Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

Posts Tagged ‘“Deep thoughts” or something’


Posted by Lissa on February 18, 2010

Apparently Rosie “First time fire melted steel” O’Donnell and Janeane “That is nothing but a bunch of teabagging rednecks” Garofalo had a little chat the other day.  It was about as lovely as you’d expect, but this is the part that caught my eye:

GAROFALO: But here’s another thing with the type of mindset, like, like, I keep saying rightwinger, I don’t know what else to call it. A person that lacks empathy…Karl Rove, Frank Luntz, the guy who comes up with the talking points at these meetings. Grover Norquist. They have no shame. You can’t embarrass them. They have no problem, and they know that they, who they’re lying to. The base if you will. It need not be given facts, need not be fair-minded or open-minded to anything. And you, when you talk that way to people, the way Rush talks to people, the way he lies to people, you can’t have respect for him. You couldn’t possibly respect who’s listening to you if you lied to them the way that they do. They use these people as a blunt instrument.

“Truth”, to Janeane, is apparently what is agreed-upon between her and Rosie O’Donnell.  Anything that Rush Limbaugh, Brit Hume, Greta van Susteren, etc. says is not “truth” and is a lie.

A mindset like that nicely excuses the listener from ever watching, let alone researching, the hated Fox News.  Or really to any opposing viewpoint.  Why bother to listen when you already “know” the opposing viewpoint is lying?

It made me think of this fairly well-known Carl Sagan quote:

“A fire-breathing dragon lives in my garage.”

Suppose … I seriously make such an assertion to you. Surely you’d want to check it out, see for yourself….

“Show me,” you say. I lead you to my garage. You look inside and see a ladder, empty paint cans, an old tricycle—but no dragon.

“Where’s the dragon?” you ask.

“Oh, she’s right here,” I reply, waving vaguely. “I neglected to mention that she’s an invisible dragon.”

You propose spreading flour on the floor of the garage to capture the dragon’s footprints.

“Good idea,” I say, “but this dragon floats in the air.”

Then you’ll use an infrared sensor to detect the invisible fire.

“Good idea, but the invisible fire is also heatless.”

You’ll spray-paint the dragon and make her visible.

“Good idea, except she’s an incorporeal dragon and the paint won’t stick.”

And so on. I counter every physical test you propose with a special explanation of why it won’t work.

Now, what’s the difference between an invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon who spits heatless fire and no dragon at all? If there’s no way to disprove my contention, no conceivable experiment that would count against it, what does it mean to say that my dragon exists? Your inability to invalidate my hypothesis is not at all the same thing as proving it is true. Claims that cannot be tested, assertions immune to disproof are veridically worthless, whatever value they may have in inspiring us or in exciting our sense of wonder. What I’m asking you do comes down to believing, in the absence of evidence, on my say-so.

The only thing you’ve really learned from my insistence that there’s a dragon in my garage is that something funny is going on inside my head. You’d wonder, if no physical tests apply, what convinced me. The possibility that it was a dream or a hallucination would certainly enter your mind. But then why am I taking it so seriously? Maybe I need help. At the least, maybe I’ve seriously underestimated human fallibility….

Now another scenario: Suppose it’s not just me. Suppose that several people of your acquaintance, including people who you’re pretty sure don’t know each other, all tell you they have dragons in their garages—but in every case the evidence is maddeningly elusive. All of us admit we’re disturbed at being gripped by so odd a conviction so ill-supported by the physical evidence. None of us is a lunatic. We speculate about what it would mean if invisible dragons were really hiding out in garages all over the world, with us humans just catching on. I’d rather it not be true, I tell you. But maybe all those ancient European and Chinese myths about dragons weren’t myths after all…

Gratifyingly, some dragon-size footprints in the flour are now reported. But they’re never made when a skeptic is looking. An alternative explanation presents itself: On close examination it seems clear that the footprints could have been faked. Another dragon enthusiast shows up with a burnt finger and attributes it to a rare physical manifestation of the dragon’s fiery breath. But again, other possibilities exist. We understand that there are other ways to burn fingers besides the breath of invisible dragons. Such “evidence”—no matter how important the dragon advocates consider it—is far from compelling. Once again, the only sensible approach is tentatively to reject the dragon hypothesis, to be open to future data, and to wonder what the cause might be that so many apparently sane and sober people share the same strange delusion.

If you firmly believe in the fire-breathing dragon, what would it take for you to seriously consider that the dragon may not be there?

