The random rantings and ravings of a self-identified geek ranging from controversial to commonplace to comedic
August 23, 2015

No Trump Card

Everyone who has been following the ongoing Republican political primary has been surprised, by candidate Donald Trump’s continued dominance in the polls. No one that I have heard from predicted that he would be a serious contender – let alone at the top of the polls. In spite of Trump’s strident, recent statements he has held his lead to the wonderment of all. Indeed, the man seems completely bulletproof when it comes to saying things that might get him in trouble.

I believe the reason for Trump’s continued success stems from the fact that he channels the justified anger that so many Americans feel at the weak futility of our current leadership. We now have a Republican congress that seems disinclined to do anything to oppose a president who is bent on eroding our liberties and weakening our great nation. Trump’s strident and sometimes angry message resonates with Republican voters who are fed-up with the status quo. To his supporters, Trump seems like the answer – a bold, plain-spoken, outsider who will break us free of our current malaise. That he sometimes acts like a jerk does not deter them – quite the contrary, they see it as an expression of their own frustration at being effectively disenfranchised and unrepresented in a government that is increasingly out-of-touch with them. Honestly, I totally get that.

I believe that Trump supporters have correctly identified the problem, but I also believe that they have applied the wrong solution. Trump is, without doubt, a bold speaker – just as he is, without doubt, a very successful business man. He has boldly said some self-evidently true things that are so rarely said that it is quite refreshing to hear them. His lack of polish is endearing to a public that is sick and tired of being lied to by smooth-talking politicians. I too am sick of being lied to by politicians who say they’ll fight for what’s right and then don’t do it.

And that brings me to the subject of trust. Trust is so important for conservative voters who have gotten burned more times than we can count by candidates who talked a conservative talk, but haven’t walked that walk. For my money, the only reliable way to tell if a political candidate will do what he says he will do is to look at his record and see if that’s what he’s done in the past. And this is where I start to get some serious heartburn about Mr. Trump. First and foremost the man has said “I do” three times, and while the jury may still be out on the last time, the first two times he certainly did not do. If divorce alone doesn’t bother you, then consider that he cheated on wife number one with wife number two before he divorced the former and married the latter. Granted that is in the past, but Trump also maintains that he doesn’t feel the need to directly ask God’s forgiveness for anything that he has done. It may sound clichéd, but if the man can’t be trusted to keep his marriage vows, how can we trust him for anything else? Don’t expect to find a Reagan with the personal life of a Clinton. It doesn’t work that way

But we don’t need to look as far as Trump’s personal life to find things that ought to make us queasy. Over his career he has shown a penchant for using eminent domain to try to seize land for his development projects. In one instance the story set up very much like the plot from the Pixar movie “Up,” with Trump attempting to throw an aged woman named Vera Coking  out of her home. That doesn’t look very much like a strong regard for personal property rights. Now of course, the argument can be made that over time Trump has evolved to the political right  – as he has claimed recently. For all we know, maybe he has. But that’s the trouble, we don’t know, and while we may use many words to describe him, repentant probably isn’t one of them. Trump has flipped his views on virtually every major political issue since 2000, and while I sincerely hope that he is truly convinced of the merits of conservative principles, he has had no opportunity to prove what he really believes.

Finally, I believe there is a strong argument against Trump from expediency alone. Doesn’t it strike you as odd that with all the news that Trump is making and all the attention he is getting, nobody on the left or in the mainstream media, (but I repeat myself), has said anything about his personal life? You’d think that would be all over the place given Mr. Trump’s rise to prominence and sordid marital history. This should make us uneasy, because it looks very much like the media is holding off on trotting out Trump’s soap-opera personal life until after he cinches the Republican nomination. It wouldn’t be the first time the media has used such a tactic.

I agree that America needs strong, conservative leadership. I just don’t think that Trump is our man. We can do much better, and we need to. Yes, we’ve gotten burned by a lot of smooth-talking politicians, but they are not the only ones who are capable of deceiving. Moreover even with good intentions, it takes an incredible amount of moral courage to go to Washington D.C. and stand for conservative principles. Trump has a lot of bluster, and perhaps even a modicum of real courage, but based on what we’ve seen of his record, we ought to be concerned that he does not possess the kind of courage and commitment to doing right no matter what, that will be required to turn our country around. That’s why, in my opinion, he is no Republican Trump card.

