Sometimes it is all about asking the right questions.
I read the Newsweek article about Is Your Baby Racist (I read the print version I don’t know if the on-line one is different). Since Newsweek is the worst magazine of all time, I fully expected to hate this article and get cranky about it. However, after reading it I thought to myself "People did not know this already?" The answer to the question is "Yes, your baby is racist". That fits perfectly with a Biblical worldview. So, I am not sure why the fuss from conservatives. Children are born sinners and guess what, they are born selfish. The article talks of one study where kids are randomly given different color shirts. They play together with out caring about the shirt color but at the end of the day they are asked which shirt color has smarter people and looks better and the like. Guess what? They think their own color shirt was better! Racism is nothing more than a way to make yourself look good. It is a way to proclaim yourself better and superior. Selfishness and self-centeredness. Kids are born that way. One should expect it. Yet, this Newsweek guy was floored by such findings. He seemed even more floored by the idea that a diverse classroom did not fix the problem. Kids need to be taught by their parents. Parents need to tell kids that all are equal. I have a hard time believing that is a shocker, but it apparently is.
The problem is not in the article or its findings or it solution to discuss racism in the family. The problem in the article was that the guy asked all the wrong questions? Apparently these studies show that a diverse class room does not help kids get over racism. But did the article ask or discuss this fatal blow to Affirmative Action, which often argues a diverse college or classroom is beneficial? Of course not. More importantly, the Newsweek reported is amazed that so many parents do not want to discuss race and dropped out of the study because they were in the group that had to ask follow-up questions about race. Did he ask why race is such a touchy topic in America? No. Not at all.
The Huffington Post displayed the same sort of ignorance when they had an article about NBC Nightly News growing in viewership. The article starts, "While the conventional wisdom says the evening news is dying, "NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams" actually grew year-over-year.” The article then goes to give the numbers. NBC apparently added 88,000 viewers while CBS lost 103,000 and ABC lost 363,000. The article is short but clearly praising NBC. However, when the math is done conventional wisdom is right, the news is dying. It lost almost 400,000 viewers in one year. Does the article ask why CBS and ABC lost viewers? No. Does anyone say that maybe the decline in CBS viewers is because they have a female anchor? ABC has announced one as well? Is it discussed? Of course not. People are not asking any questions and just deciding what they want to decide. Honest thinking is gone.
But asking the wrong question is what man does best. Reading the last week of Jesus’s life in Mark (beginning in chapter 11) one cannot help but see all of the wrong headed questions asked by all sorts of people. After 3 years of Jesus healing and preaching and teaching the Pharisees run up and ask "By what authority are you doing these things" (verse 28)? They had missed the greater point. They had missed that Jesus was the Messiah. They are still asking their attack questions. So Jesus asks a question back and they do not like either answer so they just confess ignorance. Jesus tells them a parable that they can see is about them, but they fail to ask questions like "How can we repent?" Or "How can we avoid rejecting the stone?" Instead they try to arrest Him. The Sadducees are next and they try to ask a trick question to trap Jesus about the resurrection, but Jesus rebukes them. A lawyer asks about which is the greatest commandment, a question that is missing the point completely. Although this one has a happy ending as in 12:32 the lawyer comes around and sees Jesus is right and that his own question was wrong. You can see this same epidemic of wrong headed questions no matter which gospel you read. John has Pilate asking questions that miss everything, and most of these same stories are related in Matthew and Luke too.
The Huffington Post’s inability to do basic math and Newsweek’s inability to ask the questions brought up on the opening page of the article are just minor examples. Society is missing the deeper questions. If racism is a problem that we would like to see erased, how can we show our kids racism is wrong? What basis can we give for our equality? Do you see the deeper question now? Do you see the deeper problem that society has made for itself. Evolution cannot be a basis for equality. In fact, evolution has historically been the basis for genocide. There is only one basis for equality and that is that we are all created by God and made in His image. That is after all what the Declaration of Independence says. "All men are created equal and endowed by their Creator certain inalienable rights." No creator, no equality, and no rights. This basic truth stands at the heart of the questions that should have been asked in the Newsweek article. And the answer has been taught to little kids in church for decades. "Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world."
When you ask the right questions, the answers are easy. When you ask the wrong questions, then the answers will always be wrong too.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Sometimes it is all about asking the right questions.
Monday, September 14, 2009
This will be a blog about serious issues and not sports, but bare with me. Also watch the videos. It will help.
There has been a rash lately of out of control actions. Everything from the "You Lie" yell during a Presidential speech to shouting matches at Town Hall meetings. But it is hardly contained within the political realm. This out of control behavior is everywhere. Just look at the world of sports. I will only use things that have happened in the last month. Remember most kids look up to sports heroes and watch sports center.
After a tough loss to Boise State, more than a little unsportsman like conduct occurred. A Boise Player taunted after the game and was then decked with a quick jab.
Serena Williams threw a temper tantrum during her loss that including threats of physical violence toward the officials. Not pictured is where she returns to yell again and losses the match on a point penalty. It was a penalty and not a warning because she had already been warned when she smashed her racket at the end of the first set.
