Sep 19, 2009

Gods of the Copybook Headings

A now for something new to this blog... a Rudyard Kipling poem, linked by Anonymous in the comments on The Facts of Life are Conservative. Poetry is usually the domain of my sister at Looking Up, but this one seems so appropos to the times and the conservative FOL, I just had to share it. Thank you, Anonymous.

Gods of the Copybook Headings - Rudyard Kipling

As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place;
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four—
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man—
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began:—
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will bum,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

Sep 11, 2009

In Remembrance

I've been reading the prose and poetry and watching the videos from 9/11/2001. It makes me remember that day – that beautiful hideous fall day when I was nurturing life and sickened by death. I was in early pregnancy with my youngest daughter. Her sister was three and at Montessori school that morning. When I picked her up early, her teacher asked me if I was right with God. I answered her honestly that I didn't have a relationship with Him.

That was eight years ago and He is at the center of my life now. My faith rings True for me. It is so TRUE, sometimes I can hardly bear the clamour. One commenter wrote about “hate” not being “justice” and how forgiveness and repentance are the answer. Not for me – not always. His faith is hollow in my opinion. My faith holds apparent contradictions as true and my life experience validates that truth.

Love and suffering are inextricable.

We are made in God's divine image and fallen.

Our love of God (good) necessitates our hatred of evil.

I hate the evil bastards who were the destroyers that day and I believe God gave them a non-stop direct flight to hell. I don't believe it because my heart tells me so, but because our sacred scripture does.
"You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” Exodus 20:7
He tells us He won't forgive those who commit evil in His name. He doesn't ask us to be the lamb to lie down for the lion. He asks us to take up our cross. Carrying the cross entails suffering in love, loving in forgiveness, gratitude in suffering and sometimes... sometimes even hating in righteousness. Let's roll.

Sep 3, 2009

The Facts of Life are Conservative

"The facts of life are conservative." - Margaret Thatcher

Whenever I hear that, I have a gut sense it is true, but I've been unable to explain why. The following is my attempt at clarity and argument.

Usually when we speak of the facts of life (FOL), we're talking about sex. know, explaining procreative sex to a pre-adolescent child. And as any good liberal knows, that isn't something one should entrust to conservatives! No, that's strictly a task for liberal establishment education. So, how can the FOL have any relationship to conservatism?

#1. Behavior has consequences.

The behavior may feel good, like sex, but it doesn't necessarily do good. Take the welfare state for instance. Liberals claim a monopoly on compassion. They want the state to help the poor and educate the ignorant and save the planet, blah, blah, blah. But, where the nanny state has prevailed, liberal policies have destroyed the character and culture of the people. For example, liberals couldn't have damaged black families in America any more than if they had set fire to their homes. Rising rates of out-of-wedlock births, abortions, black-on-black crime, incarceration, hip hop misogyny and more can all be attributed to liberal compassion. Compassion is the rationale for the reduction of standards applied to liberalism's victim groups. With friends like that...

Here's a consequence for you. The American value system, based on Judeo-Christian values of human worth and liberty, has created the most prosperous, freedom-loving, generous and moral nation the world has ever known. Just look at those white stars and crosses carpeting northern France as an example of American morality and generosity. But liberals don't promote American values. In many cases they oppose them. They want to take God off the coinage and are passionate about equality, which is inherently in tension with America's founding value of liberty. Culturally, we're reaping what liberals have sown because, out of their compassion, they try to mitigate against natural consequences and therefore fail to improve society or individuals.

#2. Life is not fair.

It isn't. And no amount of progressive government is going to fix it. This comes as a shock to the collectivists who read the Declaration of Independence ("...all men are created equal...") and think it calls for material equality. God creates us unequal, though all are of infinite worth as made in God's image. The two are apparent contradictions which our faith holds as simultaneously true. It is what the deist Thomas Jefferson meant, as Marxism hadn't been invented yet.

I can hear the liberal retort now. "But, life should be fair and we should do everything we can to make it so." There are two major arguments against this. The first is, in the process of being "fair" to one person, we almost always are unjust to someone else. For example, the Ricci case in which a white dyslexic firefighter studied hard and spent his money on tutoring and other aids to pass the test for promotion. He passed, but because no black candidates did, the city denied his promotion out of fear of lawsuits. The argument on behalf of the black candidates is that they tend to come from poor neighborhoods with inadequate schools. That isn't fair (and it can also be blamed on progressive governance), but it is also unjust to deny Ricci the promotion he earned. We're never going to fix injustice in the world with more injustice.

