Sunday, December 30, 2012


There are people in this world who would hurt anyone, including children, if the whim so moved them. They have a great variety of weapons available, including firearms, knives, clubs, motor vehicles, fertilizer, bleach and ammonia mixed, oxygen and acetylene (or propane, MAPP gas, or gasoline), airliners… in short, almost anything.  No law ever devised can stop these people from doing whatever they mean to do.  No law.  The police can’t do anything unless they just happen to be in precisely the right place at precisely the right time.  The FBI and DHS can take preventative measures, but rely on intelligence-gathering, and it can take months before they can take action.

Similarly, there are people in this world who would risk or sacrifice their very lives to protect others, most especially children.  Unlike the other group, they have a very limited choice of weapons.  Things like bombs or poison gas are not suited for defense because they are too indiscriminate, and might very well injure those whom they are trying to protect.  Clubs and knives are selective, but are of very limited utility if there is more than one attacker, or if the attacker is much larger and stronger than the defender.  Against motor vehicles and airliners there is very little that can be done because of the speed with which an attack can develop and the overwhelming force of it.  There is only one class of weapon that will give the defenders of your children a chance to achieve their goal:  firearms, specifically, high-powered semi-automatic firearms.

A rifle or pistol, when employed by a skilled person, is very selective.  They can stop a threat at some distance, rendering bombs and most poisons harmless.  There is an old saying, “If you have no reason to think there will be trouble, take your pistol.  If there’s a good chance of trouble, take your rifle.”  A pistol is very effective within a certain envelope of range and conditions.  A rifle has much greater range, making it practical for stopping threats at a safe distance, and it is much more powerful, enabling it to defeat light armor and motor vehicles.

There has been much discussion of passive measures, like metal detectors and better locks.  Locks can be defeated in a matter of seconds, and should be considered only as part of an alert system; in breaking through them, an attacker would alert the defenders and give them time to respond.  Metal detectors are much less useful.  Consider, for example, an armed attacker approaching his target, and seeing a metal detector.  Will he simply turn around and go home, or will he think, “Ha!  They’re gonna bloody well know I have a gun here in a few seconds, anyway!”  Metal detectors are notoriously unreliable, horrendously expensive, and generally require an attendant.  Unless the attendant is armed and armored, he or she can be quickly dispatched, leaving the stupid detector sitting there with a red light on it.  If the detector had a very loud alarm it could be used, like the lock, to alert the defenders, but other than that, the metal detector as a serious security measure is an urban myth.  (“Well, then why to courthouses, jails, police stations, and airports have them?”  Such places use metal detectors effectively because they are backed up by gunfighters, just as I suggested!)

An immediate response force, such as a SWAT team, is powerless in the face of a rapidly-developing attack.  They can give the attacker a chance to kill himself, as all of these cowards do when faced with armed resistance.  Other than that, they can close off the crime scene, administer first aid, and escort ambulances to the hospital.  Police protection, by and large, is another urban myth.  In fact, the Supreme Court of the US has stated that no police force is obligated to protect anyone, in particular, but only, “society at a whole,” whatever the hell that means.  In other words, the police, for all their courage and commitment – which I do most emphatically recognize and respect – are limited by their mission and charter to post facto clean up and prosecution.

The attack at Sandy Hook developed in a matter of seconds.  The only way to have defeated that attack would have been someone standing between the attacker and his victims – and I mean someone other than a heroic but doomed young woman who was willing to throw her flesh and her life between her children and death.  (I have no respect for Adam Lanza, but I have a deep, burning, furious hatred for the liberal bureaucrats who made it operationally impossible and culturally unacceptable for that young woman to do something more than mix her blood with that of the children.  Those politicians are guilty of complicity in mass murder.)

The idea that such attacks would be possible only by use of firearms is preposterous. The presence of armed defenders would make them more difficult without firearms, but impossible?  Absurd. It is also true that an armed defender might be defeated.  Life holds no guarantees, and all we can do is hedge our bets – stack the odds in our favor.  Things like the World Trade Center attack can’t be defeated on the ground by any known means, but maggots like Adam Lanza sure can be!  Would you refuse to inoculate your children against polio because there is no cure for cancer?  Would you refuse to have them belted into your car because it won’t save them if you are hit by a semi at 90 miles an hour?

Firearms can never be eliminated, or even much reduced in our society.  Consider these facts:

1.      Guns are easy to make, and I’m not talking about zip guns – though they can be very effective. Semi-automatic arms of considerable power and range can be produced in a basic home workshop.  Banning guns would certainly increase the financial incentive to invest in a cheap mill.

2.      Guns were originally invented because they were a very good idea for defeating sword-swinging thugs.  That has not changed.  It was a good idea then, and is a good idea now.  People will act on good ideas.  (With, of course, the exception of those who voted for Obama.)

3.      If the expense of having armed guards in schools in daunting, compare it to the expense of confiscating guns from the public.  In fact, compare it to the cost of administering a registration program.

4.      I would not compare the life of a child to the financial cost of anything, but if you can do a half-assed job of protecting a few kids for a100 billion dollars, or a terrific job of protecting millions of kids for a few million, that seems an easy choice.

5.      The government can’t even win a war against drugs when the vast  majority of the population hate drugs!  How, precisely, would one go about eliminating guns?  I have never heard a coherent plan to make any sort of gun ban work.  How would you do this?  Wave  your magic wand?  Confiscation?  How many lives are you prepared to spend?  How many children will you deprive of their fathers and protectors?  Whose son are you going to send to get my guns? 

