Forget Gas Stoves—Why Are Pets Legal?

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The Biden administration has recently floated the idea of banning all gas stoves.  Richard Trumka Jr., son of the powerful union boss of the same name and nepotistic selection for Commissioner of the CPSC, has made this proposal and cited potential long-term health issues (due to using them in homes without proper ventilation) as the reason.  Very quickly, in the typical hive mind far-left fashion, various  state governors have followed suit and very soon we can expect that Democrats will once again be limiting consumer choices.

When qualifications are more about favors to political cronies than expertise.

This move is more driven by the current climate change ideological cult than actual concern for people.  And the climate change hysteria is primarily driven by political propaganda rather than true science.  All of which has an underlying goal of giving more power and control to a few billionaires (who meet in Davos annually) and own many of our elected (or selected) leaders.

Another hidden reason for why now could be to lower gas prices to make exports to Europe viable.  Currently the billionaire owned world government, centered in the US and Western Europe, is at war with Russia and must keep gas dependent countries, like Germany, from total economic collapse due to untenable energy costs.  This would be manipulation similar to how the Lyndon B. Johnson administration deceptively used cholesterol warnings as an answer to an egg shortage and price inflation.

Eggs: Then and now

However, as a thought experiment: If we were to assume this is honestly about public health and climate change, not some cynical move motivated by geopolitics and commodities markets, why start with gas stoves?

Why not start with pets instead?

In this progressive age of believe science and consumer protection, can we really continue to ignore the well-established risks associated with pet ownership and especially the health risks to children?

Cull the Biological Menace: Save the Children!

Anyone who has had to clean cat poo deposited on the living room carpet has learned a hard lesson.  As cuddly and cute as these furballs seem to be, they are basically walking, sneezing, crapping, and puking biohazard containers. 

At risk of a fact-check claiming that cats also vomit on tile and linoleum.

The Chinese, during the Covid pandemic, knowing that pets were vectors of human disease, euthanized scores of dogs and cats as part of their pragmatic response to the pandemic.  And it just makes sense.  Pets are super-spreaders, next to impossible to mask properly, being exposed to their feces and urine can be dangerous, and that alone is a reason to ban these incubators of deadly disease.

A person who, as a result of exposure to cat excrement, has suffered from Toxoplasmosis, will think twice about having a pet in their home. 

Then there’s the issue of animals attacking humans.  It is terrifying to be out on a peaceful walk and suddenly be set upon by a snarling beast and knowing how many die from dog attacks.  The President’s own dog has bitten several people, and this is okay?  Dogs alone account for 4.5 million bites a year and many of the victims are our most vulnerable.  Think of the children! 

If we are to save grandma by wearing masks and getting mRNA injections, why allow these disease carrying clumps of cells (with claws and teeth) that serve no practical purpose and fit the definition of a parasite?

Add to all of that the unnecessary carbon footprint of Fido and Fifi.  Feeding and watering millions upon millions of animals used for human entertainment comes at an enormous environmental cost.  Many popular pets are fed with meats, which is especially burdensome, and will accelerate global cooling warming very scary climate change.  We must do the right thing for the planet!

And, more importantly, why are we allowing this obvious menace to continue when there are alternatives?

Pet Reform: The Green Answer

In the spirit of progressive politics and Democrat party paternalism, l propose that we introduce common sense pet reform and ban all emissions producing pets and replace them with purring and barking electronic animals.  There would be no need for kitty litter or toxic carpet cleaner after the transition.   The green alternatives could be programmed to only knock over household items at a safe predetermined rate and will attack only those who our wise and tolerant revolutionary leaders call Nazis.

Only shoots insurrections wearing MAGA hats, not a threat to humans.

Think of how many lives may be changed or improved by removing this pet-stilence!

It would protect children from pet allergies, dangerous infections, cat-induced insanity (could this impact female voting patterns?), and prevent spread of other serious diseases.  Just the elimination of bites leading to emergency room visits alone would justify this as a cost-saving measure.  During the Covid pandemic we were told that saving only one life justified every new mandate.  Has that ethical math changed?

If it antivaxx to oppose boosters that have only been tested on eight mice or dare to resist the products coming from a corporation staffed by those who make a very bold display of their questionable ethics to a date, then it is extremely anti-science to be in favor of pet ownership.  I mean, how many more studies do we need for these Neanderthals who think animal ownership is a right to understand, right? 

Is there a reasonable argument against banning pets?

Who Determines Acceptable Risk and How?

The point, of course, is that we accept the health risks of pets.  Why?  Well, many have decided that the intangible benefits of a living companion outweigh the risk to their own health and also that of the general public.  Sure, we do have leash laws and liabilities assessed when people who have pets do not take proper precautions. 

And no doubt pet ownership will be the next stop for the climate change alarmists, like the very privileged Greta Thunberg, when their handlers tell them this is the scientific consensus.   I mean, they’re already taking steps against farm animals and telling us to eat bugs as an alternative, do you think they’ll stop there?  Not a chance, if they get their way on gas stoves, soon pets will be only for elites.  These professional Karens, the petty administrative tyrants running this country, can’t be satisfied ever.  There’s no reasonable compromise with them.

These bans in American politics stem from a Puritanical impulse.  It is the very same thing that was behind the Prohibition, this desire to control, often sold with some kind of apocalypse tied to it as justification.  Where it was once Johnathan Edwards preaching “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” the early American sermon delivered in a monotone, it is Albert Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” for this new secular version of the same old cult religion.  We all must do our penance and pay the ministers of this new era—it is hard work to keep the population in line and in perpetual fear of destruction. 

Al Gore knows as much about science as a Televangelist knows about theology…

Banning gas stoves isn’t driven by science anymore than witch-hunts or eugenics. Sure, it is rationalized by their own beliefs about cherry-picked data and the purported implications. But water can be made to look awful if a person wants to make that case. It is the midwits, with rudimentary understanding of all things, that have this mistaken idea that life can be free of all risk, completely safe, and strive for perfect pure solutions. They accept the ‘experts’ opinion uncritically as if it is Gospel and become the “sources please” zealots which make truly intelligent conversation impossible.

Risk can’t be eliminated. Removing one risk only ever creates another. That is the real problem with complex systems. Poke in one place, to fix this problem, and the unintended consequences of a prescribed solution can vastly outweigh the benefits. The noxious invisible gas that is more a threat than nitrogen dioxide is the ceaseless and incurable arrogance of those who think it is their job to save the world or manage the lives of others. We cannot risk anymore of what remains of our freedom to please their whims, they will consume it all in the name of protection.

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

C. S. Lewis

Politicians have long abused science as a means to gain power for themselves. It is what had, a century ago, inspired notions of superior race and now is what arms a new generation of young activists—indoctrinated by leftist parents, mass media and their government funded schools. It is no different from any other moral panic where critical thinking made someone an enemy of the sanctimonious mob.

