Alma chimes in

•July 2, 2009 • Leave a Comment

in LawBalancefurther light of bailouts…

 Alma 42 reads “but there is a law given, and a punishment affixed, and a repentance granted; which repentance, mercy claimeth; otherwise, justice claimeth the creature and executeth the law, and the law inflicteth the punishment; if not so, the works of justice would be destroyed, and God would cease to be God. but God ceaseth not to be God, and mercy claimeth the penitent, and mercy cometh because of the atonement”

let’s read again, with some slight modification

“but there is a law given called Mother Nature, and a punishment affixed called a consequence, and a repentance granted if someone is merciful and willing to bail you out, which repentance mercy claimeth; otherwise, justice aka Mother Nature, claimeth the creature and executeth the law, and the law inflicteth the punishment aka laissez FAIL; if not so, the works of justice would be destoryed, and gov would cease to be gov. and yes, gov ceases to be gov, in an effort to be merciful they claim the not-so-penitent, which mercy cometh not because of any atonement, but at the expense of others…”

how does gov cease to be gov? in our efforts to buy (through taxes) protection (DOD), we end up being violated (legal plunder).

jane hires a bodyguard, and he ends up selling her virtue. poor jane.


government as Jesus

•July 1, 2009 • Leave a Comment

GodKingEditedin sunday school as adolescents we would often watch a church video about a man who goes into debt to purchase a cottage and some farm land. at first he is diligent and hardworking, knowing someday the creditor will be by for collection. as time goes by he grows lax, perhaps thinking that his day of reckoning will not come, or that perhaps his creditor will forgive him his debt, and he falls behind, failing to make his land fruitful.

the inevitable happens and one day the creditor knocks on his door, demanding payment. the time for preparation is past and the man simply cannot pay. he begs for mercy. the creditor demands justice. between the two of them they cannot achieve both. in enters a third party who has the personal resources to please justice, and the kindness to bail out the slothful one.

now imagine a firm (Bear Stearns, GM, there are many to choose from) that finds itself in trouble for one reason or another. it may not even be due to slothfulness, but simply an unwillingness of customers to buy their product. well they soon find themselves begging their creditors for mercy. “forgive us our debts, as we would surely forgive our debtors were we in your situation.” the creditors don’t budge, “what, would you have us rob justice?”

in comes the third party, government, who is so kind as to devote some personal resources, thus satisfying justice AND mercy.

quite benevolent of gov, is this not? W.W.Gov.D.?

there is one notable difference between the two saviors: one contributes His own resources resulting from blood, sweat, tears; the other kindly contributes others’ resources. luckily the charitable cause (merciful bailout) justifies any means, and thus the government’s means… right?

sold! to the highest bidder…

•June 30, 2009 • Leave a Comment

the hymnal of the L.D.S. Church contains a song/poem that i’m guessing supports the doctrine of the church. hymn 240 reads thus:

know this that every soul is free

to choose his life and what he’ll be1844_hymnal_cover

for this eternal truth is given

that God will force no man to heaven

He’ll call, persuade, direct aright

and bless with wisdom, love and light

in nameless ways be good and kind

but never force the human mind

freedom and reason make us men

take these away, what are we then?

mere animals, and just as well

the beasts may think of heaven and hell

may we no more our powers abuse

but ways of truth and goodness choose

our God is pleased when we improve

His grace and seek His perfect love

in light of this and the principal of paternalism i tell myself that the church lobbied for prop 8 not on a basis of legislating people’s agency away, but rather in an effort to protect their own.

the government, in brilliant fashion, uses and abuses its unique power by auctioning off the chance for one group to legally violate the rights of another group. i’m guessing that if gays win then they can use the gov to force the church into various accommodations. if the church wins, then… actually i don’t know what happens, i’m not familiar enough with the numerous laws of the land.

