11.29.2008

India

So, tell me again how Islam is a religion of peace.

Islam has never spread through peaceable means, but always and only by force of arms. It is, from start to finish, a militant religion. This fact is not in the least altered by the fact that other religions (yes, including Christianity) have also tried to gain converts by war. Christians had a Reformation to teach them that war is a lousy evangelism strategy. Muslims, on the other hand, have found war quite successful in that regard.

I think we need to be prepared to destroy Mecca and Medina, and make it clear to Muslims that we will do so if they do not choose a different path. The Islamic culture of the Middle East, across the board from Somalia to Kashmir; from Chechnya to Yemen has chosen war. War they shall have, but one cannot win it with kid gloves and whiffle bats. That entire culture needs to feel the pain of the choice they have made and support. Either we take the fight to the enemy, or we go toes up and wait for the dirt to cover us.

11.26.2008

Seminary Slavery

I see that the seminary I attended has instituted a revised curriculum. Makes me glad I'm not there any more. A key component of this curriculum is a "service learning course" that requires 100 hours of serving "unchurched, impoverished, or oppressed." Sounds like they've gotten on board the Great Messiah Obama slavery train. Not only do they get to pay $10,000 per year to study, they now get to do menial labor for free. Of course, this will cut into the time they have available to work for money so they can feed, house, and clothe themselves, pay that $10K tuition, and practice the skills they'll use as pastors. This is just great! It's a wonderful, marvelous thing!

What, pray tell, will they be doing?

How do they intend to identify the "unchurched"? Is there a roster somewhere in Grand Rapids, MI that identifies who is or is not "churched"? How will they be served? Maybe they should take the breakfast shift at area restaurants - the people in the restaurant will be unchurched at that point and require service. Maybe they can be nannies or butlers for the unchurched wealthy. Or, instead, they might offer to run errands so the unchurched middle class won't have to miss football games. Oh. You mean just the unchurched poor. OK. Do they get a double-helping of service as opposed to the churched poor, then? Or if I give food to unchurched poor people for an hour, can I count that as 2 hours since I'm serving unchurched and impoverished persons?

While we're talking poor, the best way I can think of to serve the impoverished is to encourage business and trade since it is these activities that produce wealth, provide employment and genuinely lift people out of poverty. Are we now going to give seminarians classes in business law, economics, tax code, and finance so they get MBAs in addition to M.Divs, start small businesses, and employ the poor?

Perhaps, if they really want to serve the oppressed, they should require seminarians to join the US Army Reserve or National Guard and volunteer for duty in Afghanistan killing Taliban. Maybe we should advocate for an invasion of Iran so we can rebuild that country like we've done Iraq (and we have done it in Iraq - that war is nearly won and the Iraqis are grateful even if the American Left is not). That'll do far more for the oppressed than mouthing pious phrases about Darfur.

The entire enterprise is founded in faulty understandings of history, economics, and politics. It's also encouraging a kind of leftist pharisaism that is bad theology. There is very little that will be done over the course of these 100 hours to seriously address any of these problems and in fact it is not intended to do so. It is merely intended to make the Seminary staff, students and board feel good about themselves. It is a grand-standing "Look at me!" exercise in self-righteous posturing and it will do not one thing to make these students better pastors or theologians. Spare me.

11.25.2008

Government Waste

Eliminating government waste is the panacea every politician promises to impose. They might begin by eliminating their own position, then. "Government waste" is what your political opponents want to buy. "Government necessities" are what you want to buy.

But, we're going to eliminate government waste. Right. That means we have to impose all manner of accountability procedures on department X so that they don't waste money. That, in turn, means we're going to have to hire 15 new people and set up an implementation plan down to the sub-sub-sub-division within department X in order to make sure we properly implement and apply the new accounting procedures. Of course, we have to provide people who actually do the implementing in each and every sub-sub-sub-division, along with supervisors at the division, sub-division and sub-sub-division levels, not to mention at the department level itself. There will need to be new forms to fill out in order to document our implementation and application of these procedures, and that means new software - but we'll contract out for that - and since we now have a bunch of extra people here we'll need to build a new office building. But hey, what does it matter that we just spent $350 million (not counting pension obligations) in order to save $20 million. We cut out $20 million in government waste, so that should get us re-elected.

