Gotcha! Uh, No... You Don't


Gotcha!  Uh, No… You Don’t

            It might appear to some, that I have contradicted myself with two of my recent posts.  In my post titled Conservatives vs. Liberals, I was extolling the virtues of freedom, and in Morals: The Barbecue Assembly Instruction Manual of life, I was pushing morals.
At first glance, it might look as though I am just as guilty as the people I have criticized.  In general I am not in favor of laws that restrict freedom, but don’t morals do the same thing?  Aren’t laws and morals both instruments to control people’s behavior?  Isn’t the only difference, one originates from government and the other does not?  Am I just a hypocrite?  No, and once again, it comes down to freedom.
            There is an important between morals and laws.  Adhering to morals is voluntary, while obeying laws is mandatory.  You are free to ignore morality, except in cases where morality and the law overlap each other.  You must always obey the law, or risk facing the consequences. 
            Not everyone agrees on what is and is not moral.  If you disagree with most of society on some moral issue, go ahead and live your life the way you see fit.  Just don’t ask everyone else to set aside his or her beliefs and agree with you, if you choose to live outside the norm.  You, like everyone else, have the right to your own beliefs, but that doesn’t mean that you’re beyond criticism.   
             


Morals: The Barbecue Grill Assembly Instruction Manual of Life


Morals: The Barbecue Grill Assembly Instruction Manual of Life

            I know what you’re thinking – where the heck is he going with this?  Keep reading.  In the past, I have gotten into debates with people who are proponents of certain activities that deviate from the traditionally accepted norms of human behavior.  I would always get stuck when my opponent would ask me, “Why shouldn’t people be allowed to act that way?  Who are you to judge what’s right or wrong?  I didn’t know how to respond.  I knew that I couldn’t defend my position on religious grounds, because invariably, my opponent was not religious.  My gut instinct was to say “Just because!” but that response would have made me look worse than saying nothing, so I just hemmed and hawed and lost the argument.  My opponent won the argument even though I knew that I was right, which of course, was very frustrating.
            To the credit of my opponent, those are very legitimate questions.  If I am truly the lover of freedom that I claim to be, how could I ever disparage the actions of anyone else?  You’ve heard the saying, “You can’t legislate morality”, and it is true, on both theoretical and practical grounds.  There is a plethora of reasons why we should have as few laws as possible governing people’s behavior.
            I couldn’t support my argument on legal or religious grounds, so maybe I should just shut up and go away.  Never!  I still have morality on my side.  “What?” you say, “I thought you implied that you could defend your position upon something other than religion.”  I can, and I already have the atheists on my side, even though they may not realize it.  You see, they say that atheists are good people even though they don’t believe in God.  They say the reasons for living a moral life stem can from practical matters just as easily as they can stem from any religion.  They might say for example, “If we all try to get along with each other, there will be less violence and hatred, and we will all be better off.”  This is most certainly true.
            Many people say that morals stem from religion.  I dare profess that oftentimes; it’s the other way around.  How else could the rules concerning how to live one’s life of so many religions be so similar?  Here’s where the barbecue grill thing comes in.
            I’m sure that a lot of you have been here before, and this applies to the assembly of anything, but barbecue grills are probably the most notorious.  You don’t bring an assembled grill home from the store.  What you get is a big cardboard box full of grill pieces and you have no idea just how many pieces until you rip open the box.  The first thought that comes into your mind is, “Boy, maybe I should have spent the extra money to have the store assemble and deliver it.”  Since you have already destroyed the box, you are literally at the point of no return, so you dive in.  There’s a million parts scattered on the garage floor along with a white booklet.
            At this point, there’s two ways you can go.  The real man way – To hell with the instructions, I know what I’m doing, I not even gonna look at the damned book.  Or, the wuss way – I don’t really know what I’m doing here so I will follow the assembly instructions.  Either way, you’re screwed.  The real man finds out that he can’t just wing it, and the wuss finds that the instructions are incredibly hard to understand, so no matter which approach you use, you end up deviating from the instructions.  They’re so hard to understand, you wonder, “Why do they say that you have to do this that way?”  You think it would be a lot easier to put a component together as a subassembly first, and install that, than it would be to install each individual piece separately into the cramped spaces of the grill.  Great idea! – Until you find that the subassembly will not fit in where it is supposed to, unless you tear the whole grill apart which would be more work and take more time than just following the instructions in the first place.  You remember asking yourself, “Why do I have follow these stupid instructions?” and a voice inside your head responds in a defeated tone, “Oh, that’s why.”
