More Opinion by The Springboard

THE UPRISING OF THE AMERICAN PARTY "Clearly the voters are engaged right now, at least for sure on the republican side, and what they have concluded is that the republican party has not done their job. Thus, Donald Trump gets their vote."

Friday, December 11, 2015

Being An Atheist Does Not Bar Me From Being A Conservative

Let me start off by saying that this blog post is a response to a comment I received on Facebook, and that while my response to it is both tongue and cheek and serious, the comment I am responding to was entirely tongue in cheek. Let me also, for the sake of the record, state a couple of other noteworthy things here just so that it is clear how I am coming down on any of my positions here.

  • Up until 2005 I was a card carrying member of the Republican National Committee. Since the beginning of my cognitive life I had sided with conservative and republican values.
  • I am currently a registered republican.
  • I have financially contributed to the campaigns of Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, John McCain for president, Mitt Romney for president, Mike Bost for Congress, Paul Ryan, Ron Johnson, and a number of other republican candidates campaigning for certain political elected positions.
  • I am an atheist.
Let me also state for the record that, in my view, my last bullet point does not bar me from the republican party, does not preclude me from being labeled a conservative, and does not mean I hold no moral values—conservatism does not have a single thing to do with theology, but rather has everything to do with common sense values, views, and political posturing.

I am a republican. I am a conservative. Nothing about my views, beliefs, or political posture suggest otherwise on the whole.

We talk all the time about radicals and extremists. Certainly these terms apply to Christians, Muslims, and atheists alike. I am not an extremist or radical atheist. I am for Judeo-Christian philosophy for example, as a founding principle of our government, our Constitution, and our system of laws, and our fundamental beliefs about human rights throughout the world, and the spread of democracy and freedom.

Considering the holiday is right around the corner, I am an atheist who is conservative enough to appreciate the religious freedom of those who celebrate Christmas for religious reasons and am FOR saying Merry Christmas. I am also for the spirit of giving whether or not it be tied to Jesus, God, or any other religious reason. Again, it is to my mind just the right way to think as a HUMAN BEING.

I can think of no common sense human quality that would suggest that people should be disrespectful, rude, or selfish.

So what if I do not believe in God? So what if I do not believe that Jesus was His Son? (Note that despite my core beliefs I STILL capitalize where it is appropriate and am respectful to do so, and when referring to any religious aspects have ALWAYS done so.) Is religion even necessary to be good? Is it necessary to be moral even though the definition of morality is theological in nature? Is religion necessary to do decent things, and understand fundamentally that the pain and suffering of others is bad? That it is inhuman and inhumane? Is religion necessary to appreciate life, and to underscore the very fact that no matter where we come from, or what end we will face, that while we are here on Earth life, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness is precious, that it must be appreciated, and that it must be PROTECTED? Is religion necessary to know that persecution is bad, murder is wrong, and oppression and infringement on personal freedom is cruel and unjust?

In a word, no. And again, the way I see it that is just simple common sense.

So, I suppose I should cut to the chase and get to the comment before I get too far ahead of myself. This could turn into a rather long winded post. Now I finally understand why many in the past have called me a windbag.

"After sitting here thinking about your discussions we have had in times past...I've decided that since you believe in Jesus being a real person but not who he says he was, that you are a liberal Christian. Many liberal Christians are also democrats as well.
Ergo you're a democrat! Congrats on your new found party, The DNC!"
Now, just to be fair let's take one single statement here for the purposes of initial analysis. When did Jesus ever say he was "who He said He was?" Nowhere in any official record did Jesus Christ ever claim to be the Son of God? He never did. His actions may have suggested it. The story may have suggested it. But He never said it. The "fact" that Jesus was the Son of God was a suggestion by His disciples and the men who chronicled the story after His death.

By the way, did I mention that I am atheist? At the very least, even liberal Christians believe that Jesus was the Son of God. I do not. Liberal Christians very simply have a different view of "What would Jesus do?"

What am I for?

  • I am for marriage between a man and a woman.
  • I am pro-military.
  • I am pro-life.
  • I am for smaller government.
  • I am for lower taxes.
  • I am for free markets and capitalism.
  • I am for sound immigration policy and reform and securing the border.
  • I am for the Constitution.
  • I am for freedom of religion.
  • I am for free speech.
  • I am for the 2nd Amendment.
  • I am for minimalist regulation.
  • I am for school vouchers.
  • I am for welfare reform.
  • I am for strong national security.
  • I am for military action where it is deemed necessary and beneficial.
  • I am for spreading of freedom and rights to religion, and the pursuit of happiness.
  • I am for PROTECTING the right to religion, and the pursuit of happiness.
In fact, the only area where I disagree with the total free market system is when it applies to globalization and trade policies which disadvantage American businesses, particularly in manufacturing. I am actually FOR a zero percent corporate tax rate, believing that taxes should be collected at the point of sale of raw goods, the point of sale of finished goods, and labor should be taxed. These are not necessarily republican or conservative beliefs, but they are mine. And even these beliefs are FAR REMOVED from ANY liberal or democratic belief. So, even if some of my beliefs are removed from conservative values or republican party values, they are also removed from liberal or democratic values.

