Political Manifesto for the 21st Century

January 7, 2010 by

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. (Declaration of Independence, 1776)

We affirm these self-evident truths, and declare that it is time to abolish our form of government, not by armed revolution, but by the election of representatives who will change it.

The Constitution of the United States allows for the people to elect their representatives every two years, and to elect every senator every six, and to elect the president every four. Each state constitution allows the citizens of that state a similar power to choose their government. Through electing representatives that represent our desire to preserve our government solely to protect the individual rights of everyone, we propose the following changes be made.

  1. Limited government. Our governments are limited by the constitutions that form them. We need to enact a common understanding among the people of what those limits are and impose them on our governments. We need also to strengthen the already existing limits, overturning bad interpretations by our courts, legislators, and executives, and impose new and stronger limits on our governments which will forever ensure our individual liberty.
  2. Dramatic cuts to spending. Our governments should spend our money procuring only those goods and services that will protect our rights.
  3. An end to government charity. It is the role of our churches and the individual to supply charity to the poor, not the state. If the individual and churches cannot supply the charity, government could only do worse. Having government provide charity absolved the conscience and duty of the people from their proper role to love their neighbor.
  4. An end to unfunded legislation. Any program that congress enacts must be completely and fully funded at the time of its creation. We will not enslave future generations to programs that we create but do not fully fund. Existing programs that are unfunded should be canceled or modified until they can be funded.
  5. Dramatic cuts to taxation. Our governments should collect far less taxes than the people can bear. The people should be free to pursue whatever economic matter they wish without burden or undue influence due to taxes. Taxes should not be used to punish the rich or to mold society’s behavior. They should only be used to raise the necessary money to meet the spending requirements of a government that protects the rights of the individual. Any surpluses should be immediately refunded to the people in proportion to taxes paid, or used to pay off debts. Taxes should never be raised to meet spending; rather, spending should be cut to meet tax revenue.
  6. An end to government debt. Our people have become more prosperous than any other people in the world. We do not need to borrow money anymore to provide for the needs of government. Paying interest on our government debts is slavery, not freedom. We are not free until we have paid off all of our debts. Any debt that we must incur should be paid off within a very short time frame, so that our debts are not repaid by our children.
  7. An end to bureaucratic regulation. Any kind of regulation must be debated and passed by the legislatures of our governments, and no other way. No public official should be allowed to set policy that governs the life of anyone but their own employees. No court should dictate legislation. No executive should issue orders except to his troops and employees. Anyone exceeding these limits should immediately be removed from office by impeachment because they are a threat to our liberty.
  8. An end to over-litigation. The laws of our country are unjust, in that they are used to punish those who have done no wrong with tort laws and allow the criminal to go free. Let our laws be simple and just so that we no longer have need of lawyers. Do not allow our constitution to be interpreted as giving shelter to the guilty or limiting the freedoms of the individual.

We boldly declare that freedom and liberty are dramatically different than tyranny and slavery. In a free society, government works differently than in an enslaved society. Our governments should be eternally fearful of the will of the people, forever locked in by the limits of the constitution which creates them, and ever subservient to the people, both the individual and as a whole.

We emphatically reject the tenets of communism, socialism, fascism, totalitarianism, colonialism, and every other form of government or political idea that sets one person above another, that limits the freedom of the individual for the “greater good”, or attempts to convince any individual that they have no rights or fewer rights than the rights man is endowed with by their Creator.

We boldly declare that in our society, the checks and balances in our government includes the individual, private organizations such as businesses or churches or political groups, and federated governments such as the local, state, and federal governments. By distributing the power to govern among these people, organizations, and governments, no one person or group of people is able to obtain much power over the rest.

We also declare that there is enough in this world, and to spare, if the individual is freed from the constraints of government to seek his own fortune in life. We also declare that the man who has obtained wealth is capable of providing charity to the poor, jobs to those who want them, and also to pursue the critical role of participating in politics to keep government constrained. We encourage all men, everywhere, to embrace their freedom, seek their own fortunes, and once having obtained it, spend their time and resources as they see fit in service to their fellowman, without the entanglement of government.

Why You’re Wrong about Immigration and International Trade

February 5, 2016 by

Dear Conservative Protectionist,

I’m writing this letter because I want to address a flaw that I’ve heard in your reasoning. You see, you’re out there, speaking on behalf of conservatives everywhere, and telling everyone how it is a conservative ideal to seal up our borders, keeping out valuable labor and the import of trade goods.

It really isn’t hard to show you why you are wrong about these two issues. I can use any number of ways to demonstrate your error. If you are a practical conservative, then I offer you the practical history of the world. In every case, when free trade and free immigration has been implemented, wealth has always followed. Those nations and states and cities which have embraced free trade and free migration have always come out on top. In fact, these sacred principles are encoded in the Constitution itself: there will always be free trade and free migration between the states, and the federal government was instituted to ensure this very thing. If you don’t believe me, go read the Founding Fathers on this matter.

From a moral standpoint, the reasoning is clear. If Joe wants to buy and sell, or work and hire, what right do we have to tell him no? The only case I can think of is where he is trafficking and trading in immoral goods, or treating his employees unjustly such as slavery. In all other cases, I can’t imagine why we should want to tell Joe what to do in this realm of his life. Now, consider this carefully: Does it matter if Joe is American, Canadian, Mexican, German, or any other nationality? As long as Joe is here to work, to trade, and to do things legally, I have no qualms whatsoever with Joe.

You talk about closed and open borders, but really, there are two characteristics of borders that need to be considered, and they are orthogonal. In other words, they have nothing to do with each other. You can have one or the other or both at the same time. One characteristic is openness. This is the quality that determines who we allow to come and go. I suggest to you that as long as people are coming and going to legitimate reasons, such as vacation or business or anything really except something illegal or related to warfare or spying, no conservative would oppose it. Dare I say it — those muslims who come here to buy and sell we have no problem with. Those muslims who want to change our culture and language are also no problem, provided they stick to legal methods of open dialogue and peaceful persuasion. It’s only when people are here to do violence or to break our laws that I and I believe all conservatives get concerned.

