The Three Blinders

While the idea of blinders is relevant to any debate or argument, it is particularly noteworthy in the abortion debate. The Fourteenth Amendment, ratified in 1868, in section one, the “Due Process Clause”: “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
Given what the due process clause actually says, somehow the Supreme Court found a “right to privacy” in that language, and further twisted that imagined right into the state of Texas having no right to legislate whether a woman aborting her baby is depriving a person of life, making this dubious interpretation the “law of the land”. Therefore, it should not amaze us that both opponents and proponents of baby or fetus murder (ending a life is the definition of murder) have been wrangling ever since about whether the fetus is a human being and whether due process applies to his or her life. The question is, “when does human life begin?” I hope I am not being naive in assuming that even the most ardent proponent of aborting would agree that a human being born in this country is entitled to due process, in this case securing the most basic right of all, the right to live. It cannot be scientifically nor logically established when the fetus becomes a human being, yet opinions on the question are vociferous, ranging from “it begins at conception” to ” it begins at birth”, something must be getting in the way of a more measured approach. I call that something the three blinders.
They are: the blinder of vested interest, the blinder of sympathy-popularity and the blinder of self-righteousness. My opinion that human life begins at conception is based on a biblical statement and logically justifiable consistency. The biblical statement is “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139. What an incredible statement David made under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The human being, with a soul, was formed by God before birth (every day of your life was formed before there was even one).
The logically justifiable consistency is that conception–the formation of a human fetus by the fertilization of a human egg by human sperm–begins a series of processes that culminate in the birth of a human child, not an aardvark nor a zebra. The developing human fetus has his or her own blood type, gender, fingerprints, organs and the ability to regulate the mother’s own hormones and initiate bodily changes. These changes were not willed by the mother.
Proponents of aborting insist on calling it a fetus rather than a baby. Why? Would simply calling it a baby bestow human rights? I believe so, and they must believe so. At the very least, calling it a baby would lose the public relations battle. That is the vested interest blinder: the desire to permit and justify aborting is a vested interest in ignoring and disparaging any arguments that imbue the fetus with humanity. The parties with that vested interest include mothers who did or are considering aborting, organizations like planned parenthood which profit from it, and men who have gotten women pregnant but want no responsibility for a child. I believe women do have the right to choose. They can choose to refrain from intercourse with a man they don’t want a baby with, they can choose oral sex, they can choose effective birth control, they can choose to avoid drunken parties where the risk of getting pregnant is so great. Do I sound unsympathetic here?
That introduces the second blinder, sympathy-popularity: The questions asked on the sympathy part are what about women who were raped, or whose birth control failed, or whose health is endangered by the pregnancy, or who can’t afford to raise a child and the like? Those are all relevant considerations, but they don’t contribute anything to the question of when human life begins, and it’s that question that must be answered before deciding whether the developing baby i. e. fetus has a right to live. The popularity part blinds both lawmakers and individuals who take either position as a way to get votes or be popular with their circle, without necessarily believing in what they espouse.
Many people of both the “pro life” persuasion and the “pro choice” persuasion suffer from the third blinder, self righteousness: Anything is justified to prevent the taking of human life in the womb, including murdering abortionists (a very small minority’s view), and the woman’s circumstances don’t matter. They do matter, but still don’t answer the fundamental question of when human life begins. Or on the other side, a “woman’s right to choose” is the highest moral ground, regardless of the life that is taken.
The other extreme from “life begins at conception” is “life begins at birth”. Proponents of aborting bear this opinion, but removing the blinders will show the weakness of this argument. If the fetus is not human until birth, what’s your criteria for humanity? Is it cutting the umbilical cord, is it being independent of the mother, is it feeding through the mouth rather than the umbilical? Is it the first cry into or the first breath from the air? How do you know that she didn’t cry in the womb? When does the soul enter the body? If it were medically feasible to cut the umbilical cord before birth, would the baby not be human in those moments before coming out? At what point during pregnancy can the fetus be considered human? All these questions highlight the arbitrariness of trying to define human life apart from conception.
Another way that the abortion debate demonstrates blinders is the protections and privileges that Planned Parenthood gets, from sympathetic media coverage to government funds. This organization, which aborts more lives than any other, was started by Margaret Sanger in order to promote the “improvement of the human race” by reducing the birthrate of undesirables. Who were these undesirables? Essentially the lower classes, especially minorities. That is their legacy and still they are the darlings of the abortion proponents. Go figure.

