Hard Working Traditional Values With A Dash of Fun

Hard Working Traditional Values With A Dash of Fun

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Dead Socialist Pilgrims

Most Americans know only the basic story of the Pilgrims, mainly how the Indians helped them survive through a rough first year and how they celebrated with the first Thanksgiving. That first Thanksgiving was just a small respite in a terrible first two years of starvation and want. First of all, 45 of the 102 colonists died during the first winter of 1620-21. They were reduced to living on half rations during the winter of 1621-1622. The results of their 1622 farming was not much better and the winter of 1622-23 was another harsh period.

What was the cause of this agricultural failure?

The problem was that during the first two years the Pilgrims followed a communal system of farming that would make modern day socialists and share-the-wealthers proud.  There was no wicked one-percenters here; everyone starved equally.

In April 1623, community leader William Bradford recognized that the communal system of farming was the cause of inadequate food production and made changes to fix things.  Here is how Nathaniel Philbrick describes it in his eminently readable Mayflower:

The fall of 1623 marked the end of Plymouth's debilitating food shortages. For the last two planting seasons, the Pilgrims had grown crops communally--the approach first used at Jamestown and other English settlements. But as the disastrous harvest of the previous fall had shown, something drastic needed to be done to increase the annual yield.

In April, Bradford had decided that each household should be assigned its own plot to cultivate, with the understanding that each family kept whatever it grew. The change in attitude was stunning. Families were now willing to work much harder than they had ever worked before. In previous years, the men had tended the fields while the women tended the children at home. ¨The women now went willingly into the field,¨ Bradford wrote, ¨and took their little ones with them to set corn.¨ The Pilgrims had stumbled on the power of capitalism. Although the fortunes of the colony still teetered precariously in the years ahead, the inhabitants never again starved.

History is a great teacher, and it is disappointing that the too many liberals seem ignorant of the many failures of socialism and continue to take steps to tear down capitalism.

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Lewis Remembered. Kennedy, Not So Much.

Today, most of the media attention is going to the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. But Kennedy was not the only famous person to die on November 22, 1963. Renowned Christian apologist C.S. Lewis also died on that day.

I predict that in the long run, C.S. Lewis will be remembered by far more people than President Kennedy. C.S. Lewis's accomplishments were far more consequential than Kennedy's.

The reason that Kennedy gets so much more attention is due to the violent, tragic nature of his death. Those old enough to remember have had their memory of Kennedy's murder seared by this shocking, evil event. However, dispassionate historians have to admit that Kennedy's achievements as president are hardly as consequential as many of his contemporary presidential peers. He was timid in his legislative agenda, afraid to offend his southern base by strongly supporting civil rights. His actions during the Bay of Pigs fiasco contributed to it's failure. Kennedy increased American involvement in Vietnam, leaving Johnson feeling no choice but to continue on with what Kennedy started. He can be praised for the handling of the Cuban missile crisis, but many historians believed his botched foreign relations with the Soviets earlier in his presidency caused it in the first place. His name is on a best selling book, Profiles of Courage, but it was ghost written by his speechwriter, Ted Sorenson. His reckless serial adultery, often engaged in by abandoning his Secret Service protection, and in at least one case involving Mafia figures, was a huge character flaw.

Given enough time, Kennedy will become the 20th Century's James Garfield, a 19th Century president who was also killed early in his presidency before he had time to do anything of consequence.

In comparison, C.S. Lewis is a beloved author whose books remain popular with millions of readers and have reached classic status. His Chronicles of Narnia books are being read by the great grandchildren of his original audience. His many books of Christian apology from The Screw Tape Letters to Surprised by Joy to Mere Christianity will be read for generations. All who read Lewis cannot help but feeling their lives have been made richer and more meaningful.

Lewis is an icon who is troubling to the secular intelligentsia because, by training, he should be one of them -- an atheist who is governed by reason and logic. How could a brilliant man use reason and logic to abandon atheism and embrace the Christian faith? If he made such a radical change, should they also consider following his example? For most secularists, that is the last thing they want to do; they prefer to wallow in their atheistic superiority.

I've blogged before about C.S. Lewis, you can read about it at Ayn Rand vs. C. S. Lewis.

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

More Frank Capra. Less Ayn Rand.

Last week, Utah Senator Mike Lee gave a great talk to the Heritage Foundation making a case for the need of the Tea Party to promote a positive, hopeful future.

