Thoughts on Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

IMAG0003_1As we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, here are some reflections on its key concepts:

2014-07-04 16.10.36
“The Signer”

Life:  Life is the basic right of every human being.  All good laws should contribute to its protection and edification.  What life should be protected?  All of it, as much as can be.  Civilized humans avoid needless violence and killing.  Killing animals for food and other resources is the way of life, killing purely for sport, or out of cruelty is the way of death.  The unborn?  We’ll if it’s a life, then yes.  The old and the sick?  Death is also part of life, but again, it should not be brought about wantonly or casually. People talk about dying with dignity, especially as a rationale for euthanasia.  I prefer the idea of living with dignity.  How is it beneath anybody’s dignity to fight until their very last breath?  Being in a pitiful physical state does not equal being pitiful in a spiritual state, on the contrary, it is often the opposite.

Liberty:  Liberty is the chance to use our gift of life to its fullest advantage.  Without basic liberties, mankind is held back from reaching its fullest potential.  That is why liberty curtailing forms of government like Communism and Socialism are immoral, or at best, amoral. Liberty comes with the freedom to fail, and learn from our mistakes.  Liberty, the Founders knew, is a fragile thing, easily destroyed.  We must protect our liberties jealously because once lost they are very difficult to regain.  Of all the laws that have ever been passed, how many have increased liberty?  Very few compared to the number of those that limit it.

Our American government has done well extending liberty to classes of people that once lacked it.   That is government at its best.   The problem is that government rarely expands the freedoms of its citizens at large.  Upon gaining the rights of the majority those same formerly oppressed groups find themselves at the lifetime high water mark of their freedom, only to have other liberties gradually taken away and suppressed by mountains of regulation.  It’s like a castaway that washes up on the beach of an island to safety, only to find the beach is eroding into the sea.  Our freedoms are like those grains of sand, being eroded one by one until someone decides to fight it.

The Pursuit of Happiness“The U. S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself.”  –Benjamin Franklin.  The Declaration of Independence only suggests that humans have that right to pursue happiness, but the achievement of it can only be done by ourselves. The biggest mistake is to confuse happiness with pleasure. Drugs can produce pleasure, but never happiness. Pleasure is fleeting, true happiness can be maintained over much longer periods of time.   The other mistake we humans make is to think that happiness will just happen.  Sometimes it does, but most of the time it must be earned.  Members of the Armed Forces often forgo the happiness of home and family for long periods of time so that they and others can have it to a fuller degree when they return.  The miracle of happiness is that giving it produces more of it.

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Democratizing Catholicism? I think not.

Progressives v. CatholicsIn a world where the words “offend, offended, and offensive” are so overused, I have to say that I’m properly offended by the casual anti-Catholic bigotry on the left and particularly that of current senior members of the Clinton campaign staff.   You’ve probably heard now of the leaked emails of Hillary’s campaign chairman John Podesta. (For a good synopsis, check out: WikiLeaks: Podesta and Left-Wing Activist Plot ‘Catholic Spring’ by Edmund Kozak)  The leaked emails from  talk about subverting Catholic doctrine with the idea of bringing about a “Catholic spring”.   Let me rephrase that:  Leaders of the Democratic party because so much of Catholic doctrine specifically when it comes to issues of pro-life and marriage, goes against their liberal agenda, decided to subvert the Church in America and replace its core doctrines with ones more in line with their political goals.

“There needs to be a Catholic Spring, in which Catholics themselves demand the end of a middle ages dictatorship and the beginning of a little democracy and respect for gender equality in the Catholic Church,” wrote left-wing activist Sandy Newman to Podesta.

How does one democratize a religion?  Would the members get to vote on Church doctrine?  Cardinals get to vote for the Pope, should they act like delegates as if the conclave of cardinals were some sort of political convention?  Here my message for Podesta and friends:  Catholic doctrine was created by Christ.  It was codified a long time ago by Emperor Constantine I in the fourth century.  That is the basis of the Catholic Church, now and forever, unless the Big Man Upstairs orders a change.  If He does, you can bet it won’t be the  purposes of facilitating your political gain, your pro-abortion, anti-life agenda.

