Archive for April, 2018

Which “Us” versus which “Them”?

April 27, 2018

I had a good think about this on the bus ride to work watching this video:

It’s not Republican vs. Democrat. It hasn’t been that way for a long time.

I watched republicans take power in 1994 after many, many decades out of power. What did they do with it? They merely switched the guard. Watching what the republicans did after 2000 with complete control of the House, Senate, and the presidency awakened me to the awful fact that republicans are running a vote plantation just like the democrats are.

Now, I believe that the real difference between the two parties is seen at the local scale. Republican leaders can’t control the local elections, but they still control the national elections (Donald Trump being an exception.)

What’s really going on is we have a rogue federal government that is accountable only to themselves. We, the people, continue the farce by voting for one of two approved candidates. The ones that are likely to win get a lot more approval than the ones that aren’t.

We send these guys up to DC, with the vain imagination that they, unlike all the others, will actually do something. And every two years, we hold another election, where the same process is repeated.

How do you fix it?

Donald Trump is a start. Here’s a guy who is truly shaking things up, exposing the Deep State, calling out the true enemies of the American people, making them appear exactly as they are. But this is only a start, and when Trump leaves office in 2 or 6 more years, it will be back to business as usual.

Maybe we can change how we elect and who we elect. The idea that term limits will change anything is laughable. There are enough of them to keep cycling through the various elections, and it’s not like the elected congressmen are in control of the process.

The Founding Fathers had an idea on how to prevent this sort of corruption. It worked like this:

  • Groups of 30,000 or so elected a representative. The representative went to DC and composed the House of Representatives, the stronger half of the strongest branch of government, with oversight of the administration and the judiciary and complete control of the budget. By having so many representatives, it is virtually impossible to organize a national party that could dominate these elections: There are too many elections and too few voters per election. The local political leaders would have too much power. (For a city the size of Federal Way, we would have 2 or 3 federal representatives.)
  • States elected two senators, composing the Senate. Thus, the senate would be composed of the political elite. It’s far easier to control state legislatures as politically connected people, and so the senate would be the natural center of focus for the Deep State.
  • The president was elected by the states, making him the elite of the elite, the one member of the Deep State with the deepest connections. Rather, the president was elected by electors appointed by the states, not the people. This meant that the senate and the president would always align, more or less.

This arrangement meant that the House of Representatives would always be the outsider, looking in. The Senate and the president would naturally form a partnership in their eliteness, but the the House would have to be controlled by them, which the House would resist because they would be genuinely elected by the people and not by the Deep State.

The House would always have a fresh supply of fireballs, people willing to put everything on the line to keep government sane. Because the Senate and the president would have to beg the House for money, the House would be able to demand accountability before each budget process, and so the elite would have to invite a majority of the House into the “inner circle”. But these members would have to go back to their people every 2 years and re-earn their vote, and if they didn’t vote in ways that made the people happy, there would be a new batch of fireballs the senate and the president would have to deal with.

Thus, the House would be where the real business got done, where comprises between the needs of the Deep State and the needs of the people would be hammered out. If the elite couldn’t keep the people happy, they would be continually frustrated with the new batch of fireballs that made things messy, while they could have smooth sailing if they figured out how to tame the masses.

This was the true divide between the parties, and for most of our history, up until the 1900s, this was how it worked. The 1900s changed all that because now senators were elected, and that meant that the Deep State had to learn how to become popular, and were forced to manipulate all the elections.

Today, we’re living in an era where the Deep State has run amok, where it has grossly violated the will of the people, where the people are searching, desperately, for a way to put the federal government back under control. Trump is the beginning. This election in 2018 will show how it will play out over the next decade. Which parties are going to allow the people more victories, and which will not? How is Trump going to respond to a win or a loss, but more importantly: How will the people respond?

In short, the true divide in America has always been the people vs. the political elite. It has never been about one party vs. another, or one policy vs. another. Look back in time, you’ll see that one party always stood for the elite, while another stood for the people. When a party shifts from being the minority to the majority, their roles reverse as well.

Marriage is an institution of government (and other things)

April 16, 2018

A lot of lies about what marriage is, and what it can be, are spread in popular culture. Let me explain what marriage really is by imagining a world where there is no marriage.

