Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.
It is a new year, and these are my thoughts for the new year. I have many of them, and I dump them in these SOC posts to get them out of my head. For those new readers of the C-blog, SOC stands for "stream of consciousness." I just let the thoughts flow as they come into my brain down through to my fingers and into the keyboard.
Do I have any resolutions for the new year? The only thing I really want to change is my work ethic. I work a lot now, but I don't do all that I can do and should be doing. Like God, I believe in resting one day out of seven. What gets forgotten is working the other six days. That's where my resolution comes into play. I don't work a solid six day week. I will see about upping my productive activity.
Another resolution deals with prayer. I don't pray as I should. I put great faith in prayer now where I did not before. Prayer works. Prayer changes you. It changes other people. It changes the world. Time spent with God is well spent.
As for other resolutions, I can certainly exercise more, but that is such a cliche now that I never mention it as a resolution anymore. I made a resolution to never join a gym, and I have kept that one ever since I made it. I believe you should start at home with calisthenics and body weight exercises and long walks outside. Those are free, and you don't have to cancel anything when you fail to keep your resolution.
Exercise is a tough one because it is a mindless activity. This is why you see people with headphones on their skulls when they are working out or jogging down the street. People tell you to get your butt off the couch, but it isn't the couch but the television and the internet that keeps people glued to that particular piece of furniture.
What does keep changing is my mind on things. One of the things I have noticed lately is that I am happier on the job. I was wondering what changed to make that happen, and I link it to my abandonment of distributism. When you spend everyday thinking in terms of wage slavery instead of entrepreneurship, it will depress you. When you think the opposite, work is not so bad. You are exchanging value for value.
I remain a firm believer in homesteading. The irony is that many of a libertarian/alt right outlook on things are also into homesteading. Of course, this also goes under other names like "prepping" and "survival." But it is homesteading all the same.
The people who preach the loudest on distributism are mostly not homesteaders. In fact, they strike me as a lazy lot averse to manual labor and the dirt of farm life. I am not so upset on this since they can live their lives the way they wish. But distributists want to dictate to others how they will live and earn their livings. Now, if the preachers of this economic gospel can't do it themselves, I doubt the hoi polloi can do the same.
When Hilaire Belloc claimed that Catholicism was a complete worldview, he erred. I think the Roman Catholic Church has the final word on matters of faith and morals. Beyond that, it shows itself deficient. I have Pope Francis to thank for that insight as he pontificates on manmade global warming, politics, economics, and other topics where he shows utter ignorance. As for faith and morals, it seems he has dropped the ball on that one as well with Amoris Laetitia and communion for adulterers. But the story on that is still playing out.
My worldview is Catholic on faith and morals, conservative on politics, and libertarian on economics. This has been an evolution for me, but I feel comfortable with this outlook on things. I have found the arguments of the Acton Institute convincing. Nothing has produced more prosperity in the world like free market capitalism. The problem with pure libertarianism is that it divorces economics from Christian values and common sense. Anarchy and deregulation are not the same thing. It makes sense to let Uber drivers earn a living. It is another thing to let robbers earn their living.
Distributists are clueless on economics. And when they move beyond bold proclamations to actual implementation, their plans and strategies are indistinguishable from socialism. Basically, distributism is socialism decentralized. The problem is that it demands a central authority to pull off this trick. As for free market capitalism, it allows the freedom for distributists to pursue their dreams of a homestead, homeschooling, family life, and the rest. Unfortunately, the freedom to do these things is slim thanks to left wing socialists and big government types. If you doubt this, try to build your own home with your own two hands and watch the local government come and shut you down. And if you succeed, they will either zone you or tax you out of existence.
These insights are something I encountered in my research on starting a homestead, building your own home, or homeschooling your children. Virtually all of the obstacles to these things come from government. And when it comes to just buying a piece of land, that has been destroyed courtesy of central banking and paper money. All of those things the Austrian economists and Ron Paul talked about have turned out to be correct.
