Sunday, August 30, 2009

Restoring Knowledge

I made the following video in order to address the media. It is a very rookie attempt, but I had fun giving it a go. Thanks to Devey who helped with the filming and for being my teleprompter. The best part about it is the band singing in the background. They started up right as we started filming. I had a hard time not cracking up, but oh well we got what we got. Enjoy :)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Restoring the Left and the Right

Calling all classical Liberals! Can you hear me out there? Are there any classical Liberals left out there? Hello? Hello?!!! Yeah that's what I was afraid of. They are just too spread out to really get a clear message to them.

I have started trying to define myself politically. I will probably add more to it later. But, here it is for now: I am a Conservative Independent with some Libertarian leanings, a healthy respect for classical Liberalism, and considerably less respect for Progressivism/Progressive Liberalism. That is certainly a mouthful, or a keyboard full. But, it's the best I can come up with for now.

I’m going to cover a topic that I've covered before, but that I need to brush up on. The founding fathers understood the political spectrum in this way: The very furthest left is Tyranny. The very furthest right is Anarchy. It was their intention to establish a Constitution that was smack dab in the middle. They knew that they needed a limited but strong central government. That way the peoples divinely bestowed rights would be protected, and people would be free to pursue happiness while not interfering in the rights of anyone else. It was brilliantly done.

The founders understood that there would be times when changes to government would need to be made. So, they set that up within the very structure of the Constitution. Amendments could be made, though it was necessarily not an easy process. By doing this the founders assured that there would be a continual conversation politically both left and right leaning.

The left side was to be the problem-solving side. Those on this side were the classic Liberals. They would look at issues and see things that need change in order to better serve the people, and to hopefully increase freedom. The right side was the Conservative side. They would look at proposed changes and ask, 'will the change cost too much?' and 'will the change take away freedoms?' If the answer to either one of those questions is yes, than the change ought not to be made.

This is quite an ingenious set-up. Ingenious because it makes so much sense. Think about your own decision making. Effective decision making involves identifying a need, than asking yourself if it is necessary, will it truly make your life better, and will it cost too much.

I have titled my post 'Restoring the Left and the Right.' I did so because I feel that over time the left and right has all moved, left. The historical Conservative is no longer on the right of the political spectrum. At best Conservatives are hanging on with their fingernails to the center and the Constitution. And the idea of Classical Liberalism is all but faded into non-existance (though every once in a while I do catch shades of it).

Classical Liberalism has been replaced hook line and almost sinker by Progressivism. Progressivism is a lot less about making people free and a lot more about Government taking control and forcing people into a Utopian, thought free society. Yeah I really don't like Progressivism.

Side-note, it has dawned on me recently why Progressives are offended when we call them Socialists. It's because the modern Socialists, e.g. European Socialism, designed themselves after American Progressivism. They stole it from Americans, they just went about it more quickly than this country would allow. Anyway, I think they get all offended because European Socialism is just a copy cat and not the real thing. Progressivism sounds much more noble, and it is built on the idea of enlightened leaders, with superior intellects. But, it comes to the same thing. More and more government, less and less personal responsibility.

Anyway, in order to restore freedom we really need to reset the original left and right. Conservatives need to be more vocal. They need to take a stand so that the shift to the left is halted. Then will begin the long haul back to the center. And we really desperately need some intellectually honest and forthright classical Liberals. People who really believe that we need Liberation, which means freedom, which means less government.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The R Word

From Websters-

1a: to put or change into an improved form or condition b: to amend or improve by change of form or removal of faults or abuses
2: to put an end to (an evil) by enforcing or introducing a better method or course of action
3: to induce or cause to abandon evil ways
4a: to subject (hydrocarbons) to cracking b: to produce (as gasoline or gas) by cracking
intransitive verb: to become changed for the better

Those who have talked with me or read my blog would probably guess that I listen to Glenn Beck. I'm going to forthrightly declare myself guilty as charged and happily so. I don't agree with him on everything (but, hey I don't agree with my parents on everything). One of the things that I have particularly appreciated about Glenn is that he has opened my eyes on Progressivism. This past year I have learned more about 20th century US politics than I did in 4 years of studying history in college.

The Progressives were the ones who started the call for reformation. I would not mind the word much if it was used in its proper definition. But, I kind of feel like the definition of reform, at least in regards to anything to do with government, now just means bigger government. If a problem needs fixing the government is just the institute to do it right? Wrong, they keep messing it up, which begs for more reformation. Its a ridiculous cycle that has brought us to a ridiculous place.

I'd like to propose we focus on a new R word, restoration.

