Saturday, February 13, 2021

In What Measure You Shall Mete: The Love of Truth Against Relativism - Part 1

 Those who love truth, who seek truth, who avoid lies and half-truths, who are willing to die for the truth—these people alone are the hope of our society. Lies have infiltrated our culture, spreading to every corner, and nobody, whatever their political persuasion, can dispute this. We may disagree about which are the lies, but that there are lies, and that they are pervasive, is certainly true.

Fighting for the truth is no easy task. Many obstacles are put in ones way. One can be called prideful, arrogant, oras if this were something to be avoideda believer in absolute truth, as if nothing should ever be taken as completely true, but that everything should be taken with a grain of lie.

And here we unavoidably stumble into that familiar debate between relativism and absolutism, which always seems to come up everywhere, especially between conservatives and liberals, whether youre talking politics, philosophy, or religion. And lest I myself fall into relativism in describing this debate (an all-to-easy thing to do in any debate in modern times, as we are all presumptuously expected to preface our arguments within my humble opinion,thus conceding the issue before we even make our case) relativism is in fact wrong, being logically self-contradictory, and absolutism is (defined correctly) entirely in the right.

And, no, this is not merely my opinion. It is the truth, or else there is no truth.

Ive seen this debate from several perspectives over the course of my life, and it seems now that this entire philosophical drama playing out in my head, and more importantly in society, has reached a kind of climax. For once, I am looking back at my own inner philosophical turmoil, stretching back even to my childhood, and I see a working out of the logic of truth, a creation of a kind of armor against disingenuousness, that can only be credited to Gods grace. Because how could I, or any one else, prone to fancies and passions and logical errors, ever really stumble out from the darkness that is love of self-conception, and into the light? But it is possible with enough humility for anyone to do so, and I will talk more about this before the end of this essay. First, lets shine some light on this beast called Relativism, ordepending on where and in what way one prefers to deny the primacy of truthsometimes Subjectivism, Solipsism, Agnosticism, Atheism, Modernism, Nihilism, or Postmodernism.

Relativism tries to be the rejection ofisms.It is a kind of false humility, a careless attempt at Socrates’sAt least I know that I do not know.It fails because it is really the worst kind of pride, a refusal to submit, to bow down, to enslave oneself to truth.

Thats right, in order to live in truth one must enslave oneself to truth. It is the only way to be truly free. You cant do math correctly unless you follow the rules exactly. You cant be a truly good person unless you avoid all sin.But who of us can be perfect?That is exactly the question. Certainly not me, not by any effort I could muster.

To believe that there is Truth, to believe in a Right and a Wrong, does not mean that one claims to know all truth or to never do wrong. Relativism is a fools creed, an attempt to do no wrong by doing nothing, an attempt to say no wrong by prefacing all statements within my opinion.An attempt to never lose the truth by never looking for it. Relativism is poison, by the way, and it is gradually demolishing our civilization, stone by stone.

It is a swamp of pure doubt. It is a mockery of all faith.

My first encounter with relativism dates back to my parents abandonment of religion when I was about ten years old. At the time they embraced the New Age way of thinking. I do not tell this to complain of my upbringing or to criticize my parents, who were doing their best to find the truth. And in fact my mom has since told me she no longer considers herself New Age and doesnt hold to relativism. In any case, according to the New Age philosophy I was raised with, everyone has to choose their own religion, parents should not tell their children dogmatically what to believe, all beliefs must be respected, and all religious experiences are true to the person that has them. These superficially comforting ideas had already been popular in our culture for decades. New Age taught us that missionaries were all fools, as is anyone hoping to convert anyone to their own religion, that this was nothing but pride and came from a desire to control others. We were taught that all religions were systems for enslaving peoples minds, but that really everyone should be free to find theirown truthand whatever beliefs make them most happy. We were asked,If there are so many religions out there with so many fanatical believers, how could any one of them be true and the rest false?The answer, supposedly, is that none are true or false. True and false is relative to the person having the experience, relative to the society making the judgment call. At best we can eachshareour opinions and come to a mutualunderstanding."

