2020 Vision: The Great Hypo-cracy

Powel: Well, Doctor, what have we got?

Franklin: A republic, Madam, if you can keep it.

Powel: And why not keep it?

Franklin: Because the people, on tasting the dish, are always disposed to eat more of it than does them good.

What happened at the Capitol last week was dangerous. But perhaps not just for the reasons you think. We’re living in perilous times and if we’re not careful, we’ll find ourselves at war with… ourselves. You can certainly feel the tension. You would have to be sleeping under a rock if you are now just becoming aware of it. It didn’t start here however as some will have you believe. We’re seeing a Great Hypocrisy run wild in our Democracy (ok Democratic Republic, but the line was too good to pass up).

President Trump was impeached for the second time, only days from writing this. What is remarkable, is that the case could actually be made for this and be reasonable, unlike the first, but politics being Kabuki theater, was rushed through. Up to this point, his team had every legal opportunity at their disposal to prove malfeasance. The media would say the assault of the Capitol was the Rubicon.

I’d argue differently, the President has every right to gather people wherever and whenever, peacefully. I don’t think he intended to storm the building with violence. He is more of a WWE showman than revolutionary in attitude. A smaller portion of supporters split off from a largely peaceful rally, with agitators from the left embedded as well and overran security. You would think however according to the popular current, that 74 million people did. Every one of those perpetrators who broke in should be prosecuted in court, and rightly, are being pursued. It was all a failure. An embarrassment for our country. We’ll know more as details unveil themselves.

I don’t think that was President Trump’s perilous move however. While a black eye to the country and we were blessed that it wasn’t worse, his real failure was the pressure of Vice President Pence to give himself powers he didn’t have. That is dangerous. That is where he failed. When we anchor ourselves as we do to the Constitution, it becomes clear when tyranny comes in. The tyrannical move here, wasn’t President Trump’s lack of wisdom in his end game but the direct move to usurp powers that were not granted. The electoral game should have been won long before that if he had a chance at winning the election but this isn’t commentary on Republican electoral strategy. To be fair, I’m simply calling out the right’s failure.

The left is not off the hook for responsibility of the state of our country. Upon this sad moment, I’ve taken notice of the reaction. I’ve noticed the rage and anger, justified, at the sight of the besieged Capitol. I’ve also noticed commentary in media and in friends feeds giving victory laps, show-boating that we should have expected this, as if innocent themselves. I’ve noticed a swift censoring and the calling of “deprogramming” of conservatives, who unjustly are swept into one broad dustbin and straw-maned.

I’ve also noticed tyrannical fruit from the leftist tree in the form of collusion between large companies such as Twitter, Facebook, Google, Amazon, banks, PGA, among others and Democratic messaging to silence opposing viewpoints. It’s easy to shut down someone who isn’t popular like Trump. A dictator isn’t the loud mouth, it’s the one silencing it’s opposition.

The great hypocrisy here is two fold: 1. Where was this outrage when violence ran through the streets this summer? 2. Where is the outrage for the overt tyranny that is now taking place?

Because I don’t remember the same groups, outlets, and friends having the same standard when applied to earlier this year. Actually it is eerily reflective of group think. (Groupthink is a phenomenon that occurs when a group of well-intentioned people makes irrational or non-optimal decisions spurred by the urge to conform or the belief that dissent is impossible (psychologytoday).

As I watched the vote count of the Electoral College after they returned, a Congressman commented about a false equivalency between what happened at the Capitol and this summer. Another said that these hallowed grounds are the tabernacle of our democracy and this was a desecration. I would agree that watching the seat of our national governance under siege is terrible, I think most rational people would. What I don’t understand is how you can watch as businesses and homes burn, statues undemocratically get toppled, people beaten and killed in the streets, sections of cities claimed autonomous and turn a blind eye, and not feel the same pain. As if violence and insurrection is only terrible if it’s the other team’s players.

The right isn’t rallying behind the Air Force woman who was killed and telling you to say her name. Or blacking out social media to dissenting voices. Or intimidating people to kneel before them to show support. Or using the private sector to censor ones ability to communicate. That is happening on the left.