From Websters-

1: Give back, return
2: to put or bring back into existance or use
3: to bring back to or put back into a former or original state: Renew
4: to put again in possession of something

I'd like for there to be a restoration of principles of freedom. I have several principles in mind that I plan on addressing soon. I feel like restoring principles of freedom will become a fairly common theme for me. So, I guess this post is an advanced warning for posts to come. :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Happiest Place on Earth? Why It's the Whole Earth Silly

Okay I've stated before and I'll state it again, I think we need to be good stewards of our planet. I believe pollution should be minimalized. I think people who litter are punks. But, I also think that things like global warming I mean climate change I mean climate justice, are used to try to scare people into making unnecessary changes. And I really don't like when children are used to try to change the way their parents behave.

I'm going to confess here that I watch the Disney Channel. I really like Kim Possible. I've become a relatively new fan of Phineas and Ferb. I even watch Hannah Montana from time to time. But, lately when I've watched that happy go lucky channel I have been treated to commercials like this:

I mean come on guys! "Reg and Pledge" to save our planet. The most recent commercial bragged about how all those reg and pledgers turned up their thermostats from 72 to 74 degrees. I can just imagine tweenagers badgering their parents to turn up the temp in order to save the planet from heating up and causing Florida to melt into the abyss.

Again I think we should be good stewards. But, we do not have to throw common sense out the window. We do not need to have children be fed propaganda by smiling mousekateers, or whatever their called these days. The planet is not more important than people. It would be cool if these kids were learning about kindness to their fellow beings or something.

Anyway just had to get that off my chest.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Reflective Perspective

I have had the opportunity to stand before a mirror with another mirror of the same size behind me. The mirrors are adjusted in a way so that when you look at your reflection you see that reflection extending both directions seemingly endlessly. I was thinking of that and the following thoughts came to mind:

I stand in the middle, looking at the reflection in one mirror I see reflected an eternal perspective. It goes on and on behind me, and on and on in front. The past meets the future in my own present life.

From the past I hear whispered generations of patriots. Men and women in several centuries, who were willing to sacrifice everything for freedom. They thought not just of themselves but of others their posterity, familial and national. When faced with the choice of freedom or security they chose freedom. My heart swells with gratitude for those who loved me enough to take a stand for what is right and true.

From the future I hear the whisperings of my own posterity. They are hopeful of being able to live their lives with the freedom to be patriots themselves. They hold within them the promise of a better world, magnified by the prospect of living in a nation free enough to allow them to develop their character strengths and virtues that will lead to their great causes.

From the past and from the future I hear the whispered question ‘When the time came, when you were asked to choose between what is right and what was safe, between freedom from tyranny or conformity for security, between your own comfort and the freedom for your posterity, what did you do?’

At some future time another will look and see that reflection in the mirror, perhaps if they look closely they may see me, humbly numbered among faithful ancestors, and if they listen closely I hope they hear my whispered response, 'I took a stand.'

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A Quick Word About HealthCare Reform

Boy, have they, the politicians, bungled this. A ton has already been written about the subject. My opinion is pretty simple. I would love for there to be at least some acknowledgment from our politicians that our healthcare system has some positive aspects. In fact it is one of the best, if not the outright best (depending on which person you talk to and what their political leanings are).

When going about changing a system you ought to first consider what is good and right about the current one. That way you can see that the damage to the good stuff is kept to a minimum.

I look at this foolish healthcare reform bill and I see the attempt to change an entire system. It is utterly ridiculous.

Are insurance companies awesome? Maybe some are but I recognize, especially working in the mental health field, that there is a lot of room for improvement. But, changing the entire system is not the answer.

Government run health care is in the experimental stage, and guess what; several test runs have already been conducted. You can look at a number of nations, Canada and the UK for example, and see how awesome their programs have been. But, even more importantly, to me, is that you can look at several states within our own country. Massachusetts is just the latest example of the government healthcare option not working. Tennessee and Hawaii both have tried it also, with little success. In fact Hawaii's government program, which was all about the kiddies, failed in the midst of last years election. Thanks media for giving the nation the scoop on that story! (sarcasm fully intended) The results are decreased healthcare quality, more money spent and more government in the lives of the people.

