23 July 2020

Forced Into the Mask

I find myself barraged by reasons that others wear a mask during this CoVid-19 hysteria. I will tell you why I can be seen wearing a mask. It is probably for different reasons than justify those around me.

Unlike so many others, I don't do wear the mask to protect the health of someone else or the health of myself. I firmly trust that as this virus moves throughout the population (sooner better than later), individuals will either build up an immunity to it or die. I believe that mask use, "social distancing", and curbs on commerce designed to "flatten the curve" only serve to destroy an otherwise healthy economy and empower evil people with copious amounts of time to devise nefarious ways to dominate others and destroy our sacred American liberties. I firmly hold that everyone will eventually be exposed and either survive their exposure or not and we should not allow any time for terrible people to find ways to capitalize on people's fears.

I see the mask as a symbol in our complicity to allow fear, deception, and duplicity to control us. Every reputable source available has reported on the ineffectiveness of the mask in blocking the virus, making the mask nothing more than some strange symbol of obedience to an either ignorant or pandering emergency authority. I reject such authority and the managed hysteria that drives it. For this reason, I detest the mask and only wear it because I am compelled to do so as follows.

The Threat of My Employment

It has been made very clear that I must wear a mask in the office as a new condition of my ongoing employment. I avoid this issue currently by working from home, but that situation is likely to change at some point. As a state-funded entity, my employer is just as compelled as I am to behave this way, though administrators may also cheer the state mandate individually. However, when you see me wear a mask in my work setting, it is because I am compelled to do so under threat of state-dictated employment termination.

The Threat of Citation or Detainment

As time has passed, suggested actions against the virus have been strengthened into mandates with real punishments. Although I have not seen anyone prosecuted for "mask mandates" in my town, I have seen such emergency orders used to accost citizens and prosecute them elsewhere. I have largely avoided this threat by choosing to remain in my home as much as possible. I do not do this because it is a recommended method to "flatten the curve" but to avoid entanglements with law enforcement and a larger circle of purtanical "snitches" that may lie in wait to report me.

The Priestly Ability to Serve

I also wear the mask when I perform my priestly duties and serve in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Though exception allows me to avoid the mask by staying away from church buildings, I would feel derelict in my duties to God and his children if I took such an exemption from service. In this case, I only wear the mask in church to attend the priestly service I perform under covenant with God.

The New World Religion of the Mask as a Replacement for American Exceptionalism

Over the last ten years, I have watched my country change into a place I can hardly recognize. The mask serves as a poignant symbol of the new government-established and compelled "public health" religion that has infused our land.

Liberty and a pluralistic society have not just disappeared, they are routinely belittled and punished in this time of ideological opportunism born of fear. Our national value of having different peoples living together in peace is simply no longer acceptable to agitating cultural squatters who seek to "divide and conquer" the United States and its founding principles.
Our Constitution that defended my liberal values of equal freedom from government coercion and equal justice and laws that pertain to all is flatly ignored in the perverse names of the newer demands of "social justice" and "public health". I have little allegiance to a system that officially separates people into groups and then showers such groups with either special privileges or cruel repressions, all praised by legislatures and stamped with an executive seal.

Recent weeks have seen urban centers terrorized by mobs and the reluctance by many "leaders" to re-establish order. Even elected officials join in the action to politically pander to "disgruntled" groups. Again, this is not the America of ten years ago and it is made much more like the squalid, corrupted, and enslaved parts of the world every passing day. Where will Central America's refugees go for real asylum in the future when our country is just as ruined as theirs?

Our independence has been buried and our revolution from foreign oppression is ultimately recorded as a loss. We have extinguished the "shining light on the hill" and watched as our families and communities are plunged into a repressive state darkness under the guise of a "saving" mask and other actions. The soul of The United States of America has simply died and this foundling tyranny that still bears its name is a cruel mockery of our founding. I would rather perish defending the principles of our liberty than die cowering in some corner, trusting to some purported salvation from schemers and a bit of fabric on my face.

19 July 2020

The Robustness Principle

"Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send"
Postel J., (1989) Request for Comment (RFC) 1122, Requirements for Internet Hosts -- Communication Layers, 1.2.2 - Robustness Principle.
There are very few people who have been so wise and productive that I choose to revere them. One of these is the computer scientist Jon Postel, whose list of accomplishments is long.

