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The Law – Frederic Bastiat (Commentary Part II)

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A continuation of my previous commentary on – or just providing relevant parts of – The Law…
As with last entry, all hiliting and italics are mine. Comments in brackets [] are also mine.

Let us start this time with philanthropy. Forced that is…

“Here I am taking on the most popular prejudice of our time. It is not considered enough that law should be just, it must be philanthropic. It is not sufficient that it should guarantee to every citizen the free and inoffensive exercise of his faculties, applied to his physical, intellectual, and moral development; it is required to extend well-being, instruction, and morality, directly over the nation. This is the fascinating side of socialism. But, I repeat it, these two missions of the law contradict each other. We have to choose between them. A citizen cannot at the same time be free and not free [please leave aside the issue of Schrödinger’s cat – we are not in boxes]. Mr. de Lamartine wrote to me one day thus: “Your doctrine is only the half of my program; you have stopped at liberty, I go on to fraternity.” I answered him: “The second part of your program will destroy the first.” And in fact it is impossible for me to separate the word fraternity from the word voluntary. I cannot possibly conceive fraternity legally enforced, without liberty being legally destroyed, and justice legally trampled under foot. Legal plunder has two roots: one of them, as we have already seen, is in human greed; the other is in misconceived philanthropy.”

“Before I proceed, I think I ought to explain myself upon the word plunder. I do not take it, as it often is taken, in a vague, undefined, relative, or metaphorical sense. I use it in its scientific acceptation, and as expressing the opposite idea to property. When a portion of wealth passes out of the hands of him who has acquired it, without his consent, and without compensation, to him who has not created it, whether by force or by artifice, I say that property is violated, that plunder is perpetrated. I say that this is exactly what the law ought to repress always and everywhere. If the law itself performs the action it ought to repress, I say that plunder is still perpetrated, and even, in a social point of view, under aggravated circumstances. In this case, however, he who profits from the plunder is not responsible for it; it is the law, the lawgiver, society itself, and this is where the political danger lies.”

“…as a friend of mine once remarked to me, to say that the aim of the law is to cause justice to reign, is to use an expression that is not rigorously exact. It ought to be said, the aim of the law is to prevent injustice from reigning. In fact, it is not justice that has an existence of its own, it is injustice. The one results from the absence of the other.”

“You say, “There are men who have no money,” and you apply to the law. But the law is not a self-supplied fountain, whence every stream may obtain supplies independently of society. Nothing can enter the public treasury, in favor of one citizen or one class, but what other citizens and other classes have been forced to send to it.
What so many either forget or ignore (to primarily their benefit – if only to make them feel better and even superior … “look, we are providing for those in need”. That they are using other’s money without consent seems to be lost on them)…

“Socialism, like the old policy from which it emanates, confounds Government and society. And so, every time we object to a thing being done by Government, it [government or those socialists supporting such a government] concludes that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of education by the State— then we are against education altogether. We object to a State religion— then we would have no religion at all. We object to an equality which is brought about by the State then we are against equality, etc., etc. They might as well accuse us of wishing men not to eat, because we object to the cultivation of corn by the State.”

“Are political rights under discussion? Is a legislator to be chosen? Oh, then the people possess science by instinct: they are gifted with an admirable discernment; their will is always right; the general will cannot err. Suffrage cannot be too universal [I understand the socialists are now looking at 16 as the new voting age!]. Nobody is under any responsibility to society. The will and the capacity to choose well are taken for granted. Can the people be mistaken? Are we not living in an age of enlightenment? What! Are the people to be forever led about by the nose? Have they not acquired their rights at the cost of effort and sacrifice? Have they not given sufficient proof of intelligence and wisdom? Are they not arrived at maturity? Are they not in a state to judge for themselves? Do they not know their own interest? Is there a man or a class who would dare to claim the right of putting himself in the place of the people, of deciding and of acting for them? No, no; the people would be free, and they shall be so. They wish to conduct their own affairs, and they shall do so.”
“And if mankind is not competent to judge for itself, why do they [Democratic Socialists] talk so much about universal suffrage [the right to vote, especially in a political election]?”

I think the last paragraph, taken as a whole, very well explains the political oxymoron of the current socialist (read – Democrat) movement – as well as all such movements prior to it. People are completely capable of taking care of themselves – that is why we need government to do it for them – provide welfare, healthcare, Section VIII housing, etc. They have the intelligence and discernment to determine the best people to run the country – but we now have approximately ½ the population that can’t (won’t?) make enough money to pay the taxes used to run it, much less take care of themselves and their family. Hmmmmm. If you are as confused as I am, I am grateful to not be alone.

