When an animal who has been a literal part of your family dies, a part of you dies with him or her. The grieving process is largely the same for an animal as it is for a human: denial, bargaining, anger and acceptance. These four stages accompany the most difficult fact of life that we mortals have to deal with: the fact of death. The body is finite and mortal. It breathes, digests food, sees, hears, engages in physical activity and after a certain period of time, one of those seeds of death we have embedded in our DNA will subtly sprout up. We won’t notice it. Even the organism in question won’t really notice it, until it’s sapped every ounce of his/ her energy and they begin to wait for death. My personal belief, which is not shared by the leadership of the Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod, is that animals have souls. Animals have souls and they even have the power to send their people in this world a new pet to love. I took a walk today and I saw a ghostly leash being tugged by that ghostly beagle. If God doesn’t forget about the sparrows, in no way will He forget about a good, loving and loyal dog such as the one my mother owned and that I helped to take care of. Buddy lives, just in a different way. His mortal body may be ashes, but he still has a little napping place in my heart.
It’s not easy being history’s supervillain. In fact, in recent years, suicide rates have spiked among white men between the ages of 35 and 65 https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/reading-between-the-headlines/201305/white-middle-age-suicide-in-america-skyrockets . This is going to be a composition that will include our people’s history in Europe, our lines of descent and how we got to the place where we are today. It all started 45, 000 years ago, as the last ice sheets were receding and hunter- gatherers spread throughout Europe. These indigenous hunters were of swarthy complexion and many were blue eyed, as well. Around 7,000 years ago, there was a movement of people from the Middle East, who introduced farming into Europe and were apparently of fair complexion. At last, from the steppes of Siberia, came ( to borrow a phrase from Mr. George R.R. Martin) horselords who effectively conquered Europe and introduced a patrilineal society around 4,000 years ago, with the help of domesticated animals ( such as the horse) https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-29213892 , https://www.thelocal.de/20140918/study-reveals-migrant-makeup-of-europeans , https://www.thoughtco.com/ancient-societies-central-asian-steppe-172847 , https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3569545/The-founding-fathers-Europe-DNA-reveals-Europeans-related-group-lived-Belgium-35-000-years-ago.html. Since that time, Europeans have shot up to become some of the most successful international players in history. European males have spread the ideals of Christianity, patriarchy, honor, community and individuality all over the globe, with the Age of Discovery followed by the Age of Reason, freedom of religion, thought, expression and creativity has gone to levels unmatched by any nation in the history of the world https://www.britannica.com/topic/European-exploration/The-Age-of-Discovery, http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Age_of_Enlightenment, https://www.gresham.ac.uk/series/the-rise-and-fall-of-european-empires-from-the-16th-to-the-20th-century/. What happened? Well, in relatively recent years, it has pleased contemporary society to cast the young to middle- aged white male into the role of history’s supervillain. I fact, I would posit that those who accuse white males of a history of suppression would themselves suppress the freedom of expression that white males have encouraged for so long. In recent years, white people in general and white men in particular have been targets of directed malice from pressure groups who demand that they change their very nature from a dominant group to one subservient to everybody else. We are the last group in the world that is actively encouraged by society to hate itself and that self- hatred runs deep https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2017/07/02/defense-white-male/Me9UoUrcPbcljxRkPFlXAP/story.html, https://thedailycoin.org/2019/02/20/self-hating-whites-2/, http://www.westernspring.co.uk/the-mental-disorder-of-white-self-hatred/. The role that the white male is used to playing, that of the explorer, the defender of Western Values, the provider and the protector, has been taken from him and he is told that ” it’s his own fault” https://www.louderwithcrowder.com/14315-2/. It’s that evil patriarchy again! Here is a video I want you to watch and I want you to see it without hating yourself for your reaction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90XLNQXN_74. It’s funny. The natural reaction is to laugh. Of course, once we do that, once we do that, then it is implied that we are culpable for every racist act that has been performed by every racist white on the planet since the first hunter- gatherer looked askance at the first Middle Eastern settler around seven millenia ago https://www.huffingtonpost.com/wendi-aarons/theres-nothing-funny-about-your-racist-joke_b_7656212.html. Here are some more suicide statistics: https://afsp.org/about-suicide/suicide-statistics/, https://www.bcmj.org/articles/silent-epidemic-male-suicide. It seems that the only demographic who should apologize for daring to exist is that of the young to middle aged white male. Why is that? In this world of multiculturalism, is there no longer any room for what used to be the largest and most productive demographic? Why