As I was saying about corruption and immigration…..

Before reading this rather long exposition, please read my post of 7/1/2018, defining migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers.

From PJ Media, Michael Walsh, June 28, 2018 (I have reproduced most of the blog, which is more eloquent and informed than what I could write): The issue of “immigration” has now reached a critical mass on both sides of the Atlantic, with Latin Americans marching on the U.S. across the southern border and mostly Muslim “migrants” trekking to the European version of El Norte — France, Germany, and England — for the same reason: because that’s where the money and the free stuff is. The media is presenting what amounts to a slow-rolling invasion of the hemispheric North by the South as a “crisis,” and it is, just not the way they’d have you believe. In the greatest concerted propaganda exercise in history, newspapers, television outlets, and the internet in both America and Europe are filled with pictures of crying children separated from their “parents” (maybe), and Africans bobbing helplessly on dinghies in the Mediterranean — as if some great natural disaster had occurred. (My note: Let’s not ignore the so-called “right of return” immigration/invasion fiasco a la Gaza to Israel).

It has. Under the buzzword cloak of “migration” — a word especially chosen to remind Americans of their legal immigrant forebears, and Europeans of their collective lack of “diversity” — is a relentless assault on national sovereignty and political borders. It’s cudgeled by “racism” and blessed by “tolerance” in order to achieve the Left’s goal of One Worldism in its purest form — a cultural-Marxist endeavor to improve the self-esteem of the Third World by bringing the industrialized, civilized First World down to its nasty, brutish level. In the meantime, they mean to swamp the legitimate immigration and asylum systems of both continents, render them helpless, and break them. Structures that had been put in place to deal with individuals, or with persecuted groups of people, have suddenly been targeted as the soft underbelly of Western compassion — the Cloward-Piven strategy writ large. (The Cloward–Piven strategy is a political strategy outlined in 1966 by American sociologists and political activists Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven that called for overloading the U.S. public welfare system in order to precipitate a crisis that would lead to a replacement of the welfare system with a national system of “a guaranteed annual income and thus an end to poverty”).

In the U.S., the long, porous border with Mexico, once a point of pride (as the undefended border with Canada is today, although that too is changing), is now a sore spot, as the social, religious, and cultural disintegration of our neighbor to the south has destabilized not only Central America, but the American southwest as well. The States have become a primary source of Mexican income, in the form of remittances, and it was only a matter of time before other failing and failed states like El Salvador and Honduras, would start exporting their problems north. As the Left became culturally ascendant in America, and the social welfare benefits expanded accordingly, the great American magnet grew ever stronger, luring not only those fleeing the dysfunction and corruption of their own countries, but a sizable criminal element as well, symbolized by the lethal presence of the MS-13 gang — Salvadorean, by way of Los Angeles — on Long Island.

In Europe, Angela Merkel’s disastrous decision three years ago to allow (beg for, really) more than a million Muslim “migrants” into her country has put the Old Continent’s postwar certainties to the test, and has pitted its secular liberalism and social-welfare system against a group of largely inimical cultural aliens, whose “faith” has been challenging once-Christian Europe for more than a millennium, and which now sees a way to accomplish by infiltration what it never quite could by force of arms. Only in Eastern Europe, with its long experience of Islamic occupation and, more recently, Soviet communist occupation, was there a realization from the start the future of Europe depended on keeping Muslims on their side of their bloody borders. Otherwise, there will be no Europe.

I spent a week in Budapest recently, and during my conversations with members of prime minister Victor Orban’s circle, I was impressed at how seriously the Hungarians are taking their age-old duties as Christian defenders of Europe’s eastern borders, and how determined they and the other members of the Visegrád Group are not to fall for the “refugee” scam, nor to have their manifest Christianity challenged by bogus claims of “tolerance” and “compassion” for people who, over the centuries, have shown them neither. (My note: The Visegrád Group is a cultural and political alliance of four Central European states – the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia).

Their resolve is now paying off: with no stake in the future, the communist-raised, childless Merkel is a spent political force. She rode the wave of post-World War II German self-loathing, and imported an army of technologically backward layabouts into a country whose workforce has long been distinguished by its high level of education and its willingness to work hard. The results, to any student of history, have been entirely predictable. (My note: “childless” is even more significant than “communist-raised”. I don’t have to explain this to parents, and for adults without children, anything I would say will crash upon the rocks of intellectual rationalizations).