The right to privacy?

July 4th 1776, the United States Congress ratified the final language of the Declaration of Independence. Independence from what, from whom? These people were British colonists, and the Declaration was the beginning of an attempt to get back the rights that were taken from them. These words should be familiar to Every American. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The order of the rights should tell us something. The right to life is so basic, it shouldn’t need defining, and only human life can be endowed with rights.

What about liberty? Is liberty the same as freedom? Why should we, in 2018, care about words written in 1776? Did these so-called “Founding Fathers” even have the same understanding of those concepts as we do today? Let’s begin by defining rights. I think they can best be understood considering restraints. We can do anything that our minds can comprehend and our bodies allow in the absence of external restraints. We can, but should we?

Consider rights as the inherent or enforced (by law) ability to pursue something. The Declaration of Independence used the phrase “the pursuit of happiness.” Happiness covers a lot of ground, so that will serve. A right is the ability to pursue happiness, within the boundaries of your physical ability and protection of law. The law can only protect rights when it is enforced. It can only be enforced when it is written. Even then, what is written might be misinterpreted or ignored. The clearest example is the First Amendment of the constitution. The text is not ambiguous. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Okay class, let’s see if the language is plain to you, fill in the blanks. The first amendment is clearly addressed to ____________. If freedom of speech is not to be abridged by government, then it is a right ______________. Exercise of religion is neither to be ____________ nor ___________ by Congress.

The correct words in order (synonyms acceptable) are: Congress, assumed, promoted, prohibited. Now consider how this very clear amendment has been twisted to selfish ends. It has been used to justify pornography and exploitation under the guise of “freedom of speech”. It has been used to bludgeon schools and sports teams to prevent voluntary prayer under the guise of “separation of church and state”, which doesn’t even appear in the entire Constitution (it was a phrase Thomas Jefferson used in a personal letter) and has no force of law. Misinterpretations of it have been applied to individuals, businesses, schools, and all manner of organizations other than Congress!

Roe v. Wade was a legal decision issued on January 22, 1973 by the U.S. Supreme Court striking down a Texas statute banning abortion, effectively legalizing the procedure across the United States. The court held that a woman’s right to an abortion was implicit in the right to privacy protected by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Prior to Roe v. Wade, abortion had been illegal throughout much of the country since the late 19th century. What does the 14th Amendment actually say? There are 4 clauses in the first section, one of which is the “due process” clause, which forms the basis for this right to privacy: Due process clause:nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

If we extend this “honest reading” exercise to the 14th amendment, wherein do we find this right of privacy? We don’t. What we DO find is the right to life! It is a great irony–and tragedy–that this amendment, created with the intent of providing former slaves with all the rights of citizenship, was used to justify a “right to abortion”, which deprives the right to life and has been used to kill a disproportionately large number of babies in the lineage of former slaves!!! Even more important, since our rights are secured by an honest reading of the law, and the highest court ignores the clear injunction to not deprive any person of their right to life, in favor of an imagined right to privacy, which isn’t written, how secure can we be in our rights? The Supreme Court covered itself with shame and odium with this decision, and has thus inherited the ridiculous spectacle of the Kavanaugh confirmation circus (next post).

There are those who would try to argue that the unborn aren’t persons, and have no right to life, and I can shred that argument. That is a subject for another blog.

Investigations in the hands of the dishonest!

Years from now, when no one remembers the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, some particularly astute historian may write about them as a watershed moment in the disrespect of evidence. I have long complained about small minds choosing to dwell on particulars while ignoring principles. Most commentators on this travesty called a “confirmation hearing” tend to focus on their own agenda. Democrats and their allies say they care only what Mr. Kavanaugh might have done in his foolish youth. Republicans and their allies insist that Demolitionistscrats are caviling about his youthful   indicretions  advances…(um, we’re not sure what they were or whether they were, but no matter) as a matter of protecting abortion rights and sticking it to Trump (if you are reading this many years hence, Trump, first name Donald, is currently President of the United States, a large country that once existed as a haven of peace and prosperity relative to the rest of the world, before succumbing to rampant selfishness and breaking up into 5 separate enclaves).