The leaked emails show utter contempt for Catholics, suggesting them backwards in their beliefs. The writers of these emails show a complete lack of understanding about the Vatican and the Church at large. The fact is, progressives such as those quoted in the emails see the Church as a hindrance advancing their social agenda.  The words of St. John Paul II hint at why the teachings of  Catholic Church might prove problematic to Progressives:

“True freedom is not advanced in the permissive society, which confuses freedom with license to do anything whatever and which in the name of freedom proclaims a kind of general amorality. It is a caricature of freedom to claim that people are free to organize their lives with no reference to moral values, and to say that society does not have to ensure the protection and advancement of ethical values. Such an attitude is destructive of freedom and peace.”
Pope John Paul II

Progressive Democrats can’t have an entire voting bloc that thinks like that.

Every American has the right to ‘vote’ to be Catholic or not, to be religious or not, but the essence of what it means to be Catholic is not up for a vote. The Church’s essential teachings are not up for negotiation like planks in some political party’s platform.  The best way to teach and practice those fundamental doctrines of faith and life can and will be debated, but what those core doctrines themselves are will not and cannot be determined by the democratic process.

 

Midweek Newsbrief : Pick Your Outrage

RL New Brief
All the news fit for me to comment about.

So far in the news this week we learned:

  • More video came out this week suggesting that Planned Parenthood is involved in selling fetal tissue sparking outrage.
  • A dentist kills a beloved lion lured from its den in a game preserve sparking outrage.
  • Tom Brady’s “Deflate-gate” suspension is upheld by the NFL, sparking outrage.
  • News stories about alleged lion poaching and deflated footballs eclipse the one about the selling of human body parts.  Outrage sparked???

NJ Right to Life Dinner, a Brief Summary.

James O'Keefe
James O’Keefe

Last night in New Brunswick, NJ, I attended my first NJRTL dinner. On social issues, I consider myself more libertarian than conservative, so what I wondered what I might hear of interest from the personal liberty perspective.  I knew from past experience with the organization this event would not be some gathering of “right-wing extremist” as most of the liberal press would surely want me to think.  Beyond that, I was not sure what to expect and was looking for areas of common ground.

The first featured speaker, James O’Keefe, who exposed ACORN as a far-left wing organization through his investigative journalism set the tone.  He was, I would guess, invited to speak at this event because of his work exposing Planned Parenthood as being a willing participant in population control, and perhaps most deplorably, how it has targeted it efforts at the black community.  James, posing under cover as a white bigot, caught several of their counselors on film openly supporting his character’s (notional) blatantly racist scheme to fund abortions in black communities.  (Check out his Project Veritas videos on YouTube to learn more.) It was immediately apparent that the far-left’s support for Planed Parenthood is as dubious, as any of their liberty-curtailing causes.

Andrea Tantaros
Andrea Tantaros

The headliner speaker was Andrea Tantaros from Fox News’ ‘The Five’ and ‘Outnumbered’. She told a moving story of her younger brother Daniel, who was born with severe mental disabilities resembling autism.  She described how when her mother was pregnant with him she was counseled  to have an abortion, as if it was the only sensible option when pre-natal problems were detected.  Her mother refused, trusting instead that her faith in God would get her family and her unborn son though whatever trials were to come.  Andrea’s brother was born, and did in fact suffer from brain damage.  The family accepted the child as a full member of the family and never looked at Daniel as a burden.  She went on to tell how as a child, she would put on pretend news casts, complete with commercials with her younger brother serving as audience, and when needed, participant.  She recalled her brother’s fascination with water and how it manifested in odd ways, such as overflowing tubs and a tendency to drink extraordinary amounts of it.  Being one to always look for the silver lining, her response was, “at least we don’t have to worry about dehydration with him.” She became visibly emotional when she mentioned his passing in 2013.  She summed up her remarks by saying she does not feel angry at people who choose to terminate a pregnancy when a severe prenatal defect is detected, rather she feels sad that those families will never know the same kind of joy that her brother brought to her and her family while he was alive.

The radical Left’s agenda last night was not just exposed as being one to stifle the liberty of political thought, but the liberty to choose life.  Without life, there can be no Liberty, no pursuit of Happiness.