The other quality is security. This quality has to do with how the rules of who is allowed to go and come are enforced. The fact is, our borders are insecure. Because they are insecure, they are open to everyone, even those who want to do us harm or want to break our rules or who are carrying infectious diseases. The solution to an insecure border is to secure it, not to close it. You can have an open border that is secure if you simply enforce the fact that crossing the border can only happen at well-defined and well-managed checkpoints. You can have open, secure borders and thus allow people to freely come and go but only if they are here for peaceful purposes. Thanks to technology, it’s really not hard to identify people with technology like facial recognition. We’re living in an age when we can apply technology and force of will to make a safe, secure border.

If you are truly conservative, then you should at least understand why free trade and open, secure borders are the right thing to do. If you are conservative, you’ve likely been convinced that even though they are right, and historically beneficial, we still need to protect our jobs. Lately, a lot of hay has been made about the H1-B visas. I work in the technology sector. Let me tell you why Microsoft and Amazon and everyone else wants to import the world’s tech talents into our country: It’s because outsourcing simply doesn’t work. For some reason, when you bring Indians and Chinese and others into our country to work in our companies side-by-side with us red-blooded Americans, the Indians and Chinese become red-blooded Americans. They learn how to question authority, how to stand their ground, and how to make great things the world has never before seen. When you leave them in their native countries and cultures, they never develop these abilities and thus cannot excel as engineers and software programmers. That’s why we want to bring them into the US.

Am I worried that a Chinese or an Indian will take my job? Absolutely. Every day, I wake up trying to be the very best at my job so that my boss will want to give me a raise, or at least, a hearty recommendation for my next job. This is America, after all, where we are free to do what we think is best. I don’t need to be protected. I feel confident that my abilities are sufficient and I know that even if we don’t bring the Chinese or Indians here, I’m still competing with them. But to be honest, they don’t scare me: My fellow Americans are the ones who are most competitive and who my boss will likely replace me with.

Please educate yourself on these important issues. I recommend reading pretty much any book by Milton Friedman along with Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations. There you will see not only why free and open trade is best, but why we are richer for it.

Why Vote for a Socialist?

February 2, 2016 by

I’m having a very strange experience as I watch some of my libertarian friends get sucked into the siren song of socialism. I think the comparison with sirens from Greek mythology is highly relevant here. For those who don’t know, the sirens would sing so beautifully that the sailors who dared travel their waters would be tempted to veer off course and into the rocks and certain death. I think this is what is happening here. People are tempted to listen to the socialist here in question because he sounds so good and resonates so well with their feelings.

What to do? Really, I don’t know if there’s much that can be done other than to stop up their ears with the wax of truth.

First, the socialist points out all the problems in society, particularly in relation to government. In this sort of sob story session, they build empathy and compassion, and pull on the heart strings of the listeners. In pointing out the problems in society, the socialist often points to a scapegoat, an individual or group of individuals who can be blamed for everyone else’s problems. This sort of narrative is tempting, and it is easy for anyone to fall in the trap. Once you see the trap, and understand how it works, it’s easy to disarm though.

The fact of the matter is the vast majority of the problems everyone experiences are mostly due to their own actions. For those problems which are caused by outside factors, it is the individual’s choice in how to deal with it. For instance, take two people facing terminal illness like cancer or some other incurable disease. One person will face their doom with fear and anger. The other will accept it and live the last days of their life with compassion and understanding for the pain of others. We can choose to be the latter, rather than the former.

It’s also useful to point out that making people out to be the bad guys means you have to do something about it. If the “rich” or whatever are to blame for everyone’s problems, then perhaps we should kill them all, right? Faced with the horrible conclusion of such conversation, people might realize the error of their ways. Humanize humans, objectify objects. Bill Gates is a person just like you and I, and rich people are really not much different than any of us. When we treat them like the Nazis treated Jews, then we should realize the end result of that.

That’s not to say we excuse crime. We punish crime, but only after a crime has been committed and the person given a chance to defend themselves in a court of law. The court of public opinion leads to mob action, and while that may feel good for a while, wait until it’s your turn to be the target of mob action and then let’s see how you feel about it.

The socialists proposals to solve life’s ills fall in two categories: Punish the successful, and reward the unsuccessful. But let’s peek a little bit under the covers to see what happens in real life. They punish the successful with higher taxes and more regulations. To what end? Is it really a good idea to take those people who create the greatest value in our economy and shackle them in bonds similar to slavery? And who are we kidding anyway — they are the rich and powerful, and they are going to be calling the shots when it comes time to mete out the punishment. They won’t punish themselves, they will punish those who threaten them, and that means they will punish the up-and-coming rich and powerful. We’ve seen this pattern repeat time and again throughout history. Give someone the power of the sword, and next thing you know they are cutting the weak and powerless.

The idea to level the playing field by rewarding failure is also tempting. But let’s look at what goes on here. On the one hand, you can just write a check to all the poor people. What happens, though, is you’re only “feeding the bears”. Rather than learn to forage for food naturally, the bears will keep coming back to the humans who feed them, exactly where you don’t want them to be. That’s why you don’t feed wild animals. Well, unless your goal is to tame those wild animals. Is that what the socialist really wants — a population of people who are basically at their beck and call?

Or perhaps you want to give them in-kind support, things like medical care or food. What happens here is you setup a massive bureaucracy to distribute the food or medical care, only to find out it’s not what they need and it’s extremely inefficient at meeting their needs. Perhaps you want to crack down on all the waste and fraud, so you hire even more bureaucrats to watch the bureaucrats. When things get very bad, you hire even more bureaucrats to make sure the bureaucrats are performing properly. It’s a never-ending circle of life for the bureaucrats, and circle of death for those they are supposed to be helping.

Throughout history, socialism has never worked. Our medical system today is a direct result of socialist tinkering with our previously free-market system. The free market is the only thing that is keeping it more or less functional, but even there, it is rapidly losing power and we’re watching the end result of socialism in practice. We’ve had it in our schools for a long time, and look at how our kids are outpacing the rest of the world! Or rather, they’re not. You don’t have to look very hard to find signs of socialist failure throughout the world, and trust me, you’ll never find a place where it works.

Don’t listen to the siren songs of the socialist. Instead, listen to the hard truth of how human nature and the natural world really works.

Response to AnCap vs. the World

January 21, 2016 by

Over at AnCap vs. the World, Nick Martinez responds to my article pointing of the flaws in anarcho-capitalism. He took the time to write down his thoughts, so I’ll do my best to address his rebuttal. I genuinely enjoy being challenged with new ideas, and having incorrect ideas corrected.

