Archive | February, 2013

Thomas Sowell’s Random Thoughts

12 Feb

Just a few gems from Thomas Sowell’s latest “Random Thoughts” column.  I’m really glad he takes the time to collect his notes on various sub-topics and feed them out to us.  The entire column can be read at http://www.creators.com/opinion/thomas-sowell/random-thoughts-13-02-12.html

Excerpts:

— I can’t get excited by the question of whether Senator Robert Menendez had sex with a prostitute in Central America. It is her word against his — and when it comes to a prostitute’s word against a politician’s word, that is too close to call.

— If an American citizen went off to join Hitler’s army during World War II, would there have been any question that this alone would make it legal to kill him? Why then is there an uproar about killing an American citizen who has joined terrorist organizations that are at war against the United States today?

— One of the talking points in favor of confirming Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense is that he was a wounded combat veteran. How does that qualify anyone to run the whole military establishment? Benedict Arnold was a wounded combat veteran!

— People who are forever ready to charge others with “greed” never apply that word to the government. But, if you think the government is never greedy, check out what the government does under the escheat laws and eminent domain.

End of excerpts.

He certainly has a way of getting thoughts down to simple comparisons.

Obama Double-Speak

8 Feb

John Stossel, in a recent essay titled, “Obama Is Not King”, points out the seemingly huge disconnect between the man’s words and his actions.  I present a sample of Stossel’s case below, but the full essay can be found at

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/political_commentary/commentary_by_john_stossel/obama_is_not_king

Excerpt:

Just a few years ago, when George W. Bush was president, the Congressional Record shows that Senator Obama said this: “I rise, today, to talk about America’s debt problem. The fact that we are here to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure and our government’s reckless fiscal policies.”

Right!

Sen. Obama went on: “Over the past five years, our federal debt has increased from $3.5 trillion to $8.6 trillion — and yes, I said trillion with a ‘T’!”

Again, he was right to worry about the debt and right to call it “a hidden domestic enemy … robbing our families and our children and seniors of the retirement and health security they’ve counted on. … It took 42 presidents 224 years to run up only $1 trillion of foreign-held debt. This administration did more than that in just five years.”

It’s hard to believe that Obama chose those words just seven years ago, because now his administration has racked up another $6 trillion in debt.

It’s also a shock that Barack Obama believed this: “America has a debt problem. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.”

Yet this year, he demanded Congress raise the debt limit without conditions .

I want the old Barack Obama back.

End of excerpt.  It speaks for itself.

C S Lewis on Humanitarians in Power

8 Feb

Some 60-70 years ago, in an essay titled, “The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment”, C. S. Lewis, Christian apologist extraordinaire, wrote a passage that appears considerably more relevant today than in his own time.  Lewis wrote:

“Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.  It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.  The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.  They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth.  Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult.  To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and to be cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level with those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.  But to be punished, however severely, because we have deserved it, because we ‘ought to have known better’, is to be treated as a human person made in God’s image.”

I believe this can rest without my further comment.

8 Feb

Gone now 20 years, I wonder what this great economist would say to what is going on today in America, with the class warfare being instigated and maintained at the very highest levels of government..

Comprehensive Immigration Reform – Definition

7 Feb

Mark Levy, author of the “Dear Mark” syndicated column, included the following Q&A in a recent column.  Black highlighting is mine.

 

Dear Mark: Immigration reform is the topic de jour in Washington today, with a bipartisan group of senators proposing a comprehensive framework for legislation. What is going to happen? — [Signed] Illegal is Still Illegal

Dear Illegal: “Comprehensive” is a word used in Washington that is worshipped, as if coming up with “comprehensive” legislation is somehow nobler than achieving a goal with simple legislation. Other [worshipped] words in that category include “bipartisan” and “compromise.” In my book, “comprehensive” can be defined as legislation that creates a new bureaucracy full of red tape, loopholes and corruption. It also increases spending and government employment, while failing to achieve its mission. Beware of bipartisan committees bearing legislation.

 

Mark’s entire column for this day can be found at

http://www.creators.com/opinion/mark-levy/economic-shrinkage-comprehensive-reform-and-44-000-years.html

Perspective on Child Abductions – Follow the Numbers

7 Feb

Credit for the following goes to the syndicated columnist Lenore Skenazy (author of “Free Range Kids”).  Lenore is a crusader against the popular over-emphasis on “stranger danger”.  The moral at the bottom is – I think – tongue in cheek.

 Abductions in perspective:

Number of children ages 2–14 killed in car accidents, as passengers: 1300
Number of children killed each year by family members and acquaintances: About 1000
Number of children abducted in “stereotypical kidnappings” (kidnapped by a stranger for ransom or for sexual purposes and/or transported away) in 1999, the most recent year for which we have statistics: 115.
Number of those children killed by their abductor: About 50.

Murders of children by abductors constitute less than one half of 1% of all murders in America.

 

 Stranger Danger?

Of all children under age 5 murdered from 1976-2005 –

31% were killed by fathers
29% were killed by mothers
23% were killed by male acquaintances
7% were killed by other relatives
3% were killed by strangers

 Moral: Your safest bet is to leave your child with a stranger.

