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Improve National Morality: Attend Church

Most of us need help to stay on the straight and narrow. Regular attendance at a place of worship can provide this help. The fact that regular church attendance has been declining for decades is part of the reason for declining standards of ethics and morality in our country. Most of us cannot maintain such standards without the help of a higher power and without associating with likeminded friends. We need to be regularly reminded of how we ought to act.

But there are many other side benefits of church attendance. We can hear great sermons; we can listen to uplifting music; we can do some singing (always good for the soul); and we can meet some new friends. Also, because religious views today are so diverse, we can have the benefit of learning different points of view, all with the goal of self-improvement.

Finally, church attendance offers the possibility of finding transcendence, revelation, and, for some, salvation. All these experiences should be tempered with reason but there are an infinite variety of opportunities. Both you and society will benefit.

Women’s Control of Body Has Limits

One of our local Arizona opinion writers made the following observation: “Should women control their bodies or should the state? That’s it. That’s all there is to it.” No, that’s not all there is to it. No matter how much control a woman has over her body, she cannot kill another person. Therefore, the main question should be, when does a person exist. At that point the government has a duty to protect that life. I am not personally one who believes that a person exists at conception, but no one can doubt that there is a person in the third trimester of a pregnancy, and probably even sooner. The subject of when life begins should be the focus of the debate, not “a woman’s right to control her body.”

Jan 6 Hearings-Rusty Bowers Testimony

This morning (June 21) I watched Arizona Speaker of the House Rusty Bowers testimony before the US House committee investigating the January 6th break in at the capitol. The contrast between the ethics of Rusty Bowers and those of Donald Trump were stark. Bowers nearly came to tears several times during his testimony and so did I. It is difficult for me to imagine how any decent person could watch this and not come away with great admiration for Bowers and contempt for Donald Trump. If we as Republicans are ever going to regain the moral high ground, we must encourage Trump to fade away. The idea that he could be our standard bearer again in 2024 is disgusting. Have we no honor??

Student Loans: The Reverse Midas Touch

You may have heard the allegory about the man who stands up and rocks the boat and then offers to save you from the storm…….by sitting down. This is precisely the situation with government backed student loans. The government took student loans out of the hands of private lenders several years ago and it should be no surprise that this caused much bad behavior when the loans became an entitlement. Students took out too much money, they pursued course work that was easy but could not put them in a position to get a job to pay back the loans, and many questionable education institutions sprang up to be the beneficiaries of this government largesse. This drove up college costs, which required ever larger student loans, and this started a vicious cycle.
Now we have the equally obscene moves to “forgive” these loans, a move that will obviously encourage more bad behavior the next time around and will also be a slap in the face to those students and parents who were responsible enough to work extra jobs to pay off these loans or to not go into debt at all. These are known in the insurance business as adverse selection or adverse consequences. I have a much simpler explanation: It is called the reverse Midas Touch. It simply means that whatever the government touches turns into, not the gold that Midas predicted, but that brown stuff the farmers use on their crops.
The moral is this: Leave student loans (and most everything else) in the private sector, to be handled by people who have rational, economics related judgement.

Gun Control: A Compromise

In the wake of the Uvalde Texas shooting there is a very strong clamor for doing “something” about gun control. Republicans want to preserve gun rights and Democrats just want more government control. How about raising the age to buy a gun to 21 and, at the same time, raise the voting age to 21. Democrats will like the first part and Republicans will like the second part. The Democrats get fewer people who can buy guns and Republicans get older, presumably more educated, voters, who we all know are more likely to vote Republican.

R.I.N.O. Has No Meaning

The term RINO (Republican In Name Only) once referred to those Republicans who did not follow the Republican philosophy. But that term is meaningless today because Republicans have lost their philosophy. The best examples at the national level are trade and deficits. There was a time not too long ago when Republicans believed in free trade and balanced budgets. But that was before Trump. Now trade is used as a weapon (which usually winds up hurting Americans) and government debt is continually increasing.

