Jan 06 2014

A Little Perspective on Accomplishment

Category: healthcare,Obamaamuzikman @ 10:39 pm

“Three and a half years of World War II, starting with the Japanese bombing Pearl Harbor December ’41, ending in ’45, in that three and a half year period, this country built 22 aircraft carriers, eight battleships, 48 cruisers, 349 destroyers, 420 destroyer escorts, 203 submarines, 34 million tons of merchant ships, 100,000 fighter aircraft, 98,000 bombers, 24,000 transport aircraft.

On and on, 93,000 tanks, 257,000 artillery pieces, 105,000 mortars. Three million machine guns, 2,500,000 military trucks. We put 16 million men in uniform, various Armed Services, all over the world, Africa, Sicily, Italy. We won the battle for the Atlantic. We won in the Pacific. Three and a half years we did all that. In the same period of time the Obama administration could not even build a website.”

Whatever your opinion of Rush Limbaugh, this is a very poignant quote.


Dec 26 2013

Some mid-year thoughts on college graduation

Category: college,education,higher educationamuzikman @ 2:33 pm

For those of you who have recently run the gauntlet and graduated from college, first of all my most sincere congratulations. it is a milestone in your young lives and something for which you can look back upon and always feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. It is no small thing to invest so much time and (in some cases) so much money to achieve a goal. And like the many who have gone before you, you discovered that the closer you came to the finish line the more obstacles were thrown in your way. But you did it. you navigated the maze of requirements, you jumped through all the hoops, you endured the red tape, you completed the journey successfully.

Anyone who has completed a college degree program knows the feeling of frustration and annoyance at the seemingly endless last-minute minutiae that crops up and seems to want to cling to you and pull you down like swimming through seaweed.  It seems as if only half the battle was completing the course work and the other half was going 12 rounds with the academic bureaucracy in a bare-knuckled fight.  But that also lends to the feeling of victory and relief when you do finally have your diploma in hand.  You fought the man and won!

But there is a percentage of grads who seem to be annoyance-driven.  Every road block, every late fee, every form to fill out, are all a personal affront to them and they cannot wait to wreak social media revenge by airing each and every complaint as loudly as possible to as many on the web as possible.  Our virtual culture certainly provides for ample opportunity for that very thing.  But those words do carry a certain amount of weight and do affect the reputation/perception of the institution and those who work there.

I’d like you to consider something from another perspective.  There are a few of us, known as faculty and staff, who have walked that journey with you.  We have invested in you and we have gone the extra mile for you, sometimes in ways you cannot know and without your knowledge.  We do it because it is our job.  But more that that we do it because we want you to succeed.  We want you to like amazing, wonderful, happy and fruitful lives.  We do it because we care about you, plain and simple.

So in the midst of your electronic “taggings” of annoyance, pause a moment, perhaps take a moment and consider this.  it is likely your entire tenure at the college of choice was not 4 (or more) years of endless irritation and frustration.  (If it was, then one must call into question your judgment and why it is that you stayed and spent all that money…)  I’ll bet anyone reading this can remember a kindness shown to them, some individual attention given to them, some wise counsel, a word of encouragement, a pat on the back in the hallway or a listening ear over a cup of hot coffee.  For those who extended such kindnesses it is somewhat painful to read your frequent posts, made up almost exclusively of contempt and disregard, as you walk out the door.  It isn’t that we want your posts to instantly become filled with thanks and appreciation, trumpeted all over social media, frankly most of us would be roundly embarrassed by such a thing.  But we do want you to remember the good with the bad, and to hold onto a little appreciation of what you have been given by those who have only your best interest a heart.  Remember that long after your frustrations have become distant memories, we’ll still be there, and it is encouraging to us to know that we do not labor in vain.

 


Dec 24 2013

Where do I find Christmas?

Category: Christmas,Uncategorizedamuzikman @ 10:46 am

As a musician I do a lot of performing during the holiday season. Many churches put on various Christmas cantatas, concerts with choir and orchestra, dramatic presentations, etc. and there are numerous civic holiday programs to be found in schools, auditoriums, and performing arts centers. In fact, in LA you can find several major Christmas music events on any given day or night. Almost all of the programs are excellent, and they draw large audiences.