Fundamentalist Anti-fragility Training

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Years ago my mom decided to stop in at the local public elementary school.  Impressed, after talking to the staff, my parents sent my older sister there and soon I would follow—along with the rest of my siblings.

This might not seem strange to most.  But, for a conservative Mennonite child this was highly unusual—or at least in the past few decades.  It bucked the trend of religious parents, afraid of secular influence, pulling their children out.  Private schools and home schooling becoming the preferred ‘safe’ options.

Anyhow, maybe as a result of my positive experience, or from inheriting my mom’s genetics, I have always thought differently than my peers.  That is to say, for better or worse, I stood apart from both my public school and Mennonite peers, basically a third culture kid or non-conformed in both settings.  So, when I had to consider where to send my own children, public school was not something I feared.

This post is not saying that everyone should follow in my footsteps nor suggesting that every child should go to public schools.  No other situation is exactly the same as mine, some schools are better or worse and every student different.  My intent in this blog is simply to give an explanation of what is now unthinkable to most fundamentalist Christians.

A Stranger in a Strange Land

Public school did not mean assimilation for me.  My religious identity was always visible enough for me to be given nicknames like “Micro Mennonite” or basically any Amish sounding name my classmates could come up with.  The small things, like wearing pants in the hot weather or the side part of my hair were enough for some to take notice.

I was sometimes subjected to what could be called microaggressions.  As in I had one or two classmates who would inform me what I should or should not do, as a Mennonite, and this often included the idea that we did not pay taxes or the assumption that we needed a horse and buggy for transportation.  This kind of banter was mostly benign, or at least taken that way, but still served as a continual reminder of my outsider status.

The end result is that I seemed to have a stronger Mennonite identity than many of my religious peers.  I learned, at a young age, that I was different and it was okay to be my own person.  I was never ashamed to be Mennonite nor stopped from following my own conscience so far as things like pledge of allegiance (I always stood respectfully) or abstaining from other activities that went against my cultural standards.  

A child private or homeschooled does not truly know, first hand, the alternative to their own community and home.  It is easier for them to believe that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence and many of my religious peers did jettison the indoctrination they received in a pursuit of the prevailing culture.  But, being the witness of single parent homes, the chaos of the world and consequences suffered, it made me more thankful for what I had.

Exposure made my home more desirable, it also made the failures of parents my community feature less prominently in my mind.  There were many who, raised in the  religious cloister, became disillusioned with Christianity as a result of their overbearing dad or as the result of school administrators showing extreme favoritism.  Had the same thing happened to them in public school, had they been bullied or abused there instead, at least it would not come in direct conflict with their walk of faith.

No, certainly we don’t want to put children in a harsh environment so that our own home or community contrasts favorably, but some healthy perspective is good.  Not taking for granted the food or shelter over our heads by being a little exposed and feeling some hunger pains for home is not a bad thing at all.  A big benefit of my public schooling was appreciation for my heritage and a strong desire to preserve the Mennonite culture.  I could not afford to be myopic or ignorant, throwing out tradition recklessly because it didn’t suit me.

I had to weigh things more carefully rather than react and throw the baby out with the bathwater.  Many of my religious peers have this feeling of having missed out and some had to learn the hard way from their own experiences.  

Walk In Faith, Not Fragility!

Conservatives love to laugh about the ‘woke’ and their safe spaces.  They are very quick to ridicule those families still wearing face masks and call people snowflakes for their sensitivity.  The great irony is that many of these same people withdrew their children from public schools, decades ago, because they “took God out of the schools” by ending prayer led by state employees.  The reality is that it isn’t just the fringe far-left that tries to hide themselves and their children from all contrary opinions.

You may work where your employer doesn’t lead prayer, can you handle it?

The problem is that without challenge there is no growth.  Yes, part of the job of a parent is to protect and yet it is equally important to prepare a child for the real world.  I know, I know, someone out there is saying right now, “he’s saying to throw my precious darling to the wolves!”  And then we wonder why, with that kind of attitude, when we assume all of our neighbors are dangerous predators, we are not more successful reaching them with the Gospel?

Jesus, our Lord and Savior, and example to follow, had no problem detouring into the Samaritan lands nor with standing on his own two feet with elders as a child.  And I, likewise, had no difficulty standing toe to toe with my high school biology teacher or with seeing through leftist propaganda even back in elementary school.  I remember scoffing, even then, at the blatant manipulation on Earth day or that faulty “haves vs have nots” construction of my fresh out of university social studies teacher.

Hint to the homeschoolers: Your neighbors aren’t demons and your children aren’t little saints either.  In fact, many of my younger home or privately schooled religious cousins were doing drugs, drinking hard and partying, even sleeping around, long before I had so much as a sip of alcohol.  As Jesus said to a prior generation of contamination obsessed religious people, according to Mark 7:14–23:

"Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them."  

We can’t save our children by sheltering them.

I know, but what about the “groomers’ and the brainwashing?  No, I’m not going to say it is all hysteria.  Indeed, the far-left is targeting children, they’re making no secret of their agenda and it is cause for concern.  We see all of those sensational headlines of abuse and it is easy to be full of anxiety and fear about this.  But, for perspective, there are over 3,800,000 teachers in the United States and the vast majority are simply doing their job.  Some extreme example, from an urban hellhole or California, is not representative of the whole.  Yes, your child going to a public school will be exposed to other perspectives and yet why would they choose lies over the truth?

It is no coincidence that the greatest Biblical examples of faith are those, who as children, faced pagan influence.  Moses, trained as an Egyptian, was bolder than his other Israelites and faced down Pharaoh.  Daniel refused to bend to social pressure, a Jewish child in the Babylonian court, and stands as an example of faith.  And who can forget that trial by fire of three young men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who would not bow to the statue of the powerful Nebuchadnezzar II?

It is so strange that fundamentalists can read these stories to their children in their Sunday school classes and then be terrified by the thought little Johnny being away from them for a few hours a day.  It makes me wonder if they truly believe these stories are true.  Maybe they do not think that the God who called Samuel as a child or emboldened young David to slay a giant is still capable of the same today?  Apparently they think God is getting weak in old age and only they are able to save their children from the world? 

In the World, Not of the World

Part of the problem with the fundamentalist “purity culture” mindset is that they believe that Holiness is achieved through means of physical separation.  Many parents think that they will keep their children safe from harm by keeping them in their protective enclave and away from all other influence.  But, the truth is, if Adam and Eve could fall even in the garden of Eden, why would we believe that the serpent can’t find it’s way into our own homes and communities?

For as much as my religious peers would try to keep evil out, pulling their children out of even the church school to guard them from the influence of other Mennonite children, it is no defense from the most dangerous sin of all which is pride and this accompanying idea that we can be fully righteous by our own efforts.  But, in the economy of Jesus, it is better to be the woman caught in adultery or thief on the cross who repents than the rich young ruler who kept the law perfectly yet isn’t able to live in faith.