His actions received a favorable editorial from the Washington Post's Michael Gerson.

I was surprised to read Mike Lee's quote, ¨The conservative vision for America is not an Ayn Rand novel. It's a Norman Rockwell painting, or a Frank Capra movie; a nation of plain ordinary kindness, and a litte looking out for the other fellow too.¨

I am not surprised that Lee would say this, I am surprised that is sounds like a blurb for my book Atlas Shrugged Jesus Wept.  In my book, I tell the Capraesque story {a la It's a Wonderful Life) of an angel trying to turn the characters from Atlas Shrugged from their worship of selfishness.

I got your back, Senator Lee. This vision for conservative values is already in print!

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Gettysburg Address for Progressives

With its graceful language influenced by the King James Bible, recognition that America is a nation under God, and that the soldiers who died were fighting for freedom, it is clear that the Gettysburg Address does not match up very well with modern progressive secularism which denies God, values entitlements more than freedom, and is ashamed of much of America's history.

Had modern progressive sentiments been in place in the mind of our president in the 1860's, the Gettysburg Address could have been much different:

Four score and seven 87 years ago our fathers a bunch of rich racist old white guys brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty stolen from the Native Americans, and dedicated to the proposition that all only white men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. the one percent should exploit the 99%. It is altogether unfitting and improper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work of socialism which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom equality -- and that government of the people left, by the people left, for the people left, shall not perish from the earth.

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Government Pays For Your Sins

Recent news related to the roll-out of Obamacare has brought attention to the fact that the new law supports shameful behavior.

The Atlantic Magazine (The Hidden Marriage Penalty in Obamacare) reported that an unmarried couple with the same income level as a married couple would receive a benefit equal to 10% of their income thanks to Obamacare not available to a married couple. In other words, the government is rewarding couples for not getting married or getting divorced to bring home more money. What could be more idiotic? It is easy to find evidence that unmarried households are a greater drain on government resources than married households. This policy works against encouraging married couples, the strongest family unit with the most benefits in society.

Even worse, two left-wing nonprofits, ProgesssNow Colorado Education and the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative have created an ad campaign to encourage young people to sign up for Obamacare because it will make it easier to binge drink and sleep around.

 With Obamacare go out and get wasted with your bros.

Or . . .
 With Obamacare get plastered with your girlfriends.

And how about this . . .

Go find a man to fool around with.
Not clear enough for you?
How about this . . .

You would almost think that these are parody ads created by The Onion, but no, these are the real deal. For liberals, Obamacare is just a way for government to fund disgraceful behavior.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Good And Evil From The Same Family - What Was the Difference?

A Light in Dark Places by Jennifer Graves and Emily Clawson is a courageous book. People who live in Utah and Washington may be familiar with the story of Jennifer's sister-in-law Susan Powell who went missing under suspicious circumstances in December of 2009. Her husband, Jennifer's brother, Josh Powell exhibited clear signs that he killed Susan, but not clear enough to be arrested by the police. The story became national news when Josh eventually killed his two young sons and committing suicide.

My wife knows Jennifer Graves through home schooling activities and Steven Koecher, another missing person that Jennifer's father Stephen Powell tried to implicate in Susan's disappearance, was a neighbor of mine, so I was familiar with the story before I read the book. Nevertheless, the book provides a perspective that only a family member could have. It must have been a trying experience to be raised in such a difficult family environment and equally difficult to write about it.

The story is a good example of how someones childhood can have an adverse impact under the influence of a bad father, as obviously happened to Josh, but at the same time it shows that under the positive influence of religion, people can make good choices, as obviously happened to Jennifer. Two people, raised in the same environment, end up living very different lives.

Josh became a selfish, controlling tyrant while Jennifer became a loving wife and home school mom. It should give hope to people growing up in difficult circumstances. When life gives you a hard situation, you can still make good choices and it is made much easier when you have religious faith and understanding.

As a society we would be better off encouraging greater religiosity instead of greater secularness that accepts pornography and other vices as normal. Such positive actions give us more people like Jennifer Graves and Susan Powell and fewer people like Josh Powell and Stephen Powell.

So when you say prayers with your children and read scriptures as a family and take them to church each week you are doing the right thing, despite the fact that many in our society will label you as backward and superstitious.

By their fruits ye shall know them.