The only way we are ever going to reduce government waste is if we reduce the amount of money at the government's disposal. Given the inability of the people's representatives to face harsh realities and stay in office, that's not going to happen until we establish a constitutional requirement for a balanced budget, make it harder to place expenditures "off-budget", and drastically cut taxes.

Yeah. Right. That's going to happen.

11.21.2008

Evangelicals & Science

Creationism, Intelligent Design, Evolution. Buzz-words all and whether positive or negative depends entirely on your particular buzz. Probably the best book on the topic that I've read is entitled Darwin, Marx and Freud: Doctors of Modernity by R. F. Baum. While heavily influenced by him, what follows is my own take. Where we agree, credit Baum and where we disagree, blame me.

First, nobody believes in an absolutely literal interpretation of Genesis 1. We do not live in a time where a terra-centric world view is possible. "Day" is defined as 24 hours because that's how long it takes the earth to rotate on its axis relative to the sun - but there is no sun until the 4th day. Oh yes, where'd the light come from on day 1 when God created it? Light, by the way, is simply a particular band on the electro-magnetic spectrum to which our optic nerve is sensitive. Some wavelengths don't register and some do, but what makes it "light" is that the eye registers a sensation, sends a signal to the brain which says "Light". Stimulate that nerve with something other than an electromagnetic wave and the brain will still think there is some kind of light. In fact, if you can stimulate that area of the brain without going through the nerve, it will register "light." (This, by the way, answers the question of whether a tree that falls in the woods makes a sound if nobody hears it. No. It does not. It generates a compression wave, but it does not become "sound" until it registers on a brain somewhere.)

After God turns on the light on Day One, he goes about partitioning the water. In this way, he gives shape to the formless void. Then he spends a couple days filling it so it won't be so void any more. Then he makes man. Given what we know of astronomy - even basic middle-school level astronomy - nobody seriously reads Genesis 1 literally.

Second, cross-species evolution has no scientific, evidentiary basis. It's not there. There is certainly change within a given species - whether you call it "progress" or not depends on your perspective but change is undeniable. We have made use of this by genetically manipulating plants and animals since the 13th century if not before. To be sure, we didn't actually splice genes and what not in 1243, but we took two different dogs and cross bred them to make a different breed of dog. Nevertheless, no matter how many generations of dog you go through, you still end up with dogs at the end of it - not "super dogs", not horses or some other kind of animal, just dogs. The change in gene structure that would make a dog into something other than a dog is not evolution, but radical change and the only time that has happened is when we humans have attempted to make it happen. Unfortunately, the things ostensibly "created" have all been dead or sterile. Darwin himself had no particular source for the radical adaptations, though now we talk of radiation or chemicals. But again, any time we've done that, we've destroyed and not created.

Third, even if cross-species evolution occurred, it would take a miracle. Picture this: An ape gives birth to a non-ape. In the same basic area - possibly this very same ape - gives birth to a second non-ape. Strangely this second non-ape is the very same sort of being as the first non-ape, and of the opposite gender, too. This is all happening millions of years ago, mind you. No docs or immunizations or hygiene or anything of the sort to protect the two helpless baby non-apes. Yet these two non-apes of the opposite sex manage to survive long enough to be able to reproduce and, rather than trying to reproduce with the apes, they come into contact with each other, realize they are non-apes of the same sort, and reproduce with each other. It is the height of irony that people who believe this just happened and is completely natural can yet look down on me as irrational for believing in the divine creation miracle.

