by Catholics and other religions.  Holy festivals fall into this category as well.  Given that these have no specific Moral implication, we do not believe these kinds of things should be legislated.

Indeed, we find, once again, that enshrining the Moral Law in the Civic Law is actually proof against the very Theocracy social liberals claim to fear.  That same Moral Law that we all agree prohibits murder and theft, similarly prohibits interference in matters of the conscience.  The Moral Law does not speak on whether one should Worship the Creator on Sunday, or on Saturday, or, indeed, at all in any official sense.

So, in issues of dispute, and in purely "doctrinal" issues, we see that the Moral Law requires that the Civil Law remain quiet.  A civil government, truly and humbly (I'll wait for you to stop snickering) attempting to uphold and support the Moral Law stands no more chance of becoming a Theocracy than it does an Anarchy.

Box 9 checked.  Next up:  Responsibility is part of the Moral Law.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Let Me Apologize: An Objection

To my post "Is Truth Knowable," commenter 'Dustin' posted a comment.  I thought it was good enough that it deserved a fairly in depth response.  So here it is.  I'll lead with each point to which I'm responding, and then my response.

I define knowledge: A)Justified B)True C)You believe it.

C is fairly redundant- of course you believe anything you know.  If you "knew" it but didn't believe it, you wouldn't call it knowledge.  A is absolutely true, assuming B is true.  But B is the question.  We are, here, discussing if truth is knowable.  If the ability to "know" anything is in question, then truth, itself, is in question.  So, if we are discussing if Truth is knowable, then defining knowledge as 'true' is circular, at best.

I prefer this, more straight forward (to me, anyway) definition- The mental recollection and understanding of a fact.

Justification is the lynchpin. Why did you believe something to be true? And if you raise that bar high enough, we really don't know very much.

Certainly you are right.  If you are talking about 100% certitude, there are a great number of things we do not "know."  However, we can "know" things with a great degree of certainty.  For instance, to take your example.  While I would not, necessarilly, know as soon as I left store that my car had gone for a ride, there would likely be clues to tell me.  My odometer changing, for instance.  The unlocked door, for another.  So, if I get out to my car and it is in the same spot where I left it, the odometer hasn't changed, and the doors are still locked, I can say with close to 100% certitude that my car had, indeed, been sitting and waiting for me in the parking lot the entire time. 

So whether or not my car has moved is still reasonably knowable; I just have to interpret the available evidence.

How do we know that we didn't learn our language in relation to how others describe things? I heard someone say the Eiffel tower is brown, but the color I see is what he would call green. we never can share our conciousness, so we never know that the words we're using are different.

The first is true.  If the second were, however, we could never communicate.  We are not, here, talking about the language we use.  Obviously there are a very large number of human languages, and each of them will describe the same concept differently.  The question, then, is if two people- speaking the same language- will mean the same concept with the same words.  If they do, they can communicate, if they don't they can't.  If I say, "That table is sturdy," but you understand "That brisket I ate was wonderful!" we haven't communicated.  Even if we thought we were communicating, we would not be.

As a (somewhat) practical (if contrived) example, consider the following.  You're having a discussion with your boss, and he gives you several "To Dos."  He says, "Email the maintenance staff about your broken chair."  You hear, "Go make me a sammich."  Finding the order odd, but not wanting to get fired, you say, "Yes sir."  He hears "I'll send that email immediately."  Do you think he'll be rather surprised when you drop a half-congealed Monte Cristo on his desk? 

That's what actually meaning different concepts by using the same words would actually mean.

If we can communicate concepts like "Email maintenance," then we can be reasonably sure we are correctly communicating concepts like "The sky is blue."

The trick is in not taking our 'knowledge' so far that we think all our observations are accurate knowledge.

This is the one I have the most problem with, however.  Of course our observations are accurate knowledge.  What they might not be is comprehensive knowledge- and that's something different.  If observe a bird flying, then it is accurate knowledge that that bird, at that time, was flying.  What I cannot do, from that one observation, is make the comprehensive statement that all birds fly.  I would only know it about that one bird.

The trick here is to use one of the First Principles of logic (and here my lack of formal training may get the best of me, so please bear with me): the Principle of Uniformity.  It basically says that when we see something repeated in nature, we can be pretty sure that it's going to be a regular occurance.  Now, that's not completely true- which is why the Principle of Uniformity is only one of the first principals (and not really the most important), the others are combined with it to get a more full picture of knowledge.  However, after observing, say, 100 times that you can pick up a rock (any rock), let go of it, and it will fall to the ground (or whatever surface is beneath it) you can, based on the Principal of Uniformity, infer that rocks- at least- will not stay in the air on their own.  When you've done the same thing with enough objects, you can then deduce that this is generally true of all objects.