            Finally, you get the damned thing put together and you not only understand the instructions, you know why they told you to do the various steps in the order that they did.  You are now a grill expert. – At least with that particular model.  Too bad you couldn’t do a few more.  You could now probably knock one off in about half an hour instead of the whole day it took you to do your first one.
            Take heart, the wisdom you gained from this experience will be valuable to you in the future, especially if you have to assemble anything.
            “Wow”, you say, “That’s a pretty long winded parable.  What’s it got to do with morality?”  Bear with me, and I will explain why the morality part of religions is so similar the world over.
            How did you get that grill put together when at times you either purposely didn’t follow, or didn’t understand the instructions?  The answer is: through trial and error.  There are a lot of ways to learn things, but the one method in which you can be most confident that what you learned is correct is trial and error.  Let’s say that there are four different colored cups on a table, red, yellow, green, and blue.  Someone tells you that there is a ball under one of the cups and asks you to tell them which cup the ball is under.  How would you figure it out?  Duh, you would pick up each cup until you found the ball.  You might not find the answer after you picked up the first cup, but you would certainly know the answer by the time you had checked under all four.  If you find the ball is under the blue cup, you can then state that it is, with more confidence that is true than if you had proclaimed that the world is round.
            Another benefit of learning by trial and error is that oftentimes, it not only provides the correct answer to a particular question or problem, but as in the case with our grill example, it gives you insight on why it’s the correct answer.  Lastly, learning in this manner tends to give the same results regardless of where you happen to be in the world.  Through trial and error, you would learn, “Don’t walk on thin ice.” or “Don’t touch a hot stove.”, just as effectively in China as in the United States.
            The disadvantage of learning through trial and error is that it can be inefficient.  The examples we have used so far are fairly simple, but it could take a lifetime to learn the answers to more complex problems this way.
 The good news is we are not restricted to only learning in this manner.  We can learn from the mistakes made, and thus the wisdom gained by others, kind of like following the barbecue grill assembly instructions.  At the grill factory, they have a more extensive knowledge of your grill than anyone else.  The designers and engineers, drew up the plans, the factory workers made the pieces, but some poor suckers had to put that first prototype together and write the instructions on how to put it together.  Now, who are you going to trust more for guidance when it comes time for you to assemble your grill?
There are a lot of things that irritate me about liberals, but one of the things that bugs me the most that they are so arrogant, they act like they’re so far ahead of us Neanderthals when it comes to social evolution. They actually believe that acceptance of activities they condone is cutting edge or avant-garde.  Believe me, the world has been around for a long time and everything as far as social behavior is concerned, has been tried, more than once, much of it a very, very long time ago.  Through the process of trial and error, various societies found that certain activities caused problems that were more damaging to everyone than any benefits such activities gave to people practicing them.  Eventually such activities became taboo.  This process has been repeated thousands of times over the eons and across the globe.  This is why so many societies, so far removed from each other, have such similar moral codes.
The problem is that so many of these lessons were learned so long ago, that often we are only left with the rules of morality.  The reasons for the rules have been long since lost to history.  It’s a lot harder to adhere to a rule when you don’t understand the “why” behind it.  When this happens, people are prone to disregarding rules and sentenced to learning from their own mistakes.  Then, it’s like picking up that barbecue grill assembly instruction manual for the first time.
Even though you may not fully understand why something is or is not morally correct, it’s a pretty safe bet that a hundred societies that are in agreement with each other are not wrong.  For the most part, morals are tried and true rules that have stood the test of time and will continue to be around long, long after all of us are gone.  They help a society function with the least amount of problems, and are kept alive by all of us passing them to the next generation.  So now, when someone says to me, “You have no right to judge me.”  My response is, “It’s not only my right, it’s my obligation.”

