Stefan Molyneux and Cultural Self Hatred

Self hatred is not a useful response when attacked. Self examination is useful when reflection is called for, but dangerous when demanded by others in the political, cultural or military realm. Especially dangerous when demanded by opponents who are incapable of reciprocation. It won’t end well to capitulate under such circumstances.

I stumbled upon Stefan as a YouTube philosophy teacher while refreshing my own knowledge of our great pre-Christian tradition of philosophy. He didn’t appear to me to be very sympathetic or appreciative of the Christian use and (dare I say) “appropriation” of Aristotle. But he knew his stuff. This full throated defense of European culture in its proper perspective really surprised me. And he is right.

Our ability to self reflect in order to pursue peace and the higher good is good. But European civilization deserves a full throated defense against those in academia and politics who cannot seem to practice it, even as they insist others do so that their opponents disarm to appease them and their list of demands.

And, I am tired of ideological academics to the Marxist dialectics of power and oppression in matters of race and gender. It is ignorant and therefore foolish to do so. The Marxist dialectic was overly simplistic, dogmatic, and wrong in the discussion of economics in the days of the cold war. History is now repeating itself as farce in the use of it to fight the current wars over race, gender and culture.

 

Planes, Bikes, and Automobiles

Godspeed, then and now

All day Monday we watched the news of Superstorm Stella. My son has a three day training session scheduled for Chicago he needs to run and I am coming along to assist. The media attention was on the Northeast, mostly Boston and New York, but off to the side, there is talk that Chicago was scheduled to get a few inches as well. We checked the web, called the airlines, and wondered whether or not to get on standby that night for a red eye flight, or just take our chances with the morning flight reservations we had for today, Tuesday. We didn’t want to scramble to do the red eye standby thing, and pay the extra money for the hassle, but with some of our trainees coming in on international flights,  and already  quite likely en route, we definitely didn’t want to cancel the training.

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Jesus’s big homecoming

I thought I’d offer a chapter on a little book I’m working on about the life of Jesus. I’ve read a couple little books about Jesus, and both profoundly affected my life. It has been a dream of mine to write a similar book in hopes it would bless others like these two blessed me.

The Kingdom of God comes to Israel

Jesus’s public ministry really took hold in Galilee, a region of Israel 100 or so kilometers from Jerusalem. Following his first miraculous sign, the turning of water to wine, things really pick up, and the ministry of Jesus becomes the biggest thing going on in Israel since the days of Moses, David and the other heroes of the sacred writings of the Jews. The Jewish people were used to reading  and hearing about the great feats of Israel’s heroes: the collapse of the walls of Jericho, the feats of strength by Samson, the wonders and miracles of Elijah as he confronted the false prophets of Baal, calling down fire from heaven.

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Have you still not found what you’re looking for?

In my last post, I ruminated on the incredible power to die, not to kill, but to die for one’s beliefs. I imagine much of it comes from being a walking dead man. When I read the letter from Paul to the Romans (I am currently working on a book on the letter), it occurs to me that this is exactly what Paul encourages his flock of fellow believers to do: become walking dead men.

I am reminded of the soldier in the HBO series Band of Brothers, who is suffering from battle shock. Overcome by fear, he is shaking and useless on the battle field. At the end of a firefight in which he acquitted himself terribly, a brave fellow soldier comes up to him. He doesn’t slap him like a General Patton as he stands there shaking. Rather, he encourages him in the most strange and unreal way.

Paraphrasing from memory here: Your problem, he says, is that you are trying to save your life. What you need to realize is that you are dead. You are a walking dead man, and once you accept this, you will be able to fight. Then he walks away, ephemerally, the soldier looks at him like he just witnessed a ghost.

Easy to say, I suppose. Easy to understand intellectually. Harder, and maybe even impossible for most of us, to incorporate it as a truth in our lives.

But incorporate it the young man does. In the next episode or two, he takes the message to heart, and becomes the most valuable soldier in the unit. He fearlessly takes on every task.

Now, Paul is not telling his fellow believers to go out there and die, the deadly persecution has not taken place yet. Nero hasn’t yet blamed the Christians for the great fire. But what he explains is the key to overcoming the sin that entangles each reader is to recognize that, as a believer, you are dead to it. When a Christian is baptized, he is baptized into Jesus’s death.

A Christian is dead to sin. That is what Paul says. He was once a slave to sin. Now he is dead to sin. We can understand that intellectually, receive it by faith. But incorporating it into our lives? That is a totally different story. How do we actually live this truth?

Jesus put it this way:

 “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?”

The book I am working on is an attempt to help the Christian who has been baptized, follows Jesus, yet continues to fall again and again into temptation, and unable to be released from that damned thing. We are all walking around with a dead carcass, and like a zombie, the sin nature refuses to die, no matter how many bullets and incantations we throw at it.