I have performed in hundreds of such events during the span of my career and I suppose the sheer number of them have somewhat numbed me to their significance. I’m also not there as an audience member, I am there to work, and I do appreciate the bump in my income the Christmas season provides.  But regardless of my role I have long since ceased to find Christmas at such events.

Last night a few friends and I played some Christmas carols at the home of a good friend, also a musician, who is battling cancer.  We played about 20 minutes for he and his wife, along with a few neighbors who heard the music and wandered out.

My friend, also a trombone player, is facing a major cancer-related surgery. It may very well be that after the surgery he will not be able to play again. The tears in his eyes and the crack in his voice as he thanked us were all the evidence I needed that playing a few carols on his cold, dark driveway meant more to him than all the concerts and all the Christmas pageants combined.

Christmas found!

Merry Christmas to all


Oct 07 2013

Remembering Tom Shackleton

Category: familyharmonicminer @ 5:40 pm

Remembering Tom Shackleton

 

Tom was my big brother.   At various times growing up, he saved me from drowning, tried to explain how cars worked, tried to teach me how to box (mostly by teaching me how to duck), bragged about me to his friends (while explaining to me privately that I was a geek), wreaked terrible revenge on bigger boys in the neighborhood who picked on his little brother, caught me when I was falling off a roof, and delighted in watching episodes of the late 1950s classic horror television series, “Shock Theater,” which left me running for the door in terror.

Tom taught me that smoking was a bad idea in a very simple way.  In Roanoke, Virginia, when I was 4 or 5 and he was 9 or 10, he gave me a cigarette that he made by hollowing out a stick, inserting some dried, crushed leaves, and lighting it.  One puff made me a non-smoker for life, which, at the time, seemed like it was about to end.

Tom had a knack for machinery.  He had great confidence that he could take something apart and reassemble it, and he was right, most of the time.  I’m not sure my sister’s toy baby carriage was ever quite the same, although Mary Lou eventually forgave him.  He seemed to be able to figure out how cars worked without motor manuals or instructions, and couldn’t understand how his little brother could be “book smart” and not intuitively grasp the mysteries of crank shafts, valve timing and cams.  At the age of 15 or so, if memory serves, he bought an old junker car for $75 or so (it had to be towed to our drive way), and worked on it till it ran.  I don’t remember where he got the necessary parts, but since he was still too young for a driver’s license, he drove it up and down our driveway….  And that included the vegetable garden, off season, which soon became an unofficial, and unpaved, part of our family raceway.  I mean, driveway.

At the age of 9 or so, I was amazed that he could make the old piece of junk actually run….  It all seemed like some sort of mechanical wizardry to me.  Tom didn’t seem to care much for traditional school at the time, but then appeared to break the laws of thermodynamics in making junk do something useful.

Tom loved dogs.  The dogs that our family had were brought home by Tom, sometimes surreptitiously.  First there was Sparky, whose death from being hit by a car left Tom inconsolable for at least a couple of weeks.  Not long after that, Tom found a little white puppy somewhere, named her Trixie, and snuck her home zipped into his jacket.  My folks didn’t have the heart to say no.

Tom had something of a reputation in Auburn, Indiana, as someone with whom it was unwise to get into a fight.  Shortly after Tom enlisted in the Army in 1965 or so, we moved to Sugar Creek, Missouri.  We kept moving west, and I graduated from high school in Arizona.   When I went to college, in Anderson, Indiana, about 100 miles from Auburn, a young man whom I had known in junior high in Auburn asked me if I was related to Tom Shackleton, whose reputation as a fearsome warrior was apparently still intact in northern Indiana, and spreading.  I proudly said that he was my brother, and tried to look really tough and steely eyed.

My mom was pretty brave when Tom went to Vietnam, but when she thought no one was looking, she’d cry sometimes with worry.   Sometimes I’d come home from school and catch her wiping her eyes, trying to look cheerful.  He wrote some letters home while he was there, but I think our folks had a hard time judging how he was dealing with the experience.  After some pretty close calls, he came home in one piece, and I’m pretty sure our parents thought they’d simply prayed him back home safely.