Finally, stripped of all the gobbledy-gook, Darwin's book and theory turn out to not be about origins at all. In fact, Darwin's book might better have been titled "Survival of the Species" and could be reduced to a single sentence: "Species that have the characteristics necessary for survival tend to survive while those that don't, don't." This is hardly revolutionary. On the contrary, it is a rather dull truism, hardly worth all the accolades, studies, money, and everything else that has gone into establishing it as the culte du jour of science.

Why wasn't it seen so at the time? Well, the short answer is that by some it was so seen. But the prospect of explaining our existence apart from God and thus getting rid of the necessity of God once and for all - this was too tempting to resist. We took the bait.

11.20.2008

Guantanamo

"A federal judge Thursday ordered the release of five Algerians held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the continued detention of a sixth in a major blow to the Bush administration's strategy to capture terror suspects without charges. In the first case of its kind, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon said the government's evidence linking the five Algerians to al-Qaida was not credible as it came from a single, unidentified source. Therefore, he said the five could not be held indefinitely as enemy combatants, and should be released immediately." (AP, 20 Nov 2008)

I've got an idea. How about we release them into the home of this federal judge? Hey, judge. One of the reasons these guys are still in Gitmo is because nobody else wants 'em, not even the Algerians. That might give you a bit of a clue if you weren't so friggin' clueless. Another thing, the unidentified source needs to be unidentified in order to keep breathing. We're not talking about some guy who knocked over the corner liquor store.

Whether Judge Leon realizes it or not, we are at war - real war, not just some faux war like the "war on poverty". These people mean to do us serious harm. If you doubt that, go look at the crater on Manhattan Island. You cannot fight a war by "arresting" the enemy, reading them their rights, and then putting them on trial. War is first and formost a contest of wills. There are two ways to affect the enemy's will: either inflict sufficient pain on them (kill them in sufficient quantity and with sufficient rapidity) that they lose the will to continue; or persuade them that continuing the war is not in their best interest. Usually one tries a combination of these.

Persuading them requires honestly looking at their reasons for fighting us. I note that, in this regard, they are not fighting us because we knocked over their applecart, or because we're rich, or because we're mean to them. They want to kill us because we are not Muslim. You can tell because they don't refer to us as the mean, rich, capitalist, bourgeosie pigs the way the Marxists, Communists and Socialists did. No, they call us "infidels" - or its Arabic equivalent. The bulk of that word comes from the Latin "fides", which is typically used to mean religious belief. The prefix indicates that those beliefs are wrong. In other words, they want to kill us because we are "wrong faith people".

To the extent there is poverty in Egypt, Pakistan, and elsewhere, it is not caused by American prosperity. Quite the reverse. It is caused by their own abject failures in self-government and only alleviated as much as it is because of the prosperity and generosity of the West. We therefore cannot appease these people with money. They'll take our money, but that won't appease them. It will only make them think that we're stupid in addition to being infidels. Killing us will therefore not only satisfy their religious dictates, it will improve the gene pool. In fact, they are not persuadable. That means we must kill them. We will not win this war until we are prepared to march through Iran, Somalia, Pakistan and any other hidey-hole they may have in the same way Sherman marched through Georgia in 1864. I wish it were not so, but our enemy has given every indication that it is and it is they, not we, who have chosen war.

Now I know not all Muslims want to kill infidels. In fact, some Muslims get along famously with infidels and I'd expect most don't much care about infidels either way. None of these Muslims are currently in Guantanamo Bay unless they are on active duty with the U.S. military there.

All of this is just a lengthy way of saying that the President and Congress who thought it would be a good thing to let the courts have a say in this, along with the judges who think they know everything and can fix anything, are all suffering from a severe case of rectal-cranial inversion syndrome. It's giving the rest of us hemorrhoids.

11.14.2008

God and Taxes

If you're wondering what God says about taxes, it's "pay them." You can scour the Scriptures and not find anything else directly said about taxes, so, whether you're a liberal trying to make me believe that there is something wrong with people keeping their own money or a conservative trying to establish a biblical case for minimal taxes, it's not in there.