If you firmly believe the opposing viewpoint is nothing but lies, what would it take for you to seriously consider that they might be considering the same facts as you, just coming to a different conclusion?

It was the war in Afghanistan that did it for me.  Body counts were simple enough to be widely predicted before and during the invasion and easily fact-checked some years later.  It was pretty clear that the doomsday prophecies by the media didn’t come true (at least not back then; there’s still room for disaster).  That was enough to snap me out of the comfortable assumption that everyone who disagreed with me was lying.

What would it take for Rosie and Janeane?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 7 Comments »

Private property versus rights of a business

Posted by Lissa on February 11, 2010

We had some fascinating discussion here about the rights of an individual versus the rights of a business owner versus the rights of a customer.

My basic rule-of-thumb is that my rights end where your rights and property begin.  As long as you are on your own land, and everyone involved is a functional and consenting adult, I’ve no right to tell you what to do or not to do.  (There are obviously some limits I’d like to set there — I don’t care if both parties consent, you shouldn’t be allowed to beat someone else to death — but that’s a post for another day.)

However, it gets more complicated with businesses.  Do we assume that business owners agree to a certain level of duty towards the state when they become incorporated?  Does that stamp of © mean that, for example, you agree to eschew discrimination?

Should it?

Should hair dressers be allowed to specifically cater to one particular demographic?  There are big textural differences between stereotypical “black” hair and, say, my hair.  That’s not racism, that’s just a fact.  (I know this because black friends in college complained how hard it was to find someone local who knew how to style their hair.  If you’re curious.)  Should someone who wants to specialize in styling black people’s hair be forced to also service any white person who walked through their door?  Yeah, probably . . .

Well, what about barber shops?  Should a shop that keeps only clippers and a flowbee be forced to serve me if I come to their door, despite the fact that they manifestly do not have the tools to attack my mane?

Let’s make it even harder, shall we?  How about a Christian photographer sued for refusing to provide services to a lesbian wedding?  Or, hell, how about a conscience exemption to a law requiring provision of emergency contraceptive service?  Or, to go the other way, how about taxi drivers refusing to provide service to blind folks or people carrying alcohol*?

Now, if I were Queen of the Universe, I would decree:

Get the government out of it and let the market and the internet have its way.  The photographer might get some extra business from folks who are opposed to same-sex marriage but lose some business to those who are in favor.  The doctors and nurses who can’t provide the full range of medical services may get paid less than those who can.  The taxi drivers will get driven out of business by other taxi companies that don’t mind puppies and liquor.  Throw in the power of the internet, and it will all happen better and faster, without new laws, bureaucracy or interfering government.  Behold the Queen of the Universe!

And, because I’d be Queen of the Universe, it would all happen exactly like that.  The free market and the goodness of properly informed people would punish and reward exactly as deserved.

Unfortunately, I’m not Queen of the Universe.  And, thus, it’s time for me to get off my winter-fattened rear end and march off to the gym.


What do y’all think?

*When I say “the other way,” I mean it’s because my sympathies flip to the people being denied the service, rather than the providers.  I mean seriously — puppies.  Blind people.  Booze. The only way they’d be more sympathetic would be if they were actively farting rainbows.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | 8 Comments »

A challenging and very rewarding concert

Posted by Lissa on December 8, 2009

I love Christmas concerts.  I love the beautiful, soaring melodies of Mendelssohn, the lilting prettiness of Berlioz, and the triumphant celebration of Handel.  I love the procession down the aisle and the sing-alongs with the audience.  I love that the solemn and/or celebratory nature of the music is as accessible to an agnostic like myself as it is to a devout Christian.  I love that Christmas music is . . . . comprehensible?  approachable? to the average Joe off the street; you don’t have to understand major versus minor or tritones or counterpoint to enjoy the carols.

And that last bit opens the way for non-traditional concerts.

Last night my choir continued its 25-year tradition and performed a mini-Christmas concert at a well-known school catering to blind people.  We had their choir of fifteen singers, mostly teenagers, join us onstage for a carol written by their music director, and to sing a Spanish Christmas carol of their own.

It’s not every concert that has a five-minute break so that designated choir members can descend from the stage and assist the school singers up the stairs.  I learned from my charge, a sweet and friendly girl named Boyana, that I’m supposed to let her grab my elbow, rather than my taking her hand.

It’s not every concert that you have constant audience, er, participation.  I was pleased that it didn’t bother anyone one bit; we kept singing and smiling without missing a beat.  No one cared how loud the outbursts became.  It wasn’t important.

