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Who Sets the Agenda and What Are They Really After? October 21, 2010

Posted by rjpeel in Conservative, Liberal, Truth.
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I recently watched the first episode of Outlaw. I held off as long as I did because I was convinced that the show would have a strong liberal bent and that this would be an obstacle to me liking the show, despite my very favorable response to the premise that the underdog needs a champion–and all too often doesn’t get one.

The liberal bent was even a little stronger than I thought, but if I set all of the garbage aside, I really liked the story.

However, I can’t set the garbage aside, and I found myself thinking about it for the past while. The problem I had with it was the stereotypical, as seen through very, very liberal colored glasses approach to what it means to be a conservative. When a Supreme Court Justice turns his back on a conservative past, alienates all of his conservative colleagues and friends, and is applauded by all of the liberals (and possibly one conservative who may now be on the path to repentance), the message is clear: Conservatives want to maintain the status quo and don’t care about truth or justice, but liberals care about these things and are even willing to bend the rules to get it.

I would imagine that if a fair and honest survey was done to see how conservatives felt about the key legal and moral dilemmas presented in the show that pertained to the incarceration and possible execution of an innocent man, we would find that both liberals and conservatives would give pretty darn consistent answers–they would all want to see an innocent man exonerated–even if he’d previously been convicted. The show made it seem like liberals hate the tricks that lawyers and cog-in-the-machine judges perpetrate in the system, but from where I sit it is liberals who like to trick the system to get what they feel is right pushed through, no matter the consequences.

Once again, I find myself believing that every day liberals and every day conservatives probably believe pretty close to the same thing on many of the important issues, but we have been taught that we are much further apart than we are. We’re taught that we’re on opposite sides with regards to an innocent man in prison, but I maintain, I dont’ think we are.

So, I wonder: who is it that sets the public agenda for liberals and conservatives and what are they really after? Clearly, not truth, nor fairness–and if not these things, then what?

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Predators and Victims September 10, 2010

Posted by rjpeel in Life and Politics, Truth.
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When I was young, there were special times in schools when they taught you life lessons in addition to the regular school work they’re supposed to teach you. I know that there is a whole controversy about what schools should and shouldn’t teach, but in this case, I’m talking about good life lessons that I don’t think anyone would have a problem with school teachers covering.

The one life lesson in particular was how not to become a victim to a mugging or sexual assault in public (this was back when we still believed this was where this happened mostly). We watched videos and heard lectures about how to avoid becoming a victim: walk with good posture; don’t stare at the ground, but instead look around and be aware of our surroundings, appear confident and ready to react.

As we approach November, there are many commercials and pundits trying to convince you to get out and vote. Both sides want their supporters to get out and vote. But getting out and voting really isn’t enough if we’re like the wannabe victims of my childhood–keeping our eyes down and not paying attention to what’s going on. Maybe we think that things just can’t be as bad as some people say, maybe we think that our opinion just doesn’t matter, or maybe we think it’s all too complicated and it’s better that we just find someone we like and take their word for it.

This is a good recipe for becoming victims and for getting predators elected–predators that are seeking their own power, wealth, and influence rather than the good of the people they serve.

Wake up, look around, pay attention. Get informed and develop your own opinion. What you’ll find is that there is merit to some arguments on both sides of the political aisle and that there are sinister characters and malicious policies on both sides as well. You may even find that you don’t like either side and that there is another alternative you like better. What matters is that you make your own opinion (based on facts, not someone elses opinion) and get involved. Once you’ve done all this, your vote will matter–until then, you could actually be doing more harm than good with your uninformed, misguided vote.

The Boy Who Cried Wolf September 3, 2010

Posted by rjpeel in Truth.
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The story of the boy who cried wolf has been used to teach children (and even those of us who are old enough to know better) a life lesson: if you raise a false alarm one too many times, no one will come to help you when the emergency is very real.

However, I think that this little story offers much more than this one lesson. In fact, there is another lesson at least as compelling as the lesson for the boy in the story–only, this lesson is one for the wolf.

If you are a wolf, and are interested in a smorgasbord of sheep (with the highest chance of success and the lowest risk of any personal harm), this story gives you the steps to achieve your goal:

  1. Identify the person or persons who have been selected to guard or protect the thing you’re after
  2. Perpetrate a false attack, but pull back as soon as the alarm is raised (leave no trace of your activities)
  3. Repeat step 2 until help is no longer coming
  4. Perpetrate a real attack
  5. Enjoy the fruits of your labor

The fact that this lesson exists in the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf provides the third, and probably most compelling lesson of all, the lesson to the villagers–what if the wolf is the one causing the false alarms? Can you really afford to let your guard down? Oh, and what exactly are the wolves going after?–because they’re probably wearing you down at this very  moment.