There are a couple things we can say about government's proper role, though. Taking out the evil-doer is a governmental function (see Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2:13-17). One can also make a case for the government engaging in massive public works like city walls, roads, and public buildings (temples, palaces, etc.). The monarchy seems to be involved in city water systems - aquaducts, cisterns and sewers - and in the establishment of uniform weights and measures, not to mention regulating the traffic across borders and some sort of court system. In other words, government in both the Old and New Testament metes out justice (wrath on the evil-doer); regulates the borders; builds internal improvements that facilitate defense, trade, governance, and basic city services (sewer & water). That's it.

Taking care of the poor is nowhere described as a governmental function in Scripture. It is a community function, and there is provision for storing up of the triennial tithes in order to care for those who have no allotment (land) in the community - specifically these are: widows, orphans, and aliens. (See Deut 14 and 26.) Caring for these people is not government's job and there is reason to believe custody of these tithes remained with the Levites and not the king's men even after Saul. The Bible does not indicate whether it was the monarchy or the Levites who built the storage facilities for these tithes, however. In other words, care for the poor is overseen by communal religious authorities, not civic authority, although the latter may be facilitate the former.

Educating the young is also not a government responsibility so much as a family responsibility. There is some indication that religious schools exist (see the bit about the "sons of the prophets" in 2 Kings 2 and some references to Pharisees in Acts and Paul's letters as well as archeological evidence regarding Essenes and others). There is also a point where the king takes over supervision of training those who will advise him (see Daniel 1-2). Even so, it is essentially the family that is responsible for teaching children.

Applied to modern times, that would mean government should get out of the welfare, social security & disability, medicare/medicaid, and education business. Instead it should concentrate on regulating the borders, encouraging honest trade, maintaining trade routes, and national defense. Local governments would handle local city services.

I could go for that...

11.13.2008

Auto Bail-out & Community Service

So now folks are pushing for an Auto industry bail out. Why don't we just cut to the quick and nationalize all industries on 21 January 2009.

I noticed that Obama was proposing mandatory community service for all college and high school students, too. Interesting - and ironic. A white Republican ended slavery in the U.S., but a black Democrat wants to re-instate it. Of course, we'd be slaves of the State instead of owned by private citizens. I guess that makes it all right. (Uh-oh - it's come down off the "change.gov" site now.)

Maybe instead of giving the auto industry tax dollars, we can give them the student/slave labor force. Do your community service for GM. After we surrender in Iraq and disarm, maybe we can just send the Marines to the Ford plants. Let the 3rd Armored manufacture its own tanks while the 4th Infantry works building Chryslers. Arbeit macht frei!

Where have I heard that before?

If these businesses have been this foolish, let them go. Yeah, there will be unemployment. Part of what has driven these businesses under is the UAW. They should feel part of the pain, too. Maybe they'll learn not to kill the goose that way. Somebody will buy the remnants, establish contracts based in reality instead of the fantasy-land currently operative, and produce quality American cars in states that don't view industry as the enemy.

Oh, yes. I forgot. There is no God but Government, and Obama is the Government.

11.09.2008

Stop Looking for a Spouse

I Corinthians 7:25-31

v. 27: Are you married? Do not seek a divorce. Are you unmarried? Do not look for a wife.


I always kind of assumed I would get married. One just did, you know. You grew up and got married – the one necessarily entailed the other. So I spent some time, money and energy trying to find a suitable wife. We call this “dating”. I did not find a wife this way, but I did learn something about dating. I learned that the entire dating process is founded in a well-intentioned and dangerous deception. Does she like Chinese food? Then I like Chinese food, even if I prefer hamburgers and bratwurst. Does he like NASCAR? Then I really care if, uh, oh whatever his name is in that pretty yellow car wins the race. Perfume, cologne, clothing, hairstyle, dinner, and movie are all part of the search for ways to “make” the other love me. There’s a reason one prefers dim lighting when dating - not because it’s “romantic,” but because it’s harder for my date to see me grimace at whatever disgusting preparation I’m trying to pretend I like so she’ll like me. As in job interviews the first rule of dating is: Assume the applicant is exaggerating, if not outright lying. Yes, I know, lots of people have linked up with perfectly acceptable spouses through this process. It is rather a tribute to the grace of God than to the process itself, however.

