"... whoever refuses to obey the general will will be forced to do so by the entire body. This means merely he will be forced to be free."
For President Obama the definition of a free society contains an astonishingly frequent use of the word "mandatory". His latest foray into the concept that freedom is whatever the government tells you it is, was his comment during the week that it might be time to consider the idea of mandatory voting. To counteract the influence of big money in elections it would be "transformative" (here we go again!) if everyone voted, and that could be accomplished by fines or eventual jail time for those who failed to do so. It is fascinating how often the President finds the answer to protecting freedom lies in restricting it. Of course his suggestion is a thinly veiled desensitizing toward eventually finding a way to compel voters more likely to vote Democrat to get to the polls, even if it means giving them a shove. In support of his premise he cites the other countries that have compulsory voting. This has become a staple for progressives, to point to other countries to demonstrate how backward we are here in what we used to think of as the greatest nation on earth. "But other countries are doing it!" I think my Mom might say, "If Australia and North Korea jumped off a bridge would you too?"
"Laws are like sausages. It's better not to see them being made."
Otto von Bismarck
Such reasoning is often the predisposition of most when it comes to the workings of government. It is assumed that it's an ugly process, and not necessarily something many would enjoy observing close up, CSPAN aside. And while I have little interest in watching my Johnsonville sausage links being produced, I do want someone to be watching what goes in the hopper before it's all ground up beyond recognition. The last thing you want is your sausage maker telling you "Trust me... it's all good!" .... Well, actually the last thing you want is a politician telling you that.
Momentous times sometimes turn good people into great ones. The man who might have been simply a good husband or father, caught in the right circumstances becomes an Abraham Lincoln or Winston Churchill. The woman who may have been simply a good mother or wife might become a Margaret Thatcher or Golda Meir. Indeed, the times often forge great men from those less suited for more mundane services, such as Benjamin Franklin or Thomas Edison. In times like ours men have always looked for the leaders and the heroes that Providence would raise up to yet again show that while the universe tends toward destruction and decay, there is always a path forward, a beacon of light that shows us that God has not destined His creation for darkness. No matter how strong the villains of the world appear, no matter how much at a disadvantage good men seem, always there will be a path forward, always the salvation we await will come like the dawn. It is not enough to proclaim that "We are the ones that we have been waiting for." Such arrogance is hardly what great men are made of. Leaders like Washington or Lincoln, if they had come to such a realization, would be humbled by it, and would doubtless admit such a possibility only from their knees, not from a podium.
In a move reminiscent of Minority Report the pre-cogs at the FCC this week took measures to stop crimes that have not yet happened by proclaiming the Internet to be a public utility, and as such, appropriately regulated by the bureaucracy they preside over. It is part of a disturbing trend begun by President Obama whereby policy affecting millions is decided by a few men clandestinely operating outside the boundaries of the Constitution; the self-proclaimed elite deciding what is best for the country outside the prescribed methods for enacting law.
I've spent enough time around a lumberyard to know an eight foot two by four when I see one, so when I needed a ten footer the other day I was surprised when the attendant brought me to a pile of eight footers. "These look like eight footers," I objected. The young, clearly inexperienced, attendant took out his tape measure and replied, "Yes, but appearances can be deceiving". Upon measuring the lumber we discovered that sometimes appearances are not deceiving, the reason the two by fours looked like eight footers was because they were eight footers.
"...when God is invisible behind the world, the contents of the world will become new gods; when the symbols of transcendent religiosity are banned, new symbols develop from the inner-worldly language of science to take their place. Like the Christian ecclesia, the inner-worldly community has its apocalypse too; yet the new apocalyptics insist that the symbols they create are scientific judgements."
In full disclosure, I stole the above quote from Jonah Goldberg, but it's only fair, seeing that he repeatedly steals my topics before I have a chance to write on them! I'll do my best not to further plagiarize him.
One of the benefits of living in the great Northeast is that you occasionally get a "snow day", when work is cancelled and you get an extra holiday. In an area of the country where we are highly driven and always fully scheduled, it would seem providential that we sometimes are given an excuse to take a break, and do things we wouldn't ordinarily be able to justify the time for. Hence this mid-week blog on a lighter note, which really has little to do with politics.
"Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ, In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ."
In what has seemingly become a perennial occurrence, President Obama again managed to find a way to deprecate Christianity in the unlikely forum of the National Prayer Breakfast. Citing examples from hundreds of years ago, he made a ludicrous attempt at moral equivalency between Islamic terrorism and Christianity, because clearly, Christians aren't perfect either. Possibly if the President could have found some examples from this century, his comments would not have seemed so ridiculous. It's a little like telling a woman she ought not be so indignant at her abusive husband because after all, she herself had a great grand uncle who once beat his wife.
Amidst the cacophony of literature and entertainment we provide for our children in this modern age, we hopefully have not abandoned the pearls of wisdom found in the traditional tales that we ourselves were schooled in. In filling their little minds of mush with anti-bullying diatribes, Sponge-Bob, and "Heather Has Two Mommies", we ought not neglect the timeless life teachings of stories like "The King's New Clothes", "The Boy Who Cried Wolf", or "Henny Penny".
There is little we find more abhorrent than when our heroes turn out to be villains. We are rightly abhorred by stories of long-suffering mothers who were discovered to be intentionally poisoning their children, teachers who molest their students, health-care workers who take lives, pastors who seduce and rob their followers, and police officers who assault and harass rather than protect and serve. Equally disturbing are the all too frequent stories of when arsonists turn out to be firefighters. While it may seem reasonable to assume that these twisted firestarters joined volunteer fire departments (which is generally where they are found) because of their lust for the inferno, there is some evidence that their pyromania actually develops as a result of their firefighting activity. Fighting a fire is a rush that is relatively rare in these suburban and rural areas, and like a drug where the first hit is free, the rush can be addictive. When the action is slow, the firestarter creates the disaster that brings the rush. No doubt the arsonist was unbalanced to begin with, but without the fire department they might just have become your obnoxious neighbor who's always starting drama.