No democrat would be for a zero percent corporate tax rate. No democrat would be for labor bearing the bulk of taxes collected. Liberals and democrats would prefer that the rich and the corporations would pay everything and leave the rest of us untouched.

The bottom line here is that nowhere in my bullet points did I describe a tenet of liberal or democratic belief. Furthermore, many of my bullet points also defy liberal Christian tenets. For example, liberal Christians are for gay marriage and for tighter gun control legislation. Many liberal Christians also oppose war.

Therefore the only logical conclusion I can come to, if I believe the comment was made genuinely, is that the person who made the comment does not understand the values of either party, does not know what values make one a conservative or a liberal, and does not understand the core definition of a liberal Christian. I am still scratching my head a bit on how the I's were dotted and the T's were crossed in coming up with this analysis by the commenter because on the whole it doesn't make any sense at all considering my positions.

Clearly the comment was tongue in cheek. Knowing the guy who made the comment, I give him much more credit for being intelligent than his comment suggests. If I am to take his comment with any seriousness, I have serious concerns about him entering a voting booth. So we'll just leave it at that.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Why Diplomacy Won't Work With Terrorists

"Wouldn't it be nice if we could wake up in the morning when the day is new, and after having spent the day together, hold each other close the whole night through"
Of course that's a lyric from a popular Beach Boy's love song. But it is also the mindset of the touchy-feely crowd who think that all you have to do to stop the terrorists is talk about it. Reach out your hand and as Mandy Patinkin said, give them opportunity so they don't feel so cheated. Diplomacy. Boy, that's a word. But when it comes to terrorism, while you'd love to see it work, it never will. The one thing about diplomacy that makes any of it work—and it does sometimes work—is that on both sides of the table you have to have both sides willing to reason. Willing to listen. And to a large extent willing to concede a bit, and compromise on how to proceed.

Thinking you can talk a terrorist down is like thinking you will be able to talk a serial killer out of killing you and chopping you into pieces before tossing your body parts into the river. It is like trying to reason with an armed masked robber in your store about why he should think twice about taking your money, or killing your clerk. It is like thinking an armed burglar will sit down with a cup of coffee with you when you confront him to chat about life, consequences, and choosing a better path.

These are driven, crazed, and mindless individuals. And you cannot reason with these kinds of people no matter how hard you try. Their minds are made up.

I would love to live in a world where everyone could at least relate to me in terms of the value of life, the pursuit of happiness, and the need to be driven to beat the odds despite the odds. But that's not the world we live in, and as it applies to these things, not everyone is going to understand why I come down on these things as I do.

To think otherwise is as mindless and crazy as the terrorists. Or the serial killers. Or the armed robbers and burglars of the world.

The only way to stop a serial killer is to kill him or lock him up. Same goes for the robbers and burglars—and if you'll allow me go there, the severely mentally ill who pose a threat to the rest of us. Therefore, the only action you can take against these people is really to kill them since locking them up is not practical. And talking to them is impossible.

But going back to what I said about loving to live in a world where everyone could relate to me on certain terms. There have been many times I have read news stories about grown men molesting children where I have thought, "I just don't get it." Only to follow up with, "Thankfully I don't get it, because I have a sane mind that is able to understand how wrong it is, and what effect it has on the victim."

I don't get it because I am not supposed to get it.

But as for the touchy-feely crowd, what they don't get is that they are ever certain that the rest of the world does think like them. When Mandy Patinkin says bomb the terrorists with opportunity, he is thinking that they think like him. He is making the wrong assumption that their minds work like his does. That their ability to rationalize and reason and comprehend the world is the same as his ability.

People in the touchy-feely crowd are simply not able to imagine that the dark side of the world is a real place, with real actors, and that on the dark side no matter how much light is shed within its parameters, those on the dark side will simply seek out whatever shadows they can find. They are not interested in the light.

It is the biggest problem when it comes to the thinking of the left in particular, that they simply cannot acknowledge the fact that they are not supposed to understand why terrorists do what they do. And that the terrorists are never going to see the world in the same way that they do. If you ask me, that puts us on a very dangerous path. And since Obama has been in office, we've been slowly moving toward a very grave potential outcome as a result. We're trying to be nice. We're trying to talk. We're trying to rationalize, and we are envisioning that they (the terrorists) will concede our point. That they will wake up tomorrow morning and have an aha moment that allows them to lay down their guns and shake hands and have a party laughing, "What the hell were we thinking Ahmed? How silly of us!"