They say more is caught than taught.  We can say we believe “greater is He that is in me than He that is in the world” (1 John 4:4) and that God is our strength, but our actions betray us.  The conservative Christian retreat from the public sphere is pretending that if they ignore the deterioration somehow the problem will go away.  They are training their children to be cowards, afraid to effectively confront the culture or fully contend with the reality that they’re losing ground.

It is true, a Christian is not to be of this world and yet this is all about the spirit in which we are approaching life.  The exact phrase “in the world but not of it” is not in Scripture, but we also see where Jesus didn’t avoid people simply because they were Samaritans, tax collectors or others that his religious peers carefully avoided.  Unlike the parachute in ‘missionary’ compassion of today, he spent his time amongst his own people, rubbing shoulders with the unwashed masses and even being touched by a woman made into an outcast for her illness.

If we go out in strength, trusting that God is still able to protect us and our children from the teeth of lions, we would possibly see the change of culture that will make the world a place liveable for a Christian.  But right now we’re teaching our children to be weak and, when the world finally does come to snatch them from the safety of their homes, many will be fragile and unprepared to stand.  This is why so many get caught in the false social justice Gospel, they weren’t properly trained to identify the counterfeit.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

(Proverbs 22:6 KJV)

Why would I send my son into the lion’s den?

Because Daniel continued to pray, despite the risk of severe punishment, and precisely as a result of his childhood faith and learning to resist peer pressure at a young age. 

Contrast that with the religious experts who had rejected Jesus for the unclean who he mingled with. Or with Israelites who prospered in their own promised land, absent of persecution, and only went through the religious motions of faith in God. They voluntarily brought idols into their homes and folded before their enemies. 

Complacency is a bigger threat to a Christian’s child than lions. 

We should not teach our children to run from the giants of our time or they’ll become king Saul.

Instead we should be helping them polish those giant slaying stones and trust God.

My First Two Weeks Of Fatherhood

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My decades of being single came to a rather abrupt end on November 3rd.  Two people, a mother and son, arrived at JFK after a trip around the world and our lives will never be the same.  

A few years ago, I was worried about how it may be to be a stepfather and hoped Charlotte’s son, CJ Y-dran, would accept me.  One day, soon after this thought, and out of the blue, Y-dran told his mom he had something that he wanted to ask me.  

The voice on the other end of the video call gave me the assurance that I needed:

“Can I call you daddy?”

Crazy, right?

More amazingly, after I told him he could, he asked if we could pray together.  That was, of course, another request granted and the whole thing a wonderful confirmation.  But, that said, it is one thing to be called “daddy” and another to be a good father.

CJ Y-dran is now ten years old.  

A Crash Course In Parenting Begins

Saturday, after our arrival together in central Pennsylvania, we visited Ed and Judy, my aunt and uncle.  Ed surprised us with an early Christmas gift by getting Uriah’s bike out and offering it to Y-dran.  

It was fun to see a young boy’s face light up in amazement.  Y-dran rode around happily while we all enjoyed the unseasonally warm weather.  Later we were able to secure the bike in the trunk of my car and then brought it home.

It was the first Monday back to work after the trip to the airport and I was just settling in for the day when a message notification popped up.  It was Y-dran.  What did Y-dran want at this early hour of the day?

“I cen not bike naw”

“Becos momi not let me”

“Lets pot it back to ante”

“I can not yos it”

Uhoh.  

Unwittingly, having missed some details he had included, namely that he was allowed to ride albeit only in the yard, I answered him exactly as his mom did and said he could ride in the yard and only in the alley after I was home from work.  So it was great to be on the same page with his mother.

The Knife At School Incident

Y-dran found a small Leatherman-type tool in my utility drawer and was fascinated. He wanted to whittle away at the banister, which was immediately discouraged, and directed to a cardboard box to satisfy his stabbing need.

Boys love tools and especially tools used as weapons.

The blades on this multi-tool were too small to be lethal and yet were enough to keep a ten-year-old’s imagination captive.

But, when I discovered this tool in his backpack after coming home from his fourth day in school, I very quickly gave a stern warning to never ever bring a knife to school. I took the tool and returned it to the drawer to emphasize the point.

It was around nineteen hours later, at my desk during lunch, when I got that dreaded phone call from the school office. It was the principal. He told me Y-dran was in his office and went on to say how my son was displaying a knife to classmates.

The irony of this situation struck me. I had bought a house and moved across the river, in anticipation of Y-dran’s arrival, and the thought of him being expelled in the first week was not one that I had entertained until this moment.

Making matters worse, when confronted by his teacher about this, Y-dran, thinking he was helping himself, he tried to justify carrying the bladed instrument and claimed it was for self-defense.

In his defense, his citing potential “kidnappers” as a reason to be armed is not completely without cause. In his home country that is something that parents are concerned about given stories of human trafficking and thus part of his own thought process.

However, this explanation was also more incriminating than had he just kept his mouth shut or said he just thought it was a fun thing to play with. Never give away intent like that! /Facepalm

Fortunately, while having a zero-tolerance policy, they didn’t do like they did to a co-worker’s grandson, also a 5th-grader, who was not only expelled from his elementary school but was also fined and had a court date—all for having a knife discovered by other students rifling through his backpack!

Lord have mercy!

The real dilemma for me, after learning that this wasn’t going to be taken further than reprimand and confiscation of the tool (which I told the principal to dispose of rather than hold for me to retrieve), was how to handle this at home.

I wasn’t sure that I should involve his mom or just take him aside and tell him that I would keep his secret so long as it didn’t ever happen again.

Thankfully, returning after work, I didn’t have to decide. Y-dran had already confessed to all believing that I would eventually spill the beans on him anyways.

I really need to teach this kid how to read the room better.

What Have I Learned About Fatherhood?

The first thing I have to come to terms with is that I’ll make mistakes. Right now everything has been so new and uncharted that there is no way for me to map my progress.

He is a handful. He weighs as much as I did when I graduated from high school and has the tenacity of a rabid gorilla too. He just does not stop when he gets going. But then he’s also appropriately gentle with younger children and, despite some wildness, has a great heart underneath it all.

Things have gone relatively well so far.

Still, I keep thinking of the verse:

“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

(Ephesians 6:4 NIV)

The KJV may say it better using the words “provoke not your children to wrath,” but what does this Biblical commandment truly mean in practical terms. Does it mean I give him everything he wants to keep him from being angry or upset? What exactly is the training and instruction of the Lord?

Y-dran can be very persistent. When we’re out shopping he seems to feel entitled to a sugary drink or whatever else he can grab from the shelves. What he does not realize is that this constant pestering, needing to even be in control of what gifts he gets at Christmas, really takes the joy out of giving and makes us less likely to oblige the request.

