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Honor in giving truth

One of my favorite history stories is Julian, the last Pagan Emperor of Rome.

Julian was raised Christian, but sought out the old pagan teachings. Before he was Emperor, his position wasn’t secure. He risked his life to learn about his faith and to practice the religion he was called to. If Julian had been a secret Christian, he’d be honored as a Christian saint.

After he became emperor, he sought to limit Christianity to just one faith among many in the Empire. He thought that the Christian Church had become too wealthy and far too powerful. Whether one sees this as a bad thing depends on if you feel the Church had become corrupt. I believe it had, as would any institution with no competition and an absolute government-backed monopoly on Higher Truth.

Again, if Julian had been Christian standing up for his faith and the Empire in the face of a overwhelmingly powerful corrupt pagan faith, today’s Christians would be singing his praises.

I’d argue that Constantine subverted the early Christian church into a tool he could use to control his Empire. That certain explains the need to “unify” Christian doctrine. That is only my speculation though. By Constantine’s death the early Church was a vastly different animal than it had been at Nicaea, and it was largely due to Imperial patronage.

What would have happened if Julian had lived longer, perhaps long enough to father a heir? That is one of the great what-ifs of history.

Today I am reminded that for all their teachings, for all their talk about openness, many Christians fail a simple test. For them, there can be no criticism of Christianity. There can be no suggestion that a non-Christian might be just as “good” as any Christian. Merely stating that their beliefs do not apply unless the other person is a Christian too is tantamount to calling the very foundations of their faith lies.

For them it’s the Perfect Ideal and may not be questioned. I knew that from the very first post on this blog.

I have this silly idea. I think that most people make mostly good choices. I think there is honor in giving truth. I think there is something more to the Divine than the most revised, edited and redacted text in history.

Even if some are threatened by the very idea.

After all, I’ve been doing the same to the climate change alarmists for years. And for pretty much the same reasons.

Let us share truth. And if not that, than practicalities.
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Whoops

Well, that was a mistake.

Even after writing about it a few days ago and a couple of months ago, I still put my foot in.

I told people that Christianity didn’t mean much unless you were a Christian. It might even drive people away from a good cause.

Suddenly Christianity applied to everyone, Christian or no.

Barely anyone remembered what the cause was or why turning it into a Christian revival might drive people away.

No, it was that NeoWayland had dared say that Christianity wasn’t the One Truth (for everyone).

They conveniently left out that last bit in parenthesis.

Silly me, I thought I could discuss things there.

Silly me, I thought they were interested in liberty and freedom.

Silly me, I thought you could be non-Christian and moral (like the good Samaritan).

Does this mean I’m going to give up on them?

I haven’t decided.

Silly me, I think that most people mostly make good choices.

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Choosing for themselves

I’m a Red Blooded American Male™ who happens to follow a pagan path. That last bit means I’ve been exposed more to the radical feminist movement more than most. While I am all for equal rights, I oppose special privilege. Since the species depends on penis in vagina sex for procreation, I don’t think that heterosexual sex is rape.

Among some, this makes me The Enemy.

While some like Robert Stacey McCain have been documenting the mad ravings of the RadFem movement, I’m pretty sure that the RadFems aren’t controlling where the “movement” goes. When I can (and when it doesn’t make me look like a creepy middle-aged guy), I talk and correspond with younger folks. Many young ladies just think feminism is another way to insure equal rights.

I’m old enough to know that change seldom comes from the established institutions. It stars at the fringe. Which is why I’m glad to see something like this from Wendy McElroy.

The dominant voice of feminism today is what has been called "gender feminism" -- a controversial term. This is the sort of feminism espoused by NOW, the National Organization for Women. And one of the myths that NOW-style feminists have been able to successfully sell is that anyone who disagrees with their approach on almost any issue, from sexual harassment to child custody, from affirmative action to domestic violence to abortion...anyone who disagrees is anti-feminist and, perhaps, even anti-woman.

That accusation is absolutely false.

The truth is that there are and there always have been many schools of thought within the feminist tradition: from socialist to individualist, liberal to radical, Christian to atheist, prolife to prochoice. And when you think about it, the diversity of opinion makes sense. After all, if feminism is the belief that women should be liberated as individuals and equal to men, then it is only natural for there to be disagreement and discussion as to what complex concepts like "liberation" and "equality" mean. In fact, it would be amazing if all the women who cared about liberation and equality came to exactly the same conclusions as to what those abstract and controversial terms meant in their lives.