July 4, 2015

The Name Of The Game: Why Gays Will Never Get What They Want

Much has been said about the Supreme Court’s recently passed legislation (choice of wording intentional) in regard to homosexual “marriage.” The Supreme Court’s decision is part of a series of ongoing actions by homosexuals and their allies. The legality of committing the specific actions that define homosexuality has been settled for a long time. No one has been trying to prevent homosexuals from doing what they want – be it living together, holding “marriage” ceremonies, or buying cakes and flowers.

And no, I don’t consider marriage licenses to be something the homosexuals really want. Let me explain: Most homosexual unions don’t even last as long as most heterosexual unions. The crowd lobbying for homosexual “marriage” is the same crowd that are doing everything they can to make marriage a dead letter. After all, what do they care about marriage? But even if we allow, for arguments sake, that homosexual “marriage” is the goal, does anyone really believe that there are not plenty of weddings chapels, florists, and bakers who would be willing to participate in such a ceremony? Why then do homosexuals seem to be actively seeking out Christian business owners? I suppose most gay activists would deny it, but deep down I think we all realize that this is not about marriage or any of the trappings that usually go with it. Both sides realize that this is about something bigger than cake, flowers, or a piece of paper saying that two parties are “married.”

All this raises the question: what is this struggle really about? The answer to that question should be clear by now. This is a battle for complete societal acceptance of homosexuality. Homosexuals have demonstrated that they will not be content as long as anyone is allowed to register their disapproval. They are more than happy to financially ruin anyone who would be unwilling to participate in a homosexual “marriage.” Right now that is all they can do to those who oppose them. However, the heartless, and yes, even vindictive way in which they view the destruction of Christian business owners’ means of livelihood leaves one to imagine what else they would do if they had the power. That anyone would refuse to lend their approval and acceptance is unacceptable, and in their eyes, worthy of any punishment. It was never about the goods and services involved – as this latest ruling indicates. The goal of this crusade is to force everyone to participate in legitimizing and approving the practice of committing homosexual acts.

All this is apparent enough, but I think it is time we asked why homosexuals are so desperate for public approval. There will always be disagreements on moral issues, and there will always be competing viewpoints, why then is it so important that dissent cease in regard to this one? I think the answer lies in the conscience that God has given to every man and woman. The boisterous homosexual clamor for approval is not the calm, self assured firmness of those who know that God and right are on their side. Christians, of all people, know what is is to stand for what is right even in the face of condemnation. They find strength and acceptance from God even if they do not receive it from men. By contrast, homosexuals feel they must find acceptance with men precisely because, in their hearts, they know that they cannot find it with God. (And nothing enrages them more than being reminded of God’s unambiguous view on the subject.) This is why homosexuals will never be content while anyone refuses to agree that what they are doing is right. They want our acceptance, celebration, and approval, and they will do whatever they can to hurt us as long as we refuse to give it to them.

Right now it seems like they are winning. And politically, perhaps they are. But to understand the aim of the homosexual agenda is to realize that they are no closer to achieving their goal of complete acceptance than they ever where. The goal is to force Christians to accept and give their blessing to homosexuality. That goal will never be reached. Christians – real Christians – will not yield. They can take our livelihood, throw us in prison, and yes, even kill us, but they will never receive that satisfaction from us. More importantly, they will never get it from God.

April 18, 2015

The Myth of Electability

In my experience a lack of “electability ” is used almost exclusively to denigrate conservative political candidates whom the speaker would otherwise lend his support to. Personally, I think it is time we stopped worrying about that concept – at least as it is commonly used.

In my state senate district (Texas SD 10) we used to be represented by a radical, left-wing, virulently pro-abortion woman, Wendy Davis. You see, while the part of SD 10 that I live in is solidly Republican, the district includes precincts that lean the other way. This makes SD 10 the only swing senate district in the state of Texas. Wendy got that seat by defeating an establishment and all-round only-as-conservative-as-he-should-be Republican candidate. She kept it by defeating another Republican contender of the same stripe. It wasn’t until a Tea Party Conservative named Konni Burton got into the fight that SD 10 as once again wrested from the Democrat Party. Now you’d think that in a district that elected a liberal like Wendy Davis, a more moderate candidate would have a better chance than a Conservative like Konni, but the fact of the matter is, she did what two moderate conservatives could not do, and she did it in a swing district where she shouldn’t have had as much “electability” as they did.