The weapons wielded by the Left against the nation-state — which is the repository of patriotism — are primarily linguistic, beginning with the very word “immigration.” They’ve removed, for example, the distinction between legitimate immigrants and illegal aliens. The former come here as individuals and small families, through legal channels, desirous of becoming Real Americans, casting off the old ways and raising their children in the new culture; the latter arrive in invasie waves, intent on violating our laws from the moment they first set foot in the United States, and then either disappearing into “sanctuary” cities and states, or claiming “asylum” not from religious or cultural persecution but from the messes they left behind. In Europe, Merkel’s “welcoming society” deliberately thumbed its nose at the EU’s policy mandating that “asylum seekers” seek asylum in the first EU country in which they arrive.

(Me again: ONE POSSIBLE “SOLUTION” TO REFUGEE SUFFERING THAT I HAVE NOT SEEN MENTIONED ANYWHERE, AND MAY SOUND IMPOSSIBLY NAIVE, IS: WHAT IF THE COUNTRIES FROM WHICH PEOPLE ARE FLEEING WERE ABLE TO “FIX THEMSELVES” TO THE POINT THAT THEIR PEOPLE WOULD RATHER STAY THAN BECOME REFUGEES?) “Impossible”, you say….Then I ask, what would happen if there were no possibility of emigration from your country and the only choice was fix what is wrong or die? Perhaps we might learn something from possibly the worst (per capita) and least explicable (to the Western mind) genocidal spasms  in history, not that long ago, in 1994.

RWANDA, COMING BACK FROM THE BRINK, maybe (Huffpost blog, 12/6/2017)

After the genocide, Rwanda was on the brink of total collapse. Of the survivors, women comprised 70 percent of the population, entire villages were destroyed, and social cohesion was in utter disrepair. This small African country of 12 million inhabitants, encompassing a geographic area roughly the size of Maryland, has made a remarkable economic turnaround over the course of the past two decades. The country now boasts intra-regional trade and service delivery, urban design innovation, and efficient transport links. It has positioned itself as an attractive destination for foreign investment and business ventures. Paul Kagame will be the first to admit that Rwanda is an experiment and that the end result is still unknown. Given the atrocities and the complex dimensions of reconciliation, the ability for genocide victims and perpetrators to live and work side-by-side is remarkable. However, the collective memory of the genocide is a distinct and defining element of Rwandan society today. Despite the horrific trauma many experienced, post-genocide Rwanda presents opportunities for women leadership in how the country is being reconstructed. Women in Rwanda hold significant power and respect, unique to a continent where patriarchy and oppression remain major factors for leadership in many countries. 

While Rwanda might not be the ideal model for hope rising from hopelessness, their example shows that something works better for the indigenous sufferers than becoming refugees whom no one wants!!! But as long as people are more optimistic about being admitted to a less messed up place than the one in which they live and participated in the messing, the will to fix their own house won’t be there. The doors are closing though!

MY NEXT POST WILL SUGGEST SOME IDEAS FOR GIVING THE HOME COUNTRIES SOME HOPE.

United States of America withdraws from U.N. “Human Rights” Council.

The Human Rights Council, mind you, is supposed to “uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights,” according to its mandate. Thus, one would think Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, China, Iraq, Cuba, Qatar, Burundi, and Bangladesh probably shouldn’t be members.

  • Saudi Arabia Expertise in human rights: Death sentences for apostasy and adultery; corporal punishment including flogging and amputation; judiciary controlled by regime; beheading more people than ever before; arbitrary arrests of dissenters and minorities; no freedom of speech; jails blogger Raif Badawi.
  • Venezuela Expertise in human rights: Widespread arbitrary detention; imprisonment of opposition leaders; intimidation of journalists; torture; policies causing mass hunger and health catastrophe.
  • China Expertise in human rights: Denial of freedom of speech, religion, and association; extrajudicial killings; repression of civil society; discrimination against Tibetans and other minorities.
  • Cuba Expertise in human rights: Systematic violation of freedom of speech, assembly, press; elections are neither free nor fair; threats and violence against dissidents.
  • Iraq Expertise in human rights: Pro-government militias commit widespread human rights abuses, including assassinations, enforced disappearances, property destruction.
  • Qatar Expertise in human rights: Inhuman conditions for 1.4 million migrant workers; women denied basic rights to equality, denied right to be elected to legislative council; finances ISIS and Hamas.
  • Burundi Expertise in human rights: Police killings of peaceful protesters; government forces commit summary executions, targeted assassinations, enforced disappearances; arbitrary detention, torture, sexual violence; genocide warning.
  • Bangladesh Expertise in human rights: Extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, killing of secular bloggers by Islamist groups, restrictions on online speech and the press, early and forced marriage, gender-based violence, abysmal working conditions and labor rights.
  • United Arab Emirates Expertise in human rights:No political parties, no option to change government; restrictions on freedoms of speech, press, assembly, association; arrests without charge, incommunicado detentions, lengthy pretrial detentions; police and prison guard brutality; violence against women; anti-gay discrimination; mistreatment and sexual abuse of foreign domestic servants and other migrant workers.