Everyone has their cause and justice should be blind. The left and right should beware of group think and consider their own hypocrisy before pointing out someone else’s. If President Trump’s charge of incitement is punishable, should not the actions and promptings of the Congressional leaders who advocated for violence last summer? Or perhaps the same application of fairness when the Bernie Sanders supporter who shot up the Republican baseball game, critically wounding Congressman Scalise and garnering crickets? Can we not get on the same page and equally say that we want peaceful rallies, that we want fair justice, that violence in the street is not a good thing, that free speech is imperative – even when we disagree, and lastly that liberty is not shutting down others ability to think openly? What I’m afraid of, is that the answer to that, is no, but that’s not American ideal.

We need to be careful and reject tyranny within ourselves. We all have a right to our own viewpoints. You don’t have the right to silence or intimidate others. Vigorously fight for your belief but violence isn’t the way. Follow and consider facts, even if it’s not popular then live it out so it’s so attractive someone else would want to see what it’s about.

I’ve been to D.C. a number of times and seen many things but what I’ll never forget is the Holocaust Museum. There is a poem that is engrained in my mind upon the walls as you leave written by a survivor…

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me

Martin Niemöller

If censoring is allowed to happen to one group, you better believe it can happen to you. Don’t let groupthink settle you into the the great hypocrisy. Let freedom ring for all.

2020 Vision: America the Great Liberator

1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. 


1492, began a radical change in the world’s history. Aside from brief excursions like that of the Vikings, Old and New Worlds remained separated for millennia. Columbus’ voyage opened a collision between two worlds that have not engaged with each other since the Bering land bridge flooded over fifteen thousand years ago. I highly recommend the book “Guns, Germs, and Steel” by Jared Diamond for commentary on the disparity between the worlds. 


My purpose with this post is to highlight the darkness of human governance pre-America and how our formation helped break much of the norms up to that point. It would be impossible to cover the depths of this history, so I will cover broad strokes. The formation of the United States wasn’t an act of evil and certainly didn’t form an evil nation. I will argue the opposite, that the U.S., despite the scars of slavery and Native warfare, has served the world as a net positive overcoming the stains of a world through the struggle to serve as a catalyst for change. 


Proceeding the ignition of the Age of Exploration and the landings of Columbus, a few European powers took advantage of the disparity between worlds. Spain, Portugal, The Netherlands, then England and France raced around the world building a mercantilist world economy that served to feed the mother countries. The slave trade became lucrative with willing accomplices based in Africa, happy to make a buck (or doubloon for you Spaniards) and not be a victim themselves. These empires toppled other empires such as the Maya and Aztecs in North America and were happy to edge out the competitive Ottoman, Chinese, and Mughal Empires.

  
1619, with last year marking 400 years since the beginning of slavery in the English colonies, was an anchor point for our history. While the history is not clean-cut, with many slaves and indentured servants being of a variety of races from African, Indigenous, and even European populations earlier than that, it marks a point on the timeline that we can point to as a starting point for what the U.S. was born into. Slavery was not a uniquely European quality however. Despite thousands of years of separation, the North American Indigenous Empires still developed the flaw of slave ownership before the Europeans arrived in the 15th century. This as well as the Ottomans and Moors, among others, used human capital for economic gain. This was a human issue that went unresolved even as the clarity of human rights through Christianity spread throughout the world in thanks to missionaries like the Jesuits. Those who prospered under the financial gain simply turned a blind eye to that which Christ taught in the Gospels. 


As the dominant empires grew and established colonies, there was little respect for even these settled populations. This elitism festered. In the darkness of this time period of tyranny, there was also light. If this was an environment, it wasn’t all a dark canopy or a lightless cave. The sun did shine and there was a flourishing even in the midst of this hyper-competitive age. A hunger began to build through the heritage of the English colonies and the Enlightenment for freedom. Not freedom for whiteness, but freedom for all man. While theologically messy, this period set up in the New World a powder keg to dismantle the Old. 


1776, The American Revolution was the spark to begin that dismantling with the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” We were designed by our Maker to be free and that no man has the Right to take that away. Even the deist fathers recognized this. Our founders were unable to shake the scourge of slavery engrained from mercantilist England in their time. It would have been impossible to win both the Revolution and Civil War at the same time in 1776. Step by step in our history, we walked closer to the aim of “a more perfect union.” The framework the Founders set up would be a framework that would create an environment where tyranny would have no home and that freedom was our national pursuit. The envy of the world. What millions of people, even to this day will leave their homes behind for a new opportunity.


