Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Civility 110 - Rule 2

"When in Company, put not your Hands to any Part of the Body, not usually Discovered."

I think we could all use a little bit less public fondling of oneself. This is humorous to me.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

110 Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior - Rule 1

In 1748, at the age of 16, George Washington had penned "110 rules of civility and decent behavior in company and conversation", based on a set of rules written by the French Jesuits in 1595.

I was asked recently what "my blog was all about" and I momentarily forgot. Then I looked up at the title of my blog "Back to Basics" and the URL "ForgottenFoundation..." and reminded myself why I started this writing project. One reason of course was to practice writing, but the second reason was to remind ourselves of the wisdom, prudence and genius of our founders in the creation of the greatest nation on earth.

Our founders created a system that protects every individual; and ensures life, liberty and the right to private property for EVERY person. I believe that as we continue to understand the values and beliefs of our founders, we will come to a greater appreciation of what freedom means, how freedom is preserved and what threatens our freedom.

Our founders were God-fearing men that put their country before themselves. Living by the same rules that they lived by, can only help us to get back to the conservative values that will lead to true progress within our society.

In the spirit of learning about our founders, I am embarking on a mission. Each rule that George Washington penned at the age of 16 will be copied here, possibly translated if the old-English is hard to understand, and I will challenge myself to follow each rule on the day that it is released. Of course, following all the rules, all the time would be preferable, but I prefer baby steps. I'll leave it to you to challenge yourself on these rules. It's basically just good manners, so maybe we can all use a reminder on how to act.

I will also admit that I got this idea from a guest on the Colbert Report. AJ Jacobs spent a year living by these rules. Colbert is a great and credible source for "edutainment", OK, that may be a stretch.

"Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present."

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Emergency Health Care...Welfare?

"Those who are most in need of low-cost care are forced out of the market in the name of social justice." -Evan Wondolowski

Emergency rooms across the country are required to provide services to everyone regardless of their ability to pay. You won't hear President Obama reminding us of this! This requirement on ER's is known as the "free-rider" problem to many.

"The free-rider problem in ER care is not a market failure, but a government failure. The Hippocratic Oath notwithstanding, hospitals only accept all patients irrespective of their ability to pay because they are required to by government regulations. These laws, which are in place in countries around the planet, result in a simple welfare scheme whereby the costs of the uninsured are transferred to insured patients. With this reality in mind, it is easy to see that the free-rider problem in ER services is not a market failure, but rather a government failure." - Eric Staib

Intentions aside, health care COSTS are inflated by government intrusion into the system.

How then would a free market handle this?

I'll defer to the Misus Institute for the response.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fiscal Update

The Mises Institute has a great article about economist Pual Krugman, and our nations fiscal positions, on their website. The article highlights some of the big fiscal mistakes made by the Bush administration, and how Krugman is basically playing politics with his ideas. Our leaders are perpetuating the crisis started within the last decade and making it worse, yet Krugman seems to change his tone to support the Obama administration.

Paul Krugman's Identity Crisis

The conclusion:
"America is essentially signing up for a subprime mortgage, and we are assuming that we can simply refinance before the rates reset."

Scary stuff. To get out of debt (or at least on the right path), our leaders are going to have to stop promising everything to everybody and actually act responsibly with OUR money.

Reading regularly, can only improve your understanding of our economy and how it is working today.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Praise Hymns for the New Generation

Do you think any of these kids will be able to fairly criticize someone like President Obama in 20 years...remembering back to when they literally sang songs of praise to him?

I don't remember singing songs like this when I was young. Maybe some good old patriotic tunes, but this?

America's strength lies in its people, its system; not its leaders.

I could comment further, but I'll let this video speak for iteself for a while.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

As if on queue...

This article struck a cord, especially after commenting in my previous post on how the current administration needs to work "on behalf" of people.