Contrast this with what has happened on the national stage in the last two presidential elections. Establishment, moderate, Republicans, after dropping staggering amounts of money to beat out more conservative candidates in the primary, have gone down to defeat twice.

To be clear, we ought to be concerned that the individual we choose to champion our beliefs in government be sane and as well-spoken as possible. But it does not matter how articulate, telegenic, and charming that individual is if he does not represent our fundamental beliefs. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having the gift of communication. Ronald Reagan was the greatest president in modern history and was both eloquent and personally charming. But it was not this alone that made him special – it was the fact that these traits were found together in a man of genuine conviction and principle. He demonstrated that he was willing to take immense criticism for standing on those principles. While we look back on him fondly, we must not forget that a lot of people despised him for that. He was nothing if not a polarizing character.

As conservatives we had better understand this: No matter who the candidate is, if he has a track record of fighting for good causes – of actually doing conservative things as opposed to just saying them, he will be painted as a radical by the media and they will attempt to marginalize him with that label. Only death and taxes are more certain than that. We shouldn’t listen to that any more than we would listen to the same people if they told us to jump off a cliff. Remember, they’re not on our side. They don’t want us to win. (The same goes for most of the “political pundits” – i.e. Carl Rove and company.)

So rather than worrying too much about electability, let’s focus on finding candidates who courageously champion our beliefs because they share our core values. You can tell the really good ones because they will have made enemies. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can stand for something good without being hated. You cannot champion conservatism, and especially social conservatism, without being hated. (The people who oppose us are very good at hate.) By all means, let’s find candidates as articulate and as smooth-talking as they can be, but above all, make sure they have a track record not just of talking but of doing. That is the right thing to do and that’s how we can win.

November 3, 2014

Define “Win,” Please: A Practical Case for Principle Over Pragmatism

Moral principles are sneered at by many politicians and capital cities are notorious for corrupting politicians who where first elected  to stand for something more than their own continuance in office. For those who succumb to this temptation there is a subtle shift in priorities. To these individuals, winning is no longer a means to end but an end unto itself. For the sake of securing re-election they are willing to compromise their core principles. Perhaps like the corrupt Senator Paine in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” they rationalize that by selling out in one area they will place themselves in a position to do good in some other way.

It is easy for those who care deeply about the state of our nation to fall into the same pattern of thinking. There is nothing wrong with trying to win. In the political realm you can’t get anything done without it. But it must not become the all-consuming idol in the name of which any compromise can be made so long as it is premised upon the prospect of some future good that can be done right after we win the next election. The trouble is there will always be another election. For conservatives to hold back from championing our principles for fear of losing in the next election is to render our victories in the last election null and void. And, while there will always be a certain degree of give and take in the political realm, we might as well pack up and go home if, in order to win, we abandon the principles that we set out to fight for in the first place.

So what does it really mean to “win?” and are we really winning if we lose our reason for competing? We are sometimes tempted to think that our principles are a ball and chain to us – a straitjacket that puts us at a disadvantage. In reality they are all we have and we cannot truly lose so long as we stick to them. Nor can we truly win if, in order to do so, we abandon them. That’s why whenever I hear someone say that we need to soften our stance on our moral beliefs in order to win an election the first thing that pops into my head is “Define ‘Win’, Please.”

July 5, 2014

Jefferson Smith is a Dangerous Radical

In some ways the movie “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” depresses me. It’s all quite believable right up until the point where Senator Paine decides to do the right thing.

In real life Jefferson Smith would have been branded as a rabble-rouser throwing a publicity stunt to further his own career. Half the good people would have supported him, and the other half would have parroted these criticisms in their eagerness to show that they were not wild-eyed radicals like him.