6.      The cry that no citizen needs to own a semiautomatic firearm is based on the Hollywood myth that we are never attacked by more than one or two thugs, that our combat shooting is as effective as our range practice, and that the police will be there to stop the attack in a millisecond, anyway.  What a contemptible lie.  In my home town, Albuquerque, NM, there are thousands of gang members, and they run in packs of up to 50.  Some of them are your run-of-the-mill Crips, Bloods, West Side Locos, etc., and some of them are MS13.  Some are soldiers of drug cartels.  A huge number of them have been arrested (by the valor and commitment of the police) tried and convicted, then turned loose by liberal judges and an absolutely criminal parole system.  Here’s a fact:  more than 80% of all violent crime is committed by people with a previous conviction, and one more:  it’s already illegal for them to have guns, in the first place!

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Today, I will take issue with the premise that prayer in classrooms is the solution to things like Sandy Hook.  May I point out that there is prayer in the classrooms of Teheran, Kabul, Riyadh, and every other cesspool of hatred in the world, and it doesn’t seem to have done the trick.
A belief in God is not a prerequisite for living a moral life, or for being a good person.  It is certainly one way, but not an infallible way; there’s many a rotter with a Bible by his bed.
Truth is Truth, no matter the source or phrasing.  If there is Truth in the Koran, it is Truth.  If there is Truth in the Bible, or in  “Atlas Shrugged,” or in “The Simpsons,” it is Truth.  I happen to believe that all Truth comes from God, and that all which comes from God is Truth, but this most emphatically does NOT mean that one must get Truth directly from God.  In my own life, I have found a great deal that is True in the writings of Ayn Rand, and had it not been for her ability to present that Truth in ways that I could grasp, I might never have come to understand that, for all her railing at those who believe in God, the Truth Miss Rand spoke came from Him.
A lot of folks say that without a belief in God, there can be no morality, to which I say, “Baloney.”   Now let me draw a distinction, here.  I believe that all Truth originates with God, but I also believe that He uses many media to present His Truth to us.  He knows us and what we need.  He has the power, and more importantly, the willingness, to send Truth to us by messengers we can accept.  My own life stands as a testimony to that.
I do not think a person must be religious to understand that murder is wrong, and the murder of children is unspeakably heinous. However, I maintain that it is the fault of churches, in general – and some more than others – that many people have come to the conclusion that morality is a con job.  You see, when people are taught that they must get their moral guidance directly from God and no other, when their faith fails they are left without moral guidance.  In other words, if a man thinks he can have no standard of moral value unless he believes in God, and he doesn’t believe in God, then he will ignore altogether the subject of morality.  Then, when this man, posses-sing that innate, almost instinctive (I said ALMOST) sense that life is good and murder is wrong, sees people shriek, “God is Great” as they hit the detonator switch, he will quite reasonably conclude that morals are not related to God, at all.  Thus, you have a man who not only does not believe in God, he doesn’t believe in morals, in right versus wrong, doesn’t want to talk about it, and sure as HELL doesn’t want a lecture from you!
Now, I am not saying that living “right” is more important than faith in God and living by His commandments.  Living right will not buy us much at the final judgment, and without the guidance of the Scriptures, there are innumerable traps into which one may fall, and blind alleys into which one may wander.  I most emphatically believe that faith in God is essential to fully mastering the intricacies of mortality.  No, it is not a guarantee of mastery, but lacking it is a guarantee of ultimate failure.  I am, however, saying that living right without God is better than living wrong without God.  Living right will at least prevent one from being a burden or a threat to one’s companions, and from committing greater evil. (Living wrong WITH God is no better than without, except for the greater possibility of enlightenment, and through it, of salvation.   The operative term is possibility; it is by no means certain!)
I would rather see people refrain from murder, whether because of their belief in God or because  they, “just think murder is wrong.”  I read somewhere that you don’t have to believe in God to live right, but you must do what He commanded.  At the operational, or behavioral, level it is the same.  Ayn Rand said that without life, there can be no moral questions, in the first place.  Therefore, a man’s life is his greatest value, and the moral standard by which all other things are measured.  God said, in far fewer words, I might add, “Thou shalt not commit murder.”  (It was the translators who said, “Thou shalt not kill.”  There’s a crucial difference!)
As for the value of prayer in school, I think it would be much more powerful in the home.  If all those who are so concerned about keeping God in the schools would ensure that He were carried there from their own homes in the hearts of their children, I think we’d see remarkable changes in our society.  And if those who do not wish to teach of God in their homes would simply take responsibility for teaching their children it is wrong to causelessly or wantonly hurt others, we could see the changes multiplied.  I believe our problem today lies, not in the absence of God from schools, (tangent:  how in blazes do you propose to keep God from going where He pleases, anyway?) but in the absence of moral guidance in our homes.  One of the greatest evils of the statist/fascist state  growing like a mold on our national soul is the premise that only government schools can teach kids anything, and more specifically, that those schools ought to be responsible for teaching kids morality.

Friday, November 9, 2012


Ah, the howls for compromise and consensus!  Let’s look at the true nature of compromise and consensus.

If two people disagree on a point that affects them both, such as a point of law or political principle, they have but four choices.  First, they can sit down and each lay his ideas before the other, discuss their differences, and settle on the best course.  It is entirely possible that one plan will be adopted in its entirety, but if they decide that one plan is best on this point, and other best on that point, they will each freely agree that they’ve found the best path.  Their decision will be based on the merits of their ideas.  This is NOT compromise!

Second, they can agree to disagree and go their separate ways.  This works quite well as long as there is room for them to actually take separate courses.  In the case of the laws and principles that will govern the nation we share, it simply will not work, short of secession, of course.  (In fact, the South tried to “go its separate way” in 1861.  The North’s refusal to allow this resulted in the deaths of over 720,000 Americans, and proved that no part of this nation can do anything that a larger and more heavily armed part forbids.)

Third, one party can simply surrender to the other, leaving one in charge and one in subjugation.  This is not compromise.

Fourth, they can fight it out, survivor take all.  This is not compromise, either.