Daniel Henniger writing for the Wall St. Journal has a way of nailing the big picture; here is an excerpt from his column: “It is still true: What begins as tragedy can end as farce. So it is with the case of Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of assaulting her when she was 15 and he was 17. Ms. Ford’s lawyer said her client would not appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee until there is a “full investigation by law-enforcement officials.” Like the Mueller excavations, that could run to the horizon, unable to find anything but unwilling to stop until it finds something. Let us posit that the one thing not at issue here is the truth. As a matter of law and fact, Ms. Ford’s accusation can be neither proved nor disproved. Surely someone pointed out that based on what was disclosed, this accusation could not be substantiated. To which the Democrats responded: So what? Its political value is that it cannot be disproved. They saw that six weeks before a crucial midterm election, the unresolvable case of Christine Blasey Ford would sit like a stalled hurricane over the entire Republican Party, drowning its candidates in a force they could not stop. If one unprovable accusation doesn’t suffice, why not produce a second, or third? It’s a limitless standard.
Consider the spectacle: Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination for the U.S. Supreme Court, the embodiment of a modern rule of law, is being decided in the Senate by the medieval practice of trial by ordeal, such as surviving immersion in fire or ice. Or worse, the standards of the mob in the Roman Colosseum, turning thumbs up or down on the combatants. Though unlike the Senate Democrats, the Roman mob at least had an open mind. The Kavanaugh nomination, “given what we know,” has come down to an undiscoverable accusation. The defeat of a Supreme Court nominee on this basis would be a victory for a level of conscious political nullification not seen in the U.S. for a long time. Republicans in the Senate shouldn’t allow it, and voters in November should not affirm it.”

What was Brett Kavanaugh guilty of? Is he lying now, or telling the truth? If he is lying, he should not be confirmed, even though the Supreme Court has it’s share of dishonest decisions. But the point is larger than him or his confirmation. THE POINT IS, WHEN “EVIDENCE” IS AN UNPROVABLE ACCUSATION, THE VERY IDEA OF EVIDENCE ITSELF IS MOCKED! HAVE WE BECOME LIKE THE NATIONS WHICH RULE BY SHOW TRIALS?? showtrial

Hard to believe, but even the New York Times agrees. believability

Emotionally speaking.

I am angry, sad, depressed, happy, excited, jealous, bored, and so forth. We often describe ourselves according to our emotional state, or more accurately, the label we give to our emotional state. Which raises the question, which is more influential, the emotion or our labels for it? Have you ever tried to define what emotion is? Let’s try.

How do you distinguish fear from excitement? Both states are recognized by increasing heart rate, breaths, and body temperature. Other physiological changes occur though we are seldom aware of them. Perhaps fear roils the stomach more than excitement, or not. The physical feelings of those emotions aren’t that different, so maybe our interpretation of the physical sensations determines whether we experience them as fear or excitement. In fact, could it be that we label most emotions by the cues, rather than the physical sensations we call an emotion? What do I mean by cues? Contemplate this question: How do you know when it’s time to get angry?

Here’s a hint. Imagine you just bought the automobile of your dreams, and you are driving down the street reveling in the new car smell, sounds and sensations. Suddenly a rock bounces across your hood and you see the kid who threw it running towards you. Imagine how angry you would be. But when the kid reaches you he’s in tears and he’s crying, “please help me, please help me, my mom just cut herself really badly and she’s bleeding to death on the floor, and I didn’t know how else to get your attention other than throwing the rock.” Is it possible that the sensation you had just called anger would suddenly morph into a different sensation, like sympathy or concern? If so, what changed? The rock hit your car, you interpreted the kid’s action a certain way, and you got angry. After he explained, the anger and desire to hurt was replaced by sympathy and the desire to help (I hope).

This vignette demonstrates how context affects emotions. So what is the point? Many people are ruled by their emotions, saying things like “I couldn’t help it, I was angry” to justify an action they regret. But like I said in my previous post, you always have choices. You can reinterpret emotions, and choose not to be ruled by them.

It might help to remember this: sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.

Choosing Wisely 

“I had no choice.” Haven’t virtually all people said that at one time or another? Yet the true meaning of that cry is “I had no good choices” or even more precisely, “no choices that I perceived at the time which would not bear unpleasant consequences.” We are free to act in any way–within our physical limits (which include external restraints), emotional capacity and cognitive abilities. A certain set of consequences will follow any action. Many of those consequences will not be foreseeable, nor will the decisions a person makes as those consequences unfold. What then, is choosing wisely? I have no magic recipe or formula, just a lot of moving parts which will become habits, and habits become a character, and character forges your destiny.