It’s not every concert that you’re humbled and honored to perform with some of the nicest kids I’ve ever met, singing for an extremely appreciative and complimentary audience.

I am reminded anew how lucky I am.  I’m so grateful for my body’s health and the health of my family. I’m thankful that I can negotiate stairs and buses under my own power.  I’m happy that I can hear music, taste coffee, feel kitty fur, and smell the roses.

And I’m grateful for the lesson in grace I received yesterday.

Into each life some rain must fall.  When it does – I hope like hell I react with as much dignity and grace as the folks I met yesterday.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Meditations on self defense

Posted by Lissa on November 17, 2009

If a goblin broke into your house, set off the burglar alarm, and was holding you at knife-point, what would you expect the police to do?

You would expect them to drive over, show up, and talk the goblin into surrendering, right?

And if the goblin didn’t give up?  If he steadfastly held a knife to your throat and promised to kill you if the police did not retreat . . . you would expect the police to shoot to kill, would you not?  Certainly, you would expect them to be WILLING to do that, no?

So . . . you expect a total stranger to realize that you are in trouble, drive across town, correctly analyze the situation, and shoot to kill from across the room/house/yard, just because s/he signed on for a job that pays perhaps $50K per year.

But it is UNTHINKABLE that you would do the job yourself.  (Around here, at least, it’s more or less unthinkable.)

You, who are already on the scene, who can very clearly identify which human in the scrum is the victim (that’s you) and which human on the scene is the goblin (that’s the one who wants to rob/beat/kill/rape you) expect a stranger to come from a distance to defend you, because you have no tools to do so yourself.*

Doesn’t this seem a little . . . irresponsible?  Short-sighted?  Foolhardy?

I spoke with a police officer in the Charlotte airport last weekend.  Among other conversational bits, he gruffly declared that the motto on police cars — Protect and serve — would more accurately be stated as We can’t protect you, but we’ll show up after the damage is done and try to avenge you.

Don’t get me wrong — I believe that being a police officer is a tough, grueling, sometimes deadly job.  I highly admire the dedicated professionals who serve their society as such.

I just don’t expect them to be at my house at the very moment I need them most.

Because, you know, telepathy and teleportation aren’t really where it’s at.

And oh, by the way . . . that situation I described above is highly undesirable from the goblin’s point of view.  It’s much nicer for the goblin if you are quickly robbed/beaten/killed/raped and the beast can disappear from the scene BEFORE the police show up . . .

*Of course, a firearm is not the only tool to defend yourself.  There are knives, clubs, baseball bats, teeth and claws available.  It’s just that a firearm is most certainly the most EFFECTIVE tool to defend yourself, especially against an attacker who is much larger than you and/or may have brought his goblin buddies.

H/T to Brigid by way of Jay — that’s what got me thinking.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 9 Comments »

Why the emphasis on “the dark side”?

Posted by Lissa on November 5, 2009

Someone asked me yesterday why I keep referencing the fact that I was a liberal and now I’m not.

Why, she asked, do you need to keep repeating that?  Why continually talk about going over to “the dark side”?

I thought about it.  Why DO I keep referencing my former days as a liberal?  Why not just state what I think NOW, and why, and leave it at that?

I muddled over it and came up with a few explanations:

1) Desire to define myself in opposition. Mike habitually rejects labels like Republican, conservative etc.; he’s more likely to look at the crazier liberal/Democrat initiatives or politicians and say, “Well, I know I’m not THAT.”  Perhaps I’m doing the same.

2) Desire to assure readers that “some of my best friends are liberals.” Only instead of “some of my best friends,” it’s “I was a liberal.”  One of the more common complaints for conservatives/Republicans/anti-statists is that liberals don’t just think we’re wrong, they think we’re evil. Since I held very different views in the past than I hold now, how I can I think that folks who currently hold my prior views are evil?  I don’t, anymore than I was evil for holding those views.  Which leads into. . .

3) Desire to assure readers that I don’t take things too seriously. I have some readers who stop by just for the kitty pix, and who think that all the stuff I write about politics and guns is flat-out wrong, if not plain crazy.  I’m okay with that.  I use the tongue-in-cheek references about going over to the dark side to wryly acknowledge that some folks think I’m nuts.  And who knows?  I might be.  *grin*

4) Desire to make it easier for disagreeing folks to dismiss me. This would be an unhappy tendency, but I think it does exist.  I don’t go seeking out conflict in my real life; the opinions I state in plain black and white here I wouldn’t say out loud in most common gatherings.  When I do end up in political discussions, I usually end up saying to the effect of, ‘Well, I feel differently, I think XYZ, but that’s just me (shrug).”  I have friends who disagree entirely with an anti-statist/conservative/whatever-you-call-it viewpoint, and I don’t want politics to interrupt our friendship; I’d rather laughingly call myself an “evil conservative” and brush it off, then get into a serious discussion of why I think what I do.  (Is this the coward’s way out?  Do I not want to make them uncomfortable, or am I afraid that I couldn’t effectively argue my views?  Hmmm.)