Then there are the non-feminist women who are getting fed up, like Meredith L. Patterson here.

Really? Spending more of my formative years interacting with text on a screen than I did with peers my age is “fuck you, got mine”? Being told that my experiences aren’t worthy of consideration because most women don’t relate to them is “fuck you, got mine”? There’s a noticeable empathy vacuum in the room, and for once it’s not coming from the direction of the sperglord. Or sperglady, if you prefer.

What I’ve got, and what I wish the rest of the “women in tech” community who rage against the misogyny they see everywhere they look could also have, is a blazingly single-minded focus on whatever topic I happen to be perseverating on at the moment. It has kept me awake for days puzzling out novel algorithms and it has thwarted a wannabe PUA at a conference completely by accident. It is also apparently the most crashingly successful defense against attempts to make me feel inferior that has ever been devised. When I’m someplace that says on the label that it’s all about the tech, so am I. I may have come by it naturally, but it is a teachable skill. Not only that, it’s a skill that transforms the places where it’s exercised.


This is why I don’t think the world is doomed and the RadFems have won.

People thinking for themselves. People accepting responsibility. People choosing.

There’s hope for a libertarian future.

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Will you?

So let’s talk about what’s been missing. The Dream.

Your Dream.

Oh, not the collective nightmare that the Imperious Leader tries to sell you as yours. And not the pipe dream that Bush League tried to bundle with the War on Terror. Not the con that Billy boy tried. Not the ‘compassionate” dream that Elder Bush tried. Not even the “shining city on the hill” that Ronnie Ray Gun invoked.

All these Presidents tried to yoke your dream and your power to their goals. Just like most of their predecessors.

You can do amazing things with your neighbors and friends. But only if you choose.

That’s the American Dream. You must choose.

It’s not dictated by one person. Or even one Congress.

It’s what you choose every day. All your choices and all the choices of everyone else in the nation.

That’s the dream. It rests on freedom.

What brand of tires will you buy? Will you go see your child’s program? Will you help out fixing some houses this weekend?

When you listen to the politico, will you ask what the catch is?

When you see a need, will you help?

You will choose.

Do you dream of something better? Will you choose that path?

What do you dream?

What will you choose?
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State of discord

I’m not going to spend much time on the State of the Union address.

The Imperious Leader lied. And at least one of his “success stories” was a plant.

He’s not going to be able to deliver the goodies he promised. He knows this, but now he can blame the Republicans.

He couldn’t do it even if Democrats controlled Congress. He knows this too, but he doesn’t want you to know.

I told you what government needs to do before.

Here’s what you should remember. Government’s job IS NOT handing out presents. If a politico tries, he’s lying to you and he’s only interested in expanding his own power.

Government should get out of the way because the real work and the real solutions come from people who choose making the world a little better.

That’s it.
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Bright and shineys

Today is MLK Day in the United States. To my knowledge, Arizona is the only state ever to put MLK Day to a public vote. Twice.

But today I want to talk about the civil rights goals before Dr. King was assassinated and the different civil rights goals now.

Recently the Imperious Leader (long may his truth escape his words) promised free community college and high speed internet.

While these baubles are great distractions, these are empty promises. They have no worth except to make you angry when government can’t deliver.

Of course you don’t believe me. But as the Federal government has gotten more involved in medical care, college loans, home loans, and emergency response, these things have either become much more expensive or less available, sometimes both at the same time.

I’ve talked about it before. Government can’t control the economy. At best it can shift cash from one place to another. When government talks about providing a service, it has to pay for the service, pay for the cost of administrating the service, pay for the cost of collecting the tax, and pay for the inevitable corruption. Government relies on force and since it has no competition, there is no pressure to keep costs and corruption down. Remember, competition keeps us honest.

But back in the day and going all the way back to Frederick Douglass, civil rights meant nothing more and nothing less than the same chance the other guy got. Neither help nor hinder. That’s what civil rights were about.

That’s what rights were about.

My, how things have changed.

Now we’ve people who exploit victimhood for their own money and personal power.

I don’t believe in “black” rights. I don’t believe in Christian rights. And I certainly don’t believe in women’s rights.

I’ve got something that trumps them all.

I believe in human rights.

Government that will defend you getting nothing more and nothing less than the same chance the other guy got.

Government that neither helps nor hinders.

I believe in free choice and personal responsibility.

How about you?
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