If you are reading this now, you have Jon and a handful of others to thank for the massive "network of networks" that each of us use everyday in our digital communications. Youtube, Netflix, Facebook, and everything else on the Internet owe a great debt of gratitude to Jon and his collegues who concieved, designed, and built the inter-network in the first place.

Most people consider computer science to be pretty esoteric, however I have found that in any field of endeavor, certain principles emerge that, not only explain reality, but guide us to better and wiser ways of being. One of these was identified by Jon Postel and is an underlying concept that makes the Internet work as well as it does - robustness. Used in our everday interactions with others, the principle of robustness would stamp out the forces of censorship and "cancel" culture and allow for more open and effective communication among all.

First off, the principle teaches to never reject a message, no matter how poorly constructed or transmitted. Always try to find some way to derive meaning from all attempts at communication and give a useful response. In computer science, even if a digital packet is mal-formed and doesn't follow standard protocol, the robust listener will attempt to process and act upon it regardless, even if the response can only be an error message. In wider communication, if someone shouts at you in a language and using terms that are not recognized, robust people don't just walk away from the attempt- you somehow signal to them that you don't understand at the very least. Much of effective communication has to do with negotiation upon what terms and methods each party can accept messages. As an example, the best "error messages" are those that attempt to see a sender's intent and offer a suggestion toward better communication - perhaps "I'm confused. Do you mean this?" This is at the heart of the axiom "Be liberal in what you accept..."

When responses are given, it is most useful to be "conservative", which is another way to say to fall back upon established communication standards and protocols. Computer science is loaded with standards (Jon Postel was a heavy promulgator and editor of the RFCs, or the library of internet standards, among so much else) and the most effective and useful communication between computers and devices over networks happens when standard protocols for message transfer are used. A successful "citizen" of the "community" is one who knows and uses the established "language" in standard ways that other citizens readily understand. When a person sends a well-formed message (we call that "conservative" in computer terms), that message is received, understood as widely as possible, and able to be acted up on as the sender intended. A "conservative" response allows communication to flow more freely, efficiently, effectively, and widely - the hallmarks of good interchange.

In the end, the winners are those who are the best communicators, whether that is in technology or more generally in life. We are living in an aberrant moment in time where screaming nonsense with fingers plugging ears seems to be making waves and getting attention. This cannot and will not last long as it is not robust and will not stand up to the tests of time. Those who see some success from disrupting interchange today will find themselves side-lined and practically ignored tomorrow as they lack the understanding of protocols and standards that make effective communication and bring results. What is true of digital network attacks is just as true of constantly shouted slurs - it may make its way into every corner of the globe, but there will be no real change made and you will see the dumping of such messages into what computer scientists call "the bit bucket", or something like the social version of a rubbish bin. Potential listeners will learn to filter or eliminate or ignore such noise and the creators of it as an established response and seek out others who work to establish communication.

Do you want to survive and thrive in any society, technological or social? Take a lesson from Jon Postel and learn how to be robust!

13 December 2019

Reacting to Social Justice Warriors (SJWs)

The Book of Mormon has so many jewels that help us deal with troubling times!

One of the recent manifestations of troubles is the rise of Social Justice Warriors, sometimes known as SJWs, and their increasingly successful forays into many political and social institutions.  It is easy to think of an SJW as simply a high-spirited defender of various rights and peoples, but all too often we see such folks engage in riotous behavior and some of their more punitive proposals codified in regulation.  They seem nice and good in the beginning, but as they gain some influence, we see many of them taking a decidedly dark turn.

I was reading today in 3 Nephi 3:11-12, where the prophet Mormon give us some insight into a powerful political group called the Gadianton Robbers (v.11) and how the established government and their supporters chose to deal with them (v.12).

I highlight in red a phrase that should ring true of the SJW, who might be identified as one current incarnation of the Robbers:
11 And now it came to pass when Lachoneus received this epistle he was exceedingly astonished, because of the boldness of Giddianhi demanding the possession of the land of the Nephites, and also of threatening the people and avenging the wrongs of those that had received no wrong, save it were they had wronged themselves by dissenting away unto those wicked and abominable robbers.
Most SJWs will loudly trumpet their defense of those who are oppressed (like the "wrong"-ed above).  Some go so far as to take destructive action, perhaps even to commit homocide or extinction (as Giddianhi threatens by letter), to "avenge" a perceived oppression.  Not only can we see the stated aims of SJWs reflected in the Gadiantion Robbers of the past, but we get hints from the methods of the Robbers of what our modern SJWs may do in the future.