How can abusers of human rights be “responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations”? They can’t.

Refugees, migrants, immigrants, asylum seekers

From the New York Times, 8/27/2015: The 1951 Refugee Convention (UNHCR), negotiated after World War II, defines a refugee as a person who, “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.” Anyone moving from one country to another is considered a migrant unless he or she is specifically fleeing war or persecution. Migrants may be fleeing dire poverty, or may be well-off and merely seeking better opportunities, or may be migrating to join relatives who have gone before them. There is an emerging debate about whether migrants fleeing their homes because of the effects of climate change — the desertification of the Sahel region, for example, or the sinking of coastal islands in Bangladesh— ought to be reclassified as refugees. 

Countries are free to deport migrants who arrive without legal papers, which they cannot do with refugees under the 1951 convention. So it is not surprising that many politicians in Europe prefer to refer to everyone fleeing to the continent as migrants.

The United Nations refugee agency says that most of them are refugees, though some are considered migrants. “The majority of people arriving this year in Italy and Greece, especially, have been from countries mired in war or which otherwise are considered to be ‘refugee-producing,’ and for whom international protection is needed,” the refugee agency said. “However, a smaller proportion is from elsewhere, and for many of these individuals, the term ‘migrant’ would be correct.” Human traffickers make no such distinctions, though; refugees and migrants are often jammed into the same rickety boats for the crossing. 

Admitting refugees is somewhat different in the United States. The State Department vets a select number of people — lately, around 70,000 a year — and admits them as refugees. Others who arrive in the country without legal papers can apply for political asylum; in that case, a judge decides on the merits of their claims. 

From Habitat for Humanity: Refugees are people fleeing armed conflicts or persecution. There were 19.5 million of them worldwide at the end of 2014 according to UNHCR. Their situation is so perilous that they cross national borders to seek safety in nearby countries and become recognised as refugees with access to assistance from states and aid organisations. An important piece of this is that refugees are protected by international law, specifically the 1951 Refugee Convention. But even the terms refugee and asylum seeker are often confused.

An asylum seeker is someone who claims to be a refugee but whose claim hasn’t been evaluated. This person would have applied for asylum on the grounds that returning to his or her country would lead to persecution on account of race, religion, nationality or political beliefs. Someone is an asylum seeker for so long as their application is pending. So not every asylum seeker will be recognised as a refugee, but every refugee is initially an asylum seeker.

A vital part of being recognised as a refugee is Refugee Status Determination (RSD), a legal process that governments or UNHCR use to determine whether a person seeking international protection is considered a refugee under international, national or regional law. The process can be lengthy, complicated and is certainly imperfect. There is still no single uniting model for RSD. States do have the primary responsibility for determining the status of asylum seekers but UNHCR will step in where states are unable or unwilling.

Migrants choose to move not because of a direct threat or persecution but mainly to improve their lives:

  • Finding work
  • Seeking better education
  • Reuniting with family

Unlike refugees who cannot safely return home, migrants can return home if they wish. This distinction is important for governments, since countries handle migrants under their own immigration laws and processes.

Billions!

Did you ever read a book or watch a TV series, thinking it was about a certain thing, only to find out at the very end that it was really about something else? That can be quite a jarring reversal, and it happened in the 12th episode of the third season of Billions, my favorite show. Since the main character is a ruthless billionaire hedge fund manager,  most of the other characters either work for him or are trying to bring him down, and the lifestyles celebrated are mostly wretched excess, you would expect the show to be about money, growing it, spending it, worshipping it. For the first 35 episodes, it mostly was. But oh, the 36th!
 
I will assume you aren’t familiar with the show, so let’s start with the main characters. Bobby Axelrod, the main man, grew up poor in Brooklyn, but ascended the money managing ladder to become the superstar in that world. Axe Capital excels in money management. Really, what the heck is “money management”? In this case, buying and selling stocks mostly. The more often you buy low and sell high, the more profit. Knowing what and when to buy or sell successfully can be genius, manipulation, insider information, exceptional algorithms, and lucky timing. Bobby excels in the first three, his protege Taylor Mason excels in one and four, and together they are practically unstoppable.
 