1861, compromise was impossible. Making two systems work to keep the House together, the slave states decided that a framework of liberty for all was incompatible for their future in the union. They broke away. A terrible war ignited across our land as we fought to keep our people free and keep us together. Whites and free blacks fought in the grizzly Civil War which resulted in the Emancipation of slaves. We would spend the next one hundred years wrestling for equal rights for all and those wounds are still healing today.


The lessons and technologies developed from the Civil War prepared us as an emerging power in what would be the greatest fights in human history. While the scale of competition between the empires of the 19th century was truly global, it wasn’t until the 20th century when we experienced not only one but two World Wars followed by the Cold War. Our rebellion against the Old World made us a force to return back and strike the heart of the truly brutal philosophies of the National Socialist German Worker’s Party, Imperial Japan, and the worst of all, the Soviet Union and her allies. An even greater foe to liberty than slavery or monarchy, Marxist powers sought to enslave the world. Now that is for an upcoming post. As our history and people continue, we strive and fight for liberty. These powers cost the world over an estimated 200 million souls. Our efforts freed hundreds of millions from the clutches of evil and poverty. 


By bringing a freshly united, reconstructed, and powerfully industrialized U.S. in support of and then leading the free world, humanity stood a chance in the face of extreme evil. Our supplies and fresh troops in WWI tipped the balance to victory. Our bravery, ability to fight two fronts, and industrial might in WWII created a decisive alliance. Our technological leaps because of our economical forte matched by the contrast of Communism vs Free Market sealed the Soviet destiny to doom. 


Our default human condition is tyranny and human history is dark with it, shading parts of our own. What makes us different is our governmental DNA. Our foundation from 1776 stages our future, sets our aim, to create an environment to raise our children, grow our culture, and to prosper. This sets the rules, architecture, and bounds for how the culture wars play out. Just a hint for the next post.   This is what it means to be American, for us to pursue Happiness is to agree on our shared identity. As Americans. Under God and indivisible with liberty and justice for all. Left and right. We’ve struggled together to fight tyranny here in our Union. First to overthrow the Old World and create a new. Second, we had to work hard to make sure all Americans were included. Third, we brought the weight of what that liberty can create to fight the tyrannical monsters of the 20th and now 21st century’s.  


The actions in our history have been that of a liberator. No, it’s not as pretty as a 1940’s reel but through the gritty real force of a people endowed by their Creator, the foundation of our Nation has created immense opportunity around the world because of the blood of those who fought for freedom. When we can agree that what we are fighting for, liberty and justice for all, we’re not our own enemies. When we stand for our flag, all of this is stitched into it. Our nation and our history is nothing to be ashamed of. We should be proud of our shared history. We have progressed greatly towards a more perfect union but not as political progressives would have us running away from it. Humanity’s default is tyrannical. We should be wise of what we hear these days or we will risk it all. As it’s been said, we’re always one generation away from throwing away our liberty. To stay true to our mission we need to use God, the virtues, and our founding principles as a compass and you can’t steer a ship without one. 


Adam loves living out the vocation of marriage with his wife Ani, and proud father to Izzy and Wyatt. He loves God, getting outdoors, doing work that matters, and writing about things true to the heart.

Resources
Guns, Germs, & Steel – https://www.pbs.org/gunsgermssteel/about/index.html
Slave trade – https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/investigations/2019/02/08/1619-african-arrival-virginia/2740468002/https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-slavery/chronology-who-banned-slavery-when-idUSL1561464920070322


Declaration of Independence – https://billofrightsinstitute.org/founding-documents/declaration-of-independence/?utm_source=GOOGLE&utm_medium=SEARCH&utm_campaign=EVERGREEN&utm_term=DOI&utm_content=TEXT1&gclid=Cj0KCQjw3s_4BRDPARIsAJsyoLMo-6YTd8o8HYqQGii9FFGdbDlS3h_QnWnKFI8vetV-AR3Yb0SgbWAaAtTWEALw_wcB


