Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Approaching Death of Free Speech

Bundy Ranch, Nevada
We have all been watching the battle between the IRS and Tea Party groups. There is growing, and maybe clear evidence that the IRS has been holding up certain groups for political reasons. There is also evidence that some staffers campaigned for candidate Obama while at work. But there is much more at stake with this – and that is the 1st Amendment. By giving one political group more power than another they can effectively control speech – and possibly elections.

I have been watching the battle between LGTB and Conservative groups over gay marriage. For the most part the battle is only over marriage. So far the process is working, if not at a snails pace. But this piece isn't about gay marriage, but the right to voice your opinion is being placed in danger. A recent headline grabbed my attention, Hate group leader Peter LaBarbera detained at Canadian airport. Until that moment I have never heard of the anti-gay group, Americans for Truth about Homosexuality.

After looking over the website I agree with LGBT groups that this is in part a hate group – not so much because of their stand on marriage, but for a stand against homosexuality in general. With that said, I will defend their right to exist as long as they don't physically harm people. Simply because a group or person might spout hate, that doesn't mean people should listen and act on that speech. Those who act on that speech already had those beliefs.

It scares me that in Canada a person can be arrested for simply speaking out about their beliefs. If they wish to deny entry to people, that's up to the Canadian people. There are those in this country who would love for government to allow only their speech – those people come from both the left and right political spectrums.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Marriage – Until Death Do US Part

The argument over gay/same-sex marriage rages on to the point people are losing their jobs – as in the case of Mozilla CEO, Brendan Eich who was forced to resign for his contributions to Prop 8 in California(essentially banning gay marriage). In every war there are civilian casualties – in this one the greatest casualty might be that of speech and those who love one another. This battle has put family members at odds with one another.

Let's talk a little about marriage itself. For the first half of this country's history people simply went to their priest or priestess, depending on the religion, for their marriage or hand-fasting. In some cases couples simply cohabited. These unions were often recorded in the family bible, along with the names of future children. When government began keeping records, this is where they went for information.

After the slaves were freed, and sometimes before in free areas, government began to notice that black and white couples were getting married. There were those who thought this joining might tarnish white purity. For that reason they began passing laws to forbid these unions. It was for this reason government decided to take over marriages from religious organizations. There were instances where government forbade those of different faiths to marry.

Today a marriage performed by a government bureaucrat, or one by a priest or priestess, are equally legal. The government decides who can or can't take part in these government sanctioned marriages. They decide who can take part in the privileges set aside for those married couples. A Chief Justice noted 1500 regulations and laws that pertain only to married people.

A marriage was intended to be something much more personal than a set of government privileges. A marriage is suppose to be about the communing of two lives. It is about two people falling in love and joining for the rest of their lives. Marriage is not about the potential for children, but two people who wish to show a commitment to one another. A marriage is the promise of life together. Many children are produced outside of marriage.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Progressive – not gay agenda

Occasionally something comes along that I find completely astounding and outrageous. I will begin this to say that I am a happy Mozilla user, not because of their politics or any other reason – I simply finds their products fulfill my needs.

Mozilla's chief executive officer Brendan Eich, was let go this week because in 2008 he donated $1000 to Proposition 8 that sought to make traditional marriage the standard in California. The proposition gained popular vote and passed, that is, until struck down by courts. Right or wrong the system went through the process.

The problem comes when an American donated to a particular cause in which he believed and then 6 years later forced from his job for that donation. I personally don't agree with his political choice on this matter, but I will defend his right to disagree with my opinion. In my perfect world government would not have any say on whom married or didn't marry. We know from past experience with interracial couples that government has had poor judgment in this area.

Friday, March 21, 2014

The mistake of government controlled morality

Belle Knox Duke student
I've written often about the word moral. I've talked about how it is too often used to support an argument. The definition of moral changes along with ideology and regional location. If you ask a leftist to to give an example they will likely tell you that that it is immoral for someone to be obese. If you ask a conservative about sex outside of marriage they will tell you it is immoral, even if that marriage was sanctified by a government representative versus a minister.