The problem of terrorism is a problem of madness. Of serialism. It is a problem of twisted thinking and firmly placed ideology which cannot be softly uprooted. You'll never get into the mind of a terrorist because you are not supposed to. The aha moment cannot be on the part of the sane, on the part of rational, on a part of the normal. In fact, the moment you do manage to get in the minds of anyone who doesn't think like you do, there is nothing stopping you from not becoming like them. And rationalizing why it is important to stop them becomes impossible.

Bombs first. Chats later. When the smoke clears we'll see who is left and see if there is anyone worth talking to.


Saturday, December 5, 2015

This Issue of Terrorism Is Not A Jobs Issue

On CBS This Morning actor Mandy Patinkin suggested that, in regard to the Middle East, if we give them the best roads, the best medical technology, agriculture, and infrastructure they would not feel cheated. The crux of his argument is that if they (the Middle East) have all of these amenities afforded them, they won't be so inclined to go after Western civilization. The argument is reminiscent of many on the left who have made the suggestion that jobs are the key to ending terrorism.

Let's just leave it at, Mandy Patinkin is a great actor.

If there is one thing that stands out for me when it comes to this region, it's oil. One can easily argue that oil is one of the most valuable resources in the world, and if you have it, there's a lot of money there to go around. The problem is not the money. The problem is how that money gets filtered down to the little people, and the lack of any real defined government bodies—or when there are government bodies they are nothing more than terrorist regimes of their own, oppressing the people with unbending power and control, and a mindset that everything in the West is simply evil and must be eradicated. The people in power have one intent and that is to create an army of angry citizens, and they do this by holding them down. The people of these countries are essentially prisoners in their own country. And to a large extent they are driven as well by the luxuries promised to them by their religion after death. They seek paradise not through hard work and thoughtful engineering of their own futures, but through death. For them, it is the only way out of the hell in which they are currently living. And doing the bidding of their God is akin to an instant key to the gates of heaven, and that paradise they so long for.

The truth is that with such a valuable resource at their very feet, any of these countries could be using the dollars that resource generates to create their own infrastructure. They could build great roads. They could have great medical technology in their grasp. They could build irrigation systems and feed their people with agricultural products. And they could build the foundations of other areas of business which could help them to develop trade relations with other developed countries—affording their people a better life and a better future for their children that is not fraught with violence and hatred and endless wars.

But in order for that to happen, the people and those in power have to want that to happen. They need to foster and encourage that. Instead of building massive multiple mansions in the desert for the so-called leaders, money could be funneled into doing these very things. But it is about power. It is about control. And of course, I don't think one can readily discount that it isn't about their religion to a large extent as well. Despite the claims of many Muslims who preach that their faith is one of calm and peace, there are many facets of the Koran and of the Islamic faith that suggests otherwise. Death to all infidels is not just a mantra, it is a teaching of the leaders of the Islamic faith and is a primary tenet of Middle Eastern culture as a whole. How do you get past that? When it comes to faith, it's hard to break that. In fact, it is virtually impossible. Just ask any Christian how important their faith is to their way of life? Their faith is so strong that many, or most, would not think twice about denouncing their God or their faith just to avoid being killed for it. A man holds a machete to your neck and says that if you are Christian you will be beheaded—and you go ahead and proclaim your faith anyway.

That is profoundly powerful.

What is the key to ending terrorism? I really don't know. I do know that we should make every effort, however, to stop them in the meantime. We should do anything we can to unseat those in power, and strategize ways to help them to build stronger governments that are intended to create policy that fosters growth as opposed to oppression, and allows for decisions to be made to build their cities and towns and empower their citizens using the resources they already have.

But to simply give that to them? That's ludicrous!

I said before that the people have to want it. The leaders have to want it. Perhaps it is a ridiculous analogy, but how many times have we tossed people into forced rehab only to have them come out and go right back to their lives they way they were before? Who gets off the dope? Those who have hit rock bottom and who have finally decided for themselves they no longer want to be dope heads. We give housing and cell phones and food to the poor in our own country to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars a year. How many poverty stricken communities have been rebuilt as a result? How many people have gotten off the dole and used the opportunity to create better lives for themselves? They are few and far between because those who want it and who are willing to do the hard work for it are, well...few and far between. Giving things away doesn't help to solve any problem.

And that is the reason Mandy Patinkin's fundamental thought is flawed, as well as the entire left's view that there is such a simple solution to what happens to be a very complicated problem. As one has often told me, "If it were so easy, someone would already have done it."

For me the heart of the question of how you end terrorism is how do you get terrorists to no longer want to be terrorists? How do you get them to decide for themselves that enough is enough, and make choices to change it? If they are not ready or willing to make changes that alter the future for themselves, and of their own desire and making, nothing we do to try to force that issue with jobs and opportunity thrusted at them is going to make that change for them anymore than having a job guarantees you won't be poor—or handing someone a welfare check ensures that someone will be afforded an automatic opportunity.