WWI casualties – http://www.centre-robert-schuman.org/userfiles/files/REPERES%20%E2%80%93%20module%201-1-1%20-%20explanatory%20notes%20%E2%80%93%20World%20War%20I%20casualties%20%E2%80%93%20EN.pdf


WWII casualties – https://www.nationalww2museum.org/students-teachers/student-resources/research-starters/research-starters-worldwide-deaths-world-war


Communism casualties – https://www.wsj.com/articles/100-years-of-communismand-100-million-dead-1510011810


What We Saw: The Cold War – https://billwhittle.com/category/shows/firewall/cold-war/

2020 Vision: Introduction

There is a lot going on in this country. While I’ve been busy raising a family, building a ministry and a business, I’ve been away from advocating for Life, Liberty, & the Pursuit of Happiness. There is a lot to say about what’s going on. That’s why I’m going to stand up and share my thoughts about this year, but not only that, it’s time to stretch and get active.

And a year it has been.

Big things are happening and “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

Racism, Marxism, Desecration of the Faith, Desecration of our History, Vice over Virtue…

It’s time to get busy.

As a Catholic American man I don’t want to stand by and watch our country burn. Enough. This is has been a call to action. As a part of the effort; my daily rosary, phoning my legislature and executives, writing in this blog, and more.

This is the introduction of a six series stretch, focused on this year, about six topics that we need to talk about. I’ve listened and read enough over the last few months from all sides, it’s time to share and challenge the narratives wrecking our country and faith. On the schedule…

  1. Race & Racism
  2. America the Great Liberator
  3. The Great Hypo-cracy
  4. Unashamed Faith
  5. Socialism the Great Enslaver
  6. True Virtue

I hope you read along and share but more importantly pray and get brave.

No, we’re not looting but we are getting busy.


Adam loves living out the vocation of marriage with his wife Ani, and proud father to Izzy and Wyatt. He loves God, getting outdoors, doing work that matters, and writing about things true to the heart.

Labor of love? Ministry and the new labor regulations

                 I’ve been hearing rumors of the new regulations starting up December 1st with the Fair Labor Act. It has been hearsay up until last week when I finally got to hear from our Diocese about the matter. I am dismayed at what this means for our Church and field. 
                Churches can’t afford to pay overtime but the amount of time a dedicated minister needs to complete their job is so much more. For those of us who are salaried, we know our bills are paid and time is given by those who drive hard to accomplish what needs to be done. 70-100 hour weeks are not out of the ordinary during the year and a self regulated average of 50 per week is necessary. Measuring out the ebb and flow from week to week would create shortfalls in a personal budget. 
                A church cannot afford to pay that overtime and if they do, the weekly average would be minimal. We are cutting out those who are going above the typical “40 hour work week” which anyone in ministry would know as necessary to accomplish ministry. This is not a typical job. 
                Getting a full time job to open up at many parishes for youth is hard enough before you create disincentives to hire with this. No church is going to pay a full-time salaried staff $47,476 and anyone held to 40 hours is chained. A 25-45k price point is healthy and palatable for our industry. The average youth minister is making 34k nationally already which speaks to what parishes are willing and able to pay. 
                I think this is a disaster for church staff, in particular youth ministers and religious ed directors. I don’t think we should roll over on this and need to make some push back. I don’t think our Church needs more inhibitors but we do need to create the right opportunities and incentives to hire well tuned professionals. Lest we continue the brain drain. This regulation is poorly conceived even for the business world but it certainly wasn’t written with us as a thought. Those who are advocates for such a change will argue that this is a step in the right direction for social justice yet this is a very real example on why it is not. One size does not fit all. I’m sure those in the non-profit world would surely agree but I would love to hear their thoughts as well. Much of this can even apply to entrepreneurs and self-starting employees looking to go places.
                I’ve called my Congressman and the White House already. I suggest we consider a larger pushback. Are there any plans or petitions to stand against this? Would you push back?
 

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Part 2: Liberty… and socialism.