Bobby’s main antagonist is Chuck Rhoades, a New York district attorney, whose upbringing was as silver spoon as Bobby’s was hard scrabble. Bobby is his “white whale” and Chuck is more than happy to be captain Ahab. But wait, another pivotal character is Chuck’s wife Wendy, who is an integral part of the team. Whose team? Bobby’s! She works for Axe Capital, and her job is to….actually, what it appears to be and what it really is may represent the height of Wendy’s self deception, which becomes a central pivot of episode 36. Chuck justifies his shady methods in pursuit of harpooning Bobby as necessary evils. Bobby justifies his shady practices in pursuit of wealth and status the same way. Wendy soothes Chuck whenever Bobby wins a round while coaching Bobby and his colleagues to be more effective at whatever it is they do, and she benefits in both directions without ever noticing the slightest conflict of interest, or maybe she does, since discernment is her stock-in-trade. Then again, when benefits and conscience collide, the latter is almost always the movable object.
 
Along the way, these characters betray trust, trample relationships, and justify it all, smug in their righteousness…or at least their right to win. Somehow, they each manage to score enough victories to ascend to greater heights in their arena….until brought to earth in….you guessed it, episode 36. Okay you say, “What The Heck Happened in episode 36???” Well, just two more characters to introduce, to get more to savor. I mentioned Taylor, Bobby’s resident genius. She is androgynous and insists on being referred to as “they” rather than she, yet falls in love with a man, whose trust she betrayed…or did she/they? That is never entirely clear. Her lover thinks she/they betrayed him, she/they thinks Bobby betrayed him, and in so doing betrayed her/they also. Betrayal is the critical component, since Bobby justified what he did because he could, because his name, not hers/their’s(?), was on the door of the firm. He unwittingly taught her (I’ve had enough with the plural pronouns) that ownership alone, not genius, is power.
 
Chuck also has a major antagonist, truly a white whale, his boss, the attorney general of the U.S. This guy is a tall Texas shitkicker redneck who makes Chuck prosecute cases that are often unjust, but that serve the A.G.’s political agenda. Chuck sets in motion an elaborate scheme to trap the A.G. into obstructing justice, and enlists the “squeaky clean/ scandal free” A.G. of New York to help him. The scheme would have worked too, but someone whom Chuck once betrayed–that theme again–leaks the game to the A.G. of the U.S., and then Chuck himself is betrayed by his co-conspirator, who trades his integrity for the mess of pottage called Deputy A.G.U.S. Is there no integrity in this show?
 
Bobby is eventually betrayed by Taylor, who shows him how well she’s absorbed the lessons his actions taught her, by setting up her own firm surreptitiously, while taking with her most of his assets under management and some important staff. He doesn’t catch on until it’s too late. Perhaps the most important scene in this episode, maybe the whole series, is Taylor’s attempt to woo Wendy to her firm. When Wendy rebuffs her, due to her extreme loyalty to Bobby, Taylor calls her on the hypocrisy of the work she does for Axe Capital. Oops, that’s Wendy’s one major Achilles heel, and it unleashes a hidden Wendy. Gone in an instant is her wealth guilt (Bobby once bought her a Maserati as a reward for her work, but she sold it due to wealth guilt), gone is her pretense of New Agey people-builder, replaced by a thirst for revenge against Taylor (or against the truth?)! The last, most guiltily pleasure scene of the episode is now upon us. Wendy invites Bobby to dinner with her and Chuck, for the purpose of these three master manipulators crafting a brutally delicious revenge on the temporary victors. I can’t wait for season 4!!!
 
So I said in the beginning, the show seemed to be about money, and now it seems to be about revenge. The truth is, it’s really about trust and betrayal! The main characters could have had very good lives, if they were content and valued trust and relationships. Instead, by modeling betrayal, and not being able to see themselves clearly, nor repenting, their only satisfaction left is contemplating revenge. What could be emptier? But then again, it makes for great entertainment. My dominant thought at the end of season three is how glad I am that I resisted my own temptations to betray for short term gain, having been in the “financial services” industry (where temptation to betray is practically baked in to the system).

Can your nature be changed? A Father’s Day meditation.

From Douglas Wilson, Blog and Mablog “Man As Fallen” (my comments regular type): “Because all men are free agents they are free to do as they please. But because they are sinners, what they please to do is sin. They cannot please to choose contrary to their nature, because if they could, it wouldn’t be their nature.” If you are reading this, saying to yourself, “I don’t sin, I’m a good person” or some variation thereof, you need to consider your standard. What is your standard for sin, for goodness?

“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7:21–23). “As sentient creatures, men are free to do as they please. As sinners, men are not free to do right. If a man could repent his sins and believe in Christ with his old heart, then this would be proof positive that he didn’t really need a new heart. He could do all that God requires of us (repent and believe) with his old heart. Apparently, on this view, what the old heart needed was just a little encouragement.” Repent of what sins? Believe in Christ about what? Is Jesus Christ the “Son of God”, the “second person of the Trinity”, or was he a holy and gifted teacher an enlightened one, blah blah blah?