I suppose there is no systemic or cut-and-dried answer to these things. It isn’t about balancing either. It takes wisdom, and putting them first (that doesn’t come easy), to gain and keep the credibility required to guide a son. Children see our inconsistencies. He will tell me if I look at my cell phone at the table or forget the prayer before we eat. He’ll know if I care about him or not.

Maybe the more important thing is to realize that I don’t know what I’m doing and can only do my best. My success or failure as a parent will not be a product of my perfection. I mean, even if I could check all of the right boxes and make no mistakes, that does not mean he’ll be reasonable or accept that as enough, right?

I’ll try to be consistent, to give him the best opportunities and all the good for him that I am able to do. But, ultimately, I’ll fail as a father if it is all about my own effort. In the end, I can only depend on the grace of God (generous uncles and lenient principals) to even have the slightest chance.  Otherwise, I’m already well over my head without any hope. 

What Does IQ Measure and Why Does This Matter?

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There are many alt-right types who use IQ statistics to distinguish between groups of people, and yet they themselves do not seem to grasp statistics or even understand what IQ actually measures. They suggest their own lack of intelligence through this. And, given that their use of IQ is most often directed at those whom they deem to be inferior races and is what makes them feel superior, this is deliciously ironic.

Yes, certainly IQ does matter. But it matters in the same way that hitting a golf ball and bench pressing do as being a measure of overall athleticism. Sure, it does differentiate natural ability for those with equal training, and yet says very little about the inborn abilities of those coming from vastly different circumstances. In other words, I can out bench many bigger men who never saw a gym. But not because they couldn’t outperform me if they put the same time in. And, likewise, the kind of intelligence that IQ tests measure is built on practice.

So, basically, without a multi-variant analysis, the results of IQ tests tell us very little. A person can score high because they are genetically gifted. They could score high because they had a stable home, good nutrition, and high-quality education. And, like Koreans getting taller on average, lower average IQ today does not mean the same will be true tomorrow or if all circumstances were equal. In fact, IQ tests are increasing generation by generation, this is called the “Flynn Effect” and not necessarily a result of people actually getting smarter than their grandparents.

No, IQ tests tend to focus on a kind of abstract reasoning that has no practical application for prior generations or those who are raised outside of an advanced economic system. My ability to reason through engineering problems may unlock earning potential in a very controlled environment and yet doesn’t mean I would survive a day in the Amazon basin or on the streets of Rio. So this assumption that my test scores prove something about my superiority is basically nonsense.

Sure, not everyone has the mental capacity to solve differential equations. But that doesn’t mean everyone who couldn’t solve them prior to Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz was an idiot.

The really crazy thing about racial supremacist mid-wits (or at least those who I know of European ancestry) is that they will so often make fun of the pointy-headed intellectuals (those who outscore them in IQ while lacking street smarts) only to turn around and use IQ statistics to create a racial pecking order. I mean, if IQ is a reason for some to rule, why do these same people turn to wild conspiracy theories to explain why many Ashkenazi Jews are disproportionately more successful (academically) and in positions of power or influence? Why not just assume they are the next stage of human evolution?

The truth is culture and environment have a large part to play in our development. What is prioritized in homes and communities can make a huge difference in outcomes. If my dad was an attorney and I was sent to a prep school, I would probably be more likely to score higher and go further in pursuit of a professional career. Alternatively, if I was raised in a place where everyone was obsessed with track speed and achieving celebrity status, I doubt I would’ve grown up playing with Legos or visiting various museums with my parents. My own 97th percentile IQ was likely built on experience as much as anything else.

Lastly, it is worth noting that outliers do not tell us a whole lot. Interestingly enough, men are both smarter and dumber than women and this has to do with standard distribution or how the bell curve works. What this means is that there can be more or less diversity within categories. Or, put otherwise, some Kenyans being excellent long-distance runners doesn’t mean all are and this superiority of some Kenyans will tell us even less about those on the other end of the African continent. Too often we look at the cream of the crop (or bad actors) as an indication of the whole and yet group statistics never tell us about individuals.

A Rose By Any Other Name

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It is hard to feel unique in a world of 7.75 billion people.  Due to mass media we are also more aware of this and also now have all of the best in the world there to compare ourselves to.  We see the best athletes, the most beautiful bodies, those with wealth and power day in and day out.

I am insignificant

At the same time, many young people did not have siblings to share the attention of their parents, only were given affirmation in their formative years, a participation trophy for showing up and—special as they are—don’t need to follow rules or ever answer to anyone.  

In other words, we have a generation with deep insecurities, worried about their place in the vast sea of humanity, and then also raised to be self-absorbed narcissists.  

Unlike the past generations, where you could be a big fish in a small pond, yet also needed to learn respect for boundaries and how to share or negotiate with others. 

Unlike the meritocracy of the past, where you needed real accomplishments to earn privileges or praise, we have conditioned young people to believe that their satisfaction should come without sacrifice or effort.

It is very little wonder why so many of them are unfulfilled, dissatisfied with life, and out there seeking cheap distinction.

Distinction—Cheap or Valuable

We all know names like Elon Musk, Serena Williams, or Ron DeSantis.  They are leaders in their realms of popular culture and sport, business or politics.  And we can probably agree that some of their success is an inheritance of genetics, good fortune or the opportunities granted them.

However, what they are doing, like them or not, is producing results and with this are being rewarded for the things they do.  They have outcompeted many, they distinguished themselves by showing up for work and by putting the time in.  It is for that reason their recognition is earned.  They do the things we care about and we make them famous for this unique resume.

Earlier this week I saw a story about Rose Namajunas, a diminutive female UFC fighter with a very big attitude that earned her the nickname “Thug Rose” in school, and how she’s being featured in a Victoria’s Secret ad campaign.  The message “all expressions, no definitions,” with the word “undefinable,” do certainly fit her outsized personality and the mean head kicks she can deliver, all the while being very emotional.

The point a marketing strategy is cynical, it is to tickle ears and encourage more consumption of a particular good or service.  Those who produced this advertising campaign did it trying to target a certain demographic in the hope of profit.  And that target is probably not those who will ever have the same work ethic and skills as Rose, but is those who crave the same notoriety and ‘undefinable’ uniqueness.

We all wish to be significant, to distinguish ourselves from the pack, to be appreciated and loved.  There are many who are looking for a shortcut or feel entitled to these things, they want the same acceptance, recognition and rewards as those at the top.  They buy expensive clothes, the latest smart phones or cars beyond their budget, all trying to gain attention through their appearance rather than actual character.  

There is hard-earned distinction and there is the cheap kind.  There is the content creator who shares of their substance and then the one who destroys things for clicks.  There is the pleasing gift of Abel and that unworthy offering of Cain.  There is that real fulfillment which comes from making contribution and then the imitation that is outwardly prideful, expresses itself loudly, while truly being an envious, bitter and impoverished soul.

