23 January 2019

We Want Virtuous People to Have Greater Freedom and Power

I have discovered that my wife really likes Dog the Bounty Hunter.  Duane Chapman and his family often convince the families of his bounties that they are better off in jail and drug rehabilitation, especially if that person's life is out-of-control.  Dog encourages some of the worst elements to get themselves clean, take responsibility for their actions and make their families a higher priority in their lives.  This is good advice for those who have used their freedom poorly.

People usually end up in jail because they cannot control their own behavior. We find that once we put them into a situation where their behavior is under tight external control, it isn't surprising to find that inmates don't develop any more self-control, though they have an great incentive to do so. Upon release from custody, they will likely be even less able to control themselves, after a period of not having to control themselves at all while incarcerated, and will quickly find themselves back in prison.  Recidivism is an expression of a lack of ability to master one's life or lack of interest toward doing so. Some of these returning inmates actually prefer the controlling environment of jail - it imposes a framework of behavior that this person didn't have on their own under circumstances of greater freedom.

There are attempts to create "half-way" houses where released ex-convicts can be helped toward better self-control in the more free society. Their activities may be stringently monitored and certain abilities may still be curtailed toward easing people into a world that needs personal responsibility and virtuous living to function. These are places of hope where people move toward the goal of virtue lived through individual liberty in a free world.  We don't want them to be constrained - we want them to be the sort of people who can be responsible enough to live free.

It doesn't help when society and its government legislate and dictate away the ability of all people to develop and exercise freedom toward self-mastery. One can't learn how to wield power with noble restraint and self-control if "leaders" impose a smothering collectivism on all.  Such overseers seek to turn communities and states and nations into "half-way" environments that appear to be moving toward something that many call a "police state" where every person is institutionally managed and all behavior and speech is heavily monitored and tightly controlled, just like in a prison.  It is the gradual stealing away of liberty from all and the imposition of dictated control as if all people are convicts and can never be trusted to act independently.  In a way, we are all being eased into a prison, whether we are convicted of crimes or not.

My desire is to preach virtue and empower those who are virtuous.  In a republic like America, our government depends on elected officials to be women and men of virtue, putting good and right before the often selfish whims of the easily-stirred masses. Collectivism, as manifested in communism or socialism, says that societies don't really have virtuous people and most people will only do good when compelled to do so, like inmates in a prison. We must reverse the societal trend to monitor and control each other. I choose to see people in a better light, even those who have been incarcerated - we each can improve, help each other to gain more virtue, and reinvest in the liberty that our ancestors worked so hard to establish in the USA.

If you are a virtuous person, I implore you to seek positions of power and to influence others for good.  I pray that your virtue includes goodwill toward those around you in spreading the conditions of personal freedom and a more universal liberty to act. The more good people that take power to act will make our nations and our world a far better place for all!

11 January 2019

God as an Impartial Judge

Many people have a mistaken idea that, because God loves them, they can do as they wish with their lives and plead for mercy later through demands that "love conquers all". This concept of laziness flies in the face of God's work to develop us into people who can become like himself.

"Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:  But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him." - Acts 10:34-35

God is not a respecter of persons.  He must judge us in an impartial way and he cannot make special exceptions for anyone. All must be judged by the same set of rules - this is the nature of justice. Also, God cannot abdicate his role as judge because he loves you - he will not throw aside required repentance and growth through appeals to his love.

Under earthly circumstances, a judge with a close personal relationship with the litigants would have to recuse themselves. God can't do that as he has a close and personal relationship with all of us as our Father and there can be no other judge put on the case.

That is one reason why Christ was sent by God the Father to open the way for mercy under condition of repentance.  God can still be loving through Christ where he must also be a "no respecter of persons" judge.  This is why Christ is referenced as "Love" in many writings - He is the manifestation of God's love where the Father must be the impartial Judge who cannot not recuse himself.

Mercy has already been offered through the works of Christ, you and I cannot appeal to some further mercy or love after the fact when we are brought before God for judgement. We must obey and repent during our mortal lives if we desire a pleasant conclusion. There will be no "throwing yourself on the mercy of the court" in the end - such mercy was extended beforehand and has to be accepted prior to your appearance before "the bench"..

Please don't think that you or I can ignore Christ's offer of mercy now and still access it in the hereafter - now is the time to repent, not later.

04 November 2018

Dallin Oaks: A Better Use of Time

As I prepare for Sunday School lessons at the local congregation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I read this from Dallin Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles from the October 2007 General Conference:
But here is a caution for families. Suppose Church leaders reduce the time required by Church meetings and activities in order to increase the time available for families to be together. This will not achieve its intended purpose unless individual family members—especially parents—vigorously act to increase family togetherness and one-on-one time. Team sports and technology toys like video games and the Internet are already winning away the time of our children and youth. Surfing the Internet is not better than serving the Lord or strengthening the family. Some young men and women are skipping Church youth activities or cutting family time in order to participate in soccer leagues or to pursue various entertainments. Some young people are amusing themselves to death—spiritual death.
Obviously, church leadership was pondering the recent and sweeping changes to Sunday meetings and other activities at least eleven years ago.  If you have wondered why they might be doing this, the quotation above seems to provide a good reason!  The entire talk is an excellent lecture on spending one's time better; counsel that we could all do well to follow.

21 August 2018

Voting for Liberty and for Gary Johnson in the Senate

I have often been hard to pin down politically over the years.  My family is stuffed full of conservative-leaning folk and, on a personal level, I also hold many fiscally and socially conservative views. If you have read any of my writings at all, that should be clear enough to see. I often have a unique take on things, but I end up coming to a pretty conservative stance, usually because our founding fathers chose to enshrine some very important ideals long ago that I find wise.

