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Why We Should Think for Ourselves

Why We Should Think for Ourselves.

Since the inception of this blog, I have asserted that independent thinking and action is one of the most important facets of our humanity, and one of the defining functions of personality. This is because I understand a very old (and yet very true) adage that states that “….the best ideas are common property.” Stated another way, the best principles/maxims/rules of living are understood by a great number of people, and not by a select few (those in today’s society who consider themselves the “elite,” or the so-called “intelligentsia”). Of course, in today’s America, the exact opposite is the prevailing vision, and teaching in modern schools and universities reflects this to a great extent.

It is thus refreshing to see a real-life experience–a direct antithesis to the prevailing vision–documented that proves (yet again) the truth of this ancient maxim.

The best ideas truly are common property–common property of strong-minded individuals who understand the power of independent thinking and action.

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 Welcome!

Hello there!

Thanks for stopping by The Southern Voice…I hope you enjoy your visit!

This blog is my way of reaching out to the world beyond and opening up my thoughts on particular subjects for your perusal and input. While I often write about subjects on which my mind is made up, I welcome differing points of view, and strive to foster an atmosphere of rational discussion that promotes thoughtful contemplation of different points of view on the same subject. Please feel free to look around, visit the About page, and comment on posts that pique your interest.

My only request is that you consider the guidelines on the page A Word to My Visitors.

Thanks!

© David Crain, 2017

David

So You Want To Homeschool?

“Ok, Fine . . . But You’ll Teach What We Tell You To!”

A new bill introduced by Rep. John Hines, Sr.–D, Mississippi, would require homeschooling parents to teach the same courses as public schools are teaching, LifeSite News reports.

While homeschool parents and non-public schools currently have considerable freedom to teach children under their care according to their values, Mississippi House Bill 188 would mandate that the same courses on Mississippi History and American Government currently taught in public schools would also be required of homeschool families, as well as private and parochial schools.

Mississippi Democrat introduces bill to force homeschoolers to use govt-approved courses; published Friday, February 14th, 2020 (accessed 2/17/2020)

Seems fairly innocuous at first glance, right?

Well, let’s examine this a bit more closely.

The Bill (HB0188IN) elaborates on this requirement as follows:

In addition to the curriculum otherwise required by law or the State Board of Education to be taught in the public schools of this state, comprehensive courses in Mississippi History and United States Government are required for all students to be administered between Grades 9 through 12. The Mississippi History course must provide students with an examination of the history of the State of Mississippi from the age of discovery and colonization to the present with particular emphasis on the significant political, social, economic and cultural issues of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries which have impacted the diverse ethnic and racial populations of the state. Similarly, all private, parochial and home-based school programs shall provide the same curriculum requirements to students enrolled in Grades 9 through 12, as prescribed in this section. The courses shall be taught on a semester basis . . .

HB0188IN Text; accessed 02/17/2020

While proponents of the bill will argue that it is limited in scope, and rightly so, opponents are quick to point out that it is the underlying premise of this proposed legislation–not the scope–that is the main cause for disagreement.

The Mississippi Center for Public Policy (MCPP), a pro-family, pro-life organization, offered this commentary on the proposed law:

[the bill] would give the state authority to dictate what parents teach their children and how they teach it . . . [MCPP argued that homeschool parents] generally make that choice [to homeschool] because they want to set the curriculum that’s appropriate for their children free of state mandates. . . freedom to teach children belongs to private schools that parents opted into and are paying to send their children there, and it belongs to the parents who have chosen to make the sacrifice to homeschool. They are the ones ultimately responsible for the education of their children.

LifeSite News article

Nor was MCPP alone in roundly condemning the overreach of this bill. The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) also expressed concern and even created a petition that they have encouraged parents to send to Mississippi lawmakers.

In the introductory remarks to the registration for their petition, HSLDA states the following:

The right and responsibility of parents to direct the education of their children is prior to the more general governmental interest in promoting and requiring education. The state ought not to compel homeschooling parents to teach specific course content developed by the state or teach subjects a certain way. 

