Search This Blog

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Odd. Very Odd.

Odd.  Very Odd.
After George Washington defeated Cornwallis at Yorktown, the British army stacked their weapons and as they did so, their band played, “The World Turned Upside Down.”  Indeed, it must have seemed that way.  The most powerful nation on earth had been defeated by an upstart rag-tag band of American patriots.

That particular tune, “The World Turned Upside Down,” would be an appropriate ditty to play at the White House today.  No, I’m not referring to the election of an African American President.  All Americans can celebrate the goodness of a nation that cares not a whit about the color of one’s skin, but only about the quality of one’s character (to paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.).

No, the reason it’s time to play the song, “The World Turned Upside Down,” is because of the incredible, almost laughable decree of the Obama Department of Homeland Security that those who oppose abortion, support the right to keep and bear arms, have served in combat fighting those formerly called terrorists, and who believe in limited government and maximum individual freedom, should be considered as domestic terrorist threats.  In other words, those who still believe in the principles and values of our Founding fathers and who have been willing to put their lives on the line to defend our nation are now labeled as potential “terrorists.”

And out of the other side of their mouth, this Administration tells us that Islamic radicals are no longer to be referred to as terrorists.

At minimum, this is odd—very odd, indeed.  It is silly to the nth degree.  And it is dangerous.  Apparently, under the direction of President Obama, the Department of Homeland Security is now taking the focus off of real terrorist threats, and directing it toward their political enemies.

The response of National Commander of The American Legion, David K. Rehbein, struck exactly the right note when he said, “Americans are not the enemy.”

Indeed, American patriots who love freedom and cherish our history and traditions should not be labeled as terrorist threats.  And to set the record straight, the NAZI skin heads that are always thrown in with conservatives are really on the left, unless NAZI no longer means National Socialist as my dictionary says. 

There is no threat from those who believe in the rule of law and minimum government, who oppose infanticide and abortion, who believe in the right to keep and bear arms, and who have put their life on the line to preserve freedom, unless it is a political threat to the top-down control of the lives of every American that is posed by the overreaching of the Obama Administration.

May their time in office be short and the damage they do be minimal.  May real patriots in the mold of Ronald Reagan once again be elected with the understanding that they are to serve and the American people are their masters.  May we have leaders in public life who understand that a nation comprised of free and unencumbered citizens know best how to run their own lives.
Let Freedom Ring!

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Great Crisis

The Great Crisis
You and I, our nation, and the world are in the midst of a great crisis.  What is that crisis?

Contrary to what the news media tells us and contrary to what politicians tell us, this is not a banking crisis.  It’s not an unemployment crisis.  It’s not a stock market crisis.  It’s not a housing crisis.  It’s not an automobile crisis.  No, this crisis has absolutely nothing to do with the economy.

This crisis is much, much bigger than the economy.  In fact, the problems with the economy are simply effects of the greater crisis faced by you and I, our nation, and the world.

The cause of all our problems is that we have become alienated from God.  Our rejection of God, who is the author of freedom, is at the root of the crisis we face.  Freedom and prosperity are blessings from the Lord of the universe.  When we decide that we no longer need God, or that God simply doesn’t exist, we throw away the most priceless gift we have.

When we seek utopia on earth and believe that through the agency of man we can solve all of our problems and all of our nation’s problems, we invite the kind of disaster our nation is now facing.

Utopianism, by whatever name—Communism, Socialism, Nazism, Objectivism, Fascism—is based on a rejection of God.  It is based on a belief that man can solve all his problems through his own intellect.  All these anti-God ideologies believe that we can create a perfect utopia right here on earth.

That utopia did exist, of course.  It was called the Garden of Eden, but man sinned and was driven out of the Garden to struggle in a sin cursed world.  God drove man out not because He hated man, but because He loved man and knew that imperfect man would destroy perfection.

All the problems that you and I face—disease, failed relationships, pain, etc.—come as a result of our sinful state.  Man created these problems when he rejected God.

Today our society mocks and rejects God.  We have soiled God’s gift of marriage.  Like ancient heathens, we sacrifice our children and our unborn children for our pleasure and benefit.  We lust after wealth and goods and immorality.  We bow down and worship the “knowledge” of this age, and reject the true wisdom of God.

