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This Month's Scripture Verse:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
2 Timothy 3:1-5


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For October 26, 2016

Oct 19

To Roger Scruton and his blogpost which pits Classical music against Avant-Garde music. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative blog.

Unfortunately, this article speaks in an authoritarian manner telling us that the only music worth listening to is that which strives for order and beauty. Thus, the only music worth listening to, according to the writer of this article, is that music that expresses the ideal. And so we have an exclusive-or choice between modern Avant-Garde and what is considered to be classical music. Twelve tone music is thus condemned because it fits outside the boundaries set by classical music and the use of music to express the ideal.

However, without having to throw out classical, which to my knowledge is done by no one, we should note that music is not just for expressing the what we regard as what is beautiful and the ideal, but to express reality as it appears in all of its ways. And this is really the basic rub here. Is music to be limited to painting  beautiful pictures with sound or is music there to help us communicate what all of life is about.

That we do not have to choose both approaches to music is demonstrated by many musicians, but I will pick one in particular. Dave Brubeck incorporated many musical forms in his writing and performing. And this included forms from all sorts of Jazz to Bach to religious music to 12 tone. And which ones were used in any particular piece depended on what Brubeck wanted the piece to express. And here we should note that he felt that music should express the gamut of emotions.

Thus, the real conflict here is between the ideal and reality, between authoritarianism and freedom. The authoritarian view tells us that the choice of music we have before us should be limited to only that which expresses beauty. The choosing to be free says that music should fit the message it is trying to communicate whether that message is one about beauty or one about the realities of life. So we see that even in music, those who are authoritarian are always fighting against freedom.


Oct 22

To Joe Carter and his use of the Love Gov film series to discourage any government oversight into a nation’s economy and to promote free market economies in his blogpost. This appeared in the Acton Blog.

Free market economies do not promote charity, selflessness, and kindness. Such a claim is nothing more than a sales line. What a free market economy does is to promote elite-centered rule and independence. Free market economies promote elite-centered rule because such economies provide the fewest obstacles for the consolidation of wealth. And where we have the consolidation of wealth, we have the consolidation of power. And such economies tell those at the top that their business operations are to be free the demands of any government including those governments that are working democracies. That is another way of saying that business owners are more and more free from their social responsibilities. And in every nation whose government is a working democracy, then a free market economy tells the business owners that their business is free from the demands made on them by the people represented by their government.

We should note that human flourishing uses as a bottom-line measurement by at least some who promote free market economies. For their claim is that free market economies remove the most people from abject poverty. But there are three problems with the claim. First, the standard of living that exists above the abject poverty level is still a poverty level of living especially depending on where one lives. Second, what produced the jobs for people from those nations that saw the greatest reduction in abject poverty was the removal of jobs from people from other nations. And the motive for the moving of those jobs was to benefit the investors who owned the businesses rather than to benefit the people in the nation that would receive the jobs. In the meantime, many who lost those jobs now flood the job market for certain skills and that keeps the wages for those jobs down because of the law of supply and demand. And third, many of the jobs in nations where people are escaping abject poverty are set in sweatshop conditions. In addition, in the two nations where the most people have been removed from abject poverty, slavery is either stagnant or increasing.

Free market economies are investor-oriented economies with less and less government oversight over the markets. Thus investors, even foreign investors, will have more to say about any nation's economy where the economy is a free market economy than the people of that nation will. Thus, the drive for free market economies are establishing a new governmental organization that lies outside of national boundaries and the reach of elected government officials, especially in those nations whose governments are working democracies. And here we should note that governments that are working democracies are not the kind of governments that are depicted in the film series above. Governments with working democracies are those that truly represent what their people want. The drive for free market economies is a drive for a new way for money to rule the world.

Recently, the US had to rescind laws that required the labeling of the origin of meat because the WTO, of which the US is a member, threatened serious economic sanctions if it didn't. And it did so because other nations were concerned that their businesses would lose money if the people in our nation knew from which nation the meat they were buying was. With the proposed TPP, corporations can sue governments for laws passed, but governments cannot sue those corporations. And those lawsuits would be heard in TPP tribunals that have no concern for any US law, even The Constitution. Thus, investors will have more say over laws protecting the environments or workers' rights and pay than the people of a given nations will. Other nations, such as Canada and Costa Rica, have felt the bite from these free market economies. We need to look at the whole package of what a free market economy offers while noting that the above film series does not depict the only alternative to a free market economy.


Oct 23

To Joseph Sunde and his blogpost that claims that flourishing occurs when we act authoritatively while making ourselves vulnerable. This appears in the Acton blog.

It seems that the current emphasis on always flourishing is just another prosperity gospel. We live in a fallen world that is an alien place for believers so that to think of flourishing as a natural state is to believe that this world can be our home. Such denies what the NT says. For how does what Jesus says about where we should lay up treasure impact our view of flourishing? The same goes for when the writer of the book of Hebrews tells us that we have no home on earth.

It isn't that we should not celebrate times when we do flourish. But we should also look at those times and examine plight of all the stakeholders involved including the environment to ensure that our flourishing isn't at least partially because of exploitation. When expecting to flourish, we should also note that infinite growth on a finite planet is impossible. And our world is telling us that perhaps we have been seeking flourishing a bit too much with the rising temperatures in the troposphere and the rising sea levels that have already been hurting people.

Again, this emphasis on forever flourishing is just another prosperity gospel. It uses flattery and visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads to appeal to us. But it denies the costs all of us must pay either now or later for how we have been flourishing today.


Oct 24

To Peter Lawler and his blogpost asking if we should venerate The Constitution. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative blog.

I don't know how we can determine whether we should venerate The Constitution without talking about the context in which the document was written. After all, it was written during a time of widespread dissent and soon after Shays Rebellion. As we observe from all of the Constitutional references to the Militia, one of the purposes of The Constitution was to strengthen the Federal Government so that it could better respond to insurrections. And when we look at Madison's view of one of the purposes of government, which is to 'protect the minority of the opulent against the majority' and that Senators were immune to public opinion by not just the length of their terms, but by being appointed rather than elected, we see the disdain that many of the framers of The Constitution had for direct democracy. We should also note that Federalists pejoratively referred to those with whom they disagreed with as belonging to 'factions.'

And many conservatives carry on that traditional disdain by equating democracy with 'mob rule,' as if the majority rule by elites (a.k.a., a republic) is more virtuous than majority rule by all the people. For if democracy is mob rule, then how can majority rule by elites be referred to in any other way than 'the mob rules'? Here we should note that The Constitution was written in an effort to maintain the status quo for the sake of domestic elites. And, as Federalists 10 pointed out, it is the union that is more important than the states. So how in the world can we see The Constitution as promoting limited government and states rights unless, from an apriori commitment, we perform eisegesis by reading it into the document?

Sure, if some want to put The Constitution on a pedestal and venerate it, they are free to do so. But all of us should remember that the higher that pedestal and the greater the veneration, the more we have the tyranny of tradition and thus a form of authoritarianism. This isn't to say that we should easily replace The Constitution by today's popular views. That would be the result of narcissism. It is to say that just as conservatives want government to be limited, so we should want the size of the pedestal on which we place The Constitution and its veneration to be limited as well. After all, we should remember that both The Constitution and the founding and expanding of our nation was racially based.

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