Research confirms that homeschooling parents have an excellent track record of educating their children and preparing them to be effective citizens. Compelling all homeschooling parents to teach History and Government in accordance with state-imposed guidelines is neither necessary nor appropriate.

Petition to Amend HB 188

It is true that this particular legislation cannot be attacked as federal overreach, because it is a state government that is considering adopting the bill as law. However, one need look no further than the opening lines of the Declaration of Independence to find that the HSLDA is justified in their classifying this as “neither necessary nor appropriate.”

If the state can mandate that private schools, parochial schools, and home-based schools teach the same history classes as the public, government-run schools, how long before the state can mandate ALL classes which the private schools must teach?

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Declaration of Independence

Of course, this is enough to demonstrate that the proposed law would ride roughshod over the rights of individual parents to exercise their Liberty to choose the curriculum their children will be taught. These words are well-known, and oft-quoted, in today’s society as more and more privileges are classified as rights; however, the following lines are largely ignored, because they touch on the underlying cause of the original authors’ renouncement of oppressive British rule.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,—That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. [emphasis added]

United States Declaration of Independence

It should come as no surprise that those who favor an ever-growing governmental influence in the lives of private citizens have no interest in spreading the knowledge that these lines are directly behind the wildly popular “Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness,” because it destroys the very means by which they seek to create Happiness for their constituents.

The framers of our Republic were careful to point out that “Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes;” even though their experience had shown them “that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing forms to which they are accustomed.” In other words, minor irritations and passing frustrations with certain aspects of a system will often lead people to ignore it for as long as possible, much like one would seek to forget the itch caused by a mosquito bite.

But eventually, there comes a time when “a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing inevitably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

Ok, that’s a lot to take in. Let’s unpack it.

“when a long train of abuses and usurpations” = referring back to the certain inalienable rights from earlier, abuses and illegitimate appropriations of power. The government oversteps its necessary functions and begins to act in an oppressive manner.

“pursuing inevitably the same Object” = continually displaying a pattern of these abuses and overreaches.

“evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism” = evinces is closely related to evidences, as in “displays” or “shows.” Design here is used as a synonym for plan. “Reduce them under” implies the idea of stripping someone of their rights and removing their physical, spiritual, and financial freedom; basically, rendering them a slave. “absolute Despotism” = absolute power or control; synonymous with tyranny.

To recap, the Founders understood that the ultimate security of personal liberty rests in a willingness to take personal responsibility for securing it from all threats, and an accompanying readiness to defend it–with equal readiness–with sword or pen, as conditions dictate.

Let us return to the issue at hand. As a former homeschooler, I can personally attest that the statement made by The Homeschool Legal Defense Association holds true:

Research confirms that homeschooling parents have an excellent track record of educating their children and preparing them to be effective citizens. 

Petition to Amend HB 188

Growing up in rural North Carolina, I was introduced very early in life to the various responsibilities of continuing our independent lifestyle. As anyone who has spent any time in the country can tell you, living further away from the amenities of the city brings with it a necessity for forethought, planning, and labor. If we ran out of milk, or butter, for instance, rectifying the shortage required an hour-long trip to the store. To provide for our enjoyment of fresh vegetables, a garden was established in the backyard, which in turn, brought the responsibility of ensuring the plot was kept free of weeds and adequately watered.

“I was introduced very early in life to the various responsibilities of continuing our independent lifestyle.”

We had a chicken coop where we kept two dozen hens and a rooster, thus supplying the family with fresh eggs. But the chickens had to be fed and watered twice daily, and the eggs must be collected from the nesting boxes. The youth who was tasked with this acquisition might well run the risk of being spurred by the over-zealous rooster, who viewed any intrusion into his domain as a bid to take over the mating rights with the hens. (A bit ridiculous, I realize, but children don’t think rationally all the time.)