Personal Pronouns and No-name Jerseys

Penn State football has a long tradition of not putting the names of players on jerseys and this is to reinforce the notion of selfless team effort over a bunch of individuals only in it for themselves.  

No name, all game

Success on the field and in life depends on our plugging in and sometimes putting aside our own preferences for the good of others.  We can get more done by working together, respecting the established system, rather than demand that everyone makes special accomodations for us.

Yes, there is a time for grievances.  We also should be a reasonable give and take so far as how individuals and the members of the group interact with each other.

And yet this idea that we should rewrite cultural conventions, negotiated over many centuries, simply so some ‘woke’ Karens can have power over others, is not a grievance I can ever honor.  It is not reasonable for a person to decide the pronouns that apply to them or force us to go along with their newly invented categories.  

We don’t need to be Amish, severely limiting individual expression to maintain community cohesion, but we also don’t want to keep on this path of total atomization either.  There’s a reason why the barn raising religion is able to flourish while the rest of us are headed for Babal, confusion and collapse.

Rose By Any Other Name

This morning, pondering how the categories of mental illness are a bit arbitrary and how much I dislike how these labels pigeonhole  people, there was the thought that my given name was the best possible diagnosis of me.  I mean, I’m Joel.  I don’t need a personal pronoun when I already have my own name and identity completely my own.  

Ironically, the same people who want to have new pronouns for themselves also seem to revel in their mental illness as well.  Anything to be different.  It is a sort of humble-brag, a title of distinction of our era, to talk about your PTSD or bi-polar disorder.  If you are the right person, if you can make yourself a part of the right identity group, then your self-declared victimhood will be treated as a virtue.

It goes beyond moral inversion.  People think that you can slap the right label on a person and it will make up for their deficiencies.  If only they were described right, if we would see their pink hair as an accomplishment, then they would love themselves.  Of course, this is a lie, people so into themselves are always a black hole and no amount of love given will fill their deep void.

It is the spirit of those who are content to remain nameless, who get their numbers called for what they do for the whole, that actually matters.  People will know what is great and what is not no matter what label is applied.  I can never forget what W.E.B Du Bois wrote to a student:

Do not at the outset of your career make the all too common error of mistaking names for things. Names are only conventional signs for identifying things. Things are the reality that counts. If a thing is despised, either because of ignorance or because it is despicable, you will not alter matters by changing its name.

The Name “Negro”

We can manipulate and massage language all we want, give people all the fancy titles they wish for, but in the end none of this word play can take away or lend to their value. If you want recognition contribute to the whole and your name will be known. Not to the whole world, but to those helped by your deeds. A rose called by any other name is still a rose.

Going to the Well One Too Many Times

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We had one of the best running backs in the state and had successfully run many toss sweeps during the year—probably a dozen times every game. 

It was the first round of the playoffs, and up against a rival that we had beaten handily earlier in the season.  The O-line dropped into their stance, the quarterback took the snap as our star took his step right, and—oh no!  

A linebacker, who had timed the cadence, anticipated the toss, plucks the ball out of the air, and a few seconds later turned this defensive prowess into six points.  And we never recovered.  We lost.

This is where the expression, “going to the well one too many times,” comes from.  A play can work hundreds of times, it can be the go-to option—until that one time when it becomes too predictable and the other team takes advantage.

Click here for a very similar play, not my own team, but close enough to trigger the bad memories.

Yes, Poles Can Shift

One of the big misunderstandings of current trends there is that they will go on forever.  If one is part of the cult of progress, change is seen as a march forward.  To the traditional there are endless cycles and seasons, the sun goes up and down.  To the cynical, humanity is on a downward trajectory, this slippery slope of social decay and spiral to the collapse of civilization.

In almost every case people expect that the current rules (or roles) can’t be flipped.  The winners today will keep on winning or what worked yesterday will keep on working as it always did—ad infinitum.

But long-term trajectories do change, cycles can be broken, powerful empires faded away into nothing and there have also been those massive breakthrough-type events that have completely changed expectations.  North is North, the compass is true as it always has been, and yet there is evidence that even this magnetic reference can flip.  

Things can go one way for a long time and feel very predictable and unchangeable.  But in one moment some threshold is crossed that upends the well-worn expectations.  The end of the epoch.  A critical mass is reached, the dam is finally breached, and the established paradigm blows up, and is washed away, like the linebacker running with the ball after picking off the toss.

Of course, in retrospect, we all claim to have seen it coming, that the signs were there, but few actually do.  If we did we would have invested better, acted differently, and taken full advantage.

Please Capitulate, Charlie!

In the Peanuts cartoon, there is the infamous football gag.  Lucy tells Charlie that she’ll hold the ball for him to kick and, despite her having tricked him many times before—by pulling the ball away right as he is wound up to kick, he is always fooled again.

Retail investors capitulating to short sellers.

This is how institutions have treated retail investors in the stock market.  In the past, when the market would downturn, the ‘smart money’ would short popular stocks, then spread FUD through hired shills to scare their ignorant counterparts who would then sell at a loss and move on.  When this retail capitulation would finally happen the market would finally be ready for the next cycle.

But now, in the meme stock era, the ‘Apes’ or those who learned from the 2008 crash, now hold, buy the dip, and refuse to sell.  This is not what the hedge funds and big banks had planned when they started to short AMC and GameStop.  They had planned to drive these companies into bankruptcy, and collect on their bets.  Instead, after over a year and a half of price manipulation (FTDs, dark pool abuse, naked shorts) and bashing, the selling has not happened.  This means they need to continue to pay the interest to maintain their short positions.

He’s hoping to wish this into reality…

It is a battle of wills, one retail rallying call being “I can be retarded longer than they can remain solvent,” and retail does control all of the exits in some heavily shorted stocks.  If retail does not throw in the towel, eventually the institutions will run out of new ways to kick the can down the road, they will get margin called and will have to cover.

At this point, retail investors have figured out the game.  They know how bashers are paid to scare them, they know how the price is manipulated, and they’re angry and not going to do what they’re ‘supposed’ to do.  Apes are not leaving.  And, at this point, this is a movement to expose the corruption in the market rather than simply an investment in a company we like.

If you want to be part of this history AMC and the new preferred equity called APE are trading for mere dollars.  You can even get free stocks by opening an account following this link.  This blog is not financial advice and investment is a risk, but we would love to have you as part of the Ape fam.

Maybe the pole shift won’t happen. Maybe Lucy has another trick up her sleeve. The future can’t be predicted. But we can be certain that trends almost always come to an end. Retail investors are no longer as easily fooled. This time Charlie Brown isn’t playing the game as expected.

How to get paid to write?

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I’ve had so many people tell me that I’m a great writer and should be getting paid to do it.  But, thus far, I’ve had no real ideas how to monetize this talent and it can be frustrating at times.  Anyhow, right now, due to some medical bills, it would be nice to be able to earn some extra income and that’s why I’m making this request to share this post.  If enough people do, maybe the right person will find this blog and give me an idea of where to put my abilities to use.  Note, most of what I do here is completely unedited and written on my phone in my spare time.  If I was doing this as a professional I would do more to get the grammar right.  My interests are history, current events, politics, theology, psychology and any practical application of such things.  Maybe I could be someone’s speech writer or do a column? 