Verse 12 lets us know how Lachoneus, the governor of the people, reacted to such "defenders" of the "wronged" in his time:
12 Now behold, this Lachoneus, the governor, was a just man, and could not be frightened by the demands and the threatenings of a robber; therefore he did not hearken to the epistle of Giddianhi, the governor of the robbers, but he did cause that his people should cry unto the Lord for strength against the time that the robbers should come down against them.

The governor called on his people to make an appeal to God for strength against the Robbers. This same counsel might see our society through the wiles of the SJW as well. Robbers sometimes encouraged people to join their ranks, much like SJWs do today, and personal strength was needed to persuade the innocent from being "converted" into Robbers (or SJWs) themselves and turning against God in favor of social praise and riches.

As Lachoneus counsels, let us strengthen ourselves through a renewed commitment to God against mis-guided violence and a rejection of godly principles and living. Instead of turning to charismatic talkers and children and "you are just fine as you are" evangelists, let us hold fast to Jesus Christ and his commandments that persuade us to repentance and betterment and joy.

There will often be Robbers and SJWs among us.  According to Mormon and Lachoneus, our part is not to give in to their demands but to choose higher paths ordained by God.

21 November 2019

The Letter from James (James 1 - 5)

After all the elaborate writing of Paul, I always find the epistle of James to be a wonderful and understandable respite, except for the fact that James highlights many principles of behavior and living on which we need to be working!

Here is a bit of a list that I came up with.  Surely, all of you could come up with better lists, given how "meaty" James is!

  • It is better to be a "low" person with afflictions than a rich man living in ease. (1:9-11)
  • Everyone is tempted (not just "bad" people) - it is how we endure temptations that matters (1:12-15)
  • Actually being a doing good is much better than hearing and talking about doing good. (1:22-25)
  • Pure Religion - visit the fatherless children and widows - sounds like ministering! (1:27)
  • You shouldn't treat people differently, rich or poor. (2:1-9) 
  • You can't pick and choose the laws you keep, you have to keep them all. (2:10-12)
  • "...faith without works is dead..." (2:17-26)
  • Be careful and thoughtful of what you say (I need to work on this one) (all of chapter 3)
  • Lusting leads to war (4:1-5)
  • Be humble and resist evil (4:6-10)
  • Don't spend your life acquiring riches. (5:1-6)
  • Be patient in doing good and following the Lord until he comes (5:7-20)
Hopefully, you can come up with better specifics on how to be!

14 November 2019

Changing a Climate Without a Clue

Climate is changing all the time. In what records scientists have been able to develop, there have been things like ice ages and warming trends in the past, among all sort of variations. These seem to have been happening for the entire lifetime of the earth, which length of life there is all sorts of debate. Basically, experts can't definitively agree on much about how the earth works, much less something as basic as its age.

A first painful question:  How do we know if the changes were are observing now in the Earth's climate are really anything that we can affect?

I don't think the actions of humans created the last big ice age - either there were far too few of us or we were more like apes and therefore, by politically correct (pc) standards, totally benign. Why did the climate make a big change then and why?  All we can do is shrug and say "wasn't us!"

Some painful follow-up questions:  What if our heroic efforts to suppress temperature rise actually work and we interfere with a *natural* and "necessary* change in climate?  How do we know if a change in climate is more *natural* (aka pc-good) or if it is more "man-made" (aka pc-bad)?  If climate has always changed over time (looks like it has), how can we ever tell a "good" change from a "bad" change or even guess at a cause, much less if it is altruistic or malevolent?

In any particular change, some species look as if they flourish and others seem to suffer or even go extinct.  Dinosaurs suffered in past climate "catastophies" and mammals ended up flourishing.  Should the dinosaur have been preserved somehow at the expense of those nasty mammals (which includes you)?  Regardless, past climate change was out of the hands of either of these species and things proceeded without an intervention that we can definitely identify. For all we know, the planet wants humanity extinct and we are just acting terribly selfish!

Obviously given the rhetoric, many people think our technology or intelligence can stave off the next global climate event.  Everyone seems terribly sure that it can be done with no real evidence to back up the effectiveness of any proposed action. Yet, we are being demanded by children and politicians that we must seriously curtail humanity in the hope that it will pull our current climatic situation toward a more "positive" direction.  Of course, the children are angry that we terrible adults should have been doing this decades (millennia) ago and we may already be passed an undefinable "point of no return".

