Category Archives: morality

Trigglypuffs, Toilets, and Tolerance

No shortage of news to discuss. If you care about the elections, which I don’t, every day there seems to be more finger pointing, name calling, skeletons coming out of the closet, and oh yeah, violence amongst the most rabid sycophants defending their leaders (or tearing down their opponents). I’m just as guilty I suppose (except for the violence). I do take more than a smidge of pleasure in poking fun at the loyalists and exposing just how completely irrational the 2 party system has become. Some people in the Liberty movement (I call it a movement because it’s definitely gaining widespread attraction and attention) get angry or advocate even more violence which I never understood.

If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I’ve given up on voting because 1) we should have no other king but Christ, 2) the act of voting is pointless because the system is completely corrupt and bought, and 3) even without the corruption, I am no longer able to trust that the majority should be empowered to determine what is just or unjust simply because they outnumber the minority.

What’s interesting about Liberty is that once you get it, once you understand the most fundamental concept of the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP), it’s very easy to navigate a seemingly complex world of moral tests. (Go Google the NAP or read some of my previous posts on it, but essentially, it comes down to Christ’s 2nd greatest commandment – love your neighbor as yourself. That’s it.)

Now, I can hear my Christian readers chomping at the bit accusing me of elevating the NAP to some sort of new New Testament and that couldn’t be further from the truth. God’s Word should always be the standard by which moral determinations are made. But I can think of very few examples where the NAP actually contradicts Scriptural truth. And in those rare cases, absolutely, the Bible is preeminent. If you’re still not convinced, I would turn your objection back on you who hold Americanism or American Christianity on a pedestal (aka the religion of how ‘Murica is awesome and everyone else sucks. You know, because God is American.)

I had a couple of interesting exchanges on Facebook, and it was abundantly clear that Liberty is not something that is universally accepted as a virtue. Maybe it was 20 – 30 years ago. If you asked the average person on the street whether Liberty was important or good back then, you’d probably be hard pressed to find someone that would disagree. Today, the question is more often than not met with “well, it depends” or just “no”.

And that’s a problem.

What’s ironic is that these people that fear and curse Liberty will oftentimes tell you it’s too dangerous to let men be completely free, that men need to be controlled or monitored or protected for their own good. By whom? Other men, of course.

If you don’t have school-aged children or haven’t been keeping up with college campuses (or even public school K-12), you’d probably be shocked to learn just how far this indoctrination has spread. Safe Zones, Trigger Warnings, and Cultural Appropriations Vigilantes have become part of the fabric of higher education. And this is not the Political Correctness we endured through the 80’s and 90’s. This is “don’t disagree with the liberal mob or we will cut you” thuggery. And it’s not just limited to the students. Who do you think is feeding this insanity?

Which brings me to my favorite example of this cancer of late. Brothers and sisters, I give you – Trigglypuff.

giphy

I don’t know anything about her other than what I’ve seen online when her rant went viral. Apparently, she’s a college student who came to protest some controversial guest speaker named Milo who has ticked off progressives around the globe. She’s also an outspoken critic of fat shamers (a critic of critics, if you will). The reason I bring up Trigglypuff is because her modus operandi is typical of many progressives today that oppose Liberty. They claim it’s their right to Freedom of Speech to protest haters, racists, and misogynists. Yet, their mission is to prevent others their same rights to speech. (The theatrics of her protest are just a hilarious bonus, exemplifying the crying, whining generation of cupcakes.)

If you embrace Liberty, how do you reconcile ugly speech, racism, and vulgarity? You realize that you don’t have to agree with someone’s verbal diarrhea in order to stand up for their rights to it. What’s the alternative? Simple. Keep censoring and someone will someday determine your voice needs to be suppressed or silenced because the mob doesn’t like what you have to say. That includes religious speech, scientific discovery, artistic expression, and political discourse to name a few.

J.K. Rowling, the author of all the Harry Potter books, gets it. I don’t care for her novels, but she’s absolutely right.

The other story that’s dominated the news, particularly in the Carolinas, has been the controversial toilet wars. Who can use which facilities seems to suddenly be on everyone’s minds. So much so that artists, performers, sports teams, and businesses have either canceled or threatened to back out of plans to do business in NC. I don’t want to dwell on the legal gymnastics because as you know, I don’t care about the system. The point I’d like to make on the whole fiasco is that this really comes down to Liberty and Property Rights. If a government entity comes in and arbitrarily decides your business MUST allow someone access to ___, you’ve already lost me. Doesn’t matter the issue. So when I hear about Obama or the governor or some dude wearing a dress telling a private business owner that they must bake a cake or perform a wedding or let anyone that wants into the bathroom, my response is basically – take a hike, not your concern or jurisdiction. That’s between me and my customers and no one else because my business is my property. It is not owned communally.

