Friday, November 21, 2008

Anarchism and Liberty

I have agreed with the quotes I have put up so far, toady's quote I do not agree with, it intrigues me greatly and I agree with parts but not the whole idea. Today's quote is from Emma Goldman, a Lithuanian born Anarchist who immigrated to America in the 1880's.

"Anarchism stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion; the liberation of the human body from the dominion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of government. Anarchism stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals."

Of course I disagree with the first part because religion, specifically Christianity, is a good thing.

But let's look at the last three statements. Liberation of the human body from dominion of property. I think I can agree with this after all we shouldn't be obsessed with our belongings.

Liberation from the shackles and restraint of government. I would pause and ponder this statement; on one hand I don't like government but on the other hand restraint of government is proper at times so maybe some government is necessary.

Anarchism stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals. At first I'm not sure how to take this, I mean if we all just lived as different gangs who fight each other for resources that would lead to bad things. But then I think, what are nations but organizations who compete with each other for resources and protect their people? What is the difference between a gang and a government? Well I tend to think that a just government is one that derives its power from the people. A gang derives it power from the amount of force they control, a government that does the same is a totalitarian government and those are bad.

So back to the quote, the author is saying that a social order where people decide what groups to be a part of freely is best. I think I can agree with that, I mean our government derives its power from the people and the people have to agree to be part of this group. So I think I would agree with this part as well.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Placid Island of Ignorance

Today's quote comes from Howard Phillips Lovecraft best known for his Cthuhlu series HP Lovecraft books ask us to consider the world around us a realize that we've barely scratched the surface.

"The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age."

I agree with Lovecraft that most of us live on a island of ignorance most people are happy to do so and live their entire lives not caring. So while I think this black sea of infinity is temporary I do think that we are the stewards of it and that exploring it will only reveal more of God's nature and I see no harm in that.

I think it's sad indeed that Lovecraft didn't realize that this placid island is only temporary and that beyond it there is an eternity waiting for us that is so much better.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Words of Truth

Today's author is the sole survivor of human experiments conducted by a totalitarian government. He then went on to extract revenge on those who conducted the experiments eventually causing the downfall of the government when he blew up the Parliament Building. Today's author is none other than a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. Today's author is V.

"Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who's to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn't be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense."

I will be the first to say that something is not horribly wrong with our country, but something is wrong. We are submitting more and more to the government because we are afraid. We fear terrorism so we allow the government to create new agencies that have almost unlimited power to spy on and arrest us. We fear disease so we set up an agency that has to approve every product on the market and can regulate virtually every industry. We can still say what we want but how long will that continue if we are afraid and are robbed of our common sense?

So how can we stop this slide down the slippery slope towards Totalitarianism? With words, we need to remind each other that war, terror and disease are temporary but a loss of freedoms and liberty are not. Words offer the enunciation of truth and an open dialog amongst concerned citizens will be the only thing that will save us; if it ever comes to Totalitarianism we will only need to look into the mirror to see who lets us fall.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


First off yes Magnus this is a day late but I felt that today would be a good day to post this quote from John Quincy Adams.

“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost."

Today I will be casting a vote for Bob Barr, I have been told by at least a dozen people that I am throwing away my vote and that I need to vote for McCain to keep Obama from winning. I disagree, I am voting for principal. Obama may be terrible but if I have to vote for a candidate I don't believe in to keep Obama from winning then that's the scary part.

So today I will not compromise and I will vote third party.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Two Paths

Today's quote comes from Emerson, I came across it in a Red Book case I am preparing to debate later today.

"If a man take a stand upon his instincts, and there abide, the great huge world comes around to him."

When a man abides by what he thinks is right the world takes notice. From great leaders like Regan who stood for Capitalism when it look like the world would fall under the shadow of Communism. To unknowns like the protester in Tiananmen Square who stood before the tanks.

We should all try and stand for something that's right because if we do the world will take notice and come to us and we will have the ability to change the world; hopefully for the better.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Privacy and Civilization

My quote today comes from my favorite philosopher Ayn Rand.

"Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage's whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men."

Our country was founded on the idea that man is responsible for his choices, that the government is there to protect a man's life, liberty and property. The government is responsible for making creating an environment where everyone can have those three things.

Man then is responsible for everything else, he is responsible for making his life worthwhile that is not the governments job, they should not provide health care or keep him from hurting himself through use of drugs. Man is responsible for his actions.

He is responsible for making good use of his liberty, he can say what he will, do what he wants, the government should not make sure he is saying the right things or that if he says them on the airwaves that the other side is equally represented. Each man is responsible for what he says and does.