Suppose you lived in a world where marriage didn’t even exist as a concept. Suppose also that in this world, you believed, as our Declaration of Independence says, that governments exist solely to protect individual rights.

You notice a few facts of this world, which are born out of biology:

  • Males and females copulate, impregnating females.
  • Copulation comes with emotional baggage, and jealousy, and all sorts of things.
  • After nine months (in the ideal case), the female delivers a child.
  • There is a profound emotional connection between the natural father, mother and child, such that the mother and father have an intense desire to protect and rear the child.

Going from this alone, you realize that little humans are humans too, and government has a job to protect their rights. How is this to be done, particularly because the children are so incompetent?

In the world of adults, we expect adults to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves, and to advocate for their rights and thus maintain the semblance of freedom. You expect the government to step in when one adult tramples on the rights of another, to set laws and procedures and appoint people to certain positions to ensure that this is minimized.

But what of the children, who cannot think, act, or even voice their concerns?

Perhaps you might be tempted to do the obvious: Let’s appoint a state actor to represent the child, a sort of guardian that can watch the child and advocate on his behalf. This seems reasonable, but you’ll soon find a problem: There are a lot of children, and it takes time to find someone competent to stand in as guardian. But you also notice that this is a big job, more than one person can handle, and so you might be tempted to appoint two or three, but they are ever in short supply, and it is an administrative nightmare, what with courts packed with people filing petitions to gain guardianship or transfer guardianship and whatnot.

But wait — you have an idea. Let’s take advantage of the natural affection that a child has with his natural parents and appoint the parents as the guardians. Now we have a real system in place, in fact, a minimal system. The law reads as follows:

Let every child have claim on their natural parents for protection under the law. Parents who fail in this duty will be held accountable and punished accordingly.

This would go swimmingly, except for one problem: It seems that the humans keep trading sexual partners. Thus, one female may have several children, each with different fathers. And so things get confusing, especially in cases where it’s not clear who the father is. Not to mention, when people fall out of sexual favor, there is a tremendous amount of animosity and bitterness, and it makes the whole business of raising children difficult. Very well, let’s write a new law:

You shall have only one sexual partner your whole life. You may not ever be separated from that sexual partner. Any children born out of that partnership, no matter who the natural father is, has claim on your sexual partner. To prevent this, the males are allowed to exert their privilege by keeping other males away from their female sexual partner.

Almost done. Now we have some disagreements over who the lifetime sexual partner of a female is, particularly when these partnerships are new. Let’s simplify things further with a new law:

You shall declare your sexual partnership before engaging in sexual relations. Your name will be recorded by the government. You will make it public so everyone knows who your sexual partner is.

And that’s how you get marriage, naturally, when all you have is what biology gave us.

You could say that marriage “evolved”.

Now, granted, the above rules are very strict. At various times throughout history, the punishment for sexual relations before or outside of marriage were harsh. You can see why societies would naturally do this: Imagine being forced, as a man, to raise a child who was fathered by someone else.

I want to close on this note: There are religious and societal and familial impacts of marriage beyond the government aspects I describe above.

  • The church is interested in marriage because there is tremendous guilt and emotional pain from having multiple sexual partners. The church knows that a married couple is far happier and productive than an unmarried couple. (Some people say that church created sin; but ask people who live without church whether they still feel guilt or emotional pain — indeed, they see psychiatrists too!)
  • Society is interested in marriage because it brings together different parts of society. IE, Rome and Juliet could’ve been the union of two powerful clans, to the peace of the entire town, had they been married through proper channels. Indeed, how many feuds have been solved with marriage?
  • Families are interested in marriage because it expands upon the power and influence, and wealth, of the family.

In short, marriage is what turns a people built on the ideals of individual rights into a cohesive society of powerful families and a unified government with a singular purpose of protecting its people’s rights.

A Universal Faith

April 12, 2018

As I study history and philosophy, I notice that a lot of things I already believe in and practice are found throughout the world, scattered through various times and places.

The 13th Article of Faith reads: “If there is anything … of good report … we seek after these things.” The point being, we don’t claim to have a monopoly on knowledge or morality or religion. Yes, we have some very specific things, things which we received under strict oath to share it with the world, but we were never given everything.