Anyway, if that is something you are dealing with, allow me to suggest a key I learned. This is, as Jesus said, a daily thing – to pick up your cross.  The soldier probably faced his fears daily, and overcame them daily. Perhaps even in the moment of truth, when it was time to charge that bunker, his life he was saving was staring right back at him again. He had to remind himself he was a dead man walking.

Here’s my suggestion when you face that temptation directly, be it a whiskey bottle, a lovely garment at the mall, a web site, or an illicit lover. When that temptation comes, vocalize the truth hidden in your heart and in your bible. Say it out loud:

“I am crucified with Christ. I am dead to sin. Sin has no hold over me. I am a dead man.”

Say it every morning if you wish. But the key, I think, is to say it when that temptation is hitting you square in the face. And don’t just think it in your heart. Say it. I think it is important to vocalize those things you believe, as a witness to distinguish between a good thought and a truth.

Tell me what happens.

 

How to win friends and influence capitols

 

I am personally a fan of the primitive Judeo-christian church. The men and women who spread out from ancient Jerusalem and Galilee throughout the Roman world after the crucifixion of Jesus are among the most remarkable people in history. Those who followed in their footsteps and example did something absolutely extraordinary.

We are all pretty familiar with the story of Jesus. He came to ancient Israel as the promised Messiah. He was not received by the religious and political authorities of Israel and, it can be said with a great deal of truth, that the reason for this is because they were looking for a political messiah, a great king who would save the Jewish nation from the boot of Rome. The message and life of Jesus didn’t quite fit what folks had in mind. Rather, this Jesus’s primary purpose on earth was to save the Jewish people, and all mankind, from their sins.

But, I think there is an interesting aspect to this story that gets overlooked. I offer a little thought experiment. Consider it a Lenten exercise:

Imagine if Jesus had told the Jews of his day that he was,without question the Jewish Messiah, and was indeed the political messiah who would achieve the following, if all those who followed him would do as he commanded of them:

“I, Jesus, do not want you to fight great battles for me.  As great soldiers, you are willing to die for me. And indeed, we will win a great victory for our nation by your willingness to die for me. And this is how:

“I call on all of you to live good holy lives. Love your neighbors, give and care for them. Worship me but be good Roman citizens. Honor Caesar. Give Caesar what is his, and God what is God’s. Do this and Caesar will come to destroy you.

“You are willing to die for me and for the Kingdom of God, so do so. Allow yourselves, as my followers, to be arrested for worshiping me, and allow yourselves to be thrown to the lions. The Romans will make sport of you in their great arenas. Bless them who do this and do not curse them.  Do that for about 300 or so years, while caring for the poor and sick and I, Jesus the Messiah, will guarantee you of this: Rome the capital of a world, will fall down and worship their Jewish Messiah, and offer allegiance to me.”

Of course, Jesus pretty much said this, in his own way. One will notice that if one reads his Sermon on the Mount and others of his sayings and commands.

Detractors of Christianity like to point to the terrible job the Christian church did once it gained political and religious power and authority. They point to the crusades, the inquisitions, the bloody and terrible religious wars of the 1550-1700, etc. And much of that is fair game. Christianity was not ready to run things when Constantine turned the keys of his kingdom to those who worshiped the Jewish Messiah. But the Church Constantine turned the keys over to – that church was pretty remarkable.

That is the church to be.

 

 

 

Pass this now, and find out what’s in it later?

That appears to be the message from the Obamacare repeal and replace crowd. I haven’t looked over the details and need to hear more from people I trust. But, my immediate reaction is:  well, I’ll prefer a tax credit over a medicare subsidy, if we are talking about entitlements.  I prefer we give folks money and let them figure out how to buy what they need with it.  They will make mistakes that busybodies will want to regulate away, but in regulating away possiblities for abuse, we tend to codify things we need to keep fluid. That is what the market is good for.

For example, I think that if we are going to tax everyone $7,000 to educate each child, I prefer we just hand the money over to each parent, and let them know they are free to do whatever they need to do to educate their child with this. If they take the money and leave the kid home to play video games all day, well, believe me, the same kid is probably going to get as good an education if he is sent to school to disrupt others or daydream away. It may be worse, it may be better. I’ll bet it’s better – for that kid.

Now, if the parent takes the money and uses it to find a great school for the child, or buys some great books, hires a couple of tutors, that child may end up getting a fantastic education. It’s really up to the parents.

Some kids need religious instruction. Let the child go to whatever school the parents deem best. Suppose it’s a school of satanic witchcraft, you ask? Well, them’s the breaks. Freedom of religion and all.  I trust the parents, and willing to deal with some bad choices in return for less One Size Fits All. If the satanic witchcraft schools flourish, they must be doing some pretty good teaching, right?