“But there is one other qualification. An unregenerate person can love the Lord, but only by radically misunderstanding and misconstruing Him.” See last sentence above. “An unregenerate person can understand the Lord in His holiness, but this results in a simple recoil away from Him. The only way a sinner can understand who God is, and also love Him, is if the Spirit of God has granted him a new heart.

“The problem with all this is that it leaves us without any hope of salvation, right? No, it leaves us without hope of salvation from man. What is impossible for men is possible for God. It leaves us without any hope of salvation from within. If we are to be saved, it must be from outside. It must be from outside our hearts, outside our family, outside our tribe, outside our church, outside our world, and outside heaven and earth. We must be saved from outside. And this is what we are offered in the gospel of grace.

“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44). The drawing is from the Father. It is from outside. “And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father” (John 6:65). The gift is from the Father. The gift comes from outside. If the Father does not do the drawing, if the Father does not give it, a man cannot come. Another good translation for the word for draw (elkuo) is drag or haul. “How did you come to Christ?” “Oh, I was hauled.”

So does this mean that no one ever comes? No—it means that everyone who comes (and remember that the entire world will eventually come) has been hauled in by God. “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). In other words, the Father doesn’t try to haul us in, the Father hauls us in. What man cannot do with any success, God can do with no failure. And what is that? The jubilee of all the slaves. The resurrection of the dead. As the graveyard empties, Heaven fills up.

My Theory of “Life-driving” Resolutions

“I will never _______________ (fill in the blank). Be late again, be like my father or mother, talk to so and so again….” People resolve all sorts of things, but when your resolution takes over your life, I call it “life-driving.” Unfortunately, most of those resolutions result in just the results you meant for them to avoid. Since we get what we imagine or visualize, and we can’t visualize the negative–the not-doing–what is left is repeating the mantra of what we hope to avoid, which results in internally seeing that result over and over again, and eventually achieving it. It seems that most people who don’t want to be like a parent become like that parent. In my case, I once resolved to never be late again, but then, realizing I didn’t want the negative, restated that to “I will be early for every appointment”, and I have been ever since. But trauma-driven resolutions are different.

For the purpose of my theory, I define trauma as an event or experience that is so powerful, that it instantly creates a neural “superpathway” in the brain that becomes dominant, causing the experience to repeat endlessly. Trauma survivors admit to revisiting the trauma, like a moth to a flame. Even when they are not conscious of what they are reliving, their reactions to current situations often betray their thoughts. Notice that I said the “experience is powerful”, without defining it as painful or unpleasant. That’s deliberate, because the same mechanism creates addictions. The experience that becomes addictive was not necessarily unpleasant at the time; often it’s shockingly pleasant, too much so. It becomes unpleasant, and even traumatic, when it takes over your life. Even a non physical addiction, like pornography, starts as a jolt to the nervous system, and here is where it’s important to understand the concept of the superpathway, a term I made up to describe how even one big jolt can lead to a lifetime of slavery.

Next time it rains, concentrate on a window, on the rivulets of water. Notice how certain rivulets seem to be attracting other rivulets, until the attracting rivulets become bigger, apparently sucking water into themselves. Now think of rivulets as neural pathways. A trauma, whether pleasant or not, instantly electrifies and enhances a particular pathway, much like a mutant movie monster is created by an electrical storm. That superpathway now attracts neural impulses, or thoughts, to it, strengthening itself by repetition. Viola, either addiction or post traumatic stress disorder is being created and reinforced. Can I prove it, did I read about it? No and no, but I know it on the basis of using this theory to short-circuit addictions and traumatic responses during my career.

In response to trauma, many people form life-driving resolutions to avoid the actions or circumstances that might have led to the trauma. Such resolutions may not be a problem per se, but inevitably human beings must justify their resolutions with a gloss of explanation or rationale. The trouble is, such rationales often become the driver of self defeating behavior. Trauma was usually specific to the people involved, or the particular set of circumstances, time and place, but the resolution and it’s supporting rationales tend over time to generalize, limiting much more of life than is needed to avoid the original trauma.

So the train of events is: trauma or shock creates a dominant neural pathway, which causes reliving of the event, and resolutions to avoid the unpleasantness. Instead, it keeps recurring, which further strengthens the pathway. The sufferer creates  explanations for their feelings and behavior, which tend to be self-reinforcing. The mind is simply doing what it was designed to do, and what makes it worse is the “disease model”. If the sufferer accepts the diagnosis of “depression”, or “anxiety”, or “PTSD”, the disease model prescribes drugs which attack the symptoms, without affecting the cause.

My next post will deal with better ways to alter or interrupt the sequence of events.

The Earth!!!!