What is going to happen to our land?  Unless and until we turn back to God and His truths, we are not going to like what happens here.  But there is still time.  There is still hope.

Spiritual renewal is stirring in our land.  And with tough times, people will turn back to God.  We don’t give a second thought to God when things are going well, but when He brings us to our knees our eyes are again opened to the truths of God and of His deep and abiding love.

We may indeed be on the verge of the worst of times financially, but there is hope that we may also be on the verge of spiritual renewal which brings blessings of love, freedom, hope, and truth. 

Whatever the outcome, God still sits on His throne and cares for you and for me.  He has promised to never leave us or forsake us.  That is a promise we can take to the bank!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Socialism in the Classroom

Socialism in the Classroom
Any economist worth his or her salt can explain why Socialism does not work.  Historians can cite example after example, all the way back to the Pilgrims, of failed Socialist experiments.  But, because people love power and seek to be like little gods, they simply ignore the facts.

When I visited my doctor the other day, he related an experiment conducted by a college professor to explain why Socialism will never work.  I don’t know who this college professor was or is, but bless him!

The experiment went like this.  A professor kept hearing from his students about the glories and wonders of Socialism and why it was the best way to run an economy.  Finally he said, “OK, I’ll implement Socialism right here in the classroom.”  The students were initially delighted.

The next time he gave a test he announced that individual students would not receive grades, but that he would average all the grades out and give the same grade to all students.  When the test results came in, he averaged out the grades and everyone got a “B.”  Well, the “A” students were not very happy with this, but the less talented and less hard working students thought it was great. 
A few weeks later the professor gave another test and again averaged the grades out.  But this time the average score was a “C.”  The brighter and harder working students realized that there was no reason to work hard if everyone was going to get the same grade, and the lower half of the class saw no reason to work hard as long as their poor performance would be improved by those blessed with more gifts.

Eventually, the professor gave a third test and this time the average score was barely a “D,” which made everyone angry.  The smarter students were now receiving horrible grades and even the poorer students were getting grades below their normal level.  Everyone was mad at everyone.  Performance had dropped across the board.

Now, I don’t know if this story is factual or apocryphal, but it certainly contains more than a grain of truth.  Socialism doesn’t work because it takes away the incentive to perform at your highest possible level.  Why work long hours and why work hard if you are to be rewarded just the same as the laggard or the less intelligent?  Maybe that’s not the way it should be, but it’s the way life really is.

Socialism doesn’t work for high performers or for those at the bottom rung of the economic scale either.  When the economy is pushed down to a low level by the implementation of Socialism, those at the bottom suffer the most.

Consider who has been damaged the most by the current Socialist schemes.  More than 200,000 people have been laid off in the hospitality industry since the last election.  Who do you think those folks are?  They are the folks that make the beds, vacuum the rooms, handle the luggage, work in the kitchen, etc.  It must have felt good to tell businesses that they should not spend money on entertainment and conferences outside the office, but the net result was to put people out of work.  Socialism pulls down the standard of living of all who are forced to live under it, but it always hurts those at the bottom of the economic ladder the most.

Socialism doesn’t work in the classroom.  It doesn’t work in sports.  And it certainly doesn’t work in society.

Freedom works.  Socialism, in all of its varieties, is a proven failure.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Freedom vs. Ideology

 Freedom vs. Ideology
The real difference that separates conservatives from liberals is that liberals believe in a system of regulating what citizens do and how they act (for the “good of society,” of course).  In short, liberals believe they know how to run your life better than you do.  Conservatives, on the other hand, simply believe that freedom, tempered by virtue, is the best, albeit imperfect, way for a society to operate.  Conservatives don’t believe in systems, they believe in freedom.  They don’t believe in an ideology, they believe in freedom.

