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

Constitution Day and Supporting our Founding Liberties

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 often 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!

In a modern day when both leaders and voters reward the cunning way that political operatives evade and outright attack the principles enshrined in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, I am always happy to meet others who would rather support liberty than destroy it.

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!

30 July 2018

If You Hope to Better the World, Better Yourself

I have great respect for Harry Browne, who many you probably have never heard of. Here is a wonderful article about him and some of his ideas from the Misses Institute.

It has gotten fashionable for young people to try and change the world (again) for the better.  Of course, every generation has attempted this and a few (like the youth of the late 60s) were so narcissistic about it that we still see the mess they created. Our present crop looks poised to make the latest effort even more flamboyant and destructive.

Harry revoiced the answer to this in the 1970s.  This is a concept that actually features in the Bible, so it has the cache of being tried a few times before.  If you want to make the world a better place, be a better person!

Isn't it simple?  If the world is crashing down (it always is) and everything good is coming to an end (yet again), the best thing you can do to make a positive change is make yourself into the change you want to see.  That should take your whole life and then some, so you should never get too weird about changing anyone or anything else - you have plenty of work on your hands already!

I know - everyone else is the problem and if you can just pass the right legislation or shame the right people, everyone will fall into line and your life will work better.  I didn't mistype that - most of the screaming and violence is all about making life work better for the people who are screaming and breaking things (usually at the expense of the very people they swear they are helping)!  It has nothing to do with anyone else (in a positive way), no matter how loudly they say that it does.  This is a manifestation of the concept that all of a person's problems are someone else's fault. My kids tried this stunt (typically when they were young) and I will give you the answer that I gave them:  So What?

No matter how or by whom you think your life fell apart, no one can really fix that at this point except you. The first part of any solution is (of course) to stop blaming other people or circumstances and just get busy improving things.  You will usually get a lot of help from nice people unless you choose to drive most of them away by getting indignant and angry about things. (I have lots of personal knowledge about this.)

Do you think the world needs improvement?  Improve yourself and you will develop more influence to change others, mostly by inspiring them to make similar improvements to themselves.  So, quit complaining and get to work on the one thing you can influence today:  yourself.

26 July 2018

A Priestly Life in the Trenches

I am a descendant of the Biblical Aaron which makes me a kohen or priest by tradition, and I work to honor this with service in God's temples and other situations that are available to me. Although I am not a Jew in the rabbinical sense and I am not a particular aficionado of rabbis and their lawyerly aspect, I access and serve God in my own way, as he guides me, similar to my fore-bearers.

Before I was born, my parents embraced the spiritual thought and practice taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS). I have been tasked with responsibilities and labors as a holder of the Melchizedek Priesthood that Abraham and Moses also held and as interpreted by the LDS faith.

My obligation is to God before it is to any family or religious tradition.

Mormonism, like some other faiths such as Judaism, do not make a particular profession of priests. There is no paid clergy in the LDS tradition and most men are holders of the priesthood and do priestly service regardless of lineage alongside the labors done to support themselves and their families. It becomes easy to put God's service to the sidelines of life under these conditions and let other matters take precedence. I have lately been trying to better co-mingle God's service and my paid work and this manifests in personally interesting and instructive ways.

For example, I approach most things with "new eyes". I am not an inherently technical person, but I have been blessed with inspiration in relation to technical and professional matters. I end up looking like a rebel among the Information Technology and business orthodoxy. The official term for this is a maverick. As a result, I have never been particularly obedient to prevailing wisdom (which has been personally catastrophic to climbing the business career ladder) and I often approach reoccurring situations from different angles each time they come around in my role as "a curious instrument". God inspires me with what to do in the moment and I strive to follow those promptings as they come and things tend to work out rather well. I end up also being incredibly inconsistent and disorganized, probably due to my poor obedience to inspiration!

I doubt I will ever be a significant figure in such orthodoxical professions as management, education, or information technology, where the bulk of my present income is made at the moment. My method of being led most by inspiration in the moment is quite incompatible with the heavily analysed and procedure-oriented world that dominates everything modern and civilized. At best, I will typically be on the heretical fringes of an otherwise orderly society, laboring in the trenches alongside the kindly common folk, hopefully injecting God into our everyday struggles. I am pleasantly surprised that life and job work themselves out in spite of my unorthodox methodology! It seems to be the fate of a curiously priestly man who acts out his "religion" through a seemingly secular labor for money.