What led me out of this way of thinking was the realization that no two New Age believers seemed to agree on anythingscientifically or spiritually. Some believe in aliens, some in the Norse gods, some believe in supernatural beings and prophesies, some mix together the teachings of Jesus and Buddha and Reiki. (A quick warning for those who dont know yet: Reiki has been shown to be a greedy and dangerous cult.) Theres nothing to put your finger on as true in New Age, simply many different ideas, many of them crazy sounding. Because when you give up on the notion of truth, literally anything goes. Many New Age prophecies were made of the end of times when I was a child and teenager, none of which turned out to be true, and when I realized that it was all based on wishful thinking and whatfeels rightI turned to science, which at least is supposed to be based on evidence, reason, and logic.

Ive talked a lot on this blog about the problems with ascientisticview of the universe, where all questions are to be referred to modern science. But it should be obvious from the start that science has nothing much to say about the meaning of life or the reason we are here. Psychology tries tofixpeople by balancing out the chemicals in their brains or helping people with broken thought patterns. But once your mind is working again, what should it be working on? Psychology has nothing to say to healthy people on this question. (And its materialistic methods of trying to heal the soul are deeply wrong to begin with.) On the other hand, thebiggestquestions are supposedly answered by physics, but of course physics only tells you what the universe is made of, and how simple systems move, and has little to say about the meaning of humanity.

So I next turned to philosophy, which I studied as a graduate student. In Plato and other dead thinkers I found some inkling, finally, of purpose, meaning, and living truth. God had created the world, most of the great philosophers agreed, and our purpose was to live virtuously so we could someday be reunited with God. Plato, centuries before Christ, had deduced this much using pure logic, as well as the immortality of the soul. Plato had in fact defeated relativism by logic, and you can read his refutations still today. During his day the relativists were callsophistsand they held thatman is the measure of all things.To believe this is not only a denial of God and anything higher than man, but to hold that disagreements can never be decided, that each person or society must decide their own truth. Sound familiar?

But my journey did not end with Plato, just as humankinds journey toward the truth did not end in 347 BC when Plato died. In fact, everything that Plato discovered was cobwebs and shadow beside the bright illumination given the Jewish people even before Plato was born. (If there was an influence on Plato from Jewish ideas it is indirect or unspoken, because it is mentioned nowhere in his writings.)

The Greek philosophers, in the end, were far too learned for their own good. The generations that came after them resumed their Pagan ways, believing in many gods and no single God or Truth above them. In Roman society, most religions were tolerated, as long as they didnt cause trouble or interfere with the state religion. The Christians were often not tolerated for precisely this reasonthey denied the existence of any other gods and refused to sacrifice at Pagan altars. They were seen as arrogant andbelieving in only one Godhalfway to atheism and impiety. When you read Greek and Roman historians talk about the Jews and Christians from the outside they see them as spiritually impoverished, lacking the richness of gods and ritual sensualism of the mainstream Pagans. They were socially isolated and worshiped in basements and caves. The Christians, moreover, worshiped no warlike, lusty deity, who seduced nymphs and left many bastard children, but a humble carpenter from Nazareth who healed the sick and died nailed to a cross.

No, despite his bright glimpses of the truth, Platos followers remained largely in darkness. And is it any surprise? What teacher can instruct a pupil in more than either of them know? Things wear out and run down, truths get distorted over time, and left to mere humans, even the truest of doctrines get murky through the ages. Plato, furthermore, offered no religion, but merely a collection of consoling thoughts and ideas. For meaning, the Pagans felt better turning to their gods and traditions.

In my case, though Plato did console me some, I was still left with a great deal of doubt, and a great deal of prideful ambition. I believed in God, like Plato, but not all of his reasoning concerning immortality and heaven seemed to hang together. At least, many other philosophers had doubted it. Nietzsche claimed to have demolished Plato in his philosophy, and there were reasons to believe that he had largely succeeded. In short, philosophy was more in question than ever, and as a philosopher I had my work cut out for me sifting the true from the false, if that were even possible in the realm of metaphysics. So many philosophers had failed to reach agreement over the ageswhat hope was there for me? To make matters worse, modern philosophy had largely abandoned Plato, embracing pragmatism and positivism and postmodernism insteadall nothing more than ancient sophistry in modern dress. According to pragmatists, truth is relative to human society, according to positivists, truth is relative to human observation, and according to postmodernists, truth is an expression of relative human power. None acknowledge a transcendent source of truth, and these three sister-dogmas reign supreme in the modern university. Those who attempt to defend absolute truth are ridiculed and branded as backwards, close-minded dogmatists.