When Tom introduced us all to Teresa, we had no doubt that he was “marrying up.”  He simply adored her, and seemed to know that he was a very, very lucky man.  Somehow, she knew how to handle him.  He was tough.  She was tougher, somehow, while being very gentle and warm.  Everyone in my family loved Teresa, and approved of Tom’s good judgment in marrying her.

Sometime in around 1979 – I’m not sure exactly – Tom and Teresa visited Phoenix, Arizona, where our parents lived, at the same time as I did.   That was the first time I got to meet their son Brad, who was very young (and who says he remembers the meeting, and that I still had red hair).

When I would see Tom in the decades since, it seemed to me that he really, really loved Teresa, Brad, dogs, and his friends….  Possibly in that order.  He always had a dog, frequently multiple dogs, and the family obviously really enjoyed them.  He had a little dog whose mission in life was to terminate empty plastic milk jugs with great prejudice, and Tom’s evident joy in the tiny beast was great fun to watch.

Tom was a mixture of toughness, challenge and tenderness.  As brothers do, we fought sometimes, and didn’t see eye to eye on a great many matters, but we were each proud of the other’s accomplishments.  When I came to visit after Teresa passed, we talked late into the night, and I was struck by how difficult it was going to be for him to go on without her to take care of, and to take care of him.

Tom’s legacy is Brad and his grandsons.  He was immensely proud of them, and considered them the greatest accomplishment of his life, along with his marriage to Teresa.

I think he was right on all points.

Phil Shackleton, brother of Tom Shackleton, Oct 1, 2013, Glendora, California

 


Jun 16 2013

Thoughts about my dad

Category: family,God,love,marriageharmonicminer @ 10:17 am

This was written in October of 1997. My dad passed on about 6 months later.

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Recently I’ve thought a great deal about my father and what he has meant to me. This isn’t the first time I’ve considered his influence in my life, and the lives of many others, but perhaps my perspective is a little better in more recent years. He’s just turned 85. I’m 45, and my wife and I are expecting our third child in several months.

My Dad is first and foremost a man of God. At the very center of every part of his life is his love for God, and his trust in God’s promises. I have never known a man of greater integrity. As a child, the man I saw in the pulpit preaching was exactly the same man who sat at the dinner table with his family. Nearly everyone else I know has a “public” persona and a “private” persona, but Dad was and is simply himself.

My Dad isn’t a flashy guy. As a minister, he didn’t “turn on the charm” like a modern, glamorous mega-churchman should. As unrealistic as it may seem to the jaded sensibilities and expectations of many who attend church today, he is pretty much without artifice. In the multiple staff, high concept modern church, some ecclesiastical policy wonk would probably say that “his gifts are pastoral”. Perhaps a better explanation would be that he is simply, gently, firmly who he believes his God wants him to be. I know that everywhere he pastored, lives were changed, and many came to understand God’s love a little better through knowing him. Many of these people have stayed in touch with him and Mom over the decades, recognizing them to be the thoroughly remarkable people that they are.

My Dad is a better man than me. No doubt some shrink would like to make much of that simple statement, but I think it’s accurate. Although I believe my self-esteem is in fine working order, I still hope someday to attain his levels of gentleness, patience, self-discipline, basic courage and faith. Of course, I harbor similar hopes for most readers of this document.

My Dad was a “promise keeper” before there were marches on Washington and big testosterone rallies in football stadiums. Before the excesses of modern feminism obliterated much of its benefits, he was doing dishes, and making sure his sons did, too. He helped with math as needed. He and Mom made it a point to go to games, concerts and other school activities where their children were involved. He did his best to help them become educated. One or the other of them drove me to and from countless rehearsals for all kinds of musical activities, sometimes far across a large city. He was and is a loving husband who cherishes his wife, and doesn’t mind showing it. Before the civil rights movement had impacted much of America, Dad and Mom made it a point to raise non-racist children, by words, deeds and attitudes, even when we lived in the south. I remember his prayers as being clearly heartfelt, not mere formalities around the dinner table. I have some memories from age 5 or so, of his gentle hand stroking my head. I can still feel it, if I concentrate. At that age, his legs seemed to me like tree trunks, and I have clear memories of hanging on to one of them as he greeted people after church.