can’t we laugh? Why are we singled out for daring to react in a way that would seem totally natural if anybody else were to do it? One could, of course, answer that our unique history gives us all a collective culpability in our reactions. That is a coldly analytic view of a spontaneous laugh at something intended to be a joke. Maybe we can be allowed to chuckle without writing a thesis justifying our reaction to the rest of the world? If we are going to have any kind of productive dialogue with people who are conditioned from birth to hate us simply because we exist, then we need to face the fact that we’re struggling with a poison of self- hatred that has been insistently and consistently inflicted on us. If we so easily hate ourselves, how much more easily, do you think, it will be for us to hate others? If our own humanity is debased in our own eyes, how much easier would it be to project that debasement onto others? I think this might be a good opening point of a serious conversation. All is not lost, of course. We can educate ourselves and each other, not only about a past that we can be ashamed of, but also one that we can take pride in. We can also learn from the mistakes of the past and actively seek to avoid such mistakes in the future. We can also develop those lessons and improve ourselves as we learn more about who we are and how we relate to the general human family.
This Principle, written by W. Cleon Skousen in his The 5000 Year Leap: A Miracle that Changed the World ( pp. 217- 221) explores how the English people gradually came upon the realization that entrusting one’s rights to tradition was insufficient, especially in the wake of the Norman Conquest and in the rise of the notion of the Divine Right of Kings ( Skousen, W. Cleon. ” The 5000 Year Leap,” pp. 217-18). The Anglo- Norman nobility, of course, was the first group to directly demand certain protections and concessions from their King John, in 1215. Under some certain duress, King John signed into law the Magna Carta and ” in that same century, the ‘ Model Parliament’ came into being, which compelled the King to acknowledge the principle of no taxation withut representation” ( p.218). In truth, these were some very important concessions that the later Colonial Americans built on as they took it into their heads to make sure that their rights were detailed and guaranteed in writing, beginning with the Mayflower Compact, written and ratified in 1620 and continuing on through the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut in 1639 ( p.218). The Mayflower Compact was a conventional British document that acknowledged their reigning King James I as their proper Sovereign, but then went to declare that they would form their own political body, pass their own laws and work for the betterment of their colony and the ” advancement of the Christian faith” ( http://mayflowerhistory.com/mayflower-compact). It was an acknowledgement that these people were in a new place and they would fashion their own laws as their circumstances dictated. Their primary interest was centered around their own colony and not the government in Westminster. The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, written in 1639 ” had none of the conventional references to a ‘ dread Sovereign,’ or a ‘ gracious King,’ nor the slightest allusion to the British or any other government outside of Connecticut itself… The government of the United States today is in lineal descent more nearly related to that of Connecticut than to that of any of the other thirteen colonies” ( p. 219). This was actually the first written constitution that established an independent government and from which the freedoms we enjoy as Americans today were derived ( p. 219). When we as Americans tried to follow the British example of reliance on tradition and some loosely- connected written legal codes to establish our own rights, the British not only dismissed us, but their parliament ( and King) regarded our protests as treason and they acted accordingly. Our Founders were doubtlessly advancing their own self- interests, but that finally translated into a code, a Bill of Rights that was amended to our Constitution in 1791 that applies to all citizens, regardless of social status ( https://billofrightsinstitute.org/founding-documents/bill-of-rights/). Time and experience teaches us that the rights we enjoy as American citizens today are best safeguarded by a written guarantee and are best expressed as a result of the labors of many cooperating people rather than the expression of a single author ( pp. 220- 21). Our written guarantee is our Constitution, which provides for checks and balances, separation of powers and outlines what the rights and duties are for our branches of government as well as what our rights and liberties are as individual Americans ( https://usconstitution.net/const.html). There are some people today who enjoy these liberties just as much as everybody else, but they believe that the Constitution should be a ” Living Constitution” that should be altered to suit their own agendas, which are usually to curtail individual rights and to expand the rights of the State. The weaknesses of this approach is more thoroughly explored here: https://www.law.uchicago.edu/news/living-constitution. We are at our best when we live by the laws that our forefathers set up in writing without trying to brush off 243 years of the collective wisdom and precedents that have resulted in the creation of the freest society on Planet Earth and by God’s grace, we will certainly remain so without unnecessary interference by those who want to undermine the American way of life.
