Friday, October 30, 2020

Live Not by Lies, Excerpt

 "Television cameras are ubiquitous on Chinese streets, recording the daily comings and goings of the nation's people. Beijing's software is so advanced that it can easily check facial scans against the central security database. If a citizen enters an area forbidden to him--a church, say--or even if a person is merely walking in the opposite direction of a crowd, the system automatically records it and alerts the police.

"In theory, police don't have to show up at the suspect's door to make him pay for his disobedience. China's social credit system automatically tracks the words and actions, online and off, of every Chinese citizen, and grants rewards or demerits based on obedience. A Chinese who does something socially positive--helping an elderly neighbor with a chore, or listening to a speech of leader Xi Jinping--receives points toward a higher social credit score. On the other hand, one who does something negative--letting his or her dog poop on the sidewalk, for example, or making a snarky comment on social media--suffers a social credit downgrade.

"Because digital life, including commercial transactions, is automatically monitored, Chinese with high social credit ratings gain privileges. Those with lower scores find daily life harder. They aren't allowed to buy high-speed train tickets or take flights. Doors close to certain restaurants. Their children may not be allowed to go to college. They may lose their job and have a difficult time finding a new one. And a social credit scofflaw will find himself isolated, as the algorithmic system downgrades those who are connected to the offender."

    --Live Not by Lies: A Manuel for Christian Dissidents, by Rob Dreher


Open Doors USA found a number of "[g]overnments using artificial intelligence systems to monitor citizens and keep them in line."

https://www.foxnews.com/faith-values/christian-china-persecution-2020-watchlist


More on Christian persecution in China:

https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2020/08/10/the-attempted-shutdown-of-chinas-christians/

https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/cwn/2020/april/china-rsquo-s-people-of-faith-canaries-in-xi-jinping-rsquo-s-coal-mine

https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/cwn/2020/august/religious-persecution-by-chinas-communist-party-intensifies-christians-say-we-wont-agree-to-these-requirements




The Chinese Communist Murder of John Birch 75 Years Later

https://thenewamerican.com/magazine/tna3615/page/66212

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Each One of Us Has a Duty

"When I say to the wicked, 'You wicked, you must die,' and you do not speak up to warn the wicked about their ways, they shall die in their sins, but I will hold you responsible for their blood. If, however, you warn the wicked to turn from their ways, but they do not, then they shall die in their sins, but you shall save your life." -Ezekiel 33:8-9

***

Many of us are considering the idea of "Civil Disobedience," and to what extent it applies to our current situation. In Thoreau's essay of this name, he argues that Right and Wrong, Good and Evil, are more important than Legal and Illegal, and that it can be our duty to break laws when they are unjust. Thoreau refused to support a government waging an unjust war, and was jailed. The Founding Fathers refused to pay taxes without representation, and this led to the Revolutionary War. The early Christians refused to sacrifice to Roman Gods, and many were tortured and killed as martyrs. The word "martyr" we should remember, means "witness to the truth."

We are all called to bear witness to the truth every day of our lives. Usually this happens in small ways. Do we let someone know they made a mistake, when they will be annoyed at us for it? Do we put on a false mask of agreement, when we know people are expressing false but popular opinions? These sorts of things happen all the time. Each time we bend the truth or smooth things over, it adds to the sum total of falsity. Just as we might do our small part for the environment by not littering, we all can do our small part for the integrity of our society by not supporting lies.

What if following the rules means bearing false witness? Some honestly believe that wearing a mask helps hinder disease; others believe that mask wearing is harmful and spreads disease. Studies have been published for both points of view. Let each of us follow our conscience. Having looked at the evidence myself, I can state with reasonable certainty that mask wearing is harmful to our physical health, to our psychological health, and to our spiritual health. So I am against wearing a mask. Shall I then follow any rules to the contrary, knowing it will both cause harm and show a complacency with a creeping totalitarianism, or do I bear witness to the truth, despite the possibility of reprimand?

You have stopped your car at a red light. A man, looking desperate, asks to borrow your cell phone. He then refuses to give it back. When you exit your car to chase him down, he quickly hijacks your car, taking your phone and your only means of calling 911. He then uses the gun you had concealed under your seat and robs a bank, stealing $5,000,000, wounding three security guards, and killing a bystander.

What should you be most angry about? The fact that he stole your cell phone so you couldn't call 911? The fact that he stole your uninsured car? The huge quantity of money he stole, though it wasn't yours and belonged to an FDIC-insured bank? The gun laws that allowed you to stow a weapon in your car?