When you find an object (say a helium baloon) that does not fit your knowledge, that does not indicate that your knowledge is wrong, simply incomplete.  And part of logic and philosophy is taking these facts that seem contrary to the general rules (what we might call 'edge cases') and finding out why they don't behave as expected.  With our example, that might lead to the concept of relative density, gravity, and so forth.

To link this, finally, to my main point.  If your point is that we cannot know Truth 100%, you are largely right.  At some point, we have to admit we cannot have perfect knowledge, and accept that there is some amount of faith required for any belief we hold.  The question, then, becomes how much evidence we have for a given proposition.  If we have much evidence for something, it doesn't take much faith to believe it.  If we don't have very much at all- or we have contraindicating evidence- then we must have a lot of faith to believe it.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Let Me Apologize: Preserving the Moral Law in Civic Law, part II

In the last post, we examined the mostly theoretical argument for preserving the Moral Law in Civic law.  In this post, we'll examine the practical reasons to do so.  There are several, and I may not touch all that exist.  So, with no further ado, let's get down to brass tacks.

One: Someone is going to legislate their morality, so we may as well legislate the one all people hold commonly.
This serves both as reason for the Moral Law itself, and as defense against a specifically Christian Moral Law.  There are certain things we all know are morally wrong.  Murder, theft, and fraud are among these.  We can examine the reasons we know that these acts are immoral, but those reasons are beside the point: we all know it to be true.  Just in the last post, I posited a world where specific murders were not prosecuted, but booze was outlawed.  I'm pretty sure your mind rebelled against such a hypothetical- mine certainly did.  They did because we know that such a stance would not be moral.

Whenever we legislate, we are saying that one thing is Wrong and its opposite is Right.  That is, no matter what the law, we are asserting a Moral position.  Now, that position may be in keeping with the True Moral Law, or it may not.  As long as the Moral Law is our guide, we know that things which should be allowed will be, and things that are actually immoral- and generally accepted as such- will be prohibited.  This protects society from immoral behavior, while also protecting the citizenry from a capricious Government.

Two: The Moral Law informs and upholds our "Natural Rights."
The Moral Law, coming as it does from the nature of the Creator, is not just one about the immorality of theft and murder, but also about our Natural Rights.  We derive our Natural Rights from the same source as the Moral Law, so it stands to reason that they are related.  Indeed, when we begin to look at the philosophical ideas behind the Moral Law, we see that the two are directly linked.  Theft is wrong because it deprives someone of their property.  Murder is wrong because it deprives them of their life.  Slavery is wrong because it deprives them of the liberty.

By upholding the Moral Law in the Civic Law, we actually strengthen our hold on those Natural Rights, and we provide them better security.  Life, Liberty, and Property are protected because the Moral Law demands it.  Simultaneously, protecting those through Civic Law limits the government (this was the whole point of the Constitution), and therefore protects the citizenry.

Three: A culture which behaves Morally is more likely to be sound fiscally.
We'll get deeper into this in a later post, but the short version is this:  Among the near-universal morals are those of thrift, industry, and self-support.  When we uphold the Moral Law generally, we encourage the modes of behavior that Moral Law encourages.  This, in turn, encourages individuals towards behavior which is moral, but not specifically legislated.  A man who lives in a society that upholds the ideals of Personal Property, and Liberty is one that will encourage thrifty, industrious behavior.

For these reasons, and more besides, social conservatives should not flinch from the charge of "legislating morality," but rather should defend the process, explaining that without that same morality being enshrined into law, the accuser has no security for the same rights he believes are being infringed.

That's box 8.  Next we'll tackle box 9: The Moral Law is not the same as Religious Law.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Let Me Apologize: Preserving the Moral Law in Civic Law, part I

It is often said, mostly by social liberals, that we should not attempt to "legislate morality."  There are two major problems with this. In this, the first post on this subject, we'll deal with the more theoretical of the two.  We'll handle the more practical consideration next time.

The first problem with the idea that we shouldn't legislate morality is this: that's exactly what legislation is.  If there is no moral foundation for a law- if there are only "practical" considerations- then there is neither any basis for any specific law, nor are there any limits on what laws might be passed.  If we're only looking at "practical" considerations, there is no reason that murder should be a crime, unless that specific murder can be shown to harm "society."  So murdering a politician or high executive would be prosecutable while murdering a Hobo would not.  Or, at least, one would carry a higher sentence than the other.  Indeed, murdering Hobos might be shown to benefit society, inasmuch as it reduces their drain on society.  On the other hand, there would be no reason that homosexual relationship could not be banned altogether, since they are completely incapable of producing offspring, and therefore "harm society" by not contributing to its continuation.