The oligarchy at the top has reason to want to squash anyone who threatens to expose their racket, but why should we help them with their dirty business? (It wasn’t a real filibuster anyway.) Anyone who is dissatisfied with our current course must consider this: We will not effect change using the same-old-same-old “go along to get along” habits that got us into this mess. If we would alter the status quo we must be willing to rock the boat.

The good-old-boys club isn’t going to be happy about that and we had better count on being labeled as radicals and wingnuts. The bravest among us will be singled out for special attacks. Our response to this should be to close ranks and lock step – not to throw our most stalwart champions to the wolves by taking up the very criticisms used against them by people we ought to know better than to listen to.

June 14, 2014

On Feminists and Rape

I keep hearing variations of something like this:

“Don’t tell women to do X,Y, or Z. Tell men not to rape.”

“Don’t tell your children to get good grades. Tell them to eat their spinach.”

Now even beyond the fact that the two are not mutually exclusive, I’ve always thought this was a very silly thing to say. Who are they planning to tell not to rape? The men who wouldn’t do it or the men who would? The former don’t need to be told and the latter aren’t going to listen. (Because they’re kind of evil and stuff.)

Statements like these are purely rhetorical – they have no teeth. They make great soundbites, but they do nothing to end rape. If you want to tell men something you might tell them that there will be swift and severe consequences if they attempt a sexual assault. You might even tell them that you are armed and determined to defend yourself. These are effective things that you might say to anyone who is willing to try to get what he wants using force. Words without force mean nothing to those who can only understand force.

Surprisingly, feminists recently took issue with Miss Nevada for recommending that women take steps to defend themselves against sexual assault. You would think that feminists would be in favor of women taking measures to defend and “empower” themselves. I’ve heard many times, and it makes sense to me, that a determined and desperate resistance can be a strong deterrent against rapists since they are typically looking for easy targets. So why would feminists, who spend a lot of time talking about rape, not be in favor of women taking effective measures against rape? In their own words they claim that this is because the mere suggestion that women take practical measures to defend themselves against scumbags is a suggestion that women are somehow at fault for rape. But this is like saying that, because I recommend that you have a home security system, I think it is your fault if your house gets broken into. Sure, you shouldn’t have to have a home security system, but you might want one. Sure, you shouldn’t have to learn how to defend yourself against a rapist, but who wants to get raped on principle?

It is becoming clear that feminists are concerned with rape not so much because they want to reduce the number of times that it occurs by finding practical means of discouraging it, but rather because of the excellent rhetorical opportunities it provides to beat down men in general. To this purpose, suggestions that women take measures for their own defense are quite useless and possibly even harmful. Feminists are much more concerned about assigning the blame for rape rather than preventing it. Ostensibly, we all agree about where the guilt for rape should lie. It is always 100% the perpetrator’s fault. That’s the easy part of the question. The hard part is what we are going to do about it. The truth is that feminists are obsessed with the assignment of blame because they would like to hijack the tragedy of rape and use it to guilt trip men who would never consider committing such a heinous act.

In my opinion this is why hardcore feminists will only ever be in favor of more talk when it comes to ending rape – at least when it comes to measures that women can take. They’re cool with that because ultimately that’s all they want out of it – just another talking point.

April 15, 2014

Fiscal and Social Conservatism: A False Dichotomy

I’ve always felt that the classifying conservatives as “fiscally” or “socially” conservative is a false dichotomy. In my opinion social conservatives are usually more fiscally conservative than the so-called fiscal conservatives. (However, if we must classify them in parallel terms then I think we should use the words “moral” and “machiavellian” instead of “social” and “fiscal.”)

Fiscal conservatives favor only those parts of conservatism that immediately facilitate economic prosperity. They do not seem overly concerned with doing what is right. In my opinion this view is not only immoral but internally inconsistent since it ignores the fact that an unjust society cannot long remain a free society, and a free society is the only society in which material prosperity is possible. In other words, left to their own devices they would saw off the branch that they are sitting on.

Those who use the terms “social conservative” and “fiscal conservative” do not understand that you cannot divorce societal morality from societal prosperity. A society which is not moral must constantly be either in a state of anarchy or of tyranny. A good historical example is the French revolution where one tyrant was overthrown only to be replaced by anarchy and eventually a series of far worse tyrants. We also see this today in Syria and other parts of the middle east. At no point can the people be considered free for they must constantly be in fear either of each other or of an oppressive government (or both). All of this tends toward the destruction and confiscation of the wealth and capital needed to drive an economy.

