Saturday, March 29, 2008

More Conservative Wisdom

Last week my post referred to a column written by John Hawkins at Townhall. This week Mr. Hawkins has written another column called "10 More of the Greatest Pieces of Conservative Wisdom". Take a look at it. There are some good thoughts there. You might have your own favorite pieces of wisdom, of course, but reading someone else's list can expand your thinking and give you some new ideas.

At American Thinker I found another article that I recommend for its thought-provoking ideas. It is called "'Seeker-Sensitive' Conservatism" and was written by Alan Roebuck. In the article, Mr. Roebuck discusses the problem of basing Christian teachings on a "seeker-sensitive" marketing approach. Mr. Roebuck defines that as:
The seeker-sensitive movement is a close analogy to the contemporary conservative movement. In both cases, people who ought to be offering timeless truths that can save individuals and societies are instead using market research to craft a product that appeals to consumers, telling them what they want to hear rather than a truth that is initially painful but ultimately liberating. Even if you are not a Christian, you should be concerned about a mass movement that thrives by suppressing many important ideas that it once believed in, especially because the same error tempts other idea-based movements, such as conservatism.
He goes on to tell us that a pastor, Bob DeWaay, has studied this seeker-sensitive movement and has concluded thusly:
DeWaay's basic conclusion is this: The purpose-driven movement begins with the premise that the only way to attract non-Christians to church is by offering to meet their felt needs, rather than their real need for salvation through Christ. If a non-Christian "seeker" visits a church where he hears the traditional Gospel message that he is a lost sinner in need of a salvation that can only come from personal repentance and trust in the atoning death of Christ, he will be repelled by the challenging message, and will not return. To prevent this failure, so the theory goes, a church must conduct market research into what people in its area want, and then find a way to give these seekers what they want.

One result is that the deep and challenging teachings of traditional Christianity must never be presented in the Sunday morning worship service that has traditionally been the cornerstone of Christian fellowship. Not only will non-Christian seekers probably not want to hear that God regards them as sinners, but they will have no interest in what Warren (and theological liberals) dismissively call "doctrine," that is, the actual content of the religion preached by Christ and the Apostles. The result is a Christianity that retains the rituals and some of the language of traditional Protestant Christianity, but is effectively stripped of its content.

Mr. Roebuck continues:
But what does this have to do with conservatism? Doesn't the conservative movement stand in unambiguous opposition to the foolish and destructive ideas of the left? Don't conservatives suffer the hostility and sometimes the persecution of the liberals and leftists who have de facto control of the universities, the media, and much of the government? How could conservatism be "seeker-sensitive?"

By failing to stand on principle. As I have argued in Liberalism 101, liberalism (i.e., the worldview of the left) has almost complete control of America. It is our "unofficial state religion." But since liberalism is largely false, John Q. Public senses (even if he cannot articulate it) that something is seriously wrong with the ideas and policies he is relentlessly taught by the schools, the media and even, God help us, by many clergy. This being the case, there is a major market for "conservatism," that is, articulate opposition to liberalism. People have a felt need to have their intuitions vindicated.

But whenever there is a popular product, its producers will be tempted to modify their product to suit the desires of the consumer. There is much profit to be made in giving people what they want, rather than what they need.
Something that struck me was Mr. Roebuck's statement that:
It is something entirely different to admit, as I have argued in Liberalism 101, that the real problem is America's general acquiescence to an entire worldview based on the nonexistence of the God of the Bible, and which therefore means that God is not the supreme being, but rather man.

