The public institution of private property

If you go to a friend’s party, and decide to take something from his home without permission, that’s called stealing.

Let’s say you saw a laptop computer tucked away in a corner at the party, and decided to take it without saying anything to anybody.

You stole it.

Let’s break this down to understand the dynamics a little better. Why was it stealing?

One reason is that we have something that I call “the public institution of private property.”

We all understand what private property is. In that sense, our collective understanding of private property is a public institution–we all agree to the rules that establish what constitutes private property. That agreement, to live by those rules, is a public action.

We don’t get to decide for ourselves what constitutes private property. There is no “privatizing private property.” If we all got to decide for ourselves what constitutes private property, then it should be obvious that chaos would be the result. Anybody could take anything they wanted at any time.

It would be hard to accumulate goods and wealth. It would be hard to even take care of your own family. Trust would decline dramatically, being replaced by suspicion and fear.

The strong would prey upon the weak. It would become a might-makes-right culture.

Privatizing the rules for private property would not strengthen private property rights. It would eliminate them.

 

Democrats don’t care about women or gays or blacks or Muslims or…

I figured this out a few years ago: Democrats do not care about women or gays or blacks or Muslims or whatever other group they try to cater to. The Democratic Party is not about them at all, the party is only about Democratic/liberal ideology. How do I know this? Because Democrats don’t listen to women or gays or blacks or Muslims who don’t agree with them. Those people are not welcome in the Democratic party. It is really that simple. It’s a strategy called “identity politics.” They label people according to certain characteristics, then say that they care about that group of people. But it is verifiably false.

Even though it probably first happened with women or blacks, I first noticed it with gays. There ARE conservative gays, and gays who are against gay marriage. But do they get a hearing within the Democratic party? Nope. Why? Because it’s not about gays, it’s only about the Democratic/liberal ideology. As long as women or gays or blacks or Muslims are talking the liberal talking points, they’re golden. If not, they’re anathema.

Democratic talk about inclusiveness is a smokescreen to cover the promotion of their ideology. Here are a few examples of people who are not welcome in the Democratic party:

Here is a study from 2014 showing that…

Liberals are more likely than conservatives to dump a friend over politics

But don’t take my word for it–make your own observations and let me know what you find.

Trump the eugenicist?

I doubt Trump is a eugenicist. If it turns out that he is, you can count on me to advocate against him on that point.

But here is what interests me about this HuffPost video: the low-ish view count. It’s been out since the end of September and has not even 350K views. They’re using Trump’s own quotes to compare him to Hitler who definitely was a eugenicist. Given Trump’s visibility, the time frame, and the subject, 350K views is sluggish.

Why the low number of views? Maybe people aren’t responding to it because it’s just wrong and people see through it. But here’s something else that occurred to me. The foundation for eugenics is pretty well established already in our country and most of the west. Many, but not all, of the parts to a eugenic machine are in place. In the “already completed” column, we have sperm donation, egg donation, surrogacy, abortion, commercialized human reproduction, egg freezing for future use. In the “to do” column: sold harder to the general public, the legal side has to be strengthened, and avenues for enforcing contraceptive use and abortion have to be established. That last “to do” item will be tough to do for the foreseeable future, I think. I voted against Prop 60 since I will never vote to enforce any form of contraception for any reason. On the other hand, commercial surrogacy may create the impetus for forced abortions. The conceptual foundation has been laid and the social and legal apparatus is being built on top of it.

People typically understand the term “eugenics” as a state-enforced ideology, but that’s not what I’m talking about really. What we have so far is a consumer version of eugenics. I have zero doubt that in many individual cases of people relying on third-party reproduction, they design babies to their personal specifications: blonde hair, athletic, high IQ, etc. So in practice, consumer-based eugenics is here, and we’re pretty much OK with it because of our skewed idea of “freedom,” because money talks, and because we aren’t supposed to judge. But as I argued elsewhere, there is a link between freedom and fertility. Controlled, mechanized fertility is creating a net decrease of freedom, not a net increase.

What I’m trying to say is, perhaps the video didn’t go viral because most viewers intuited that they agreed with those quotes, even if it turns out they were taken out of context.

Social progress, as if it was a straight line, is a myth. Instead we go around in a circle, or maybe it’s a spiral. Either way, there’s nothing new under the sun.

The Electoral College fulcrum

With Hillary Clinton almost certainly winning the popular vote, you are going to encounter people advocating for the abolition of the Electoral College. So I thought of a graphical way to represent it. Hopefully this will help you make the case to your friends.

The Electoral College is sort of like a fulcrum.

electoral-college-fulcrum
The Electoral College acts as a fulcrum to balance the power between heavily populated areas/states with rural areas/states.

How a fulcrum works: the object on the left is larger and heavier than the one on the right. The black line on which they rest is called the lever. If the fulcrum was in the center, the object on the left would exert more pressure and the lever would not be level. Since the fulcrum is positioned closer to the larger object, this makes the lever level.