“…there is not a grievance in the nation for which the Government does not voluntarily make itself responsible. Is it any wonder that every failure threatens to cause a revolution? And what is the remedy proposed? To extend indefinitely the dominion of the law, i.e., the responsibility of Government. But if the Government undertakes to raise and to regulate wages, and is not able to do it; if it undertakes to assist all those who are in want, and is not able to do it; if it undertakes to provide work for every laborer, and is not able to do it; if it undertakes to offer to all who wish to borrow, easy credit, and is not able to do it; if, in words that we regret should have escaped the pen of Mr. de Lamartine, “the State considers that its mission is to enlighten, to develop, to enlarge, to strengthen, to spiritualize, and to sanctify the soul of the people”—if it fails in this, is it not obvious that after every disappointment, which, alas! is more than probable, there will be a no less inevitable revolution?”
“What is law? What ought it to be? What is its domain? What are its limits? Where, in fact, does the prerogative of the legislator stop? I have no hesitation in answering, Law is common force organized to prevent injustice—in short, Law is Justice. It is not true that the legislator has absolute power over our persons and property, since they pre-exist, and his work is only to secure them from injury. It is not true that the mission of the law is to regulate our consciences, our ideas, our will, our education, our sentiments, our works, our exchanges, our gifts, our enjoyments. Its mission is to prevent the rights of one from interfering with those of another, in any one of these things.
The law, then, is solely the organization of individual rights that existed before law.
“So far from being able to oppress the people, or to plunder their property, even for a philanthropic end, its mission is to protect the people, and to secure to them the possession of their property. It must not be said, either, that it may be philanthropic, so long as it abstains from all oppression; for this is a contradiction. The law cannot avoid acting upon our persons and property; if it does not secure them, then it violates them if it touches them.”
“Depart from this point, make the law religious, fraternal, equalizing, industrial, literary, or artistic, and you will be lost in vagueness and uncertainty; you will be upon unknown ground, in a forced Utopia, or, what is worse, in the midst of a multitude of contending Utopias, each striving to gain possession of the law, and to impose it upon you; for fraternity and philanthropy have no fixed limits, as justice has. Where will you stop? Where is the law to stop? One person, Mr. de Saint Cricq, will only extend his philanthropy to some of the industrial classes, and will require the law to slight the consumers in favor of the producers. Another, like Mr. Considerant, will take up the cause of the working classes, and claim for them by means of the law, at a fixed rate, clothing, lodging, food, and everything necessary for the support of life. A third, Mr. Louis Blanc, will say, and with reason, that this would be an incomplete fraternity, and that the law ought to provide them with tools of labor and education. A fourth will observe that such an arrangement still leaves room for inequality, and that the law ought to introduce into the most remote hamlets luxury, literature, and the arts. This is the high road to communism;
in other words, legislation will be—as it now is—the battlefield for everybody’s dreams and everybody’s covetousness.” [me thinks we also are there]
“Law is justice. And it would be very strange if it could properly be anything else! Is not justice right? Are not rights equal?”

To sum it up:
“God has implanted in mankind also all that is necessary to enable it to accomplish its destinies. There is a providential social physiology, as well as a providential human physiology. The social organs are constituted so as to enable them to develop harmoniously in the grand air of liberty.”

Man I wish I were that good. And he was only 49 years old!

Maybe each and every Politian should read, and heed, his essay in its entirety. More than once.
Oh, and maybe the Constitution of the United States along with it. More than once.

>>> The day is at a close, the night is drawing in and my cigar awaits – ’til next time…

The Law – Frederic Bastiat (A Commentary Part I)

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I’m back – we’ll see how long it lasts this time.

I am going to cheat again today by mostly quoting from Frederic Bastiat’s The Law (1850).
Needs to be said. Can’t say it better myself.
I would highly encourage all to read the entire essay. Much is said that I, by necessity of length, left out.
As well, I was forced to break this into two commentaries.
However, although it was written over 160 years ago, it is becoming significant to understand in today’s society. A society headed directly down the path he argues against.
All hiliting and italics are mine. Comments in brackets [] are also mine.

To begin with, a few definitions quite relevant and very important in the current state of politics and society.