Compromise is a variation on the third choice, in which one party surrenders to the other, but with conditions and limits.  It is NOT the rational, mature process of finding the best way!  It is the process whereby one man agrees to drink what he believes to be poison, but only in small amounts, or only on Tuesdays.  This leads us directly into one of the greatest lies being told in America today:  that being an ideologue is bad.

An ideologue is a person who lives by ideas.  Individual liberty is an idea; so is fascism.  The human race lives or dies by its ideas.  Using natural gas or electricity to heat our homes to keep us from freezing to death started as an idea.  Canning and refrigerating food to stave off starvation in lean times started as an idea.  The theory that murder is bad is an idea, as is the theory that it’s okay.  The human mind functions to create ideas based on observation of the world around us.  These observations and the ideas that spring from them are not guaranteed to be correct, and if they aren’t, Nature has a way of grading the exam.  Ideas that do not agree with Nature are called mistakes.  There is no such thing as a good idea that won’t work.  If it doesn’t work, it isn’t a good idea; it’s a mistake.

If we demand that humans direct their lives by some means other than ideas, we do two things: we deny their nature as human beings, and we force them go through life as organic mine detectors, learning about the world around them by stepping on mines.  It reduces modern Man, with all of his technology and the collective wisdom of the ages, to the state of our first primordial ancestor.  He had to learn by stubbing his toe because there was no one before him to teach him.  As he learned he transmitted that knowledge to his children by… what?  By ideas.  It’s how the human mind works.  To be human is to live by ideas.

Does this mean we are closed-minded, bigoted, or inflexible?  Of course not!  The human mind is capable of evaluating the results of specific ideas, and, if they aren’t the desired results, it is capable of editing or even discarding ideas that didn’t work.  In fact, the premise that once formed, an idea can never be challenged is at the heart of the anti-ideological movement.  It is beyond absurd.  If people could not challenge or change the ideas by which they live, rational discussion would, indeed, be impossible, and we’d be back to choosing to surrender or fight to the death.

If a freely-functioning mind is wealth, ideas are the currency, or money that represents that wealth.  Ideas are the currency that free men trade.  Some are worth more than others, but all have some value, if only to illustrate error.  If we are to sit down with our neighbors and find the best way through this mess, it can ONLY happen through the development, use and exchange of ideas.

Returning to the nature of compromise, we see that if people discuss and consider ideas, they can find the best of all possible choices.  If elements of one idea are to be changed out for elements of another, it can only be done based on the relative merits of both.  Compromise rejects this process.  Compromise says that we have a moral obligation to take something from everyone’s idea.  Everyone has an equal right to have their ideas represented without debate or evaluation.  It is not moral to believe that any individual can possibly have a plan that is best in all respects.  Note that the issue is not whether it’s possible but whether it’s moral.  We are thus faced with the preposterous situation of saying that being right is of no value, and being consistent is evil.  The only moral plan is one that has elements of everyone’s plan, cut and pasted without regard to merit or even sanity.

Compromise is the war cry of the wicked and the incompetent.  After all, if they had the best plan and the right answer, why wouldn’t they stick to it?  Why would they willingly give up on what they know to be right?  Why wouldn’t they argue for their plan?

I’ll tell you why.  They won’t do that because they know they are wrong, and if their plan were ice water, they couldn’t sell it in Hell.  The person with the right answer has nothing to gain from compromise.  The person with the wrong answer has everything to gain. Evil cries for compromise, knowing that every time virtue yields, the result becomes cumulatively less virtuous and more evil.  Virtue resists compromise because it has the truth, and has no need to alloy it with falsehood.

This is absolutely the source of the plea for compromise from Barack Obama.  He knows he’s wrong, and that his plan won’t sell.  The “moral imperative” of compromise is nothing more or less than the process of progressively diluting right with wrong, and ultimately blaming right for the failure that will inescapably follow.  And he damned well knows it.

9 November, 2012


From the very beginning of the practice of human slavery in North America, it was the practice of the masters to keep their slaves ignorant.  It was illegal to teach slaves to read, though a great many slaves did learn, and in fact, there were many slave schools on plantations.  After Nat Turner’s Rebellion, in southern Virginia in 1831, the laws designed to keep slaves ignorant were much more stringently enforced.  There is anecdotal (i.e., diary) evidence that after the Turner revolt, literate slaves were killed in the belief that being able to read and write made them too dangerous to be kept.  Of all the hysteria that followed Turner’s revolt, this one point may actually have some validity.  Turner was literate, and may have communicated with his troops through the written word.
When the 13th Amendment was ratified, and the peculiar institution finally destroyed, the vast majority of freed slaves were pathetically, tragically ignorant and illiterate. They were also conditioned to believe that their masters were their only source of security, food, shelter, and care.  The masters had so successfully “tamed” them, that even after emancipation, many returned to their former plantations and, for all practical purposes, submitted themselves to their masters again.  That they were technically free made no difference, at all, in their status or their lifestyles.

In 2012, however, the lessons of that awful past have been learned well – by the masters.  All Americans, but most especially Blacks, are kept ignorant of current events and the reality of the circumstances in which our nation finds itself.  Illiteracy and shocking ignorance are more common among American Blacks, especially inner-city Blacks, than any other group.  This is most emphatically NOT a racial trait!  It is a cultural trait – the culture of the slave on the plantation.  Modern masters have not kept Blacks ignorant by banning schools, but rather by controlling what is taught in those schools.  The goal of American public education, as an institution, is to make our children docile believers that their masters are their only source of security, food, shelter, and care.  Even as those slaves of old.  (I do not for an instant mean to say that all American teachers subscribe to this goal!  The existence among us of so many highly-educated people stands as testimony to the integrity and moral courage of thousands of American teachers.  It is the institution and its masters that are corrupt.)
There is another parallel to Nat Turner’s time:  loyalty to the masters.  At several points in Turner’s march across Southampton County, his men were fired on by slaves.  No, slaves did not customarily have firearms, but some of the masters felt sufficiently sure of the training of their slaves that arms were issued, and the slaves made sincere efforts to kill those who wanted to free them.  How unbelievable is that?  Ask Stacy Dash, Mia Love, Allen West, or Thomas Sowell.