Yet somehow I persevered in my dogged search. And, as Ive described, I was led to the teachings of Christ, and I saw that they were superior to all philosophies.

Which leads me to the third and fourth iterations I am encountering of relativism. The first had been the wild anything-goes of New Age, modern-day Paganism. The second was the human-centered sophistry of Greece that Plato battled against, resurrected in modern times as postmodernism, pragmatism and positivism. The third is political liberalism. And the fourth is religious liberalism.

Political liberalism has hit our society hard over the past few decades, and hardest just in the last year. Let me be blunt about it, and if what I say makes anyone uncomfortable or even angry, realize that I am merely stating the unstated but honest opinion of half the people in this country, those of us who are more than fed up with liberalisms recent excesses. These must be called out for the sake of truth.

In brief, political liberalism is in its self-contradictory essence a total intolerance of intolerance. Wild, hypocritical intolerance of all that is not itself. It holds to the total avoidance of subjective feelings of beingoffended,to an absolute right tochoice,of not beingoppressedby ideas that dontfeel rightto you. Logic is dismantled in a compulsory orgy ofcounselingandsharingand psychiatric medication, along with rawresistanceto thepatriarchy.That is political liberalism in its essence. There is not much there, philosophically, to chew on. To state its dogmas suffices to refute them. Nevertheless, to those with an emotional attachment to these ideas, what Im saying may seem cold and unfeeling. It may seem that Im defending a kind of pure, non-compassionate logic, and dismissing all emotion. But as a matter of fact, I prefer a way of thinking that is infinitely more compassionate than all this socialistic, subjectivistic, self-victimizing posturing. Namely, the way of our Lord, Christ. Jesus came to show us how best to comfort the oppressed and heal the sick of soul. His methods are effective; liberalisms methods are not. Christs methods fill the soul with compassion and love; liberalisms ways hollow out ones soul and leave an empty shell of resentment against the system. I dont know of any exceptions. That is, all those I know of, historically and personally, who have given themselves completely to Christ have become more saint-like; and those who have given in whole-heartedly to Marxs dream have gone on either to destruction or disillusionment. This goes for entire societies as well. (Volumes could be written on this from an historical perspective. Histories placing the Middle Ages back at the pinnacle of human achievement, re-establishing them and the reigns of their saint-kings, such as the long-forgotten St. Alfred the Great or St. Louis, as the true golden ages, and our age as monstrous and deformed shadow thereof ... but alas! I lack by far the leisure for it, let alone the eloquence, the scholarly discipline. Someday someone needs to write this ...)

In any case, it is interesting how this third iteration, political liberalismbecome so blatantly in-your-face over past yearis deeply connected to the fourth iteration, religious liberalism, and thus to Paganism and in a circle to relativistic philosophy. They all ultimately share a root. It is all a turning away from God. The root of it all, that is, is self-worship. It is a refusal to be a slave to the truth; a refusal to do the work necessary to overcome error.

How broken we are. How savagely divorced from the truth. Even those of us who claim to believe in One Truth, how often do we incinerate the truth on the Altar of Non-Offensiveness, or even just the Altar of Convenience and Comfort. How loath we are to evangelize, and tell people the good news: Truth Lives! Certainly, the truth lives, but we have been killing it in our hearts, because the evil one has mastery of the matter of this world, and the matter of this world (I just mean money and popularity and comfort) has mastery over our desires.

Let us not forget, however, amidst all the loud and colorful and sensual distractions of the modern age, who our true Master is. He will not be happy seeing what has been going on while hes been away. Arguably the best arguments for our Masters existence were graced to St. Thomas Aquinas, the medieval theologian who is even respected among modern atheistic philosophers for his logical exactitudeone agnostic I knew in grad school even named him as his favorite philosopher.

"Perhaps not everyone who hears this wordGod’ understands it to signify something than which nothing greater can be thought, seeing that some have believed God to be a body(ST I, Q2, A1).