The author proposes that I don’t understand what AnCap is all about. I propose that it is he that doesn’t understand what AnCap is all about. The joke in conservative circles is: “Liberals can read the Communist Manifesto; conservatives understand the Communist Manifesto”. Perhaps he sees himself as some sort of all-seeing eye. So in presenting my understanding of AnCap and where it diverges from Conservatism, he can clarify where I am wrong.

To wit:

  • The fundamental aspect of AnCap is the idea that the initiation of force is morally wrong.
  • This leads to the conclusion that all governments, which universally use force to impose their will upon the people, are morally wrong.
  • AnCap philosophists propose eliminating the state altogether, and replacing it with responsible individuals who make their own choices for themselves, living the best they know how.
  • However, individuals, acting alone, cannot, on their own, combat organized evil. Thus, a wise individual will selfishly choose to associate himself with like-minded individuals and stand in their defense against others who initiate force. This association will be codified perhaps with some form of agreement.
  • The fact that everyone will not agree to one organization is no problem, since similar organizations will likely cooperate together, forming a loose federation of sorts.
  • Thus, we can, without the initiation of force, replace governments with new pseudo-governments that are really federations of individuals built on mutual respect and non-aggression. We can have moral “governments” that are not really governments at all.

I think up to here, AnCap philosophist are nodding their heads in agreement. Let me continue the story, which has been repeated thousands of times in history, and is being repeated here today in our own country.

  • Over time, the pseudo-governments gain trust and respect in their respective communities. With trust and respect comes power.
  • Some people, who do not believe in or act according to non-aggression, may find themselves in positions of power in these organizations, and thus pervert their power and begin initiating aggression. In fact, I predict such evil people will seek such positions of power.
  • While in most cases, other pseudo-governments and individuals may work together to combat the corruption, they will not be able to completely eradicate all corruption. That is, suppose in the year 2115, we successfully dismantle a rogue pseudo-government. That does not preclude another rogue pseudo-government in 2116, nor does it predict that the people will always be able to overthrow or dismantle such corruptions.
  • And now we’re back to where we were, coming full-circle. No longer are all pseudo-governments honest and virtuous. Some of them are not, and they begin using the initiation of force once again to get their way, and since they are strong and powerful, they are difficult to contain and combat.
  • Next thing you know, you have a neo-Hitler who stands up, telling the people, “Give me all your power, and I will give you unending happiness” and we all know what happens next!

Don’t get me wrong: I agree with AnCap philosophists that the initiation of force is wrong. I agree that governments should not have a different set of morality than regular people. I absolutely agree that all governments (even the US!) are corrupt, evil, tyrannies that we would frankly be better off without!

In fact, in my religion, I look forward to the day when Jesus Christ rules the earth in perfect justice and compassion, without any moral contradictions, when evil simply no longer exists. Not because of government, but because people simply act like angels should. I believe the government that Jesus Christ will set up will be built on voluntary associations rather than the initiation of force. In other words, if you want out of the world-wide Jesus Christ government, you simply have to ask and you’re out. In fact, I believe that after the millennial peace, people will ask to leave and will be obliged, and they will form their own government of evil and there will be the last battle of all battles in mortality, between those who choose to be part of Jesus Christ’s government and those who do not want to and would prefer not living according to the principles of non-aggression.

This is where AnCap and conservatism diverge: I do not believe that it is useful to spend time thinking much of how things would be if people simply acted like angels. The reason is because people don’t act like angels. We are better off seeing each other as demons wearing angelic clothing, and we should think hard about what kinds of chains we should all wear together.

In short, the problem of Hitler was not Hitler! There are always Hitlers among us, and we should each see a little of Hitler in ourselves. The problem of Hitler was people being blind to the fact that there were Hitlers. They thought that someone who preached peace and love and oh-by-the-way-tyranny could be trusted. No one can be trusted, not even myself. I don’t even trust myself, if you’re wondering. It’s when we misplace our trust and respect and give it to governments that is the heart of evil and what allows governments to get away with so much.

We should, instead, view governments as entirely evil, perhaps necessary, much as martial arts and handguns, but evil nonetheless, an evil that maybe the world would be better off without. And in that context, we should ask, “What should be done now?”

Sure, let’s set AnCap as the future, as a utopic possibility. But it’s such a faraway place that it has little bearing on what we do today. Maybe AnCap is doing one thing good: it’s explaining to people how we don’t need to use force and how our governments are corrupt, so that is a good thing.

Our Best Days Are Not Behind Us

January 21, 2016 by

At the end of Carter’s term, America was in an emotional depression. We thought the world was ending, that America had a good run, but all good things must end. Here at the end of Obama’s second term, it seems we’re feeling the same feeling.

America, your best days are not behind you. They are right in front of you. All you have to do is choose to seize it.

I’m going to list reasons why I have great hope for the future. Perhaps you can add some of your own to the list.

  1. Thanks to the internet, conservatives have a voice. Liberal ideology is quite literally on the run, and you can tell by the increasingly irrational behavior of them. A good example of this is the backlash against feminism that is Gamergate. A group of boys and men who wanted nothing to do with politics suddenly find they have a voice and they are not scared of militant feminism, and are beginning to embrace their manhood.
  2. Thanks to the internet, we’re looking at a future when education is literally freely available to all. The only thing that keeps one from being educated nowadays is a lack of motivation. One day, we’re going to realize that all the money that government spends on education is simply unnecessary. That last bastion of socialism in our society will fall because it will become irrelevant.
  3. Liberalism spreads in fear — fear of the economy, fear of the future, fear of the enemy, fear of the “other” — rich or immigrants or whatever. Conservatism spreads with hope, hope that people, when given freedom, will choose to live rightly, and hope things will get better as long as we keep working at it. We are looking at a future where there are simply no enemies in sight, save comparatively small groups of terrorists. War with China is becoming increasingly unlikely. Russia is a minor player on the world stage, and all of their shenanigans don’t add up to much. When I was growing up, we were always thinking about the upcoming Russian and Chinese invasion. Movies like Red Dawn spoke to my generation. Today, movies like that are just plain silly. The biggest threat people fear now is the Zombie Apocalypse. When we have to turn to fantasy to find something to fear, it shows how far we have come since our founding.
  4. Although Atheists are proclaiming victory, the truth is Americans and people worldwide are rediscovering religion. The history of the world shows that things like that run in cycles. People are just as likely to move closer to religion as away, and no victory in either side is permanent. Recently, I had an experience where I realized that in my office room of 4-5 engineers, all of them were deeply devout in their own religion.
  5. Jobs are disappearing, that is true, but new opportunities are arising. For instance, YouTube is home to several hundred if not thousand successful videographers. Uber is quietly employing all of the out-of-work people who are on the margins of the economy, and they are making good money that can support their family in their communities. The only thing standing between our current state and even more employment and production is government regulation and people’s limited imagination.