Your suggestions are welcomed!  I would really love to hear the personal experiences of writers who get paid.

And, of course, likes and reshares are certainly appreciated!

Real Compassion Vs. Fake Virtue

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It is very common for the the very wealthy and politicians to start foundations for a charity or cause.  This is both a publicity coup and also an opportunity to raise cash under the auspices of a greater good.  But very often it is more cynical than sincere and probably for the tax breaks or as a money laundering scheme more than anything else, in some cases these organizations spend all of their donations on administrative salaries and not the stated mission.

Virtue signaling is a social phenomenon where a person, with a very small actual personal investment or self-sacrifice, can gain a great benefit or standing amongst their peers.  This can include social media activism, yard signs declaring virtue, and any other low effort high reward way that people try to distinguish themselves as better than their neighbors.  It is more often token giving or symbolic compassion, lacking substance, and is something that Jesus encountered and condemned.

Good Samaritan and Poor Widow Versus the Rich Boastful Givers

Most of us are a mixed bag of motivation, we can intend good and yet too often our self-interests corrupt the effort.  The greater problem being that we’re not even ourselves fully aware of our hidden ambitions.  We can easily and do often delude ourselves about our own righteousness compared to others, especially our ideological enemies and truly be more exploitative than those who we would condemn.  The teachings of Jesus are an opportunity for self-reflection, a chance to grow in self-awareness and learn about how true compassion compares to the phony variety and counterfeit virtue.

First, consider the example of a boastful virtue signaler:

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

(Matthew 6:1‭-‬4 NIV)

It is fairly obvious, in this extreme to make the point, that this hypocritical giver is in it for themselves.  They want the attention and good publicity, they desire the honor of their peers, and it isn’t truly about the needy who are receiving the help.

Here’s the genuine article:

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

(Mark 12:41‭-‬44 NIV)

It is nothing for a billionaire to write a million dollar check.  It is nothing for a politician to promise billions from the public treasury as a ‘sacrifice’ for a supposedly just cause.  But, in both cases there is often a big political or social reward for this ‘charitable’ act, it can mean reelection or personal access to even more resources.  But, in this example above, this poor widow put in 100% and got nothing in return—at least not in the short-term.  Her sacrifice is more condemnable and true than those dumping a fraction of their excess.

And then there is the classic case of the good Samaritan:

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

(Luke 10:25‭-‬37 NIV)

Not only was this a great answer to a trap question, but the Samaritans were the low class and looked down ‘deplorables’ of their day who lacked the right pedigree to be the social elites.  The priest and Levite, on the other hand, were the important and looked up to.  They would be the religious bloggers of their day, preaching about the equivalent to social justice or other popular ‘righteous’ things, but made excuses for themselves and looked the other way when their love was tested.

The good Samaritan’s love was genuine.  It was not announced to the world.  It was not only a gesture or incomplete aid.  And, more importantly, he gave completely of his own resources.  There was no GoFundMe or calls for others to see the need and help him to distribute the cost.  Nope.  He saw the need, he dug into his own meager resources, and finished the job without any need of the help, attention or affirmation of others.  Only this poor beaten man knew of his goodness.

The teachings of Jesus are always always about changing us, as individuals, and not the systems of the world.  The priest and Levite, like the unnamed rich man of Luke 16 (who stepped over a poor very sick man on his doorstep, named Lazarus), all had their important things to do.  They were the social elites and responsible people.  In their own minds they had justified their response to the need directly in their paths.

Giving Self-sacrificially Is Christian Love, Forcing Others Give Is Not

Modern Western ‘democracy’ is full of virtue signaling and a favorite thing to do is decry the ‘racism’ of denying entry to the unvetted masses driven to our borders.  It is the one issue where those who call out the “Christian nationalism” of their neighbors suddenly will find Jesus—albeit only to distort and use His words to bludgeon others, like Judas.

Now, before I get too far in, I do believe there are many who do have genuine compassion and care for refugees.  Indeed, it is Christian duty to welcome the stranger and even invite them into our homes.  My grandma was one of these open-handed people.  No, they did not have that much themselves and yet her table was always open to those who needed a warm meal.  This is the charity Jesus was talking about, not a social program.

Politicians will routinely make a display of the vulnerable as a cynical ploy to promote agenda.  It is not out of love, it is simply a way to exploit our pity and silence objections to what is often a cover for a power grab.  It is always “think of the children” when they are the true beneficiaries.  They call for the “rich” to “pay their fair share” while having an abundance themselves.  They may want to change the world and yet should start by changing themselves.

Again, I’m not saying that social activists are not well-intentioned.  And yet I will say that they might not comprehend the costs that they incur on others (some who have less than them) nor fully consider the complexity and consequences.  It is one thing to want to fix climate change or have a world free of borders, but quite another to pay the price for these ambitions.  Many want to ride the compassion bandwagon, few want to be in the mud pushing this load of crocodile tear crying virtue signaling fools.

We have an inversion of Christian morality in the West where now the ‘first’ are demanding the ‘last’ pay for their virtuous acts.  It is our most powerful, wealthy and privileged, who hold the money bag like Judas, demanding that common folk sell all to give to the poor while they keep their private jets, mansions and lavish lifestyle.  The poor now subsidize the ‘compassion’ of the rich and many seem not to see how perverse this really is.

It is bad enough to give only for the attention of others.  But, to guilt, shame or force those with less to subsidize your own altruism and compassion?  That is a whole new level of self-serving, psychopathic and evil.  It was always those confronting Jesus, and His followers, tithing even their spices, going to these extremes impress and try to establish a themselves as better than.  Today it is the same, it is those who proudly preen their love and tolerance who are oftentimes most selfish and cruel under their costumes of righteous.

The Cruelty and Compassion of Martha’s Vineyard 

Border states are being overwhelmed by the flow of unvetted migrants.  But, for the most part, this growing humanitarian crisis has been ignored.  Out of sight is out of mind for most people and this has been the case on our Southern border.  I’m not a big fan of political stunts and yet sometimes to make others aware of an issue does require a little creativity or some coloring outside of the lines to illustrate the point to those in denial or oblivious.

And there was outrage, wild accusations of cruelty, even human trafficking, when Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, provided free airfare for fifty migrants from a nasty red state to a very blue  Martha’s Vineyard.  

For those who do not know, Martha’s Vineyard is a popular hangout for the very wealthy and most privileged—an exclusive enclave where these social elites have their summer homes.  And, yes, ironically, while most of us could only ever get on there real estate as the help, they do have those virtue screaming “all are welcomed” signs.  How this free ride to this liberal “sanctuary city” is cruelty, I’ll never know, but how quickly the new arrivals were deported tells a bit of the true depth of the compassion under their righteous bluster.

