Charlie's Blog: Random Thoughts on Various Subjects 46

4.22.2017

Random Thoughts on Various Subjects 46


I hate small towns because once you've seen the cannon in the park there's nothing else to do.
LENNY BRUCE


The Art of Manliness is one of my favorite websites, and I recommend it highly. Yet, I must take issue with Brett McKay's recent piece on the value of church attendance. He makes good points for attending church on a weekly basis, and they act as a way for people like me who do attend on the regular to appreciate more than just the purely spiritual benefits of the practice. But I am reminded of Flannery O'Connor's infamous tale regarding someone's remark about the symbolism of the eucharist. If it is just a symbol, then to Hell with it.

When I used to be an atheist, I had an atheist friend who obviously had been raised in a Christian home and a church setting. He lost his faith, but he never lost the reassuring comfort of church. So, he became a Unitarian-Universalist and attended a U-U fellowship. This queer practice of his would become a thing in the wider freethought world with atheist churches and Alain de Botton's dreadful, Religion for Atheists.


The simple fact is that we attend church because we worship a God we actually believe exists. I know this is a stunner, but I am one of those weird people who never got the utilitarian arguments for religious practices. There may be utilitarian benefits to attending church, but there are also utilitarian benefits to sleeping in on Sunday morning. Those benefits are why even people who profess belief in God and Jesus Christ can't be bothered to get off their asses and make it to church.

I prefer the religious case for going to church versus the non-religious case. The number one benefit of going to church would be not going to Hell. I would work backwards from there to church making you a better person, making you happier, and instilling in your children the idea that you might be a moral person instead of a piece of crap human being. But, ultimately, we worship God because He exists and is worthy of our praise and exaltation.

I don't think you can be a real man without being a godly man. You can't be a godly man without going to church. And this, Gentle Reader, is the reason manliness is in such steep decline in our nation today. Men are now video game playing douchebags and a disgrace.

2. DEMOGRAPHIC SHIFT

News comes that unemployment is now at a 17 year low. Yet, news also comes that many stores are closing and companies are doing layoffs. What is going on here? How can you have low unemployment while business is contracting? The answer is the demographic shift.

Harry Dent is the man behind this idea and observation that baby boomers will retire causing all sorts of economic upheaval, stock market crashes, and the like. Personally, I take what he says with a grain of salt. But I do believe that as baby boomers retire in massive numbers, there will be a massive vacuum in the job market, and there will not be enough millennials to fill that vacuum. The result will be low unemployment and rising wages for workers. I also predict incredible strain on pension funds, Social Security, and Medicare. Finally, cash will exit the markets as the boomers draw down their retirement funds.

I don't believe in retirement either personally or socially. That will have to be the subject of another blog post. But the bottom line is that retirement is detrimental to you on a personal level and to us all on a social level. The one upside is that it makes more job opportunities at higher pay for those of us who believe in working until you die and have a good work ethic. This was the reason Social Security was created in the first place. The downside is that we have created a geriatric welfare class that will spend 30+ years not working but living off of the work of others. That can't end well.

3. ASSANGE

The saga of Julian Assange took a new turn this week when the US DOJ announced that they would try to arrest Assange and bring him to trial. Of course, this announcement is not really news since no one doubted that the US authorities would extradite him as soon as Assange got shipped to Sweden on those trumped up rape charges. This is why Assange is now a virtual prisoner in that Ecuadorean embassy.

The problem with this announcement from the DOJ is this thing we have in America called the First Amendment. Now, this amendment has been challenged but has prevailed in cases like the ones involving porn publisher Larry Flynt. Courts have ruled that the First Amendment covers filth as well as political and religious publication. The law would seem firmly on the side of Assange since the intent of the Founders in adding the First Amendment was to provide a check against governmental power. If Larry Flynt qualifies for First Amendment protection, then Julian Assange most certainly qualifies.