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Monday, November 11, 2013

11-11 Ponderable: How America Created Hitler

UPDATED 11-10-2014

November 11 is the day of the year we rightly honor the veterans of our armed forces. This is a well deserved holiday since the freedoms we enjoy in our country are in no small part due to the actions they took in defending our nation.

Those of us familiar with the date chosen for this holiday may be surprised to know the majority of the people do not know the significance of November 11. This was the day the fighting stopped to end World War I.

If you ask people which war had the worst results for America, you would probably hear mentioned the Iraq War or the Vietnam War. While those wars did not end up with the results we had hoped for at the start, I believe that the worst war to involve America was World War I. This is contrary to general perception we have of World War I. We think of songs like ¨Over There¨ and that America was saving Europe from the evil Huns (Germany).

However, a closer examination of the facts clearly shows that without America's involvement, Germany would not have suffered a humiliating defeat that resulted in the punishing terms in the Treaty of Versailles which in turn created the environment where Hitler and his Nazi goons were able to rise to power and lead Germany into World War II.

World War I was not a war of good vs. evil as you can easily claim World War II to be. World War I was just another war among European nations that had been going on for centuries. What made this war particularly bloody was the advancement of artillery and the machine gun. While Americans might have felt greater affinity to England due to common ancestry and to France for helping us win the American Revolution, Germany's reasons for entering the war were to honor alliances, not to promote some genocide. The Kaiser and the King of England and the Tsar of Russia were cousins. The Kaiser wanted a quick war to humiliate France like Germany did in 1870s.

Russia's Nicholas, England's George, and Germany's Wilhelm, all cousins

Germany came very close to defeating France in first few months of the war, but then the war bogged down into trench warfare for more than three years. Germany's defeat of Russia in 1917 freed up enough troops to give Germany another chance to defeat France and England in 1918.  However, the arrival of American troops tipped the scales in favor of the allies and looming starvation back in Germany forced them to sue for peace. The terms sowed the seeds that reaped Hitler.

American entry in the war was not a foregone conclusion. There was overwhelming opposition to getting involved in a European war. Woodrow Wilson campaigned for reelection in 1916 with the promise of keeping us out of the war. Germany's clumsy attempt to enlist Mexico into attacking America along with its submarine warfare forced America into war. Had America stayed neutral, Germany may have defeated France and England or at least negotiated better peace terms.  Without the Treaty of Versailles, there would have been no Hitler and no World War II. Perhaps World War I truly would have been the war to end all wars.

Or at least saved the lives of more than 100,000 American soldiers who died during World War I, including the one now buried at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

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Friday, November 8, 2013

The New Ten Commandments

This week the Supreme Court heard a case brought to it by radical secularists complaining of prayers in city council meetings. This is just the latest action of secularists to remove religious speech from the public forum. For example, they have long wanted to eliminate the display of the Ten Commandments from any government property.  I guess the contents of the Ten Commandments are just too horrifying to read outside of a church or one's home.

So if secularists succeed in getting rid of religion in the public forum, perhaps they will take the next step and start promoting their own version of the Ten Commandments.

The Ten Commandments for Progressive Secularists

1 There is no Lord thy God. Thou shalt have no God before you.

2 Thou shalt worship any graven image that makes you feel good, such as nice cars, clothes, sport teams, celebrities, progressive organizations, etc. Thou shalt bow down to them, and serve them.

3 Thou shalt take the name of the Lord God in vain; for the Lord is just a made-up fable to suppress a libertine lifestyle and people that don't swear are just goodie-two-shoes.

4 Forget the sabbath day and keeping it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the day of the NFL thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates. And Superbowl Sunday is the nation's high holy day.

5 Honor thy government and the entitlements that emit therefrom: that thy days may be long upon the dole.

6 Thou shalt not kill anyone convicted of murder, or animals or anything like unto it. Thou shalt kill unborn babies since they are inconvenient to a modern lifestyle.

7 Thou shalt commit adultery, fornication, sodomy, or anything else that feels good, as long as you don't hurt anyone.

8 Thou shalt not steal. Let the government do it for you and then get the money from them.

9 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor, unless it is for the greater good of society in general so there is nothing wrong in saying, ¨“If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.

10 Thou shalt covet the One-Percent's house, thou shalt covet the One-Percent's wife, and his manservant, and his maidservant, and his ox, and his assets, and any thing that is from a One-Percenter.

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