Archive for the ‘Conviction’ Category

FORCING YOUR MORALITY Part 2

FORCING OUR BELIEFS?

What do people, objecting to a Christian expressing his disapproval of behavior that the Bible calls into question, mean when they say that we are forcing our beliefs on others?

Let’s look at this idea of forcing our morality, beliefs or values on others a bit closer. When non-Christians object to our forcing our beliefs on others, what do they really mean? They are basically saying that we are trying to compel others to act in a way that we think is right. But since we have already determined that everyone has some moral point of view, we must seek to understand how we all, in some form or another, attempt to compel others to our moral viewpoint.


Forcing Our View

There are basically two ways that a moral point of view can be “forced” upon another. One is the strong way and the other is the weak way. A strong way of forcing morality would be law enforcement: laws that are enforced by threat of punishment. The second way, a weak way, would be by compelling people to act in the way that you think is right (your moral point of view) in a less forceful way. We often do this by encouraging or discouraging certain patterns of behavior through the means of social approval or disapproval.

How do we force our view? We could use the strong arm of the law to force our view on others. We could frown at behavior we disapprove of in order to get people to reconsider it. Now there may be things that we don’t think are morally weighty enough to deserve jail time but which we would consider valuable enough to frown upon or even exert peer pressure on people in order to get them to comply with our wishes (moral point of view). Call it peer pressure, social approval or social disapproval. Do you see the difference? We use both of these things in our society today.

Since we have two different strengths of enforcement, we have to make a decision in our culture which strength we will use to enforce a moral point of view; it all depends on the moral weight. What’s curious about the nature of the moral climate today is the kinds of things that are enforced and the kinds of things in which people are allowed to have liberty.


High Morality

In the context of our culture, there are some things I would define as falling into the category of high morality and others that would fall into, what we would call, low morality. High morality is those kinds of things that are so critical to the common good, to the notion of fundamental rights – like life, liberty and property – that society must demand their adherence under penalty of severe punishment. For example, it is absolutely critical that property be protected. Therefore, if someone steals someone else’s property, we use the law to punish them. If someone takes another’s life, we use the law to punish them. Sometimes, we even put the guilty to death (extreme force). There are issues related to the common good of society that are so morally weighty that we have to use the force of law in order to get compliance. This is what I would call high morality.

There are a whole lot of other things that relate to the common good on a lower order of morality of sorts: things that are not so critical to the common good that the society must demand their adherence under penalty of severe punishment. Yet at the same time, there are still things that are morally good and good for society. In these cases, we don’t use the force of law. We generally use a different force – the force of social approval and disapproval.

’til next time

Danny

Next: Immoral, Illegal

FORCING YOUR MORALITY

Have you ever given your Christian opinion on questions of morality to a friend, relative or even a stranger, only to be challenged in return by an intimidating counter-question? As Christians, when our biblical viewpoint goes against the grain (which much of Christian morality does – sexual morality, the morality that relates to the rights of unborn children, same-sex marriage, those kinds of things), frequently we are going to be challenged with the question, “Who are you to force your morality on someone else?”

The first thing you should know is that this challenge is offered in a self-refuting way. It is self-defeating and refutes itself because it is a challenge to you that you ought not force others or ask others to live according to your moral point of view. Yet, that challenge itself is a moral point of view that someone else believes in and is asking you to live by. To put it simply, they’re forcing their morality on you when they say that you shouldn’t force your morality on someone else.

When someone brings up this objection to our Christian moral value we must be ready to help them see the self-refuting nature of their question. I think first of all, we must help them face, honestly, the truth that all of us have a moral point of view that we are seeking to have believed and acted upon in society, and we are seeking to do that by some measure. It may be through very forceful means – the force of law – or it may be through less forceful measures. But one way or another, we all have our moral point of view. Once we can honestly agree with that, there is no escaping the conclusion: we all have a moral viewpoint that we seek to have enforced in some fashion in society, and we are seeking to compel other people to adopt.

Given the fact that we all have a moral point of view that we are seeking to impact society with, the real question then becomes, “Is our moral point of view legitimate? Is it appropriate to have it forced? And beyond that, even if it is legitimate, we have to ask, “How weighty is the moral concept?”, before we can know how much force we need to apply in enforcing this moral concept.

’til next time

Danny

(next time: What do we mean “forcing our beliefs”?)

A WAR ON “TERROR”?