           
             
 
              


           
           
           


Wrong about Rights and the Caveman Test

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Wrong About Rights and the Caveman Test

            There’s a lot of talk going on about rights, - rights to healthcare, rights to affordable housing, rights to free contraception, rights of free speech, rights to bear arms, etc.  Rights are good.  Right?  Right.  It would seem then, that all the people in favor of all these rights would be on the same side.  Right?  Wrong.  How can this be?  Rights are good.  Rights are right.  Doesn’t everyone deserve all these rights?  Who’s wrong?  Who’s right?
            Everyone is entitled to equal rights, but not everyone knows what rights are.  The Declaration of Independence states that we have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and the constitution says, eh, the constitution says, the constitution says a lot of things.  Here is where the problem is.  Only a small percentage of people in this country have ever read the constitution and even a smaller percentage understand it.  Here’s a very, very brief and simplified explanation of it.
            The constitution of the United States went into effect in 1789 and is mostly a bunch of stuff about how our federal government is to be set up and run.  There, you can’t get more brief and simple than that.  Now what about all this rights stuff?  Soon after and even before the constitution went into effect, many people thought there needed to be more stuff in the constitution than just that “how the federal government is to be set up and run” stuff.  They felt that the rights of the country’s citizens needed to be protected and rightly so.  They had just recently been in a big argument with England about that stuff.  So rather than starting over from scratch, they added to the constitution, first ten amendments, which we refer to as the bill of rights.
            The fifth through the eighth amendments deal with prosecution, eminent domain, trials, bail, and other judicial stuff.  The tenth amendment says that any powers not expressly granted to the federal government by the constitution belong to the states and or people. 
The third amendment says that citizens cannot be forced to feed and house soldiers in their homes and the fourth amendment prohibits unlawful search and seizure.
The first and second amendments are the ones we are all probably most familiar with.  They are what people are most often talking about to when they are legitimately referring to constitutional rights.  It’s the ninth amendment were things get murky.  It says that people may have other rights that are not listed in the constitution and just because they are not listed, it doesn’t mean that they can be violated.
So what is and what is not a right?  Is health care a right?  Is it one of those unlisted rights that the ninth amendment was referring to?  How can anyone know?
Setting aside the fifth through eight amendments, which deal mostly with our judicial process, I use what I call the “Caveman Test” to determine if something is indeed a right.  What I mean is this.  If someone claims that they have a particular right, I ask myself, “Would that person still have that right if they were a caveman?”  The Declaration of Independence says that we are endowed by our creator with rights that include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  This means people were born with these rights long before any government was created, and such rights exist always and everywhere regardless of the existence of any government.  True rights are independent of government.  A government cannot give anyone a right; it can’t even take a right away.  The worst a government can do is to violate rights and the best it can hope to do is to try and protect rights.  Our forefathers were smart enough to know this and defined rights as limitations on what the federal government could do.
There’s an additional benefit to using this criteria to determine if something is a right.  It saves (or least helps prevent the spending of) government money.  It doesn’t cost (or at least directly cost) anything to let people have the freedom of speech or let people own guns.  Financially speaking, health care is an open-ended question limited only by national bankruptcy.
Let’s put the Caveman Test to the test and apply it to some of these so-called rights.  Is health care a right?  No.  Why?  Health care is a commodity, not an idea.  If healthcare were a right, you should theoretically be able to go back in time, before hospitals or doctors, in an area where there weren’t even any people, demand healthcare and receive it.  The same holds true for affordable housing, and don’t even mention the right to free contraceptives.
What about free speech?  Yes, that is a right.  As soon as the first language was developed, people were saying whatever they wanted, until the first tribal chiefs (government) arrived on the scene.  People have been fighting to protect that right ever since.
What about guns?  Cavemen didn’t have guns.  Wouldn’t this mean that we can’t own guns?  Well let’s look at the second amendment.  It doesn’t actually say, “We have the right to own guns.”  (“What?!!!”, all the NRA dudes are screaming.  “Yes!!!”, the gun control advocates are cheering.)  The second amendment says, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”  The word gun is not even in it.  Why?  The first weapon was a rock.  You either threw it at an enemy or hit them with it.  Then came the club and then the spear.  The guy with the rock was no match for the guy with the spear.  Even at time of the revolutionary war, weapons technology was rapidly evolving.   The proponents of this amendment knew that the guns of tomorrow would be vastly superior to the guns they had at that particular time.  They purposely left out any description of arms in the amendment because they knew that limiting the people to revolutionary war style muskets would, in the future; leave them just as vulnerable to criminals and tyrannical governments as if they had no weapons at all.  Rather than describing what weapons the people could have, they wanted to prevent the government from infringing (read setting limitations) upon the peoples right to own them.  So much for the constitutionality of gun control laws.