The second argument against "doing everything we can" is it is government's role is to secure our God-given liberties, not to equalize the outcomes. The black firefighters were free to have chosen Ricci's route - to have studied hard and sought help, but apparently they didn't as none of them passed the test.

At one time, this all would have been common sense, which leads to the third FOL.

#3. Common sense is indispensable

The indispensability of common sense shouldn't require explanation - it should be - um... common sense. Without it, people tend to act stupidly... even ivy league educated intellectuals. Perhaps, especially ivy league educated intellectuals. Foolishness is the product dispensed with most university diplomas. "I got my BA in Womens' Studies"; "I earned my Masters in Social Work"; "I have a degree in Environmental Architecture." Just fill in the blank with "Foolishness"and then try to get a job which doesn't include counting members of a frog species... in a swamp... at night. As college enrollments increase - common sense becomes increasingly uncommon.

There are enough examples of the lack of common sense these days to fill a large book. Examples of stupidity range from a family story about the hotel clerk who knocked on the door to a newlywed couple's suite at 2:00 a.m because she had mistakenly given them the wrong suite - to the current administration believing a debt crisis can be solved by spending trillions of borrowed dollars.

I confess, I feel my own common sense is impaired. Our society is like the proverbial frog in a pot of warm water and I admit, I'm having trouble determining when to jump. Of course, a large part of the problem is there is no obvious country of choice for a safe liberty-loving landing.

#4. There's no such thing as a free lunch -Milton Friedman.

Oh yeah... this is the one. This is the fact of life which completely baffles the Left. All together now... EVERYTHING HAS A COST! It is both a fact of life and codified in the conservation laws of physics.

I knew some granola hippie types who got turned onto a newfangled Scandinavian burial technique involving plastic bags and some sort of gas. It was supposed to be environmentally correct. I asked them, "Where does the gas come from?" After a few moments of awkward silence, we laughed it off and they decided their fall-back position was to try to get a permit to be buried in their compost pile instead.

The "no free lunch" FOL is essential to wisdom. It spans everything we know or are able to know about life from the most mundane to the most transcendent. It is timeless. It is Biblical. From Genesis, it is the lesson that the price for disobedience to God is death. For Adam, it is having to scratch sustenance out of unyielding earth rather than picking low-hanging fruit from trees in the Garden. For Eve, it is pain in childbirth. From the New Testament, the lesson is Christ the Redeemer. We do not have to live in condemnation anymore because Jesus went to the Cross and paid the Price for us. Amen!

And yet, listen to progressives. Some people believe - or pretend to believe - in "free" health care and "free" wind or solar energy and "free" college tuition... What they refuse to acknowledge is that the productive people working to provide "free" everything to everyone are going to stop being productive at some point and hop on the dole-wagon. And then everyone will pay the price. The Left is enamored with the idea of sustainability.Try this bumper sticker on them... Socialism is Unsustainable!

#5. Human nature is fallen.

This is probably the bottom line. The dark side of human nature is mean, greedy, controlling, lustful, lazy and selfish. It makes us want something for nothing. When we give into our dark nature, it makes us want everything for nothing. And progressive government is the serpent with the apple. Progressivism promises perfectibility at a bargain basement price. We can be as gods if we just eat the fruit from the forbidden tree. It is all so easy and our eyes will be opened.

Sure, there have been many millions of people who have transcended their basest human nature. Among the greatest were the Founding Fathers who recognized that, because man is fallen, no man can be entrusted with the unconstrained power of government over free citizens. They knew that man and society are not perfectible and so the role of government is necessarily limited to protecting individual liberty. This is the essence of the conservative facts of life.

To recap:

#1. Behavior has consequences (and attempts to mitigate against them are ultimately cruel),

#2. Life is not fair (and nothing tried by progressive government makes it so),

#3. Common sense is indispensible (and increasingly uncommon),

#4. There is no such thing as a free lunch (ever - period),

#5. Human nature is fallen (which necessitates the weakest government possible while maintaining the rule of law and the sovereignty of free citizens).