Depending on whom you read, between 93% and 97% of Blacks voted for Obama.  Even if the lower number is true, this should give us all, especially Blacks, pause.  Is it possible that 93% of the members of any race have the same values and goals?  Is it possible that 93% of the members of any race think the same way about economics, morals, family, patriotism, and freedom?  These are very complicated, abstract ideas, and the claim that such a huge number of people, defined solely by skin color, would agree on them is beyond absurd!  Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of a time when his children would be judged by the content of their characters, rather than by the color of their skin, and I believe that in these words he gave us the quintessential definition of racism.  Anytime 93% of any race agree on anything, it’s because they are voting something other than the content of their characters.  Either they have betrayed what they think, or they have, literally, been trained to not think.

So what do we see today?  Millions of Americans who have been trained – brainwashed is too generous a term – to believe they must vote their skin.  (In a campaign when women were encouraged to vote their vaginas, I guess this doesn’t seem too far-fetched.)  These same Americans literally howl for the blood of any member of their race who dares to think differently – who makes even a gesture toward rejecting the modern plantation – a desolate and sterile plantation of the soul, in which the minds of men and women who were capable of great things and great ideas have been shackled to a corrupt and despicable belief that their only salvation lies in the magnanimity of their masters.  And they shoot at Ol' Nat.

I have lived most of my life in Albuquerque, NM, where there aren’t many Blacks.  I have, however, spent time in the Deep South, and was exposed to various aspects of Black culture when I was in the Marines in the 1960’s.  I work with a number of Blacks today, and see others around town.  Knowing, as I do, that most of them voted for, or at least support Obama, it is an effort to restrain myself from saying to them, “Do you need the government’s permission to be as good as I?  Do you need the government to hold you up so you can look me in the eye as an equal?  Do you need to point to some two-bit Chicago street punk with an overpriced education to convince yourself that you can deal with me man-to-man?”  It is my deeply-held belief that these questions ought to be answered with a level gaze and a firm, "Hell, no."

How corrupt and downright evil is this thing that has turned such otherwise admirable human beings into such self-doubting and –loathing creatures, and done it supposedly in the name of lifting them up?  During what is called, “The Jim Crow” era, many Blacks were lifted up, and not by the intellectual and moral nooses that lift so many of my countrymen today.  It breaks my heart.  It wounds my nation.  We must change this legacy of servility.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


This 19-year old kid at work loosened up and asked me a great question a couple of days ago.   Because I have misspent thousands of hours of my life obsessing over how to answer such questions, I had a fairly succinct answer for her.

“Why do you say that when the government prints money, it’s a form of theft?  I don’t understand how more money hurts anyone.”  (Yes, she really did use complete sentences, and didn’t sling a single, “like” in either of them.)

I furrowed my brows for a few seconds and looked at her with my best, “I’m thinking about how to best answer your question” look.  “Let’s start with a critical definition.  Wealth is the things we own, and the things we create with our labor.  It’s easy to see what a factory worker creates, but the service you provide is just as much a part of wealth.  Your clothes, car, house, cat, lunchbox, makeup, theater tickets…  all of that is your wealth.  Each of those things is also the creation of the labor of someone else.  It’s a cycle, like an ecosystem, where everything is linked to both upstream and downstream events.”

She furrowed her brows for a second and nodded with her best, “Oh, my God, why did I ask this old codger a question like that?” look.

“Okay.  It’d be pretty tough to carry all of your wealth around with you, right?  And some of it, like the service you provide here, can’t be carried, anyway, right?  So we use money to symbolize our wealth. When you spend 8 hours of your life here, the company says, “We can’t give you the value that you created tonight because it’s an abstraction, and you can’t carry one of those.” So they give you money as a symbol of what that service is worth to them.  You can put that money in your pocket and go to the store, right?   If you need a new coat, you can’t pay for it with the service you provided here, but you can use that money.  So money is sort of like little notes from others that testify to the value of what we have created for them.  Because an economy is an ecosystem, everyone in it is affected in some way from everything that is created, and money makes that possible.  The shopkeeper may not have benefitted directly from the service you created for your customers, but because we use money, she can benefit from it indirectly.

“So money stands for wealth but it isn’t wealth, itself.  All of the wealth in the ecosystem equals all of the money in it.” She nodded, and her eyes weren’t glazed over like I see so often in people of all ages when they accidentally find themselves challenged to think.  Great kid .

“So can you imagine what would happen if anybody who wanted to could print money?  The money your neighbor prints would have no wealth behind it; it would not represent anything but the value of the paper and ink.  They might print a zillion dollars, but it would be like… ummm… a picture of a steak, instead of a real steak.  No substance – empty.

“But because all of the wealth in our ecosystem equals all the dollars in it, and there are more dollars, what happens to the value of each dollar?  Your neighbor didn’t introduce any new wealth to the ecosystem, so all those new dollars have to get their value from the wealth that was already there.  Every dollar in the system is now worth less real wealth.  Let’s say a loaf of bread – which is real wealth - is worth one dollar.  If you double the number of dollars in the system, how much will that bread-wealth cost?  Two dollars!  What happens if you introduce a thousand times as many dollars?  That’s right; the bread-wealth costs a thousand dollars.  There is no more real substance behind your dollars, they’re just puffed up with air, like a balloon.  That’s why it’s called “inflation.”