I used blue and red deliberately, to show how the Electoral College shifts the power dynamic between the Democratic party and the Republican party. If it had gone the other way, I would have reversed the colors. This same exact dynamic played out in the year 2000 between Democratic candidate Al Gore and Republican candidate George W. Bush.

I think this tells us something important about how our Founders set up the country. Here is a great article about the Electoral College by David Barton. It was written in 2001 after the 2000 election. It’s quite long so I suggest scrolling down to the section called, What Led to the Formation of the Electoral College? Begin reading there. Notably, he says this:

… if the popular vote is extremely close, then the candidate with the best distribution of popular votes will be elected.

Compare that with this Size of Lead map available at the New York Times:

size-of-lead-presidental-election-2016
Notice that blue is centralized in certain areas but red is far more distributed. The founders did not want consolidated power to get too influential. The fulcrum performed as designed by shifting power from the consolidated areas to the more distributed areas.

Also, anybody advocating for the abolition of the Electoral College after this election is almost certainly doing it because they’re upset; they’re not doing it out of a truly principled objection. I say this because it is highly, dramatically unlikely that these same people would be making the same argument if the situation were exactly reversed. Similarly, if Republicans are not objecting to the Electoral College after this election, then their moral authority for making this objection is diminished if or when it doesn’t go our way in the future. For me, the system makes sense and I like the principle behind it, so I doubt I will ever object to it.

Hillary Clinton to win popular vote? Let’s review the Electoral College

Using the figures from the NYTimes, as of right now it looks like Clinton will win the popular vote. Yet Trump still wins through his Electoral College votes. This happened back in the year 2000, when Democrat Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College to Republican George W. Bush. If it happens in this current election, it will be the fifth time it has happened in our nation’s history. Even though this kind of win seems counterintuitive, it has a precedent and is legitimate, assuming of course that the popular votes were cast and counted legitimately. In this election, I have no reason to think that foul play was a deciding factor either way.

This is a great time to review the Electoral College. Most important take-away: our country was not founded as a direct democracy. The Electoral College balances the votes of the more populated areas and larger states with the smaller states and rural areas. Read more about the history and purpose of the Electoral College here:

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2004/11/the-electoral-college-enlightened-democracy

I also like to consider the results of the Electoral College in light of the results at the county level. It is astonishing how red our country is when viewed that way.

presidential-election-2016-results-at-county-level-as-of-20161109-920am
Presidential results at the county level as of 11/09/2016 at about 9AM.

Did Bill Whittle predict President Trump back in 2012?

After the 2012 election when Romney lost, Bill Whittle had a speech that was making the rounds on places like Facebook. It is really good and I watched it several times back then. It brought me a lot of comfort after that painful loss.

He made a prediction that stuck with me and I want to share it with you to get your thoughts. He predicted that the next president would be a Republican from the pop culture. I made a mental note of that prediction, since the way he framed it made a lot of sense.

I think Trump fulfills the prediction. He’s never held public office, he had a TV show, and was a household name because of his business career, not because of any political activism.

The speech is only 15 minutes long so check it out. I think you’ll like it.

I am praying for both presidential candidates

I have a strange feeling about both presidential candidates, I feeling I don’t think I’ve ever had about presidential candidates. It is this: that God is setting them up. For example, Mr. Trump once said that he never asked God’s forgiveness:

That’s not what we Christians wanted to hear, but at least it was honest. It is also a point about which we can pray, and if he loses tomorrow it will be the biggest public loss of his life (I don’t know what he thinks is his biggest loss in his private life). Losses of this magnitude are often opportunities for the Holy Spirit to work in people’s lives in a big way to bring them closer to God. They are opportunities for self-reflection and introspection.

Similarly for Mrs. Clinton. When I hear her speak about abortion, for example, I have the impression that she doesn’t really believe in it, that she is going along with it for votes and power. So I see this also as an opportunity for prayer, that God will give her the courage to proclaim what she actually believes, that the unborn are human and that marriage is between one man and one woman. The following statement is quite possibly the most eloquent statement on marriage ever made by a politician. She nails it. This is what she really believes about marriage. I think:

So in addition to praying for the country and for the election, I am praying for both candidates, that he will use whatever happens to bring both of them closer to himself.

Physical sex is public information, not private information

To my eldest daughter,

I saw that you posted this video on your Facebook wall. I almost left this comment there, but decided against it for a couple different reasons. So many things are wrong with what she’s saying here that I had a hard time knowing where to begin. I’ll begin with the idea that occurred to me first.

1) It is an example of gnostic thinking. This video is pure gnosticism, which, among other things, is a denial of the importance of the human body. See, for example, what she said at the 1:10 mark about “… living meat skeleton…” The entire video is attempting to negate the importance of our interlocking parts.

2) It’s an example of Screwtape’s advice.  Remember what I said about Letter 1 of the Screwtape letters, and how important it is? Let’s quickly review how Screwtape contrasted truth and falsity with other characteristics:

He doesn’t think of doctrines as primarily “true” or “false,” but as “academic” or “practical,” “outworn” or “contemporary,” “conventional” or “ruthless.” Jargon, not argument, is your best ally in keeping him from the Church. Don’t waste time trying to make him think that materialism is true! Make him think it is strong or stark or courageous—that it is the philosophy of the future. That’s the sort of thing he cares about.