Over the years, other improvements to the property further provided for our enjoyment of the fruit of the earth. Apple trees, cherry trees, blueberry and raspberry bushes, blackberry vines, and elderberry shrubs filled out the complement of produce. My father read extensively on different fruits and vegetables, and vast quantities of organic material, sand, and various manures were hauled in to augment the red clay of our small plot to ensure their optimum growth. Though no official records were kept, it is safe to say that the total volume numbered in the tens of thousands of cubic yards.

“We moved . . . tens of thousands of cubic yards of material.”

(As a comparison of the volume being discussed: the reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial contains approximately 33,400 cubic yards of water. A standard Olympic swimming pool holds around 3,300 cubic yards of water. While it is doubtful that the total equaled or exceeded the volume of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, the material moved would have filled several Olympic-sized swimming pools!)

In addition to the work outlined above, there was also the matter of providing warmth for the family. The home in which I was raised did not have the modern convenience of centralized heat and air; in the summer, we relied on the concrete slab to hold the coolness from the night before, and in the winter, we heated the house with a wood-fired heater. Thus, long hours were spent sawing, splitting, hauling, and stacking cordwood against the oncoming winter chill. This arrangement also required trips outside during the cold days of winter to replenish the woodbox that held the day’s allotment of fuel.

While most will probably shake their heads, it was my parents’ choice to educate me as they saw fit. They decided that they would live in the country and raise their children to appreciate the simple things in life, and that was merely the way in which they went about it. Were they perfect? Certainly not. But would I trade the life I came to know and love for anything else? Also, certainly not.

“. . .It was my parents’ choice to educate me as they saw fit.”

I firmly believe that the lessons I learned in my youth have stood me in good stead and provided me with multiple opportunities I might not otherwise have had. By instilling in me a sense of responsibility, rewarding diligence, and developing a tolerance for tedium, my parents prepared me for life as a productive member of society.

Because I was expected–from an early age–to do my part to maintain the needs of the household, I developed an appreciation for the benefits which hard work provided, and enjoyed the reward more thoroughly than if it had been simply handed to me.

Because I was compelled to work with my siblings–with whom I did not always get along–I learned how to cooperate, compromise, bargain, and other ways to arrive at diplomatic solutions.

Because I was given the opportunity to read a wide variety of literature–Greek mythology, history, historical fiction, autobiographies, memoirs, poetry, instructional books, and collections of letters–I gained a love of reading for the joy of reading, a pastime I avidly pursue to this day. While there were days when I was discontented with my life growing up, I look back with nothing but gratitude for the many lessons my upbringing brought me. In many ways, I enjoyed what I was doing so much, I didn’t even realize I was learning.

I think the true genius of homeschooling relies on attentive parents who understand the necessity of constant vigilance to maintain the freedom which they enjoy. After all, no one knows a child better than an attentive mother; and no one is better equipped to steer a child in the right direction than a focused, firm father.

“After all, no one knows a child better than an attentive mother; and no one is better equipped to steer a child in the right direction than a focused, firm father.”

My parents seemed to know intuitively that I was not one who would learn well if I was forced to sit still for eight hours a day, so they adapted their plan of education accordingly. The mornings were taken up with bookwork: math, English, social studies, science, extra reading. After lunch, a list of tasks awaited me, but as soon as I finished them, the afternoon was mine.

My brother and I used to race through our chores, get the ok from Mom to take off, and then tear down the woodland trail behind the house to the creek. We spent many summer afternoons playing in the woods, learning more about nature than we probably ever would have from a textbook. We got our share of rashes from poison ivy. We experienced our share of stings from yellow jackets. And we felt pure, unmitigated terror when a snake invaded our swimming hole, before we dug into a book of snake species and found it was a relatively harmless water snake.

All these experiences came my way as a result of my parents deciding they would make the sacrifices necessary to take complete responsibility for their children’s education. The government had no say in what they taught me. My father worked a job and paid his share of the school taxes just like everyone else. But how he chose to spend his time after work made all the difference in my life.

I’m not going to say that homeschooling is for everyone. I know there are many options available, such as private schools, charter schools, and religious (parochial) schools. There is no doubt in my mind that the education situation in America is in desperate need of reform. But I cannot support any measure that allows even a foothold of government overreach into such a personal level of everyday living.