And if man, who is constantly changing, is the supreme being, then we cannot know anything for sure, except that the highest priority is protecting myself and asserting my ego. And people devoted ultimately to themselves can hardly form a strong nation, defeat the bad initiatives of liberalism, and pass on their way of life to their descendants.
His solution?
I have argued here that we need a sustained and aggressive public campaign against the fundamental ideas of liberalism. Individuals, of course, are free to believe whatever they want, but any nation must have ideas that are authoritative for the guidance of its public policies. Since the publicly acknowledged comprehensive system of thought that has de facto authority over America is liberalism, liberalism must be fought publicly, at the level of its fundamental ideas. That is, we must aim to discredit publicly not just the specific foolish initiatives of liberalism, but more importantly the foundational ideas that make liberalism what it is. If we fail to discredit these ideas in the minds of both John Q. Public and our leadership class, liberalism will continue to be the guiding philosophy of America, and America will continue to decline.

To change the entire way of thinking of a nation is a fearfully difficult undertaking, and success is by no means guaranteed. If liberalism really is our state religion, then most people will resent our contention that we must change the way our nation thinks. But liberalism, being largely false and irrational, is intellectually vulnerable.

And the stakes are high: America is in mortal danger. The America that we have known, under the onslaught of many maladies either caused or exacerbated by liberalism, is in danger of ceasing to exist and being replaced by something radically different and worse. Think of the mass immigration that, coupled with multiculturalism, is Balkanizing us, of the widespread promulgation of secularism, agnosticism and atheism that is making us more self-centered and cowardly, and of the creeping socialism that is making us a nation of dependents.

I've quoted a lot of what I believe is an important article, but go read all of it to get a better idea of what Mr. Roebuck is talking about. We need to really think about our futures and the future of America and in what direction we are headed.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Conservative Wisdom to Ponder

At Townhall you will find a column by John Hawkins titled "10 of the Greatest Pieces of Conservative Wisdom". In it, Mr. Hawkins lists 10 quotations and offers comments on them. The ideas presented and the quotes used cover a lot of ground, but I think you'll find the column worth a read.

What it comes down to for me is personal responsibility along with morality and integrity. Too many people pursue a course of instant gratification, moral equivalence, dishonesty, and wanting to escape the consequences of choices by being bailed out, usually by the government. Do we ever stop to think about the consequences of this type of widespread behavior for our country? The problem isn't just in America. We can look at the countries in Europe and at countries around the world and see the problems created by turning our lives over to the government of our respective countries.

In many ways, the course of many individuals becomes the course of the nation. If each individual took a responsible, mature course in his life, we would see a great improvement in our nation. If we could rid ourselves of selfishness, dishonesty, immorality, and greed, we would find life can be good indeed. Self-esteem would come from true accomplishments and not from being indoctrinated with a false self-esteem based on nothing.

Careful consideration of consequences is a must for any choice we make. Slow down, think first, look ahead down the road that you are considering taking.

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Problem Areas Around the World

Today it seems we see problems developing all around the world. Besides the obvious issues in the Middle East, there are difficulties developing in South American, Cuba, and Russia. At American Thinker there are three articles highlighting these areas and what the problems are. I recommend that you read these three pieces. Aside from the direct concerns for the general populations in South American, Cuba, and Russia, it concerns me that there are Americans with leftist views who idolize the trouble-making leaders. Do those Americans not realize what these policies do to the lives of ordinary citizens? The articles are:

"Terrorists, Marxists, Leftists and the Democrats" by Lance Fairchok

"What I learned in Havanna talking to ordinary Cubans" by David Paulin

"The Trouble with Russia" by Herbert E. Meyer

These are just three of the problems developing in the world. There are many more and with today's ease of communication and travel, we have to be aware of the whole world and how what is going on can affect us. We also need to be aware of the examples that show just how bad communism and socialism are for people. There is nothing compassionate about these ideologies, even though they are promoted as helping all people. They don't.

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Saturday, March 08, 2008

Letting Freedom Slip Away

One of the things that concerns me about America is the way we are letting government take control in more and more areas of our lives. Do we not realize that we are voting our freedom away when we vote for a provision to turn something over to the government or when we elect those who will push through laws raising taxes or regulating businesses more? There are many small ways in which we are letting our freedom slip away. It has to stop.