The arguments against Assange having First Amendment protection are threefold. The first challenges whether he is a journalist or not. Apparently, only "real" journalists qualify for First Amendment protection. How is this determined? And would such real journalists require licensing to establish their bone fides? You can see the problem there. Josef Stalin would approve of this.

The second challenge centers on Julian Assange being an Australian and not an American citizen. The First Amendment can only give rights to Americans and not foreign citizens. On this basis, illegal immigrants to the USA could be tortured, detained without trial, murdered on the street, or what have you. It is obvious that the powers that be would love to do all of these things to Julian Assange, but it creates a whole new set of problems. My personal belief is that anyone within the borders of the USA is entitled to the rights and protections afforded under the US Constitution. I suspect the feds will try and sidestep this issue entirely and send Assange to Guantanamo Bay.

The third challenge deals with how Julian Assange gets his information. The argument is that Assange is some kind of journalistic terrorist running a non-state renegade intelligence agency. As such, he is on the same level as Osama bin Laden or the Rosenbergs. But the problem is that the Rosenbergs actually got a trial. Whether it was a fair trial is debatable. As for bin Laden, he received no trial, but he would have received one had he been captured alive and delivered to the USA.

The Assange affair is quite a mess, but it hinges on one fundamental question. Should it be illegal to publish classified information? That question has not been sufficiently answered since it was raised during the Pentagon Papers episode. Daniel Ellsberg and the New York Times were never brought to trial over their publication. The answer to the question depends on the difference between espionage and journalism.

I doubt I can settle such questions in the context of this blog, and it wouldn't matter if I could. But legal clarity needs to be brought to this murkiness. I think the fate of our democratic republic depends on the answers to these questions.

4. QUOTABLE QUOTES

If we do not fill our mind with prayer, it will fill itself with anxieties, worries, temptations, resentments, and unwelcome memories.
SCOTT HAHN

We are not to be without pain. Pain is Jesus suffering in us, but we are to look to Him for strength and courage. We are to learn this ability to shoulder our cross by gazing at Him and being gentle and humble in heart.
MOTHER ANGELICA

The moment we have a fixed heart we have a free hand.
G.K. CHESTERTON

Competition does a much more effective job than government at protecting consumers.
THOMAS SOWELL

The Lord’s triumph, on the day of the Resurrection, is final. Where are the soldiers the rulers posted there? Where are the seals that were fixed to the stone of the tomb? Where are those who condemned the Master? Where are those who crucified Jesus? He is victorious, and faced with his victory those poor wretches have all taken flight. Be filled with hope: Jesus Christ is always victorious.
ST. JOSEMARIA ESCRIVA

We shall steer safely through every storm so long as our heart is right, our intention fervent, our courage steadfast, and our trust fixed on God.
ST. FRANCIS DE SALES

5. ODDS AND ENDS

--Those McDonald's employees that aided in getting the Facebook Killer are true heroes in my book.

--Aaron Hernandez chose the life of a thug. Playing in the NFL only showed that this choice was entirely voluntary and not thrust upon him. His suicide makes people think he was filled with despair. I think he did it as his last act of defiance on earth. I'll wait for his suicide notes to become public to see if he was remorseful or defiant. Either way, I believe suicide is a one way ticket to Hell. I will not presume on anyone's fate, and I hold out hope for everyone. But I don't see how you can die in a state of grace hanging from a bedsheet in a cell.

--I never liked Bill O'Reilly. As for Fox News, if they stay conservative, they will do fine. But I suspect they will become another MSNBC.

--Mark Levin is my favorite pundit. Way better than O'Reilly or Rush or Hannity.

--Ann Coulter at Berkeley shows how close we are to letting the left wing mob violence determine who has rights in this country and who doesn't. Call out the National Guard.

--The fear of death is fundamentally the fear of judgment.

--Zuckerberg should kill Facebook Live before it kills Facebook. Of course, Facebook deserves to die, but it should be the slow death of irrelevance.

6. LINKS OF INTEREST