Archive for the ‘democracy’ Category

Who is my Boss?

February 24, 2016

“We must obey God rather than men”  Acts 5:29

When should I ever disobey the laws of my government?  We are seeing, for the first time in the United States, civil laws which require obedience that violates the  conscience of some people.  For the first 200 years or so of this nation, laws were based, more or less on the Judeo-Christian tradition.  That was discarded by progressivism in favor of law based on majority rule.  Right and Wrong in a progressive democracy is decided by majority rule, and so is free to follow changing cultural mores, changing technology, changing ideas about science and changing ideas of what it means to be human.  The democratic majority is assumed to always get it right.

Speaking with a progressive, someone with traditional values is amazed at the utter lack of understanding about conscience.  Some progressives seem to feel that obeying the laws is always the right thing to do no matter what, and there is simply no higher authority to give anyone qualms about it.  Therefore some can be totally comfortable with the horrendous practices of late term abortions, if the law allows it.  Their mantra is:  your beliefs may be true for you, but not for me, and you can’t force your beliefs on the majority.  In other words, there is no absolute truth and no absolute morality.

Following such logic, it was totally correct for the Nazi officers to run the death camps.  The law was the law, and the Nazi party was democratically elected and authorized to make the laws of the land.  Individual conscience did not trump the law, and the party recognized no authority above their own.  Yet, when the allies conducted the Nuremberg war crimes trials, they did not recognize following legally justified  government orders as an excuse for what was done.  Why?

The Fox is in charge of the Henhouse

February 24, 2009

During the great depression a lot of legislation was created which provided government oversight for banks, Wall street, the insurance industry, employee benefits etc.  It provided balance.  Government was watching the capitalist system and preventing excesses from ruining the economy.  However, no one was watching the government, whether it was over interfering, or not doing its job at all.  Rather than make the government into a better watchdog,  Mr. Obama now seems to want the government to just take over all these things outright.  This little old grandma is wondering, who will provide oversight of the government to prevent its excesses from ruining the economy?  Its just growing into a huge, bungling behemoth. Instead of a watchdog protecting the henhouse from the fox, we just put the fox in charge of the henhouse, and there is no longer anyone able to be in charge of the fox.

Spreading the Wealth Around

February 11, 2009

Lately it seems I’ve been hearing more and more about the idea of spreading the wealth.  More and more people are complaining that there is too great a disparity in this country between the top “quintile” (20%) and the bottom “quintile”.  I wondered if there is anything more to this argument than fairness, and the reflex reaction that it must somehow be wrong that the top 20% of people in this country control over half of the wealth.  I read and read.  While I haven’t yet reached a conclusion, I found out a whole lot of interesting things. 

There is an actual measurement called Gini, which is an indicator of the wealth disparity within a country.  If a country has a high Gini, the top quintile owns a larger share of the wealth than if the country has a low Gini.  The countries with the highest Gini’s in the world change every year, but usually are poor, third-world countries.  This would tend to favor the argument that a larger wealth disparity creates a poor country, or keeps it poor.

However, as I read and read about the various  countries on the Gini scale, I found out a lot of other interesting things.  Among the countries that have a very low Gini (meaning they are “good” and share their wealth more equitably), they are about equally divided among rich and poor countries.  The Scandinavian countries are quite wealthy, but other countries with similar Gini scores include Ethiopia and Pakistan.  Clearly some other things must be operating here.  Gini alone doesn’t create wealth.

Countries I would expect to have a low Gini score would be countries which have had communism for 2 or more generations.  I was surprised to find out their Gini scores were higher than ours (Russia and China).  Some of the old Soviet satellites had low Gini scores, but remain very poor, i.e., Slovakia.

In a country with a low Gini (remember, this is good and means more equitable sharing of the wealth), you may have a very high cost of living—or not.  You may have a very high Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita—or not.  We have a higher GDP per capita compared to Sweden and Denmark, while their Gini score is lower than ours.  One thing you will likely have with a low Gini score is much higher taxes and a lot more government intervention into people’s personal finance i.e., the Scandinavian countries.  After all, the top quintile isn’t likely to give away its wealth to the lower quintiles voluntarily, so the government must coerce it to do so with its tax laws.  I wondered if the high tax rate on the wealthy and the sharing of the wealth would increase growth.  After all, sharing the wealth is supposed to put more consumer spending into the economy.  However, while some of the more equitable (low Gini) economies have higher growth rates than ours, most do not.  Denmark has a very low growth rate right now.  Interestingly enough, in those wealthier economies which have established a more equitable distribution of wealth, the birthrate has plummeted, and now the country is in deep trouble as it tries to provide social services for an aging population which isn’t producing as much wealth.

I wondered if there is a cut-off on how much you can tax the top quintile.  I looked at the top hundred wealthiest people in the world, and they are generally owners of big business.  People who want to spread the wealth around tend to see big business as the enemy, yet it truly is the goose that lays the golden egg in terms of producing wealth and jobs for the country.  We don’t want to kill our golden goose for spite.  Yet, if we take money from the “rich” that would have been used for more business creation and gave it to people who would buy more consumer goods, which is better for the country, for how long, and where is the tipping point?  Kind of important to know, I would think.