“Man can only derive life and enjoyment from a perpetual search and appropriation; that is, from a perpetual application of his faculties to objects, or from labor. This is the origin of property.
“But also he may live and enjoy, by seizing and appropriating the productions of the faculties of his fellow men. This is the origin of plunder.”

“Now, labor being in itself a pain, and man being naturally inclined to avoid pain, it follows, and history proves it, that wherever plunder is less burdensome than labor, it prevails; and neither religion nor morality can, in this case, prevent it from prevailing. ‘It is in the nature of men to rise against the injustice of which they are the victims [even when, in much of the case today, it is perceived injustice and victimhood vice actual]. When, therefore, plunder is organized by law, for the profit of those who perpetrate it, all the plundered classes tend, either by peaceful or revolutionary means, to enter in some way into the manufacturing of laws. These classes, according to the degree of enlightenment at which they have arrived, may propose to themselves two very different ends, when they thus attempt the attainment of their political rights; either they may wish to put an end to lawful plunder, or they may desire to take part in it.
Woe to the nation where this latter thought prevails amongst the masses, at the moment when they, in their turn, seize upon the legislative power!’”

Should this take place – as it has in the past and we may be very close to it again – …
“It would be impossible, therefore, to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this—the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.
“In the first place, it would efface from everybody’s conscience the distinction between justice and injustice. No society can exist unless the laws are respected to a certain degree, but the safest way to make them respected is to make them respectable. When law and morality are in contradiction to each other, the citizen finds himself in the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense, or of losing his respect for the law—two evils of equal magnitude, between which it would be difficult to choose.
“It is so much in the nature of law to support justice that in the minds of the masses they are one and the same [unfortunately of late, that nature is going by the wayside]. There is in all of us a strong disposition to regard what is lawful as legitimate, so much so that many falsely derive all justice from law [hmmmmm, the current state of affairs given the proclivity in our society to shun religion (or any moral thought)]. It is sufficient, then, for the law to order and sanction plunder, that it may appear to many consciences just and sacred.”
“Is there any need to prove that this odious perversion of law is a perpetual source of hatred and discord, that it even tends to social disorganization? Look at the United States. There is no country in the world where the law is kept more within its proper domain—which is, to secure to everyone his liberty and his property. Therefore, there is no country in the world where social order appears to rest upon a more solid basis. Nevertheless, even in the United States, there are two questions, and only two, that from the beginning have endangered political order. And what are these two questions? That of slavery and that of tariffs; that is, precisely the only two questions in which, contrary to the general spirit of this republic, law has taken the character of a plunderer.”
Keep in mind this was from 1850 – are we not destroying this virtual utopia (his concept, not mine) in exactly the way he suggests it can be? We did rid ourselves of overt slavery. And tariffs can be debated. But the slip into plunder is increasing in speed and expanse. While I confess one political party is significantly worse than the other – regardless of party, few in Congress now can see past this idea of plunder for one pet project or another (mostly unconstitutional). One term we use today for plunder is “entitlement”.
“Mr. Montalembert, adopting the thought of a famous proclamation of Mr. Carlier, said, ‘We must make war against socialism.’ And by socialism, according to the definition of Mr. Charles Dupin, he meant plunder. But what plunder did he mean? For there are two sorts: extralegal and legal plunder. As to extralegal plunder, such as theft, or swindling, which is defined, foreseen, and punished by the penal code, I do not think it can be adorned by the name of socialism.”
Not so of legal plunder…
“But how is it to be distinguished [from legitimate function of government or the law]? Very easily. See whether the law takes from some persons that which belongs to them, to give to others what does not belong to them. See whether the law performs, for the profit of one citizen, and, to the injury of others, an act that this citizen cannot perform without committing a crime.”
Wow! Not sure you could get more specific than that. That (legal plunder) which, since this essay was written, and the US was esteemed, we have definitely committed. What government takes from us and gives to others would definitely land an individual in jail should he attempt on his own. Remember Robin Hood. May have had charity in his heart. But was still breaking the law. Yet our government gets away with it every day.
I have no doubt it would be to Bastiat’s utter dismay. Not to mention mine. And I hope yours.