Perhaps the place to start is to agree to stop saying “I had no choice”, since you always have more than one choice. Realize that the motivation for saying you had no choice was to escape or minimize accountability for the consequences of the decisions you made. Yeah, that’s harsh, but wisdom is grounded in truth. Once you choose a certain course of action, there will be various crossroads, so to speak, opportunities to correct your course, change direction or get deeper into your way of doing things.

Let’s apply these ideas to a very common situation. Imagine you are a high school student, kind of an awkward one. You walk by a group of popular kids who are hanging out after school, and the leader of the group invites you to join them. You notice that they are passing joints around, and a few are snorting a white powder, which you assume is cocaine. What are the binary choices here? You can decline the invitation to join them or you can accept. If you decline, you could be ridiculed or not, and you will probably wonder if you are missing out on fun. If you join them, you will be subject to pressure to indulge in the drugs. You can take a hit of a joint or snort a line of cocaine, or refuse. If you refuse, the consequence will probably be more ridicule than if you had declined to join them at all. If you start on the drugs, the negative consequences could be anything from a bad reaction to instant addiction, possibly getting arrested as well. If you escape those consequences, at best you will have experienced a temporary high and perhaps a slight boost in popularity. But even if that happens, the next crossroad with that group will be another invitation to drugs, which will be psychologically harder to refuse, because once you do something without suffering consequences, it becomes easier to justify.

In reality, few high school students have the discernment and maturity to consider all these possibilities, but I am directing this example to adults as an exercise in choosing wisely. I wish adults had the discernment and maturity to consider the possibilities. That would be possible if everyone agreed, YOU ALWAYS HAVE CHOICES! And, every choice leads to consequences.


One of the ubiquitous and relentless features of life under “Big Brother” in George Orwell’s novel 1984 was the Two Minutes Hate. Within the book, the purpose of the Two Minutes Hate was to re-direct the citizens’ subdued feelings of angst and hatred from leading their wretched, controlled existence away from their own government and toward external enemies (which may not even exist). By such a device, the ruling Party hoped to minimize subversive thought and behaviour. Orwell’s protagonist says, “The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretence was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one’s will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic. And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp.”

Orwell did not invent the idea behind the term “two minutes hate“; it was already in use in the First World War. At that time, British writers satirized the German campaign of hatred against the English, and imagined a Prussian family sitting around the kitchen table having its “morning hate”. The word itself provokes all kinds of negative associations, from both “hate-ers” and “hate-ees.” But is hate, per se, always a bad thing? I hate cockroaches, stop-and-go-bumper-to-bumper traffic, both hard and soft-boiled eggs, the taste of vodka, among other things. While hatred of anything is not universal, I can say with confidence that two things out of my list of four come darn close to being universally hated. Oh yeah, I also hate “hate-crime” legislation!

Wikipedia definition: “Hate crime laws in the United States are state and federal laws intended to protect against hate crimes motivated by enmity or animus against a protected class of persons. Although state laws vary, current statutes permit federal prosecution of hate crimes committed on the basis of a person’s protected characteristics of race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability. The U.S. Department of Justice/FBI, as well as campus security authorities, are required to collect and publish hate crime statistics.” I simply don’t understand this whole concept. From the victim’s standpoint, how is being stabbed, shot or robbed made worse by supposing the emotional state of the perp? “Uh, gee, it wouldn’t have been so bad if the shooter had liked me.” Is that what the victim is thinking? What about the victim’s family? “We miss dad more because the killer hated him” or “we would feel so much better if the killer had liked him.” Is that what his children are saying? What a stupid idea!

It seems to me that the most vocal promoters of hate crimes laws are often the same  activists who champion so-called “non-discrimination” laws that include their favorite  words: “sexual orientation, gender identity, Islamophobia.” Once codified, do those laws do anything to prevent discrimination? No they don’t, but they do provide a legal method through which those same “hate-crime” law enthusiasts can harass, bully, financially intimidate, and exact debilitating punitive fines and punishments on people whose conscience offends their agenda.