For all we know, the "positive" trend could be the warming of the earth and rise of sea-level that we think is happening today - some posit that the earth experienced such conditions in the extreme past and humans, if they existed then at all, didn't seem to take drastic steps to prophylacticly devolve like some demand that we must do today.  Perhaps the heating is returning us to better conditions for life on our planet that existed eons ago!  It could be "the great circle of life" manifesting itself.

Last painful questions: Why does anyone think our world of a few hundred years ago or last week is definitely closer to "proper" (pc-good) than it is today or will be a hundred (or million) years from now?  Who is so sure of this that they are willing to take the entire human race one huge, collective step backwards?  Should we be fighting against what could be the best climate for our world?

Depressingly, too few of our "experts" are willing to admit that questions about the climate are likely unanswerable and that curtailing development has just as much chance of derailing the natural and good course of the world as the chances of "correcting" things and that such efforts might prove to be negligible in either direction of "good" or "bad" results on the climate while possibly distracting humanity from moving forward in the bargain. There is more a political sideshow being acted out than a scientific or even "logical" argument being raised. I think we need more scientists and "leaders" to eschew the financial and honorific awards of playing politics and actually leveling with the world's people.  We don't know much about "climate change" except that it seems to be a regular feature of this stubborn planet, no matter what we collectively or individually choose to pompously do to alter its course.

10 November 2019

The Struggle to Find Masculinity

I listen often to a psychologist and college professor named Jordan Peterson and his insights into our current social upheavels. I was strongly impressed to share this snippet of one of his lectures on masculinity.  In his own way, he describes the sort of responsibility that is particularly resonate with young men that have often been cast aside as worthless and destructive to an emasculated world desired by some.

For my part, I encourage everyone to seek wisdom and they will often find themselves at the feet of Jesus Christ. If you get there through the words of a psychologist or at the hands of a priest, it matters little.  Christ will help you find the true masculinity and transcendence that your soul demands.  I don't pretend to be some paragon of virtue, but I have become acquainted with Jesus and his teachings from many sources and I invite all to find the truth of God through his prophets.  It is a worthy pursuit for any who seeks the divine masculine!

31 October 2019

My Own Gratitude

As I look back on my life so far, I remember again that I am profoundly blessed and I thank God for his watch-care for me and my family. It can all be summed up in one word: gratitude.

My mom generously gifted the house in Tucumcari to us and we were initially preparing it for sale until Lisa suggested living in it, her continuing love of the area coming through. After a huge downsizing, she is snuggly nesting in her new place. I still work my weekdays about a hundred miles away in Portales and spend time with her on the weekends. I am grateful for the generousity of my mother!

Speaking of the job, I am blessed to continue my work at Eastern New Mexico University, administering some computer servers and applications. It can be a bit more pressure than I prefer and I will surely appreciate retirement when it comes, but it is fine employment that lets me provide well for my family. Few jobs pay as much in this area and I have friendly people to work with, so I hope I am not found complaining too much during the rough times!

My father is a great (sometimes better than I am) influence on my adult children. Three of my sons are serving our country in the military in many ways due to his encouragement. I never thought I would have such a military family, but it isn't surprising given the service of both Lisa's parents as Marines and Dad's time in the Air Force. Such service provides some wonderful opportunities to develop skills and discipline. I am very grateful for their willingness to give up part of their lives for our nation.

My children are all engaged in interesting pursuits, from cleaning petrified wood and water lines to building earthships and caring for the disabled, each chasing their own stars. It has been especially gratifying that we were able to celebrate a marriage this summer and the beginning of a new family!  I am a happy father for the development of my adult children.

Of course, I bask in the love of my wife, Lisa.  I feel undeserving most of the time, but she resolutely cherishes me and our life together anyway. It is hard to find anything for which I am more grateful than the enduring love and companionship of my wife!

Most of all, I am grateful for God's greatest gift, his son Jesus Christ, who payed for my sins and works to give me a glorious future. In so many ways and seemingly every day, God provides the inspiration that I need to do what must be done and I am surpassingly grateful for his interventions in my life!

I hope each of you can find many things in life for which you can feel gratitude and express it often to those around you.