Homeschooling works best when parents are actively engaged in the lives of their children, and parents who have made the choice to be actively engaged in this manner are more qualified to tailor their child’s individual educational program than any government official ever could be.

As I have stated in purpose of this blog, I welcome discussion and reasoned debate on this, and any topic. I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to drop me a comment below.

–David

American Dream? More Like, American Nightmare!

If life really sucks so bad until the very day you die

Then what’s the point of living, and why do we even try

If one day no one will remember you when in the darkened grave you lie

Then what’s the point of trying while you live to touch the sky?

What if everything you think you know about life is based on bullshit rules

Because of what somebody told you is acceptable and cool;

In order to be successful, you gotta think and look like me

Don’t try to understand or question, it’s just the way it’s gotta be

Face the facts, this is the path you’ve chosen if you really wanna be free.

Lots of money in the bank and a shiny whip in the drive

Of a house out on the coast you’ll never get with a nine to five

Jet-setting, new track trending, never-resting kinda drive

‘Cause the harder you are working the more you are alive.

The way that people try to sell is never what it seems

There’s more to life than chasing someone else’s or your own schemes

When you run full-time there is no time for vivid hopes and dreams

They’re lost in the chase after “success,” and we all must run full steam.

Not a moment’s peace can here be had, the drive must be relentless

Or you won’t go down in history, your life will be eventless

Never made an impact on your sphere if you don’t flirt with exhaustion

It’s no wonder no one wants to hear this tale of gentle caution.

No, there’s nothing wrong with passion, there’s nothing wrong with drive

But it must not overcome the things that keep the soul alive.

Time to relax, rest up, reflect, consider where we go from here

Instead of blindly reaching for the bong, the blunt, the beer

To deaden all the pain inside our harried hearts and minds

Because it’s raining cash, you see, but no peace can we find.

There’s no amount of money can replace a shattered soul

And this will be the end result if money’s your one goal

Because it’s true, that’s why it’s old, one of father’s favorite sayings

If money is your servant, then you’ll have some time for playing.

But if it’s your master, God help your soul, you’ve never seen such a flaying

And in the end all you hold dear on its altar will be laying

Because you followed mindlessly the damned almighty dollar

And now, with nothing left to show, it’s got you by the collar.

Why yes, you gained the whole wide world; you made the globe your oyster.

But lucky? Maybe not so much; even a monk within his cloister

With his meager possessions and strict routine is happier than you

Because for patching up a lonely heart, well—money just won’t do.

Shenanigans, Shutdowns, and Speeches: What’s Going On In Washington?

Why do our elected representatives in Congress continue to act like spoiled children when they don’t get their way?

The latest furor in Washington surrounds President Trump’s decision to allow a partial government shutdown to continue for nearly six weeks, because Democrats in the House of Representatives refuse to earmark $5.7 billion to build a wall on our Southern border.

Political posturing and gamesmanship in large quantities ensued, beginning with Nancy Pelosi sending President Trump a letter, asking him to consider rescheduling his State of the Union address until the government was reopened, or deliver it in writing. She cited the huge logistical concerns of securing the address as a reason for postponing.[i]

Trump retaliated a few days later by cancelling the use of military transport for Pelosi’s trip to the Middle East. He also mentioned in his letter that he would not prevent her from flying commercial should she choose to go ahead with her trip.[ii]

All the President is seeking to do is bring America up to par with other countries around the world. For thousands of years, humans have used walls to keep others from entering their property willy-nilly and protect their valuables from those who would quite possibly despoil them at the first opportunity.

The truth is, Democrats aren’t scared the wall won’t work. This would not explain their slavering, wild-eyed hatred of anyone who promotes building a wall (security fence would be a better term) along our shared border with Mexico. They are terrified that it will work.

This manufactured emergency has been simply the latest demonstration of the fact that for decades, the immigration rate, and crime rate among illegal immigrants, has been one of the most confusing, obfuscated, and incorrectly reported issues facing the general public.