SOURCE: http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/homicide/children.cfm

 

Thoughts on the Deniers of Christianity

7 Feb

It is hard to visit sites that feature religious commentary without running into comments from the deniers of the faith – those who would claim that science has overcome religion, and that religionists are a dying relic, ignorant believers in ridiculous myths.

It seems to me, though, that their argument fails on fairly basic grounds.

I daresay that at one time or another, all of that which is now called science was unproven (in the rigorous sense).  Mankind’s understanding of the world was based upon experience, repeatability, and theory.  Men made use of scientific principles over many millennia before they were proven in a rigorous manner – we based our use upon evidence accumulated over time.  Would our complainants argue that gravity could not be relied upon just because we could not see it or mathematically prove its existence?  Without accepting observational evidence that all planets in our solar system revolve around the sun, would we ever have developed rigorous mathematical models that prove exactly how the planets and other heavenly bodies move through space?  Recently, scientists reportedly found proof that the Higgs-Boson particle actually exists – before this it was only a “theoretical” particle.  And how about the Big Bang Theory itself – how would one ever prove that the entire universe sprang from an unimaginably huge explosion of a very small densely packed object that contained all the matter that is currently contained in that virtually limitless universe?

A person could go on and on about things that were believed/known before the scientists were able to absolutely prove them, from fields of medicine, mechanics, physics, etc.  The noted atheist and crusader against Christianity, Richard Dawkins, even admitted that “something pretty mysterious had to give rise to the origin of the universe.”  Thomas Aquinas would say that this something “we call God”.

And yet, when it comes to postulating the existence of God, the deniers among us are quick to say that we must be fools for believing some crazy theology that has not been proven by science to be true.  But there are many mysteries in this world that have not, as yet, been solved by the scientists – wormholes, extra-terrestrial life, evolution of life at the deepest parts of the ocean, how weather patterns evolve, etc.  That does not mean that these things cannot, or do not, exist.

It seems to me that what deniers of Christianity do not understand is that Christians do not base their faith in God on vapor – on nothing but dreams, unwarranted hope, and fear of death.  Our faith, according to that most famous of Biblical passages, is based on “substance” and “evidence”.

Now, I know that modern translations most often swap out the word “evidence” for something softer in tone, but harder to acquire.  But I really like the word “evidence”.  Why?  Because, I believe the faith of Christians is, in fact, based upon convincing evidence.  The evidence bound up in the New Testament teachings, actions, personal witnesses, promises, spiritual gifts, and personal commitments, even unto death.  The evidence bound up in the experiences and lives of so many Christians through the growth years – a time of great spiritual blessings and horrible persecutions.

Then there is the evidence and testimony of some of the greatest minds to have walked the earth – Augustine, Aquinas, thousands of brilliant unnamed soldiers of Christ, up to our own time with people like John Bunyan, C.S. Lewis, and many others.  And I believe that a Christian does not have to believe unthinkingly, but can call upon the promises of scripture to acquire those proofs that are meaningful to him/her.  John Bunyan, perhaps best known for his “Pilgrim’s Progress” allegory, was at one time torn apart by his uncertainty about Christianity.  “Everyone doth think his own religion rightest, both Jews and Moors and pagans; and how if all our Faith and Christ and Scriptures should be but a ‘think so’, too?”  But as William Barclay tells it, “when the light broke, he [Bunyan] ran out crying, ‘Now I know!  I know!’”

John Bunyan had received his evidence.  For some, it is the evidence of repeated or extraordinary coincidence, a pushing and pulling, often against our will.  For others, it is the deep burning in the depths of our heart and soul as the Holy Spirit welcomes us aboard.  Many are granted various types of spiritual inspiration or convincing answers to prayer.  Still others, those with perhaps easier hearts to reach, see the evidence in the gaze of a baby, the wonder of beauty in nature, or a thousand other things.  I, myself, was “kicking against the pricks” for years before I was led into a greater light.

The point is, belief in Christianity is based upon real evidence, mostly unseen, but nevertheless convincing – not provable to non-believers (without the intervention of the Holy Spirit), but powerful enough for building a solid Faith within those whose hearts and minds who are open to the accumulation of “soft” evidence.  To say we should not accept non-scientific evidence is simply to deny that man has forever relied upon non-proven evidence to extend his knowledge and actions to the next higher level.

But what sort of omnipotent, but loving, God would maintain the veil between Himself and mankind?  Consider for a moment what would happen if suddenly mankind did find, or receive, absolute proof of the existence of God.  Would there not be chaos?  Would not the purposes of God be immediately thwarted?  Does He not have purpose for us being here, purpose that depends upon mankind’s struggle between Godliness and evil?  If He were to make Himself known to all of mankind (as He will one day – but too late then), the entire world order would collapse, as every decent man and woman would leave all behind and only seek Him, and every lost soul would redouble their evil intentions, knowing that there is no hope.

No – irrefutable proof will come, but it will only come as the final stroke of midnight is sounding and, in all likelihood, will be the last and greatest of all the absolute proofs presented to mankind.