I also want to give a shoutout to Medicare. Yeah Medicare! (when I did spellcheck I realized that medicare has to be capitalized, part of me wants to rebel, but I’ll go ahead and conform on this issue:) The program is the most difficult for healthcare providers to work with. It's hard to find providers who will accept it because of that fact. The government does a lousy job running things that they have no business running. Also, of note is that the current healthcare reform bill calls for a $500 billion cut in Medicare in order to pay for the public option. Some will say, well the government is just reserving money they already were going to use for the same purpose, healthcare. But, the reality is that this is an important transfer of wealth. Medicare's primary users are the elderly. Now, they will find that the money that could have been spent on them will go to someone else, as determined by the government. Spread the wealth around, make sure a little less goes to our seniors, I mean it's not like they put the most money into the system or anything.

Medicare has all sorts of debt problems, like the rest of the government. They are now trying nefarious things in order to boost their profits. My sister owns a business that is mostly reliant on elderly folks who use Medicare to cover the cost of products for diabetes and wound care and such. She is being forced to jump through all sorts of hoops this past year in order to maintain her ability to be Medicare compliant. They are trying to make money off of ridiculous rules (on the upside her children will now know which doors are exits in their home), either that or trying to run any small businesses that work in the healthcare field out of business. It quite frankly ticks me off.

Wow, that quick word turned into quite a rant. Healthcare does have some problems. The best way to solve them is to first look at what is good. Then you can make changes as necessary. What would be nice is if the government would actually let the free market be free in this instance (well all instances, but we take what we can get). I am also positively in favor of Tort reform. That's about it. Oh I would definitely be part of the mob, thankfully my rep is voting no on this disaster. Though, my senators will likely vote yes, and will not be holding town hall meetings (I checked). Also, I turned myself in to the snitch site, and anyone else who does not like the health reform bill should consider doing it too. Email your report about yourself to

Have a good and healthy day.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Words of Caution

Times like these, when people feel threatened, can lead to some undesirable results. Let's talk a little about the flight or fight response. This is enacted whenever we feel under threat. Our body gets us ready to either flee the situation, or to fight and defend from danger.

The emotional equivalent of fight or flight is anger and fear. These are useful emotions as they protect us. However, they have some limiting effects. The fight or flight/anger or fear response is instinctive. As our brain goes into instinct mode we have our ability for rational thought limited. Most of us recognize, after the fact maybe, that in those anger or fear moments we just don't think as clearly.

There are some emotions that actually assist in tapping into that rational clear thinking. One of the best emotions for our brain and really our whole body is appreciation.

I refer to my post just previous on mountains and seas. Being able to to access those positive, sweet memories and feel appreciation for them is key in going forward. I hope we can all look for things we can appreciate and feel good about.

The tea parties and protests at the town halls are a response to the threat we are feeling to our freedoms. I think they are perfectly appropriate. But, I would caution against letting anger be the driving emotion. It’s okay to feel anger because it is an appropriate response to a threat. But, it’s also important as we go forward that we do so rationally. That means that anger or fear should not be the driving emotion, rather appreciation should be. We all appreciate this nation and our freedoms enough to fight for them. Let that thought be paramount.

We have seen the results of reacting with a less rational approach. I just finished reading American Progressivism edited by Ronald J. Pestritto and William J. Atto. It was honestly a hard read for me, because it was a bit of a shock to the system. The book is a collection of writings from early Progressives. Teddy Roosevelt was one of the biggest early champions of that movement. He was dissatisfied with the government and demanded reform. Some of his complaints sounded a lot like our complaints today, corruption and the deaf ear of politicians to their constituents. Teddy wanted some positive changes, but he went about it the wrong way. He wielded government power and control when there is so much that should have been turned over to the power of the people. By the way if you check out the Progressive party platform you will see that although they did not win the presidential election many of their platforms were put into place. It is, like I said, a little shocking to the system. Dissatisfaction and anger led to less rational thought and action and we are suffering the consequences resoundingly today.

Conservatives need to stick to Conservative principles of freedom, smaller government, and personal responsibility and so on. When leaders, who had some admirable goals, use government to inappropriately control their people, consequences will follow. The doors of liberalism opened by some were crashed down by leaders that followed. Teddy Roosevelt begat Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover begat Franklin D. Roosevelt, and George W. Bush begat Barack Obama. We have got to tread lightly as we look at what really needs to happen. We don't need reform as much as we need a restoration of principles of freedom.

I reflected upon my own recent thoughts as I prepared this post. Do we really need to hold a Constitutional Convention in order to make Congressional term limits law? My answer is maybe, if it comes to that. But, our founders were pretty darn smart in making Congress accountable via elections. What we ought to do first is look at how to more fully educate constituents in order to know what their representatives have been doing there in D.C. This is an example of looking at solutions more rationally.