As 2018 sputters to a halt and the dawn of 2019 appears on the horizon, I am minded of many hopes and dreams that I have invested in the coming year. This year has been one of awakening and as a result, it’s been a year of wild discontent. What do my hopes and dreams for 2019 include? #1: Financial Security- I need a job ( a career, really) that will allow me to pay my bills and make my own way in this world. My current job as a retail associate is not only unsatisfying, but after four years of hard work and zero opportunities for advancement, it’s been emotionally heartbreaking and psychologically deadening. I need to go out and live on my own again. #2: Social Life- I love my church and my coworkers are generally pleasant to work with, but every time the day ends, I go home to my green room full of books and walls that have icons on the wall. That is all very well, but it increases the loneliness factor. Few coworkers advance in grade to that of friends and that may be expected, but disappointing. I need to get into a situation where I’m with people who want to socialize with me and who are not forced to just so they can get a paycheck. #3: Romantic Involvement- See social life. I’ve been single for far too long and my eyes might alight on inappropriate situations for a man of my age and experience. Loneliness can greatly cloud and obscure one’s better judgment. I’m sick of being alone, but I won’t settle for another toxic relationship that will end in a period between three months and seven years. #4: Travel- I would like to travel to New York or Boston sometime this year. Most of my travels heretofore have been confined to the South and I am a little curious about what the food and culture of the North is like. #5: Weight Loss- I intend to embark on an exercise regimen that will allow me to lose weight and perhaps develop needed confidence to work for all those things I’ve mentioned earlier. #6: Inner Peace- The turmoil that has built up in me since 2014 has got to go. I’m going to continue in therapy and perhaps increase my meditation. I’ll start expecting more from myself and less from others. These are all realistic goals. I will have to work to achieve them, but I’m willing to do the work. When 2020 comes around, I hope to be a bit more evolved in my thinking and assertive in my attitude.
KindleKindle E-Reader This essay will cover Mr. W. Cleon Skousen’s seventeenth principle as outlined in his book, The 5, 000 Year Leap: A Miracle that Changed the World ( pp. 205- 215). While James Madison and the other framers of the Constitution agreed that the powers of the government should be divided three ways ( Executive, Legislative and Judicial), they also intended that each division should have a system of checks and balances put in place to curb the powers of the other two divisions ( pp. 205- 07). These limitations that each branch of government would impose on the other two branches would function as a guarantee that no one branch would be able to interfere with the proper functions of the other two branches. When the system of checks and balances are actively enforced, this will mean that each branch will be able to perform its specified function while leaving the other two branches free to do toe same. When checks and balances are not actively enforced, then the chain of command is disrupted and the effectiveness of all three branches are weakened ( pp. 207- 08). The failure of our government in recent years to respect the checks and balances provided by the Constitution has seen the steady erosion of not only the functions of government, but also the confidence of the people in that government ( which is actually meant to answer to them). We see the President pass ” Executive Orders” and the Judiciary bypassing Congress altogether in their eagerness to legislate their own laws, thus rendering Congress ( our supposed ” Legislative” Branch) to be little more than puppets of the Executive and Judicial branches, with little say of their own ( 210). Ultimately, all power is derived from the consent of the people, which is why we send elected officials to Washington, D. C. in the first place. The House of Representatives and the United States Senate serve as the representatives of the people who elected them to their offices and they check each other in the introduction and ratification of laws. The Executive and the Legislature supposedly check each other with built in checks that prevent undue interference of one branch into the other ( pp. 211- 12). The Supreme Court, our Judiciary Branch, has its own system of checks and balances put in place. I would call it the not inconsiderable ” power of review,” to method through which they determine whether or not the laws they are being asked to confirm are actually in accord with the Constitution or not. The Judiciary itself is checked by the Congressional right to remove from office those Justices suspected of abusing their powers and the