We, as Americans, must understand that we are at a crossroads in our generation as were our fathers of the WWII generation.  The survival of America as a constitutional republic and Americans as a free people is at one of its most challenging and defining moments in its history. Political forces and parties of men and women have irresponsibly forgotten that we are a constitutional republic.  Some are, without a doubt, on a malevolent course to totally transform us from what we are (a republic) to what they would likes us to be (a socialist, Marxist or global state).

Liberal progressives are the worst of all.  Substituting “moral equivalents” for war, they have taken advantage of the culture’s desire to resolve its problems.  They have used these “moral equivalents” such as the “War on Poverty” and the “War Against Drugs” as opportunities to expand government power into the lives of all its citizens.  Americans, believing that it is a good thing to solve these problems, have been duped by an ever-expanding and ever-encroaching government.

The U.S. Constitution allows for the declaration of war precisely because there are times when individual liberties must be curtailed for the good of the whole nation and to better combat our enemies.  But wars are declared and wars come to an end.  The liberal progressives’ “moral substitutes” for war mentioned before have no end.  The “War on Poverty” has gone on for more than 40 years with no signs of success; all at a huge cost to Americans’ individual rights and liberties and the plunder of their wealth by continuous, burdensome and over-bearing coercive government taxation.

We now have a “War on Terror” – or Terrorism.  President Bush’s colossal failure in the beginning of this armed conflict, I believe, was declaring war on “terror” and NOT on Al Qaeda (who attacked us).  Following the foolish and misguided principles of political correctness, He “declared” war on “terror”.  Because He declared war on a tactic (terror), and not on a people with ideological ideas of terror inconsistent with our values, we have left ourselves open and vulnerable to attack from within, and without.  Our government also, under the guise of protecting us from “terror,” infringes daily upon our constitutional rights as a people. 

Fighting a tactic (“terrorism”) has left our borders open to our enemies.  The Obama administration has even used taxpayer funds to bring many of these “immigrants” to America, helped them find jobs and settle here.  But does he really believe that America has need of the abilities that can only be found among Somali, Yemeni, Palestinian or Hamas immigrants?  Something more sinister is at work here and is evidenced no less by the Obama Administrations’ Department of Homeland Security.

Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) task is to protect Americans.  Yet while they say they are protecting us from terrorism, they have identified the most likely potential terrorists for the American people: those who are principled pro-lifers, pro-second amendment, pro-tenth amendment, anti-tax advocates, limited government advocates, tea-partiers, opponents of illegal immigration and – of all people – returning veterans!  Which group was not mentioned in the security report?  You guessed it: Muslim extremists, muslim clerics or anyone who might help Al-Qaeda or their demons.

The DHS and other police agencies have sought to limit, watch, screen and snoop on us in ever-increasing ways.  By every other means available to them, they expect us to willingly give up our constitutional rights under the guise that we are at war.  But war against an idea or a tactic (“terror”) will have no defined end.  Fighting a tactic will only serve the federal government’s purpose because it gives them continuous power to limit our liberties.

It’s time for Americans to wake up and, in the words of the Templar Knight to Indiana Jones, “choose wisely.”  2012 will be our time to say to our political leaders once again, we will not give up our constitutional liberties; we will not go quietly into the dark; we will prevail and America will not be a socialist, Muslim, marxist or global state.  

Over our White House will always fly the “Red, White and Blue”.  As freedom loving Americans, we will never accept a crescent moon, a hammer & anvil or a UN flag to fly over our nation.  America will remain, though a melting pot of people, a constitutional republic.  And we, as a people, will never yield to any party, elite, foreign power or ideology, our God-given rights, American values and constitutionally-guaranteed liberties.  

´til next time,

Danny

Article_Link: https://inviewof.wordpress.com/2011/02/18/a-war-on-¨terror¨/

Cordoba House Initiative: A Test of the Historic Ignorance of American Elites

This is the most clearly stated, sensible, and historically accurate statement that I’ve read on this issue (and I’ve read a lot of them).

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Statement on the Proposed “Cordoba House” Mosque near Ground Zero

Newt Gingrich
July 21, 2010 6pm
There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia . The time for double standards that allow Islamists to behave aggressively toward us while they demand our weakness and submission is over.

The proposed “Cordoba House” overlooking the World Trade Center site – where a group of jihadists killed over 3000 Americans and destroyed one of our most famous landmarks – is a test of the timidity, passivity and historic ignorance of American elites. For example, most of them don’t understand that “Cordoba House” is a deliberately insulting term. It refers to Cordoba , Spain – the capital of Muslim conquerors who symbolized their victory over the Christian Spaniards by transforming a church there into the world’s third-largest mosque complex.