For example, statists, i.e. liberals, believe in systems like Socialism.  My Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of Socialism is, “any of various social systems based on shared or government ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.”  The Soviets and the Nazis are the two most well-known forms of believers in the socialist system in the past century.  In fact, the word “Nazi” literally means “National Socialist” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary).  Stalin and Hitler were just two peas from the same pod.  And both are the extreme antithesis of today’s modern conservative who believes first and foremost in limited government.  Of course, dictators like Stalin and Hitler were more than willing to fight each other for power—the ultimate goal of all statists.

Liberalism is an elitist philosophy that puts the intelligent man on a very high pedestal, far above the throng, perhaps equal to God.  Ignored is the fact that every form of Socialism that has ever been tried is a miserable, abject failure.  Life is simply too complex for a few individuals to make all the correct economic decisions the marketplace demands in order for people to prosper. 

Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, successful entrepreneurs in the West were given the opportunity to buy or invest in businesses in the former East Germany.  They were appalled by what they found in the “economic powerhouse” of the Eastern Soviet Bloc.  Nothing had changed since 1939.  Not by the Nazis.  Not by the Communists.  The sewage system had not been maintained.  The water system was a wreck.  The roads were in shambles.  The electrical system was antiquated.  The telephone system barely worked. All equipment was circa 1939.  That’s socialism. 

Liberals will say that it was poorly run socialism, but they are just running away from reality.  Socialism is socialism.  Top down, government owned and controlled economies mean a permanent depression.  There are no examples of successful socialist economies.  For instance, when the USA was booming economically in the 1980s, most of Europe was still economically stagnant because its socialist systems held them back. 

The bottom line is that freedom works.  Freedom works best in the economic marketplace.  Millions of citizens making their own decisions provide the best possible economic opportunity for all individuals.  Government intervention only distorts the marketplace, substituting erroneous government decisions by bureaucrats for free and independent decisions by millions of free citizens. 

In a socialist state, innovation comes to a screeching halt, just as it did in Nazi and Communist Germany.
Government can only regulate scarcity, it cannot create or innovate.  Free, independent, hard working citizens living in a society with an absolute minimum of regulation, guarantees the highest standard of living for all.  The promises of a socialist utopia are a lie.

Recent problems with the U.S. economy can all be traced back to government intervention and regulations that forced otherwise free companies and banks to make bad marketplace decisions.  Those bad decisions have now been compounded by an unwillingness to let businesses, including banks and automobile companies, fail. 

Freedom cannot exist in a society that uses government to bail out failure.  Freedom means the opportunity to succeed or fail.  Without a free market, there is no freedom anywhere in society.  When government limits the freedom of the market, it limits the power of the ordinary citizen.  It concentrates power in the hands of a few and power is the ever enduring goal of all political leaders.  Control over your life and mine.

Free markets deny politicians power over your life.  Capitalism simply means a free market.  It means freedom and freedom is not a
system or an ideology.  Unfortunately, our current political leadership is driven not by reality, but by ideology.  It was said that after Ronald Reagan, only the Soviets and U.S. college professors believed in socialism.  Apparently the nuts are now in charge of the insane asylum.

Ignoring reality is key to believing in socialism and big government.  Protectionism, government controls, government ownership, and the devaluation of the dollar led the U.S. into a terrible depression in the 1930s.  It will lead to the same thing in our lives if not soon reversed. 

You and I must do everything in our power to end the current misadventure into the morass of socialism so that our children and our grandchildren can enjoy the freedom that was passed along to us by our forefathers.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!
Let me take this opportunity to wish you a Happy Easter, a really Happy Easter.  That is why God the Father sent His Son, Jesus, so you and I can have a Happy Easter and a happy hereafter.  You can almost feel the incredible love of God.
Imagine God.  But of course, you and I can’t imagine God.  We understand human things and must live within limitations.  We continue to study physics, astronomy, history, chemistry and biology, in order to better understand our world – the world that God created just because He loved us.  Some would presume to understand God – they would equate themselves with God, but if there is a God, how can a frail human being, no matter how smart, understand God?  By definition, God is above all and beyond all our understanding. 
What we know about God is only what He chooses for us to know.  What He has revealed about Himself in the Bible is everything He wants us to know while we are still on this earth.  “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.” – 1 Corinthians 13:12a.

Yet, when you believe, you do feel the incredible love of God – A love so great that He sent His perfect and only Son to this sin cursed world to save us from our sins.

