Saturday, September 26, 2009

Democrats and the Devil

Harry Reid came to BYU in 2007 to enlighten the conservative body on the Provo, Utah campus on the virtues of the Democrat Party. During his trip to Provo, he also criticized President Ezra Taft Benson, saying that the LDS prophet and staunch constitutionalist had led people down the wrong path. Apparently Reid, one of the most liberal people influencing our country's direction, felt the need to assert that his understanding of proper Christianity is superior to that of someone we regard as Christ's spokesman. If that mentality seems at all strange to anyone, you're not alone.

I have had many political conversations with Mormons in which Harry Reid's name comes up. For the most part, members of the church I've talked to are embarrassed that Reid shares membership with them in an organization whose priorities are in direct contrast to what Reid and his party espouse. Foremost among the religious principles contradicted by Harry Reid and the Democrat Party is that of the agency of mankind.

The Battle Over Agency
For those who are not member of my church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), I'll explain the Latter-day Saint perspective on freedom and agency. Our understanding of the battle between good and evil begins well before the earth was created. Humans existed with the Father of their spirits (Elohim) in heaven. A plan was presented to them in which each of those spirits would be given a necessary chance to experience mortality on this earth. The plan would allow them to use their freedom of choice and accountability (aided by the intercession of Jesus Christ to overcome their shortcomings) to develop into beings equal in knowledge, power, and authority to their Father. In addition to God's plan, which was righteously supported by Jesus Christ, a spirit named Lucifer presented an evil alternative. His plan mocked freedom, engendered slavery, and attempted to destroy agency by removing it from the equation. People would be forced to do "good". They would not have a choice. Lucifer, whose actions led him to become the Devil or Satan, attempted to sugar coat his plan by claiming that it would work perfectly, saving each and every one of God's offspring. The purpose for the devil's aggressive push to remove agency is clear. He wanted power. He wanted glory. He wanted to control.

Oddly enough, in many ways, the devil's plan has some appeal. Creating a system in which everyone becomes perfect seems enticing. However, coercion of the human soul, even forcing obedience to what is considered good, goes against eternal principles. It is evil.

If you read the preceding explanation with modern day politics in mind, it is little wonder that the LDS church membership strongly favors the Republican party and opposes Democrats. Although the Republican party is a long way from having perfect ideals,
it doesn't directly oppose the principles of agency and accountability as does the Democrat party.

Democrats, including Harry Reid whose religion attempts to teach him a better way, have an agenda that closely parallels that put forth by Satan prior to this world's founding. They pretend to have the best interests of their country at heart, yet their policies and programs have been demonstrated to create dependence on the government and destroy the self-sufficiency that comes when a person uses his God-given ability to make choices for himself and his family.

But what about charity and providing for the less fortunate? Another interesting twist in this discussion arises when we consider that the Christian religion teaches its adherents to be charitable, to help the less fortunate, and to contribute their means for that purpose. What's wrong with the Democrat position of taxing, taxing, and more taxing in order for the government to decide who gets what? The immorality of this stance is based on the fact that it subverts the personal choice of American citizens to provide for the less fortunate voluntarily, without being forced. Like the devil, Democrats want power. They want glory. They want to control the lives of each and every citizen in this country by expanding their government and redistributing what is not theirs. Despite the historical evidence that this approach makes everyone poorer and removes fulfillment from their lives, Democrats still want to be praised for creating such an environment.

A point that needs to be made here involves the voluntary giving habits of conservatives versus those of liberals. Studies repeatedly show that Republicans donate more to charity than Democrats. The latest formal study of this subject (a book by Arthur Brooks called "Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism - Who Gives, Who Doesn't, and Why It Matters) would be a rebuke of Democrats, except that it's been universally understood for a long time that liberals, who would without reservation open up someone else's wallet to source contributions for their "philanthropic" projects, hold tightly to their own.

I've wondered how someone like Harry Reid can be so confused about the principles taught by his religion. If he attends the same kinds of meetings as I do, and if his brain works correctly; if he valued the essence of what he learns in church above rivaling political aspirations, he certainly wouldn't be who he is. Either Mr. Reid has problems understanding some pretty basic concepts, as demonstrated in his widely circulated interview with Jan Helfeld, or there is more to his political maneuvering than simple sincerity. During the interview, Reid attempts to explain that Americans are not forced to pay taxes. The interview may give us insight into how Satan himself might have attempted to portray the details of his plan as not necessarily being compulsory.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Some Ins and Outs of Our Society

I recently had a conversation with a workout buddy of mine about the relationship between exercise, diet, and overall health. It set my mind in motion about a couple of issues for which an understanding of what's coming in and what's going out is extremely important.

Especially with all the talk about healthcare reform, it is obvious that one of the best ways every person in this country could contribute to lowering the nation's cost of healthcare is by exercising discipline with 1) how much food they eat - the ins; and 2) how much of that food they burn off - the outs. With the prevalence of diet and weight loss fads that often guarantee that you'll "take it off and keep it off", it might cause a person to wonder what's so complicated about "it". Are there millions of deviant microscopic organisms that sneak up and attach themselves to people's stomachs, bums and thighs if they don't take a particular pill or subscribe to the latest weight loss program? Nope. There's a a simple formula for the vast majority of us. If more is coming in than is going out, a person gets fatter. If the amount that is going in equals what's going out, the person stays the same. If more is going out than is coming in, the person loses weight. There's no real secret there.