11 July 2018

Who Is Driving Your Car?

In a previous post, we talked about the proclivity of some to surrender control of their lives. As mentioned in the Psychic Proximity Principle, there is something I like to call "weak magnetism" provided by God that gently guides you toward your best potential. The interesting part is that you always have to make a conscious choice to follow that slight intuition - it isn't of sufficient strength to actually run your life. The spirit of God cannot force you to do anything - it can only gently point out the next step forward when we are paying it some attention.

Let's explore an analogy...

It was both a scary and exhilarating day when I got behind the steering wheel of a car.  What a powerful thing. I could now go faster and farther than ever before!  My range was greatly extended from what I could realistically travel on foot or on a bike on any given day.  On the flip side, my ability to do great harm to others (and myself) and damage to trees and buildings among other things was also broadly enhanced. "With great power comes great responsibility" someone like Spiderman's uncle would say about those who operate motor vehicles!

Life is a pretty important thing, best not left to chance. There are plenty of forces that are very willing to push or pull you in any number of directions and if you don't exercise your own will in your own life, there is no telling where you will end up but it will probably involve a "gutter". The great test of this life is how you choose (or choose not) to control it. Imagine if you just let go of the steering wheel of a car and step on the accelerator...

Sometimes, it might be better if you let someone else drive for a while, especially if you are steering toward a cliff. You don't want someone else to be in the driver's seat forever (it is YOUR life), but if the road is particularly dangerous or unknown to you, or it is late at night and you are very tired, it is great to have a fresh and experienced "relief" driver so you don't get yourself killed.

We are mostly weak by nature. It is a practical necessity to attach ourselves to others as guides and sounding boards for our ideas, plans and actions. That is why family is so important, where we have parents, grandparents, and others who have our best interest at heart and provide us with some of the maturity and experience that we lack. We might choose for a time to let the advice of others rule our actions through rocky times, but no one else besides you bears responsibility for what happens to you.

More important, we should not live life alone. We need the deep partnership that marriage was intended to be. In things of such importance, you should accept no cheap substitutes.

Of course, the greatest guide in the meaningful life is God. My advice is always to find more effective means to approach him and get his quiet advice.  I suggest an exploration of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which God established to help us along life's path.

Who do you take advice from?  As a "driver", who would be the best "GPS" system to rely upon? The choice could spell the difference between a rather pointless existence or a life full of meaning and happiness!

24 June 2018

Yearning to Lose Power

Recent shootings and fearful yet angry pushes to eliminate the tools of power (aka guns) will force everyone give up what little power they may have over their lives.

I don't know the deeper purposes of institutional agents. I know a high school football coach gets to keep his job if his teams wins. I know a corporate leader gets to keep her position if profits rise. I know many people want to be influential or wealthy and usually both, and our society is quite willing to exempt such people from higher standards of behavior in hopes that you or I might also enjoy the by-product "perks" of being rich and famous. Many activities speak more to the power and money desired by the individual actors, no matter the rhetoric being employed or some altruistic-sounding cause being espoused. I don't know the deeper motivations of these people, but that may not really matter in the end. It will likely become a simple grab for money and acclaim and the realization that our society has grown to be more accommodating of these motives. People who desire wealth and fame are helped by those who legislatively emasculate everyone in a silly play of hoping to make the world more "safe".

I wrote an essay on using the pain of school shootings to curiously implore parents to pull their kids out of dangerous schools and educate them in homes where mass shootings don't tend to happen. This is an act that will help parents and children be more powerful, not only taking the reins of education, but in responding in a real way to preventing the effects of school shootings.  If most parents took their children out of the large holding pens of schools, there would be less incentive and ability for some crackpot to kill a bunch of unprotected and powerless children. If children are not rendered defenseless through parental inaction and societal traditions, they are in a much better position to avoid or defend against such attacks.