When it comes to the whole question of dating, courting, and all that other stuff, better advice than Paul’s has never been given. Do not look for a spouse. Looking for a spouse, along with the assumption that you must find one, leads to a sense of urgency and urgency quickly leads to folly. I remember a young man facing graduation from college in 1984. He had been looking diligently for a wife for four years, and had not found one. I do not know how his studies proceeded, but that was not his reason for going to college and now he was rather desperate. One day, he asked if he could sit at a table where I and a friend were sitting. He started talking to her as if they were the only two people in the coffeeshop. I remember well my friend’s awkward look, but she was polite and the young man did not require her to say much in reply. He found her and sat at her table the next day, too. This went on for three more days, at the end of which he asked her to marry him. She was not the only victim.

Yes, it was silly. But the problem was not that he wanted a wife. The problem was the assumption that God intended one for him. Rather than looking for a spouse, look for the will of God. If you’re already married, you’re committed. Don’t look for a divorce. In any event, turn on the lights so you can see what you’re doing. Turn off the music and the television so you can listen to each other and to God. Make sure, as much as is within your power, that the real, genuine you is who the other is getting to know, and not a fa├žade designed to impress the boss. If you’re not married, even if you wish to be so, be open to the possibility that God is calling you to be single. Seek first the Kingdom of God. The rest will follow.

11.07.2008

52 to 48

There's some mush going around about how now we all have to unite and get together. I find it passing strange that this occurs only when liberals are elected. The rage, the anger, the sheer hatred of George W. Bush including threats to try him and members of his administration for war crimes (a threat still out there in some sectors of Congress) is and was appalling. The efforts of Democrats to force defeat in Iraq, at the cost of hundreds of American lives and thousands of Iraqi lives does not make me inclined to accept these sappy little make-peace noises now that their guy has won. For eight years, Republicans have attempted to work together with Democrats in Congress and they have little to show for it besides holes in their backs from the knife wounds.

I am not interested in working together with liberals. I will grant that their motivation is sincere - that they want what is best for the country - but their ideas are profoundly wrong. I will take every opportunity to pin the oncoming demise where it belongs, on liberal policies that do not account for the reality of human nature, that preeningly assume everyone who is not a liberal is a selfish bastard, and that claim a moral high ground while destroying lives. I will not shrink from the myriad opportunities to say "I told you so" that the next four years will present.

People voted for Obama wanting hope, but placing their hope in such an object (a politician) only produces hopelessness. People voted for Obama wanting change. That they shall have, but they won't like it. There will be scandal, corruption, oppression, poverty, stagnation, and defeat because a majority of Americans (in both parties, given the nominees) exchanged unpleasant truths for pleasant lies. We shall all pay for it.

11.06.2008

Anti-Palin Nonsense

Apparently there are a bunch of (former?) McCain staffers in full CYA mode dumping on Governor Palin. She answered a late night knock on her hotel room door wearing a bathrobe, according to one. What she was supposed to be wearing, I'm not sure. Or maybe the problem is that she answered the door herself instead of having suitable lackeys for it. Oh yes, and in a conversation, someone said something about South Africa and she thought he was talking about the southern region of Africa instead of the country that calls itself "South Africa". Expect more efforts to portray her as a classless rube by those more truly classless.

Frankly, if that's the attitude of McCain's staff, good riddance. I was never a big fan of McCain. His only real shot at getting elected was the distaste (and fear) people felt at the prospect of Obama. If the Democrats had nominated Hillary Clinton it would indeed have been a landslide.