Now let's consider debt, savings, and general personal finance. I remember hearing on news radio nearly six years ago a report that found Americans had spent $1.27 in 2002 for every dollar they'd earned. I distinctly remember thinking to myself, "That can't last very long." If the scenario represented the flow of calories on a fat person, our country would have made some progress over that period and since then. Instead, we now find ourselves in a major recession. To make things worse, the irresponsibility of Americans over the past six years (and further back) has led to a situation in which we have a power-thirsty group of politicians (I know, "power-thirsty" and "politicians" is redundant, but this is an extreme case, so it fits) trying to stuff down the throats of Americans a socialist combo of government run heathcare and a fraudulent "economic stimulus". We can learn another lesson from our misery in this case: saving - the ins, has to outweigh spending - the outs.

There is obviously nothing new or relevatory in this discussion of ins and outs as they relate to the flow of calories and dollars. There's obviously other things affecting each person's ins and outs. However, it seems like too many members of our society have so quickly abandoned common sense principles in search of a way to kill accountability and live off of entitlement that a good slap in the face is needed.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Problems With Barack Obama's Education Speech

Much has been made about Barack Obama's speech today to school-aged kids.  Those of us who are suspicious of Obama are certain that the speech was inspired by a desire by Obama to gain back some of the face he's lost trying to push socialism on America through his people's haphazard, hurried "healthcare reform" scam.

Last Friday, my wife and I took our three-year-old to tour American Heritage School in American Fork, Utah.  We're considering sending our children there, because we've heard good things about the religion-centered education they provide.  While touring the school with one of the assistant principals, we were discussing the principles the school ascribes to.  The discussion led me to ask whether Obama's speech would be broadcast at the school.  The answer didn't surprise me as much as the certainty with which it was given.  "We won't be showing it here!"  The school doesn't accept ANY government funding, so it has no gratuitous obligations to the federal government.  Needless to say, I'm sold on their product.

Back to the speech by Obama.  Like many other conservatives who are concerned about the direction of our country and the persistent abandonment by our leaders of the values upon which this country was founded, I thought the timing of the speech was strange at the least.  Granted, it is the beginning of a new school year, and there are plenty of students who need encouragement to get back into the books after a long summer.  However, motivation of grade school students towards educational pursuits is best left to parents and other family first, teachers second.

As with most communication, the predominant value of a speech is embodied in the speaker himself, his character, reputation, and value system.  I do have to give credit to Barack Obama and his wife for their educational pursuits.  Apparently they both grew up in environments that weren't the most conducive to education, and they both beat the odds to graduate from Ivy League law schools.  The question I have centers on whether either of them learned anything from their educations and post-college experiences that's worth passing on to the youth of America.

Obama's chat with the children emphasized their need to take responsibility for themselves, regardless of whether they consider themselves disadvantaged.  His policies towards wealth redistribution and government welfare-like healthcare among others systematically remove the sense of responsibility from Americans.  He encouraged students to work hard, develop their talents, skills, and intellect so they can contribute to their country. The problem is that his party's socialist agenda discourages achievement, penalizing those who work hard and become too successful.  Ultimately this grounding influence negatively affects all of our society, including those doleful citizens whose ignorant support puts people like Obama in such a powerful position in the first place.  I have a very real story that illustrates this example well.

My wife and I started a sporting goods business five years ago.  We worked hard to make it successful.  Compared with the typical welfare recipient, I'd dare say we worked five to ten times as hard, maybe more.  We were successful, ultimately too successful.  As we considered our tax burden during the last year we owned our business, a year in which we were blessed with profits close to $250,000 (one of Obama's magic thresholds), we saw a steep decline in the marginal benefit of each additional dollar we made.  Putting in a certain amount of effort for a dollar is one thing.  When that dollar is gradually reduced, people like me find it less and less appealing to use our ingenuity, to put our talents, skills, and intellect on the line to provide for a wasteful, arrogant, usurping government.  Fearful of what we might be taxed on the gain of our business if we waited until Obama had enough time to fully implement the "change" he intends, we sold the business and started over.

While it is useful to have advocates who sincerely intend to build America by encouraging education, Obama's speech was hollow, his intentions transparent, his message void of motivation.  Mr. Obama, when you have stopped smoking and drinking alcohol, then you can remind the kids to wash their hands and take care of themselves.  When you've overcome your desire for all-consuming power, you can convince the youth of the need to empower themselves through education.  Until then, feel free to leave the motivation of our kids to us parents.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Technorati's Candid Tip for Bloggers

Every once in awhile I come across a subtle reminder of how base our world has become. Today's reminder came from Technorati's candid "Tip" that reveals what they have to deal with in administering accounts for thousands of Technorati account owners. While I was updating my account profile on Technorati today, I realized that I hadn't uploaded a picture. I went to the page that allows me to upload my picture, and I was surprised at the wording used by Technorati to attempt to dissuade the perverted segment of their audience from posting pornographic images as part of their account profile. Here's what they suggest.
Tip: Please do us a favor and upload a photo that does not show your very special but also very private parts. When you do that, we have to take time away from making our website faster and better to go find your profile and hide it, and that's bad for you and us. Thanks for helping!
The wording used in this helpful tip makes it sound as if they're speaking to a two-year-old child who's not mature enough to realize what's appropriate for public exposure and what's not. The irony about the concept of having to use kid talk to get through to the pornography crowd is that they are the ones who so often use the term "mature" when referring to their perversion. The term attempts to portray the idea that a person who indulges in pornography has arrived at an advanced mental state, when exactly the opposite is true.

Some Context for What You Read Here

Whenever someone shares opinions, especially about important topics for which there are deeply contrasting views in society, it's important to know the foundation of that person's perspectives. For that reason, I have provided a category on this blog called Premises. Listed under Premises are some explanations of my background, including my religion, which forms the foundation of my moral and political principles.