The list is endless.  We could completely outlaw drinking, because drunkenness harms society, but any given instance of theft might have to be shown to harm society itself, rather than theft, in general, being harmful.  We could completely turn our legal system upside down, and there would no philosophical or logical reason to oppose such a thing.  Your mind is already coming up with rationalizations for why we would still outlaw theft and murder, while not outlawing booze or homosexual relationships.  This is because the Moral Law is so deeply ingrained in you that you are loath to give it up, even as a theoretical exercise.

If we are going to have any security against government overreach, we must subscribe to the Moral Law, and attempt to preserve it in our legal institutions.  As long as we do so, we receive the benefits of the Moral Law, including the limits it necessarily places on Government.  For, while it is true that the Moral Law hates evil and loves good, just as the Creator does, because it stems from the nature of the Creator, it also values free will, and enshrines the ideas of personal responsibility and liberty.  It does this, also, because it stems from the nature of the Creator- the same Creator who gave us free will and liberty, but constrained those by giving us personal responsibility as a counter-balance.

So we have a bargain.  On the one hand, we can choose to reject the Moral Law, and never "legislate morality."  If we choose that option, we have no reason to be self-conscious about our choices, or to feel guilt when we do things the Moral Law opposes, but we also lose any defense against an over-reaching, dictatorial government.  On the other hand, we can choose to accept the Moral Law and legislate accordingly.  If we do this, we do have to accept certain standards of behavior, but we also receive security in the knowledge that Government itself is constrained by that same Moral Law that restrains us, individually.

In Part II, we'll consider the more practical considerations.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Let Me Apologize: A Creator Means A Moral Law, It is Truth, It Is Knowable

Now, I'm going to try to stay away from too much theology, but this is one thing that all Theistic religions (Theistic just means they believe in a Creator God- as opposed to pantheistic religions which believe that the Universe itself is, in some way, God) agree on: A Creator God is Moral, and therefore there is a Moral Law.  Now there are many examples of this in real life.  People will deny it, but they're lying- either to you or to themselves.

The reasoning, however, goes like this: For a Theistic God to exist, He must have certain qualities.  He must be infinite (since he can't be within in the Universe: he created).  He must transcend Time/Space (for the same reason).  He must be able to Choose (if He couldn't choose, he couldn't have Created the Universe).  He must prefer one thing to another (to have chosen to Create the universe).  Now, an entity that can choose, and prefers one thing to another has a moral viewpoint.  In the case of the Creator, His moral viewpoint must, by definition, be the True moral viewpoint.  By extension, that means that whatever God views as Right is Right, and whatever God views as Wrong is Wrong.

Now, if there is a Moral Law that is Truth, and Truth is Knowable, then the Moral Law should- by extension- be knowable, too.  And, when we look, we find that we do know it.  We know it deep down in our bones.  Every time we say that something "isn't fair" we are appealing, however imperfectly, to the immutable, unchangeable Moral Law.  When Hammurabi had his Code chiseled into an obelisk, he was merely codifying the Moral Law that everyone already knew.

And what do we already know?  We know that people, as created beings, have worth in the eyes of their creator.  That worth should not be lightly degraded.  So we oppose things that harm people: from theft (which robs them of their labor), to slavery (which robs them of their freedom), to murder (which robs them of their lives).  We promote things that make people more worthy: self respect and reliance, thrift, industry, moral behavior. 

Now, when we look at the two movements under consideration: the modern Conservative Movement, and the Modern Liberal movement, we find that one upholds the Moral Law much more closely than does the other.  One supports the moral virtues, and one preaches moral relativism.  One is for punishing moral vice, and the other is for coddling it.  One is for rewarding thrift and industry, while the other is for rewarding sloth and vanity.

In short, the modern Conservative Movement- especially the oft denigrated Social Conservatives- is much nearer to the Truth than is the modern Liberal Movement.

Another clue, and another three boxes checked.  Next up: Preserving the Moral Law in Civic Law

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Let Me Apologize: Man is Created / Being Created Assumes a Creator

"We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal.  That they are endowed by their Creator..."

Those are some famous words.  And we overlook their profundity all too often.  Probably without even thinking about it, the signers of the Declaration of Independence were stating that Man is a created thing- that he has a Creator. 

Now, to do a full philosophical proof of Man's creation and the existence of a Theistic God would take many more posts, and more expertise than I have.  There are plenty of those available for those who are interested.  My point is of a much more immediate nature.  Whatever you believe about God, the founding Fathers based the entire premise of their Rebellion against England, and, later, their Constitution of a new government, on the existence of a Creator, and the fact that we are "created equal".