Interestingly, the Biden administration has also sent new arrivals to interior cities, less resource rich, and never had been accused of human trafficking or cruelty for this.  But apparently, when you send these people to one of the wealthiest and most privileged enclaves in America, that claims to be a sanctuary city and welcoming of all, it is a terrible crime.  Or, in the eloquent parlance of a “founding member” of an organization to help refugees, this is throwing your “trash” in someone else’s neighborhood:

Cognitive dissonance anyone?

I mean this blurb takes the cake.  The lack of self-awareness to say, let alone publish, such a statement is astounding.  The media has glowed at how these resource rich people fed these asylum seekers for a day, but has yet to speak of the cruelty of these new arrivals being deported from the exclusive island within 24-hours.  Apparently nobody had room in their mansion or second home to provide long-term shelter?

But the whole ordeal is a classic example of what virtue signaling is and how it is vastly different from true compassion.  A virtue signal is all about a person trying to glean the social benefits of holding the correct beliefs or the good deed and requires very little actual sacrifice.  While the cameras rolled, the hot food trays came out and the picture looked very virtuous.  And yet, rather than keep on caring, they literally called up the National Guard and almost immediately offloaded the expense to the taxpayers.  

The people who could afford to build brand new houses for all fifty sent, who could have easily created a place for them in their own community and made real on the “all are welcomed” sign, only had a minor day long inconvenience.  They’ll probably spend more on litigation, against the state of Florida, than they did on this fortunate handful of the thousands pouring into this country every day and overwhelming the resources of border states.  So the compassion is fake, they claim the moral high ground while others shoulder the costs.

Compassion Claimed, Costs Diffused 

Costs don’t matter to the privileged and social elites.  They have never had to pay for anything themselves.  As trust-fund babies or politically connected, they could always snap their fingers and someone else would clean up the mess behind them.  So, yes, of course they will support open borders for us, proclaiming the virtue, and the Levites (story of the good Samaritan) will simply follow their example.  Others bear the cost.

What are the costs?  

Wage suppression.  Old Socialists, in contrast to the wealthy factory owners and industrialists, always wanted strict border controls.  Why?  Well, because a never ending flow of low skill labor takes the feet out from under those trying to bargain for better compensation.  And this is a real problem in the South.  Why hire from the local population, with the legitimate process paperwork, when you could pay half the money to an illegal immigrant, under the table, and they dare not complain?

Another cost is to the local government resources.  A flow of unvetted immigrants, even if most are very good people, is a huge burden and much more than some catered trays brought out for the eyes of the media in New England.  There’s the need for ESL teachers and more classrooms, additional policing, the welfare benefits, and the tab for this is not distributed evenly despite some Federal aid.  And that’s not to even mention the quality of life issues.  No, immigrants aren’t trash and yet they do bring problems with them.  The states in the South are overwhelmed.

But the real cruelty and inhumanity of all this is how much work it is for some to enter this country while others can just jump line and be treated as victims.  While political elites talked about family separations, a necessary precaution to establish the identities of the adults and prevent human trafficking, I could not even travel to be with the child who calls me “daddy” and my love.  As one of those going through this expensive and completely frustrating process, with the trash websites, poor communication and the many tons of requirements, I know.

If you do not have equal love for the MAGA hat wearing ‘deplorable’ that American, living in the rust belt, having to bear the cost of your ideal, then maybe your love isn’t all that real.  True love shoulders the entire cost, it never tells others to make a sacrifice for sake of our own compassion.  We should welcome the stranger, yes, but we must also love our actual neighbors and give our all before asking anything of others.  It is not love to virtue signal, it is just another form of ignorance.

Jesus, Socialist or Capitalist?

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We hear it all of the time, from the political far-left, that Jesus was a Socialist.  While I believe it is mostly a schoolyard taunt, from those who are basically irreligious, the claim itself is worthy to be examined.  Was Jesus, through his focus on the poor, downtrodden and marginalized, basically in agreement with the politics of Karl Marx and the Socialist far-left?  

Was Jesus a Socialist?

There is a valid critique of American love of money and consumerism.  This obsession with material gain is repackaged as the false “health and wealth” Gospel, that is preached by some who could be classified as being Evangelicals, and should be rebuked.  It is also very disturbing when those who profess Christ seem to care more about the bottom line than the welfare of those whom they employ.  All of this goes against the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.

So, in seeing the sins of those who enjoy the prosperity of Capitalism and how there is a lack of care for the poor, as is clearly a part of what Jesus taught, some see Socialism as the solution.  Socialism, using the most basic definition, is redistribution of wealth and could sound a lot like Christian charity to those who only have a few Biblical proof-texts or nominal understanding of the Gospel.

But there are key differences that make it impossible to reconcile true Christianity and Socialism.  Yes, some of the practical ends may be similar, but the means and driving philosophy are entirely opposed.  Here’s an outline of some of the differences:

1) Jesus Yields Power, Socialists Demand It

Jesus, during his temptation, was offered the kingdoms of the world.  He could have taken over all world governments and then installed a redistributive regime, so all the poor had their needs provided and there would finally be justice.  And yet He rejected the offer, and instead Jesus picked the way of the cross and lived the example of self-sacrificial love.  This is a very stark contrast to Socialism, where promoters of this leftist ideology feel entitled to power and will take to the streets to protest and demand what they think they should have.  

Jesus was meek, and this is what He told his followers about those seeking to control others:

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles Lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

(Matthew 20:25‭-‬28 NIV)

Socialists seek political power, and the ability to bend others to their will, but Jesus taught that empowerment comes by giving up our rights and serving others.  

2) Jesus Taught Personal Responsibility, Not Collective Action

Every verse quoted in support of Socialism is directed at the individual.  In other words, when Jesus said “sell all and give to the poor” he was speaking to specific individuals and not endorsing a collective movement to take from others to provide for the poor.  His words are not about creating a system or using state power to compel others.  Socialism, by contrast, is all about coercion and using the power of the collective to force others into compliance.  

Everything Jesus taught is for his followers to do personally, for our own salvation, not so we can go around Lording over and guilt-tripping others:

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

(Matthew 25:34‭-‬40 NIV)

In the passage above there is no mention of what is done on our behalf, instead, it is all about who we invited in, and who we personally provided for and visited.   In Socialism, these tasks are delegated, turned into systems or state programs, and established by force of law.  But in Christianity giving to others is always for us to do voluntarily, as willing individuals, and coordinated by the Church never the secular state.