Again, what’s head scratching to me is the response from the celebrity progressives. They don’t like the law, so what do they do? They exercise their right to choose not to do business in the state of NC. In other words, they seem to completely miss the irony that they are doing exactly what businesses are seeking legal protection to do as well. If they were logically consistent, shouldn’t these artists be forced to provide their goods and services to NC despite their objections, in the name of fairness and tolerance? But why start being logically consistent now?

Which brings me to the overarching realization I’ve had. See, boomers and gen-Xers have been led to believe that Liberals / Progressives are supposed to be people of tolerance and acceptance. They might even remember a time where hippies stood for non-violence, embracing the ideals of people like Rosa Parks, Gandhi, or MLK. Those days are long gone. Progressive, entitled millennials are no longer the people of tolerance and non-violence. They are, in fact, a fascist hate group, completely intolerant of dissenting opinion and totally open to violence in the name of achieving their causes. The sad truth is, most of them can’t articulate what their cause actually is or how they plan to get there. They really haven’t thought it through because, well, they’re entitled. Someone else will probably figure it out for them, right?

So where does that leave the rest of us?

Fortunately, there’s still hope. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Liberty is catching on. More and more people who see the mirage progressives chasing today are realizing that the only sane, rational, consistent, and achievable road to progress is Liberty. People must be allowed to choose how to live, what to eat, where or whether to work, and to reap the benefits and consequences of their choices.

The same is true with the staunchest conservatives. More of them are recognizing the futility of throwing everyone in jail or bombing anyone that doesn’t agree with them, particularly when it comes to victimless crimes. They grow weary of endless wars and policing the entire world. But most importantly, they recognize (due in no small part to the ‘choices’ they are left with the elect come November) that morality transcends the broken system of government control we have in place today. There are other options. There are alternatives to falling behind party lines.

Stand up for Liberty. Justice, equality, compassion, and peace can only be achieved through Liberty. Without it, there can be none.

Liberty – Ends or Means?

If you’ve ever had a moral debate with anyone, invariably the argument will come down to an idea of the Ends and the Means.  The case is laid out something like this:

In one camp, the person has a final goal / utopia in mind.  Because you know it’s a righteous goal, getting to your destination by any means necessary is permissible.  So for example, if your ultimate goal is to ensure every human being has food to eat and clean drinking water, then anything it takes to achieve that goal is of secondary importance, as long as you able to feed every person on earth.  Your END defines your morality.

The other side of the argument is that the Means is of utmost importance.  You may have a standard of morality which defines good and bad behavior.  Wherever your morality takes you is secondary because you believe if you honor your moral code, the resulting society will be, by definition, just and moral.  So for example, if your morals forbid you from stealing property that belongs to someone else, then theft will never be a part of your utopian road map, even if that potentially means some people would suffer when theft is no longer on the table as a solution.

Now, as much as we’d like to believe in our own moral purity or consistency of beliefs, and although most people will generally favor one over the other (the Means or the Ends), oftentimes we find ourselves in a little bit of both camps.  That’s to say, though philosophically these sound pretty cut and dry and mutually exclusive, in reality moral arguments are hardly ever so black and white.

When you are debating morality, you can usually tell whether your opponent has a Means or and Ends worldview by the evidence that they use to support their argument.  And Political Party lines do not fall one way or the other.  Democrats, Republicans, Green Party, Libertarians, Anarchists.  You’ll find Ends and Means proponents across the board.

I’ve found that many of those that favor the End have little or no problem with inconsistency of behavior or decisions they support.  For this reason, pointing out inconsistencies does very little in changing their opinions because they are marching toward an END.  One might say they’re illogical / irrational at times.  Critics will also point out the unintended consequences of their END but again, these usually don’t matter to someone driven to a goal.

I’ve also found that those that favor the Means are oftentimes accused of being rigid or overly-calculated.  Each decision, each idea must pass through a series of evaluations against one’s moral code of conduct.  The downside is that these people get caught up in analysis-paralysis.  They can quickly tell you what’s wrong (morally) with your proposal, but they might not have a well-defined alternative.  For these reasons, arguing against advocates of the Means can be frustrating for End advocates because there’s no guarantees the Means will get you where you want to be.