right to limit the extent of the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. The President, on his part, may appoint certain qualified Justices to the Supreme Court ( 212- 13). When the government realizes that its checks and balances have been neglected, there is a provision in the United States Constitution for a peaceful transfer of power to those who would be more diligent in protecting our constitutional government from violations that grow ever more flagrant the longer that damaging issues remain unaddressed. President Nixon was impeached and his cronies charged and in many instances imprisoned because they violated their mandates and sought power that was beyond their Constitutional scope ( 214- 15). To conclude, it’s rather obvious that the government we have now is in serious need of reexamination and overhaul. The decline began during the Clinton administration and has continued at an accelerating pace since. The Constitution of the United States of America is still the Supreme Law of the Land and in that rests our hope for federal reformation and renewal.
I’ll start with our underemployment and unemployment problem, which seems to serve as a gateway to the rest of our issues as a nation
The United States of America is a fragmented society and I think this is by design. As a nation, we have been threatened before and we have persevered and survived those threats. Usually, we have been strengthened in the process. Since our involvement and defeat in Vietnam in the sixties and early seventies, it seems like our collective national pride has taken a beating both at home and abroad. Why is this? The fact that our leaders keep telling us we’re losers and that we’re incapable of thinking for ourselves may be one reason for our noted lack of national self- esteem. Our media keeps talking about the sins of the past and we’re overloaded with a sense of collective guilt might be another. Division is another distraction. Once, it was emphasized that we were all Americans together and that we were to work toward a common destiny. What changed? Our celebration of diversity in the United States has become a cult of divisiveness. Large groups of people have been compartmentalized into separate groups who care largely about the welfare of the group and not so much for the well being of other groups who also have a part in our American tapestry. This results in open hostility and violence. Group is pitted against group and the only group that seems to benefit from this is the group that has encouraged the divisiveness in the first place. Remember those fearless leaders who have no respect for anyone outside of their immediate circle and who profit from the fear and anger of others? Look to the rot in the upper class and see the matrix from which infighting among the lower class was formed. We can vote and vote again for our own interests as a people, but that does little good when the ballots are tampered with. Our Colonial ancestors took on the most powerful army in the world at the time and they won independence. It required sacrifice. It required discipline and it required help. We seek as a society the gratification of our own immediate appetites and when those appetites aren’t fed, we are given issue after issue to chew on. We then turn on people who don’t look like us and we brawl with them, as our fearless leaders ( why fear when you’re surrounded by armed guards?) encourage us to do. Rome fell to the Goths because the Empire was rotten all the way through. The final Caesar was a boy who was simply shipped into a quiet retirement while the Germanic overlords began arrangements that would later coalesce into the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. The British Empire fell the first time because the higher class colonists declared themselves exploited and persuaded the lower class to fight for them. The Second British Empire fell because its subject peoples were ready to govern themselves rather than to lie prostrate to acts of a Parliament that existed halfway around the world. Infighting is almost an iron- clad guarantee that a nation will lose its cohesion and fall apart, leaving it open to invasion and conquest. Our society has never been so split among groups as it is tonight. If we fall, it will be because we as a people have lost the will to govern ourselves. If we survive, it will be because we chose to stand together as a people and cut the rot out of our society. We still have allies, just as our ancestors did in the French during the Revolution. The question is, can we muster up the discipline we need as a people to suspend hostilities and focus on dealing with the real problem our country is facing?
That being said, we may take comfort in the fact that today, there is a movement of people who are trying to return us to the Constitutional Republican principles that our forefathers and those who represented them sought to establish in the eighteenth century.