My Dad put up a basketball backboard in our backyard, mounted on a telephone pole. He played catch with me. It was due to his efforts that I finally caught on to the essential simplicity of subscript notation for related variables in algebra (I kept trying to treat the subscripts as exponents). He taught me that good two-part harmony consists mostly of 3rds and 6ths. He grinned at me when I managed to sing a particularly tricky line as an early adolescent tenor in the church choir. He and Mom managed to keep their own counsel, not to mention their sanity, as I played the same weird jazz chord progressions on the piano over and over and over, till I’d memorized how they sounded. On those rare occasions when I played a piano offertory on Sunday night, he generously refrained from asking me what song I’d played, as I tried out every strange chord God had invented up till then. And although I don’t think he ever really liked it much, he and Mom came to jazz concerts where I played my trumpet, making moderately musical noises that were probably never heard in the rural Wisconsin of his youth. I think he even applauded, politely. I hope I’m able to display as much tolerance of the music that my kids like.

I know it’s a truism, but as I get older, I realize occasionally just how much my Dad knows about living well. I’ve lost more often than I’ve won from not taking his advice on this matter or that. I’ve seen him find ways to enjoy life, even though his last few years have been painful and difficult at times, as he’s suffered many physical maladies. Thankfully, his mind is still very sharp; he still makes subtle verbal jokes and then looks at me to see if I get it. Sometimes I do.

I haven’t always agreed with Dad’s opinions about matters theological, political, social, ecclesiological or aesthetic. We’ve had more than one mildly heated discussion about some point of disagreement, even in recent years. I suspect that the fact that we’re both certain of each other’s love is part of what makes that possible. I’m usually right, of course….. but I try not to be too obvious about it, just for the sake of discussion. After all, a son should show proper respect for his father.

It’s impossible to think of Dad without thinking of Mom in the same breath. They’ve had a most unusual union, I suspect, one that can only come about with two unusual people, doing their best to seek God’s will in their lives. It would probably have served the marriage counseling industry well to toss out the majority of texts, and come interview my folks.

I think Dad is probably held in high regard by virtually everyone who knows him at all. I’m pretty sure that isn’t due to the slick sales job he does on people. Most of us just know the genuine article when we see it. I’m sure God agrees with this assessment, and is getting a bit anxious to have Dad all to himself. In recent years, Dad has had lots of illnesses to go through, and has weathered them so far. In what are probably theologically unsound moments, I’ve sometimes wondered if God isn’t just gently trying to convince him that it’s time to come home. But Dad was always just a touch determined once he’d started a course of action, and besides, he REALLY loves my Mom. So I suppose God will have to be patient a little while longer.


May 17 2013

Outgoing IRS acting chief, apparently deaf, dumb and blind

Category: corruption,election 2012,freedom,government,justice,liberty,Obamaharmonicminer @ 3:22 pm


Apr 29 2013

When it comes to abortion, is there anything the left won’t tolerate?

Category: abortion,justice,mediaharmonicminer @ 7:01 pm

James Willis makes some points about the Gosnell baby-killer case, what it means regarding media coverage, and our general attitudes towards that coverage.

Kermit Gosnell is not a particularly attractive man, nor has he any celebrity status. His patients, otherwise known as victims, were mostly young, poor black women or girls whose names have never been mentioned on Entertainment Tonight. We don’t know if any of his youngest victims would have looked like Barack Obama. Gosnell didn’t use an AR-15 to kill these children, he just used scissors.

Although the trial has finally gotten some media attention, the lack of coverage has gotten perhaps more air time than the trial itself. Perhaps I am wrong about the trial being ignored because of a lack of glamour; I suppose it is entirely possible that the media doesn’t want to cover it because they don’t want to bring negative attention to the abortion industry. To be honest, while both factors are probably involved, the latter is most likely the driving force.