if what i tell myself is wrong, then i would wonder why the church still has such a hymn in the hymnal. but the bigger question (and crux of the matter) is why, for pete’s sake, is the gov involved in this matter? why do they dangle such powers we’ve afforded them? so that others may in turn use and abuse? maybe its a drug, we’ll call it soma, and they want us to experience the sensation. i’ve heard power can be intoxicating…

i once heard a historian’s claim that gov originated way back when a group of people, realizing their absolute advantage in the use of force, began to sell themselves. do they protect rights? or do they aid in violating them?

basket of rights

•June 27, 2009 • Leave a Comment

b14624a christian once claimed man  has certain unalienable rights, meaning no one can take them away. they’re his. hers too (can’t forget them, my sisters would kill me). this would also imply that these unalienable rights do not violate the unalienable rights of the next guy. and gal.

lately we as a world have taken up the sport of fishing for rights, kind of like we would fish for, well, fish. if you can figure out the right bait (healthcare = passionate topic), make it look and act like the real thing (it’s life or death), then cast it in front of a hungry fish (legislator)… BOOM. you’ve fed a man (yourself) for a lifetime.

our basket of rights is bulging. we have the right to free education, adequate healthcare, a living wage, a home with a white vinyl fence and digital television. above all, we now have the right to violate the unalienable rights of others.

i disagree with our efforts to imbue in ourselves God-given rights. correct me if i’m wrong, but neither Bush nor Obama is God. (turns out the nytimes just corrected me. the Big O really IS God. k, well can we ignore that for purposes of my weblog…) there can be no unalienable right that inherently violates those very same rights of another. the right to an education implies the violation of those who are required to produce in order to provide that “right” for the other. ask Adam and Eve, they agree with me. turns out after shaking his fist for hours towards the heavens demanding universal (we’re talking from the universe!) healthcare, Adam ended up having to fend for himself, by the sweat of his brow. unless of course he forced Eve into providing, citing his rights.

obviously R. Crusoe had every right to seek food, healthcare, even some education, but in no way does he have the right to exact it from others, against their will.

basketsGrowFasterrent-seeking is the means by which we gain by taking from others. no new wealth produced, simply transfered. rent, rather than profit. the gov is the enabler, making such transactions legal.

as Bastiat says, “The State is the great fiction by which everybody seeks to live at the expense of everybody else.” How is that possible? Someone must produce? Yup, and when they do the rent-seeking begins, as the enabler descends…

(tendency to) use and abuse

•June 27, 2009 • Leave a Comment

OdysseusSirensas a 3rd grader reading some Iliad i’ll admit i never recognized Odysseus for his brilliance in battling the Sirens, brilliance that boils down to a lack of hubris. Odysseus was well aware of his human frailty and the likelihood that upon hearing the Sirens’ seductive song he would succumb, just like those who came before him. after toying with the idea (proposed by his Shoulder Devil) that he was less susceptible than his predecessors (the audacity of such hope!) he wisely decided to protect against his natural man-liness, setting up a system to check himself. he had his crew stuff their ears with wax so as to give no heed to his biddings-gone-bad. Odysseus knew that certain situations can do funny things to a man’s sense and sensibility.

the otherwise awful 2008 film Wanted, starring 68-too-many f bombs, nicely portrays the not-so-trivial tendency to wisely use, then soon abuse, power. and once such reason has fled, nary will a man deny himself and cede that power. consider this plot: a fraternity of assassins obeys the bidding of one certain Loom of Fate, which weaves codes in binary specifying who in the world needs to be assassinated. imagine such a responsibility of power: the greenlight to take another’s life. good thing this responsibility rests in the hands of steadfast stewards, always living by the letter of this law. now this frat house recruits a new member, a unique talent named Wesley, and assigns him to certain assassinations. well Wesley finds out from his assassined-to-be that the keeper of the loom, Sloan, was dubbed for death long ago by his fearful master, Fate. the following is the dialogue as Wesley confronts Sloan and his fraternal lackeys:

Wesley – My father wasn’t a traitor! This [cloth] is a kill order, and it’s got Sloans’ name on it. You might say to me “it’s just a name, a target.” I don’t want this person dead, fate does. Fate wanted you dead! And you couldn’t take it, so you started manufacturing his own targets, for your own gains, and that’s when my dad found out and decided to stand against you. And that’s when you sent a man’s son to kill his father. You’ve not been an assassin of fate this long, you’re just a thug that can bend bullets.