This is so important that I have copied the following whole from this post genesis

The pertinent aspects for mankind are therefore reproduce, subdue, and have dominion, with the animals developing a “fear of man” as men began to hunt or raise animals for clothing, food, work, or companionshipA few points need to be made to clear up misperceptions that have crept into the interpretations of these terms:

  1. “Fill the earth” means that mankind has a primary place on the earth: he is not an intruder. Neither does this statement equate to overpopulation. Consider that God first gave this same command to as-yet unfallen man in Genesis 1:28. If the command to mankind was “fill the earth” and this was “very good” by God, as was everything up to that point in Genesis 1:31, then there is no theological reason to automatically equate filling the earth with overpopulation, mass wastage of resources, food shortages, and so on. Besides, it may seem counterintuitive, but Christians who promote biblical concepts such as abstinence before marriage and lifelong devotion to a single spouse are somehow labeled as the ones responsible for overpopulation because we don’t condone abortion. Yet those who promote sexual freedom, promiscuity with multiple partners, and easy divorce are labeled as population-conscious. Which worldview really leads more readily to population explosions?
  2. “Subdue the earth” was a command given to mankind in his yet unfallen state, so there is no connotation of this being a tyrannical subjugation. Instead, this was to be a benevolent stewardship of the earth and its creatures by mankind. Just as God put man in the Garden of Eden and had them tend it (Genesis 2:15), so this subduing of the earth was to be a stewardship and caretaking of the earth.
  3. “Dominion” in the pre-Fall world again is a benign caretaker role. Man was to take care of the animals of the land, oceans, and the air, which certainly also implies stewardship of their domains. Wantonly polluting the land, air, and oceans would be the opposite of dominion—it is exploitation.
  4. The phrase “given into your hand” in Genesis 9:2 does not implicitly allow (or as some claim, demand) animal exploitation. This is a common misrepresentation by those wishing to mock Scripture and Christianity. Although this verse is specifically referring to mankind being given permission in a post-Fall world to eat meat, some Bible critics have tried to paint this as an anti-environment attitude giving Christians license to be cavalier about managing natural resources. One such sarcastic example is from a 2004 article bemoaning the preconceived Christian position: “And why care about converting from oil to solar when the same God who performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes can whip up a few billion barrels of light crude with a Word”?4 The claim is that Christians believe we can do anything we want under the dominion mandate. But this is clearly belied by other passages that curtail human action over nature (e.g., Leviticus 25:5–7Numbers 20:835:3; and Proverbs 12:10).

God clearly cares for man and beast as a characteristic expression of His righteousness (Psalms 36:6104:10–14104:27–28147:9Jonah 4:11Luke 12:6–724)It would be incongruous for Christians to recognize God’s goodness in caring for His creation, to claim to be desirous to follow the will of God and seek the mind of Christ, and yet display a cruel and selfish mindset towards that very creation, knowing that our actions affect other humans and animalsStewardship then is a correct Christian worldview in understanding our dominion mandate role.

However, the dominion mandate also means that humanity has been placed in charge of the environment and the planet in a stewardship roleThis means that mankind is allowed to use God’s natural resources and engage in animal husbandry, farming, and horticultureAlthough we are to be wise stewards, we are not required to place animal and plant welfare above human needsHumans are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27); plants and animals are notTherefore we are of more value than the sparrows in God’s eyes (Luke 12:7), and environmental decisions and policies should reflect this hierarchyKnowing this, then, we are responsible for helping meet the needs of all humans—not just ourselves—present and futureThat alone should sober our view of conservation and stewardship.

This clearly does not involve a callous disregard for animal life, a wasteful mindset toward natural resources, or an exploitative mindset toward the planet which all of us must shareWhen one stops to think about it, heedless exploitation is the opposite of stewardship and actually hampers dominion: we cannot wisely rule over something we are wastingGod demands one thing from stewards—that they be found faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2)May we be faithful stewards of this earth that God owns (Psalm 24:1) but has entrusted to us to care for.

Does consensual really mean that it’s okay? What if it’s REALLY icky?

In these days of free for all, it seems that if sex is “consensual” then whatever form it happens to take is okay. There was a case a few years ago of a very high profile football player (quarterback-went on to be #1 in NFL draft) at a major university who was accused by a woman of sexual assault. He didn’t deny that the events happened, but what might be worse, he insisted that the events were consensual. However, these events involved multiple football players receiving oral sex from this woman. She said that while she did go to his apartment, and was considering a sexual dalliance with this BMOC, what actually took place was not consensual. His defense was, the whole thing was consensual. I say so what? Even if she  had consented to giving oral sex to multiple football players, does that make it right? What does that say about the QB’s character if that’s his defense? What are the limits of acceptability for somebody like him, or if it was consensual, someone like her?