Let’s assume, just for the sake of discussion, that the left held the abortion industry in the same level of contempt as they do the gun industry. By now coverage of the trial would be wall-to-wall, with after action reports coming at the end of each day to recap the day’s events and to speculate on the next moves by both the defense and the prosecution. We would have seen leaked photos of the jars containing the severed feet of the infants murdered at Gosnell’s butcher shop, kept like trophies, and of the cat food containers used to store the remains of the dead babies.

*************************
There is much more, and it’s all worth reading here, and pondering. Exactly how depraved have we become that we can tolerate this in our society? That we allow people into our homes via the television who support the abortion culture, and actually find them to be trustworthy guides to the news and our society? That we elect politicians who will block every attempt to save the unborn? That we pretend that our concern for the poor (expressed as support for the left) somehow trumps our concern for killed babies?

It seems to me that too many Christians want so much to be “civil” or “nonjudgmental” or “relevant” or just “cool” that they are willing to abide almost anything in the name of some kind of “peace” with the left.

As I said here, on the occasion of Obama’s address at Notre Dame, our willingness to submerge our beliefs and moral assessment for the sake of some kind of cultural relevance, to be “bridge-builders” and “peace-makers,” is essentially a denial that there is evil in the world, evil that we must resist, evil that we must not simply tolerate for the sake of civility and getting along with the powers that be.

h/t:  Powerline

 


Mar 13 2013

The Real Seamless Garment

Category: abortionharmonicminer @ 8:45 pm

 

In the William Wade Lecture Series given at St. Louis University in March of 1984, Joseph Cardinal Bernadin delivered a seminal address in which he drew connections between the opposition to legal abortion-on-demand, capital punishment, assisted suicide, economic injustice, euthanasia, and the nuclear arms race, as well as opposition to unjust war and even all war.  This perspective has gone under the labels “seamless garment” and “consistent ethic of life.”  Cardinal Bernadin said:

“It is both a complex and a demanding tradition; it joins the humanity of the unborn infant and the humanity of the hungry; it calls for positive legal action to prevent the killing of the unborn or the aged and positive societal action to provide shelter for the homeless and education for the illiterate. ……

 In response to those who fear otherwise, I contend that the systemic vision of a consistent ethic of life will not erode our crucial public opposition to the direction of the arms race; neither will it smother our persistent and necessary public opposition to abortion. ..…

A consistent ethic of life does not equate the problem of taking life (e.g., through abortion and in war) with the problem of promoting human dignity (through humane programs of nutrition, health care, and housing). But a consistent ethic identifies both the protection of life and its promotion as moral questions. It argues for a continuum of life which must be sustained in the face of diverse and distinct threats.”

Notwithstanding the Cardinal’s instruction that the direct defense of life is not to be equated with the promotion of quality of life, this kind of language has been used to provide cover for supposedly pro-life Christians to vote for essentially pro-abortion-on-demand candidates.  This is due to the belief that these candidates will promote particular social programs and entitlements which are assumed to “promote life” and possibly reduce the “need” for abortion.  Such voters will usually also expect the candidate to take left-leaning positions on national defense, capital punishment, nationalized health care, etc. (essentially the entire panoply of progressive causes), under the guise that these also “promote life.”  It is as if these voters believe that we can make up for allowing the killing of millions of babies by feeding and protecting the ones we allow to live, though it’s hard to demonstrate that progressive policies actually help the living in the long run.

In this “consistent ethic of life” approach, it’s important to distinguish between straight-up moral questions (under what circumstances should it be legal to terminate the lives of the unborn?) and prudential questions (granted that we wish to limit poverty and violence in the world, what are the best means for doing so?).  Somehow, for the “seamlessly pro-life,” when it is time to vote, the merely prudential seems to trump the clear moral issue of legal abortion-on-demand.  Yet, it is on the prudential questions that the “seamless garment” arguments mostly fail.  Let’s consider a few of them.

