Saturday, January 26, 2008

A dead, but instructive, horse

Mark Alexander, editor of the venerable Patriot Post, wrote this last piece year and I wish I could have seen it then. It might have saved me a lot of blood and sweat. In this article, he does a careful, scholarly analysis of Ron Paul, where he stands and what kind of values are inherent to his positions. I've seen an odd avoidance of the word "libertarian" by both Paul and his supporters. I wasn't sure why at first but I think I know why now. First, as I said all along, is a libertarian, not a conservative, and second, this has nothing to do with party affiliation (except for the fact he ran as a Libertarian Party candidate for president in the past).

Alexander's point isn't to cut him down, rather to make him better understood by conservatives who don't understand why he is not one of them.
Where do I, an old-school Reagan Republican, find myself on the issue of Ron Paul? How should other Reagan Republicans see this genuine maverick presidential candidate for the GOP?

The key is the difference between the meanings of "libertarian" and "conservative." As for Ron Paul's status among Reagan Republicans, this is the only question that matters.
Read the entire article for the answer.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Sovereignty reloaded

Real character is not shown when everything is going your way; it is demonstrated when you are left alone, when a sudden shock has cheated you out of the resources on which you have come to depend, when unexpected adversities present themselves with a malicious ferocity, and you're living on the edge of fear and faith.
-- John Ashcroft
It's worth taking time to observe the work of God's hand. I pray God would open my eyes wider to it every day. Sometimes I can get so blind, God takes his gracious intervention to shocking levels to remind me just how much of my life is out of my hands.

So I'm giving thanks now that God is sovereign. He condescends to show it to me in gracious ways when I am forgetful, when I completely forget what a life of faith looks like, when I am "cheated you out of the resources on which [I] have come to depend."

This is how I put it in an email to a friend today:

"I have much to be thankful for and God is "reteaching" me the basics of his sovereignty. Sometimes things just happen to work together for good despite my expectations to the contrary."


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Southern Baptists on Huckabee

Huckabee has a few questions to answer. One of the biggest elephants in the room is how he got the endorsement of the Home School Legal Defense Association AND the National Education Association -- two special interest groups that are diametrically opposed to each other!

I'm still waiting for Planned Parenthood to give him their support. THAT would actually make some sense since the National Right to Life endorsed Thompson.

Be that as it may, we should be paying attention to what the Southern Baptists are saying about this former child of their's. Robert Novak wrote an interesting piece on this issue on Dec. 20, which brought up the fact that he did not support conservative ministers in their much-hailed revolt against the liberal establishment of the time.
Scarborough and Huckabee clashed during the Baptist Wars. Fighting to drive the liberals from the temple, Scarborough was badly defeated for president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas while Huckabee embraced the liberal church establishment to become president of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.

Judge Pressler, leading the Southern Baptist "Conservative Resurgence" in the late '70s, agreed with Scarborough about Huckabee's orientation and went a different route in current presidential politics. When Huckabee on Nov. 9 announced Southern Baptist leaders supporting him, Pressler was not on the list and on Dec. 7 endorsed Thompson instead. Pressler is known to be concerned that Huckabee plays to the establishment and would be subservient to the state department and The New York Times.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Educated devils

Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil. -C.S. Lewis

When I observe local schools, I sometimes find myself at a disadvantage when I try to sort through the many nuances and cultural details of student life in this county, to say nothing of the technicalities of the budgets and politics involved.

That's fine with me. I've been learning my whole life anyway, and the things I truly missed while being home schooled, will eventually make themselves known to me, I'm sure.

I can't say I am all that disappointed after seeing over the years what I missed when I didn't go to a traditional high school. However, it was to this topic that my mind jumped when I read Lewis' quote.

Lewis doesn't just put his finger onto an important issue of our time, he really jabs mercilessly into the festering sore of American education.

Before I give the impression that I'm speaking ill of local schools, allow me to qualify what I say with some praise for local educators. The fact is, there is so much in this community that puts school kids at an advantage to the country at large. I've seen teachers who care and many unique and effective efforts to improve the quality of local education.

But does that mean Lewis has no wisdom for us? I think not. Rather, it would serve us well (as we take action to fund schools, ensure curriculum is up to date, and replace aging technology) to not overlook something else that makes education worthwhile.

We all know the story of the disadvantaged student -- how difficult it is to teach a student in school what he hasn't been taught at home -- the value of a good work ethic, the existence of right and wrong and the basic answer to the question "why?"

Even if schools cannot do everything a parent should do, they won't help anything if they teach that there is no meaning to life, that truth is whatever they want it to be and that there are no consequences for their actions.

We should reexamine ourselves then and see whether we are making these mistakes, and then get back to the business of teaching reading and writing.

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Friday, January 04, 2008

Cemetary of the Innocent on Saturday

The "Cemetery of the Innocent" will be put up this Saturday, Jan. 5, along the Guide Meridian (CORRECTION: west side, just south of Pole Road) beginning at 10:30 a.m. About 75 volunteers are needed to help. Four thousand crosses will be put up representing the almost 4000 babies aborted each day in America. If you can, please come and help. Dress warm (wear gloves and boots) and bring a hammer.

A short memorial service and lunch will be held at Wiser Lake Chapel immediately following the installation of the crosses.

Sponsored by Lynden Human Life.


Ron Paul regression part 2

I suspected I might need to follow the previous entry up, but not this soon -- but here we are, thanks to Casey and his comments on the imported Facebook note.

The first thing that needs to be clarified is one point I alluded to in the last post but may not have communicated very well (and I may just stick with this topic here). To be specific, the naming of supposed "constitutional principles" as having anything to do with the way we create and maintain our current foreign policy. What I need here is for someone to name the specific part of the constitution that deals with this issue -- the truth is that it simply delegates the power of treaties to the president and the power of war to both the legislature and president. Beyond this, there is no "principle" to tell us exactly what the substance of our foreign policy should be.

That puts the issue squarely into the sphere of conditional policies that depend on what we can learn of both our world situation and our enemies. Just like the Monroe Doctrine was composed as an answer to European interest in the Western Hemisphere. Before that, Washington and Adams had very strong and correct views about our abstinence from involvement with European conflict and ambition. Jefferson turned that on its head and pushed us to be more favorable toward France -- a big mistake -- and we eventually paid for it since we were in no way ready.

Washington is often cited for his advice to keep clear of such things. He lectures at length on the topic in his farewell address of 1796.
Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice?
So what peculiar situation is Washington referring to? He explains it a paragraph before:
Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people under an efficient government. the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.
I'm sad to say first that we are no longer anywhere close to being detached or distant from any other country. Perhaps there are those, as in the 1930's, who believe we can ignore much of the malicious ambitions that that run rampant abroad. Indeed Britain, being separate from the continent, held to a similar policy at various intervals and one can't help but think that their help in "pacifying" Hitler had a great deal to do with the idea that they were detached enough to not have as much at stake. I'm sure the Czech people realized they had been sacrificed for an illusion.

I'm not saying Washington was wrong. He was absolutely right. However, that doesn't mean that Monroe was wrong when he unilaterally extended our sphere of specific influence to the entire Western Hemisphere. The same wisdom was being applied -- the point was the same: to minimize the danger of foreign (European) encroachment.

Washington makes no argument for Ron Paul's "nonintervention" here. Key to recognizing this is the fact that Washington bases our neutrality on our ability to be untouchable. Nations will leave us alone when "under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us..." So the real question to ask in order to bring this issue home is where the bar is today for us to remain impervious to foreign demands? The principle can and should be the same all along.

Ok, that's one more stab for now.

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