Morality has always been a social institution. In the USA, what is considered immoral in the south is often more accepted in the north – or west. In America's past it wasn't immoral to marry a 12 year old girl, while in today’s society that is absolutely unacceptable. In those times life was about surviving. Male children were thought to be more capable at cutting firewood and plowing fields, while too often the female child was seen as simply another mouth to feed.

Female children were married off at or near puberty. Sometimes much older males would pay a diary for the right to marry that child. Arranged marriages are still happening around the world. Some of it might be for the same reasons as in our past, while in many cases it happens simply because it is now a tradition – just the way things are done.

Social standards evolve for a variety of reasons. In the modern American society arranged marriages are seen as barbaric. In today’s world sex outside of marriage is much more common. In the not so distant past sex for women outside of marriage was forbidden while for men it was simply frowned upon. This is likely because it is the female that often bore the consequences for these liaisons. Out of wed births often stigmatized the woman and was too often a financial burden that was impossible to overcome. These pregnancies were also a barrier to future relationships. In short, the price for sex outside of marriage was too high. Because of science out of wedlock births are less likely to occur. While the financial burden for out of wedlock births are still a problem, it doesn't carry the social stigma of the past.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The American Worker

The above photo is a common sight after any major storm. Although in this case Santee Cooper is state owned, something of which I am no fan, the distribution is a member owned Cooperative – the workers are with private contractors. In the rural south nonprofit cooperatives are a common phenomena.

Now that is out of the way let's talk about the photo itself. I might not know the men in that photo, but I personally know many like them. These men and women sometimes left school early, and with determination they managed to get that GED . Some went to a technical college while others simply started at the very bottom. No matter their start they work side by side in mountainous regions or low country swamps.

When there is a major outage these men and women find sleep wherever it can be found. They might be found taking an hour nap in one of the trucks while still wearing their soggy clothing. These are the men and women who make sure your house is cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

You won't find this labor force filled with illegal immigrants. When you see one of them in a mud filled ditch with a pick and shovel, you will find someone who grew up in the region. Their flesh might be a variety of shades, but they are all Americans and South Carolinians.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Following

There is a television show titled The Following. The story begins when a college literature professor becomes enraptured by the works of Edgar Allan Poe. He teaches these many writing with such passion students become as enthralled as their professor. In time they become so consumed by their passion that they explore the dark world of murder. For these people it is not cold and ruthless, but emotional and and calculated.

In time those students grow into adults and become a part of everyday society. They are doctors, lawyers, police, and FBI agents. No matter their current lives they have this attachment to the old professor, Joe Carroll. They do his bidding without hesitation. These former students will gladly die for their leader. This former professor, simply because he had a passion for an author, unwittingly created a cult.

We often think of cults as David Koresh and the Branch Davidians where he and many members died in an assault by the ATF. There was Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple where they drank poison in mass suicide. The Manson Family might be the most infamous of them all because of their horrendous murder of actress Sharon Tate.

There are many other cults that exist in the world today. Some say Scientology is a cult, and some even apply that label to the Mormon church. But we must ask—what is a cult? We typically think of a cult as a belief system built around an individual and a set of beliefs. Often the center of a cult is religious in nature.

Below is one meaning.
Sociology . a group having a sacred ideology and a set of rites centering around their sacred symbols.

Friday, March 14, 2014

A World of Followers

I think I finally understand the world around me – or at least why it is traveling in its current direction. It was a simple post on Facebook that made me become aware of the entire picture. The graphic to the left apparently circulated enough that Snopes saw fit to add it to its long list of internet myths. When it came to my attention I was shocked that any single individual could believe that Facebook legal staff could pass laws.

Each day there is something new about which people become outraged. Some of it is fact, some a blend of fact and fiction, and some obvious mistruths. We have Alex Jones who has a huge following. There are those who accept everything he says as gospel. There are the Art Bell followers who do the same. I'm not here to say what is and what isn't truth from either of those. All that interest me is why do others believe almost 100%.

People love a conspiracy. People love a good mystery novel. I'm sure science can point to an area of the brain that is stimulated by such things. But I think there is more to it than simple mind stimulation. There are the people who are skeptical of everything – to a fault. There are those who often look at events with cold logic.