Introduction W. Cleon Skousen’s ” The 5000 Year Leap” is a wonderful book that provides 28 principles related to the rights,freedoms and responsibilities of the individual and that individual’s government as expounded by our ( American) Founding Fathers. This treatise will explore Principle 9 ( Skousen, W. Cleon. ” The 5000 Year Leap,” pp. 131- 139). The Principle under discussion The Ninth Principle explores the safeguarding of our rights. God has revealed to us certain principles of Law through the agency of the Ten Commandments ( pp.131-2). In a nutshell, these commandments include serving and worshipping God alone, honoring our neighbor, respecting our neighbors’ situation, honoring our parents and setting aside a day of rest, worship and recommitment to the observance of the Divine Law ( pp. 132-33). Our rights and responsibilities The rights we enjoy are safeguarded by the duties that God has enjoined on each one of us to follow, both public duties and private ones. Public duties are enforceable by the State and the States’ law enforcement. When these duties are ignored, these entities are empowered to impose penalties on the transgressor to both deter future transgressions and to discourage the general public from ignoring their own responsibilities ( 133-4). Private duties are ” principles of private morality” that exist between an individual and his or her Creator. They would bolster and encourage their performance of their public duties and yet only the individual may meet those duties through self- discipline ( 133). Anglo- Saxon and Israelite precedents The Israelites and the Anglo- Saxons both personalized public transgressions through the possibility of repayment ( the Anglo- Saxons would have called this ” wergild,” or financial compensation for the harm done by one person to another). For the Anglo- Saxons, a fixed financial penalty would be incurred for an injury or death. The Israelites would impose repayment in kind for financial loss ( deliberate murder would be punished in Israel by execution of the offender). The Israelites and Anglo- Saxons both held God’s Law to be immutable. Any kinds of laws that they would pass would be in accordance either with the ancient body of ancestral laws ( also held as unchangeable) or the Law as revealed in the Ten Commandments. Reparations, of course, were a legal and private matter between the offended, the offender and law- enforcement. Reparations by the state ( tax- payers paying compensation for the crimes of others) would be an encouragement rather than a deterrence to crime, as a thief could blithely tell his or her target that the government would restore the stolen property in terms of cash value anyway ( 136-37). These are basic, simple Laws of Nature and Nature’s God that are rewarded in their simple observance. All laws that are valid are laws that are built upon the basic cornerstones of revealed Law and reason. When people look to their own duties, they find their rights being reinforced as well as protected through the observance of those duties. Safeguards for individual freedoms On the final page of this particular chapter, we see how the State can abuse the freedom of the individual by passing oppressive laws to enrich the few and to keep the many in want. Our Founding Fathers had the wisdom to see that sovereign authority needed to be taken out of the hands of the oligarchs and into the hands of the people. Only then are we assured that our ancient rights would be protected by those who could easily be in be a position to abuse their power ( 138). We surely do have rights that are tempered by responsibilities to ourselves, our neighbors and our God. We must not have an unbalanced view that will put rights over responsibilities ( that leads to a breakdown in social institutions and restraints on unlawful behavior), or responsibilities over rights ( that will lead to State tyranny and public persecution). Our view ought to be a balanced one that sees our rights and responsibilities supporting each other. In this way, perhaps we can return to working on realizing our Founders’ vision of this land as a ” city on a hill” and a ” light to the nations.”