He is responsible and has sole ownership of any property he acquires, government should not ensure that he has of property by taking from one and giving to another they are there just to protect whatever property he owns. If, like is happening now, the government uses tax money to buy banks or bailout the car industry then they are not protecting property they are stealing it and that is legal plunder.

Our society was founded on the idea that each man had privacy and with that privacy came responsibility. Today we are regressing because people no longer have personal responsibility, it is said that it is the responsibility of the rich to provide for those behind them and to give them the same opportunity they had to own property. The government by doing this is intervening in our lives and taking away our privacy, if we want to have a better society we will increase the amount of privacy and return to a time when a person is responsible only for themselves.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Power and Corruption

Today's quote comes for a very promising up and coming author Peter Fendrich from his book Seven Years.

"Power doesn't corrupt, it only shows what was already there..."

Too often the leaders we elect to represent in various government branches prove to be corrupt and immoral. But as this quote says power did not corrupt them they were already carrying around that corruption. Also too often we don't look closely at the leaders we're voting for to see what's there, a lot of people only look closely enough to see if there's an (R) or a (D) next to their name. Some look at the candidates website to see if they're pro-life or for national security but don't look into their character.

In this next election let's take this last week and consider the character of both of the choices. Are either of the the two major candidates truly fit for office? Or is the corruptness already there?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Philosopher King

Today's quote comes from Plato in his book the Republic.

"And so we see that it is the Philosopher who should rule, as of all men only he has no desire to..."

It has been said that those who crave power are unfit to have it and those that are fit do not want it, of course a Philosopher ruling is only one part of Plato's ideal government. His main point is that individuals should do what they do best according to their class in society. By doing this, Plato argued, ones soul would be content as long as they stayed within their class and did what their class does best. I must admit that having ones class decided for them intrigues me, it could be very nice to not have to worry about what I'm going to grow up to do, but at the same time choice in what one will do with ones life is such a cornerstone of our society that I would be somewhat afraid to such drastically change our society as I fear what may come out.

Also there are plenty of Philosophers I wouldn't want as a Philosopher King and how do I know they wouldn't be making the rules?

So I guess while a Philosopher King is something fun to talk about with some more philosophically minded friends and I personally have written a short story about it I think we're doing okay with the government we have now and maybe we should work on fixing it before we start looking for a new one.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Classic

Today's quote is most often attributed to Ronald Regan all though he most likely isn't the creator of this quote. But I thought in today's troubled economic times this classic stand by would be appropriate.

"The nine most feared words in the English language are I'm from the government and I'm here to help."

Today the government is helping a lot whether we want it or not. Bank of America, my personal bank, was nationalized by the government even though they were financially sound and were in fact buying up the struggling banks. The $700 billion bail out package passed but already Congress is calling for another bail out bill.

The government is not always the answer in fact in so many situations it's just what we don't need. When our country is suffering economically taking $700 billion from the people and buying up banks is not going to help. When stocks are dropping in value forcing the nine largest banks to create more stock for the government to buy only decreases the value of the stocks even more.

What we need in America today is more personal responsibility; let the banks who made risky loans collapse and let the banks who were smart and didn't give loans to no income families buy the failing banks. Let the people who took risky loans be foreclosed don't take money from me to pay for their homes.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Living Life

Today's quote comes from Christopher Morley a writer from the mid 1900s one of his best know accomplishments was editing and expanding Bartlett's Familiar Quotations making him a rather appropriate person to quote here.

"There is only one success - to be able to live your life in your own way."

I'm sure most of you upon reading this quote will instantly agree with then pause consider it for a second more then instantly reject it. Of course we can't live life our own way, we need to live it God's way.

I would agree with you but we also need to be careful that we don't let other tell us what God's path is for us. We can't let others point us down a path and say follow it it's what I think you should do or I think it's what God wants you to do.

You need to be able to stand by yourself and say this is what God wants me to do and so I will do it and in doing that I would argue that I would be living life in my own way.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Liberties and Force

Today's quote comes from Dorthy Thompson a journalist during World War Two.

"When liberty is taken away by force it can be restored by force. When it is relinquished voluntarily by default it can never be recovered."

I'm not sure whether to agree or disagree with this quote, I obviously agree with the first part. If my liberty were taken away by say a bank robber while I was in a bank it would take the use of force by me or the police to gain it back.

However the second part is more complicated; if I choose to give up my right to privacy to the government because of a fear of terrorism how would I get it back? Could I ask them to pass another law giving it back? As shown with the Patriot Act this has proven difficult all though I do hope that one day people will wake up and take back their rights that they have given up during this war on terror. But will that be possible through legitimate channels? And even if on paper we got our Liberties back would the government actually respect them?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Agents against Error

Today's quote comes from one of our Founding Fathers Thomas Jefferson.

"Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error."

As I said in my first post, to blindly follow tradition or to flee tradition into a unsure future are both terrible errors. To combat those errors we must use our reason, to many people I know reason is the enemy because as evangelicals we rely not on reason alone but faith also. Some have taken this to an extreme and said that faith is too secular and we shouldn't be relying on it at all. I think this is a mistake and I decry the trend I see among evangelicals to abandon the study of science and philosophy. Free inquiry of those ideas are what keep us from making the same errors generation after generation.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mistakes and Art

Today's author is the creator of the hit cartoon Dilbert and author of a very though provoking books called God's Debris, but without further ado, Scott Adam's.

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep."

Too often young filmmakers I know expect to hit it big with their first movie and that everything they make will be perfect. But what I and others tell everyone is that your first movie is going to be terrible and most likely the next few after that too. You need to get out there and make mistakes so you can learn from them, and then after you've made a bunch of mistakes decide which one you're going to keep.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Art and Reality

My quote today comes again from Ayn Rand.

"Art is a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist's metaphysical value-judgments. An artist recreates those aspects of reality which represent his fundamental view of man's nature."

Ayn Rand in her book the Romantic Manifesto says that any art is infused with the world view of the creator and that the viewer can not help but come away with a message.

In the industry I work in, the Christian film industry, we are always striving to present our view of reality in a way that represents our worldview. To this end we try and present a view of man that upholds values and ideals we think are important.

At the same time to represent reality and make it believable we need to show man's true nature and that is that he is fallen. So our characters need to have flaws and struggle with problems just like we all do but hopefully in our films our characters can overcome those struggles. Too often in post-modernism and nihilistic films we see characters who represent nothing but the hopelessness of mankind or films that do nothing but showcase man's inhumanity. We need more films that show flawed characters who gain eventual redemption and overcome their struggles.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Freedom of the Press

My quote today comes from one of our Founding Fathers; George Mason. A Virginian he helped write the Virginia Declaration of Rights; he was also one of the leaders of the anti-federalist and much of the Bill of Rights is based on his writings in the Virginia Declaration of Rights.

"The freedom of the press is one of the great bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic governments."

It seems like today that everyone hates the press, Democrats hate talk radio because no one with their opinions can seem to last on radio so they suggest the fairness doctrine to force stations to give equal time to opposing views. Republicans hate the print press because they're all liberal rags and the big TV stations are biased too so they support TV stations like FOX. So while people are saying how much they hate the press remember that they're a bulwark of Liberty and they need to be protected.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Exploration of Self

My quote today is from T.S. Elliot, a poet during the early 1900's Elliot's best known poems include The Waste Land, The Hollow Man, and Ash Wednesday.

"We must never cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time."

I think one of the biggest failings of evangelicals today is their fear of philosophers and a refusal to study them. Evaluating our beliefs and gleaning truth and wisdom from philosopher does not, as is commonly believed by most evangelicals, weaken our beliefs but strengthen them. By questioning our beliefs and searching for the truth we arrive back at our foundational beliefs and know what we truly believe for the first time.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Legal Plunder

My quote today comes again from Bastiat, normally I will not repeat an author so soon but because of the current financial disaster being hoisted upon the American public in the form of a $700 billion bailout for Wall Street I felt that the words of Bastiat would be appropriate for the situation.

"It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.

What are the consequences of such a perversion? It would require volumes to describe them all. Thus we must content ourselves with pointing out the most striking.

In the first place, it erases from everyone's conscience the distinction between justice and injustice."

When the government talks about a bail out they are talking about plunder, stealing my money and giving it to a company I would not choose to invest in normally. This is redistribution of wealth and has no place in a lawful society. During the Cold War America stood against Communism yet less that thirty years after the fall of Communism we are adopting many of their economic positions.

Many of these bailouts the government is doing are in the form of buyouts meaning that the government is nationalizing these companies and running them. This is of course what started the whole problem; Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were quasi government agencies who started the practice of risking loans and mortgages because the government wanted more low income and minority families to own homes. Because these companies were subsidized by the government they controlled a large part of the industry and could preform risky business procedures, however everyone else in the industry had to start preforming similar risky business procedures or risk being put out of business by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. When their risky business procedures caught up with Fannie Maw and Freddie Mac they started the collapse of large parts of the industry; what is not needed at this point is more government intervention but less; government intervention is what started this mess.