No, you should be most angry about the man killing an innocent bystander. A life lost is worse than any amount of loss of property.

The man in this story represents the corrupt elite. The cell phone represents censorship and loss of freedom of speech. The car represents our personal financial losses and inconvenience due to quarantine. The $5,000,000 represents in fact trillions of dollars being lost by our governments due to lockdown, while Big Pharma and Big Tech reap enormous profits, and the elites tighten their totalitarian power. The wounded security guards represent loss of health due to unsanitary masks, weakened immune systems, and the psychological costs of loneliness. And the dead bystander represents the millions of lives lost in the third world due to famine and economic collapse from lockdowns, quarantine, and increased government corruption across the globe.

Again, what should we be most angry about? The loss of life due to quarantine. Even if the covid numbers given by the CDC were not misleading (and they are, extremely so) the loss of life due to unintended consequences of lockdown is far worse. The overall death rate in countries that did not lockdown, such as Sweden, is in fact lower that it has been for several bad flu seasons in the 30 years. So it is clear that loss of life from quarantine is unnecessary and in fact criminal.

But we are no longer talking about a one-time robbery here. We've got a hostage situation and the tragedy is looking to be perpetual. You still haven't gotten your cell phone back, though news is spreading by word of mouth, and while another bystander is letting you borrow their car now and then, the robber is still at large, shooting and looting, demanding more and more (read: the vaccine, tracking apps). The tragedy continues as we discuss what to do about it.

Here's the first thing to do: don't let fear silence you.

***

It feels like conversation endlessly revolves around covid, whether it's really that bad, and how bad, and numbers for mortality, counting cases, the reliability of tests, the plausibility of a good vaccines, and so on. Not that it's bad to talk about any of this--in fact we need to figure it out. But it's a lie that's being used as a weapon, something like a gun filled with blanks, fired repeatedly, making a smoke screen so that we miss the real damage being done. Let's not get too distracted by the smoke itself.

Is the smoke itself poisonous? No. So let's not wear a mask. Wearing a mask is bearing false witness. It is cowardice. Don't wear one and spread truth, not illusion.

Of course, there are exceptions. On private property sometimes you have little choice but to comply. At church you must obey your ministers. Interestingly, even though Salt Lake City is generally strict, and almost everybody wears a mask everywhere (even, absurdly on their musical instruments playing outdoors--I've heard hilarious stories) some have said that they never wear a mask and haven't yet been called out anywhere. My wife and I usually go without, even when we're vastly outnumbered and it's posted "Required", and never yet has anyone made a problem for us.

Are we being inconsiderate? Are we being conspiracy theorists? Quite the contrary. We're just being honest. For us it is an act of compassion. When you are faithful to the truth it matters not what others think of you.

In ancient times, lepers were quarantined from the rest of society, forced live apart from the community. No one could touch them, and few dared to go near them. Disfigured by their wasting skin disease, losing fingers and toes and even noses and ears, they were shunned, feared, and even hated by most.

"Now there was a man full of leprosy in one of the towns where [Jesus] was; and when he saw Jesus, he fell prostrate, pleaded with him, and said, 'Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.' Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, 'I do will it. Be made clean.'"

Jesus healed without fear, he touched the untouchable, and we should follow his example. Many have done so for thousands of years, empowered by this Gospel.

In the late 200's A.D., a plague spread through the Roman Empire, killing 5000 people a day in Rome. Christians were blamed for it, and it started the first empire-wide persecution of Christians. But unlike the Pagans, they did not flee the disease but stayed and cared for the sick, and by the end of the crisis, Christians had lost fewer lives than the Pagans and gained many converts. 

Close contact with Ebola victims is the main way it spreads. Humanitarians in Liberia during the outbreak would find bodies of children abandoned by their families. Missionaries have predominated in the battle against Ebola in Africa, their faith giving them strength to persevere and risk death to save the lives of others.

By giving in to the cowardly safetyism of lockdown, of a perpetual state of emergency that sacrifices life-giving services around the world merely to save a few lives and maintain political correctness, we betray our Christian heritage. If we have reacted to such a mild disease as covid in such a terrified and dishonest way, what will happen when a real plague hits? Will it be the end of the Constitution? The end of religious worship? The end of all faith? On the contrary, if and when this happens, we will find out who the true Citizens are, the true Christians.