If you’ve read any of my posts, it should be abundantly clear that I tend to favor pure Means and allow the End chips to fall where they land.  The pursuit of Liberty can only come about through righteous Means.  To me, I can’t simply ignore illogical or inconsistent behavior in pursuit of an End because how we get there is of equal, or even greater, value.  Here are just a few examples of inconsistent and illogical behavior –

  • if you advocate “equality of rights” by giving preferential / protected treatment to one group over another
  • if you support “open markets” but shut out competition (including foreign competition) and use the government to subsidize some of your costs
  • if you favor “smaller, fiscally responsible government” but you want to increase military spending and our global footprint
  • if you want to advocate “freedom of speech” but you censor racist, sexist, religious, blasphemous, obscene, or anti-American rhetoric
  • if you support “our bodies / our choice” but won’t allow grown adults to choose to drink, smoke, take drugs, drive without seatbelts, eat trans fats and super double Big Gulps of Jolt cola

Then there are my critics.  But, but but . . .

  • Roads may fall into disrepair or never even get built.
  • Children will become illiterate or go hungry in the streets. 
  • Pregnant mothers will die in labor because doctors were not allowed to perform 39th week abortions. 
  • ISIS and Al-Qaeda will be running free throughout the world recruiting and bombing homeless animal shelters. 
  • The polar ice caps will melt from all the greenhouse gases we create, literally out of thin air, and the third rock from the sun will be Kevin Costner’s Water World.

As silly as this all sounds, particularly in light of the fact that these tongue-in-cheek, doomsday scenarios are no less likely to happen under the End advocates’ plans, these absurd “but what about __” Straw Men are realities that most of you probably have to deal with every day you engage in thoughtful conversation.

Understanding whether your opponent values Means or Ends can help you overcome their objections.  But the great thing about Liberty is that it is both.  Liberty is an End and a Means.  I don’t see how you could pursue Liberty as one and not the other.  In this way, I’m pretty sure Liberty is unique.  For example, Equality may be something that’s important to some.  But you can’t pursue Equality as an End by using it as a Means.  As I pointed out above, the only way to pursue Equality as an End requires some exertion of force over some people for the benefit of others.  (Psst. That’s the opposite of Equality.)

The mechanism and resulting end of Liberty are just and righteous.  And in pursuing Liberty, there’s no contradiction or conflict between the Ends and the Means.  You have to decide whether you are a Means or an End kind of person, but I challenge you to pursue something that is consistent in both views.

Where is your hope and faith?

It’s been almost a full week of a self-imposed sabbatical from Facebook and shockingly, the world continued to move forward.  I had no profound reason for taking the break other than I want to see how long I could go without the daily facepalms and pulling out my already thinning hairline.  Still, there were some big events this week worth discussing.  One event in particular, that I’m sure has been blowing up FB, was likely also a topic covered by pastors and preachers from pulpits all around the world this Sunday morning.  This is, of course, the 5-4 SCOTUS ruling that States could no longer prohibit homosexual couples from getting a marriage license.

Based on some of the conversations I’ve had with friends, I imagine that some Christians (and other believers of faith which prohibit such unions) are wallowing in the ruling, lamenting over the failure of the Right Wing to mobilize enough petitions or grass-roots community protests ahead of the vote.  Others may be asking how things got “so bad”, how our country founded on Judeo-Christian doctrine could allow such an abomination.  I’m sure there are others looking down their noses and pointing to the failure of Democrats or fathers or the church or the media or women’s lib or the Kardashians to blame for the current state of society.

As a Christian first, and a Libertarian second, I’m not surprised at the outcome of the ruling.  I can honestly say that I knew this day was coming sooner rather than later.  I also can say that this doesn’t change a single thing for me.  And if there are some of you out there that fit the description above, I think you need to re-evaluate where you put your faith.

KEEP CALM

I’ve written previously that the government should get out of the marriage licensing business altogether, which is a popular political viewpoint shared among Libertarians.  I still think grown, consenting adults should not be legally prevented from marrying whoever they want.  The State has no business sanctioning or prohibiting any kind of marriage.  Many Christians take my attitude as a cop-out or that I’m somehow watering down God’s law in place of Man’s law.  That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

The difference is simply that I don’t think the State can or should try to prevent sin through its various mechanisms of coercion (fines, imprisonment, theft of property, life and liberty).  The State is not our judge.  That place of honor is reserved only for Christ.  And Christ does not need the local police, city council, state representatives, federal judges or the POTUS in order for His will to be done.