Now as we air our very appropriate dissatisfaction we also ought to go forward with peace and appreciation in our hearts. For myself I'm going to be moving forward with an idea I wrote about in a previous post “What’s Great About America.”

While we look at what changes need to be made let us also look at what is great about America. We ought to do this in order to make sure the greatness remains undamaged. But, we also ought to do it so that gratitude and appreciation are part of the equation going forward.

I'm limited and as much as I'd like to travel the country and interview Americans discovering their greatness (for it is truly the people) I don't have the resources. But, I'm going to start in my own community. I don't know if it will go anywhere, but I'm still going to try.

Move forward with God and with appreciation.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Mountains and Seas

I know that right now we are facing some trying times; really we are in the midst of trying times. But, I wanted to share some thoughts on perspective. I'd like to do so by relating some personal experiences.

I’ve gone hiking a few times. When I go it seems like I come away with a good story. Like the hike up Camelback Mountain in Phoenix when couple of police snipers joined us on top. They were on the lookout for a murderer from an incident the previous night. But, as I so commonly do, I digress. One of my favorite mountain stories is when I got to climb up Mount Sinai in Egypt.

It started at 2:00 in the morning. The reason we had to hike it at night is because it gets too hot during the day. It was a class field trip, but I decided to spend the majority of the time on my own. It was me, the mountain, the stars, a weak little flashlight and God. As I hiked I had a lot of time to ponder and pray.

Mount Sinai is a fairly decent climb. There are lots of switch backs for several hours. The last bit is a series of steps. Not normal steps, just rocks here and there of different shapes and sizes. My weak little flashlight did not last very long. So, there was plenty of time that I had to shut it off and tripped myself up. But, I was grateful for the stars, and the light others around me had. When I got to the top I realized what a great experience the whole thing had been. I also thought that the climb was definitely worth it.

How much like life is climbing a mountain? Life a lot of times is an uphill climb. Sometimes we even do it in the dark. But, we remember that darkness is rarely complete. We have our lights, even if sometime the light seems weak. And remember that the sun rules the day, the moon rules the night and even when the moon is not present we have the stars. Light rules no matter how dark seems. We have truth to guide. Most of all we have God, the source of truth and light.

As I climbed that mountain I thought a lot about some of the difficult experiences that I had already been through. I recognized that what really got me through those, what I describe as dark times, was The Savior. His light and love is very real. There on the mountain I thanked God for His Son, for His light. I also talked with God about how I was willing to go through difficult things again knowing that at the top of life’s mountain it would all be worth it. The difficult things always are.

I also have spent some time around seas. I love the water. There are a few good stories about the water too :) One of my favorite places on the planet is the Galilee region in Israel. Being in Israel was such a great experience for me. Some of the spiritual experiences I had were expected. But, my experience in Galilee was an unexpected blessing.

Galilee is where the Savior spent much of His mortal ministry. It is a beautiful area especially in the spring. I got to spend several weeks there. The Sea of Galilee is actually a lake, but a beautiful one. We got to live write next to the beach. It is hard to describe why the experience was such an important one for me. But, I felt really close to God. I had, like I said before, experienced some difficult things in my life and had felt the healing power of the The Atonement of Jesus Christ. There in the land that He had performed so many miracles I felt that the very land testified that He is the Healer, and I felt I could testify with the land of that truth. It was touching for me to be able to read the Scriptures there on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and it felt like God was talking directly to me through His word. Every night I would take a lawn chair and sit on the shores of the Sea and talk to Him. It was a sweet communion that I will never forget and always be grateful.

So, why the heck am I waxing on about these experiences? They have been in my mind lately. Right now I think we are heading for some really difficult times. We are going to be climbing a big ol’ mountain in trying to restore principles of freedom in this nation. We are going to be mocked by the media. We are going to feel like we don’t see the next step sometimes. But, remember we have truth. Remember we have each other and we have God. We must continually seek His guidance. We need to acknowledge His mercy and guidance and pray to put ourselves in a position to receive the blessings He wants to give. We need to remember that at the top it will be worth it.

We are all blessed with experiences of sweet communion. That can be with family, with nature, with God etc. Those experiences sustain us when times get rough. I still recall with gratitude my experiences in Galilee when I face difficult things. Right now I think it is so important for each of us to spend time in sweet communion. Cherish your loved ones, and cherish your times to ponder study and pray. These experiences will sustain as times get more difficult.

I’m grateful to be on this journey. I’m so excited to go to D.C. for the march on 9/12. I’m excited about some other things I’m getting more involved in. But, I’m also really grateful for perspective. The climb is worth it, and God loves all of us.

God bless