So… How do we solve this travesty of “legal plunder”?
My wife told me recently that I was like Tim Allen (I presume she meant his recent character on TV) – that I come up with solutions (nobody listens of course, but I can sleep at night knowing I solved the problem). In this case, I don’t have to. Mr. Bastiat did it for me. Although it is a solution I’ve recommended several times regarding several issues. I’m certainly not as smart as he was – this was just another one of those not so obvious, obvious ones.
Mr. Bastiat’s answer?
Abolish this law without delay [or, in this case, the thousands of them at both our Federal and State levels]; it is not merely an iniquity [immorality]— it is a fertile source of iniquities, for it invites reprisals; and if you do not take care, the exceptional case will extend, multiply, and become systematic. No doubt the party benefited will exclaim loudly; he will assert his acquired rights [Rights? I think he is using this term very loosely]. He will say that the State is bound to protect and encourage his industry [personal and in general]; he will plead that it is a good thing for the State to be enriched, that it may spend the more, and thus shower down salaries upon the poor workmen. Take care not to listen to this sophistry [sham philosophy – per Plato himself – out for money and willing to say anything to win an argument. Sound familiar?], for it is just by the systematizing of these arguments that legal plunder becomes systematized.”
Will we take his advice? I believe not. We are like alcoholics or drug addicts. We must reach rock bottom first. Unfortunately, like Venezuela, this may not take as long as I was expecting.

“And this is what has taken place. The delusion of the day is to enrich all classes at the expense of each other; it is to generalize plunder under pretense of organizing it. Now, legal plunder may be exercised in an infinite multitude of ways. Hence come an infinite multitude of plans for organization; tariffs, protection, perquisites, gratuities, encouragements, progressive taxation, free public education, right to work, right to profit, right to wages, right to assistance, right to instruments of labor, gratuity of credit, etc., etc. [Wow! Did he hit it right on the head! Many of these definitely sound familiar in today’s society.] And it is all these plans, taken as a whole, with what they have in common, legal plunder, that takes the name of socialism. Now socialism, thus defined, and forming a doctrinal body, what other war would you make against it than a war of doctrine? You find this doctrine false, absurd, abominable. Refute it. This will be all the easier, the more false, absurd, and abominable it is. Above all, if you wish to be strong, begin by rooting out of your legislation every particle of socialism which may have crept into it—and this will be no light work.”
“And, in all sincerity, can anything more be required at the hands of the law? Can the law, whose necessary sanction is force, be reasonably employed upon anything beyond securing to everyone his right? I defy anyone to remove it from this circle without perverting it, and consequently turning force against right.”

I leave you tonight with what Bastiat states as the purpose of law, and to the reasoning he takes it, government.
“It is not because men have made laws, that personality, liberty, and property exist. On the contrary, it is because personality, liberty, and property exist beforehand, that men make laws. What, then, is law? As I have said elsewhere, it is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense. Nature, or rather God, has bestowed upon every one of us the right to defend his person, his liberty, and his property, since these are the three constituent or preserving elements of life; elements, each of which is rendered complete by the others, and that cannot be understood without them. For what are our faculties, but the extension of our personality? And what is property, but an extension of our faculties? If every man has the right of defending, even by force, his person, his liberty, and his property, a number of men have the right to combine together to extend, to organize a common force to provide regularly for this defense.”
That is the sole purpose of law. The sole purpose of government. We have of course bastardized it.
To the profit of some. To the plunder of others.

Next time: Philanthropy and fraternity and the law of plunder
>>> The day is at a close, the night is drawing in and my cigar awaits – ’til next time…

Niki was right!

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The “quote” from Nikita Khrushchev to the UN on September 29, 1959 is yet again circulating the web and e-mails. Aside from there being no evidence he actually said it, at least not directly (and the banging of his shoe is complete fabrication) I have no doubt the sentiment has always been there. Some reliable evidence suggests his quote was more indirect. In fact, I would suggest it was (and is still) their (Russians in this case) plan A. Plan B (a simultaneous action) being a slow, methodical (but more obvious) military takeover of the world. Plan B is not going quite as well as desired at the moment. Plan A? Well you decide…

For those that remember well all the pontifications about it at the time (no, I was not around!) and remember laughing at what he said… I bet you’re not laughing anymore! At least I HOPE not.

Here is the more reliable “quote” as circulated at the time (and since):

“We cannot expect the Americans to jump from capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving Americans small doses of socialism until they suddenly awake to find they have Communism.” – Soviet Leader Nikita Khrushchev, 1959

Personally I think Socialism is worse than Communism but that is for another time.

Now I’m not suggesting any particular politician (I’ll leave it to Nikita to call them “leaders”) were (are?) assisted by Russia. I’m just say’n…

Per the Oxford Dictionary of English, Socialism is: “A political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.” [bold, italics mine] A sub definition [ibid]: “Policy or practice based on the political and economic theory of socialism.” [again, bold, italics, underline mine].