America will succeed, and continue to succeed, as long as there are Americans who look to God, themselves, their families and communities before reaching out to big government. Government has no power that the people themselves do not have. It is a false god, one that promises everything but delivers less than nothing, meaning, it makes things worse rather than even maintaining the status quo. The thing about false gods, though, is people stop worshiping them.

Add you hopes for the future below.

Muhammad is the Last Prophet? A Mormon’s View

January 8, 2016 by

I’m continuing my series of investigation into Islam as a mormon. I think before continuing, I should describe my understanding that Islam, like Christianity or Buddhism, is a big religion with a very large number of believers. As such, one particular person’s beliefs are not representative of any other persons, although many people might share similar beliefs within Islam.

A kind reader directed me to this document on the web: http://www.understanding-islam.org.uk/images/stories/pdf/islam_a_comprehensive_introduction.pdf It is entitled “Islam: A Comprehensive Introduction” and the author is Javed Ahmad Ghamidi. This is obviously a translation into English and the translator is Shehzad Saleem.

I should note that the intent I believe is honest and true. The author and the translator both admit to the possibility of human error on their part and others, and their intent to achieve understanding through critical examination. This is what I consider a pure motive and honorable in God’s eyes.

The first paragraph reads:

Religion is the guidance which was first inspired by the Almighty in human nature and after that it was given by Him with all essential details to mankind through His prophets. Muhammad (sws) is the last of these prophets. Consequently, it is now he alone who in this world is the sole source of religion. It is only through him that man can receive divine guidance and it is only he who,through his words, deeds or tacit approvals, has the authority to regard something as part of Islam until the Day of Judgement.
The first sentence is a basic belief shared by mormons. In fact, when missionaries meet with investigators (those who want to learn more about our church), the first thing we explain is that God wants to teach us about Him and so he sends prophets. The only point of disagreement I can possibly find is that God does not reveal everything to man, not even all essential things. (Indeed, can anything God does be considered inessential? Does he waste effort or time?) He instead teaches “line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little”. In other words, he teaches us the same way any teacher teaches anything — bit by bit, carefully laying  foundation before attempting to build the tower. While our church claims to have the “fulness of the gospel”, we certainly do not claim to have all knowledge about religion, even all the essential bits. In fact, we look forward to future revelations and more understanding.

The second and subsequent sentences I find disagreeable and logically inconsistent. It seems Islam is predicated on believing that God has changed, that former prophets were imperfect or incomplete, but Muhammad was complete and perfect. Yes, if there is any hierarchy at all, there must be one above another, and one that judges them all, second only to God, but if God is to be an impartial God, he would not send prophets to ancient mankind and then decide never to send more.

Even Christians struggle with this idea. They suppose that Jesus was the last prophet, to borrow the terminology here, and that there can be none after. But here, the Bible clearly disagrees with that idea, teaching and showing that after Jesus there would be more prophets. Indeed, in Amos 3:7 it reads, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing but he revealeth his secrets unto his servants the prophets.” This echoes a sentiment found throughout the Bible of God not acting to destroy or bless a people without first sending prophets or messengers. For instance, God sent Jonah to warn Ninevah. He could not destroy them without first warning them, and having been warned, they repented. If God intends to destroy us, he must first send prophets to warn us, in our language, in our day.

Indeed, as the document begins, it mentions how imperfect our understanding of perfection is. Can a man describe God or his religion through intellect and study alone? Of course not. If we are to learn about these things, it must either be through God himself (making us a prophet) or through a prophet who communicates directly with Him.

Now, God cannot contradict Himself. Indeed, that would make Him a liar, which God cannot be. So we must know what God has already said on a subject through his prophets, and if any suppose they are a prophet, then we would expect that his words would conform. But here, too, we are prone to error. Wasn’t it the Jews who were blessed with God’s word but rejected the living prophets in their own day? Such a people would fain live in the age of dead prophets, but not in the age of living prophets. We are human like the Jews, and so we are prone to the same error. We can be just as stubborn as they were, at the same time imagining ourselves as paragons of virtue and humility.

What would a prophet teach? I think the first thing a prophet should teach, if all man is alike in the eyes of God, and we are all truly equal, is that others can be prophets too. The famous story of Moses saying “I would that all could be prophets” is relevant here. A prophet, having connected with God, should thus teach mankind how they can connect with God too. Indeed, isn’t that the purpose of prayer, to express your mind and will to God so that he can express his to you? If you connect to God, can you then not also hear the voice of God and be commanded to do right just as the prophet was? And wouldn’t those words be just as sacred as any other?

If Islam is defined by the religion that Muhammad taught, then it can be nothing else, and no prophet can ever change it, and indeed, Muhammad is the last (and really, only) prophet of that religion. What a limited religion that would be though, because it would demand ignoring all the other times that God has spoken, the times he will speak, and the words he is speaking today! Such a religion would be dead the moment Muhammad died, unchangeable until Muhammad rises from the dead and speaks again. I suppose some people believe that Islam or religion should be limited in this way, just like there are those who believe that once Christ died and was resurrected and ascended to heaven, he would never, ever have anything to say. To these people, though, Christ was not resurrected, anymore than a stone statue is alive. In essence, rather than worship a living, breathing, speaking God, they worship a God limited to the words in the Bible. Is this the religion that muslims truly believe in?

This idea of idolatry is more relevant today than most realize. Sure, we do not worship stone and wooden idols, considering them to have power to heal or to bless or curse and destroy. Our idols are not made of wood or stone. They are often made of words in a book. Rather than worship the living God, we worship the words in a book, setting them higher than the inspiration God gives to all mankind. We suppose that words in a book, dead and unchanging, are somehow capable of intelligence and life. It is foolish to think this. At best, those words can only represent ideas, and those ideas can be from a Divine source. Even those ideas, however, are not worthy of worship. An idea, expressed in wood or stone as a statue, or in a book as words, is just an idea. An idea is limited by the imagination of the thinker. God is not limited to anything, and his ideas far surpass our own. I think mistake number one most religious people make is to try and limit God, and this is a common way of doing that.