The existence of a Creator is of paramount importance.  If there is a Creator, then He must be the supreme Truth about which all Truth Claims must ultimately be made.  If a Creator Exists, then we are merely objects which were created, and we are answerable to a Higher Power.  This sets aside any idea of Heaven or Hell, or the fallen-ness of man, or any of those Judeo-Christian ideas.  This is a simple statement of fact: if there is a Creator, then that Creator must prefer one thing to another (otherwise why "create" at all), and whatever he prefers must, logically, be better for his creation than whatever he does not prefer.

Now, what this further means is that Man must have been created with a purpose.  Even if that "purpose" is merely the entertainment of our Creator (not what I believe, just the most trivial reason I could come up with), we do have a purpose.  And if we are not fulfilling that purpose, we are in conflict with our Creator.  This would be bad for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that a Creator capricious enough to create us simply for amusement would be one capricious enough to destroy us if we annoyed Him.  So we want to be, we need to be, in accordance with our Creator's will.

One of the other consequences of us being Created is our equality.  Now, this is not the trivial equality of outcomes that Liberals promise (but fail) to provide.  This is a much more profound, and much more fundamental equality of station.  Just as any given wolf is "equal" with any other given wolf- one as valuable to his Creator as the next- so also is any man just as valuable to his Creator as another.  This is why we reject the notion of Kings and an Aristocracy, chosen by birth.  We do not believe in "classes."  We believe that each man, from the ditch-diggers son, to the scion of a "Great Family" is of equal worth, and therefore deserving of equal consideration.

Now if we were promised Equality of Outcome, then the redistributive policies of the Liberals would be justified- yea, required, by our understanding of our Creator.  Similarly, if we were not created, then the only kind of equality that could exist would be equality of outcome- and, again, Liberals would be justified in pursing redistributionist policies.  However, since what we are promised is equality of stature with our Creator, the whole concept changes.  Now, "redistribution," however nice a euphemism, is simply state-sponsored theft.  You are taking what one has earned, and giving it to another.  If you were "better" than the one whose asset was seized, then you would be fully justified- but you aren't, because "all men are Created Equal."

So we have our first clue as to which philosophy is closer to the truth: one advocates theft, and the other does not.

Boxes 3 & 4 Checked.  Up Next: A Creator Means a Moral Law

Thursday, March 1, 2012

RIP Andrew Breitbart

Breitbart's media group ( and the BigXYZ sites) posting this morning that Andrew Breitbart has passed away due to natural causes this morning.

My condolences to his family and friends.

Rest in Peace Andrew.

Let Me Apologize: Is Truth Knowable?

In the last post, we reviewed the concept that Truth exists.  There are at least some things in existence that can be absolutely true.  But, can we know those truths?  Is truth, in fact, knowable?

We have shown that people must claim to know truth before they can even assert that truth doesn't exist, or that something isn't true.  But it doesn't necessarily follow that truth is knowable.  Perhaps it is possible that we can simply know what isn't true, but never actually know the truth itself.  In this view, we are locked into knowing that the tree isn't actually as we perceive it; always knowing there is some true 'tree' out there, and that we'll never know it.

Besides being depressing, there's another problem that philosophy.  What, exactly, would the purpose of sensory organs be if they didn't sense true things?  If that floor in front of you isn't real floor, just your impression of a floor, what's to say it isn't two feet below where you think it is?  How can you be sure from one moment to the next that you won't fall into some chasm as you just walk down the putative sidewalk?  I have a problem with a philosophy that tells me not to believe my own senses.  Logically, there would be no reason for us to have them if they didn't communicate an acturate picture of our surroundings and events.

However, I have another truth that may clear this up.  2 + 2 = 4.  Now, don't let yourself get caught up in the numerals or the words we use.  The concept "2 + 2 = 4" is always true.  It is true for all people in all places at all times.  If you don't believe that, go talk to a mathematician.  Be sure to bring caffeine with you, though.  You'll probably need it.  The fact is Mathematicians, more than just about any other discipline, routinely work with known truth.  The call them mathematical proofs.  Once something has been proven mathematically, it considered proven forever- unless someone can show an actual failure in the math used to prove it.  These proven statements are truth.  And if we can know that truth, then we can know other truths as well, logically speaking.

As for the guy who says you can't really know a tree?  Well, of course we know that to be the truth, too.  We know that, because we can accurately describe things.  If each thing we experienced were subjective, and only "interpreted" by our brains, we would never be able describe things as they are.  We would each see something else when we see the Empire State Building, or the Eiffel Tower.  But we know we do not, because we describe them the same way (respectively).  Indeed, another group who proves our knowledge of truth, day in and day out, are construction workers.  If they didn't have an accurate knowledge of their environment and surroundings, then they wouldn't know if that board they were picking up was a 2 X 4 or a 1 X 2.  And that would make for some interesting buildings.

So, Box two checked off:  Yes, we can know truth.  Next We'll tackle our first Conservative Assumption: Man is Created.