So . . . . I think all the reasons stated above hold true to some extent.  Would my writing be more effective if I left out the “I used to think X” part and just stated “I think Z and here’s why”?

I’d give you a definitive answer, but, well, only half a mug of coffee’s gone down my gullet.  Takes more than that to get a definitive answer from an evil conservative 😉  BWAHAHAHA!!!!!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

Thoughts on “hate crimes”

Posted by Lissa on November 3, 2009

“Hate crimes” —  yet another area where I’ve changed my opinion as a result of migration to The Dark Side.

Ten years ago I was in favor of hate crime legislation.  My young, dewy-eyed self earnestly wished to protect “victimized” groups such as gays, bisexuals, people of color, etc.  I thought that members of such a group were endangered simply by who they were, and therefore deserved an extra measure of protection from a society that had failed them.

As you can tell, I see things differently now.  I think that hate crimes legislation creates favored groups, the members of which are placed above the ordinary members of society.  Why is it worse to sucker-punch a black man than to sucker-punch a white man?  Why is it more evil to rape a lesbian than a heterosexual woman?

Why is more evil to beat up a fat woman than to beat up a skinny woman?

Tell me how, exactly, the victim was “discriminated against” for being fat.  Some poor excuse for a woman beat up Marsha Coupe while screaming “Fattie.”  True, I didn’t see that the perp was arrested and charged, but do you really think that has anything to do with Ms. Coupe’s size?  Or do you think there’s a rampant culture of thuggery in which bullies do not get punished?  (Or at least, they rarely get punished, and then whine about it.)

Furthermore, how does one tell if the perpetrator did so with “hate” in his/her heart, foremost?  What if she did it out of rage?  Out of depression?  Out of greed, or lust?  Out of laziness in selecting what looked like an easy victim?  Would it be less of a crime if the perp screamed “Gimme your wallet!” while beating Ms. Coupe?

True, we do try to divine intent when a crime is committed, but that is to differentiate between accidental and non-accidental incidents.  A woman who accidentally hits her neighbor with a car is very different from a woman who has studied the neighbor’s habits, has a schedule of his entry and exit from work, and who trailed him for three blocks before making contact.

So there are my thoughts on my subject.  It boils down to this:

Why is my life and person less worthy of protection than someone with darker skin or a different sexual orientation?

(Breda had similar thoughts)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »


Posted by Lissa on October 12, 2009

I’ve been struggling lately with the idea of Responsibility.

When people are not held responsible for their actions, it leads to their taking more irresponsible actions.  Whether it’s moral hazard (folks with insurance behaving more recklessly than those who have none) or simply being Too Big To Fail, allowing people to escape the inevitable rules of Action-Consequence subsidizes the feckless at the expense of the cautious.

So, great, adults should be held accountable for what they do and don’t do, and a safety net should not turn into a safety blanket.  Simple enough.

But what about their kids?

Children don’t have control over their situation nor the actions of their parents.  Is it fair to let children go hungry or without adequate medical care because their parents are too irresponsible to care for them?

On the other hand — is it fair to rob Peter to pay for Paul’s kids, especially when Peter *was* responsible enough to care for his offspring?  If it’s taking money from Peter that he intended for his kids’ college educations, his grandchild’s baptism, whatever?

One of the inescapable rules of economics is that if you subsidize something, you will get more of it.

How do you provide a lifeline for a family like Paul’s without encouraging more parents to behave like Paul?  How do you provide care for children who deserve it — having done nothing wrong themselves except be born to *ssh*les, which is hardly their fault — without having more adults assume it’s someone else’s job to provide for their kids?

I’m groping for a solution here, but all I’m coming up with is social stigma — providing that care to children of feckless parents, but emphasizing the idea that it’s shameful to be on the public dole.  Of course, for all I know, raising kids with that idea — that their parents failed their responsibility test and their children should see that — would screw up the poor kids to the point that they’d all end up on welfare or be gang-bangers.  Goodness knows I’m not a sociologist and haven’t done the studies.