“As long as everyone’s supply of dollars increases at the same time, there’s no real harm, but that’s never going to happen.  Will the company increase your per hour rate to cover the increase in the dollar supply?  Ha!  You know the answer to that, right?  Yes, sometimes we get what they used to call “cost of living” increases, but that does nothing more than put another pump of air in the system.

“But the government taxes you on a percentage, right?  So when you pay 50 cents of every dollar to various taxes, you lose that much of the value of your labor.  Let’s say that in the beginning, you got paid 100 bucks because that’s what your labor was worth.  Then the government quadruples the supply of dollars, and because the amount of wealth hasn’t changed, each of those your dollars is now only worth 25 cents.  Did your paycheck increase?  Nope.  You still get 100 bucks, but your paycheck is now only worth 25 bucks.  Here’s a really fun thing:   you still have to pay 50 percent of your dollars in taxes.  You started out with 100 bucks that represented 100 bucks of wealth, and had 100 bucks of purchasing power.  Now, your 100 bucks only represent 25 bucks, and have 25 bucks of purchasing power, then the government takes 50 of them, leaving you with 50, with the purchasing power of 12 dollars and 50 cents.

“John M. Keynes was an economist (college vocabulary for idiot) who didn’t have a flippin’ clue about the relationship of money to wealth.  Everyone in our government today is a Keynesian, because they were educated by professors who were also economists.  These morons really think that if you print more money, you create real wealth.  To them, your work is of absolutely no value.  To them, you are a little cog that gets money and gives it away again.  They even talk about the velocity of the money as it goes through your hands.

“Now we’ve just covered a lot of ground on a long, complex road, right?  But get this:  the complexity of the whole thing is multiplied by the number of people in the ecosystem, and by how many times money changes hands.  Think about that for a second.  There are so many variables in the equation you might as well say they are infinite, but Keynesians believe they can keep track of all of those, and make sure everyone comes out okay and nobody loses everything they have ever worked for, and they mean to do it not based on the value of the wealth or the labor that creates it, but on the value of the individual, and of course, they are the ones who will decide the value of the individual.  “Economic indicators,” they call ‘em. Imagine standing on the bank of a great river, and poking a stick into the water.  Because you can feel the pressure of the water on the stick, you claim you really understand the river and can control it better than the laws of physics and the rest of nature.

“Can you say, “utterly, completely, absolutely insane?”

She nodded, and the light in her eyes was a joy to behold.  “Yep.”

27 Oct., 2012

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Paul, I love the way you expressed yourself in that long status about “How many people…”  It is obvious that your spirit is both tough as nails and very sensitive to what’s going on in your life.  That can be a tough combination to handle.

Let me ask you this:  When you stand before our Maker at the Last Judgment, and all of your sins and triumphs are laid bare before His Eyes, who, of all the people you will have known during your mortal tour will stand by you?  That’s right.  Not a one of them.  We will all stand alone to answer for our own sins and work out our own salvation.  No one can accept the atonement of Christ for you.  No one can speak for you, or say you were a great guy.

Now think about this:  If you have many friends and companions in mortality, and yet are totally alone as you stand before God on that day, doesn’t it make sense that you ought to live your life according to you own goals and values?  I’m sure you know that charity and service to others is a commandment, and that few virtues are greater, but even so, those you have served and helped will not stand by you; they have their own judgment to deal with.

If you seek validation for your life in the opinions or actions of others, you are going down the wrong road.  You must live for yourself and your own values, because that is the way God made you.  He made Paul Black unique in all of creation because He needed Paul Black to follow His commandments, repent of his own sins, and claim his own part of Christ’s Atonement.  He already has someone to live for Joe Blow, and live by Joe Blow’s standards.  That person is Joe Blow.

Now be careful, here.  This does not mean you should be cruel or uncaring toward others, or refuse them charity if it is in your power to give it.  It means that you need to live for yourself.  Your decisions on charity and service need to be yours, and no one else’s.  You will one day choose an eternal companion, and that choice should be made according to your values, with the counsel of The Holy Ghost.  You will think that woman more precious to you than life, itself, and you will be willing to lay down your life for her.  But that must be YOUR choice!

If you ever get into a firefight, it may be that you will choose to lay down your own life for the safety of your fellow Marines.  To do so is the very highest expression of nobility, but it must be YOUR decision, according to YOUR values!

If you live entirely for others, as your status update kind of suggested you might be doing, you will be disappointed, maybe even betrayed.  This is the answer to all of your questions about how many:   One, and it must be Paul Black.  God gave you everything you need to get through this, because He never gives us a trial without also giving us the means of getting through it.

You know, It’s pretty ironic.  On the night of the 14th of March, 1967, I decided that my life was a burden and I couldn’t bear it.  I slipped into the kitchen, got down my mom’s .38, and went out to the car.  I sat in that car and stared down that gun barrel for three hours, trying to get up the guts to pull the trigger.  I never did.  So I went to bed, and when I woke up on the morning of the 15th, I went downtown and enlisted in the Marines.  I enlisted out of a death wish, because I thought I didn’t have the guts to pull that trigger.  However, I understand now that My Father in Heaven needed me to do some things – to raise some kids, to teach other kids, and maybe, just maybe, to write a note in the dead of night to a young man I've never met who is related to me by … what the hell relation are we, anyway?  Not cousins.  Not….  Oh, yeah.  We’re Marines. 
So there it is, Lad.  Be your own man, and do your best to understand what God wants you to be.  And remember that if you punch your own ticket, you’re gonna screw up His plan for you, and that’s gonna go real hard for you at the final judgment.

Semper Fidels.


It should be no great surprise to anyone that I have been guilty of, at worst, a transgression, and at best, being bloody obnoxious.  Nor should it come as a surprise that the episode has stirred me to write.