This is the second of a three part series on Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness continuing with liberty. The first of which can be found here. Coming from the first line of the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, these inalienable rights for all make up the foundation of our society. Not to be viewed as an ancient scroll but a living manifesto of the U.S., it is something that any shade of American can hold as their own. Left or Right, all people in the melting pot can subscribe to this. The Constitution is what sets it in practice. While the Constitution has mechanisms to adapt to the times, its strength comes from being nearly timeless. It’s important to note that these rights are not given by man but by the Creator or for you atheists out there, nature. The point is still sound; the Founders recognized a truth, a truth that mankind’s basic rights are not subject to the will of those who hold power. These are your rights. You own them. The original entitlement. This is what makes us, U.S.. Don’t throw them away. Embrace them for yourself and those around you.

In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all — security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again.”  — Thatcher

The rise of socialism in America has been a troubling sight. I’m not talking about the classic Soviet styled socialism of the Cold War, its raw face, but the contemporary European counterpart the West’s Left have turned to. Chic, enticing, and well polished. After all, why not be social? Everyone is social. We’re on social media and we socialize our kids and puppies. If you’re not social, then you are unsocial. Nobody wants that. So why not have our government reflect that? I mean, the Left is dipping in so why shouldn’t I? #feelthebern right?

Marx laid the roots for socialism and communism out of critique for capitalism. The perfected plan for socialism is to level the playing field for all equally. Ownership rights are shared among the masses. Intellectual property is shared among the masses. Wealth is shared among the masses. Production is shared among the masses. Social rights over personal rights. While the democratic socialism Bernie Sanders advocates sounds good (well, anything free from Santa Claus sounds good), it is inherently dangerous for many reasons but two should be highlighted:

  1. It robs the citizen of responsibility
  2. It robs the citizen of the option to fail

This creates a culture of dependency and complacency. While healthy social nets are important for us to take care of the least of these, capable adults should be taking care of themselves. Capitalism maximizes independence. Free markets are responsible for lifting the largest amount of people out of poverty. Entrepreneurship and corporate business are the source that generates wealth and innovation in which people rise. Ideals which don’t find a home in socialist societies. Adam Smith wrote of the “invisible hand” of the market which affects everyone. People have buy-in because it’s necessary for them to take care of their needs.

There is no perfect system because of our human condition. Capitalism, like every system has people who lose out. This is especially true when it is tainted by poor regulation and cronyism with government. However the ills of capitalism are nothing compared with the ills of a social state.

Socialism, an economic system, has an accompanying political system that is always its wingman. The political system doesn’t support the inalienable rights Americans have because they create a roadblock for social success. The socialist will seek to undermine them, often arguing for other rights in their place. Progressives use socialist policies which exaggerate governmental involvement to solve problems and has been creeping onto the American scene for a long time. Governments are not inherently evil or incapable, however they can easily drift that way when given too much control and the right mix of hubris enters the mix. It’s important to see it ahead of time to prevent it from occurring. History is an important lesson.

A healthy Federal system will maintain a system of checks and balances among itself, its people, and its economy. A person or corporation that breaks the rules can be punished and the system is realigned. However when the government is out of line and balance, what will realign it?

The default human government throughout history has been some shade of tyranny. Kings, queens, despots, and dictators have ruled throughout history. If the rulers were too harsh and motivated a rebellion, the victors would replace one autocrat for another. People from every continent have submitted to the powerful in every age. Athens, Rome, the Republic of Venice, and the Weimar Republic are some examples democracy and republicanism giving way to dominating imperial forces. Each with it’s own history worthy of study, yet one thing ties them together, their cultural rot. The plebeians stopped caring about their power in the system, getting lost in their comfort. Often the fall of democracy was met with thunderous applause without knowing (or knowing) that a knife was held to their back.

The basic fact that in Germany only a minority (not necessarily from the aristocracy or moneyed class) understands anything of life and knows how to lead  it — a fact that, incidentally, makes the country inherently unsuitable for democratic government.”  – Sebastian Haffner’s real time reflection on the rise of the Nazi’s in his book “Defying Hitler” written in 1939.

The U.S. was formed as a response to the historical default. We rejected the autocrats then as we should now. Socialism by its very nature seeks to dampen liberty. While our Constitution was ahead of its age at conception, the U.S. has grown into its shoes. The Constitution created the frame our country has needed to prevent it from returning to the default of authoritative rule and it is this framework that defends us from usurpation. Unfortunately it cannot defend itself, so I hope my case does it justice in an uncertain climate.