So to answer your question, no, God is not a man in the clouds, though sometimes He is portrayed this way for lack of better ways to draw Him. Being infinite, God is beyond anything you couldsee to believe.Hence the need for faith.

Heavenly things are beyond human conception, beyond anything artists can portray. Lets look at a couple of detailed and otherworldly descriptions from the Bible, visions separated by centuries:

"Every one had four faces, and every one four wings. Their feet were straight feet, and the sole of their foot was like the sole of a calfs foot, and they sparkled like the appearance of glowing brass. ... And the wings of one were joined to the wings of another. They turned not when they went: but every one went straight forward. ... [T]heir appearance was like that of burning coals ... [They] ran and returned like flashes of lightning(Ezechiel 1:5-14)

"[I]n the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four living creatures, full of eyes before and behind. And the first living creature was like a lion: and the second living creature was like a calf: and the third living creature, having the face, as it were, of a man: and the fourth living creature was like an eagle flying. And the four living creatures had each of them six wings; and round about and within they are full of eyes. And they rested not day and night ...(Apocalypse 4:7)

When we speak of heavenly things we are speaking of another world outside our universe, a place farther beyond our comprehension than human society is beyond the comprehension of a dog. It is no wonder that much of what God says to us comes in the form of symbols and allegory, that there are mysteries that even the wisest and holiest humans cannot penetrate. Modern man has lost too much humility, and so we must make an effort to approach the topic of God and the Divine with real reverence. Reverence, that holy virtue we forgot, takes seriousness and meekness, and for us now a very intense fear of the face of God, like the fear a son who has run away should have for the face of his angry father.

Aquinass first argument for the existence of God is known as theprime moverargument, and in fact goes back to the Pagan philosopher Aristotle, who lived centuries before Christ but was nevertheless a theist. Im going to enter this argument in depth, to show that by no means does theism equate with ignorance, as modernists hold. If you prefer to skim this next section, be my guest. But dont complain that Ipresumethe existence of a Christian Godon the contrary Ialong with all properly educated Christianscan give unassailable reasons that God exists, that theism is true and not just an opinion.

*** BEGIN DETAILED ARGUMENT ***

St. Aquinas writes:

"The first and more manifest way is the argument from motion. It is certain, and evident to our senses, that in the world some things are in motion. Now whatever is in motion is put in motion by another, for nothing can be in motion except it is in potentiality to that towards which it is in motion; whereas a thing moves inasmuch as it is in act. For motion is nothing else than the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality. But nothing can be reduced from potentiality to actuality, except by something in a state of actuality. Thus that which is actually hot, as fire, makes wood, which is potentially hot, to be actually hot, and thereby moves and changes it. Now it is not possible that the same thing should be at once in actuality and potentiality in the same respect, but only in different respects. For what is actually hot cannot simultaneously be potentially hot; but it is simultaneously potentially cold. It is therefore impossible that in the same respect and in the same way a thing should be both mover and moved, i.e. that it should move itself. Therefore, whatever is in motion must be put in motion by another. If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently, no other mover; seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is put in motion by the hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God."

I quote him in full because the argument is so short, so perfectly concise, were I to delete any significant fraction of it, it would only mangle it.

To the impatientmodernmind this argument will often sound simplistic. Possible objections will come to mind:

(1) But why, logically, does there have to be a mover at all? Dont Newtons laws show that objects in motion tend to stay in motion, so that an object could move forever, past and future, without a mover? And doesnt quantum mechanics allow for spontaneous motion and fluctuations in the vacuum, violating the requirement for a mover in every case? This seems to be an unjustified assumption.

(2) Likewise, how can we assume that an infinite chain of movers is impossible?

(3) How do we know that this mover is God?

(4) The laws of physics, moreover, are symmetrical in the past and future, so shouldnt this as easily, therefore, prove a last mover as a first?

But all of these objections arise from carelessness. Either you werent paying attention to Aquinass actual argument or you werent paying attention in physics class.