A few hours after trying to watch the 2nd debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, I wrote a bit of pretty serious invective, in which I called Obama several names, and accused him of hatred and insanity.  At least two friends have taken me sternly to task for trading in hate instead of brotherly love – in judgment instead of Christian charity.  My friends were exactly right, and I thank them for slapping me up ‘side the head.  They have moved me to put down a less explicit and, hopefully, more accurate explanation of my reaction to the debate.

Those who remember the original will notice that it contained quit a few less words than this version.  That’s because it requires a good bit more verbiage to explain one’s opinion of another than it does to just thumb back the hammer on one’s vocabulary of profanity and squeeze the trigger.  I was lazy the other night, and I apologize, sincerely.

It is my belief that we will all be judged by our maker.  A full pardon has been offered to us if we will but pick it up and meet its very simple conditions, but that is up to us.  Indeed, that faculty of choice is at the heart of why we are here.  It is the greatest and most dangerous gift Our Creator has bestowed upon us in mortality.  Without that gift of agency, or free will, there could be no moral questions asked of us.  One might say, “Good dog,” or, “Bad dog,” but one would not say, “Bad moral choice, Dog.”  That’s because only Mankind, of all earthly species, has that gift.  It is what makes us fully human.  (And no, I’m not for an instant saying that they are less than Human, who, through injury or congenital defect, are incapable of exercising agency.  The use of terms such as, “handicapped,” “impaired,” or even, “special,” explicitly define them as not typical of the species.  Being atypical does not in any way define them as less than Human.)

To ask a fish to live out of water would be absurd; fish don’t live out of water.  To ask an eagle to live in a burrow and never come out would absurd; eagles don’t live in burrows.  To force a creature to live in a way other than that which is natural will kill it.  Oh, you might, by force of technology, keep an eagle alive in a burrow, but it wouldn’t be an eagle; it would be some wretched thing with feathers – an abomination.  All of this seems painfully obvious, and yet a great many of our fellow Humans are eager to inflict this horrid condition upon themselves  - to deny the central tenet of Mankind’s mortal adventure.  If they wished it only for themselves, it would be tragic, but they wish it for all of us, and that makes it, by my reckoning, evil.

To deny the value or virtue of Human life is to deny the value or virtue of God’s creation, and that, I believe, is evil.  Not different.  Not unpleasant.  Not bad.  Not Democrat.  Not Republican.   Evil.  It is also, sadly, very much Human nature. 

We all have in us that spark of Lucifer’s instinctive solution to bringing us all back to Heavenly Father at the end of our mortality.  It may be expressed as bullying others, as coercing our spouses or children, or even criminal assault such as rape or robbery.  It might seem instinctive but for the fact that we can be aware of it, judge it, and abandon it.  The heartbreaking incidence of crimes against the agency of others indicates that not all of us are willing or able to abandon it.  A person may be wonderful in all other ways, but still fall into the trap of violating the agency of others.  However, the effects of such violation are so powerful and traumatic that it is equally natural to condemn the person as equivalent to the violation.   It is perfectly legitimate to do so, but only in a very specific sense.  We may judge the person guilty of a crime and levy punishment, but we may not judge the worth of the person’s soul.  That judgment is reserved to God, and He has warned us against trespassing on it.

I do not mean to judge or condemn those who cross over the line when they have been wantonly assaulted or a loved one hurt.  For myself, to hurt one of my children would be a great way to get a free express ticket across the river.  The role of law and government in such situations is another topic, altogether, but for me to punch someone’s ticket, no matter the cause, would be wrong;  it trespasses on that judgment that God has reserved to Himself.  But, Oh!  How impossible it would be to control that impulse to destroy one who hurt my child!  I do not for a second claim as certain that I would control myself!

The proper course would be to judge the morality of the action, then judge the person’s culpability in it, but we should not, at any time, judge the worth of that person’s soul.

So it is in politics, too.  One of the dominant ideas of the role of government flies squarely in the face of my own beliefs.  The results of this idea can be directly observed in history if one has the patience to look and the openness to understand – but it takes a strong stomach, because there is much blood and horror.  At the heart of this idea is the belief that it is right for the government to deny the people free exercise of their agency.  Right up against that is the belief that people in the government have sufficient wisdom and moral character to determine whose agency to deny in what ways, and on what days.  Since some people will resist the constraint of their freedom, it has always been the resort of all governments based on these beliefs to use force, even the shedding of blood, to gain compliance.  Barack Obama and his administration are very clearly, unequivocally proponents of these ideas, but they are by no means the first or the only!  They are, however, the ones we have to deal with today.

This is not opinion, or brainwashing, or talk radio.  This is historical fact, and, in my opinion, such practices are evil and those who pursue them are… guilty of doing evil, but the judgment of their souls I must leave to God.  Men have sufficient wisdom to judge the morality and legality of actions – well, the good ones do, anyway – but lack the omniscience necessary to make those judgments of eternal and celestial consequence.

After watching a few minutes of the debate, I made several intemperate remarks about Barack Obama.  They were purely my opinion, and were based on an overwhelming emotional response to what I believed his attitude to be.  I’m not convinced I was wrong in my assessment, but sharing it the way I did was inappropriate and gratuitously brutal to anyone whose opinion is less extreme than mine.

Mitt Romney’s statement about Barack Obama at the Al Smith dinner made this very point so gently and kindly that, when I compared it to my words, it filled me with shame.  He said, "Our 44th president has many gifts and a beautiful family that would make any man proud. In our country, you can oppose someone in politics and make a confident case against their policies without any ill will and that's how it is for me. There's more to life than politics."

Evil exists in this world, and there are people who love it and practice it.  The rest of us are either the victims or conquerors of evil, but we must always be its enemy.  If unchecked, evil will destroy everything we all hold dear.  But of all it destroys, evil’s greatest triumph, perhaps, is when it turns a good person toward its own, insidious ways that seem, at the time, perfectly reasonable.  Thomas Jefferson pledged undying hostility to all forms of tyranny over the human mind, and I think his phrasing was trenchant.  He pledged hostility to tyranny, not to deluded men and women who love it.