Some people think it's

virtuous to be weak as if it were the same as being humble or innocent. I disagree vehemently with this strange doctrine. If you are an adherent of Christ, you know that Jesus surrendered himself to the authorities and was ultimately killed. The great virtue in this was that Christ had every ability to escape this fate, as he was obviously very powerful and therefore threatening to the leadership of his day, but he chose to give himself up, powerful though he was, to fulfill the larger purpose of God and to do it of his own free will.  Weak people who are rounded up like cattle and then slaughtered have no power at all and have nothing in common with Christ in this respect. It pains me when I hear about the suffering of the weak and powerless and its portrayal as a example of being like Christ - it is most definitely not! The adult Christ was never weak and we should all follow his example in this by gathering whatever strength we can get and wielding it virtuously.

Instead of avoiding the tools of power, such as guns, we should be learning how to use such tools properly and being in control of ourselves around them. Increasingly more shrill calls to eliminate weapons are politically motivated calls to weaken innocent people and those who would be strong enough to protect them while also emboldening sick and evil people who can then act with greater impunity and to more damaging effect. I and my family and others encouraged my sons to join the military and hopefully find paths that include becoming powerful and using that power for good. If they lose their lives in the service of their country, they stand a better chance of doing so as powerful men who sacrificed for a greater cause, like Christ did.

Pathetic demands to limit or eliminate weapons are calls to weakness and more pointless deaths. If others want to be powerless, that is their choice, but I hope to encourage everyone to the higher road of accepting the responsibilities of becoming both powerful and virtuous

10 June 2018

Will You Be Found Wanting?

Do you remember this quote?
You have been weighed, you have been measured, and you have been found wanting.
That is classic Count Adhemar from the memorable A Knight's Tale movie. This film was actually in contention to be a "Sunday" movie, a distinction in our family that the subject matter of a film made it appropriate for Sabbath viewing. It never made it to the third drawer (where Sunday movies live), but I find myself pondering the theme of the movie on a Sunday morning.

It reminds me that God gives us standards upon which we will ultimately be judged. I did an essay on this subject a while back.  The movie quote is actually adapted from Daniel 5:27, where the Jewish prophet Daniel interpreted a divine message of doom to the final Babylonian king. God judged the king and he will also judge each of us through something like a weighing and a measuring.  I suppose a good question is this: Will you be "found wanting"?

In the movie, William Thatcher wanted to "change his stars" and do more than his lowly birth allowed. With a fortuitous opportunity and a lot of work, he styled himself Sir Ulrich von Liechtenstein and worked diligently to become the premier jouster. Early on, his antagonist Adhemar found Ulrich "wanting" or an unworthy competitor. By the end of the film, places had changed and the knighted William unhorses the odious Adhemar, winning the world championship. The "Sunday" theme? - You actually can better yourself! In contrast to the new western "virtue" of militantly saying that you are just fine the way you are, it remains far more impressive to others and to God to make needed improvements and to actually become a better person.  In fact, God expects us to improve and warns that a measurement of that improvement is coming.  Again, will you be found wanting?

I will bring up again my foolishly-titled Psychic Proximity Principle essay and the Feeding the Soul of Steve Jobs booklet that expands upon it. God wants you to move closer to your highest potential and he will gently lead you toward it through the concept of weak magnetic attraction. God has a wonderful reward ready for you but you have to be moving forward on the road toward your potential to merit it.

Unlike A Knight's Tale, the effort toward God's reward is not a game with one winner and a load of losers - every participant can meet the standard! You don't have to be amazing or have impressive titles or awards to win the prize. Being smart or fast doesn't count in this race; continuing effort and persistence do count and everyone, no matter your initial abilities or circumstances, can do these. What I am saying is that you can absolutely measure up!

Don't be worried about watching this movie on the Sabbath - it has important lessons that God wants you to learn and to apply in your life. You can most certainly "change your stars" and win the ultimate championship that is beyond price and lasts forever.  Go for the gold!

27 May 2018

Memorial Day Thoughts

I'm grateful for the opportunity to speak with you this morning on the topic of Memorial Day. I hope not to take too long because you would rather hear from Joshua on some of his missionary experiences.

