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.

27 September 2019

Have Faith

Young people expect a lot and they are angry and vengeful toward previous generations and often toward God for not meeting their expectations.

Some of my kids find me to be a poor father. I am actually quite a lot like my own father and I think he has been pretty good in the main. Mom was a fine mother as well despite the usual imperfections. My wife and I worked to make sure that we had a better relationship than any of our parents could manage - my parents divorced when I was just entering adolescence and I was determined that I wouldn't do that when it was my turn.  I haven't divorced and my children didn't have to deal with that damaging situation. We generated better circumstances than the previous generation but that just wasn't good enough as far as some of my children were concerned.

It is like climate change.  Children lack any sense of history, especially if their parents never read them Grimm's fairy tales, so they don't understand that things like nasty witches, expanding deserts, damsels in distress, broken world records, simpletons, trends toward heating or cooling, and the powerful preying on the weak have always been with us.  These things are no one person's particular fault and no one person is actually responsible for solving things globally. Individually, we need to be and do good and better, but "the collective" will always tend toward evil a la the Tower of Babel from that unfashionable Bible.  God typically works on the individual scale, but he will ultimately correct things but do so in a way that might not suit the preferences of short-sighted children.

It's funny - young hellions like Miss Thunberg screech about how terrible adults are, but we know a few things that she can't seem to grasp:  Things work out and Good (actually God) will triumph.  The young have a decided lack of faith on every level. Sadly, they will find themselves with bad results if they continue to ignore the absolute centrality of faith in and action resulting from the goodness of God.

I know I am a pretty bad father who didn't divorce the way I should have and I am not the endless well of resources that every child demands so that they can have a blissful life of ease. However I did learn the lessons my parents and their parents tried to teach me:  God is there and those who stay by Him will enjoy the inevitable victory that He will win.  For my children and their contemporaries, I and my generation falteringly pass this knowledge on to you and you would do well to live your life by it.

06 September 2019

Socialism and Liberty: A Fantasy Union

Socialism is an imaginary human management system that will not work until every human is under its management. In no case will *every* human submit to such a system without some external and absolute tyranny, which also won't work.

Liberty is the state of mortal being that is ordained by God. Every human enjoys liberty insofar as they exercise it. Everyone exercises some liberty even if they have no intention of doing so. You cannot fully abdicate your liberty to others, no matter how much they or you desire it.

Sometimes, people are tricked into the idea that Socialism can create Liberty, but this is not so.  Socialism only spreads responsibility among the group and allows others to attempt to regulate an individual's actions. Liberty insists on full individual responsibility and full consequences for individual choices. Liberty sounds good but few actually desire it fully - most people are allured by the fiction that one can do as they please and a family, community, or nation will bear the costs of consequences and responsibility. One can only ignore such costs for a while and others rarely indulge long-term.

Socialism teaches people to be as irresponsible as they can for as long as they can and to "skip out" on consequences. Socialists coddle the childish in us in exchange for our allegiance, which proves to be short-term at best - children (literally or figuratively) are rarely loyal through the lean times that socialism eventually demands of its disciples.

We are living in a time where we begin to see that no significant amount of irresponsibility can be born by the collective "others" indefinitely. There is no place where more than a handful of people can act without consequence and society can actually bear the full cost of it.

We sometimes get a gentle hand and a soft shoulder in our troubles, but we cannot rely on an eternal supply of these. We have our liberty, for better or worse, and each of us must learn to use it responsibly and with full understanding and acceptance of its consequences. Socialism, in spite of promises and "good intentions", cannot sufficiently fill the role that each of us should take upon ourselves.