While it may be true that the immigration system of the United States is broken, or needs updating, simply hiding the cold hard facts from the voting, working, tax-paying public is not the way to advocate for immigration reform. If it were not for the fact that so many people have chosen to rebel against everything, perhaps their decision to rebel against the antiquated immigration system would be treated more seriously.

The Center for Immigration Studies, a nonprofit think-tank organization based in Washington, D.C., is one of the few places in the country that objectively seeks to understand the bare facts concerning immigration and crime statistics among immigrants, particularly illegal immigrants. In an article from 2001, entitled “An Examination of US Immigration Policy and Serious Crime,” Carl D. Horowitz states the following:

“The explanation, this report argues, is that much of the crime, a lot more than structured studies would suggest, isn’t being reported. For one thing, immigrants are victims of crimes committed by fellow immigrants (all the more likely to be hidden from view if the assailant is a family member or close relative), and are too often scared, bound by custom, or fearful of deportation. This tendency may be highlighted by the insularity of certain immigrant cultures, especially where concentrated in low-income neighborhoods. Many foreign-born criminals either hide within our nation’s borders or operate outside of them. And the FBI’s crime figures reflect state and local crime reports, which often omit any mention of an offender’s national identity.”[iii]

In other words, the reports upon which the news media bases their reports are skewed, significantly in many cases, and do not provide an accurate or factual picture of the situation out on the street.

According to a report by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as of January 2014, there were 12.1 million “unauthorized immigrants” living in the United States.[iv]

Some will probably give me grief for using such old documents to make arguments concerning our current dilemma, but I find it interesting how many of the same arguments used against the wall have been recycled, revamped, refreshed, and reused for DECADES—since the very early 1900’s, in some cases.

If it is true, as the mainstream media would have us believe, that illegal immigrants do not commit a disproportionate number of crimes (in relation to the relatively small percentage of the total population they comprise), why are the counties that border Mexico some of the most violent, crime-ridden places in the country? Why are there trees—actual trees, mind you—strewn with hundreds of discarded female undergarments (the locals call them “rape trees[v]”)?

If the people who cross the border illegally are not guilty of any crime, then I am simply spitting empty words, tilting at windmills, if you will. But what if I told you that those who cross the border illegally, in complete disregard of our immigration laws, have no regard for any of the other laws of this land? What if I told you that they are more than twice as likely to commit a crime as an ordinary, natural-born citizen of this country? Those who come here legally are less likely to commit a crime than those born here, the media further declares. I personally will not argue that statistic. I believe it. Those who have undergone the tedious naturalization process are probably more familiar with the laws of the country than those who were born here. However, when the media attempts to place illegal immigrants beneath natural-born citizens on the “likely to commit a crime” scale, I have to argue that the media have their heads buried in the sand.

Disregard for one area of the law will naturally lead to a lower regard for other areas of the law, and thus it seems only logical that if someone breaks the law to get into this country, they will be likely to subsequently break other laws.

The fact that Democrats are in favor of retaining our current border policies and security (in many areas, virtually nonexistent, according to this video [need hyperlink to Border Fence video here]), shows that there is a very sinister agenda in play here, one that does not care about the safety and security of American citizens.

This used to be the greatest country in the world, and becoming a naturalized citizen meant something. It meant becoming part of one of the most technologically advanced, morally upright societies since the inception of human culture. Not that America was ever perfect, but it was once a great nation.

Now, with a rising tide of illegals flowing freely across our Southern border, citizenship has been cheapened for both the natural-born and naturalized citizens of this once great country. Only a miracle can return us to sanity, and wake Americans in general up to how greatly our freedom is being attacked today.