There is an article over at The New Media Journal that I think everyone should read and think about. It's called "The American Pursuit of Democratic Socialism" by JB Williams. Here is a sample of what Mr. Williams has to say:
Well, here we are, some 230 years after the formation of the greatest, most productive, prosperous, powerful and generous free nation on earth, freely voting ourselves back into tyranny in the name of a greater common good.

We no longer respect or protect the first fundamental unalienable American right, Life. The second, the right to individual Liberty has been replaced with the mob rights of the commune and our right to individually define and pursue (earn) Happiness has been traded for the right of the commune to both define and re-distribute happiness at the federal level.

Our federal government has indeed become destructive of the very values and principles every American is called to uphold and defend and unless we alter our government by altering our voting patterns, we will soon have no choice but to abolish it and start anew.

Democrats now stand fully opposed to all founding American principles and values. But Republicans will get no free pass here either. The party which once stood up to Democratic Socialists in defense of the real American Dream, has in recent years joined the Left in an only slightly slower march into Democratic Socialism and as a result, all elected members of the federal government enjoy the lowest approval ratings in U.S. history.

“If it were necessary to give the briefest possible definition of imperialism, we should have to say that imperialism is the monopoly stage of capitalism – The way to crush the bourgeoisie (the rich and productive) is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.”

This is the belief system and strategy of today’s Democrat Party and it is the centerpiece of both the Clinton and the Obama campaigns. This is the change both candidates have in mind for America.

But these words were not authored by either campaign. These words were authored by Vladimir Lenin. You will hear these notions sold from every DNC campaign stage between here and November. But it was Lenin, Marx, Stalin and Alinsky who first sold these ideas to those who now run the Democrat Party.

Consider that and look at what today's politicians do and say.

Another article at the same website is called "They Will Get Fooled Again" by Robert E. Meyer. He's also got some thoughts you should consider, such as:
The democratic front runner, Barack Obama, has garnered much political capital on a vague platform template of "change." His swooning crowds of admirers reflexively applauding, or even fainting, at his every statement and gesture. Obama's campaign has been so emotionally hypnotic, that Schaeffer's son Frank is gushing giddily about supporting Barack with his heart. What candidate of the opposition party has ever offered anything unique to the theme of change?

What this "change" really connotes, amounts to more government programs, and increased dependence on government, resulting in greater learned helplessness by individual citizens.

People are now asking government to meet the needs that were once obligations of individuals themselves, family and neighbors, the public charity, church organizations, and Almighty God. A clear recipe for tyranny.

The Democratic platform, and to a lesser degree some Republican politicians, have forsaken individual accountability and initiative, while moving in a direction contrary to the roles of limited government delineated by our Founders. The best government is one that governs least.

Far too many people have stopped asking the question about what limited role in society our government should fulfill, but have hopped aboard the gravy train to paradise, never suspecting it to be the graveyard express to the ideological gulag.

We Americans really need to pay attention to what goes on at all levels of government. Think about it.

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Encyclopedia of Life Has a Lot More Content Now

The Encyclopedia of Life has had a website up for a year or more with minimal content (6 demonstration pages), but now they have 25 complete pages, about 30,000 partial pages, and a million or so minimal pages. If you had given up on them ever getting more up, now is the time to go explore! You can register for free and the encyclopedia is meant to always be free, to provide information about all life on earth to everyone everywhere. Lots of interesting stuff there now and to come in the future. It's scheduled for completion in 2017.

If you register, you can sign up to get their quarterly newsletter in your email. They are having a contest to name the newsletter. Also, later this year, they plan to make it possible for anyone to contribute photos and content to be reviewed for inclusion. This is a great site for anyone interested in science and nature and for anyone taking classes along those lines. Kids will enjoy learning more about common plants and animals they see around their homes or getting information for school.

I know I sound like an advertisement, but I have no connection to the encyclopedia except as an interested reader. I just think that it'll be a fascinating place to learn.

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