So as we debate the severity of covid, we must be careful not to fall into the trap of arguing that it is "not bad enough" for us to sacrifice freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, informed consent for medical treatment, freedom of commerce, or freedom of worship. No plague is that bad. You must grow food even in the worst of plagues, if you are not to starve to death too. You must speak truth when times are bad, and be open to dialogue, because dialogue and togetherness will be needed more than ever. And you must worship, you must pray, especially at the worst of times--the times that try our souls.

Do not forsake your duty to vote your conscience, despite the temptation to vote out of fear. We elect our leaders for years at a time, not just to deal with the present crisis. And let's not forsake our duty to use our "vote" in the free market, boycotting any Big Tech or Big Pharma companies that abuse their power. We can cast such a vote by meeting face-to-face rather than by video chat, by pursuing natural remedies (which are more effective by the way) instead of drugs. Face-to-face meetings, self-reliance, this is how the Christian underground kept alive hope in the USSR under totalitarianism, and in Nazi occupied countries during WWII. It's no wonder corrupt leaders tend to ban religion and freedom of assembly.

Love and truth are our weapons against tyranny, whether that tyranny is creeping or outright. Prayer is a still more potent weapon. When people see you fearlessly face plagues, current and future, help others, and stand up without fear of punishment, how can they condemn this without condemning themselves? Truth is the only weapon that can destroy ignorance and hypocrisy. We must speak as much truth as possible; we must avoid the propagation of lies at all costs.

In the book Live Not by Lies, Rod Dreher relays a checklist for doing just this, originally gleaned from Solzhenitsyn, author of the Gulag Archipelago. It includes not writing anything that distorts the truth, not participating in any cause you don't truly believe in, not participating in any meeting where honesty is in any way limited, walking out of any event the moment a lie is spoken, not supporting journalism that distorts facts in any way. 

No matter how bad the plague, how bad the crisis, we must not waver in our devotion to our faith, to Christ's example, to truth and compassion, nor in our duty as citizens to uphold the the Constitution. 

If we waver in this, we continue on the path toward the brutal isolation imposed by a perpetual state of emergency, a cycle that is totalitarianism in its essence. Social distancing is deadly in itself. It is unconstitutional, and it is un-Christian in the extreme. It is, by definition, hate--the opposite of love.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

A Declaration by the People of Utah Ending the State of Emergency

If you are a Utah resident you can sign this: Termination of State of Emergency and Emergency Powers by the People of Utah.

****

A group of Belgian doctors has put together an open letter that does a good job of explaining why the state of emergency, including widespread censorship and house arrest, needs to end worldwide: https://docs4opendebate.be/en/open-letter/

Below is a graph which to me sums up all the most relevant facts surrounding the covid scare and its absurdity. Take your time looking at this and thinking about what it means. (You can click on it to view the entire video, which is full of excellent analysis):



Note that this graph is for Sweden, which had no lockdowns, no quarantine, no required face masks. This shows the total mortality rate for the country, deaths from any cause. You can see quite clearly that the Spanish Flu was many times worse than Covid-19. You can even see that back in the nineties there were seasonal spikes (these are caused by the flu and pneumonia and related respiratory illnesses) that were much worse than the Covid spike!

Take some time to let this sink in. Never before has the media made so much noise over so mild an illness.

But here's the essential point: No disease, no plague, no virus, no state of emergency whatsoever justifies government violation of rights to Life, Liberty, and Happiness. Furthermore, no government can revoke those eternal laws of Christian charity that command us to care for the sick, comfort those in prison, and allow the poor their daily bread. Out of fear, we are allowed the government to restrict our carrying out of these duties. I have watched my grandfather's health decline in quarantine, so that he can no longer walk and has worsening infections in his feet, all to prevent a virus that rarely kills unless there is some other deadly condition present. And we have been barred from visiting him in person -- we must seen him behind glass, faces covered by masks. He can't even take part in family gatherings, spending an entire day with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren as he once could. His right to happiness in his last moments of life have been taken away. 

It is no wonder to me that the early Christian withstood the plagues of the Dark Ages better than any Pagan did. The Pagans, more scared of death than of breaking the laws of charity, quarantine their loved ones and ran away, and their economies collapsed and their societies more often succumbed to the plagues. Christians, who continued to work to earn their living, and to care for the sick and comfort the lonely, even at risk to themselves, gaining the immunity necessary to end the crisis.  

https://www.biola.edu/blogs/good-book-blog/2020/how-did-early-christians-respond-to-plagues

Even with Spanish Flu, which was ten times worse than Covid, we did not lock down, did not restrict freedoms. If we had--it is becoming abundantly clear--it would have been even worse.