I am a priest of God twice over and I work to espouse his aims as I see them. I also don't want some theocracy where people are forced to do God's will. God wants you to be free to act in your own way and, as one of his servants, I want the same thing for each of us.  When I tell you what I think a good person should do, I want your behavior to be exercised in an environment where you don't have to do what God and his servants say.

I am an enemy of big government. The deep state is evil and I applaud Donald Trump in his efforts to "drain the swamp". Our constitution was designed to limit the power of government in our lives and I stand four-square for a Bill of Rights that gives everyone liberty from coercion, even coercion that may seem to lead to a good end. I want to stop government from dictating what toilet I can sit on, what light bulbs I am permitted to use, what words I can say, or who I can associate with.  I want real liberty!

I am a registered libertarian and I typically vote that way when I am given the option. I don't want you to become a slave to deviancy or drugs or to make other silly choices, but the principles of liberty are more important than legislating to command obedience through an intrusive government. I prefer to preach freedom toward better choices rather than to demand that you do what I say through force!

I chose not to vote for Gary Johnson in the last presidential election to magnify my wife's more conservative pick, but I think Gary would be an excellent voice in the Senate.  As a New Mexican, I put my support behind Gary in his run for the Senate against tyrannical government and for liberty!

12 August 2018

Moving to the Owned Server

There have been a lot of changes to the online world and the security and privacy requirements for public vendors of content are getting more and more difficult to meet. Some services have chosen to be shuttered rather than take the risk of losing money in the new environment.

I have run my own web server for many years and put essay collections there among other things, but usually put newer essays meant for general consumption on Blogger and lately advertised each through Facebook.  It has worked well, but I have been feeling the need (call it inspiration) to publish upcoming essays alongside the collections on a server that I control and maintain. If a vendor like Blogger or Facebook chose to walk away from the services that I use right now, I may lose the ability to get essays to you fine readers.

I suppose I could move to other vendors when my present circumstances fall apart, but I would rather take control of the situation now before I get pushed against some wall.  In the future, my new content will be available at http://ruach.quix.us and still be advertised through Facebook and other venues.
My server has some interesting abilities that Blogger lacks, so I intend to take better advantage of those, especially ones that keep you reading! I hope you spend more time reading even if you aren't responding to a Facebook post.

As always, I thank all of you for being such loyal readers!

10 August 2018

The Deserved Death of the Child-Centered Life

Parents let their kids run the family. Education panders to the desires of students and their despised and dismissed parent-lackeys. Governments coddle childishness for their own political ends. The immature majority lust for the irresponsibility of socialism and the lure of "free stuff" stolen from others through police-state democracy.

Disclosure:  I work for a college and make a living from tuition and state education funding.

Let's see an example that I know something about:  college education.

College tends to care too much about the student and too little about their actual training. How a person feels about their educational experience isn't germane to what college should be doing, which is inculcating a body of knowledge and practice that produces success along a specific professional path. Your professors should know more than you do about the proper way to shape you for a chosen path and a student should submit to their training. That is the relationship and the student's attitude about it is irrelevant - either conform to the training path or leave it.

The original and proper role of the college has always been training toward specialized professions. There was a need for proper physicians, lawyers, clerics, scribes, courtiers, captains, and so forth. Colleges of various stripes were conceived to train up such people. A promising person entered college, submitted to the training of professors, and (if they survived) exited as a trained professional, ready to practice. Once upon a time, if you went to the Harvard Law School with its rigorous training, you were heavily sought-after because it had a reputation for graduating excellent lawyers. That was how the institution of college was meant to function.

Sadly, college are transitioning from making students competent into encouraging incompetent and unthinking behavior for institutional profit.
Children and other immature people often make very foolish choices, typically because they ignore the counsel of wiser and more experienced people or blindly put their trust in silly, pandering, and greedy societies. Consequently, there are many, many people who really have no business being in college, yet they do it anyway with the full encouragement of everyone.  The sad fact is that colleges keep recruiting such naive people and twisting the institution into irrelevancy to try and keep such people attending, mostly for the money.

The greatest travesty is giving students a large voice in their training when they have no legitimate feedback to give other than their childish "feelings". The only useful feedback comes from successful practitioners further along the professional path that consumed the training and know if it is useful or not. The only input from a student should be which path to take, knowing that even if they only get that one choice, they will still sometimes choose the wrong path for silly reasons. Most colleges are perfectly willing to let a person make the wrong choice because it is far more interesting to extract the money that comes with a student than to help them make wise choices, often away from college attendance.  Pandering to the silly dreams and desires of children is just too profitable to be ignored (though it should be)!

Adults are supposed to prepare children for their future life as adults.  What we see far more often are old children demanding the unlimited extension of childhood while parents and other former adults simply take the easy path of abdication.  It might be seen as some sinister plot toward easy domination, but more likely, just laziness and weakness in those of greater age (but not maturity).

We cannot let children and the childish run things. They are inherently irresponsible, waste precious resources like mad, and cannot be treated with reason.  Experienced and wise adults must be in charge of things and assert their earned authority, knowing better what children really need!

05 August 2018

The Perpetual Computer Buyer's Guide

The posts have been a little heavy-handed of late, probably because I am actually a very heavy-handed guy!  To lighten up things a bit, how about my perennial favorite, The Perpetual Computer Buyer's Guide?  I haven't changed a word in it in over ten years and it is still really good advice for getting your next computer, if I say so myself (which I do).  Enjoy!