So here is the refinement of what I said about Obama after the debate.  I was terribly upset at Obama’s expressions of approval for ideas that I hold morally wrong.  To see those ideas put forward with a smirk was more than I could take at the time.  The ideas of which I speak have many very powerful proponents, and are deeply embedded in our population, in general.  Those ideas, if not stopped by the ballot box, will inescapably lead to bloodshed, and I fear there may be no way around it.  However, we are not absolved of our duty to seek a peaceful path forward.  We will be held responsible for what we attempt – whether good or bad - as much as for what we do.

I will fight against the ideas expressed by Barack Obama and those who agree with him.  Whether he or his followers are good people or bad is not for me to say, but his ideas are bad, and to stop them I will spend my time, energy, money, and, if no other way is available, my life’s blood.  There are worse things than war; slavery and serfdom are but two.  I cannot pretend otherwise, no matter how many friendships it may cost.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


My ex-wife was a professional dinner waitress at some of the highest-priced places in Albuquerque and Colorado Springs.  When I say, “professional,” I mean that she’d been doing it for 40 years because she loved the work and made darned good money, albeit through tips, rather than wages.  I was shocked when she described to me that employers could essentially deduct declared tips from the minimum wage.  In NM, the law was amended to allow owners to estimate the tips, and deduct that amount!  Talk about setting the fox to guard the henhouse!  That same law made it a felony for people to not declare all of their tips, which, of course, instantly made felons of about 99% of all waitresses.  My wife’s take-home almost immediately dropped by a third.  These places were NOT small businesses:  Mariott, Skychefs (part of American Airlines), Hilton, Four Seasons, etc.. 

Then they started tip-sharing, which not only cut more deeply into her take-home, but also introduced a distressing level of intrigue, brown-nosing, and backstabbing into the workplaces.   That’s why I always tip in cash.  That way, if the server wants to slide a little off the top and keep it, “just between us,” he or she can.

The vast majority of people in food service work part time, mostly because most of the trade comes during traditional meal times.  I can’t see that changing.  Part time employees have always been exempted from most benefits, though Mariott and Skychefs did provide a modest health care plan, paid vacation, and a few other things.  (The vacations were paid at the rate shown on the last paycheck before the vacation, so we’re not talking a heck of a lot of money for the employees, although it came to hundreds of thousands for the corporations.)

I think all of us are on the same page regarding the the industry, as a whole.  How-ever, the point I got out of the article was that Obamacare will be unsustainable for many businesses.  Corporate profits – that’s NET, not GROSS, of course – are generally under a nickel per dollar.  In retail, it’s generally under .03 cents, and I’d be amazed if it’s any more than that in food service.  Obamacare will take fully half of that profit, leaving the owners, themselves, to work for about minimum wage, but without tips.  In the case of the big outfits, like Darden, this will eviscerate the stockholders.  The stockholders are not savage Simon Legrees; they are people who are trying to make a buck on investments so they can retire, or at least have a few bucks put back for their own old-age health issues. In fact, a lot of shareholders are the same servers and kitchen staff who will supposedly benefit from Obamacare.  These people will ultimately suffer more than the owners, who will always take theirs off the top – as it should be.

The whole thing is an insane, self-defeating mess, like Heinlein’s golem, Igli, eating himself.  The pattern, as I see it, is that the government identifies who has the money, then takes the money from them.  This leaves the former money-holders unable to pay their employees, so the government steps in and gives some of the money to the people who would have originally received it had the process been allowed to run it natural course.  Of course, the government employees who administer the redistribution scam must be paid, and their bosses, and their bosses, and various campaign funds get their skim, and most ironically, some of it goes to pay unemployment to the bankrupt former owners. So the end result is that the employees are no better off than they were before. The employers are out of business, every business with which they did business – suppliers, etc. – is less profitable, and the government, which invented the insanity, are the only ones who are actually doing well.  Except, of course, the choice of restaurants is a lot slimmer.

The left has always been more concerned with what is done with money than with how it is made.  That’s because they are Keynesians, or some variation thereof, and think money just happens, or is grown, or printed, or pulled out a magic mason jar.  Many capitalists and individualists think liberals are against wealth, but in point of fact, they are not.  They are only against wealth they do not control.  They will forgive any criminal behavior by the person who amasses wealth as long as that person allows them to control it.  Capitalists and individualists (whom I will call, “conserv-atives” for convenience’ sake, but with great trepidation due to the jaw-dropping ignorance about what the term may imply)  are more concerned with how the money is made than with how it is spent.  If you earn it legally and morally, you are welcome to do with it as you please.  Liberals say, “There is no wrong done as long as your actions were to benefit others – and we are the others.”  Conservatives say, “Your money is your money.  Just make sure you don’t break the law in earning it”  (Opposition to parts liberalism does not make one a conservative.  Gaining wealth by forcibly abusing others is antithetical to the definition of capitalism or individualism, and anyone who does so and calls himself a conservative is a damned liar.)

There is great injustice in the food service industry, especially at the bottom of the food chain, if you’ll pardon the pun.  On that we all agree.  Our nation’s health care industry is in dire need of reform, and I think we all agree on that, too.  Obamacare addresses neither problem.  It creates new problems that, because they are lodged deep within the body of the law, will be vastly more difficult to fix.

I believe the ultimate solution to the matter of low wages and lack of benefits in any industry is to free the market to create new businesses and even entire industries, so there will be more opportunity in breadth as well as in depth.  If an aspiring restaurant owner wants to hire an outstanding server away from his competition, he can offer a higher wage with some assurance that his profits won’t be seized.  If a company, such as Darden, wishes to pay sweatshop wages, they are free to do so, but they are not free to escape the fact that nobody will work for them.  In the interest of keeping it real, I can’t imagine anyone with a shred of sanity wanting to own or manage a restaurant, in the first place, and sure as hell not on the pittance that will be left after the Obamants have eaten all the sugar in the kitchen!