One of those philosophies is stoicism. Before I go to far, let me be clear: Certain aspects of stoicism I find to be repugnant. Particularly, it has no hope built in to it. Granted, it builds a very good world view, things that I have already embraced in my life, but there are parts that I can’t adopt as I don’t see them as good.

But to continue, what I find awesome in stoicism is the idea that you can’t control the world. At best, you can learn to control yourself and your reaction to the world, but you can’t control other people and the elements and so you’d best get used to it.

Another aspect is the practice of morning reflection. In order to maintain control of your mind, you have to sharpen it each day, by pondering on the most important things in life. Don’t skip a day. Keep a journal. You’ll find your mind will sharpen, your senses will heighten, and you’ll find hidden powers unlocked.

Something that most Christians should embrace is the stoick’s attitude towards death and disaster. No matter what is going on, things can get violently worse. Live each moment as if it is your last, because eventually, that will be true. As the Christians would say, “Repent, for the end is nigh.” Nigh indeed, particularly as death is always a breath away.

Anyway, this is just what I’ve found to like in stoicism.

As I’ve read Nietzsche, I’ve found a lot I can liken to my own life. Granted, Nietzsche had a lot of harsh things to say about Christianity, but I find his criticisms of my faith hollow and shallow, since I simply do not identify with much of what Christians claim to believe.

Regardless, the key point is this: There is, I believe, a One True Philosophy that unites all philosophies, or at least, the truth of each philosophy that has truth, into one united whole.

And I believe we should all be looking for that. Part of it is found in religion, my religion, the mormon religion, or Christianity as a whole. Part is found in life. Part is found in stoicism, or Nietzsche, or a thousand other sages and philosophers from all times and places.

Seek it out, find it, treasure it.

Kierkegaard: Knight of Faith

April 12, 2018

I haven’t read anything by Kierkegaard yet, but one thing caught my attention when watching various videos about his philosophy.

The idea is simple. If you want to find true faith, you have to find someone willing to kill and die for what he believes in, not merely debate or preach, but to actually draw a sword and stab someone over it, or put himself in the field of battle with only his faith to protect him.

A good example from the scriptures is Abraham. When God called on him to sacrifice Isaac, he didn’t hesitate. He went up to murder his son. (Obviously, the angel stopped him, but only after it became clear that Abraham would follow through.)

Is religion a thought-exercise for you? Or are you willing to bet your entire life over it?

Are you willing to die for your religion?

Are you willing to kill for it?

That is the question.

If you can’t answer “yes” to both questions, then religion is nothing more than a game for you.

You atheists — you who stand on the sideline mocking those who are challenged by their faith, what do you have to offer? If you are so certain that religion is a great disease, come, face us in mortal combat, and show me that you are not just playing word games.

Or be quiet while those of us who have bet our lives on it continue our holy crusade.

One thing that Christians often challenge my faith with: As you know, we latter-day saints believe in living prophets. My Christian friends ask me, “What if the prophet asks you to do something contrary to scriptures?” My polite response is, “That will never happen.” If pressed, I will explain that I’d follow a living prophet over a dead one. To drive this point home, I would ask them, “Suppose you were living in the time of Jesus, and he told you to do something you believed was contrary to the law found in the Bible. Would you do it?”

Trade Wars

April 7, 2018

It looks like China is trying to flex its muscles in the trade war with America. It’s not that the trade war is new, it’s just now being recognized for what it is.

Trade Wars are what you do before you start shooting each other. It’s what happens when two countries don’t like each other and the direction they are going but they can’t find a good excuse to blow each other up yet. Trade Wars end up with one country giving up and acquiescing to the other, or open warfare.

The US policy for a very long time now has been to import as much as possible, all the time, with no or little tariffs. The reason was simple: We needed other countries to be strong to combat the Communist threat that the USSR and China and other countries posed. After the collapse of the USSR, and the liberalization of the Chinese economy, and the complete evaporation of the Communist threat in the world, it no longer makes sense to give foreign countries an advantage in trade. In fact, we don’t really care what the rest of the world has anymore, as we have everything we need in our own borders.