Since I cannot accept the teaching that Muhammad is the only prophet, or rather, the last prophet, I cannot be considered muslim or a follower of Islam if that is the prerequisite. However, just because I do not consider Muhammad the last prophet does not mean I must reject him as a prophet. Indeed, even if he weren’t a prophet, even a broken clock is right twice a day. I felt inspired to study Islam and so I shall continue. I expect to find more truth. In the words of the 13th Article of Faith, “If there is anything virtuous, lovely or of good report, we seek after those things” and I have already found Islam and the followers of Islam to contain virtue, loveliness, and to be of good report.

Marriage Levels

January 5, 2016 by

An interesting article at Touchstone reminds me of what marriage means to a Christian. (link)

I want to add a few words.

I suppose you can list various “levels” of marriage.

Level 0 would be no sexual relations, no marriage, no commitment whatsoever. No children, no responsibility as well. This is the default level that every man shares with every woman.

Level 1 would be sexual relations, without any form of commitment. Sometimes the woman bears a child, but if she does, then the man is not there to help in any form whatsoever. In this scenario, the woman bears a tremendous burden, one that if she can’t fulfill (and the chances are low), society will surely have to support. If not, then bad things happen, namely, children are raised improperly and grow up to be delinquents.

Level 2 would be what I could call “civil” marriage. The man and woman commit to each other but only in body. They take responsibilities for their kids but do not give absolute fidelity to one another or their offspring. While the chances of their children growing up into a healthy adult increases significantly over Level 1, it is still not optimal.

Level 3 would be what I could call “religious” marriage. The man and woman not only commit to each other physically, but in every other imaginable way as well. This is the Christian ideal of marriage. Not only do you save your body for your spouse, but you save your heart and soul as well. Just as Christ laid down his life for the church, the husband sacrifices everything for his family. And just as the church serves Christ, the wife should serve the husband. I can’t imagine any higher form of marriage than this.

Since people chance, relationships change, too. A Level 0 relationship can turn into a Level 1 or a Level 2 relationship. Relationships need not progress through each other. You can go from a Level 0 directly to a Level 3 relationship. It’s also possible for there to be asymmetry. Perhaps the woman is not as committed as she could be, and so she is living a Level 2 while the man is living the Level 3.

The point is that there is a good-better-best, even among the good.

The other point is also that we, as a society, as individuals, as parents, must teach that the only worthy form of marriage is the Level 3 marriage: complete fidelity in every aspect of one’s life. You simply cannot compare people who can only sacrifice a part of their life for their family with those who give it all up for their family.

There is no higher ideal than the ideal of Christian marriage. There is no greater good than the good that can be accomplished in the home. It should be the goal of every man, woman and child everywhere. Any goal less than that is a lesser goal which will achieve lesser good. It is, in fact, a choice for evil, since it would replace the greatest good with something else.

I saw a clip from Sean Hannity where a man lectures a woman about what will make her happiest: Being a mom at home with a loving husband, and dedicating her life to her family rather than her career. She gets really upset and bitter about this, I guess because he had the audacity to voice such a simple truth. Her hatred became clear at that point. Meanwhile, he was relaxed and happy. She said something like, “Why would I want to come home to you?” and he responded, “Don’t come home to me. I’m already taken. Go find someone hunkier than me, someone who you want more than anything else in this world.” He demonstrated by his attitude that he knew what he was talking about. His life revolved around his wife and his two-year-old daughter, and that gave him meaning and purpose and joy.

Folks, it really is this simple. Find a spouse. Dedicate everything to him or her. Raise a family. Make it the #1 priority. You will be happy. It is guaranteed. It is when we fail to achieve this ideal that we find sorrow. No one regrets giving their life to their family.

A Mormon Studies Islam

December 28, 2015 by

At my last temple visit, I felt inspired to study Islam and Muslims and to understand what it is they understand.

To preface my study, my philosophy is that there must be something good in a religion shared by over a billion people. There must be some reason why parents teach their kids and their kids teach their kids. Religions just don’t survive over a thousand plus years and spread out to so many people without there being something of value that compels people to push it forward.

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, if you don’t know. However, I have learned that my faith doesn’t teach that there are members and non-members, but that we are all one. In fact, the reason I was in the temple in the first place was to perform essential saving ordinances for someone who wasn’t a mormon and for all I know could’ve hated the mormons. I anticipate, in fact, that I will see him in the Celestial Kingdom, along with all the other saints from my religion and others. That’s the heart of my faith — that we are all one, all brothers and sisters, and nothing divides us except the arbitrary lines we allow Satan to draw for us.

In our articles of faith, the last one, article 13, states eloquently “if there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report, we seek after these things.” Well, my cursory examination of Islams and Muslims shows that they have virtue, their artwork and architecture is lovely, and there are a lot of people who have good things to say about them and their faith, so I must seek after it.

In summary: I am studying Islam because I think there must be something good there, and my religion teaches me that there is no divide between us, and that I must, in fact, search after good wherever it is.

My journey is going to be difficult. I think there are a number of reasons for this. On the one hand, the history of Islam has some, shall we say, less savory components. There are people who claim the title of Muslim who do some horrible things. This is a stumbling block. I can’t say that Muslims are special — many people have done horrible things in the name of any religion. Still, it is difficult to find truth when thousands of voices are shouting anger . It is difficult to ignore these angry voices. After all, we’re all human and we’re all subject to the temptations of the devil. On the other hand, I get the feeling that Muslims are not as forthcoming with their religion. They try to represent their religion with their lives not their words, which is how members of my church are taught to do it too. While this is the right way to do things, it means reading a book or looking up articles on the internet simply will not do the topic justice.

However, I think I have gotten off to a good start. I know enough that in order to understand Muslims, I should not study Islam. This sounds like a contradiction, but it really isn’t. You aren’t going to learn much about what it means to be a mormon by studying the Book of Mormon or the Bible or the writings and teachings of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. You really need to got to our church services, eat dinner with our families, and watch us as we live out our lives. There is no other way to understand or to communicate our essence. So it seems to be with Muslims and Islam.