Apparently Bernie Sanders believes we are there. And who am I to argue with a U.S. Senator (at least when they are right).

On the other hand, according to Mises Institute, “Sanders is wrong about the New Deal ‘putting people to work’ since their government-funded activity did nothing to create wealth or end the [D]expression. The Depression lasted until 1945. And the New Deal certainly isn’t ‘the foundation of the middle class’ which grew and thrived in the second half of the 19th century. However, when he classifies the New Deal programs that dominate US policy today as “socialist,” Sanders is absolutely correct.”

It always sounds good on paper, especially when the liberal media adds its two-cents. But it never actually works out that way.

The Mises Institute also states: “To get a sense of what has constituted socialism, historically speaking, it is a mistake to rely on Marxism as the benchmark. Marxism was just one type of socialism in the 19th century, and it failed to gain traction in western Europe. Part of this is because, by the mid-19th century, it was already becoming clear that the predictions of Marxism were wrong. The ownership of capital was not becoming more concentrated. It was becoming more diffuse. The working classes were not descending into a wretched proletariat in western Europe. They were experiencing gains in their standard of living.”

It was for a time also the case on “this side of the pond”; further research showing the application to the U.S. as well. However, we now ARE getting that more concentrated capital (although not to the extent Marx predicted – YET). But the concentration is being caused by the power brokers implementing SOCIALISM, no longer allowing for the diffusion created by CAPITALISM. Why? Well… interestingly enough:

“But socialism isn’t just about cash transfer payment. It’s largely about government regulation, which is where the New Deal was most revolutionary. As political scientist Theda Skocpol pointed out years ago in her research (most especially in her book Protecting Soldiers and Mothers) the US has had “welfare” going back to the 19th century. What was most different about the New Deal — other than its scale — was how it took a largely unregulated economic system and imposed a massive amount of new regulation on property owners in the form of laws related to wages, labor, prices, and more. Arguably, this sort of regulation is far more damaging than mere cash transfers since it directly impedes the creation of wealth before it can even be redistributed.” [ibid]

So, our current state of Socialism? Let’s take a look…
*Medicare, *Medicaid, *Social Security, *Healthcare (ACA as only the latest example), *Public schools funded by the Federal government, *Government college grants, scholarships, and loans, *FDA, *EPA, *HUD, *EBT/ Food stamps, *Minimum wage, *Unemployment insurance, *40-hour work week, *Deposit insurance, *Job programs, *etc. etc. etc. (actually this is just the short list – the VERY short list.)

Hey, what said we combine both redistribution AND massive regulation and see how many lives we can destroy.

Don’t get me wrong. People, from time to time need help. However, I think if we mention that to the “more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations [that] are registered in the U.S.” [according to the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS)], we might get the problem solved without government involvement (and might I add bureaucratic expense and interference?).

While I completely agree that government has its place, in the United States of America that place is supposedly (used to be) defined by the Constitution. Leaving aside the completely absurd argument that the Preamble defines the responsibilities of the Federal government (i.e., the results of suggesting “…in Order to form a more perfect Union, … promote the general Welfare….” defines ANYTHING the fed is allowed to do), the Constitution defines specific enumerated responsibilities (defined in Section 8 – the remainder primarily defining how it is to do them). Unfortunately, “…promote the general Welfare…”, while intended to explain the WHY of the Federal government vice the WHAT, apparently allows for anything and everything the Federal government wants to force upon us.

Welcome to Socialism. I think we are there. And a sad state of affairs to be sure…

>>> The day is at a close, the night is drawing in and my cigar awaits – ’til next time…

“In God We Trust” – Well, at least we used to

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I think I will have a few regrets, but hopefully only a few, when I finally depart this earth.
Of the, if not THE, greatest will be that my generation destroyed a country by our lust for power. This lust led us not only to a great country ruined, but also to convince a great majority of the Rising Generation to believe Socialism is not only ok, but should be honored and glorified. A belief that replaces God with the government (since we apparently no longer have trust in God – interesting for a country with “In God We Trust” on its currency…).