Jolie (frat memberette) – Is that true?

Sloan – Here is what the truth is. (showing the list to others) Your name came up… Your name came up… Your name came up… Your name. Your name. Yours. Everyone’s in this room. If i had not done what I did, you would all be dead. I SAVED YOUR LIVES!! Now look where we are. We are stronger than ever, changing the course of history as WE see it. Choosing the targets WE select. We can redistribrute power where WE see fit. The wolves rule. Not the sheep. Now if any of you feel the need to follow the code of the fraternity to the letter, I invite you to take your gun, put it in your mouth, and pull the trigger. That is what Wesley demands. Otherwise, shoot this [dumb bum] and let us take our fraternity of assassins to heights reserved only for the gods of men. You choose… (walks out)

every four years we decide, in (alleged) democratic fashion, to whom we surrender the monopoly of legal force. we then get to witness how the new Steward handles the hotseat. long ago checks were set up. the efficacy of the checks is a matter of opinion.

sometimes the Steward is tempted to sell what we surrendered. he offers a chance for others to experience the use of legal force:

Steward – I hold in my hand something none of you have, and I’m going to dangle it, just like this, before you. Whoever gets it first, well, feel free to apply liberally. Today somebody is going to have their rights legally violated. Who will it be? Ready… Set… LOBBY!

recently the gov dangled some rights and a war broke out. were they fighting cuz they were eager to violate others? or were they desperate to secure their own rights…? which was the reason behind the Church’s participation?

the first Paternalist

•June 19, 2009 • Leave a Comment

CTR ring

imagine you’re in a position of power, perhaps a policy maker. you’re frustrated by your constituents’ unwillingness to make what you believe to be righteous, virtuous choices: they don’t read the classics, their lawns aren’t trim, they rarely update their blogs, and they give very little to the poor. due to your position of power you feel it your duty to take matters into your own hands. you proceed to enact policy forcing your constituents to make these healthy choices.

you hire public servants to show up and mow lawns. you install living room cameras to observe nightly study of  the classics. you appoint a blogger czar, and you garnish the wages of everyone “who can handle it” and give it to the poor. in order to pay for the new policies you print off more money, even if it means diminished purchasing power of everyone’s savings.

the people are now virtuous.

are you justified?

this brings us to our first and perhaps foremost principle: paternalism. is it right to coerce others, so long as the cause is just? to force others to make righteous choices? although we would no longer need to use the word choice

based on my interpretation, the War in Heaven answers this question for us. satan’s proposal was to bring salvation to every soul, even if it meant denying man his agency. Jesus sought to give man his agency, even if it meant losing some by the wayside, and any other ugly consequence that would result (war, immorality, inequality). statisticians may note that satan’s plan would be more effective, i. e. fewer casualties. quite a pragmatic solution if you ask me. but such were not the stats God sought. His end was to see who would choose Him and His way, of their own free will and choice. Forcing them to do so would prove nothing. Jesus could and would use love and persuasion as His weapons of choice. any salvation gained would be sincere.

why doesn’t the LDS church push legislation forcing people to be baptized by the proper authority? not only is baptism the right decision, it would make the people happier, right? what could possibly be wrong with that?

weblog of principle

•June 15, 2009 • Leave a Comment

to kill or not to kill...joseph smith stated, “I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves.”

the algorithm by which my mind works seems to follow this approach: use principles to interpret situations, dilemmas, actions, and so forth, in an effort to make correct decisions as I govern myself.

others seem to take a similar approach. for example, Nephi was semi-told to kill Laban, but Nephi thought to himself, “hmmm, thou shalt not kill…” but then Nephi considered another, perhaps higher principle that says “God reserves the right to overrule any rule.” so Nephi lopped off his head.

as expected, many of the principles I have learned and believe to be true principles are found in the BOOK OF MORMON, Bastiat’s THE LAW, and many other media. I continue to learn and shape my beliefs and am very open to recommendations.