In the 1984 election (the occasion of Cardinal Bernadin’s quote above), the argument was made that Ronald Reagan, though pro-life, was the lesser choice for the “consistent ethic of life” because of his commitment to rebuilding the US military, including updated nuclear capabilities.  The facts of history have proved that perspective wrong.  Reagan’s policies were critical in bringing about the 1989 implosion of the Soviet government.  Nuclear weapons still exist on our planet, but we are far safer from nuclear annihilation than we were.  We owe that fact to Reagan, Thatcher, John Paul II, and the many Polish and Russian activists who risked their lives speaking out, not to the nuclear freeze movement or a sham nuclear détente that allowed the Soviets to build up their arsenal of nuclear weapons while US capabilities deteriorated under Carter.

For all that the desire to care for the poor is laudable, and many of the “seamless garment” proponents feel very virtuous in voting for those candidates who promise more and greater entitlements from public funds, the facts of history now belie that approach to alleviating poverty.  The poverty rates in the USA are about the same now as they were before the Great Society programs of the Johnson administration were begun.  After 7 trillion or more dollars of wealth transference from producers to takers in the last 40 years, the rates of poverty aren’t noticeably different in the USA than they were in 1965.   In contrast, before the Great Society entitlements began, poverty had dropped steeply in the preceding decade.  (Source:  US Census Bureau)  Might that trend have continued without the interference of the Great Society programs? 

Entitlement programs don’t end poverty.  They merely support people living in it and reduce motivation for people to get out of it.  As Thomas Sowell has pointed out, mobility through the various economic strata is quite common.  In the USA, the poor of this decade are often the middle class of the next.   Those who move out of poverty in this way don’t do it by relying on public assistance, and little case can be made that such programs are primarily responsible for moving people to higher economic productivity and reward.  Upward mobility is promoted by staying out of jail, finishing high school, not becoming addicted, getting a job, marrying before making babies, and staying married afterward.

Economists know that minimum wage laws and rent control simply reduce the availability of entry-level jobs and affordable housing.  There are many regulations affecting small business that have the net effect of reducing the number jobs that are available.  Such laws and regulations are usually favored by the progressive “seamless garment” voter.  How are these policies “seamlessly pro-life”?

“Anti-poverty” programs have encouraged behavior and perspectives that tend to make people poorer, not richer.  In particular, these programs result in breaking down family structure, rewarding bad behavior (more money per illegitimate child), teaching dependency and a sense of entitlement, etc.  How difficult is it for a young person who has been raised to believe he or she is owed a living by society or the government to take the steps necessary to become self-sufficient?  Young people who are taught to resent the success of the productive are less likely to begin their own journey through education, skills acquisition, employment, and self-sufficiency.  How is that “seamlessly pro-life”?

The welfare/dependency model has resulted in higher crime rates, especially among people raised with no married father in the home.  The prisons are full of inmates who had no father to raise them, a direct result of government policies rewarding broken families, or families that never really formed.  The “medicine” for poverty has made the patient far sicker.  How is that “seamlessly pro-life”?

Many on the Left warned of dire consequences as state after state allowed law-abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons.  The experiment has been conducted, and the results are in.  Overwhelmingly, law-abiding armed citizens are not a danger to society and have protected themselves and others on many occasions.  Nor are they a significant source of weapons getting into the hands of criminals.  Again, regardless of your opinion on the right to self-defense (and the means to do it), prudentially speaking, concealed carry laws (even in densely populated major cities) have been shown to be a good idea that does not endanger life and often protects it.  When a person is murdered or injured who was not allowed to be sufficiently armed to act in self-defense, how can that policy be considered part of a “consistent ethic of life”?

Here are some questions to ask yourself if you are attracted to the progressive view of the “consistent ethic of life”:

Can you be “seamlessly pro-life” and also support social, economic and governmental policies that produce death, or encourage and support lifestyles that lead to death and/or degradation?

Can you be “seamlessly pro-life” and believe we should not actively resist those who would control us through fear, threats, and the direct practice of violence, whether they are terrorists, gang members, or foreign despots?

Can you be “seamlessly pro-life” and believe we should not defend our nation from aggression?