By dictionary definition, Socialism is “a system of society or group living in which there is no private property” or “a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned or controlled by the state” or “a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done”. I think a careful read of the last part of that sentence is telling – key on the word “unequal”. Communism is “distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done”. Sound like anywhere you know? It seems we are attempting to achieve, if not already having achieved, what the U.S.S.R. never could. Regardless, under any definition, it is the stealing from one to give to another. Stealing? Yes, when taxes are used to redistribute wealth from one segment of the population to another, vice to pay for services needed by all, it is stealing.

“From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs…” was popularized by Marx and Engels in The Manifesto of the Communist Party. This will never of course be achieved in this country because so many are convinced the “from each according to his ability” part is unnecessary. Why waste to energy. The State will take care of me. However, it creates a state where those that ARE willing to do what they are able are robbed of the fruits of their labor to provide for those not willing – regardless of ability.

There are numerous ways to categorize people in. For the sake of this commentary I will use these five. The Power Hungry. The I Want to Work But Can’t Find A Job. The Why Work, the Government Will Take Care of Me. The Working. The Employer (aka, Rich).
Here’s how the five play out:
The Power Hungry say, “vote for me and I’ll take care of you”.
Some say, “OK” and become the Why Work, the Government Will Take Care of Me.

The Power Hungry steal more money (in the form of increasing various taxes) from the Employer and the Working to pay for the Why Work, the Government Will Take Care of Me.
The Employer lays off some of the Working because he can’t afford them due to the decreased sales (since, due to higher taxes, the Working don’t have as much money to spend) and increased taxes on the Employer thereby creating more I Want to Work But Can’t Find A Job.
The Power Hungry say to the new I Want to Work But Can’t Find A Job, “vote for me and I’ll take care of you”.
Some of the new I Want to Work But Can’t Find A Job give up for lack of jobs and become Why Work, the Government Will Take Care of Me.

The Power Hungry steal more money (in the form of increasing various taxes) from the Employer and the Working to pay for the Why Work, the Government Will Take Care of Me.
The Employer lays off more Working because he can’t afford them (see above) thereby creating more I Want to Work But Can’t Find A Job.
The Power Hungry say to the new I Want to Work But Can’t Find A Job, “vote for me and I’ll take care of you”.
Some of the new I Want to Work But Can’t Find A Job give up for lack of jobs and become Why Work, the Government Will Take Care of Me.
Etc. Etc. Etc.
And around and around we go.

In the end, the Power Hungry (aka, government) control all and the rest are slaves of the system. Welcome to the New Dark Ages.

Regrets and apologies (oops, sounding like BO) to the Rising Generation.
Now that you know, you CAN turn it around. Unless you are already one of the…

>>> The day is at a close, the night is drawing in and my cigar awaits – ’til next time…

I’m Old Fashioned

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I’ve heard this song many times sung by the Dowden Sisters.
I realize I’m not THAT old but I believe I can relate.
I think I’m old fashioned.
Too bad “the fashions of men” are no longer.
“Progress” is not always a good thing.

The Old Fashioned Meeting
by Herbert Buffum

O how well I remember in the old-fashioned days,
When some old fashioned people had some old-fashioned ways;
In the old-fashioned meetings, as they tarried there
In the old-fashioned manner, how God answered their prayer.

Twas an old-fashioned meeting in an old-fashioned place,
Where some old-fashioned people had some old-fashioned grace;
As an old-fashioned sinner I began to pray,
And God heard me and saved me in the old-fashioned way.

There was singing, such singing of those old-fashioned airs!
There was power, such power in those old-fashioned prayers,
An old-fashioned conviction made the sinner pray,
And the Lord heard and saved him in the old-fashioned way.

Twas an old-fashioned meeting in an old-fashioned place,
Where some old-fashioned people had some old-fashioned grace;
As an old-fashioned sinner I began to pray,
And God heard me and saved me in the old-fashioned way.

If the Lord never changes, as the fashions of men,
If He’s always the same, why, He is old-fashioned then!

As an old-fashioned sinner saved thru old-time grace,
O I’m sure He will take me to an old-fashioned place.

Twas an old-fashioned meeting in an old-fashioned place,
Where some old-fashioned people had some old-fashioned grace;
As an old-fashioned sinner I began to pray,
And God heard me and saved me in the old-fashioned way.

Twas an old-fashioned meeting in an old-fashioned place,
Where some old-fashioned people had some old-fashioned grace;
As an old-fashioned sinner I began to pray,
And God heard me and saved me in the old-fashioned way.
And God heard me and saved me in the old-fashioned way.
And God heard me and saved me in the old-fashioned way.