Today, some of the Mosque’s backers insist this term is being used to “symbolize interfaith cooperation” when, in fact, every Islamist in the world recognizes Cordoba as a symbol of Islamic conquest. It is a sign of their contempt for Americans and their confidence in our historic ignorance that they would deliberately insult us this way.

Those Islamists and their apologists who argue for “religious toleration” are arrogantly dishonest. They ignore the fact that more than 100 mosques already exist in New York City . Meanwhile, there are no churches or synagogues in all of Saudi Arabia . In fact no Christian or Jew can even enter Mecca .  And they lecture us about tolerance.

If the people behind the Cordoba House were serious about religious toleration, they would be imploring the Saudis, as fellow Muslims, to immediately open up Mecca to all and immediately announce their intention to allow non-Muslim houses of worship in the Kingdom. They should be asked by the news media if they would be willing to lead such a campaign.

We have not been able to rebuild the World Trade Center in nine years.  Now we are being told a 13 story, $100 million mega mosque will be built within a year overlooking the site of the most devastating surprise attack in American history.

Finally where is the money coming from? The people behind the Cordoba House refuse to reveal all their funding sources.

America is experiencing an Islamist cultural-political offensive designed to undermine and destroy our civilization. Sadly, too many of our elites are the willing apologists for those who would destroy them if they could.

No mosque.
No self deception.
No surrender.
The time to take a stand is now – at this site, on this issue!

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If, after reading this, you agree with it, please pass the link on to others.

’til next time …

Danny

November 2010: America’s Defining Moment

How can we take our country back from the beholden-to-special-interests, could-care-less-about-the-constitution, out-of-touch-with-the-people career politicians?

We are at a crossroads in the United States of America.  It is our defining moment in more ways than one.  “These are the times”, as Patrick Henry uttered, “that try men’s souls.”  The time when the “summer soldier and the sunshine patriot” shrink from serving their country.  It is the time of our defining destiny; the time when true patriots must arise, whatever the cost.

Will we as a people continue to live in apathy and indifference toward those who have entrenched themselves in elitist, government power?  Will we continue to watch from the sidelines as more and more government intervention is piled up on top of us until the growing and crushing weight of tyranny suffocates and paralyzes us in inaction?

Have we become a people so void of understanding that we would trade our God-given freedoms and liberty to pursue our dreams for sugar-coated freebies and government handouts.  Will we continue to support and install bleeding-heart politicians, who continue to raid our purse, in their quest to be masters and “saviors” of the people?

Will the American people continue to be duped into believing that a government that wants greater and greater control over the economy will not eventually, and of necessity, control us as well?  Will we, the American people, hand these pseudo-intellectuals in our nation’s capital, more and more power to control us through force and coercion?  Will we surrender our inexorable and inalienable rights and consider them only a dispensation of government?

November 2010 is our defining moment.

We must use the power of the voting booth to take back our country from the career politicians who are threatening to destroy our Republic and take away the freedoms intended for us by our Founding Fathers.  We must unceasingly strive and push until term limits become the Law of the Land.

We must have a rebirth of the true American spirit, rugged individualism, personal initiative, self-control and small government.  We must again regain a spirit of national dignity.  We must be challenged in the spirit of Patrick Henry, “Sirs, we are not weak if we make proper use of those means which the God of nature has placed in our power… Besides, sirs, we shall not fight our battles alone.  There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations … the battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.”  Are government bailouts and handouts so dear and unceasing government programs and takeovers so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?  May the nation this November thunderously declare through their vote, “forbid it, Almighty God!”

NO PROBLEM TOO BIG

We don’t have to look too far to know that our nation is in trouble today.  We are facing more troubles today than I’ve seen in my lifetime.  We face issues that are causing the very foundation of our country to crumble.  Our moral and spiritual roots are further decaying and drying up; the economy is devastated, family life is disintegrating, and political forces are at savage odds and almost totally distrusted by the people.

In these anxious times, it can be tempting to believe that America has reached a point of no return.  And while this can cause despair, we are reminded in God’s Holy Word that with Him, nothing is impossible and that there is an antidote for this anxious age.  It connects us to the greatest source of peace, hope, and security that we could ever imagine.  The cure is the remarkable gift from our loving and merciful God.  It’s called prayer.  Through our faithfulness in prayer, there is no problem too big, no hardship too great, and no nation too powerful for Him to handle.  And because we serve a God of great mercy and compassion, we know that He stands ready to respond to our cries out of the abundance of His divine wisdom.