Should you ever be robbed, beaten or wounded by someone, and they haven’t explained to you why, with your remaining gasping breaths, ask “do you hate me”? If he says no, at least you’ll feel better. Or not.

“Honor-Shame” Paradigm and the “carbecues” of Gothenburg Sweden.

13 August, 2018, Gothenburg, Falkenburg, Trollhattan, Malmo: Up to 100 cars were torched or vandalized by masked youths in the migrant “no-go” areas of those Swedish cities, in what has been referred to as “carbecues”. 

Who do we turn to for guidance in these absurd times? Clearly not our mainstream political leaders. The same goes for mainstream journalists, academics and ultra ecumenical religious leaders. But amongst all the froth they produce, assuring us that we are all the same and we can all get along if we just make a bit of effort, one dissenting message from a religious man to the inhabitants of Europe stands out as starkly realistic. That man is Amel Shimoun Nona, exiled Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Mosul:

“Please, try to understand us. Your liberal and democratic principles are worth nothing here. You must consider again our reality in the Middle East, because you are welcoming in your countries an ever growing number of Muslims. Also you are in danger. You must take strong and courageous decisions, even at the cost of contradicting your principles. You think all men are equal, but that is not true: Islam does not say that all men are equal. Your values are not their values. If you do not understand this soon enough, you will become the victims of the enemy you have welcomed in your home”. 

Two competing paradigms attempt to explain cultures that appear to Americans to act irrationally, namely most of those in the Middle East. The one I favor is called the “honor-shame” (HS) paradigm, the other is, for want of a better description, the politically correct/post colonial (PC) paradigm. I am borrowing these explanations from because they make more sense than anything I have read.

The HS identifies Arab political culture as an example of “traditional” or “pre-civil society” culture. In what are known as “prime-divider societies”, the elite monopolize power, wealth, education, and the public sphere, while the masses live in poverty. In these societies the prevailing political axiom runs: “rule or be ruled.” The dominant alpha males (warriors, big men) set the rules of honor-shame and determine when and how often a man can legitimately shed the blood of another for his own honor. The zero-sum logic that dominated Arab political culture towards Israel from the start, developed into a negative-sum approach after the Israelis defeated the Arabs in their “wars of honor.” The resulting attitude became ‘if we lose, then they must lose as well, even if it worsens our own conditions’. From its first century (7th-8th century CE), political Islam divided the world into two categories: Dar al Islam (the abode of peace where Islam rules) and Dar al Harb (the abode of war, “the sword”). Islam believes that the entire world will eventually convert and Dar al Islam will reign supreme. Additionally, once Islam conquers a territory, that land cannot revert to Dar al Harb. Over the last twenty years this apocalyptic Jihad has spread in Muslim communities around the world. With the help of the internet, “local” jihad has merged with anti-Western sentiment, spread through both Shi-ite Islam (Khoumeini’s Iran, Hizbollah) and Sunni Islam (Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Taliban, al-Qaeda). Movements depicting Israel and the West as the deadly enemy of Islam have arisen even in the West. 

If in the 18th century, progressive thought emphasized equality before the law (democracy), and in the 19th, it emphasized equality of goods and services (socialism, communism), in the 20th century it emphasized equality of cultures. This development, the PC paradigm, came on the wings of a wave of exceptional self-criticism in which avant-garde thinkers questioned some of the most basic and often unconscious elements of their own culture and sought to renounce patterns, values, and deeds that they felt were immoral. Respect for other cultures, especially ones that earlier Westerners had found “primitive” and “superstitious” became a major engine of cultural thought. Based on the principle that we cannot understand “others” without empathy, and cannot empathize without restraining our tendency to impose our own mentality on others, especially in making value judgments. The Sixties and the New Left shifted attention from classic radical concerns about domestic equality towards the international arena, arguing that the prosperity of the West came from plundering the Third World, and capitalism just represented a more sophisticated cultural version of imperialism that did not need to use brute force most of the time.

So when gangs of “refugees” (or at least those from neighborhoods identified as
“migrant no-go areas”) who were given a safe home in countries like Sweden start rampaging and destroying property in their new homes, it seems to qualify as “irrational behavior”, or does it? Considering the cultures that they come from, both the HS and PC paradigms try to bring a perspective to the irrationality. As I said, I subscribe to the HS paradigm. Regardless of what you believe, the question still remains: If your country is going to offer a home to refugees, what behaviors will you expect?