Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Frightening Thing About Health Care Reform

One of the things that frightens me most about this heatlh care "reform" that Obama and Washington are trying to shove down our collective throats is the rumor I've been hearing that my tax dollars will be used to pay for abortions.

If true, this would be abhorrent and unconscionable. I would have to seriously consider civil disobedience. They cannot compel a citizen to financially support something that his conscience and religious conviction abhors.

Can they?

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Dennis Miller Radio Show

My friend, Tom Sawyer, listens to the Dennis Miller Radio Show every day. Our local station only carries the first two hours, but Tom is faithful to it. Myself, I go back and forth between Dennis and Glenn Beck. Dennis is cool and laid back, Glenn is crazy and on the edge. I'm with whichever one fits my mood at the time.

A couple of days ago, Tom posted something about the Dennis Miller radio show on his blog and so the next morning I was over there at that station listening whereas I might not have been otherwise.

In the second hour, Dennis had, as his guest, Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina. Senator DeMint has recently published a book entitled Saving Freedom: We Can Stop America's Slide Into Socialism. He and Dennis had a great conversation in which Dennis, who is moderately conservative but radically funny, expressed the opinion that he thought Republicans went a bit far when they accused Democrats of being the enemies of liberty. In Dennis's opinion, this came off as a bit shrill. He asked DeMint for some examples of how Democrats sought to take away liberties. The examples DeMint gave were all economic examples. Dennis then wondered out loud if perhaps it would be better if Republicans were more specific in their criticisms by toning down the rhetoric to just "fiscal liberties." Wouldn't it be better, and more accurate, to say that Democrats were seeking to take away "fiscal liberties"?

Then, Dennis opined that he was a reasonable guy, and that, as a reasonable guy, he didn't mind giving up a portion of his income to help the down-and-out. DeMint's reply to that was great. He told Dennis that in his (Demint's) opinion, Dennis could do more to help the needy if he (Dennis) could keep his own money and distribute it himself rather than sending it to Washington.

(I wholeheartedly agree with Senator DeMint.

And, before I forget, let me add that it was primarily "fiscal liberty" over which the Revolutionary War was fought. All that soaring rhetoric about liberty which emanated from the pens and political stumps of our founders was first and foremost about "fiscal liberty." But I digress.)

That's when Miller ended the conversation by noting that he would be glad to disperse that money himself, but that he would have a hard time doing it from behind prison bars, which is exactly where he would be if he did not send his money to Washington.

Commercial break.

That's when I decided to call . . . and got through. Yes, I was shocked at how easy it was. The call screener asked me my name, where I was from, and what I wanted to say to Dennis. Two minutes later I was on the air.

Eat your heart out Tom Sawyer.

I was probably the worst caller of the day because I was so nervous. I tried to point out to Dennis that the good Senator DeMint and he had hit right on the crux of the issue with the whole "do what you want with your own money/but you can't do that from prison" exchange. This is what tyranny is, it is telling people that you (the government) know better what to do with a given individual's money than that individual and that if that you are going to take that individual's money (which represents his hands, his mind, his time, his risk, his work, his very worth) by threat of the sword and do better things with it than he can. The individual no longer works for himself and his own and his God. He now works for government so government can distribute to the collective. By-bye liberty.

I didn't do very well at expressing that on the radio, but I did pay Dennis a couple of compliments and he was able to turn them into very funny lines. I had an adrenaline rush for about two more hours and my wife was very, very impressed with me. I will certainly try calling again and maybe next time I'll do better.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Government and Tyranny

A cyber-friend who goes by the handle of One Salient Oversight has done me the kindness of answering one of my posts here in the comments section of that post. Since he is quite possibly my only reader at this point, and since my response to his comment became quite lengthy, I have opted to bring it out here to the front page. OSO is an Aussie, a nice guy, and a guy who knows how to disagree graciously. I hope I can return his graciousness and that we can both profit from our discussion.

OSO is a big-government liberal and our disagreement concerns the nature and purpose of government.

First let me quote him, then I'll respond.

OSO wrote: One counter-argument from the top of my head concerns sin. Sin affects both the individual and the community. To argue that the Biblical direction is more individualistic is to argue that the sins of the many outweigh the sins of the few (in a per capita sense). I would argue that sin affects both equally.

That's not my argument. My argument is that because of our sin nature, power tends to corrupt. I firmly believe the maxim: "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Though there are exceptions to the rule, history is replete with individuals who sought power for power's sake so that they could use it to tyrannize others. Give sinful man that much control over others and he tends to abuse it.

Think about it this way. Government is only necessary because of sin. Before sin, there was no need for the ten commandments. Man had God's law written on his heart, he obeyed willingly. When men sin government becomes necessary in order to execute justice and this is government's primary purpose.