Two points in closing.  As the mom of adult kids, I can see the envy of an eighth grader toward her high school senior sibling, who through hard work and a couple of awards managed to amass several thousand dollars to be used toward college.  The eighth grader would love to have some of that money for a new laptop.  The eighth grader isn’t currently able to earn or save any such amount of money.  What would be the wisdom of taking some of the senior’s college money and giving it to the eighth grader to be fair?  I don’t know.  You answer that one.

The second thought is that the countries with the highest Gini, where the wealth is spread around pretty well, the standard of living remains high and the government provides a pretty wide and strong safety net, the suicide rates are among the highest in the world.  Spreading the wealth doesn’t answer that question either.

Prayer for an Unstable Time

January 19, 2009

Lord Jesus, as I look at all the evil, violence, instability and uncertainty in the world, help me remember these things.

ALL AUTHORITY on earth and in heaven has been given to You, and You will give it to no one, nor will you let anyone steal it.  You have pre-determined the outcome of everything, and it all works for good for those who love you.  You know everything and no one can trick you nor sneak anything past you.  You never sleep

You will bring everything to a conclusion that satisfies your justice, love and mercy.  You will never leave loose threads hanging at the end of any story.

You are LOVE, and we all need to meditate on what that means in all its fullness.  You care intimately, even for the sparrow.  You know every hair on our heads and every cell in our bodies.

We have nothing to fear.  You hold us in the palm of your hands.  What a perfect place to be!

Prayer for Barak Obama

January 19, 2009

With the historic inauguration of Barak Obama only hours away, Lord I pray that you will truly bless him.  He says he is a Christian, yet I never saw a word asking  prayer for him on the transition website.  He may not be used to asking for prayer for himself, and so I hope he gets a lot of prayer anyway from other people who recognize how much he needs it.

Leading this government and this people is a tall order, and most presidents have approached the job with humility.  We are in a world of trouble, more than most of the citizens realize.  Looking at the transition website, one would get the idea that the American people expect government to be their god and take care of absolutely everything in their lives.  They look to government and president Obama as their savior.  But he is not god or savior, he is an elected human being.  Help him God.  Give him wisdom even if he doesn’t have the wisdom to ask you for help.  Guide him.  Give him Your dreams and visions as you did to the leaders of old.  As he hits the rough patches, and he surely will, give him the insight to realize he needs to replace self-confidence with God confidence.  Thats not a lack of optimism, its optimism based on the right source for it.  The smartest men in the world have some incredible blind spots when they don’t allow You to search and know them, and don’t ask You to guide and protect them.  Help him to know You, Your power, Your concern and Your absolute reliability.  Protect him from those who would harm him or his family.  Protect him from temptation to do things from cowardly, selfish or less than noble motives.  Raise him to greatness, but let it be the true greatness of one who has let You be their helper, advisor and protector.  And, God bless this nation, Lord.  Do what is best for us, even if we go through some hard times to become refined into the high quality people you created us to be.  If we hit some hard bumps, don’t let us break.  As we are tested by fire, burn off all that is base, selfish, and foolish and bring out the finest in us all.  Please remember the prayers of those who planted the first crosses on this soil.  Let us be a nation who makes You smile.

Societal Evolution

March 31, 2008

Going through Nonni’s writings, I found this one from a couple of years ago.  She was just journaling then, but I thought it was kind of appropriate, considering whats going on now, where even the idea of objective truth is being dismantled. 

Recently I read a comment, I forget where, that our society is in its adolescence.  I skimmed the article, and the point was that our society seems to want to question absolutely everything, tear down institutions and argue incessantly for the sake of arguing, without yet having any well thought-out alternatives.  I would have to agree.  It does seem, looking at history, that societies go through cycles.  When a society is young, its focus is on growth, and much hard work goes on with building as well as increase in numbers.  Such societies usually have some sense of what has gone before, and a strong identification with family, tribe and/or community.  Some societies go into a rapid turmoil of change—I have read that often these societies have large numbers of young adults compared to the other segments of the population.  These societies have all the characteristics of the adolescent society described above.  An adolescent society may end this phase in several ways: 1) war, because weakness results, making them prey to attack; 2) revolution or civil war, because the destruction of society’s institutions causes instability; 3) a repressive government steps in to stop the chaos or 4) if it goes only far enough to scare people, and not too far, the societal institutions may re-establish themselves, albeit perhaps in a modified form.  Some societies don’t survive their adolescence, break up and are absorbed by other societies.  Some societies eventually evolve into constitutional democracies, and their institutions have the cooperation of the populace, yet these too, may again enter the adolescent phase and the cycle repeats itself.  In short, we can’t assume a stable nation with a stable democracy will always be that way, and that destruction of institutions is always without cost or danger.

Written by Nonni, submitted by Michelle

P.S.  Wonder what Nonni will think about what I’ve done with her page?