I recall a tradition in my mother's family of decorating the graves of those family members who had passed on. Although the holiday was established to honor those who died in war, I have no recollection that any of my recent family died in military service. The Church's FamilySearch website lets me know on a regular basis that I have distant cousins that lived in Mexico, crossed the plains with the Mormon Exodus from Nauvoo, and various other events that were well-recorded, so I am certain that someone connected to me will show up one day on some record of US war dead. Although I hope we can settle our national disputes with others off of the warfield, I honor those who give their lives so that our country and our liberty and our own lives can continue.

It brings to mind the event in the Book of Mormon when Nephite descenters led armies of Lamanites into the land, conquering city after city. It was necessary that the great Captain Moroni recruit his countrymen to defend the Nephite people and he devised a way to inspire them:

12 And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it—In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children—and he fastened it upon the end of a pole.
13 And he fastened on his head-plate, and his breastplate, and his shields, and girded on his armor about his loins; and he took the pole, which had on the end thereof his rent coat, (and he called it the title of liberty) and he bowed himself to the earth, and he prayed mightily unto his God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren, so long as there should a band of Christians remain to possess the land—

Sometimes, people must be called upon to defend our cherished values and even give up their lives to do so. Our nation was founded on freedom from oppression and liberty to act by our own wills rather than the desires of others. On occasion, like the Nephites, we have fought wars to retain our liberty and we honor those who gave up their lives in defending that liberty.

On a wider battlefield, God the Father sent us to earth and mortality so that we might all more freely exercise our freedom to choose and to earn an everlasting reward based on our desires and efforts rather than compulsion. The enemy is Satan and those who follow him, determined to take away our freedom to choose eternal life and compel us otherwise. In a figurative, but no less real sense, we fight battles with these adversaries and some fall in the great battle to win exaltation. I have some experience with these losses and you likely do as well. It is tragic to see those you love who fall by the wayside.

In a miraculous way, we are not forever bound to decorate the graves of those who have fallen. Because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and his resurrection, we know that these souls are not lost to us. Our parents and our grandparents, alongside other family members, will be restored to us and, if we seal our families together in the temple and live worthy of it, we will continue to enjoy our familial relationships. We will yet honor our loved ones who gave up their mortal lives for us, not beside their tombstones, but face-to-face and with loving embraces! What a marvelous act of love the Savior has given us of his own choice, that we may live again and do so forever.

For those who have been taken in the larger battle between good and evil, Christ provides another opportunity through his atonement: the ability to repent. Even if you or I or those we love are taken by and follow the enemy of righteousness for a time, we can appeal to Christ, change our course, and be redeemed. There is no loss the Savior cannot restore, no wrong that Jesus cannot correct, as long as we are willing to turn to him and commit ourselves to obedience to his commandments. Nothing need be lost.

So, as you take the time tomorrow to honor those who gave up their lives defending our nation, I pray you will also remember the great sacrifice that our Lord and Savior made to open the way back to our heavenly home. May we keep these thoughts as a memorial and honor them tomorrow and every day thereafter is my hope.

31 March 2018

Alma 44:5 - Liberty and Loyalty from Captain Moroni

I return again to my "gleaning" from recent scripture study.
And now, Zerahemnah, I command you, in the name of that all-powerful God, who has strengthened our arms that we have gained power over you, by our faith, by our religion, and by our rites of worship, and by our church, and by the sacred support which we owe to our wives and our children, by that liberty which binds us to our lands and our country; yea, and also by the maintenance of the sacred word of God, to which we owe all our happiness; and by all that is most dear unto us— (Alma 44:5)
It seems that Moroni, who speaks here, finds that liberty binds up to our lands and country. With the recent spate of immigration away from Syria and toward Western Europe, it is a principle that we see in our own day. Where there is little liberty, there is little loyalty.

Again, It is liberty that binds us to our lands and our country. As social engineers formulate restrictions to individual, family, and group liberties in order to punish perceived racial or political wrongs, the overall loyalty to even “the American country” wanes. For example, in what was once considered only the province of the extreme fringe, secessionist movements are becoming more mainstream through a push toward increased “states’ rights” and a stronger desire for devolution of power from larger centralized parties that see people more as statistical polling numbers to be manipulated.

America itself was always and continues to be an interesting conglomeration. Neither a nation or country based on any one heritage, it could be seen as a modern attempt at a "world" government, or a system that can govern over many disparate peoples. In theory, each family can do "their own thing" and still enjoy the benefits that liberty affords them under the American umbrella. However, that liberty has be be authentic and supported for all, not enforced just for a few "oppressed" groups and denied to the socially-undeserving and "privileged" others.