Americans are like teenage kids when it comes to energy

People like Steven Chu have forgotten who they ultimately work for, and that their position does not make them smarter than everyone else. Shouldn't we question the "facts" that this guy is preaching to our children? Does it bother anyone else that he is going around to schools spreading information that is potentially false?

The era of personal responsibility will return eventually...hopefully. The government should try protecting us from other countries, external forces...not ourselves. We'll take care of ourselves.

What the founders left out

..."the Constitution is a document of negative liberties [that] says what the states can't do to you, says what the federal government can't do to you but it doesn't say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf." - Barrack Obama circa. 2005

What the federal or state government must do on your behalf?

The answer to this question highlights the foundational differences between a conservative like me, and progressives like many of our current leaders. Many of the republican failures over the years have, from my view, come from leaders being unaware of what is going on. The failures that we will be experiencing due to the leadership in place now will come from the idea that the government MUST act on behalf of people.

Global Warming: Rather than be an example of how we should treat our environment responsibly, our environmental leaders must pass laws that limit our freedoms, so that THEY can improve OUR environment.

Health Care: Progressives across the globe claim that "healthcare" is a fundamental human right. The assumption is that the government knows how to better care for me than I do. I believe that I am free to live, and die, on my own terms. If I smoke for thiry years, and get cancer knowing that smoking could give me cancer; maybe, just maybe I should be responsible these actions. How can we expect any less?

Bailouts: Car company's, banks, newspapers; many of them are failing. What is the answer? Let's have the government take over these companies because they obviously don't know what is good for them.

The big question here is: "What do you think the government should be doing on your behalf?"

Watch the legislation that comes out of Washington (or your local government). My guess is that we will continue to see the results of this mindset. The mindset that thinks they know better than me or you, and they will act on my behalf, regardless of what I say. Hopefully I am wrong.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Quote of the Day

Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear. -Thomas Jefferson

I may have posted this before, but it re-enforces the idea that questions, through reason, honesty and common sense, will lead us to the truth.

Monday, September 14, 2009

UPDATE: Jobs Created and Saved

President Obama's administration is claiming that his stimulus plan has "saved or created" one million new jobs since February. This is slightly confusing as we see jobless claims jumping around 500,000 each month.

Luckily (by the same logic) our American capitalist private sector has "saved or created" over 130 million jobs this year.

Who do you want running things?

I Keep Going Back

Through a powerful message series at church, the story of a man named Richard Stearns, and some of the thoughts penned in this blog; I am being pulled back to the notion that "science explains how we got here, and faith explains why we are here."

This line of thought extends beyond what some would see as "preaching" because our core beliefs - the very foundations of our thoughts and the cornerstones of our reasoning - influence how we see the world around us and ultimately decide what we believe is RIGHT and WRONG.

Acknowledging that our world views trickle down to affect our actions, choices and convictions is a vital step in coming to the simple realization that people around us believe different things than we do. We cannot understand another world view, until we understand our own.

Science tells us how we got here, at least that is the intent. I think when you get down to it, most scientists will admit that they have no proof behind their findings, but do find some theory is much more likely than other theories to explain a situation. If we revisit Creation vs. Evolution, both sides must admit that they have seen a body of evidence...facts...and that based on their observations, they have determined the most likely cause. There is no denying that the earth is round (roughly), it rains sometimes, there is a large canyon in Arizona called the Grand Canyon, we have rivers and streams, humans breath air, there are some places on earth covered in ice and others covered in sand, etc., etc... These are facts.

I see three different approaches to determining our world view:
1) We can look at the physical world around us, trying to determine the chain of events that causes everything to work as it does.
2) We can look at the historical evidence that was left to us by our ancestors.
3) We can take the philosophical approach and determine why we are here, which would necessarily lead us to how we got here.

Before you even know the question, one of these "approaches to your world view" will be used to guide your thoughts on the matter. [Of course, I might be missing something, so please enlighten me if you have thoughts.] If posed with the question, "how were you created?", you would answer this differently depending on your world view.