>>> The day is at a close, the night is drawing in and my cigar awaits – ’til next time…

What of yourself is yours?

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I am sorry to say, but you have very little that is intrinsically yours. Your time, your talent and your thoughts are pretty much the extent of it. And it is what you DO with that time as well as those talents and thoughts that become everything else that is yours. You usually accomplish this by turning them into money with which you then purchase other things (goods or services).
To what should be a limited extent, living in society requires us to give up some of what is intrinsically ours for an individual and collective benefit. We expect (but have no specific right to) such things as protection – other than self defense (e.g., military, law enforcement, fire protection, etc), education (to a level that is of benefit to society – currently set at the secondary level), clean water, power, etc. Many of these things (depending on where you live) are provided by the State and/or local government. In order to pay for them we must pay taxes.
The question then becomes, how much of ourselves – what is intrinsically ours or what we turn that into – can society demand? To how much does it have the right? Most specifically, to how much does it have ANY right if that demand does not in turn provide direct benefit to us (such as what is listed above).
A professional photographer in NM is told she is breaking the law by not photographing the union of a same-sex couple. She refused to use her time and talent in that manner on religious grounds. She was told that it was discrimination and was compelled to do it. The Supreme Court ruled that Elaine Photography violated New Mexico’s Human Rights Act by refusing to photograph the same-sex ceremony. She was ordered to pay over $7,000 in legal fees.
In 2013 an Oregon baker, Sweet Cakes by Melissa, refused to use his time and talents make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple. Since Aaron Klein, co-owner, declined to provide a cake for a lesbian “wedding” they now face $135,000 in “damages” for the “emotional suffering” of the couple and are under a “gag order” denying them their 1st Amendment right to present their side of the story. The bakery closed its doors in Dec. 2013.
Other cases (and losses) include a Washington state florist and a Colorado cake artist who refused to do work for same-sex couples and a Kentucky T-shirt printer who declined to make shirts promoting a gay pride festival. All being forced by the state to use their time and talent with neither individual or collective benefit.
“Only unjust laws separate what people say from what they believe,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence.
Writing in Forbes, 8/28/2013, Josh Steimle states:
“If we want a level playing field with fairness and justice for all, let the law focus on crimes of violence, and let individuals use persuasion in all other matters. This means letting people get away with doing wrong, as long as they commit no act of outright aggression. Even if it is wrong for Elaine to discriminate, we must be tolerant of such behavior if we want to live in a free society with a thriving entrepreneurial base. Those who take joy in this case because the law has ruled in their favor may come to regret a future day when that precedent is used to rule against them. The better way is to not give government such power in the first place.”
Bottom line: Individuals should not be compelled to part with what is intrinsically theirs when that parting provides no specific benefit to them or the society in which they live as a WHOLE. And especially when that parting violates their Constitutional rights.
Of course, not to suggest the effects of the issue above are not of great significance, the major overreach of government at this time is the “Affordable Care Act”. The government forcing its citizens to purchase a specific product and at a specific minimum level. And telling the providers of the end-service (e.g., the medical professionals) they must accept payment as dictated by that service – thereby minimizing the value of their time and talents. In addition, it is a disregard for not only what is intrinsically an individuals – using it for something that is no benefit to them individually (since virtually all already had what they wanted/needed) – but, often times, going against their 1st Amendment rights as well as using the fruits of their time and talent solely for the benefit of others.
Keep in mind, from the standpoint of many of the “powers that be” promoting these issues, it is not truly about any individual or even any of these items. It’s about the mindset. The immature, sophomoric way of viewing individuals vs society. This leads to the fallacy of equality. When T. Jefferson stated, “all Men are created equal” he was referring to their intrinsic VALUE – specifically in the “eyes” of our Creator. It should be obvious to even the most casual observer that we are not all equal in every respect. Yet this theory of equality is what leads to Socialism/Liberalism/Progressivism and the eventual downfall of a society (as should be noted from the history of every society of any significance that has tried it).
As well, the underlying reason many (most?) of those that proclaim these positions is to support their own agenda. They won’t admit it, but this is their way of saying “I want to do what I want to do and they rest of you should let me do it.” And those in power continue that statement with “and YOU need to fall in line and do it to.” They just couch it I such a way as to declare they are SO benevolent to others all the while expecting the benefit, if achieved, to eventually get back to them and their issue. If nothing else, eventually society as a whole just becomes liaise faire and let’s anybody do anything. This is a version of Anarchy. Nay, the DEFINITION of Anarchy.
The answer to the question? Apparently even your time and talent are no longer yours. The government can force you to use them as they dictate. Is thought next? King George III is back!