Can you be “seamlessly pro-life” if you support leaving people individually defenseless against predators?

Can you be “seamlessly pro-life” if you support light sentences for violent offenders who have threatened life and will probably do so again?

These kinds of considerations are critical in seeking a “consistent ethic of life.”  Christian voters must think carefully and support candidates whose overall perspectives and policy prescriptions are likely to lead people to make better choices in their own lives.   Christian voters should avoid voting for candidates who support policies that have already been shown to produce undesirable unintended consequences, especially motivation-killing entitlement programs.

The real “seamless garment” will include opposition to legal abortion-on-demand, opposition to social programs and entitlements that encourage dependency and sloth while killing motivation, support for strong law enforcement that removes predators from easy access to victims, reasonable options for law-abiding individuals to actively defend themselves and their families, strong national defense to deter attack, and encouragement for people to move out of destructive lifestyles.

That is the true “consistent ethic of life.”

 


Jan 22 2013

Tolerating the intolerable

Category: abortionharmonicminer @ 3:28 pm

Today is the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which allows any woman or teenage girl to have her unborn child killed for any reason, or none, at pretty much anytime in the pregnancy (despite minor limitations some states have managed to implement). Abortion may be “legal” but it will never be “safe” for the killed human being, and it isn’t all that “safe” for the mother, either. The failure of the church to unite over ending this Shoah is similar to its failure to end slavery, although, as with abolition movements of the 19th century, at least some elements of the church are in the vanguard.

Somewhere between 50 million and 55 million pre-born human beings have been killed since Roe v Wade in 1973. Abortion is THE social justice issue of our time, yet “social justice” advocates are virtually silent about it. It is especially tragic that so many churches and para-church organizations are essentially silent on the matter, when they aren’t simply “pro-choice” by default.

It is thought impolite and confrontational by many to bring this matter up. It is as if someone’s comfortable feelings are more important than the lives being taken, legally.

It is seen by some as primarily a political issue, but it is a straight up moral issue, with very little “middle ground” (what is a half-dead baby?), and our silence on it condemns us, particularly when we are silent out of concern for what other people will think of us, and for fear of offending someone whose good will we require.

Some people want to divert the discussion by pointing out their great concern for the poor and minorities, yet it is the poor and minorities whose children are killed in hugely disproportionate numbers by the Big Business that is abortion in America (Planned Parenthood and its competitors, ringing poor communities in America with pre-born infant disposal centers), one of the very few big businesses that the left never criticizes, and indeed funds with government money. Margaret Sanger and the eugenics movement are winning every day.

In any case, reasonable people can disagree about what will lift the poor out of poverty. It is a prudential question, not a moral one. It is a “how” question. No one disagrees that it would be good if there was less poverty. But legal abortion-on-demand-for-any-reason-or-none is a “what” question, namely, “What is evil, virtually always immoral and wrong by definition, and should be deeply restricted or totally stopped by a civilized people?” The answer is pretty clear. We can’t, by legislation or political action, end 90% of poverty. But we could, by concerted education combined with legal and political action, return abortion rates to those of the 1960s.

Our silence, the silence of those who see themselves as caring, loving people, is deafening.

Our inaction is worse. Our tolerance is…. intolerable.


Jan 02 2013

If only I were a little smarter…

Category: taxesamuzikman @ 11:59 am

I recently had a conversation on Facebook with a very bright young man.  The topic was taxation.  I made the comment (half tongue-in-cheek) that if taking more in taxes from the rich is better, then taking everything from the rich must then be best.  He ridiculed me for saying something so clearly ignorant and then proceeded to teach me about the relationship between income and taxation, how it was not a continuum but that there were optimal points of balance at which the right amount of government revenue was taken in taxes, while still maintaining a healthy, growing economy.  I replied to his instruction with a simple question:  Why is it, according to the political left, that these “optimal” points of balance ALWAYS involve the government taking more?

Apparently he either missed seeing my question or decided I was simply too ignorant to merit an answer, because I never got one.  On second thought he was probably busy, back on Facebook proclaiming the colossal ignorance of all conservatives.


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