No approach is more valid than another. This concept could be difficult for some people to accept. Evidence from one perspective might conflict with evidence from another, but that does not invalidate the perspective. Does it?

We can see a sunset and know why the sun gets lower on the horizon, but can we explain why it is beautiful? Why don't other species like dogs line up every night and watch the sun set? If creation is a series of random acts, can we have thoughts that are ordered and logical? If we are told stories about historical events, are we simply to dismiss them because they don't seem possible at first? Imagine what some tribe thought when they saw the sun blotted out in the sky due to an eclipse...impossible they might say.

I understand why some people compartmentalize their views, but what if the why, how, what, and when agreed with each other?

I think we all face the challenge of reconciling the world views around us, and determining which one we fit into. What assumptions are we taking into a situation?

Back to Politics...

Understanding these thoughts is critical when we get to the social and political topics of the day. When evaluating freedom, liberty, happiness, and responsibility, our world view will affect what we believe. In most cases, we will find that those we disagree with have a different starting point...a different view of the world.

The ironic part of the equation is that because we live in a society that is built on freedom and liberty, many views are shared and discussed in the public arena, yet many want to take away the freedoms and liberties that allow the debate. The reason is always noble and good in the eyes of the beholder; but as we begin giving away part of our freedom, we will ultimately give away all our freedom. Our founders understood this, and gave us all the power to control our own destiny. Let's use that power wisely.

We are told by some that by taking from the rich and giving to the poor, we are doing the right thing. We need to understand what determines RIGHT from WRONG, and realize that what constitutes right in our eyes may be very different than right in someone else's eyes. This is where our world views come into play.

Our founders understood that our basic rights came from a higher power. Conservatism is about protecting our basic rights. Where the progressive movement might think they are building equality, they are most often creating division and inequality. Conservatism is about protecting the system, so that it doesn't destroy itself, and allows all men to have the same opportunities and protections within it.

Friday, September 11, 2009


I have been absent for a while. Part fatigue, part frustration, part looking for a new spin on things. Debate excites me because it brings questions, or perhaps more accurately, it brings answers to questions.

When you are questioned, you are forced to really examine and defend what you believe. If you are asked why you believe socialized medicine is the right path for this country, or why you think that cap-and-trade will devastate the economy, you are forced to develop an answer. It is not enough to say that you HEARD on the radio that something won't work or that your local congressman SAID they believed that debt might ruin the successes of this country. If you are asked a question for which you must provide an answer, you will either tell yourself and others why you believe, or be shown that you don't really know. This can be equally illuminating to yourself as it can be for others around you.

The curse of a forum like this is that we don't really have to answer the questions that we don't have an answer for; but the beauty is that when we aren't quite sure what our answer is, we can take a moment, think, ponder, and decide what our answer is.

It may sound silly, but when I started this blog, I purposefully put my name on real name. It's easy to hide behind a false name and to remain anonymous. It's easy to keep saying that you think both sides are wrong and we should all just get along. It's easy to NOT take a stand. However, things can get tricky when our beliefs become knows; when we take a stand on an issue and say this is ABSOLUTELY true. Absolutes are a big problem for a lot of people.

It has become clear to me that without criticism, without someone questioning my beliefs, I can never really know them to be true. Further, without the questions, and the resulting answers, we can never really lead ourselves to real solutions that solve the problems we face.

We are told by our progressive leaders today that they embrace debate and want to bring all views together to craft legislation that will allow everyone to prosper. The problem lies in the 1000 pages bills that they have already crafted behind closed doors, waiting in the wings to unleash on the masses. No debate. No questions. In fact, they give us answers without the questions.

I expect to be questioned, because without the questions, I won't find the answers. I haven't been disappointed by conservative values yet. When the rights of the individual are upheld and extended to each person regardless of color, social status, economic status, religion or hair color, every person wins. I love to answer the questions of those who disagree. Hopefully we can all start answering questions, taking a stand, and stop pretending that un-answered questions don't really matter.