Islam, by the way, literally means “Submission.” This sounds rather harsh to our Western ears, but perhaps if I re-translated it as “humility” it would make more sense. Our teachings state that the Lord demands a sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit, a sense that I think “submission” really covers. Those who submit to God (they call him Allah) are practicing Islam. Those who do not are not.

Islam is not terribly well-defined. After more than a thousand years and being spread throughout every culture and philosophy, it has come to mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Nevertheless, there are some core truths that unite everyone who practices this faith. These are the “Five Pillars of Islam” and you can read about them pretty much anywhere. I wish to comment on them from my perspective.

First is the testimony. “There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet”. In the Latter-day Saint faith, we start with testimony, or rather, what we call faith. Our faith is not directly in God, but in Christ. We also have faith that Christ calls prophets who can administer saving ordinances and teach the pure gospel. I am not fully convinced one way or the other that Mohammed was or was not a prophet. I will have to examine his teachings to see. I know enough, however, that I dare not question anyone who has claims of visions or visitation of angels or divine intervention. I know that God works through all people at all times, and is unchanging. It takes considerable evidence before I will throw out someone’s witness as unreliable. I know that God will guide me one way or the other, and I haven’t had him tell me that Mohammed is definitely not a prophet.

Mohammed a prophet? I think the idea causes many Christians, even Latter-day Saints, to worry. What about all the bad things people say about him? I won’t bother listing them all here, but suffice it to say if there is a crime, Mohammed is accused of committing it. Well, the same can be said of Christ and Joseph Smith, and pretty much any true prophet who walked the earth. It’s not hard to find examples of prophets who have been accused of evil.

The Latter-day Saint belief in prophets is not that prophets are perfect. Far from it! We jokingly say, “Catholics teach that the pope is perfect, but no catholic believes it. Mormons teach that the prophet is imperfect, but no mormon believes it.” I am told that Mohammed himself questioned whether he would make it to heaven. I think it should be safe to say that prophets are people, too, and they make mistakes and God chastises them for that.

The part I have trouble with, however, is the idea that Mohammed is the best, ultimate, prophet. This doesn’t sit well with me because it teaches a changing God who called prophets in the past but says, “That’s it. No more!” I don’t believe this is how God operates. While Mohammed may be a prophet to the Arab people or to followers of Islam, that doesn’t necessarily imply that he is the prophet God called to preach his word to other people. Nevertheless, faithful followers must listen to what any prophet has to say and must live according to what the Spirit directs.

I thought about this idea for a while and I have a couple of thoughts. First, when you find something special, like a prophet, your first instinct should be, “There may be more!” For instance, let’s say I was walking along a river and found a beautiful diamond among the rocks. What would my reaction be? “There might be more!” I would scour the area looking for more diamonds. This is because there are very few, if any, truly unique things in the universe.

The second thought I had was that while having a unique thing makes it special, having lots of the same sort of thing makes it even more unique. This is kind of like the saying, “You are unique, just like the seven billion other people on this planet.” Truly, however, what makes me more unique is the fact that there are seven billion other people to compare me with. With so many people to compare with, you can see what makes me truly special compared to all others. Following the diamond example, diamonds are pretty cool to people who are barely acquainted with them, but to the diamond expert who has seen countless diamonds, each one is truly special. Each one has a unique set of characteristics that makes it truly one-of-a-kind in their eyes.

So it is with prophets. If you have one, you should look for more. And when you find more, the one you found first is truly even more special. As you may be aware, in our church we believe in continuing revelation. Not only can the president of our church receive revelation, but everybody can receive revelation. We sometimes talk about “our prophet”, the person who is the president right now. Sometimes we mean the person who was the president at the time we awoke to the gospel. My prophet is Gordon B. Hinckley. It’s also Thomas S. Monson. We’ve had lots of prophets, and we’ll have lots more. Each one is special and unique to us. If I were to come to believe that Mohammed was a prophet, then he would be special as well.

Nevertheless, I am distracted. The second pillar is prayer. Muslims pray five times a day. I do not understand enough about what prayer means to a Muslim but I know enough that even vain, repetitious Gentile prayers are heard by God. (Jesus condemned vain, repetitious prayers.) I would like to study further what Muslims understand about prayer. I am sure there is something more to learn. Let me state that to the Latter-day Saints, prayer is at the heart of all we do. It is the first and last act, the most important of all things. We should carry a prayer in our hearts at all times.

The third pillar is alms-giving. Remarkably, the teachings on alms-giving are remarkably similar to our teachings. This leads me to believe that Mohammed was likely a prophet, because there is no way any mortal man can stumble upon such a system. It can only come from God. I want to point out that voluntary alms-giving is the essential element to inner peace and prosperity. No one can deny that this is a beautiful element of the Muslim faith.

The fourth pillar is fasting for the month of Ramadan. Muslims fast by not drinking water or eating food from sunup to sundown for the month of Ramadan. We also believe in fasting. We fast once a month for 24-hours by skipping two meals and avoiding food or drink. I know for a fact that this is a teaching that we mutually appreciate. I respect the Muslim fast and I know that they respect ours. Fasting is an essential element to prayer.

The fifth pillar is the Hajj, a trip to Mecca where Muslims participate in a variety of activities. I thought about this trip and what it symbolizes and I am left to conclude that it is comparable with our temple worship. Every member of our church should go to the temple at least once and participate in the temple ceremonies there. I will not cover the details here for brevity’s sake. Suffice it to say, the individual makes covenants to serve God and build up his kingdom on the earth through righteous actions. From what I can tell of the Hajj, there are a lot of similarities.

I do not understand much of Islam or how Muslims live their lives, but I know enough that there is good in there, and that I need to study it. My next step will be to visit with local Muslims to get to know their faith and appreciate what they believe and how they live their lives.

There are some questions I have, important questions that all people everywhere deal with. Namely, the problem of sin. How does one escape the consequences of sin? Also, the concept of perfection. How does one live a perfect life? What sort of blessings are promised to those who do? These are a topic I will address for another time. Suffice it to say, I think I know who Mohammed really was (yes, I think he was a prophet) and how to fit it in to our faith and religion. Understanding this will help us understand the Muslims and truly join with them in sincere brotherhood.

There will never be enough money for universal health care

December 11, 2015 by

The famed philosopher and economist Milton Friedman had this simple parable.

Suppose you went out to buy yourself something. You’re going to find the best quality at the best price. It’s your money so you try to spend as little as possible, and you care a great deal about what you get so you get the best quality you can get.