President Lincoln once proclaimed that our nation should set apart a day for national prayer to confess our sins and transgression in sorrow,

yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon … announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.

His concern for the nation’s spiritual well-being led him to say,

We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown.  But we have forgotten God; and we have vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our own hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.  Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God who made us!  It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

Mankind’s future has always been uncertain.  Since the days of Noah and his family, Moses and the nation of Israel, the persecuted early Church, the Pilgrims, and America’s founding fathers, the answer for people facing adversity has always been the same:  Almighty God.

Our founding fathers were not perfect men, but many of them did have one thing in common, they acknowledged God and His role in the affairs of men.  Benjamin Franklin at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 said,

I have lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: that God governs in the affairs of men.  And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His [God’s] notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?

If an empire cannot rise without God’s aid, can it continue without it?  Simply put, there is no security apart from Him.  Ben Franklin went on to say,

I, therefore, … move that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business ….

Are you ready to renew or increase your commitment to prayer?  Do you want contentment in your heart and peace in your world?  God’s call to the prophet Jeremiah, is our call today:

Call to me and I will answer you.  (Jer. 33:3)

Prayer will change your life, the lives around you, and even the course of history.
Remember, the National Day of Prayer is Thursday, May 6, 2010.  Join believer’s all over this great nation in praying that we, as a nation, would return to God.  Let us do so in genuine faith, believing that He hears our prayers.  God can heal this great land, for which our forefathers fought and died.  We need a spiritual renewal, we need a spiritual revival in America, and we need each and everyone to pray.

’til next time,

Danny

Is State Redistribution of Wealth Social Economic Justice?

President-elect Obama believes that the Constitution is flawed.  According to him, it is so because it fails to address wealth redistribution.  He says the Supreme Court should have intervened years ago to accomplish that.  He assigns a great deal of this failure to The Warren Court because it failed to “break free from the essential constraints” in the U.S. Constitution and launch a major redistribution of wealth.

In 2001, Obama said

“… the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution … [emphasis mine] 

one of the … tragedies of the civil rights movement was [that] … the civil rights movement became so court-focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that.”

Is Mr. Obama correct in his assertion that our Constitution, which has served our Republic well for over 2 ¼ centuries, is flawed?  Is this document, which birthed, sustained and allowed the American people to thrive, prosper and become the envy of the world, so fundamentally flawed, that it took him, in 2009, to finally bring it to light?  Or is it more probable that it is Mr. Obama’s reasoning and political views which are flawed? 

It’s very obvious that Mr. Obama, who is a supposed constitutional scholar, does not understand [or does he?] that it is not the Supreme Court’s job to write domestic policy or rule that it is “just” for wealth to be “redistributed”. 

JUSTICE FOR ALL 

Before considering the issue – Is redistribution of wealth just? – let me say that many, erroneously, I believe, carelessly throw words like “injustice” around as labels for whatever they happen to find personally or morally unsatisfactory.  These claims often involve a careless confusion between what people deserve morally and what they deserve economically. 

Let’s consider this analytically and from the standpoint of justice.  Justice, if it means anything at all, means at least, that whatever is done must be done fairly, honestly and righteously.  Living in a nation where a major tenet is “liberty and justice for all,” we must grant that whatever justice is, it must be for all.  One of the characteristics of justice, we are told, is that it is blind.  It is so because it cannot discriminate based on appearance or lack thereof. 

Liberal policies which are consumed with egalitarian (equality) issues are bent on defining justice, among other erroneous ways, as equality of result based on need.  To them, equal result, not equal opportunity, is “just.”  Although often they are not, sometimes inequalities based on need are just.  A just distribution of grades for a college course should have nothing to do with whether a student “needs” a particular grade.  In this case, the just grade should be assigned on the basis of what the student has earned, not what he needs.  The notion of “need” is extremely ambiguous.  People “need” things for many different reasons.  A student may feel he needs a particular grade in order to qualify for the football team, in order to graduate, in order to continue on the dean’s list so as to qualify for a scholarship, or to increase the student’s self-esteem.  However much sympathy such needs may generate, they should not be relevant in cases like this.  Many believe, perhaps rightly, that a good society will not allow certain fundamental and essential human needs to go unmet while a surplus exists.  Unfortunately need is too elastic a concept to serve as the precise standard required for distributive justice.  Needs have a way of expanding as people become accustomed to former luxuries.  It also seems to me that such efforts by a society to meet essential needs should not be described as justice, but rather as charity. 