3) Christianity Is About Community, Not Mandates

Christianity is Communal, a community of faith.  Socialism is about forcing people to give of themselves through taxation and threats.  A community is voluntary, never forced, and the Christian community is centered on the Church rather than the government.  Yes, early Christians gave to help each other, some even had “all things in common,” as we read in Acts.  But this was never a requirement.  The real point is not about money either.  No, according to Jesus, are supposed to leave everything behind in pursuit of Him:

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

(Matthew 19:29‭-‬30 NIV)

Christianity means giving up everything, not just our wealth, to follow after Christ and build His kingdom.  Christianity is about a family of faith, a community centered on Christ.  The welfare state, by contrast, has destroyed families and made many dependent rather than free.  As with the passage above, Christianity is about being ready for eternity, whereas Socialism is all about what we can gain for ourselves in the here and now.

4) Kingdom Focus, Not Utopian Idealism 

The first to distort the point of the Gospel message were the disciples themselves, they had pictured a Messiah that would overthrow their Roman rulers and give them power over their abusers.  They wanted a worldly kingdom and thought they would soon rule over their enemies.  But Jesus subverted all of these national socialist ambitions.  He wasn’t there to eliminate poverty, or to challenge the political and economic regime, but rather there to point people toward true worship:

While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples [led by Judas according to the Gospel of John] saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

(Matthew 26:6‭-‬13 NIV)

Socialism is humanist.  It is motivated by this desire to create a perfect world through the use of political power.  But Jesus said that poverty can’t be eliminated and he rejected the utilitarian impulses of the disciples (led by the thief named Judas) who had twisted the teachings of Jesus about giving to the poor.  Jesus answered their indignation over waste by recentering on worship.  Our giving is to point people to God.  Socialists, on the other hand, worship the state.

5) Socialism Is Motivated by Envy, Christianity by Love

The most valid claim against Capitalism is that it is all about money and greed.  People present Socialism as being an alternative and yet it really is only a different form of the same thing.  Socialism is about power and envy, as much as Capitalism is about self-interest.  But, unlike Capitalism, where the means of production are attained by work or negotiation, Socialism is always maintained through the use of coercion and force.  So, although the rich Capitalist may be guilty of many sins, it is a corruption of the free market to take from others by deception or fraud, whereas you can’t have Socialism without manipulations and violence.

A person can own Capital and be Christian, but they can’t be full of jealousy, envy, or judgment towards others:

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

(Galatians 5:19‭-‬21 NIV)

Sure, like Judas who hid his true motivation under concern for the poor, Socialists are very skilled at selling their own desire for the things others have as a virtue.  But the reality is that it is not our job to decide who else is greedy or has too much, as St Paul asks his readers, “who are we to judge another man’s servant?”  Judgment is for God.  Which is what was so terribly wrong with how Judas had used the words of Jesus as a way to condemn and he used them to condemn a woman more righteous than he was.

Capitalism isn’t Christian. However, property rights are, as is workers keeping the wages they’ve earned and this protection of private wealth is what the commandment against theft is about. Sure, it is the job of a Christian to give to the poor and needy, but profit for labor is not greed nor is it a sin for one person to have more than others do. Socialism, on the other hand, is incompatible. Yes, a Christian can live as a slave to the secular state, but it is not Christian to use government power to compel people to give their property to you to redistribute.

The Difference Is Direction

The left confuses Christian compassion for the poor with a political system.  This could be cynical, simply to persuade the nominal Christians to their side or it could be entirely genuine.  Either way, despite this similar starting point as Christianity, Socialism is headed in a completely opposite direction and is all about worldly power rather than the love of Jesus that transcends.

Jesus was not Capitalist or Socialist, he was none of the above, apolitical, and all about building a kingdom that is not of this world.  Trying to pigeonhole Jesus as a Socialist entirely misses the point of the Gospel.  Jesus, while tempted to overthrow the oppressor, did not choose to do this.  He picked love instead, to love even the Romans, and this was to reject the Zealots, like Judas, who were motivated by the dream of having political power in their own hands.

It is the direction or orientation of Socialism that is wrong.  Christianity teaches us to care for the poor, yes, but Jesus also said we must love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. That is revolutionary, but in a completely different way from the divisive power and social order-obsessed philosophy of Marx and Engles. Christianity is about bridging gaps through voluntary self-sacrifice and forgiveness, Socialism widens gaps and always stirs conflict for the gain of some over others.

Christianity is about pointing people to a heavenly kingdom, where money and power don’t matter anymore, therefore we give voluntarily to show people this alternative. Socialism is completely focused on this world only and fighting over who should rule who. But Christianity is about laying down our lives and investing in something greater than politics, power, or privilege. One is heading towards the lowest common denominator, taking what we can, while the other is giving all and aiming to transcend all.

Do you *really* want a life without conflict?

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Thinking, as I’m sipping my coffee at Dunkin, a Saturday habit, we build civilization as part of the urge to reduce variables and the effort of living.  The thought started during my pre-waking slumber: We work, build shelters and store resources, create complex networks, to try to decrease unpredictability and the end result is that I don’t need to worry about my source of caffeine.

This orderly environment we create is ideal for raising children.  It is a nest.  Or at least at some levels.  Where we, like birds, weave a structure out of chaos in order to keep our offspring safe from predators and ourselves protected a world that can be unkind to the unprepared.  Squirrels scurry around, in the fall, gathering up things to keep for food over the hard winter months.  Our own species, likewise, is as instinctively forward thinking and creates systems to ease the strain.

The human endeavor, towards these ends of producing stability and abundance, has been so successful that many can go their entire lives not appreciating it. 

We’re so well-off, in the developed world, that our impoverished are obese rather than hungry and many now think that healthcare (a service provided by others) is a right.  we live in such unprecedented luxury and ease, even the poor can afford a lifestyle that many ancient kings would envy and yet feel so entitled to everything that we will shoot up the McDonald’s drive thru if we can’t get our bacon:

Evidently, being in civilization doesn’t make someone civilized.

Anyhow, other than entitlement and lack of appreciation, another product of civilization is boredom and fat.  In the absence of wars we created sport and without hard work, to keep from physical deterioration, we go to the gym.  It is truly bizarre, when you think about it, that we go out and seek the very anxieties that our ancestors built civilization to escape.  We are adrenaline junkies, doing intentionally dangerous things for the fix, we want to have unpredictable outcomes.

All of this really does make everything about our existence a weird paradox.  As soon we achieve a little bit of stability and peace we become restless.  That’s what convinces me that we are as much nature, made for the world we are in, as we are not.  That feeling that we somehow do not belong in this place with death and sorrow is what has motivated our progress.  It is less about our own being otherworldly and more what has enabled us to survive this universe that would kill us the moment we grew complacent.

This, incidentally, is the one thing that many people do not grasp about entropy, we tend to see decay and deterioration as being only a bad thing.  I mean, we fight it.  If someone walks into the house with muddy boots it is upsetting and spurs action.  But, without this tendency to disorder, without this repeated need to clean up on aisle five, would we even have a reason to live?  As much as we hate disorder, it is this continual struggle against it that gives us meaning and purpose.