Battle Lines Can Blur the Truth August 6, 2010

Posted by rjpeel in Conservative, Democrat, Liberal, Republican, Truth.
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I like to listen to conservative talk radio–because they keep a very vigilant eye on what is being done to erode our freedoms and to increase the waste of tax payer money (something that I believe to be beyond shameful).

I find that although I am frequently in agreement with the positions of these conservative talk show hosts, I am often at odds with their lack of decorum, the intensity of their feelings, but most importantly, I find that I am often frustrated by their unwillingness to yield or soften their position when this is the right thing to do. I understand that there are elements in our society that are actively trying to take freedom (and the product of our labor) from us, and that we should be passionate in the fight against this, but this only excuses the excesses to a certain point.

The excess that disappoints me the most is, I believe, caused by the battle lines that have been drawn by each side. One such battle line is the line between openness and tolerance of the Muslim religion and it’s followers and the fight against terrorism. For varied and complicated reasons, Liberals have taken the position that we should be more open and friendly toward muslims (and even those with ties to terrorists) because our hostile attitudes are only creating more hatred and more terrorists. Conservatives, who have been comfortable in their anger toward Muslim extremists, have responded to this by pushing their position even more heavily toward fighting the terrorists.

As a result, both sides have moved away from the truth–away from those values and positions that will help us most effectively fight terrorism. Both sides embrace a portion of the truth, and advocate some actions that are important and even necessary, but then they take things too far, in advocating positions and actions that are detrimental and deliberately avoiding good positions and actions because they are part of the enemy’s platform.

Liberals are arguing in favor of allowing a mosque to be built near ground zero in New York, because we need to show the Muslims that we are their friends, not their enemies. We need to stop creating more hatred toward us. The conservatives say this is a huge insult to those who were attacked by militant Muslims on 9/11 and that we cannot appear to look weak to the Muslim world–which, they argue we do whenever we cave into giving them something they’d never give us.

The problem is that both are simply positions. In this case, the conservatives have a strong position that resonates with the American people, and I believe, their position came first–as a natural reaction to 9/11. Because it was the conservatives that had the sitting President at the time of the attacks, and because that sitting President took the fight to the Muslim extremists, the fight against militant Islam became a strong conservative platform.

The Liberals cannot let the Conservatives have such a strong platform without any sort of challenging platform, because they’d give up influence if they allowed it. So, they have no choice but to come up with a platform to challenge the Conservatives. Openness and tolerance are among their most effective platforms, and it seems to fit the situation, so they bring this particular weapon to bear against the Conservatives. But they can’t just argue for openness and tolerance and understanding, because they can’t allow the Conservatives to be even a little bit right, so they must also attack the opposing side as not just ‘incomplete’, but as wrong. So, the tendency is to vilify the fight against militant Islam–the only way fight terrorism is to show them how much we love and respect them. This is the only platform they feel they can put forth, because it is the only platform that makes them the one and only group that is ‘right’.

For EXACTLY the same reasons, Conservatives reject most every suggestion to engage in any campaigns of tolerance and kindness to the Muslim world because this would be to say that the Liberals might have a point–something they cannot admit, because they might lose some influence.

Thus the battle lines are drawn.

But because both sides have a portion of the truth, and because they both reject what the other side brings to the table, they are both bound and determined to be wrong–dead wrong. We will allow the terrorists to grow in brazenness, because we are too divided to strike them fast and hard. We will also allow the terrorists to grow in strength because we are too divided to effectively reach out to those Muslims who do not support extremism in order to show them we love them and want to be their friends.

In the end, we will lose this battle, and so many others, because we drew the wrong lines. It’s OK, it’s actually the right thing to do, to acknowledge that the other side is right–when they are.

Shirley Sherrod July 21, 2010

Posted by rjpeel in Truth.
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I’ve been angered for years by news stories that take a situation completely out of context and draw purposeful conclusions from the inaccurate information. Since I consider myself a conservative, and because I’ve complained for a long time about those on the liberal side who turn a blind eye to this type of behavior, I find I must speak out.

And so it is that I would like to share my outrage at the way this woman was treated. When we should have been celebrating the life lessons that taught her it’s not about race, she was vilified because of the side of the political aisle she is on. Someone had to know that the way the video was cut told a lie about this woman and her character–shame on them. The conservative philosophy has reason, history, and common sense on it’s side–we don’t need to stoop to dishonest tricks like this.