The founders of our country believed this for they wrote about a Creator who had endowed us with certain unalienable rights and then they went on to delineate government's responsibility in protecting those rights. Government is about protecting the individual's liberty so that he may live free and be judged by God for how he lived in that final day. Every man's life is his own and he is responsible to God for how he lived it. It is imperative, therefore, that he be free to live that life as his conscience dictates and be judged by the just judge of the universe in that final day.

But, I've strayed. The point is that because of sin, men who have power tend to be corrupted by it. Governments, in reality, serve to perpetuate their own power and increase it. Governments never naturally shrink, they naturally grow.

Why is it that you think that you know better how others ought to live their lives than they do? And if you do, what gives you the right to enforce your viewpoint on them? You can, and should, seek to persuade men. You can, and should, take moral stands and proclaim truth and righteousness. But when do you get the right to enforce your viewpoint on another via the sword?

It is Charles Spurgeon who is credited with saying "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." This is why the marriage of church and state is a great evil. It does not make Christians of men, it only makes hypocrites and increases rebellion. Men who are born of God worship him freely.

We have every right to persuade men to come to Christ. We have no right to enforce our theological viewpoint on them. By the same token, we have every right to persuade men to give to the poor, but we have no right to reach into their pocket, take their hard-earned money, and give it to someone who has not earned it. If your name is not Government, that is called robbery and will get you in jail. Why do we think a crime can be made into a virtue by majority vote?

If I have money beyond what I need for my family, money I have earned by my labor and God's grace, and God gives me opportunity to give to another who is in need, and I do so, that is a virtuous act. God is glorified in that. But if I then go to my neighbor and by threat of physical violence compel him to give of his means to help someone else's need I have committed a grievous sin, a crime. But this is what socialist government does.

If I don't pay my taxes the government will put me in jail. But what does the government do with my money? It redistributes it to others. Gone is any virtue in my giving . . . because I was forced. Gone is any choice I had in where and how and to whom I should be charitable. Gone is my expendable income and any opportunity I might have to actually help others whom God might send across my path.

And what right do others have to tell me what to do with my money anyway? More to the point, what right does any given majority have to enforce its viewpoint on any particular individual on how he ought to use his money to help others? This is tyranny. It is the opposite of liberty.

Here's what the majority should do. It should seek to peaceably persuade others to commit acts of virtue freely, after having practiced those virtues themselves. Gone is the greedy, corrupt, wasteful, power-mongering middle-man called government. Intact is liberty. Intact is genuine charity. Intact is justice. Socialism destroys all three.

I have rambled on so far that I have forgotten my original point, but I think it was this: men are by nature corrupt, therefore their power over others should be very limited and very local and they should be held very accountable for their use of that power. The larger and more centralized a government is, the less it can be held accountable and under control.

Corporations Don't Pay Taxes

It's one in a long line of stupid, leftist, class warfare mantras often repeated by leftist, socialist politicians along with their leftist, socialist propagandists in the main-stream media. It usually goes something like this: "We're going to make those big corporations pay their fair share. It's about time somebody stood up to big tobacco, oil, pharmaceuticals, fill in your favorite villainous capitalistic enterprise here."

And people buy it.

My friend Tom Sawyer at The River is a lot less charitable to Democrat voters than I am. He thinks they are all stupid. While I don't agree, I have to admit that the fact that this little ploy always seems to work makes me wonder if Tom is right.

Corporations don't pay taxes.

I know, I know, I know. You point out to me that they collect and pay sales tax. Yes, they do. They also are responsible to pay a lot of other taxes in the form of fees and regulatory sanctions most of which we don't even know about.

I know.

But I'm still telling you that corporations don't pay taxes. Now, think with me for a minute.

One, corporations are not amorphous, impersonal entities. Corporations are owned by individuals. A tax on a corporation is a tax on the individuals who are shareholders in that corporation. Some of them are businessmen. Many of them are simply people who have retirement money wrapped up in mutual funds. They are teachers, doctors, factory workers, small business owners, salesmen, tradesmen, you-name-it. Average Joes. Raising taxes on a corporation is raising taxes on average Joe.

Two, a tax on a corporation doesn't just affect the shareholders, it affects the employees. Money that could have been used to give pay raises, bonuses, vacation pay, health benefits, you name it, to employees must now be diverted to the government. Hit the corporation with new taxes and you are just taking money away from the people who work for that corporation.

But number three is the real kicker. I really want you to pay attention to number three.

Three, when you tax a business, that business simply passes the tax burden on to the consumer in the form of cost increases. This is such a no-brainer I don't know why I even have to post about it. When the federal government taxes "Big Oil", "Big Oil" just raises prices at the pump and guess who has to pay those tax increases on "Big Oil"? Yep. You do.

When you voted for a Democrat so he could make "Big Oil" pay its fair share you really socked it to "Big Oil" didn't you.