We'll see if the Republicans are able to get their crap together and nominate a genuine conservative in 2012. Maybe Jeb Bush....

11.05.2008

Told You So

"The Dow plunged as much as 330 points Wednesday afternoon as economic worries mount on Wall Street..." -FoxNews

By close of business, the Dow Jones was down 486 points. If you think that's not connected to who won the presidential election, you're willfully blind. Expect similar drops over the next few weeks, too. We might have a bigger drop than the 1,000 points I predicted last night.

I note that Russia is planning to deploy missiles along the Baltic Sea and other areas of Russia that could threaten former Soviet satellites. This intimidation will work, frankly, because President-elect Obama has no friggin' clue how the world really works.

Hamas and Israel are at it again, too - the former launched extensive rocket attacks against Israel and the latter has responded.

After 20 January, it will get really intense.

Caring for the poor - a reflection on Deuteronomy 24

I'll leave it to you to actually read the passage in question. I want to suggest that there are three basic characteristics about caring for the poor that can be derived from it. First, care must be personal. Those who are poor, who are strangers, who are widows and orphans must be viewed first and foremost as human beings – and treated as such. Our common humanity is far more important than our different circumstances. Second, care must protect dignity and a sense of worth. The way we help the poor must not (intentionally or unintentionally) degrade them. Third, care must empower the poor. Loan them money and expect them to pay it back, but don't use the loan as a cudgel. Offer opportunities rather than hand-outs (leave a sheaf in the field). Move them from dependence to independence.

The rub comes in determining specific policies and practices that accomplish this in our non-agrarian, money-based economies. I do not have solutions to what are vexing issues at best, but let me ask a series of questions.

1) Does the direct gift of money, supplies, food, or whatever else empower the recipient and at what cost? Giving, particularly on a grand scale, has costs in unintended consequences. For instance, simply giving away food constitutes a massive increase in supply at subsidized prices (free) which will cause the bottom to drop out of the local market. Productive farmers are harmed as a result. But attempting to avoid this by purchasing food on the local market suddenly increases demand – which drives the price up and increases the number of people who can’t afford food. It is essential to balance the market impact of direct aid against the urgency of the crisis.

2) Does the gift/assistance provide continuing opportunities? If what we leave behind after our aid is a continuing dependence upon our gifts, then we have betrayed the poor. To be sure, there are people in circumstances where dependence is a simple fact. The degree of dependence, however, can and often does change. But the goal is independence where possible, and that goal should dictate the nature of the assistance offered. Enabling businesses to afford higher wages by lowering the corporate income tax, encouraging free trade, easing the restrictions on starting up a business or expanding it are all ways of helping the poor. So also are training programs that teach better study habits, more efficient business practices, personal responsibility, improved agricultural methods, financial management, and so on.


3) Who are we really taking care of? There are ways to take care of the poor that also benefit us and I don’t mean to say that we shouldn’t use these methods simply because we might also benefit. Yet there are also a lot of ways to get the poor off my conscience without really helping them and indeed, the goal isn’t to help them. It’s to get them off my conscience. Encouraging class-envy, a sense of bitterness and victimization, helplessness, and despondency are not things that take care of the poor and protect their dignity. They have another purpose, most often quite selfish.

There is a time and place for giving to the poor (cf., Matthew 19 or Acts 10), but the object is to start them on the road to integration into the economic society, not just give money. We are to leave a sheaf in the fields, not bring a sheaf over to the poor man's house.

Election Reflection

The American people have chosen foolishly, and it will not be long before they regret the choices they have made.