10 Oct., 2012

Saturday, September 22, 2012


We have come to discuss Proverbs, 22:16 – “He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.”

The discussion springs from this question:  “So what does the right wing say about this…and how do they justify it?  It’s quite simply stated right?”

The question asked was how anyone can justify oppressing the poor and giving to the rich, and it was asked, specifically, of, “…the right wing…”  The implication is very clear that the person who framed the question believes the right wing oppresses the poor.  I maintain that this is a false assumption – a straw man.  It is a question so phrased as to presume the answer in the very asking.  “Have you stopped beating your wife?”  The question says, “You do this evil thing, and I want to hear you justify it.”  I will not answer that question directly, but rather address the presumptions upon which it is based.

Oppression is injustice, and it is a bad thing.  Injustice is the opposite of justice, and I think most people would agree that justice is a very good thing.  (Though an awful lot of folks would fail to see its virtue when it is applied to them.)  Justice, in broad terms, means people get what they have earned – what they rightfully have coming to them, whether good or bad.  The Bible very clearly and irrefutably enshrines justice as one of the chief virtues of a man, a king, or of a people.

How are the poor in America oppressed?  They are protected by the law as much as any man.  True, there are situations in which political power or corruption have denied justice to the poor, but as often as not, the rich fall victim, as well.  Think about it:  would a thief rather rob a poor man’s hovel or a rich man’s mansion?  In fact, this is an eternal principle of politics, that once the tiger of corruption is loosed, it cares not whom it devours.  In fact, the only way one might increase his riches by oppressing the poor is to usurp their labor - they have no material wealth to steal – and forced labor is called slavery, and slavery was abolished in America for many years.  It has seen a resurrection in the last few years with the avalanche of criminal trespassers across our borders, who have brought with them the barbarous practices of their native lands.

Anyone who proposes that the poor of America are slaves is deluded or a liar, and I find it bitterly ironic that so many who hold that very premise are the same ones who have thrown open the gates to the invading slave traders, and have, by legislative bullying, blocked the gates open

In fact, the poor in America are better off than what passes for the middle class in much of the world.  They eat more meat, live in bigger houses, dress better, get better educations, have more protection of the law, and, most significantly, have more opportunity to leave the ranks of the poor.

Remember that last clause.

For the moment I will pretend that the phrase “the right wing,” has any meaning other than a bigoted slander of a set of the American population who disagree with the questioner.  I will take it to refer to those who reject the forcible redistribution of wealth by the government, and to those who reject the premise that idleness’ claim to wealth trumps that of labor.  If you can’t tell by the phrasing, I’m a right winger.

Our position is simply this:  that the person who does the work, whether it is manual labor, organizational labor, or creative labor deserves to keep whatever wage comes from that labor.  We believe that charity is a great virtue.  Many of us believe it is a commandment from God.  We believe that charity consists of an individual human being deciding, of his own volition, to share his wealth with another, and that sticking a gun in someone’s ribs, taking his money, and giving it to someone else is not charity.  The man with the gun gives nothing, and has no claim to virtue.  We are accused of saying that some people are inferior to others, but in reality it is the man with the gun who says, in the most forceful and inescapable way, that station is his decision, and his alone.  He will decide who is inferior to whom, and will enforce his whim with the armed power of the state.  This man is a creature of the left.

Our view is expressed in Ecclesiastes, 5: 18, 19 – “Behold that which I have seen:  it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion.

“Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour: this is the gift of God.”

It says, “Every man.”  It doesn’t say the rich or the poor or the middle class, and sure as blazes doesn’t say the bureaucrat.  Every man.

We are admonished by the Scriptures to labor, from Genesis statement that, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread…” to the Savior’s observation that the “…the workman is worthy of his meat.”  At the same time, we are commanded to take care of and sustain the poor, weak, lame, old, and the widow.  Over and over, the virtue of charity is extolled in the Scriptures.  Charity.  Not surrogate theft.

In fact, if there were no rich, from whence would come any charity, at all?  First Thessalonians 4: 11, 12 says, “And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;

“That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.”

Look at that:  “…that ye may have lack of nothing.”  If the rich are brought down, can it be said they lack nothing?  If their labor goes for naught, and is expropriated by some random, whim-driven entity for the benefit of some random others, it may fill the lack of today, but from where will the lack of tomorrow be filled?  A reference to a goose and golden eggs is inevitable.  If there is nothing to gain by labor, who will work?

Go back to that reference to opportunity.  If it becomes the law of the land that we will crush any man who amasses enough wealth to be called “rich,” what opportunity is there for the poor?  The opportunity to work their guts out, only to one day become a pariah and be banished from that drooling, obese and false god called society?  The opportunity to say to their children, “We have enough to eat, but tell no one.  Pretend to be hungry, or they will declare us rich and take it all back?”

Oh, no! There’s no oppression in that, is there.

So to the questioner I would say, yes, it is quite simply stated, and I would dearly love to hear the left wing justify their program of consistent oppression.  Let them justify robbing our children of their inheritance of opportunity and hope.  Let them justify ripping the very bowels out of the dreams of men and women who want nothing more than to live their lives and care for their children.  Let them justify mortgaging an entire nation and its posterity for generations to the greatest violators of human agency in all history.  Let them justify their belief that one man’s desire to keep the fruit of his mind and body is vile, while another man’s desire to take that from him is virtuous.  Let them justify poisoning the minds of generations of our children with the belief that to keep one’s wages is covetousness, but taking another’s wages is not.

I will close with Saint Luke’s story about Jesus.  “And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak unto my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.
“And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?
“And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”

22 Sept., 2012