” All men are created equal” is a nice sentiment, but unrealistic. Some men and women are simply more successful in a society that provides an even playing field for all its members. Others are born under more disadvantaged circumstances and so have less opportunities available for them to succeed. In the Sixth Principle discussed in Skousen’s book, ” The 5000 Year Leap” ( pp. 103-12), the idea that ” all men are created equal” is discussed. The conclusion is that all men are not created equal, but they can be treated equally in three ways: in the sight of God, under the law and in the protection of their rights ( 103). In God’s eyes, we are all His children, but we all have our distinctions, both individually and in the groups to which we happen to belong. As human beings, however, we stand before the Lord on an equal basis ( 104). In the eyes of society, we stand on an equal basis in two ways: 1: We are all equal and entitled to the same treatment under the law. If somebody commits a crime, the millionaire will suffer the same penalty as the vagrant. 2: We are all equal and entitled to life and God given liberties on an equal basis with one another ( 104). What are these rights we hold so dear? The right to compete for a job, to begin with. We also have the right to demand justice in a court of law, the right to an education, the right to vote for our favored candidate for a political office, the right to freedom of religious faith and practice, the right to buy or rent a house, the right to enjoy freedom of speech, the right to free assembly, the right to purchase goods in the market place, the right to express your views on a public forum, the right to accumulate wealth, the right to pay your fair share of taxes, the right to freedom of the press and the right to bequeath your legacy to your heirs ( 105). Ideally, these rights would be freely available to everybody, but in the United States of America ( where the majority of people descend from immigrants), there are minority populations who have been socially disadvantaged, with tragic results. Historically, our Colonial families had generally tended to be at a disadvantage! Whether one descended from an English indentured servant, a Scottish rebel, a German religious dissenter, a French refugee, or an Irish dissident, one was generally treated very harshly by the privileged in society. Very few families came over as wealthy landowners who used servants.. far more were the servants being used ( 107). By the mid- nineteenth century, these differences had faded to the point that the descendants of these disadvantaged colonists had generally tended to mingle together as assimilated Americans. They would then greet new migrants who would eventually become assimilated Americans as well ( 107). Migrants from Asia, particularly the Chinese and Japanese ( but also the Koreans and Vietnamese), faced vicious brutality in the early to mid twentieth century. Even so, these newcomers were intent on joining American society. Despite the fact that these Japanese- Americans were put into concentration camps during World War II, they sent legions of volunteers to fight on the American side in that same war. Japanese- American regiments were among the most decorated during the Second World War ( 107-8). The assimilation of Asians into the American tapestry has become an established fact. Blacks, or African- Americans, on the other hand, have faced the greatest number of challenges in their efforts to assimilate into American life. This has bred some exceptionally severe consequences, especially for the blacks.. One thing that this group does have going for it is that through education and freedom, hope dawned in these people inside three generations. They hurdled the ” culture gap” and soon enjoyed a higher standard of living in the United States than blacks had in other parts of the world ( 108). What is this culture gap that cultural minorities need to hurdle? Well, in short it means assimilating into mainstream American society. Learning English and using a local American accent when speaking it is one example. Moving out of ethnic neighborhoods into general suburbia is another, as is attaining a viable level of education, becoming economically independent and being seen as a social asset ( 106-7). Government social programs that were meant to benefit blacks and other social minorities such as Native Americans, proved ” debilitating and corrupting” ( 109). As a result, the black community was infiltrated by Marxist agitators in the mid 1960s who advocated violence to initiate social change. The riots and chaos that resulted, however, proved more damaging to the black community itself than it did to the majority they meant to target ( 109-10). A former Marxist named Eldridge Cleaver rose high in the Black panther movement until he was wounded during a race riot and then fled the United States for Cuba around 1968 and wandered around with his wife for eight years, seeing the blight Communism brought on the world and later returning to the United States with a grateful appreciation of the opportunities afforded to black folk there that they wouldn’t be able to find in other parts of the world. He paid his debt to society and used his experience to educate others ( 110-11). After the American Constitution was ratified in 1789, four amendments were made to protect the rights of everybody, including minorities. The Thirteenth Amendment guaranteed universal freedom. The Fourteenth Amendment guaranteed universal rights to all citizens. The Fifteenth and Nineteenth Amendments guaranteed universal voting rights to all citizens, regardless of sex, race or color. Equal rights, however, does not mean that people are born with equal ability and in fact, inequality of station is a by- product of liberty. Some will always have more know how than others and some will be less intelligent ( individually) than others, for example. The rights we enjoy as Americans, however, are to be enjoyed with guaranteed equality, so maybe we can appreciate a little bit more the things we do have ( 112).