The regretful choices begin with the abandonment of conservative principles by the Republican majorities during President G. W. Bush's first term. Had they held the president to those principles, many of his more disastrous domestic initiatives would have failed. Had they not run from the responsibility of the majority in 2003 and 2005 and forced reform on Freddie Mae/Fannie Mac, the burst of the housing bubble would have been far less severe, budget deficits and foolish budget expenditures would be much less, and the approval of the GOP would have been much higher. Again and again, the GOP - particularly in the Senate - has sought to get along with those committed to their political destruction, with predictable results. This abandonment of conservative principles meant there was no conservative standard-bearer for the Republican nomination in 2008. Instead, the GOP nominated someone who has made his mark primarily by running against his own party. Too late did McCain attempt to affirm conservatism by nominating Governor Palin.


And now the American people have chosen a radicalized socialist party.

I have often said that pain is a wonderful teacher. We are about to come under the tutelage of that most effective instructor.


The policies President-elect Obama has advocated, and which will no doubt be supported by the Democrat majorities in both houses of Congress, will embolden our enemies, so expect an increase in the intensity of attacks in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as renewal of outright warfare between Israel and Hamas/Fatah (Palestinians). I would not be surprised if a major attack were to occur on US soil as well - the Sears Tower might not be standing four years from now.

If Obama and the Democrat party do what they have promised, expect significantly higher energy costs across the board, higher unemployment, inflation, higher interest rates, another 1,000 point drop in the Dow Jones, and confiscatory tax rates that reach out and touch people making far less than $250,000 (or $200,000 or $150,000 or $120,000) per year. In addition, the practice of abortion will achieve its greatest expansion since 1973 as they undo 35 years of increased restrictions at a stroke. All you civil liberties junkies can expect more invasions of privacy similar to that met by S. Joe Wurzelbacher, too. There will be an attempt to destroy talk radio by government fiat (which I do not think will succeed). The attempt to nationalize health care will severely damage the pharmeceutical industry, reduce the number of physicians, and generally gum up the medical system, too.

Am I too gloomy? I don't think so. This is what they've said they will do, and all of it has been tried before in other countries. And everywhere they have been tried, they have yielded these kinds of results.

But I am confident that the United States is resilient. I am not afraid of any of this - my hope lies where Obama, Pelosi and Reid cannot touch it. This is the last gasp of socialism. It will fail, and the blame for that failure will rest unavoidably on the Democrat Party and liberalism/socialism where it belongs.

In the meantime, can we finally dismantle affirmative action? If a Black man can be elected president, we probably don't need it anymore.

11.04.2008

Voting

We finally get to vote today. I will vote as will millions of others. I encourage you to vote if you've paid attention and care. I encourage you to refrain from voting if you don't care or haven't paid attention.

I've never thought universal suffrage was a good idea. I know that, in the days when Blacks were denied access to education, reading tests were used to keep them away on election day. Even so, there is merit to the idea of requiring a certain minimal level of education and literacy (can you read the ballot, for instance). I also think a poll tax is appropriate. We should demonstrate a willingness to pay for the government we're in the process of choosing. So many pay no income taxes at all these days, the connection between government largesse and the confiscation of my money gets lost. The notion that someone can use a park bench for an address in registering to vote (as an Ohio judge ruled) is also absurd in the extreme. The massive and widespread practice of "early" voting is troublesome, too. Different sets of ballots, different times, locations, and so on - every variation offers a new opportunity for fraud and deceit. Voting should be difficult so that it is a genuine expression of civic responsibility rather than a nation-wide "trick-or-treat" exercise in which 100 million people all knock
on government's door with their hand out hoping for treats.

Tomorrow, though, it will be a whole bunch of after-the-fact kibbitzing, complaining about the results, gloom, despair, agony, deep agitation, and excessive misery. We're in for four to five years of heavy weather, regardless of who wins. Then it gets better.

As an aside, I do not understand the low approval ratings of President Bush. His is most decidedly not a failed presidency. Granted, he is no great communicator and as a result is therefore poorly understood, but if you look at the accomplishments of the last eight years it is really quite impressive. Regardless of who wins, we will be missing him in two years.

Nevertheless, by this time tomorrow, the decision will be made. We will get the government we deserve, because we will get the government we choose.