Look at the video again, at about the :46 mark. She mentioned the word “outdated.” That immediately reminded me of the above quote. I was reminded of it again at the end, when she told people to be themselves in their gender expression, which was an admonishment to be courageous. So do you see? There are no direct truth claims being made in her video. She must ignore mountains of science telling us that sex differences are real, and that they matter, in order to make her argument.

3) Physical sex is public information, not private information. At about the :50 mark she claims that physical sex is private to every individual. In my opinion, this is the most explosive claim in the entire video. Let’s unpack that thought to see how damaging it is.

It is no secret that women are not as strong as men and that men commit more crime than women do. I was recently in New Orleans, alone, wandering through the French Quarter. My risk for being accosted was much higher from the males around me than the females. Instantly knowing which sex somebody is provides me with important information and helps me make decisions. Here’s another example: a couple years ago I was jogging along the street by my apartment. I saw young man on a dirt bike behind me, riding slowly towards me. He eventually caught up to me and started making small talk. I was immediately suspicious of him. We got to a corner where a traffic light stopped us. It turned green and I let him cross while I waited. At the same time, I pulled out my phone to call a friend. Perhaps confirming my suspicions, when he got to the other side he got off his bike and started fiddling with it. The light turned green and I crossed over, walked passed him, and kept talking to my friend. I turned around a couple times, and he got on his bike and rode back in the other direction. Now, imagine if I was unable to determine his physical sex. This would have made me more vulnerable than I already was, since I may have lowered my guard if I thought he might be a woman.

If everybody’s physical sex is no longer public information, this puts women at risk since they’ll have less instant information about their risks while they are in public places.

Don’t misunderstand me: I am not saying that all men are criminals. I’m just stating the statistical facts regarding them. Given how much I’ve railed about our cultural rejection of the category of “father” (see here and here for two examples), I hope I’ve made it clear just how important men are.

4) Did you notice the straw man fallacy?  At about the 1:00 mark, she states that when somebody asks about the sex of somebody else, they are asking “What genitals do you have?” She has misrepresented the intention of what the person is asking, then she ridicules that intention. That is a classic straw man fallacy. She’s reduced the question into an inaccurate form in order to dispute its (inaccurate) premise; she’s disputing that sex differences matter by making people look ridiculous who seek information about them, not by actually arguing from science that sex differences don’t exist or are irrelevant for women walking alone. Notice too the expression on her face after she poses the question. In fact, the way her left eyebrow is cocked throughout the video is a subtle form of shaming. I don’t need to examine somebody’s genitals to know what sex they are.

Thank you for posting the video and for your commentary on it. You said essentially what Dr. Morse has said: “A good and decent society should obliterate all differences between men and women except for those that are deliberately chosen by individuals…. Society’s job is to endorse the individual’s self understanding and enforce it throughout the rest of society.” That’s a quote from her talk in Salt Lake City last year.

I love you very much and am very proud of you. xxxooo

 

What will conservatives be able to conserve if HRC wins?

#NeverTrumpers are in a panic over Trump’s highly inappropriate remarks that he made 11 years ago. Some who previously supported him are backing away from him.
I don’t understand what these conservatives think they will be conserving if HRC wins. Can someone enlighten me? I can’t accept criticism of Trump from social liberals like Jonah Goldberg. Anybody who supports the redefinition of marriage has zero moral ground to criticize Trump’s sexual statements. Regardless of Goldberg’s views on abortion, the redefinition of marriage entrenches abortion and fractured families. Somehow this fact escaped him, which indicates a lack of careful thought on his part. This is not acceptable given his position and education. I wouldn’t try to talk him out of being personally prolife, but he is not qualified to speak on behalf of the prolife cause. This is because he has not understood how sexual “liberation” connects abortion and same-sex marriage (and a lot of other social issues). 
 
Maybe there’s somebody else who can convince me that there is an excellent chance HRC won’t do irreparable damage to conservatism. She’s going to install justices at the federal level that will govern policy for at least 30 years. We’re all too old to be much impacted by that (probably), but I have children and a grandchild (and more grandchildren coming, someday, God willing) and they are all going to be greatly impacted by it.
 
I didn’t ask for Trump, I didn’t want Trump, I didn’t vote for Trump. But he’s not HRC. Unlike HRC, there is no guarantee that he will entrench every single social policy we hate, plus enact more. In fact, he appears to be moving in a direction we can support. What gives? Dear God, 4-8 more years of Dem control of the executive branch? #NeverTrump people are OK with that? I’d rather tarnish my reputation among liberals and some conservatives by voting for Trump than look at my grand daughter and **know** I contributed to liberal social policies and immigration issues being entrenched by not voting for him.
 
#NeverTrumpers: the policies I care about stand a better chance under Trump than under HRC, don’t they? What is it you are hoping to conserve under an HRC administration?