How important is it for us to properly understand the issue of social justice?  It is of such importance to the continuance of a free society that Friedrich Hayek spoke of social justice as “the Trojan Horse through which totalitarianism has entered many societies in the world.” ¹ 

I would like to now examine, by analogy, Mr. Obama’s, and other liberals’ assertion that wealth redistribution is economic justice.  I believe you will see in this argument that redistribution of wealth is not only unjust, but also incompatible with freedom.  Let’s imagine, for reasons of our discussion, a society where the following conditions exist:

          1) “Justice” has been achieve by state redistribution (equal distribution, distribution according to need, or any other theory of                distributive “justice”).

          2) All citizens are free to exchange or transfer their holdings in any way they choose.

          3) Any transfer of a person’s holdings by theft, fraud, force or other criminal activity will be recognized as unjust and forbidden by law. 

Therefore, with everyone in our imaginary society now in possession of a just portion of holdings, all subsequent transfers will be just no matter how much they depart from the original state (original redistribution).  It follows logically then that in any free society, where our conditions are met, any noncriminal voluntary transfer or exchange of holdings like property or money will be a just transfer.  It doesn’t take a great mind to see that it would not take long for new holdings to again vary greatly from the original pattern created by state redistribution. This “situation” would confront Mr. Obama and all defenders of wealth redistribution (and other kinds of wealth transfers) with three options: 

          1) They might be sensible and realize that even though great discrepancies in holdings now exist, the disparity resulted from voluntary, legal, and just exchanges.  And so even though the later situation no longer resembles the preferred pattern of distribution (equality), the situation must be judged just and no further meddling with the new result is justified. 

          2) Given the mind-set of liberal ideologues, what is more likely is that after a certain period of time, Mr. Obama would announce that the distribution is once again unacceptable (“unjust”), which fact would require the state to step in to rectify the situation.  The use of words like “rectify,” “do the right thing,” “spread the wealth around,” or “do justice” in this context would certainly be odd since nothing immoral, criminal or unjust occurred.  How then can there be anything to rectify?  But suppose that redistribution, under the name of “justice,” was again implemented by state power and again after free transfers between individuals the same deviations from the preferred equality were again evident?  And suppose this was done several times over with the same legal and free transfers between individuals yielding the same result – “inequality.”  What then?  Would continued state redistribution schemes be just?  Absolutely not!  Note that at the time of each redistribution, people who had acquired holdings honestly and fairly would be deprived of them without recourse; and this would be done in the name of justice!  This, of course, is not justice, but tyranny. 

          3) Should the state eventually grow tired of constantly forcing periodic redistributions, it could pursue the third possible course of action.  It could simply deprive the citizens of the freedom to transfer and exchange their holdings at will.  The state would intrude into the everyday affairs of each citizen and control each and every action. To maintain the status of a “just” society, the state must either continually interfere to stop people from transferring resources as they wish to, or continually (or periodically) interfere to take from some persons resources that others for some reason chose to freely transfer to them.  

This example makes it clear that Mr. Obama’s liberal, leftist, socialist political views of redistribution as economic justice has little to do with justice or morality.  It has to do more with the increase of state control and ultimately totalitarianism, tyranny and loss of liberty. 

“Social justice,” as viewed by Mr. Obama and other leftist socialists, is possible only in a society that is controlled from the top down.  There must be a central agency with the power to force people to accept the state preferred pattern of distribution.  Again, this is the reason Friedrich Hayek could speak of social justice as a Trojan Horse through which totalitarianism has historically taken over many societies. 

Freedom loving Americans must resist this ideological shift to the Left even though they might, in the short run, be “beneficiaries” of Mr. Obama’s misguided political policies of “redistribution of wealth.”  The alternative may just be to wake up one day in a totalitarian America where liberty has been lost because we embraced the deception that it is “just” (fair, right) to take what belongs to someone else because the government deemed it so.  

Theft, even when politically allowed and engaged in by state policies, is theft nonetheless.  And theft always brings a curse.  

May we, as Americans whose heritage is freedom of opportunity for all, not be taken in by the liberal ideologues and elites whose goal is not to be public servants of the people, but rather imperial lords with power over the people. 

‘til next time, 

Danny 

* For more research see Hayek’s The Constitution of Liberty and Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom or view his educational Free to Choose videos online at:  http://www.ideachannel.tv/

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¹(Friedrich Hayek, Law, Legislation and Liberty, Vol. II, page 136)