Unfortunately neither of the Presidential candidates realize this and talk of more government regulation and intervention. I recently got a call from the Obama campaign asking me if I was supporting Obama and whether I had any questions about the issues. I asked what was going to be done about the economic crises and the Obama person said that they were going to be taking money from CEO's of oil companies because of all the money they make that we the consumer have to pay them when we need relief because of high oil prices. At this point I said "No thank you I don't believe in theft." And I hung up the phone. Unfortunately McCain is no better he also believes that the "crooks" on Wall Street can't be trusted and that Wall Street needs more oversight from Washington.

There is no Hope, there will be no Change in our future if most American's can no longer tell the difference between Justice and Injustice. If CEO's of oil companies can have their money stolen is our money any safer?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Democracy and Totalitarianisms

This years debate topic is about India so today's quote comes from Gandhi the leader of the Indian revolution. Gandhi left his mark on both Indian culture and politics that remains in effect to this day.

"What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?"

In today's so called war on "terror" we must consider very carefully the destruction that is wrought in the name of democracy. Consider the half a million children in Iraq who died of starvation during the food for oil program. Did it matter that the embargo was about spreading democracy? No children still died, the ends never justify the means.

Friday, September 19, 2008

American Inclinations

My quote today comes from another Frenchman but is actually a real person. Frederic Bastiat was a philosopher in the 1800s who wrote about the purpose of government.

"They [Socialist writer] assume that if the legislators left persons free to follow their own inclinations, they would arrive at atheism instead of religion, ignorance instead of knowledge, poverty instead of production and exchange. According to these writers, it is indeed fortunate that Heaven has bestowed upon certain men — governors and legislators — the exact opposite inclinations, not only for their own sake but also for the sake of the rest of the world! While mankind tends toward evil, the legislators yearn for good; while mankind advances toward darkness, the legislators aspire for enlightenment; while mankind is drawn toward vice, the legislators are attracted toward virtue. Since they have decided that this is the true state of affairs, they then demand the use of force in order to substitute their own inclinations for those of the human race"

Now I assume that we can agree that certain humans don't have better inclinations than all other humans and that the government shouldn't tell us what to believe or tell us we need to be enlightened. So I would ask why do so many people believe that America has better inclinations than other countries? If legislators don't need to tell us to yearn for good, to be enlightened, or to be virtuous why does America need to tell countries to like freedom, to hate despots, or to be enlightened?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Freedom and Chains

Today's quote comes from a very different author, he was born in La Barre, France in 2305. He went on to become a galactic explorer, diplomat and the captain of the USS Enterprise. Captain Jean-Luc Picard is the person I'm quoting today.

"With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably."

Captain Picard is talking to an internal investigator who is attempting to charge Picard with treason because of his defense of a suspected saboteur.

Picard is spot on though, if a speech or a thought or a freedom become unnecessary, if in the name of country, security or morality why is the next speech, thought or freedom any more important? Why should it be respected more than the first one? Every speech, every thought and every freedom should be held dear and protected at all cost.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

First Post

I've decided to start a new blog; the purpose of this blog will be to every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday post a new quote that I find, write a bit about what I think and then, hopefully, hear what you all think about the quote. Our first quote today is from one of my favorite philosophers; Ayn Rand. The founder of Objectivism Ayn Rand first started writing during the 1950's eventually writing one of the most influential books today; Atlas Shrugged.

"The hidebound traditionalist and the modern college activist are two sides of the same psych-epistemological coin. The first seeks to escape the terror of an unknowable future by seeking safety in the alleged wisdom of the past. ("What was good for my father, it's good enough for me!") The second seeks to escape the terror of an unintelligible past by screaming his way into an indefinable future. ("If it's not good for my father, it's good enough for me!) And, paradoxically enough, neither of them is able to live in the present."

I think this quote could work just as well if you substituted Conservative for hidebound traditionalist and Liberal for modern college activist.

Conservatives often talk about returning to the past and how great it was and often pass over some of the darker things from the past. They blame anything bad in the present on Liberals and activist who don't hold to "traditional" values.

Meanwhile Liberals can not stand the present because Conservatives are holding everyone back in their antiquated views of the world. Anything bad in the present is blamed on Conservatives who if they would just get out of the way we could all go into the future much more "enlightened".

The truth of the matter is that blindly following past tradition or charging into a indeterminate future doesn't work; we need to live in the present and engage in honest discussion of the big questions like why we do what we do, or what is the purpose of what we do? The gone past and the uncertain future are not the places to look for them and if we keep trying to live in the past or rush to the future we will not have the discussion of what for and why?