LeBron James refuses to shake hands (by the way pay no attention to the word bubbles it was the only video I could find) after a loss. Not only that but what is worse is that he continues to defend the act till this day.
And just to show it is not all about sports, take a look at Kanye West interrupting an award to someone else (Talyor Swift I think). This is something I have never even heard of before. But it happened.
These are just a few examples. I list them because they get video taped. They are a nice insight into our culture today. We are a selfish people. Things don’t go our way, we now just act out, sort of like a three year old throwing a tantrum. This is not going to go away. In fact we ought to expect it to grow. Selfishness is rampant and will dominate lots of things from now on.
Why now? Well, it is hard to admit it, but I think we have to face the fact that society is breaking down from a moral standpoint. Selfishness is no longer a vice, but rather it is a virtue in many circles. Gone are the days when other people could be valued or have decent points. Now if you disagree with the Republicans you are a socialist and if you disagree with the Democrats you are a racist. Gone are the days when people shake hands after losing and say good game, go the press conference later and say, "They beat us." Now is the time of excuses. Nothing can shatter our image of ourselves as the best and the most important.
This is the climate that the church now faces. Christianity of course carries a message that is not about self, has little tolerance for self-image, and condemns selfishness as a sin. You might can imagine the reaction that the church will be getting. We are seeing seeds of it now in the reception of Proposition 8 in California and in movies like Religulous with Bill Maher.
As a society I am not sure we cannot ignore the rising tide of selfish blowups, but the society as a whole will not be able to solve the problem. This is because the answer is only found the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Last nights Presidential speech was the most entertaining in sometime. I have to admit I am glad I watched it. It is not everyday that a Congressman shouts "You lie" at the President. Of course the media is full of condemnation for Congressman Wilson’s outburst. And it is a sign that our nation is breaking down as hostilities build up between liberals and conservatives. But was his outburst wrong?
Clearly, it is a break in protocol. It is not normal to yell during someone else’s speech. But that protocol has a history of being violated as well. It is not like a whole gaggle of Democrats did not do the same thing to President Bush when he wanted to reform Social Security. But maybe you are thinking that yelling “no” and hissing and booing is not the same thing as saying "you lie", and it is the words that make a big problem. Well, then I hope you are condemning President Obama as well. He had just finished calling everyone who had ever argued that death panels existed liars, in what was pretty clearly a reference to Sarah Palin. But it was also broad enough to encompass everyone who ever thought death panels are in the bill and covering of illegal aliens. He would go on to attack people who think that abortion is in the bill.
Here is the real problem. President Obama started the name calling and frankly was lying to the American public or at least refusing to engage in discussion while shaking his fingers at others for not engaging. Gov. Palin’s article makes a decent case that death panels are in the bill and does so by quoting President Obama himself and the bill before Congress. The Democrats also defeated amendments to the bill that would have required proof of citizenship to get the benefits of the bill. The only reason to defeat the amendments is to cover illegal aliens. It is like laying a table full of cookies before young kids and telling them not to eat and then walking off. You can say the kids aren’t eating the cookies, but you really have no way to stop them. So, President Obama was lying or has no idea what he is talking about.
And just so the President is clear, abortion is in the bill. The Democrats are refusing to attach the Hyde Amendment to the bill that prohibits federal funds from going to abortions. This has been documented as well
So, the question becomes does Congress have to sit an listen to a President tell lies? Do they have to sit an listen to a President tell them that they are liars while he does nothing but lie? Are there times in a nation’s history where such outbursts might actually be the best thing for the country? I am not sure I would have done it, but I don’t actually have much of a problem with it. Hard times call for hard words.
And even those it is a fictional portrayal, someone really needs to say this stuff to the President. This video made me laugh..
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Since there have been some complaints about my spending too much time on sports, I have decided to make a blog for my rambling thoughts on the Pittsburgh Pirates. It is up and running. Feel free to take a look. And for those of you who do not care about the Pirates:
a) shame on you
b) you can now expect more regular material here on this blog
Hope you enjoy.
Sunday, September 06, 2009
Long time readers of this blog know that I have an intense dislike for Newsweek. Their liberal bias is annoying of course, but most of the dislike comes from Jon Meacham, who is somehow respected as an expert. His ignorance and distortion is appalling.
Recently on the Charlie Rose show, Jon Meacham said that Ted Kennedy was in the top three senators of all time. Specifically, Meacham said:
One of the two or three senators who will be remembered forever. Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, Ted Kennedy. I think that it gets -- there's quite a drop-off there, quite a falling-off there, as Hamlet would say.
Now, usually Clay and Webster are counted as two of the three best of all time. John C. Calhoun is the other member of the legendary Trio. According to Meacham, Calhoun will not be remembered and is a far drop off from Ted Kennedy. Now even if you disagree with Calhoun's take on Nullification, it really ought to be admitted as a powerful force in American history for that alone. Disregarding all of that Calhoun still helped bring an end to the crisis in South Carolina averting a Civil War in 1830. Calhoun did a great many things as a Senator that put him far above Ted Kennedy. Speeches that are forever remembered. In fact, Webster would probably not be remembered if it were not for his sparing with Calhoun.