Sins?  What sins?  So you think you are perfect?  When we take a good look at our thoughts, our words, and our deeds, who can say, “I’m without sin”?  I’m a sinner, and I haven’t met a perfect man or woman, but the Bible tells us that Jesus was without sin – “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth.” – 1 Peter 2:22.

I can’t imagine that.  Can you?  Perfect in every way, that was Jesus.  Imperfect in every way, that’s you and me.

Such love the Father had that He sent His own Son to live a perfect life, give His life on the cross for our sins and then, the really great part, to show His power, even over death, by rising back to life in total triumph over the grave.  Victory – that’s what Easter is all about.  It was a victory that Jesus claimed for Himself and He claimed it for you and me.

That’s the thrill of Easter.  That’s why all the other days of the existence of the earth would be totally and utterly meaningless without Easter.  So have a Happy Easter, a really Happy Easter – make it more than just intellectual knowledge – acknowledge your shortcomings, your imperfection, yes, your sins, and ask for God’s forgiveness.  Pray for faith in Jesus who is happiness personified. 

He said, “I am the way the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.” – John 14:6.  And in John 6:47, “I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.”

This is the real meaning of Easter.  Jesus is the real path to happiness.  He is the path to real freedom – “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – John 8:32.

Have a wonderful, joyous Easter Celebration!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The International School of Fundraising

The International School of Fundraising
My wife, Kathi, and I just returned from our first visit to the United Kingdom.  I was invited to speak at the International School of Fundraising, held at Wellington College and sponsored by The Leadership Institute

About 70 individuals attended from the US, Europe (UK, Italy, Spain, Germany, Poland and Yugoslavia), Africa (Nigeria), Mexico, and South America (Guatemala, Chile, Brazil).  Some were in their 20s and others were in their 50s.  Some had extensive experience in raising funds in their country and others were just beginning the learning process.  There was one thing they all had in common, though, and that was enthusiasm for the organizations with which they worked.

Before I went to the conference, I wondered how a presentation would be valuable from someone like me who was unfamiliar with their postal regulations, their culture, and their language.

Fortunately, most of the participants spoke English, but for those who did not, a Spanish translator was present to translate the presentations concurrently with the speakers.  As far as the culture and postage regulations were concerned, the participants seemed to be able to apply what was presented to their own particular circumstances.  For instance, in Poland there is no discounted bulk rate for nonprofits to use and the postal system is somewhat unreliable and politicized.  They simply adapted to the situation by handing out millions of flyers door to door that provided an opportunity for the person to donate to their cause.  This particular organization had more than 200,000 donors in a nation of under 40 million.

In Italy there was an absence of donor lists for prospecting purposes so they basically used the telephone book and selected areas that they thought were likely to donate to their cause.  Because asking for money is so new to Italy and because there is little or no competition, their donation rates are above 5% using this process!  They, too, have a donor file of more than 200,000.

In Chile, one of the participants had run against and defeated a long-time incumbent Communist Party Congressman using direct mail techniques he had learned from attending another
Leadership Institute School.

While the presentations from the U.S. “faculty” members were very good, I thought that these personal examples from individuals who had pioneered direct mail fundraising in their home countries were the most inspiring.

Of course, the lessons of writing good copy, making a strong case, and closing the sale apply regardless of the medium used.

The most important thing I gained from this experience was the inspiration I received from people around the globe who were champions for freedom in their home country.  It was encouraging to know that all across the world there are advocates for faith, freedom, and virtue who are tireless in their efforts to push forward the boundaries of freedom.  They understand the power of free markets and the power of ideas.  It encouraged me to believe that freedom can triumph in spite of setbacks from those who believe that a small elite should govern the lives of men and women rather than let them govern their own lives.

While you and I may be dismayed at our fellow Americans who have no understanding of the foundations of a free society and who seem willing to trade their freedom for the false security of a big government nanny, clearly there are those who face a much worse and much more immediate loss of their freedoms in South America, in Africa, and in Europe.

Yet they fight on, as you and I must also, so that our children and our grandchildren will live in freedom.