But suddenly the culture wars don’t seem nearly as silly to me as they did when I was growing up.

I shall end my rambling here and ruminate further.  Tell me — do you have clear thoughts that can help untangle the jumble of my own?

UPDATE:  Jay G links.  Thanks!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | 11 Comments »

Universal health care

Posted by Lissa on September 18, 2009

This comment at a Miss Kitty post got me thinking . . .

She is a pediatric home care nurse, so she sees some pretty extreme cases of birth defects and the like. She also deals with families who have been bankrupted (or nearly so) by the medical bills of their children, some of which have no hopes of never liveing [sic] to see the age of 10.

Some of the things she talks about almost break my heart, but in the same thought I wonder, how can you be anti-choice and anti-public health care when you see what you see? I don’t doubt her compassion, or her skill as a nurse, but I don’t understand how she can hold the political/social views she does doing what she does. I wonder how your students plan to deal with that?

To me, it’s rather easy.  I’m anti-public health care because I think universal health care will make things worse, not better.

“Health care” is not a magical substance.  It costs money to produce and money to administer.  When the government tries to break down the “artificial” barrier of Do you have enough money to pay for the things you want, it doesn’t magically grow the pool of health care available.

Pediatric nurses need to get paid.  MRI machines cost money to produce.  Hospitals need electricity to run.

So — having determined that the system takes money to function, why is it unreasonable to require money from people who want use of the system?

Now of course I don’t like stories of families bankrupted by medical care.  But I don’t think that government health care will give better health care to more people. I think it will lead to limitation of those [life-saving] expensive medical treatment to a favored few.

There will NEVER be enough of the best medicine to go around.  Never.  To quote the great Sowell:

“The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it.
The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.”

It’s easy to look at a family that is financially broken by caring for a child and feel pity.  No children should be fatally ill.  No family should be destroyed because a child got leukemia.  There but for the grace of God go I, and all that.

But rather than have the government try to administer a limited pool of health care goods without a) going broke, b) messing with the medical marketplace such that R&D folks no longer have good enough incentives to invent new drugs/practices etc., c) running the whole thing with the efficiency of FEMA and the compassion of the IRS (thanks TOTWTYTR!), I think there are other ways to improve the system.  The solutions laid out by the Whole Foods guy seem like a dandy place to start.

A health care system run by money is sort of like democracy — it sucks.  Morally, no one should die because they didn’t have enough money to pay for treatment.  I get that.

But it beats a system where access to care is determined by bureaucracy.

P.S. Health care is not a “human right” because it requires the labor of other people.  If your doctor doesn’t want to see you, you have no right to REQUIRE that s/he do so.  If doctors want to quit or retire — and it seems like they might — then the health care disappears unless you force them to provide care.  Last I checked, slavery went out of vogue a long time ago.  (I’ve seen that thought expressed in a number of different posts, I don’t claim to be the original thinker on this point.)

P.P.S.  I think medical privacy is important.  I don’t want the government to get NEAR my health records, let alone “may investigate the affairs of a Gateway, may examine the properties and records of a Gateway, and may require periodical reports in relation to activities undertaken by a Gateway.  A Gateway shall fully cooperate in any investigation conducted under this paragraph.

P.P.P.S.  Wish I had time to refine this post — it’s sort of unwieldy and rambling — but y’all don’t want me to be late to work, do you?

UPDATE:  TOTWTYTR links, and says far nicer things than I deserve.  Thanks!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | 5 Comments »

When my convictions waver

Posted by Lissa on September 10, 2009

As I’ve consistently said . . .  okay, sorry, that was a bad way to start, wasn’t it?  Let me be clear . . . I didn’t mean to make you hurl this early in the morning.  😉

Starting over — I’ve said before that I have no trouble understanding the liberal mindset.  After all, I spent many years believing that more governmental assistance — read “interference” — could solve every problem.  Needless to say, I no longer feel that way.

But every once in a while, I get that emotional twinge.

I was riding the T the other day and found myself in the company of a large group of young women.  Talking in very loud voices, they discussed friends of theirs who had grills.  No, not the kind to cook hamburgers, the kind where you put frickin’ metals and rocks in your mouth.  They knew a girl named Rosa who had an actual diamond in her teeth, and spoke of her admiringly.

Now, there’s always a chance that first impressions are completely deceiving.  Perhaps these young women were on their way to an after-school study session where they would learn to properly diagram sentences and to conjugate in Latin (two things I never mastered).  Perhaps they have a smooth path ahead of them as they go off to college and then get a job that has nothing to do with anything they learned or discussed in college (as I did).