Well for him, and for his University, there was apparently no limit to what was acceptable, because with him the team was a national power, without him (after he was drafted), just pretty darn good. It’s hard to believe, but from accounts I read, the University, the local and campus police, the local newspapers, the boosters and other stakeholders in the success of the football team defended his actions and tried to shame her to silence. The rallying cry was “It was consensual!” Lest my point get lost, my rallying cry is “I don’t give a damn about consensual” (nor the football team, nor the QB, nor the U.).

IT WAS WRONG. But what if she wanted it too? IT WAS WRONG. What about sex with little children, or animals, or robots? WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! “Wrong” implies a standard has been violated. I have refrained from naming the QB or the University, because I want to keep this post on the level of principle, not players. But I have to give the year this occurred for perspective. In 2018, we have the power of #METOO. In 2013, no such thing. In 2016, the University settled her lawsuit for $950,000 without admitting liability for mishandling her complaint. Nine months before this settlement, this same QB was accused by a female Uber driver of grabbing her crotch during a ride. During the course of the NFL investigation into this incident, it came out that the other passenger, who defended the QB, was also one of the football players accused in the 2013 college incident.

Just imagine if the women were of a higher profile and these took place after #METOO. I’m not sure how it would be handled, because that movement also seems to defend the “consensual standard.” I want to propose a better standard. “If it’s icky, it’s sicky.”

The “Tragedy of the Commons”: The idea of scarcity…or the scarcity of ideas?

A recent issue of National Geographic presented an example of what ecologist Garrett Hardin called the Tragedy of the Commons, which is “when many individuals act in their own self interest, everyone suffers.” That idea must assume: 1. The scarcity of a given resource, be it water or food or even space; 2. A closed environment–one which, for purposes of the theory, inhabitants are stuck in. 3. If certain individuals use more than their “fair share” of the limited resources, and everyone will suffer more than when every individual shares, there must be a “fair share”. How it is determined, and even more so, by whom, and on what evidence, is critical. 4. Discovery of more of the resource that was thought to be scarce, or of new technologies which may find more of the resource or even replace it with a better alternative, or of more efficient ways to use and/or conserve the resource, is not assumed. 5. Why should we assume that “self- interest” means hoarding and selfishness? 6. The most problematic aspect of the so-called Tragedy of the Commons is that scarcity is usually temporary and often artificial, but measures to ensure that the more self-interested individuals (or nations) don’t get too much are usually long term, self sustaining (because power corrupts), and, in hindsight, often create even more artificial shortages (rationing/wage and price controls anyone?). 

The example in the magazine was that of a college class in which every student was given a choice to pick either two or six extra credit points on their term paper. The catch is, if more than 10% of the class chooses six points, then everyone gets nothing, but if all choose two points, they all get those points. The teacher explains that over the years, every class but one has failed to get any points. In 2016, the teacher added the option for students to choose no points, and for each student who chose no points, one of the six-point choosers would lose all points. This “altruistic punishment” idea allowed any student to sacrifice their good for the good of the group. What do you think happened? Suddenly, half his classes were all getting the two points. Even when no student exercised the self-sacrificial option, just knowing it was there increased the number of classes getting two points each. 

This classroom exercise was used by the teacher to persuade the class of the importance of working together to mitigate the effects of climate change. The author proudly proclaimed he is a member of Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL), a group which is dedicated to reducing “carbon use” through a “steadily rising tax on consumption of fossil fuels, and passing that revenue back to families to help them afford the higher cost of living that will inevitably result from such a measure.” So what happens when, in the normal course of events, the tax (they call it a “fee”) works? Consumption falls, but the government had begun using the tax fee money for something else, which gradually becomes an entitlement, and then falling revenue becomes the problem? Example: Gasoline taxes are supposed to be used for road improvements, yet somehow much of that revenue ends up in the general fund, the euphemism for “funding political promises” i.e. votes. The real problem, as usual, is human nature itself, though not in the way you might suspect. 

According to the teacher, 80% of his students routinely chose the two points no matter what, so that majority were altruistic and/or practical. Yet, only one class ever got the two points each, so 10-20% virtually always chose to…..do what? By choosing six points, they acted as if they believed that less than 10% of their class would do what they did, but is that rational? Why wouldn’t you assume that most people would choose as you did? Probably because you think of the majority as suckers compared to you, or you denigrate the whole idea of consciously asking for less to benefit others, because that’s weakness. There will always be people who want more stuff, power, money, anything; there will always be those who want to keep anyone from having more. Which group has caused more havoc and misery? It’s a trick question, because those two groups are usually the same. The most infamous of history’s tyrants were avowed communists (today they are closet socialists), whose religion was “anti-more”, and were themselves hoarders and thieves of other people’s wealth. They were hypocrites, in short. They viewed everyone else as fools and suckers, and they as superior. 