           
           
           

Conservatives vs. Liberals


Conservatives vs. Liberals

            Not too long ago, most kids left home soon after they finished their schooling. They dreamed of the day when they could go out and try to make it on their own in the world.  Today there are quite a few young adults still living in their parents homes well after graduation.  Most of them are not there by choice.  Times are tough right now.  Many of them are either unemployed or they do not have the job with the pay that they imagined having when they were in school.
This is not news to anyone, but it got me thinking.  Liberals are not always liberal and conservatives are not always conservative even if they are acting exactly the way you’d expect them to act.  What the hell am I talking about?  Keep reading.
A kid graduates and when he’s able, he leaves home as soon as he can.  Why?  It’s much easier and cheaper living at his parents, but – his parents have rules, rules that he has had to put up with as long as he can remember.  Even the most reasonable rules can be looked upon as a restriction of freedom.  He values his own freedom more than the ease and security he has at his parent’s house.  Everyone values their own freedoms when it’s easy to identify tangible benefits that they produce.  Valuing freedoms that may not have benefits so easily identified or valuing the freedom of others is often another matter.
What does this have to do with liberalism and conservatism?  Bear with me.  Why does the kid value freedom more than the security of living with his parent’s?  Two reasons.  First, he knows he can have more fun being out from underneath his parents’ thumbs, and more importantly, he knows that he’s never going to make it the world if he doesn’t go out and spread his wings.  Isn’t that one of the main themes of conservatism - life’s more fun and you have a better chance of making it if you can be left to pursue your own ambitions with as little infringement from anyone (like the government) as possible?  Our kid here is expressing a conservative value even though he is probably going through the most liberal phase of his life.
What words would you associate with being conservative?  Cautious?  Slow?  Steady? Careful?  Safety?  Often these words would describe being conservative.  I’m sure you would rather ride in a car in a snowstorm with a conservative driver.  But what about the kid in my example?  I just said he had shown a conservative value he didn’t take the safe route.  And as long as I mentioned it, what about safety?  Doesn’t it seem that most of the people pushing safety on you are liberals?  You know the kind of people I’m talking about – the folks who want the government to mandate that every machine be made “idiot proof” regardless of how it may affect performance or function.  These are the same people that want your kids to wear helmets for any activity more dangerous than reading a book. It might appear as though I’m contradicting myself here. Didn’t I just say that safety is a word that could be used to describe being conservative?  It all comes down to freedom.  Conservatives believe freedom is what should be valued most.  Safety is important, but it should be implemented by the freedom of choice of the individual.
What words come to mind when you hear the word “liberal”?  Change? New? Anti-establishment?  Take a look at what’s going on in our federal government.  Liberals have had the senate and presidency for the past two years and all three branches the two years before that.  We have some major debt problems that can only be solved by cutting government spending (particularly entitlement programs) and they don’t want to change anything.  They don’t want to try anything new.  They want more of the same.  More spending.  What kind of liberalism is that?  What liberals, at least the ones in government value most is power and control - and they get in two ways; transferring wealth from one group of people to another and by limiting freedom.  Don’t believe me?  Listen to them!  In their campaigns, speeches, interviews, or debates - almost all the things they promote, involve either spending tax dollars or putting some type of restriction on some group of people.
When referring to someone’s political slant, “conservative” and “liberal” are just labels, and labels have their limitations.  When choosing which side you want to be on, just remember who values freedom the most.