Suppose instead you’re buying a gift for your friend. Even though you care a lot about your friend, you really don’t know what your friend needs. So you buy something good but probably not optimal, and you try to spend as little money.

Suppose instead someone is paying for something you want to buy. With someone else’s money, you buy the best thing you get and you don’t care about the price, as long as it’s within range. You see this when companies pay for their employee’s lunch when they’re on a business trip. The employee will try to get the best food they can but they won’t try to save money.

Suppose instead you had to buy something for someone you care about, and you were using someone else’s money. As in the gift scenario, even though you care about your friend, you probably don’t know what they really need. And as in the third scenario, you don’t even care much how it costs.

If you want things to cost as little as possible, you have people spend their own money.

If you want things to be as high a quality as possible, you have them buy things for themselves.

Now, for my point: Universal health care will never have enough money. Since the people who use the system aren’t paying for it directly, they’re simply going to get as much health care as they can and they won’t take reasonable measures to keep costs down. On the other hand, the people who administer the system won’t really care much about the quality of health care people receive. See, they might be careful buying a gift for their friend, but they simply can’t care about the millions of people who live in a country and what each individual actually needs.

Universal Health Care cannot work and does not work. People tout how wonderful it is, but in practice, it is obviously worse than what we have in the US which is really bad to begin with.

How do you fix health care? It’s actually really simple. Have people buy their own health care with their own money. That’s all there is to it. If they’re spending someone else’s money, they won’t care about price. If someone else is making health care decisions, then they will be bad decisions.

How do we get there from here? Obviously, we could simply erase all the laws on the books that have anything to do with health care. That’s one option, and if I were supreme commander of the United States I would do it. Political reality suggests a different plan may be in order.

First, we can replace Medicare and Medicaid with vouchers. Seniors can use the money however they see fit, but when they run out, they run out and that’s it. As a bonus, they can keep the vouchers and spend it on something else besides health care.  Perhaps a lump-sum payoff would be ideal — just write a check and be done with the systems. We could also refund all the people who have paid into those systems at the same time. Not only would this inject a huge supply of cash into the economy, it would also relieve the huge impending doom that Medicare and Medicaid have in store for everyone. We simply cannot continue these systems. Something has to break. Either people stop getting health care, or our money becomes worthless. If you feel bad about seniors that use up all their health care dollars, perhaps we can create a matching program. For every $10k a senior spends on health care beyond their limit, the government can match with $10k or $5k or $20k or whatever. The idea is that the seniors have to spend their own money, and not just meet a minimum to unlock infinite spending. Seniors must weight the cost and benefit of health treatment, and having them do so will drive down costs and direct capital and resources to the health care seniors want and actually use.

Next, we can relax all the federal regulatory burdens on medical care. Disband the FDA and leave it up to the states to make their own health laws. The only law on the books should be laws that allow people to travel between states or out of the country for health care, or that allow people to purchase health products and plans across state lines. Our current system is a great burden on health care because it is so antiquated and impenetrable.

In addition to the above, we can allow the creation of health charities and give tax breaks and even additional tax breaks upon tax breaks on organizations that service the health needs of the poor, that invest in medical research and training, or related things. Note: Tax breaks, not subsidies. Giving a tax break doesn’t encourage people to go crazy with their money; subsidies that aren’t spent tend to disappear, which inflate prices.

I want to close with this. I like to fantasize like everyone else and wish the world wasn’t the way it really was. But we must accept the reality that the world is the way it is and work within its rules and limits. One of those limits is the economic topic of scarcity. While health care is extremely valuable, it is also scarce. It is hard to train new doctors, hard to keep hospitals running, and hard to have people give correct and precise advice. If we’d like people to have more access to health care, there are really two ways to approach this, and only one has worked historically. On the one hand, we can hand out medical care for free; on the other, we can create huge incentives to optimize the few resources we have to provide medical care. What inevitably happens when you hand out something for nothing is people treat it like it is worth nothing and they abuse it. But when they have to pay for it, then the economy can go to work directing resources where they are needed most and ensuring that all innovative ideas that are worthwhile are tried out.

I think if we went with a market-based approach, we would see people take the time and effort to stay healthy, since by staying healthy, they won’t need to spend as much money on medical care. Obesity in America will decline; people will be far more careful about what they eat and how they live their lives. Not only that, but doctors will be treated with respect and patients will actually finish their bottles of antibiotics.

You And I Are Not So Different

December 10, 2015 by

Trump calls for all muslim immigration to stop until we can develop a plan to handle the issues we’ve faced with a certain minority population among them.

Atheists berate Christians and other believers for believing in fairy tales.

Non-white, non-male, non-middle class people accuse white male middle-class people of being bad, and when they try to go out and help, it’s just yet another example of how they are bad.

Need I go on?

It was discovered a long time ago that in the Civil War, soldiers had their rifles stuffed with multiple charges. Why they would do this was a mystery until it was realized that it’s really hard to get your soldiers to shoot the other guy’s soldiers. It is fairly typical that someone would rather die than kill. In order to combat this, it was discovered that if you labelled the other guy’s soldiers as less than human, monstrous, demonic, then it became easier for your soldiers to pull the trigger. Hence, the propaganda during WWII that labeled German, Italian, and Japanese people as monstrous and evil. The Germans and Japanese did the same, to great effect. Also, during WWII, the Germans operated concentration camps where they isolated “others” from the population and performed gross inhuman acts upon them. After WWII, we have multiple instances where people were convinced to kill and hurt others.

The method is as follows:

  1. Dehumanize the enemy. Make them seem as inhuman as possible. They are not your neighbors, they are bad people trying to kill you because they are bloodthirsty and vicious.
  2. Label them. Give them a name. You don’t have to be very clear on what is or is not worthy of being given the name. You just need a name. Names could include things like “Jap”, “Wop”, “Kraut”, “Nazi”. It could include things like “Bourgeois”, “Capatilist”, “Racist”, “Imperialist”. It really doesn’t matter.
  3. Attack strawmen under the name. For instance, “All republicans want to do is take away your reproductive rights.”
  4. Let the hate burn. After all, according to these people, hate is the only thing that motivates people.