If we are going to apply this class experiment to history, 80% of the people tend to be mildly altruistic (choosing two points), as many as 10% are truly self sacrificing (no points), and 10% or less are not only “more for me” oriented but believe in the superiority of their choices (six points). Isn’t it inevitable that those who believe they are superior, also believe they deserve more, and since their power is based on a zero sum philosophy–more for me means less for the rest–they can justify suppressing the desires of the many? If all that follows, their power is based on accumulating a scarce resource. But what if the resource isn’t really so scarce?

Here are my lessons: 1. Almost nothing is really zero-sum. Scarcity is, and historically has been, largely the result of totalitarian measures to control distribution. 2. Human ingenuity, implanted by God, has overcome almost every scarcity not caused by tyranny. 3. Almost any problem of scarcity historically has proven to be of shorter duration than the solutions undertaken to cure it. I submit the “ultimate example” of #3.

In 1968, Stanford professor Paul Ehrlich (with his wife Anne), at the suggestion of David Brower (Sierra Club), wrote a book that became titled The Population Bomb. Early editions of The Population Bomb began with the statement: “The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate.” Ehrlich argues that as the existing population was not being fed adequately, and as it was growing rapidly it was unreasonable to expect sufficient improvements in food production to feed everyone. He further argued that the growing population placed escalating strains on all aspects of the natural world. “What needs to be done?” he wrote, “We must rapidly bring the world population under control, reducing the growth rate to zero or making it negative. Conscious regulation of human numbers must be achieved. Simultaneously we must, at least temporarily, greatly increase our food production.”

Fast forward to 2018. The greatest scarcity for many countries is young blood. Data from the Population Reference Bureau showed in 2006 that there were 20 countries in the world with negative or zero natural population growth expected between 2006 and 2050. In 2017, the Population Reference Bureau released a fact sheet showing that the top five countries expected to lose population between then and 2050 were: China: -44.3%, Japan: -24.8%, Ukraine: -8.8%, Poland: -5.8%, Romania: -5.7%. While China instituted the draconian “One Child Policy”, the others became more selfish.

Dazed and Confused? Hard questions they won’t answer.

These are some “hall of shame” dazed and confused issues:

1. The cornerstone argument of abortion-on-demand proponents is, “it’s my body, and I have sole right to determine what I do with my body?” Then you are saying there is only one body involved in the decision to terminate……..what? The “what” is the legitimate question. To help clarify, other legitimate questions are, can one body have two different blood types, or two different sets of fingerprints, or two different  heartbeats, or be two different sexes? And not only that, but who initiated those changes in your body after pregnancy?

2- But while the abortion-on-demand proponents claim the primacy of their own body, the transgender proponents claim their true gender is trapped in the wrong body. They are saying “it’s NOT my body. My body would be the sex (chromosomes, DNA) that I feel like I am.” But, I ask, what if you have the right body but the wrong mind? What if it’s your mind that’s messed up, rather than your body? Oops, too late for that question if you’ve already gone under the knife and been flooded with sex-change hormones!  

3- Starbucks training: One of the first videos criticized the concept of being “color-blind,” insisting that no one is able to ignore race. The proper concept to strive for, the video explained, is to be “color-brave,” a term the employee said was never specifically defined. The video made sure to underscore that racism and racial biases are deeply rooted in American history. Hmm, racism deeply rooted in American history. Is that why the racial sensitivity training was held only here, rather than in Japan, or China, or India, or all those other countries where there is no racism, and where Starbucks does business? I dare you to look up the history of racial bias in Japan, China, India.

4- Christians with homosexual/lesbian children: To really be a “christian” means you have been “born again.” What does that mean in practice? When your “heart of stone” is transformed to a “heart of flesh” through being imbued with the “spirit of Christ”, you are living “under grace” rather than living “under law.” That’s a lot of jargon, but what it should look like is an end to striving to be outwardly pleasing to God, because you now inwardly want to please God. Striving is living under law, being is living in grace. The “dazed and confused” aspects of this is, if you have to ask “does grace mean I can do whatever I want, even terrible things, and God will still forgive me?” then I question whether you even know what living under grace is. 

Some of the sins you used to be a slave to…..you will still indulge in, because those habits are wired into your nervous system. However, under grace you now hate those habits, and over time, as grace works it’s way into you (and those pesky neuronal pathways), those habits are replaced by what you love, more of God. Habits the Bible condemns, like sexual sin, start to weaken and fade under grace. Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6). Have you trained up your children? Are you now under grace but you don’t think your child is? Your child will be in God’s time; illicit desires will fade, desire to please God will triumph. In the meantime, pray, relax in the Lord, and love your child.