           
           
           
           

Are You Ready to Rock?!!


Are You Ready to Rock?!!

            It’s been a few days since my last post, and I’m sorry about that.  I’ve been spending a lot of time looking at other blogs and websites, thinking about where I want to go with this blog.  After considering many different routes that I could take, I have decided that my first inclination was best.  There are lots of conservative blogs out there, and most of them are the same – either someone’s take on current events, or just reposting of other website’s articles.  I want to do something different.  I don’t just want to explain what conservatives (at least conservatives that are like me) think, but why they think it.  You might not always agree with me, but maybe I can get you thinking about how you feel about certain things.  Maybe that will start you communicating with others, and that has to be a good thing.
            I also want to let you know, that if you are a conservative, you’re not alone.  There’s a lot more of us out there than you might think.  My goal is to have more conservatives get together with each other more often and to get them to speak their minds, maybe winning over some new converts in the process. 
            I’m no computer expert and I’m no journalist as you can probably easily tell, but I am sincere.  As time goes on, I’d like this blog to look more professional and I want to get some links up, but that’s going to take some time.  I’ll have to wait until I got some time to sit down with my own personal computer and Internet expert.
            I’m going to try to make my local tea party’s next meeting and see if I can work with them.  Maybe we can help each other out.
            Last but not least, I’ve been doing a bunch of reading and research and I got what I feel is a bunch of good stuff coming for ya, hopefully without too much time between posts.  Stay tuned.
           
           
           

Is This Optional?

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Is This Optional?

            The constitution of the United States of America clearly spells out how laws are to be made in our country.  A bill must pass in both the House and Senate in order to become law.  Barack Obama seems to think that he can make laws all by himself.
            If Obama feels that following the constitution (the ultimate law of our land) is optional then wouldn’t it stand to reason that obeying any of his executive orders is optional?

Quick Thought on Gun Control


Quick Thought on Gun Control

            Lots of talk about gun control lately.  I’ve heard quite a few suggestions that I think would be unreasonable restrictions placed upon law-abiding citizens.  The funny thing is that I have heard practically no suggestions that we should increase the punishment for people that commit crimes with guns.  I would bet if there were a widespread call for much harsher punishment for criminals (mandatory life without parole for violent offenders for example), we would hear plenty of objections.  I would also bet that most of the objections would come from the very same people that want to take gun ownership rights away from the law-abiding citizens.