True, it can be argued that limiting trade only hurts those who do the limiting, but none of the other countries in the world know how to take advantage of this.  Well, Bermuda, maybe. And Singapore. Is the US going to engage in a trade war with them? There is no reason to — they already respect our trading rights in exchange for our protection.

There’s only two things a country can do in a trade war:

  • Limit exports, which is basically declaring that you lost the trade war and feel mad about it.
  • Limit imports, which forces the other country to move their manufacturing to within your borders.

Trump is choosing to do the latter with tariffs. China can’t do it, since no one wants to move their investments inside China.

This trade war was lost by China the moment Trump decided to fight it.

The only reasonable resolution is going to be the following:

  • China forces North Korea to give up all their nukes.
  • China obeys international law regarding trade secrets.
  • China does pretty much whatever the US asks of it from now on, no questions asked.
  • China allows foreign investment, honest foreign investment, meaning, they go full capitalist.
  • China no longer puts a tariff on anything made in the USA.
  • The USA has no tariffs on Chinese exports either, as long as they keep all of the above.

In short, China will become yet another vassal in the American empire.

With China under control by the US, the number of countries not under America’s thumb will be countable on one hand.

America is what you get when you have a trade republic with actual resources behind it. No country has ever defeated a trade republic without taking its land first.

Deploying Troops to the Border

April 7, 2018

President Trump has asked governors to send their national guard to the southern border to secure it. Two governors refused to comply — Montana and Oregon. While President Trump isn’t exercising his authority to call up the National Guard and assume direct command over them (which he is entitled to do under the constitution — any militia, really, can be called up by him in times of war), this is still a stupid move on the part of the two governors.

The border is lawless. In a healthy relationship, both countries would see to it that that border is crime-free and safe for citizens of both countries. If one country fails to secure their side of the border, then the other country has the moral right to secure it for them. They can invade and control the area across the border if it has fallen out of control of the government.

If we did decide to go that route — and we could, indeed, any of the border states could send their troops into Mexico at any time under this justification — then we would secure the area until such a time as the government of Mexico is able to secure it themselves or indefinitely, thus annexing the region. While our troops are down there, they would do whatever it takes to eliminate the threat to America.

Securing our border is a primary role of the federal government. Tracking who is and is not allowed in our country is also exclusively their domain. For most of my life, I’ve lived under a federal government that didn’t care too much about who is able to come and go. Reagan famously agreed to an amnesty. Since then, it has gotten worse. President George W. Bush announced “catch and release”.

Thankfully, President Trump has rescinded that policy, and now we have a “zero-tolerance” policy towards illegal immigration.

Next stop: Retroactively ending anchor babies. If you’re here illegally, or here on a visa, and you have a baby, that baby is not an American citizen. Just because you happen to be on American soil doesn’t make your baby American.

The truth is that America is not, and hasn’t been, pro-immigrant, not for a long time. We may have tolerated immigration, but I can’t find many people who like it.

Immigration is a fundamentally unsound idea. The whole concept of it is an insult to basic moral ethics. If you’re born in a country, you have a duty to secure that country for yourself and your neighbors and your posterity, just for the fact that that is the place where you were born. To betray your citizenship and your loyalty and the fundamental duty you have towards them, and become a member of a different country, how is that different than being a double-agent? Such people are not loyal to anything, and don’t deserve to be recognized as fellow-citizens by anyone.

Leaving your country behind and working in the United States may make economic sense for yourself, but it also betrays your country’s economic future. When we rob the world of all the bright, motivated, capable people, and leave the rest behind, we are injuring the world, and the people who leave their country behind rather than try to fix it are doing the same.

One thing the Alt-Right preaches, and a thing I agree with, is that you are more likely to form bonds of mutual protection with people who are like you, who speak your language, who share your culture, history and heritage, who look like you. The world is a rough place, and leaving your homeland to live in some place foreign just makes it tougher. This bond of mutual protection is the sort of stuff that makes a nation. When no one is loyal to another, you are living in a state of fear and war.

I dream of a world where immigration doesn’t exist anymore, where people stay home, make their own country great again. Yes, we may visit each other, and trade, but for the most part, we’ll spend our lives with people like us that we care about and who we will protect with our lives, rather than stranded in a foreign land and foreign culture.