In a word, a society which does not remain moral cannot remain free, and a society which is not free cannot remain prosperous. To be nothing more than “fiscally conservative” is to be short-sighted.

March 26, 2014

Mandatory Guilt: Why Conscientious Abstention Must be Stamped Out

The fugitive slave act of 1850 stipulated, among other items, that law enforcement must assist in apprehending and re-enslaving escaped slaves. There was no exemption for those who could not do so in good conscience. In fact the legislation was principally intended to force unwilling participation in the practice of slavery. Those who chose to disobey were punished with fines. By forcing participation in the practice of slavery the act attempted to ensure that the utterly intolerable moral condemnations of the practice would cease. Participation was pivotal. Abstention was unthinkable.

Recent court cases have seen Christian bakers, florists, and photographers coming under attack for refusing to participate in an institution which they object to for moral reasons. Their quiet condemnation is unbearable to homosexuals who appear to be actively seeking out Christians so that they can punish them for keeping their consciences intact. Complete moral silence is their aim because they cannot bear to hear or know that anyone thinks that anything that they are doing is wrong. Christian, bakers, florists, and photographers must be made to participate in homosexual weddings not because homosexuals can’t find others to perform these functions, but precisely because, as Christians, they are compelled to object to doing so. If the last internal qualms of homosexuals are ever to be finally suppressed, then it is necessary to first soil and besmirch the consciences of those who echo those qualms.

As I write, the supreme court is deciding whether Christian-owned companies can be forced to pay for contraceptives and abortifacients which they object to for moral reasons. Abortion supporters are tired of hearing that abortion is wrong and they aim to ostracize and financially destroy every CEO who doesn’t feel as they do. Descension and moral abstention cannot be allowed because that would constitute a mute condemnation and condemnation is intolerable. Christian business owners must be forced to pay for things that they cannot buy in good conscience, not because those things are costly or cannot be acquired by employees who want them, but precisely because the employers in question cannot pay for them in good conscience. If mothers are ever to become callous enough to kill their own children without a pang, then it is necessary to make sure that no one may object to the practice. In order to get to that point, everyone needs to participate.

That’s why conscientious abstention cannot be allowed. That’s why it must be stamped out. When no voice is raised against these practices, when we’ve convinced everyone that they are right, when we’ve silenced all disagreement, maybe then we’ll be able to convince ourselves too.

July 31, 2013

But the Greatest is Love: My Thoughts on Standing for Life in Austin.

 

My lovely sisters and yours truly waiting in line for the gallery

When I and a number of my family members went to the state capitol in Austin, The contrast between good and evil was more stark than I ever remember seeing. While standing in line for over eight hours in order to flood the senate gallery with blue-clad, pro-life supporters, I had a great deal of opportunity to observe the actions and persons of demonstrators on both sides. Some things were surprising, others were not. It gave me pause to reflect and to contrast the nature of our cause and theirs. If I had to boil the differences down to one word it would have to be the word “Love.” This word defines our cause in more than just an abstract philosophical sense for few things in life are stronger than the natural love that a mother feels for her baby. Love defines not only our strategy but our tactics. The contrast in behavior that I witnessed that day, was not coincidental – it was a natural extension of each side’s worldview.