For example, consider this warning from the United Nations World Food Program: "[We] could see 300,000 people die per day over a 90-day period":

"Pandemic could mean 260 million people worldwide 'marching toward starvation'"

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Links: Unite for Freedom, Homeschooling Surge, the End of the Pandemic

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." -Benjamin Franklin

I've run across a lot of great articles online over the last few weeks and I suppose I had better post them now before there are too many. I hope you find the below helpful.

When all of this starts to make me feel overwhelmed and confused, here's what I remember to keep my sanity: (1) powerful people not only stand to make billions on these vaccines, but they benefit greatly, as all tyrants do, by taking away freedom of speech and exploiting rule by experts, (2) this sort of tyranny has happened in civilization for thousands of years and is nothing new, and (3) it gives the brave and true a chance to stand for what is right, to show real heroism and compassion. Don't ever get discouraged. Continue in your peaceful work and keep being a credit to our generation. May God be with us and with the cause of truth and freedom in these trials.

For some inspiring quotes from the philosophers Thomas Jefferson, Thoreau, and Cicero, you can scroll to the bottom.

***

These two articles on AIER win the award for the best, most concise, and most sobering short pieces arguing for an end to all this coronavirus nonsense. Basically, the lockdowns are costing us far more lives and money than they are saving us. Insanely more:

https://www.aier.org/article/whats-gone-wrong-with-left-liberalism-and-lockdowns/

https://www.aier.org/article/the-covid-19-catastrophe/

1. You may have heard about some of the problems developing the COVID-19 vaccine. Here's an interview with a specialist that gets into some of the more disturbing technical details. In particular, it looks like the vaccine over-sensitizes the immune system so that when you finally do get covid the reaction can be so strong it causes death. This was a problem with the SARS vaccine years ago:

https://thehighwire.com/videos/the-covid-vaccines-dirty-secret/

2. "There is no good evidence that facemasks protect the public against infection with respiratory viruses, including COVID-19." A scientific study.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7323223/#jpc14936-bib-0005

3. Senator Dr. Scott Jensen on how covid numbers are terribly skewed:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNSnHX9bF2g

4. Another fantastic summary of why the lockdowns are ridiculous. Very long (with 3 parts) but great citations and Part 3 is pretty recent:

https://jbhandleyblog.com/home/lockdownlunacy

5. "Older Americans should be anti-lockdown activists":

https://www.aier.org/article/older-americans-should-be-anti-lockdown-activists/

6. Facemasks were actually ineffective with the Spanish Flu:

https://circleofmamas.com/health-news/masks-failed-to-prevent-the-1918-spanish-flu/

7. How did early Christians respond to plagues? It was the opposite of lockdown: stay and care for the sick, as Jesus taught. And it was more effective.

How Did Early Christians Respond to Plagues? - The Good Book Blog - Biola University

8. More creepy plans in motion:

https://www.mintpressnews.com/mass-tracking-covi-pass-immunity-passports-slated-roll-15-countries/269006/

9. The brutality of lockdown is crossing over into outright totalitarianism in some places:

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/08/12/letters-from-melbourne-ghost-town-police-state-under-brutal-covid-lockdown/

10. Big Tech is censoring lockdown protests around the world. It's a growing movement and there are millions of people at some of these gatherings:

https://off-guardian.org/2020/09/01/facebook-censors-defense-of-unite-for-freedom-protest/

https://childrenshealthdefense.org/news/robert-f-kennedy-jr-speaks-at-berlin-rally-for-freedom-and-peace/?itm_term=home

https://thehighwire.com/videos/millions-peacefully-protest-covid-restrictions/

11. The "pandemic" if you can call it that, is ending. We are well past the peak of the curve. This article explains with some telling graphs comparing this years' spike in deaths compared to previous years':

https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2020/09/the_covid19_pandemic_is_ending.html

12. This is an old article, very concise, but terrifying in its implications. It compares censorship in China to what has now become a global censorship campaign:

https://thehighwire.com/is-chinese-style-censorship-taking-hold-in-america/

Google, whose staff is now mostly Chinese according to one whistleblower, was implicit in this censorship, as I recently discovered in a 2008 book, Blown to Bits. American Google results for the search "Falun Gong," gave terms and phrases like "morality," "Buddha's School," "Buddha Fa," "Chinese government is terrified," "spiritual movement," and "freedom of belief":

The Chinese version of the Google search, as Google was complicit in programming for, features terms and phrases like "Cult," "sabotage," "homophobic," "racist," "hijacking," and "propaganda."