Liberty for all can and should be fought for at every turn and in every place. In the United States of America, it is traditionally considered the underlying right of everyone. It was the grand principle that God established for all of this children, to facilitate our growth and development.  Let us not so piously battle to suspend universal liberty after it was so passionately enthroned by the American founding fathers and even established by our Eternal Father. Liberty is the higher road and deserves our every loyalty.

22 March 2018

Live and Let Live...I Hope.

After reading some of my posts, I'm sure some people think I am a dirty rotten bigot, a homophobe, a transphobe, racist, and a bad cook. All I can do in response is shrug. I imagine if a cross-dressing gay dude was pointing a gun at me, I would indeed be in fear of him. I do avoid folk that say I don't deserve to draw breath for one reason or another - I don't want any trouble that way. If I do have some sort of "privilege", I guess I have a trailer-trash "can't get ahead" way of not using it.  People must be pretty brilliant in comparison to me - they seem to know far more about me than I have been able to figure out about myself. Apparently, their brainpower gives them the right to legislate and police people like me or ideas like mine out of existence.  I say as I have always done - live and let live.

I have finally gotten to that settled place where I can write what I think. If I think people are being silly in public, I tend to say so these days. If someone is trying to make others miserable, I am more likely to intervene rather than just mind my own business as I commonly did when I was younger. People who express their hatred at a difference of opinion in violence and grand-standing are simply vile and deserve every molecule of disrespect they get. It pains me to see people wasting their time and money on things of no ultimate worth and I'm lately more likely to express that pain.  Unlike some of the up-and-coming generation, I don't threaten the life or liberty of a soul - people can be as silly, loud, obnoxious, and un-respectable as they wish and I will continue to wish them a long and happy life, if they can manage it.

It is a sad time when some people have to move around with security details for simply expressing opinions that others don't agree with. That seems terribly intolerant. I may disagree with you or think you are silly for what you do or think, but I am not going to get violent or threatening about it. I may say that your behavior will lead to heartache and pain, but I am not going to be the instrument to make sure that happens to you.  Life is rough enough and I see no intelligent reason or "right" for anyone to make it any rougher.  I hope my readers see that I am very likely to offer warnings and predictions.  I respect natural consequences enough to trust that I don't have to get involved. Wisdom has a lot to do with avoiding stupid behavior and I feel it is my place to simply impart whatever wisdom I might have to help my fellow travelers.  Everyone can take it or leave it and I won't be forcing people toward my way of thinking through legislation or bullying, just advice.  I hope to say what I think and you can go your own way with no real interference.

If this makes me all those nasty terms that young folks like to fling about, I guess I'm guilty. People can call me what they like with the confidence of knowing that they will have a pleasant tomorrow without having to watch their backs. I hope they are decent enough to afford me the same courtesy. Everyone has their own opinions and, for my part, the best policy available continues to be "live and let live".

23 February 2018

Parents, Consider Schooling Options for the Sake of your Children

There has been yet another school shooting and the media is hard at work to blame guns for this violence. Again, as I have said previously, one solution for these sorts of tragedies is a family decision to keep children away from systemically dangerous "targets" like schools.

Lisa and I made a choice early in our marriage to school our children ourselves as much as we could contrive. Part of our reason to live in the frontiers of New Mexico is the strong homeschooling tradition here and the "hands-off" approach the state government is forced to have about a parent's educational choices for their own children. We were able to take advantage of wonderfully "alternative" schooling opportunities, such as The Learning Center at House Schools, that we were able to find close by. We made conscious choices about the lives of our children and I feel these have paid off enormously.

Please, alongside the mass call for turning schools and communities into gun-free, prison-like "police states", consider the far more personal and responsible choices that each parent can make to better ensure a long and fruitful life for their children. Parents are supposed to put forth their best effort to rear their children into adults that can succeed, even in the dangerous world in which we live. I hope *you* put your children ahead of ideological agendas and don't ignorantly just hand the most crucial part of your child's life (and potentially the end of their lives) over to questionable institutions like public schools. For your child's sake, explore the different educational alternatives available to your family!