But I don’t think so.

The liberal says, “Look at these girls!  They have no hope, no future.  They have no chance of getting a white-collar job or even a pink-collar job.  All they have to look forward to is a McJob, and that’s on the rosy side of the scenario.  Something has to be done! We can’t just abandon these kids!  We’ve failed them and we need to fix them!”  It’s an emotional gut-punch that I still feel.

The conservative takes a deep breath and says, “Yes, many systems have failed these young women, first and foremost the parents.  Sadly, no amount of government intervention can make parents care about educating their kids, can make them keep books around the house and follow-up on school projects and homework.  As far as the school system goes, yeah, it’s probably terrible, but this district spends more for worse results than the rest of the county and the state.  If you really want to help these girls, making teachers accountable for their students’ performance and giving them vouchers so that they can choose their school would be a good step.  Before you take more of my money to pour into a program to help young women, you need to show me how 1) there aren’t other programs designed to do the same thing, and 2) a program like yours hasn’t been tried with disappointing results completely unable to justify the amount spent.”

In the meantime, maybe the girls can go get a ruby grill.

Statists think anti-statists don’t care about the poor and the disadvantaged, but I don’t think that’s it.  Anti-statists don’t think that a government solution will WORK.  Certainly it won’t work as efficiently as any private charity would.

Which makes me wish I could start my own private charity.

I’d call it In loco parentisAll the things your parents never taught you. I’d make my sister quit her job and run the place; I’ve long said that everyone needs a Jenny!  ILP would be a center where you could learn about the value of a retirement account, why you should buy basic health insurance, why you shouldn’t buy a house you can’t afford, how to haggle with used-car salesmen, how to evaluate academic programs such that you get the most bang for your buck, and other life-tools needed for self-sufficiency.  I’d fund it completely with private donations and I’d get it staffed completely by volunteers willing to teach a class once a week or every other week.  My volunteers wouldn’t need to be Ph.D’s, they’d just need to be adults who can teach the lessons about becoming an adult, rather than a perpetual adolescent.

What do you think?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

The Church of Government

Posted by Lissa on June 11, 2009

I mulled these thoughts over with Mike last night . . .

I read a snarky post yesterday asking that, if Obama is “sort of god,” does that mean we can just tithe our income?

It got me to thinking about a long-ago brush with the Mormon church.

Some fifteen years ago I met one of the only Mormons that have crossed my path.  She was a single mother and received financial assistance from the church to help make her way.  It was explained to me that all members of the Mormon Church had to give ten percent of their income to belong, as well as the tidbit that the guy in charge of Marriott hotels was a member.  Even my young ignorant tween-self knew that that one tithe would amount to a goodly chunk of funding.

My thirteen-year-old self thought, “How utterly stupid!  Why would you join a church that demanded to take 10% of your income?  That, AND it tells you how to live and preaches at you all moralistically?  Ridiculous!”*

And yet . . . how much MORE ridiculous is it to worship at the Church of Government?

Think about it.  Like the Mormon church, the government has decided that one of its functions is to cater to the poor and the needy.  Like the church, the government concerns itself with your behaviors and your well-being.  Like the church, the government seeks to shape your thoughts and beliefs. 

But unlike the Mormon church, you don’t join of your own free will.  There’s no such thing as a happy atheist when it comes to the church of the government.

While the Mormon church would rebuke you if you broke its rules – if you refused to tithe, for example – the government can throw you in jail. 

Oh, and the government?  Unlike the Mormon church, they take a lot more than ten percent.

I wonder if that’s an analogy that would make sense to pro-statists. 

I feel that I am being forced to join a church.  They dictate what I should think is good (welfare, affirmative action, the death of capitalism, restrictions on firearm ownership, political correctness, cronyism, the active role of government in marriage, pork projects) and use my quadru-tithe to accomplish these aims.  They want to regulate everything from my consumption of trans-fats to the source of illumination in my house.  I did not choose this church and yet I must live by its rules and pay my tithe regardless.

As always, do note – I’m not an anarchist.  I argue for smaller government, not a complete lack of government.  But I find it interesting that folks who would never accept this level of meddling if it wore the name religion have no problem doing so if it’s called government.


*Let me be clear that I am not knocking the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  I don’t know anything about it.  I leave it alone and it leaves me alone and that suits us both just fine.  Even if I *do* end up going to hell for it.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 5 Comments »