I am a born again free market capitalist. I say "born again" because I am merely returning to thoughts and opinions that I held previously. Of course, our current system of crony capitalism is not the same thing as free market capitalism. The Austrians like Peter Schiff have been at pains to explain this. It should be obvious that our system works for the benefits of a moneyed elite to the detriment of the wider economy. Central banking is the number one culprit in this regard.
Ronald Reagan combined conservative politics with libertarian economics. Of course, what he preached and what he practiced obviously differed. But he preached the right things. His conservatism tempered his libertarian side and vice versa.
I do think distributists have important insights to offer. I will still read and consider what they have to say. But I don't see free market capitalism as incompatible with the Christian religion and the Magisterium. Much of what the distributists have to say deal not so much with economics as they do with values. Capitalism produces prosperity, but the ends of that prosperity are in dispute. For many libertarians, this prosperity serves hedonism. For distributists, prosperity should serve leisure. The result is hard working libertarians who smoke dope and lazy distributists smoking pipes talking about how idyllic life would be in the shire if they could ever get off their behinds and make it. Between these two extremes is the conservative who works hard but turns that prosperity to greater service instead of indulgence. Freedom is meant to do good not sit on your ass and smoke your substance of choice.
My thoughts turn now to the foreign policy arena. I tend to go with the paleoconservative viewpoints of Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul. I think we should stay out of the internal affairs of other countries. I think this country's misadventures in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and Syria have been a disaster. I think the policy of free trade with all and entangling alliances with none is a good policy. Then, there is Israel.
Last year, I was in a Jewish deli when I overheard a woman talking to her son. The woman remarked to her son that the food was just like the stuff you could get in Israel. The son asked, "Is the food better in Israel?" The woman replied, "Everything is better in Israel."
Is everything better in Israel? You have to admit that it is a rough neighborhood that Israelis find themselves in. Yet, they aren't going anywhere. Israel is the Jewish homeland. I believe the promises God made to those people are still valid. The fact that they have been preserved as a people for thousands of years through conquest, dispersion, and a genocidal Holocaust is evidence of God's faithfulness. Israel may look like a country jammed into a war zone, but it is awesome compared to the alternatives Jews have endured for millennia.
I am on the side of Israel. Part of this is religious. The other part is the reality that Muslims are never our friends. Muslims hate Jews and Christians. They may play nice for the strategic present, but their long term aim is conquest and submission of the globe to Allah. Islam has replaced communism as the great threat to Western democracy. And Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East.
Paleoconservatives resent all of the foreign aid the USA sends to Israel. What they forget is that this aid was sent to help fight the USSR. Israel was on our side in the Cold War. Ironically, the Muslim countries were also on our side except for Iran. Now, should we be on Israel's side? Should we return the favor? Should we be Israel's ally?
I think the answer is yes. Granted, this puts me on the same ground as the neocons. But I don't believe in Empire America. The problem here is that we have lost sight of what we are fighting for. I don't know of any paleoconservatives who thought we shouldn't have fought the Nazis or the communists. And these fights involved alliances. It really was good vs. evil.
My guiding ethos is Christian Just War Theory. This is something Ron Paul praised. We should be neither pacifists nor aggressors. Peace is the goal not empire. To that end, Israel is a nation not intent on empire but simple existence. They are surrounded by aggressors. Israel is justified in defending herself. And we should have no problem helping in that defense anymore than we had problems defending England and liberating France in WWII.
If you accept the Christian Just War Doctrine, you will be neither an isolationist nor an imperialist. You seek peace always, but you will use force to achieve this peace when it is necessary. The Obama policy of destabilization and revolution has been antipeace. As such, this administration has been a disgrace and a failure.
Israel wants peace. I sincerely believe that. The Palestinians do not want peace. They never have. Israel is a stick in the eye of the Arab world. Muslims want Jews exterminated. After that, Christians are next on the list. There can never be a real peace with such people.