Sunday, August 29, 2010


Glenn Beck, the pompous know it all "know nothing" conservative commentator, has turned to preaching as if he were the second coming of a messiah sent by God. And he pushes his religious convictions into American politics by cajoling non-believers: "The Founders were all religious believers, the country was based on Judeo-Christian beliefs--boy, I'm tired of hearing that term--and without God we would have no rights ("Where else would they come from?").

Why oh why oh why oh why oh why is it so difficult for God believers to see these truths:

1. Religious beliefs are not doesn't KNOW there is a God, one BELIEVES it. Is the distinction between those two words not clear?

2. Since they are only BELIEFS, yours are no more true, no more right...than ANYONE else's. Is that not clearly clear?

3. Because of #2, believers like Beck promote, endorse terrorism. Today's Muslim terrorists base their terrorism and wanton killings on BELIEFS. Throughout recorded history, religious beliefs have been used as the basis fir murderous violence. If your argument for doing right, doing good, Mr. Beck, is based on your unproven subjective beliefs, then how can you say that what the Muslim jihadists are doing is wrong, is evil? Their beliefs, their God, is allegedly commanding them to kill nonbelievers. What makes their beliefs any less reliable, less appropriate, than your beliefs? NOTHING.

4. Believers are frequently heard to claim that God alone is the source of our rights. Nonsense. There are hundreds of religions, hundeds of thousands of different religious beliefs, and each belief system sponsor its own list of rights, and each list would be as valid...or invalid... as any other.

5. I have written before about where your rights come from.

When a cat tries to fly like a bird off the roof of a 10-story building, it is not God that punishes him (to answer those believers who blindly claim that without God there would be no punishment) is his nature. The cat can't fly like a bird. You cannot escape the reality of your nature and the punishments (mental and physical) which it inflicts when you seek to evade or deny it. Quite the contrary to believers' protestations: it is the belief in a God that frees you from punishment. Just pick the belief that suits your fancy and your evil ways.

Freedom is not a right given to us by God; it is given to us by our nature. Humans are not programmed by instincts or anything else to do the right things to sustain and nourish our lives. We have to make choices using the facilities nature has given us...our thinking mind, our 5 senses to learn about and KNOW the world we live that we can make good decisions that further our lives.

Are you not yet sure where your rights come from? Take that "fly off a 10-story building' test and find out.

6. In line with #5, political policies are not right because the Founders believed them. I enormously admire their contributions to civilization, but they were not always right (remember slavery), THEY WERE NOT GODS. And even if they were all believers...they weren' is not their BELIEFS that made them right when they were right. It was the fact that they recognized man's natural state, and needs. See #5 again.

7. America was not formed on Judea-Christian beliefs but, in part, on a separation of Church and State.

Mr. Beck believes you should act not on knowledge but on beliefs. That is why I refer to him as a "know nothing".

Correction: He wants you to act not on beliefs but on HIS BELIEFS.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


America has converted from a nation of laws to a nation driven by politics. And the conversion, random and unplanned at first, is now calculated and deliberate.

America was founded as a republic, with the powers of government clearly enumerated in the Constitution, and its encroachment on our individual lives specifically limited to those powers:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States, respectively, or to the people."

"The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."

Could it be any clearer? Bred out of the tyranny of a monarchy, America was brilliantly conceived as a country of limited government that was restricted by constitutional principles and laws.

A few examples of America's conversion to a country ruled by political ideology:

* Should embryonic stem cells be used for medical research? The answer is a legal one: Does such research violate any person's right to life? Is an embryo a "person" within the meaning of the Constitution? That is a question to be answered by the law, and not by religious or personal beliefs.

* May the federal government implement a mandatory health care program on its citizens? The answer is a legal one: The only issues are whether the power to implement such a program is within the government's enumerated powers in the Constitution (it isn't), and whether that program violates a person's Constitutional right to liberty (it does). Politically-tilted discussions about whether Americans will be "better off" with such a program are totally irrelevant.

* May gays legally marry? Here's the law "(N)or shall any State deprive to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

* Notice that the President refuses to enforce our immigration laws, as the Constitution requires him to do. Notice that the President conducts war, and refers to it as such, without obeying the Constitutional requirement that he first obtain a Congressional declaration of war. Notice how the President spearheads a "progressive" movement that labels the Constitution as out-of-date and argues it must be interpreted to reflect "modern times"...that is, his political philosophy.

Bailouts, stimulus handouts, government encroachments into and takeover of energy, oil, auto, banking, automobile companies, are outside the government's Constitutionally enumerated powers, and illegal. Even those who are on the right side of those issues generally base their positions on personal political beliefs. We pretty much know how people will feel about an issue if we first ask them their political persuasion.

The very concern the Founders had of runaway government intrusion and control over our lives, is now the guiding principle of the Obama administration. It is intentional, devious and dangerous to our eroding freedom.

Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter: "Fragile as reason is and limited as law is as the institutionalized medium of reason, that's all we have standing between us and the tyranny of mere will and the cruelty of unbridled, undisciplined feeling."

Friday, August 20, 2010


Humans have a unique type of brain. It can:

Ask questions
Seek answers
Contemplate the world
Determine what is true and what isn't
Make decisions
Choose a course of action
Make judgments
Question itself
Make long term plans
Create new ideas, new things
Turn itself on or of

We call all of that Thinking, and it is what distinguishes humans from all other living things and everything else that exists. It is, I believe, at the root of all of man's successes and progress through the ages, and for all his failures and despairs.

This is the first in a series of posts on Thinking. When you have read them, you will know why I said "I believe" in the preceding paragraph and not "I know".

This series will look at:

Why do people have to think?
What type of Thinking is Good Thinking?
What are the benefits of Good Thinking in your day to day life?
What are the common errors people make in their Thinking?
Why do some people choose not to think?
What are the penalties of poor Thinking or of not Thinking at all?
Are you a Good Thinker?


Monday, August 16, 2010


The raging controversy in the U.S. over the proposed building of a Muslim center, including a mosque prayer facility, within steps of Ground Zero, have centered on freedom of religion (supporters) and on insensitivity to families of World Trade Center casualties (opponents). Both arguments miss the critical point.

WE ARE AT WAR. President Obama repeatedly uses the word "war", but refuses to acknowledge whom we are at war with. Strange. We are fighting a war against no one in particular! He refuses to have Congress declare war, as the Constitution requires, presumably because he would have to identify whom we are at war with. He insists on having our troops unnecessarily risk their lives and fight with one hand tied behind their backs, and refuses to use our full military power in our defense.

WE ARE AT WAR with Muslim jihadists, fanatics, who preach the "destruction of Western civilization from within". During the past 12 years, they have attacked us in New York City. Oklahoma City, Ft. Hood, Riyadh. Dhahran, Amman, Damascus, Athens, Algeria, Yemen, Karachi, India and on the seas (USS Cole) addition to Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan.

Bang! Bang!'re dead.

Those who call for, encourage, incite, violence against us, who give financial and other support to our enemy, are our enemy. If what is said about Sharia, the fanatic Islamic law, is true...that it serves as the basis for Islamic fanaticism and violence against our country...then those who preach it are our enemy...every bit as much as the Taliban and Al Qaeda soldiers and suicide bombers trying to kill us.

Bang! Bang!..your family is dead.

Freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of anything, does not include the right to initiate force against others. And the reasoning for that is simple: force initiated against others denies to them their freedoms, their political rights. You cannot logically claim the right to freedom for yourself while denying it to others. Sorry, you are not free to start or support a war against us. Not near Ground Zero nor anywhere else in our country.

Bang! Bang!...we'll bury your daughter up to her shoulders, cut off her ears and nose, and, together with her husband and children, we'll stone her to death.

Yes, by all means, it is certainly insensitive to build a Muslim center, often put on the site of a military victory, at Ground Zero. But in a free country, sensitivities do not as a rule generate legal rights or restraints.

Bang! Bang!...down come your buildings, your government offices, your consulates, your schools, your shopping malls, your hospitals, your country.


Thursday, August 12, 2010


I have heard many reasons why so few people achieve the happiness they seek, why so many are unhappy...but I have never heard this one:

Societies are not set up for happiness.

Here are some common classic attributes of civilized societies inimical to happiness:

1. CONFORMITY: Societies tend to accept the idea that more will be accomplished, it will be easier for people to live closely in harmony with each other, if they abide by the dominant way of life in the society. This conformity--voiced as "don't rock the boat", "get along or get out", "that's not the way we do it around here"--curtails individual expression, an important characteristic of the happy person.

2. CROWDING: Urban centers get more and more populous, believing that will produce more goods and services for its residents. But the (over)crowding) makes more people feel invisible, not just to others but even to themselves. And if you are too crowded in to be able to see yourself, you will not be able to be proud of what you have made of your life, a precondition to happiness.

3. COMPETITION: With so many people living in such close proximity, a natural competition develops for jobs, lifestyles, accomplishments. Where you rate in that competition is readily visible...size of home, make of car, place of vacation, quality of clothing, etc. Problem is: competition provides a few winners and many perceived losers. Losing is not conducive to happiness.

4. COMMERCIALIZATION: There is a nonstop bombardment of advertising for new, better, more advanced, goods. Last year's prized, innovative, cherished acquisition is out of date. Having the best feeds into winning that competition.

5. CONCRETE-MINDEDNESS: The emphasis is on the visible, tangible "things" of life, the seemingly endless details and demands...the spiritual beauties of the soul are set aside for a later day.