The same thing is happening at the local level. One of the few remaining conservative columnists in Arizona, Bob Robb, recently (Mar 30) published an opinion piece that outlined the many ways Arizona Republicans have fallen off the track philosophically. The most recent example is a classic case of crony capitalism by the major electric utilities (APS, SRP, TEP). They felt threatened by a potential competitor who was relying on a law passed more than 20 years ago which allowed such competition but had never been tested. As soon as a real competitor proposed to test it, the big guns rolled out their checkbooks to hire a record number of lobbyists to repeal the legislation which allowed the competition. Not only did most Republican legislators cave into the pressure but so did other leading Republicans, some of whom were (erstwhile) vociferous supporters of free markets.

Therefore, please don’t call anyone a RINO. It has lost its meaning.

Ukraine-North Korea: Lessons

Ukraine-North Korea: Lessons

The United States likely could have prevented the tragic bloodshed and mayhem in Ukraine by simply agreeing to vote No on Ukraine’s application to join NATO. Think about that tradeoff. Then, when North Korea offers to end its nuclear program if we will simply stop military exercises on the Korean peninsula and get our troops out of South Korea, let us swallow our pride and agree.

I Was Born White: I Am Sorry

I was born White, and I am sorry. My birth certificate even has blocks labeled “Color” for my parents; and the block lists “W” for both. I cannot even claim to be partly Black or Brown. I am sorry for that because, for that reason, I cannot claim to be free of racism. If I do, I will be cancelled and criticized. I am doomed to be categorized as “privileged.” After all, if a White person claims he is not racist today, that is supposedly evidence of his racism. If I had been born Black or even a darker shade of brown, I probably could claim to not be racist.

To make things even worse for me, I was “privileged” to be born with other characteristics in addition to my white skin. I was born with good vision, and good hearing, and four limbs, and good health and taller than average. I was privileged to be born an American and not born in some third world country. I was born with so many privileges that I guess I must spend my life apologizing.

Of all these “privileges” why is it only skin color that we whites must atone for? Is there not prejudice against short people and against disabled people and people not born in the United States? Race is not even a characteristic that is determined by science.

Can’t we just treat everyone as individuals and recognize that we are all different in many ways. Let’s stop putting people in groups, especially not in groups that have no scientifically identifiable features. Let’s just be kind to each other. Live and Let Live.

Don’t Draft Women; End the Draft

Our penchant for fairness is running amuck. This is lately expressed in the form of proposals to draft women. A much better idea would be to abolish the draft completely. If the government can take over the life of a person who has committed no crime, this is akin to slavery. The United States should not enter any war that its citizens are unwilling to fight. If we did not have the draft during the Vietnam War, it would likely have ended much earlier and thousands of American lives would have been spared. Let’s make sure that we have no more unpopular wars and, at the same time, ensure that we do not enslave American citizens, men or women.

Racial Justice is just racism

Racial justice is just racism. There is no special category of justice based on one’s skin color. No matter how good the “intention” might be, racial justice is just code for reverse discrimination based on race. It is similar in that regard to “social” justice, which is just code for socialism, that is, using guilt to promote outcomes based on one’s social status and not on merit or hard work. The focus is on “equity,” not on equality. Equality is the proper term which has nothing to do with one’s race or social status.

There was a time when our government fought against racism through various laws such as those preventing government entities from using race as a factor in hiring. Now, however, government is promoting racism by requiring every form that government touches to include a person’s race. Instead of a color-blind society, our government promotes a society focused on race.

We should ask the question; what properly describes a person? The only meaningful characteristic is their choices. You are what you choose. A person is not properly described by their skin color any more than they are described by their height or weight or any other physical characteristic

“Critical race theory” is at the opposite extreme. It purports to describe a person, not as an individual, but rather by their skin color. This is a very pernicious trend. We should treat people as individuals not as members of any group, unless that group is one, they CHOOSE to be part of such as a church or civic club or charitable association. That kind of choice legitimately describes a person.

Let’s work toward justice, not racial justice, and not social justice.