Thing is, by and large, parents want what’s best for their children. Many don’t care, of course. That’s why we have prisons, I suppose.

But this post is about healthcare, not state sanctioned brainwashing. Sorry I got a tad distracted there. but the point is the same:

I never cared for the Obamacare top down regulations. If we are going to afford this then the key is cutting all the red tape and let the market work. Find innovation, encourage innovation, reward innovation. Some people, many in fact, will buy snake oil. It happens. Here’s the key folks: use Facebook to warn people about snake oil, instead of pushing socialized medicine. Let a thousand flowers bloom. There will be weeds.

I have always been interested in the Medishare model. Anybody out there have any information on it they’d like to share?

But, like they said on Jaws, regarding our economy and the need for 3-4% growth – yeah, we’re gonna need a bigger boat.

 

Oh and by the way, no evidence of collusion

I am truly amazed at how easy it is to hide the true news lede for months: What we KNOW is this: There is no evidence of collusion between Trump and the Russians. That’s all we really know. Still. After all these months. No new evidence of collusion. Can you believe it?

Even Senator Coons admitted he knows of no evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia, after going on TV to strongly hint there was. He did this to a media gaggle so eager to believe it, breathlessly running story after story, discussion after discussion, about the Sessions non-story. (No, it was not perjury. No, he did not “lie” to Congress).

Over the weekend, Trump apparently had had enough after that Coons suggestion the intelligence community had evidence. You want to talk endlessly about stories with no proof about a President? I’ll give you a story about a President with no proof.

And suddenly, the press demands from the President a standard of proof it refuses to demand of itself: “We, the media, have a role to endlessly speculate about the worst of the President we despise. But you: Mr. President, must be held to a higher standard. That is our job, after all, to endlessly chatter on things we can only speculate on, and hide the one fact we must all agree on: there is no proof of what we chatter about.”

The press, occupied by left leaning folk, hated Nixon. But Watergate was driven by evidence. This current stuff is driven by hatred, and fueled by speculation.

Watergate had the benefit that it drove the press to up its game, to uncover true evidence of malfeasance and coverup. Whatever we want to call this scandal, it seems to have the opposite effect. Journalists spend more time covering each other and not the story. This is because the story is what people are saying about the story. It is not the “scandal.” There is no scandal. But we desperately want a scandal. So, to keep the scandal alive, we need to talk endlessly about the “scandal”.

It is not right to allow your side to speculate, and offer a lower bar of evidence (“Sessions met with the Russian ambassdor! He said he didn’t meet with the Russians.” Context, please. People in Government are supposed to meet with ambassadors. That’s why we have ambassadors.). Yet you are not fair to demand a higher standard of evidence and proof from your opponents than from the party you prefer.

Examples: Secretary Clinton faced two telling scandals. The media demanded irrefutable evidence before they intimated the guilt they so easily suggest with Trump. And they got it.

1) In Congressional testimony, Secretary Clinton and the world was presented by Representative Jim Jordan with the smoking gun: email evidence – in two separate instances -she knew from day one the Benghazi attack was a terror attack and not a demonstration gone bad. The media hid that lede as well, and made excuses it would never allow this current President, should it come to that.

2) FBI Director Comey presented the findings to The public that Secretary Clinton mishandled classified information, on multiple occasions. The FBI, in other words, uncovered real evidence.

In both cases, the argument from the mainstream, left leaning media went from: “Is it true?” (It was) to “Does it matter?” Something tells me Trump will not be given the same pass, because he doesn’t even get the benefit of there being no evidence. But that’s partly Trump’s fault.

Trump would do well to fight his instincts, shut up, and ignore the matter. But he is a fighter, a media brawler. This is not an impeachable offense, by the way. In fact, the people who elected him want him to fight for them and for America. They see it as an asset. I like it when people fight for me. Don’t you? Sure you do.

The Russians, meanwhile, demonstrate they play chess, while we play checkers.

If Russia wanted to insert itself to disrupt our government and our electoral process, they couldn’t have done a better job than how they did it: the media hates Trump and wants Hillary. So…hack Hillary (who proved in the scandal before this scandal that her apparatus is an easy target after all) and prefer Trump. Get them all worked up, and blame it on collusion. Then have the mainstream media play the role of what they use to call in the old Soviet days their “useful idiots”: get them all worked up to disrupt the work of the enemy government.

They did their job. Now the media, their useful idiots, can take it from there. Once again, as in the 60’s, there is a Russian under every bed. But this time, the hysteria is coming from the left. Not because they seek to harm America. But because their political party is jeopardized. The Russians know the media doesn’t fear or particularly care about them.

Meanwhile, let me know if and when there is actual evidence of collusion. Otherwise, we all have more important things to do.