For their part, the pro-death crowd didn’t seem to have an endgame. What I mean is that the tactics they employed hardly seemed targeted at winning the hearts either of their opponents or those on the fence. It was simply an ugly display of rage. In fairness, there were a number of pro-aborts who seemed to be trying to go out of their way to be nice. However, there were a lot more of them in the rotunda beating drums and carrying on like demons from the pit. Particularly disturbing was an old woman on the second balcony of the rotunda who had a collection of signs that she individually displayed from the railing. Periodically she would scream unintelligible slogans to the floor of the rotunda. Her manner denoted a degree of rage the was truly shocking to see in a woman of her age. Something about her was profoundly disquieting and as I watched her I couldn’t help but speculate that this woman had had an abortion earlier in life and had hardened her heart against the guilt instead of finding peace and forgiveness from God. (When told about her my dad independently speculated the same thing.) When two nice-looking young girls from a church group placed themselves behind an individual who was being interviewed in order to hold up pro-life signs for the camera, this woman angrily rushed over and held up one of her enormous signs to completely block them out. I don’t know who she was aiming to impress with this ugly display, but quite frankly it didn’t appear that she was calm enough to even care. When we would sing “Jesus Loves Me”, “Jesus Loves The Little Children,” or “Amazing Grace” the pro-death crowd seemed to become even more enraged. Songs had some sort of uncanny infuriating effect on the pro-aborts all out of proportion to their volume which seldom rivaled that of the mobs’ own preferred form of worship. The chants went on and on sometimes rising to a screaming pitch as they echoed through the rotunda. Throughout the day we saw pro-aborts displaying obscene slogans and images either on t-shirts or signs. There was worse to come. After we left we heard that the capitol police had advised pro-life demonstrators to leave – so angry where the pro-death crowds. The police confiscated, paint, glitter, jars of feces, and used feminine hygiene products from pro-abortion demonstrators attempting to enter the senate gallery. Just what they were planning to do with those items is better left unsaid.

By contrast, the polite, orderly pro-life crowd remained mostly silent. It was a conscious decision on the part of pro-life organizers to remind everyone that unborn infants have no voice to raise in defense of themselves. And yet this does not do entire justice to the pro-life crowd for their orderly and quiet demeanor was more organic than organized. A “petition of peace” was passed around for pro-lifers to sign. It stated the undersigned’s resolve to use only peaceful, orderly means of demonstrating. All of us signed it, but nothing could have been more unnecessary. Looking around me I couldn’t see any pro-life demonstrators who looked remotely likely to do any of the things forsworn by the statement. Here were people showing up in recognizable family groups – something that pro-aborts seldom seemed to do. There were pro-life groups moving through the capitol halls, where the line for the senate gallery coiled ponderously, passing out snacks and water to those in orange as well as blue. I couldn’t help but think that if a person from another planet came and viewed the scene, without ever knowing anything about the issues at stake, he could come to the right conclusion about who the “good guys” where just by watching their behavior. Most of the pro-lifers stayed out of the rotunda but a few stalwart souls had walked into the middle of the chanting crowd to hold up signs. Still others had formed a sort of circle, albeit incomplete in places, to surround the chanting mass with pro-life signs. While I couldn’t help but admire the courage this must have taken, I wondered if this was a good idea.They stood there calmly, making a mute appeal that I think must have penetrated to the consciences of the pro-death crowd. Whether these pro-aborts were simply enraged or whether they really were trying to drown out that “still, small voice,” their ability to go on yelling for hours seemed almost inhuman. Pro-lifers, I am told, gathered to pray in the rotunda. When word came that the capitol was no longer safe for them, many pro-life demonstrators retreated to the offices of politicians who had graciously volunteered them for just such a purpose. By contrast, there was not the slightest suggestion of pro-life violence against pro-death demonstrators. The events of that day made it clear, if it had not been before, that proponents of abortion identify with hatred much more than with love.

As I have had pause to reflect on my experiences I have come to realize that our means of carrying out this war must be as fundamentally different from theirs as the still, small voice is from enraged shouting. We have accomplished nothing if we participate only in a shouting match. Our goal must be to get people to listen to that voice by showing them what God’s love in action looks like. At heart I believe most people understand that abortion is not a medical issue but a moral one. Deep down I think they understand that abortion takes an innocent human life. We must make them see how ugly that is and that when they are championing that cause it makes them into uglier people. We won’t do that by shouting back. We can only do that with love.

“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

About Me

Author Photo I am a Christian IT professional (a.k.a. Geek) who likes to read, write, and muse about morality and worldview as they apply to public policy. In person I have an active and somewhat sardonic sense of humor. In print I repress this trait and try to avoid saying anything that could give offense when not offered with a broad grin (which the reader can’t see). I strive to be genuine in my dealings with everyone and to be frank, straightforward, and kind to friend and foe alike. I believe that the defense of truth is too important to be tainted with anger and malice or crippled by the fear of disapproval. For me, this is what it means to be "speaking the truth in love."