I want to share you a story. About 15 years ago, after suffering a particularly humiliating defeat of our party in the elections in my hometown, one of the activists I associated with, in a bitter, sad outburst, said, “We need to use hate. It’s the only way to get people to do things.” A strange silence fell over us as we pondered that. Someone replied, “If we’re going to use hate, then I would rather lose.” I don’t know what happened to that individual. I do know that we chose, as a group, not to use hate. And today, in Federal Way, there are three republicans elected to our state legislature.

We are not so different, you and I.

Here’s how you diffuse the above strategy.

  1. Humanize the enemy. They are not bad or evil, they are just opposed to you. Just like you oppose them because you think you are right, they oppose you for the same. What is bad is not who they are, but what they do. What needs to be stopped is not people, but behavior.
  2. Refuse labels. Don’t give them a name, or rather, give them a name that we all belong to. Some people accuse Christians of being mean for calling people “sinners”, but in reality, they are saying, “You are like me—a sinner.” So if you must use a name, make sure it applies to yourself as well.
  3. Don’t invent or tolerate strawmen. You can eliminate strawmen by letting people speak for themselves. In my example above, ask a republican, “Do you want to take away my reproductive rights?” The answer will surprise you. Whenever there is disagreement, the answer should always surprise you. If you can’t understand why they would oppose you, that means there is something out there to learn.
  4. Ignore hate, and refuse to tolerate it or use it. If you really want to change someone’s behavior, you invite them and be an example for them. You include them and associate with them. How can poor people learn to act proper unless they are able to watch proper people act?

I think it’s a rather simple strategy. And in my experience, it works.

I don’t see the world as gay or straight, white or black, American or foreign. I don’t see muslims, christians, or atheists. I see people. People who have different ideas about things.

Going Back in Time, Looking to the Future

December 4, 2015 by

We’re back to the 90’s, that happy moment when Bill Clinton was in charge, reality was whatever the liberals wanted it to be, and terrorism was only a figment of our imagination, despite the growing body count. Or rather, back to the 30’s, when war with Japan and Germany was something you only thought other countries faced, because we had liberals in charge here in America.

America, I’m not going to tell you to wake up. That’s because it doesn’t work. It’s not until reality stares you in the face in such an undeniable way that you begin to act rationally and protect yourself. Seeing the Twin Towers collapse, and all those New York office workers running around in the dust, feeling the heartache of the thousands of people who lost loved ones, watching the people jump out of the windows to certain death to avoid a fiery death inside — that woke us up in September 11, 2001. Likewise, watching as our battleships burned, as they sank with sailors still inside, all the while Japan was negotiating for peace — that woke us up on December 7, 1941.

But apparently, my words and the countless words of others, along with the rising body count is not enough to wake us up yet. Sleep on, enjoy your imaginary peace. It may not be your cousin or uncle or brother or sister who is murdered by Islamic Jihadists, so what should you care?

What I am going to do is tell you what to do when you decide to wake up.

First, you will end all the surveillance and counter-terrorism efforts. Just stop. They don’t work, they never will. These programs are a trick designed to give the government more power at the expense of our rights. The bottom line is this: If we can’t trust someone so much that we have to spy on them, we might as well kill them. If we can trust them, then there’s no reason to spy on them.

Next, you will wage an all-out war against any state that endorses terrorism. Those states with regions controlled by terrorists will also be given an option: Either you let the US military in to clean up the terrorists, or you become our enemy.

Those who support us in our war-fighting are our allies. Those who do not are our enemies. And we need to show the world that you don’t want to be our enemy.

We did not choose this war. We did everything we could to prevent it. But sometimes, you don’t get to choose when you are at war. Your enemy does that for you.

The type of war you will wage will be swift and merciful. It will be merciful because it will be quick. We will not capture the enemy and interrogate them. We will kill them, by the millions, if need be. Those who insist the Geneva Convention applies to terrorists can use the Geneva Convention to wipe up the blood of our people killed by terrorists.

You will not have cameras to record the events of the war. All the public will know about is the heroes who come back in boxes, wheelchairs, or crutches. All you will know is the names of the heroes who put themselves in harm’s way to save themselves, their friends, and their country. The horrors of war will be a memory only our soldiers will bear. We, the people, will get out of the way to let them finish the job.

Any accusation of atrocity against us will be met with the stiff response: “We did not start this, but we will end it. When the enemy is ready to lay down their arms, surrender, or at the very least, put on a uniform, then we can start talking about collateral damage. Until then, we will fight until they have no more will to fight and swear an oath to God and Allah that they will never, ever harm anyone in the name of their God ever again.”

War is a sick business. Given the option, we should always choose peace. When we don’t have that option, we should choose to wage a decisive, swift war with conclusive victory. The victory conditions are we win, they die. We take all of their land, their money, their food, their guns, their bombs, their people. As a sign of their defeat, they will readily turn over all governmental operations to us, and their military leaders will come on bended knee to hand over their weapons of war. Their people will swear an oath of allegiance to us, and declare that we are the greatest country on earth. Their preachers will teach the moral superiority of our philosophy. They will do this because all of those humiliating things are preferable to fighting us for even one more second.

If we wage this war in this way, mercilessly and swiftly, you’ll find out quickly who your friends and enemies really are. Your enemies will suddenly be willing to talk more. And your friends will get your back.

We don’t need world-wide surveillance. We don’t need secret black ops to swoop in and kill the baddies. We need to wage an all-out war and wreck everything that the baddies hold dear. We need to destroy their will to fight. We need to humiliate them to the point where the only reasonable option is to farm or work in a factory. We need to tell them and the world that you don’t mess with the US. We will be your best trading partner, your dearest ally, but we will not tolerate even vague threats against the security of our people.

After this war, when entire regions of the Middle East are a smoking ruin, then we can talk about peace. Then we can begin to rebuild their countries in a way where peace can dominate. As long as there are people willing to pick up a gun and fight for Allah, however, there can be no peace between us.

Unfortunately, I doubt America will ever do this again. We started to in 2001, but we quickly lost our confidence. I don’t know that we have the moral fortitude and certainty required to wage an all-out war. If you do not know that you are absolutely in the right, you cannot do the things that need to be done in the way they need to be done. So really, America, get your moral act together, reconcile yourself with God, and get read for the coming war. Make sure that you understand that you don’t only have the ability to fight for yourself, not only the right, and not only the duty, but when you pick up arms and kill people to save innocent lives because you have exhausted every avenue of peace, God blesses you for obeying his commandments.


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