Suggestions for Conservatives


Suggestions for Conservatives

1)    Winning an election is more important than having a perfect candidate. – Last election, a number of Republican candidates, most notably Todd Akin (Senate candidate from Missouri) and Richard Murdock (Senate candidate from Indiana) were accused of making stupid comments about rape, which probably cost them their elections.  You’d expect the Democrats and the liberal media to get all over them about this, but even conservatives abandoned them in droves.  The candidates may well have said something stupid, but the really stupid people were the ones who withdrew their support.  Once a candidate has been nominated and is on the ballot, it’s too late to exchange him for someone else.  Write in candidates never win, so we have to do the best with what we got. We can learn something from the left here.  They never abandon their leaders or candidates, no matter what.  Remember Jesse Jackson and the out of wedlock birth?  How about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinski?  Both issues were more serious than any inappropriate remarks uttered by Akin or Murdock, but Jackson’s and Clinton’s supporters stood by them.  What chance do we have against loyalty like that when so many of us distance ourselves from our guys at the drop of a hat?  Ronald Regan always said, “Never speak ill of another Republican.”  and he was right.  There are plenty of other folks who will do that for you. You don’t have to take the opportunity to show how independent, intelligent or sophisticated you are by bad mouthing a conservative that might not always act exactly the way you think they should.  Just shut up and vote for them if they, in general, represent conservative values.
2)    People who vote the way you do are on your side. – The same thing goes here as with candidates.  Just because a militia group, tea party group, or religious organization doesn’t have the exact same mindset as you, doesn’t mean that you have to go around running them down.  Again, there are plenty of other people who are ready and willing to do that.
3)    Speak up when the time is right. –   When you have the opportunity to speak your mind, and you are confident that the people around you are open-minded enough to recognize common sense, say something. When someone spouts off, “Teachers are underpaid”.  Chances are that’s just a line he heard from a teacher’s union member.  He has no hard evidence to back up that claim. Let him know what public school teachers salary and benefit packages really are, and remind him that he is paying for them through his property taxes.  If he is a renter, explain to him that his landlord, to pay property taxes, uses a fairly large portion of his rent.  If this person works in the private sector, chances are he will never claim that teachers are underpaid again. That’s just one example.  You could do the same thing with “The rich need to pay their fair share.”  Ask the person who says this, “What percentage of federal income taxes should the wealthiest 10% of Americans pay?”  The number he will give is almost certainly lower then what the “rich” are actually paying right now.  Let him know that the top 10% of American income earners pay about 70% of federal income tax while the bottom 47% pay nothing.   These left wing talking points are usually easy to debunk because they are so rarely based on facts.  Once people understand this, they will be more open to other things you may want to say.
4)    Shut up when necessary. -  Never argue with a liberal, especially when surrounded by them.  Their positions are not based upon logic, so no amount of common sense or facts is going to sway them.  Better to spend your time talking to people who have at least some semblance of having an open mind.  What are you doing hanging around liberals anyway?
5)    Everybody has his or her own favorite issue - talk about that.  People are most interested in what interests them.  Hunters, gun owners, landowners, business owners, and almost everyone else have interests that are supported by conservative values.  Once you have them agreeing with you on their pet issues, it’s easier to get them to agree with you on other conservative issues.
6)    Don’t wait until election season to spread the word. – We don’t know the candidates or all the issues of future elections, but everyday there’s an abundance of fresh news stories that have some political angle.  When discussing them, you can take advantage of this without even sounding like you are trying to make a political point.  All you have to do is explain to people how an issue affects them and how conservative policies regarding the matter would have a positive impact on them.  When trying to get someone to remember something; repetition is more useful than complex arguments.  Advertisers know this, but it takes time, that’s why the same commercials air over and over.  By the time next the next election season comes around, people are so bombarded by campaign ads and news stories that they will have a hard time remembering any thing you say.  Better to turn an undecided into a conservative today than to try to compete with all the noise once campaigns are in full swing.
7)    Keep it simple – Chances are you are never going to appear on any national news program, so you don’t have to talk like an Ivy League graduate.  We already have all of the “Captains of Industry” on our side anyway.  The people we need to go after are the hard working regular Americans.  More often than not “fancy talk” just turns them off anyway.  This is not to say that they are stupid.  Most of them are experts in whatever it is that they do and are proud of it.  They often have a lifetime of experience at their careers, which has given them a broad range of knowledge.  They just tend to be “no nonsense” type people.  They are too busy just trying to keep their heads above water, supporting their families to get too involved in politics.  Therefore, they resent government wasting the tax money it took from them. They are fertile ground for planting the seeds of conservative thought.  Tell them how liberal policies cost them money and how liberal ideas go against what they stand for.  Let them know how conservative policies are fairer to a working taxpayer.  Yes, we can use slogans that are easy to repeat and remember, just like the left does.  One of my favorites is – “Spread my work ethic, not my wealth.”
8)    Have fun and be happy – In general, people who are in good spirits do a better job at getting their message across than people who aren’t.  Check out you tube videos of the protesters in Madison, Wisconsin prior to the Scott Walker recall election.  Those angry mobs at the capitol really turned people off and probably did more than anything to cause Walker to win the election.  People want to associate with other happy people, so spread your message with cheer.