Undermining Authority July 21, 2010

Posted by rjpeel in Truth.
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Maybe you think you’d do a better job, maybe you know you couldn’t, but just want to be the one calling the shots. Whatever your reason, if you want to become the one in authority, first you’re going to have to remove the current authority. If you’re determined and patient, and follow these simple suggestions, you’re sure to succeed:

  1. You might have heard, but nobody’s perfect–this goes for those in authority as well. Give it some time and you’ll discover that those in authority will make mistakes. Perhaps a natural disaster or maybe an ecological disaster caused by a human made accident–no one can respond properly to something on this scale–the mistakes will be plentiful, you just need to point them out to everyone (and a little exaggeration won’t hurt).
  2. If you’re targeting only one person, this tip can be harder to implement, but if you’re targeting a group of individuals, you don’t only have to wait for mistakes. In any composite authority, there is, inevitably, corruption. When found, you can take advantage of it, just like you can mistakes. However, one advantage with corruption is that you can actively encourage or even implant it, if you wish (but be careful not to get caught in your own trap).
  3. Find those who have been wronged and tell the world their story. Those who have truly been wronged will help you undermine authority and gather followers. They will also help you gain sympathy from those who would never follow you, and diminish or extinguish the intensity of those who would work against you. However, never let these find out what you’re really doing or they will be your undoing.
  4. Find those who think they have been wronged and bring them into your cause. They won’t care what you’re after, as long as it will cause pain to those they believe have wronged them. They won’t care what methods you use–or ask them to use. They will tell whatever story you want them to. They will only care that you have power and have included them. They will be your most devoted acolytes. You can certainly find these people in prisons, but don’t forget to search in those places where entitlements are handed out (but be very careful among the poor, because there are some very good people there and you may awaken an enemy if you presume too much).
  5. Find the proud. Find those who think they are better than everyone else. They will do anything (even feign humility) if they feel they are putting one over on everyone else. As long as you let them feel they have the upper hand, they’ll do anything you ask. If you’re having trouble finding these people, look in Hollywood or Universities, there should be more than enough to meet your needs in these places.
  6. Most important of all. Hide. Once you’ve found the people you need, they can be manipulated much more easily than you might think. You might, at some point, feel the urge to step into the light to fix some setback. Dont. Determination and patience will win in the end. Those you have manipulated will do your work for you.
  7. Last of all. Be ready to step into the void when the authority you have worked so long and hard to destroy finally falls. Others will be ready too–those who have been your allies up to this point as well as those who have been your enemies. Strike fast. Strike hard. Leave no survivors.

There are those who would destroy our freedom. They exist and they are working very hard. They are working hard on both sides of the political aisle. They are following steps very much like what is listed above. The only thing they need, besides what’s listed above, is an ignorant and apathetic citizenry.

Maybe it’s not to late to take that away from them.

Turn Around July 6, 2010

Posted by rjpeel in Truth.
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I think that politics, as practiced by politicians, is best described as identifying something that is wrong (sometimes even manufacturing something to be wrong), and then convincing people you have the answer that will fix the problem.

The problem with this is that there seems to be a common handicap among almost all politicians–once they’ve identified a problem, they seem to think that the fact that they identified the problem means they are the  most likely person to have the solution that will fix the problem. And they spend so much time and energy trying to convince everyone that they have the solution that they have no time left over to formulate an actual solution.

And the rest of us just want to get on with our lives, so we elect them and give them a chance. The problem is that we tend to turn our backs, counting on the fact that they will keep fixing the problem.

When the person who was supposed to fix the problem realizes he can’t, he decides he has no choice but to do the next best thing–hide the problem. If he can hide it, no one will realize it wasn’t fixed–and he can pretend he was the right choice and that he kept his promise.

Eventually, though, we all wake up, realize there’s still a problem, and then elect the next joker who has a new insight into the problem–because maybe he’ll finally be the one that can actually fix it.

The answer isn’t so much finding the right man or woman to elect, it’s that we should stop turning our back and trusting them to fix the problem while we’re not looking.

Apathy June 25, 2010

Posted by rjpeel in Truth.
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The greatest casualty of prolonged peace is the knowledge that evil exists in the world.

What is Money? June 21, 2010

Posted by rjpeel in Truth.
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It used to be a long time ago that people bought things through direct trade. I give you some eggs and milk and you give me some wheat. One person used the direct results of his own efforts to produce to purchase the results of another’s efforts to produce. Effort used on something that was not needed or desired was wasted effort. Effort put forth by one with greater skill or resources could command more in a trade.