(1) That there must be a mover is a known law of nature. It is implied by Newtons three laws. (i) Objects in motion tend to stay in motion unless acted upon by an external force. This means that all motion is either caused by pre-existing or continued motion, or by a mover. (ii) Force equals mass times acceleration. This gives you the law by which potential change in motion is effected, mover to moved, and becomes actual motion. This law conserves the total amount of motion (momentum) and total energy, validating Aquinass assertion that motion can never arise out of nothing. (iii) For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. In Aristotelian termsmotionalso encompasses acceleration and all other kinds of change. Though this law shows that amoverin one respect is also amovedin another respect, when speaking of motion in a single respect this law implies, once again, that for any change there is both a mover and a moved. (As to the objection from quantum mechanics, physicists point out that Newtons Laws remain valid at the quantum level though their expression is more complicated.)

Newtons Laws can be said to be in essence a precise, mathematical, and practically useful formulation of Aquinass first argument for God.

(2) An infinite chain of movers is shown to be impossible by an appeal to the law of causation.[S]ubsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover.An infinite chain is trying to get around this law by supposing that the motion has simply always been happening. This again contradicts the laws of physics, which, according to thermodynamics, prohibit perpetual motion. St. Thomas Aquinas gives more details on this line of reasoning in his Second Argument for the existence of God, appealing explicitly to the law of causation, which was the medieval version of what modern scientists call the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

(3) Aquinas says that we know this prime mover is God becauseeveryone understandsit to be. Perhaps this was more true in medieval timesthere is such a lack of faith in modern times that we are used to skeptics jumping in and asking how we know it to be so. But to postulate any prime mover other than God is to fall into absurdity. If the first mover was moved by anything else, it was not the first mover. Therefore it is self-movingbut this means it breaks all the laws of physics weve been discussing, which prohibit any such thing. (And, corroborating this, cosmologists have shown that all known laws of physics break down as you approach the moment of the Big Bang when all motion came into beingwhich means that the beginning of the universe did involve a process beyond physics and beyond what we know of nature, put frankly, a supernatural process.) But any system that transcends even the laws of physics has infinitely more degrees of freedom than our entire universe, and is entirely beyond human comprehension. Yet it set all this in motion, our fine-tuned universe that allows, against all likelihood, for human civilization to flourish. Such a feat is impossible without a vaster intelligence than any being in our universe could possess.

(4) This reasoning does in fact prove alast mover,named by Aristotle thefinal causewhich is the purpose of our universe and can also be argued to be God.

You can read the other 4 proofs of God here (https://www.newadvent.org/summa/1002.htm). Let me just comment very briefly on the rest. Each of these proofs relate, in different ways, to the point I just made ((3) above) about our universe needing a cause more ordered than itself. Look up arguments for fine-tuning, or see this, this, or this post, for more elaboration of how this not only can be reconciled with modern physics, but is strongly implied by the findings of modern cosmology.

*** END DETAILED ARGUMENT ***

Jesus said:In what measure you shall mete, it shall be measured to you again, and more shall be given to you.They try to disprove God by physics, but the physics created by God will always have its revenge.

Moreover, they try to disprove God by relativism, arguing that he is too intolerant to be loving. But their relativism is making them too intolerant to love either God or their fellow man. Weve tried to give up and sayDont judge"—not at allyet this was not what Jesus meant when he saidIn what measure you shall mete,but rather he meant to condemn hypocrisy. And nothing is more hypocritical than sayingeverybody is rightorin my humble opinionwhen you know the truth, refuse to look for the truth, or condemn all believers in the truth.

That God exists cannot be rationally denied. Proofs of His existence have been known for thousands of years. It is carelessness to ignore them. God is infinitely more powerful than any of us can imagineI find it hard to believe the foolishness of those who continue to defy His authority. Do they not believe that an infinitely wise God would be merciful and loving to those who turn to Him? Jesus, our Lord, came to give us testimony of this love, of Gods desire to forgive those who repent, and to show the infinite depths of this love on the cross.

Do you not think that God could let a virgin conceive, or his Son walk on water or raise the dead, when he could form our universe and smooth the fabric of space-time to one part in 1010^123? It is simple for any human programmer to hack his own program, to put in cheat codes to fly or heal at will. And you think God couldnt do it, or wouldnt do it to show that He cares? Its absurd and terrifying how many people are unable to believe because theyve bought into the modern propaganda that science has defeated religion and shown it to be silly.

A few things to ponder, while I work on Part 2.



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.

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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.

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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."