Gun Control and Crazy People


Gun Control and Crazy People

It’s been over half a month now since the last mass shooting homicide and I suppose in a few weeks, we will be due for another and another round of calls for gun control. There is probably nothing I or anyone else can say to sway anybody’s opinion one way or another on this matter.  You’re either for more gun control or you’re not.
In the short term, none of it matters.  Legislation takes time to be enacted and we will surely have another mass shooting before any laws are made or changed.  In addition, even the most avid supporter of increased gun control would have to admit that even an all out ban on guns would not remove all guns and gun violence from our society.  True believers in the right to bear arms are not going to give their guns up and criminals by definition are not going to obey the new laws. 
Guns have been around longer than our country has existed, but until the last part of the 20th century, shootings like the one in Connecticut were virtually unheard of.  Over the past few decades, it has become increasingly difficult to legally purchase a firearm, but mass shootings have increased.  These facts indicate that there is more to the problem than just guns themselves.  You heard the mantra, “Guns don’t kill people, people do.” but there has always been people and guns.  What’s different now?
Shootings of this type are often explained by people saying, “Well that guy was just crazy.” but in addition to guns and people, we have always had crazy people, so that can’t be the only explanation.  People try to blame entertainment and pop culture for glorifying gun violence, and they do deserve at least some of the blame, but I think there’s more to it than that.  Cowboys were shooting each other up on the silver screen way back in a much safer time.
I’ve been thinking about this for a long time and here is what I think what explains the increase in senseless gun violence.  Today we have gun control.  We used to have “Crazy People Control”.  Crazy People Control wasn’t a set of laws like gun control; it was just the way people allowed others to behave.  Compared to today, people used to stay relatively close to the area where they were born.  Because of that, families used to be much closer.  Not just geographically, but personally, emotionally, and spiritually.  Towns and neighborhoods were populated by families that lived there for generations.  Families were stronger, and so were friendships because the same people interacted with each other everyday for a lifetime.  Instead of being anonymous strangers, people were part of something; a family, a group of friends, a town or neighborhood.                   
Being part of something does something to you.  It makes you aware of more than just yourself.  You feel a loyalty to others because you know that they will be there when you need them and you would never want to do anything that would embarrass them or let them down.  Children growing up in this type of environment are raised with these sensibilities and are corrected when they deviate from them.  They are reprimanded for infractions far less serious than a shooting and praised for toeing the line.  It’s called “Learning the difference between right and wrong”.
With any of these mass shootings, it is a certainty that it was not the first time that the perpetrators did something that most people would call “crazy”.  They probably did many lesser things that would not be considered acceptable, but were there enough people in their lives to call them out on it.  Did they have that feeling of belonging and loyalty that keeps the rest of us from acting out on uncivilized impulses?  Did they ever fully develop a sense of right and wrong?
Even if more gun control would have the exact effects that its proponents desire, it would only work to eliminate gun violence.  “Crazy People Control” works to diminish all kinds of societal woes.  That’s why we used to have it.  Can we ever go back to it?  Not without societal sea change, but I think what we have here is more a people problem than a gun problem and there is no amount of laws that can ever change that.






WE GOT THE SMARTEST GUY IN THE WORLD ON OUR SIDE - AND WHAT GOOD DOES IT DO?


WE GOT THE SMARTEST GUY IN THE WORLD ON OUR SIDE –
AND WHAT GOOD DOES IT DO?