This kind of bartering system could not scale, though, so money came in to fill a need. With money, you can store the results of your effort in a non-perishable form and use it to purchase the results of another’s efforts at a time of your choosing.

Money, simply put, is the intermediate medium we use to purchase the results of another person’s effort. We choose to purchase that which we value. This is the natural order of economics, at it’s base–we purchase something we value with our effort.

If we try to introduce something artificial, we mess up the natural order and chaos will ultimately be the end result. It is wrong to take the results of one’s person effort and give it to someone who has not earned it. An individual who values charity may choose to give to someone who has not earned it, but may I suggest that charity like this can, and should, be considered a loan of sorts. The person giving the charity is not giving so that the person receiving can live a lazy life, never putting forth any worthy effort to earn anything they receive–they give because they want to give someone who is down on their luck the means to survive, and maybe a little more, so they have a chance to turn it all around. If the recipient of charity can, they should earn that charity by using the charity to accomlish this worthwhile goal of turning their situation around. In this scheme, the natural order is preserved. One person has purchased something they value, the results of another persons effort–the effort to turn things around and make a better life for themselves and for those they are responsible for.

An individual, though, who takes charity without ever repaying it in this fashion (when they are capable of doing so) should be ashamed of themselves. Society should be ashamed of such individuals. Such actions amount to nothing more than theft and deception. It is a horrible abuse of the trust and effort of others. Whenever we find, as a society, that we are supporting individuals like this, we must quickly and surely put a stop to it.

Now, it must be recognized that there are some individuals in our societies who simply cannot earn what they need on their own. These individual’s capacities range from those who cannot earn anything on their own up to those who can just barely provide for their needs, but none of their wants. Any society that has any honor at all will find a way to provide for these individuals, despite their lack of capacity to produce. They will never live like the rich and famous, but each and every one of us will answer to God for withholding from such as these.

However, it is not the government’s role, even in these situations, to be the ones to take from one to give to another. Charity MUST always be voluntary–anything else works against nature and will only cause tragedy in the end. Any society that cannot be prevailed upon to voluntarily contribute to help individuals in real need will deserve the judgements that will be heaped on them in the end. But it is also wrong to steal from the rich (or the middle class) and give to the poor. Look around the world at situations in places where this natural law has been violated–where people who are capable of producing are given that which they did not earn, that which was taken from others and where they do not feel any need to pay it back through their own effort to improve their situations. 

Unwanted births and child abuse increase. Spousal abuse increases.  Murders, and other violent crime increases. Theft increases. Living conditions decrease. Contention increases. Poverty perpetuates through generations and spreads. It’s not because these individuals and communities are inherently bad, but what we have done to them is unnatural–it’s no wonder it leads to such unhealthy results.

Star Wars and The Paths to Tyrany June 7, 2010

Posted by rjpeel in Conservative, Democrat, Liberal, Republican, Truth.
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I’m a fan of the Star Wars movies–the first movie I ever saw in an indoor theater was the first Star Wars movie (apparently it was important for the movie going public that their movie going experience be separated from me by distance and mostly sound proof barriers).

Skip forward many years.

Although I found episode III (Revenge of the Sith) to be so disturbing that I haven’t been able to watch it a second time, I did gain a very important insight into life from this motion picture. I found it very interesting that in the end, Chancellor Palpatine had set himself up to win no matter which side won in the conflict. If the republic won the war with the rebels (in this one, the rebels were the bad guys–which is an interesting lesson about the nature of labels, but I digress), then the Chancellor had full control of the senate. If the Trade Federation and the other rebels had won, then the Chancellor was also their leader (in one case, the Chancellors identity was secret, but his aims were clear; whereas in the other his identity was known while his aims were hidden). Either way, though, it was everyone else who lost.

I think that in this whole debate (yes, perhaps this is a euphamism, but I’d like to think positively) of Liberalism vs. Conservatism, we must recognize that the same potential exists. Both Liberalism and Conservatism offer a path to tyrany–and there are those on both sides who crave power and who try to pursue this goal.

Those people who crave power will try to use our identity against us and trick us into supporting them–we must reject this!!

We must accept that both political philosophies offer paths to tyranny—and we must protect against those paths on our own side just as ardently as we campaign against those on the other side. Otherwise, eventually, this rubber band tug of war over the support of the citizens of this country will snap in one direction so strongly that we’ll find our freedom is lost, along with our ability to get it back any time soon. And it’s impossible to say which side it will snap on.