6. CACOPHONOUS: Commotion abounds, quiet reflection, contemplation, elusive.

7. CYCLICAL: Society has fallen in love with a repetitious, recurrent, monotonous, humdrum, model of life...none of which is conducive to happiness.

Time for civilized man to change course.


Ben Quayle is running as a Republican for a seat in the House of Representatives. He has said that Barack Obama is "the worst President ever". To answer that position, to illogically attack Mr. Quayle and keep him and his political views out of Congress, his opponents have seen fit to advertise that four years ago, when Mr. Quayle was 26, he viewed a porn site on the Internet.

Well, what better response to Mr. Quayle's characterization of Mr. Obama could there be? There are a number of reasons why someone clicks on a porn site--curiosity, desire to be stimulated sexually, etc.--so, since we don't know why in this case, let's ascribe to Mr. Quayle the horrific sin of enjoying looking at nude women.

Horror of horrors! Sex is dirty, vulgar, disgusting, and so must be anyone who is interested in this basest of human activities. The few who are so interested are depraved and deranged. And we don't want such Representatives in our shrine to unstained, unblemished purity, The Capitol. At least, not any more.

This nonsensical, foolish, irrational view of sex and sexually-interested men has been promoted by religions since their advent thousands of years ago. Sex, other than for child bearing, is purveyed as Satanic and must not be seen nor practiced nor embraced as an expression of human love, admiration, desire, or as a source of human pleasure. To view sex that way, is to be immoral and unholy, and to suffer the unremitting guilt that only the church can erase.

What else could be expected from those who daily work to convince fellow humans that their sole means of acquiring knowledge, rationality, is invalid and must be suspended, and that knowledge can only be obtained via faith, random feelings and unproven fantasies. To make man believe he is incapable of surviving on his own, that his natural state and the judgments of his mind are inefficacious to his survival, are critical to religions leaders seeking power over their flock. (Is this view of man not a slur on God's skills as the Creator, or am i missing something? I could have sworn God saw all that he had made and "behold it was very good".)

Ben Quayle sounds like a normal, psychologically healthy individual that, if I voted in Arizona, I could support. He is is certainly a politically intelligent one.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


In a segment on his tv show, Bill O'Reilly addressed the story of a Muslim father who shot and killed his two teenage daughters allegedly because they were dating non-Muslim boys. Muslims refer to them as "honor killings" on the argument that the girls dishonored the family by violating Islamic law. There are thousands of such killings around the world each year.

O'Reilly asked his guest whether there was a deeper problem behind the killings. It was an excellent question. Unfortunately, he did not get an excellent answer.

Man is a rational animal. His unique and fundamental trait distinguishing him from other living things is his ability to use reason. Man must make choices as to what action to take in the course of, and in the interest of, his life. His rational faculty gives him the ability to learn the facts of reality...the think about them, contemplate them in the context of other knowledge he has, and to make appropriate choices. We call it "thinking". It does not automatically guarantee the thinker will arrive at the right, or best, decision. But it is man's best means of making informed and life-nurturing decisions. It accounts for ALL of man's progress through the ages.

Rational thinking takes effort, the more complex the question, the more effort required. Unfortunately for man, in this regard, is that he has a much easier, quicker, way of coming to conclusions: relying on his feelings. Ask most people what they think about certain issues (gay marriages, legalization of marijuana, changing the minimum age for drinking alcohol, should we have a military draft, etc.) and you are likely to hear something like: "I haven't considered it all that much, but I think...this or that".

Wrong. That person does not THINK something, but FEELS something, and on the basis of that feeling has come to a preference, a viewpoint, a conclusion. While feelings serve a purpose in our lives as indicators of how we SENSE our lives are going, they are open-ended, subjective not objective in nature, and contain no standard to prove they are "right"...that is, based on reality, on truth. That is solely in the province of rational thought. Making important decisions on the basis of feelings, as most seem to do, is risky business. It is not acting as man: the rational animal. It is a violation of man's nature, it is sub-human. Irrational. Catastrophic.

And that, Bill, is the deeper problem. "Mercy killings" are irrational. The planes flying into the Twin Towers were driven by irrationality. Politicians who flaunt the law and their responsibilities are acting irrationally. The moral breakdown we are seeing in the world, the rampant cruelty and violence, are all effects of the spoiled seed: irrationality. In each case, the perpetrator knew, or would have known after some minimum rational thinking, that what he or she was doing is wrong. But they CHOSE to act on the basis of whims, wishes, feelings, detached from reality. "Go by your gut" is in. Very in.

The solution? Start teaching rational thinking, rational decision-making, in elementary school...and reinforce that teaching in high school and universities. Teach young children the function, the value, the beauty, and the glorious potential of their reasoning ability. Honor and reward those who act rationally.

Or we will all pay the price.