>>> The day is at a close, the night is drawing in and my cigar awaits – ’til next time…

The Mass Media lies

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In the latest example of today’s topic – In the 7 July 2015 cnn.com/Money article, Gun sales spike in June, by Aaron Smith, it is stated, “Last month the FBI conducted nearly 1.53 million background checks, which are required for all in-store purchases, but not for sales at gun shows or between individuals”.
This is of course a lie. Not so much the number of background checks (of that we can only take his word (actually not something I am prepared to do)) but, for any that take to the time to know the law, the assertion the they are not required at gun shows. 90+% of the sales at guns shows are by Federal Firearms License (FFL) holders. All FFL holders are required to run background checks for all sales (exception noted below) regardless of the location. Aaron Smith knows this. Aaron Smith is a liar. Should I give him the benefit of the doubt? Should I presume he is just ignorant of the topic and is doing the best he can? He IS writing for the “Money” section after all. The answer is a resounding NO! He is not writing for some minor rag in some Podunk town in the middle of nowhere. He is writing for CNN. If he is THAT good, he should be THAT good! But of course he IS that good. He phrases it the way he does on purpose. To further the agenda of the Liberals/Progressives/Socialists. And most people will just take his word for it. Mission accomplished.
So I ask, what is the point of mass media if they continually and blatantly lie to us. How many of you take them at face value? Why?

As an aside, part of the point of his article is to suggest that since the number of background checks is increasing, the number of gun sales is therefore increasing. Three points are to be made (mifireaFFLLibersnor of course, but you’ll only hear it here).
– FFL holders are not required to run background checks on concealed carry permit (CCW) holders. The rational being that CCW holders have already had a background check (one far more in-depth that one used to purchase a firearm). In my state, a CCW is valid for five (5) years. In that time I may purchase one gun or one gun a year or one a month or one a week or one a day. For none of which will a background check be run. The safeguard of course being that: a) if I do something that would make it illegal for me to purchase a gun or hold the permit, it will be revoked and b) I must still complete all the “no, I’ve not done anything bad in my past” paperwork under threat of fine and jail time if it turns out I’m lying. But since I don’t work for the press, nor am I a criminal, I’m probably ok.
– Not all background checks lead to gun sales. Kinda the point if you think about it. Of course thinking is not something the press is known for.
– He is correct (imagine that!) in that sales between individuals do not require background checks. Since criminals, by definition, don’t care about the law, the presumption behind this is that the seller knows the buyer well enough to know they can legally own a gun. As well, just to ensure this, it is illegal to KNOWINGLY sell a gun to someone not legally allowed to own/possess one. Therefore, if you are a criminal you won’t care anyway and if you are an upstanding citizen you won’t sell the gun if you know that person can’t legally own one.

Finally, he can only PRESUME that since background checks are increasing, gun sales are increasing. Not my major issue with his article but none-the-less. Leaving the whole issue of illegal sales out of the argument (let’s presume he was only referring to legitimate, legal sales), maybe more people are currently buying from gun stores than their friends and relatives. Maybe CCW permit holders have all the guns they want at this time and were not buying last month.

Another minor example: the “press” reports that “The official confirmation had to wait until new population figures were released by the Census Bureau this summer. The new tally, released in late June, shows that as of July 1, 2014, about 14.99 million Latinos live in California, edging out the 14.92 million whites in the state.” On the surface this may seem somewhat innocuous. This is not only a lie but it is also purposefully divisive. The problem? Latinos ARE white. Latino is an ethnicity, not a race. White is a race. The US Census Bureau knows this. SO…. Yet another misrepresentation by the press. In this case, another division to set one group of people against another. Illegal immigration aside (which, by the way, isCe not all Latinos!), WHO CARES? Why do we need to concern ourselves with such divisions of people in this country (or any for that matter). If you wish to differentiate legal from illegal (read, criminal) people in this country, more power to you. Goes to sovereignty. However, in any other argument, WHY? Why must we divide by race? Why must we divide by ethnicity? Why can’t we all just be American?

Regardless, between presumptions, ignorance and outright lies, the mainstream media provides more of an amusement than a source of valid information. Take it for what it is worth.

>>> The day is at a close, the night is drawing in and my cigar awaits – ’til next time…

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