In Romans chapter 1, Paul writes about the depravity of man.  He lays out quite clearly that man has a sinful nature and that we ALL fall short of God’s holy standard.  For the unbelieving sinner, this is foolishness.  Why should I not fulfill every pleasure or desire I have without an ounce of guilt, simply because God is holy?

On this point, I don’t understand why more Christians don’t seem to grasp this simple concept that sinners are going to sin and do so boldly.  No laws, no policeman, no threats of violence or wars or imprisonment are going to stop that.  What’s even more perplexing to me is how Statist Christians try to legislate God’s law into Man’s courts thinking this will somehow redeem the lost.

More importantly, how does God deal with man’s sin?  Verses 24, 26, and 28 in Romans Chapter 1 clearly states that God “gave them up” or “gave them over” to their sinful natures (and those of you that study God’s word will know to pay particular attention to anything repeated not just once but twice).

What does this mean?  God is not shielding or preventing man from following their sinful natures.  We must choose to follow our own consciences whether we will follow our stomachs or follow Christ.  We must choose whether to guard our eyes and ears from watching questionable movies and pictures so readily available on the internet.  We must choose whether our mouths will spout profane language, and not just because states like Virginia that want to fine you if you do.

As a Christian, I understand that I’m saved by faith in Christ through grace, not by my works.  Our moral living and obedience to God’s law does not earn us salvation or God’s love.  But our desire to live in holiness it is our reaction, our realization of our salvation.  It is not the mechanism by which we are saved.

To me, it’s clear that our faith, our morals, and our standard has absolutely nothing to do with Man’s Laws.  The government does not provide a roadmap for moral living and that was never the intended purpose for it in the first place.

For those that believe that the latest SCOTUS ruling somehow damages God’s plan for marriage, I ask YOU whether you’ve pursued adulterers and divorcees with the same frothing fervor as homosexuals seeking a marriage license.  I would be willing to bet that some of the most vocal opponents to this ruling have been divorced or looked lustfully at another person or even had adulterous relationships.  What does God’s plan for marriage have to say about that?

For those Christians that are still confused, disillusioned, or losing faith in ‘Murica over this ruling, I want to encourage you to step back and remember God is sovereign.  There’s nothing that catches Him by surprise.  This ruling should likewise not change an iota of your faith.

If anything, I pray this development has opened your eyes to the realization that putting our faith in the laws of the land, or the Congress, or the President, or the Supreme Court is folly and you will ultimately be let down someday.

But instead of lamenting, as our preacher shared this morning, rejoice and have the perspective of 1 Peter 4:12-13 “12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”  Similarly, as Christ preached in Matthew 5:6 and 10 “6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. . . . 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Milton Friedman: The Role of Government in a Free Society (Q&A)

A classic.  For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of coercion and how government is the antithesis of liberty, pay close attention to the first question and Milton’s response.  You can replace the FCC in his remarks with any number of government agencies (FDA, USDA, EPA, IRS, etc.)

Also very interesting for Christians that support using the State to try and coerce righteousness out of sinners, not unlike the Spanish Inquisition.

Life Matters

Trying to stay positive, especially with Christmas and New Year coming up, but there’s so much negative news lately. In particular, the escalation of violence seems to be getting worse. Maybe it’s not escalation but more awareness of it.

I’ve written previously about how I abhor violence and war and the taking of life. In the last few months, we’ve had more violence breaking out in Ferguson, MO and NYC. We’ve learned some details about the CIA’s regular use of torture as a way of gaining intelligence (though the report finds torture was ineffective in gaining any meaningful intelligence).

People are angry. Some are crying racism and oppression. Others are shouting back “obey the law”. Some are defending law enforcement and the military at all costs and without question because they put their lives on the line every day. Others are going around killing cops as a result of their anger.

Julie Borowski put this video clip together, and she made the comment that it’s sad that this actually has to be said.

 

What’s even more alarming is that we can’t even agree on that. We can’t agree that taking lives — no matter if we’re talking about the lives of tax-avoiding citizens, shoplifters or policemen sitting in their car — is wrong. We can’t all agree that torture is inhumane and should never be used, even if our enemies choose to use it. If we can’t all get behind the sanctity of Life — Human Life regardless of nationality, ethnicity, occupation or religion — then really, is there any doubt we’re never going to agree on whether we should allow prayer in school, a $20 minimum wage, voter ID card requirements, gay marriage equality, or the end of the war on drugs?

It’s not about political party lines or how to score more votes.  It’s more than simply following orders or obeying laws without ever questioning their legitimacy.

Life is sacred. How you choose to live your life is your business. I can’t understand why that’s so hard to get behind.

Increase peace.