What does Meacham think of other great senators like Stephen Douglas? Surely the Lincoln-Douglas debates ought to be remembered in our nations history? Douglas by the way won those if you count who won the actual senate seat. Douglas was tied to Popular Sovereignty, which again directed the country's future. Douglas helped Clay come up with the Compromise of 1850, which put off the Civil War for another decade and got California into the Union as a Free State, helped New Mexico become a state with all of its current territory, and a few other things too.
And what about William Seward? He was considered the front runner for the Republican Nomination for President in 1860 because of his long time work against slavery in the Senate. Or Thomas Hart Benton, who was leading man during his time, and even had a gun drawn on him during debate in the Senate once? Charles Sumner and Benjamin Wade led the Radical Republicans in the Senate. Surely their influence on the history of America ought to have some sway over Meacham's choices. Are they really such a far drop off to the author of the Minimum Wage Bill and the disastrous No Child Left Behind Policy?
Maybe Meacham thinks that bringing down a Supreme Court Nominee like Robert Bork with that memorable speech about Bork's America puts him up in the upper crust of Senators. But then would that not make John Randolph even higher since his "Black Dan" speech helped bring down a President.
Kennedy was around for some monumental legislation. I think he was in for the end of the Civil Rights stuff, but he was hardly a leader in that cause. Heck, even Gerald Ford was more beloved as a Senator than Kennedy. So much so the Senate almost asked him to be the VP for Nixon.
Such a bold statement by Meacham demands defense . . . or more likely scorn for the stupidity that it is.
Saturday, September 05, 2009
This controversy surrounding President Obama speaking to the children at school through an address directed at them has greatly disappointed me. This ought to have been a very valuable discussion about the very nature of education and the proper role of the federal government in it, but it has only resulted in more anger on both sides. I do believe a controversy ought to have occurred because legitimate issues are at stake. Let us take a look at a few of the things that ought to have been discussed, but have not been.
1. Education what is it? Is it indoctrination? I actually think it is. The liberals pretend it is not, but they know it is. And some conservatives think it is not, but do not seem to know what it is. Many are mad because Obama is trying to indoctrinate their children. Liberals are enjoying throwing out the “Just Say No” campaign launched by Nancy Reagan. They ask was that indoctrination, and the conservatives do not answer. Clearly just from the name it is indoctrination. People should not be ashamed of it. The answer the conservative should have given was yes it was, but both sides of the aisle agreed on it. It was agreed upon indoctrination. It is clear that not everyone believes education is really indoctrination, but this is part of the discussion we ought to be having. Is education indoctrination? Is it stuff facts into kids? What exactly is it? Once that question has been answered then we have more a basis to move forward with whether or not Presidents ought to participate in it.
2. Parents have a right to believe something inappropriate is going to happen. After all, President Obama is a politician. When was the last time they kept even 40% of their campaign promises? He can promise all he wants that he will just say "stay in school", but only a fool should believe him. This is the same party that just used Ted Kennedy’s funeral to have children pray for universal health care. Inappropriate is the only thing these people know.
3. Legal issues. No one is really objecting to the speech on legal grounds, but they probably ought to. It should at least be covered. Is using tax payer dollars from the Department of Education to speak to the kids legal? Is it ethical? Is this paid political advertising and are there not equal time rules that might apply if it is? The Democrats thought so when President George H. W. Bush did this same thing.
4. Who controls education? This is another factor that needs to be discussed. Is it the parents or the government? Right now it is technically the parents. Courts have consistently ruled parents have rights over their children, common law supports it, and the fact local school boards run school districts reinforces it. The feds have no real rights here. But that is not how the liberals see it. They are using this as a time to attack parents and parents know it. Just listen to John Harwood. He thinks parents are too stupid to do it right. But notice also the implied point in his argument. "Of course the President ought to be allowed to speak to the kids, he is the President of the United States?" That is a fundamental error. The President of the United States does not have rights over children in that country. Parents do. But President Obama is not asking. He is not even allowing a permission slip option. If the Democrats had come to the speech with that mindset, I think a lot of this would have been avoided. People can inherently sense the challenge to parental authority in the tact being taken by the Dems on this one.
5. Ignorance. Really if one believes that the giving out of facts is what makes education then President Obama should not be anywhere near a school. I mean his misunderstanding of economics, lack of adherence or knowledge of the Constitution aside (VP Biden does not even know where the VP is mentioned in the Constitution – see his debate performance), it still has to be admitted that President Obama thinks Islamic nations invented the compass. This is so provable false that it makes my head hurt. That is just one of the blatant factual inaccuracies in his Cario Speech. For those who think education is about facts, then these should cause extreme worry.
6. Obvious Self-Centered behavior in the past. When the material had something in it about helping the President, and not about serving the country people had a right to get angry. It is not like President Obama does not have a long history of having people Pledge Allegience to him rather than the country.
In the end, this country could benefit a lot from a frank discussion about the nature of education. Instead it is just a name calling festival. Nothing good will come of this. And that is the real shame here.