            Charles Krauthammer is without a doubt, one of the most intelligent and knowledgeable people in the area political commentary.  Compare him to any of the most popular talking heads on the left, (Chris Mathews, for example) and I think any honest, open-minded person would have to agree that Krauthammer comes out on top no matter which criteria is used.
            The good news is that he’s on our side, and he’s not the only one.  There are plenty of intelligent, eloquently speaking right leaning people out there fighting battles for us against the likes of Mathews (whom I think should embarrass the left).  With this being said, one would think that we wouldn’t have to do battle at all.  The informed, eloquent right-wingers would present logical arguments on national TV and other forms of media, the general public would hear this irrefutable logic, vote accordingly, and all would be right with the world.  This obviously has not happened.  The question is – WHY?
Krauthammer is a master of the English language.  He uses words like an expert craftsman uses tools, perhaps to a fault.  Come on Charles, everyone already knows your smart.  You don’t have to keep on proving it by constantly using what simpler folks refer to as “five dollar words”.   I’m a college graduate, and often I have a hard time following you.
             My point is this.  Every over-educated right leaning person already agrees with him and most of the intelligent left (yes, I believe that such a group exists, although it is an endangered species) is dug in so far that nothing will ever change their minds.  We’ve all heard a million times that elections are decided by the “people in the middle”, but the majority of people in the middle do not relate well to fancy talk and complex arguments.  They respond better to easily understood talking points about things that affect them directly.
     The bad news is, that this is where the left clobbers us.  It’s much easier for the average working man to latch onto “Tax the millionaires, make them pay their fair share!” than it is for them to get all worked up about government spending as a percentage of GDP.  The left doesn’t even try to delve into such issues when addressing a large audience and with the results of the last election; it appears that they are taking the better approach for winning over voters.  Remember Clinton in ’92, saying “This is the worst economy in the last 50 years”, and their campaign’s motto, “It’s the economy stupid”?  I’d trade the ’92 economy for our present one in a heartbeat, but none of that matters anymore.  What worked for Clinton, didn’t work for Romney.
            What changed?  I blame a large share of it on the mainstream media; they have always biased toward the left and now are less objective than ever.  We have Fox News and talk radio.  They have everything else.  Their messages both subtly and overtly barrage the public all day everyday.  We must fight back with what we have.  We all must have the courage to stand up for what we believe and say what we believe.  You have nothing to lose by doing so.  You’d be surprised how many people will agree with you, and remember this is more a matter of letting like minded people know that they are not alone than winning an argument.                 
        All my adult life I have heard various messages encouraging people to exercise their right to vote and I used to wonder what was the motive of who ever was sending out such messages.  I figured that if people didn’t care enough to vote on their own, they probably didn’t know enough to make an informed decision, so we were all better off with them not voting.  The left realized that these are the people to go after; a vast goldmine of potential voters easily swayed by slogans and talking points would appeal to the most selfish parts of human nature – envy and fear.
            The right probably thought that they were taking the moral high ground by not using the same tactic, but has paid the price in not doing so.  We can criticize way they play the game but like in other types of contests, a loser that complains usually just comes off looking like a whiner.
            Just because the right is late to the party doesn’t mean that we can’t use the same tactics.  Just about every group of people out there and be courted with right wing talking points that will appeal them at a gut level.  Working class people need to be told that it isn’t fair that they are busting their butts off 40, 50, and even 60 hours a week while able bodied people are living off of the government.  People paying $1000 per month need to know that they are subsidizing people who pay nothing.  People who have been saving their whole lives for retirement need to hear that government debt and the prospect of hyperinflation threatens everything they have worked for.  People working in the private sector need to know how good government employees have it compared to most of them.
            Conservatives have always had logic on their side.  All things being equal, logic will win an argument every time.  Logic and simplicity are not mutually exclusive; in fact more often than not they go hand in hand.  The people in the middle just need to hear simple, logical, and easy to remember messages that affect them directly.  They need to hear it more than once.  Just like the left does, we need to repeat our messages over and over.  Again, it’s more a case of having people remember the message than winning an argument.  If an idea makes sense and is repeated enough, eventually people accept it like they thought of it themselves or knew it all along.
            We are lucky to have people like Charles Krauthammer on our side and they’re doing a great job in the arena that they are in, but we need to concentrate more on the people who have never heard of him.