[i] https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/01/16/pelosis-bold-letter-about-postponing-trumps-state-union-annotated/?utm_term=.48e5b742906 (01/17/2019); accessed 1.24.2019

[ii] https://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ny-pol-trump-cancels-pelosi-trip-sotu-20190117-story.html accessed 1.24.2019

[iii] https://cis.org/Report/Examination-US-Immigration-Policy-and-Serious-Crime (05.21.2001); accessed 1.24.2019

[iv] https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/Unauthorized%20Immigrant%20Population%20Estimates%20in%20the%20US%20January%202014_1.pdf (July 2017); accessed 1.24.2019

[v] https://www.breitbart.com/border/2016/04/25/rape-trees-dead-migrants-consequences-open-border/ accessed 1/26/2019

I’m Back, Y’all

Hey guys, I know it’s been forever since I’ve been on here, but I just wanted to say…

Congrats on making it to 2019! Glad to see y’all still here.

So listen, I know I’ve made the mistake of dropping off here so many times, I’m sure not going to blame you if you never forgive me for it. But, I know I need to get back to writing, and doing it on a regular basis.

So, I’m going to try and do just that. One of my goals for this year is to begin to research and implement new ways to make my life more productive, and I think having a place where I’m writing coherent, thoughtful posts on a weekly (bi-weekly, maybe?) basis will help me keep my thoughts organized and focused in other areas.

Looking forward to the year ahead with you all. Let’s write something worth reading this year!

I STAND 

Why I will always STAND during the National Anthem:
1. I STAND, not in support of the many times American citizens have embraced faulty logic and questionable ethics whilst waving the Star Spangled Banner, but out of respect for the freedom for EVERY MAN the Founding Fathers advocated.
2. I STAND, not in support of the hatred and division which many advocate under the Stars and Stripes, but in support of the hope for a better life that many still see in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.
3. I STAND, not because I wish to continue racial strife or ethnic division, but in support of the strength we may all find by embracing our differences in background. Just as the Founding Fathers intended.
4. I STAND, not to memorialize or immortalize the many who used this flag to further their own selfish and small-minded ends, but out of respect for the thousands of every ethnic background who sacrificed their lives so that I may enjoy peace and safety.
5. I STAND, so that all may know, that I believe this country is the greatest in the world, despite her faults, and to inform all that I wish to advance America in every way, so that she may be the greatest in the world for years to come.
6. I STAND, not because I am a white nationalist who seeks to eliminate all those who do not look like me, but because I understand that all who have contributed to this country’s success did so because they embraced the unique proposition of freedom that America represented, not because they lobbied to pass laws favoring them and their agenda. They understood that strength of character refuses to discriminate on the basis of race or skin color.
7. Lastly, I STAND, in pure defiance to those who seek to spread the toxic notion that, in order to be the best, America must fit in with the rest of the world.
SHARE if you, too, STAND during the National Anthem.

Driven: An Extraordinary Life

I’m convinced, as I grow older, that the way of life I saw as normal during my formative years is an increasingly unpopular lifestyle. The idea of being driven to do something profitable with your time, all of the time, is something of which most people have no concept. Logical, reasoned thought is a luxury many take no time to afford; in fact, it seems that most seek to live their entire life without entertaining a serious thought about anything.

Is such a life really a bane upon mankind? To answer this question, one must dig a little deeper into the meaning of that word, bane. Simply put, a bane is “a cause of great distress or annoyance.” It seems, therefore, that the answer to this question lies within one’s view of how life is supposed to be. If, as some posit, life is a Sunday stroll, to be enjoyed while sauntering along, then yes, one could assume that work is a burden, a cause of great distress, or an annoyance.

However, if life is hard, and yet good, then work is a necessary part of a good life. Far from being a repressive stricture, then, hard work is the required structure upon which an extraordinary life must be built.

This is a watershed concept, and a proper grasp of the place of work in a man’s life is a must if he would see his hopes and dreams realized and solidified into accomplishments.

Think of the titans of industry from yesteryear. Andrew Carnegie. Thomas Edison. J. P. Morgan. Cornelius Vanderbilt. John D. Rockefeller. Each of these men created massive companies and holdings–sometimes cutting entirely new industries from whole cloth–in pursuit of greatness. Though they were flawed human beings, much can be garnered from their struggles with  (and subsequent triumphs over) difficulties that would have forever broken men of lesser fortitude.

Guts. Intuition. Innovative solutions. These men had all these things in common. But they had one more thing in common, the one thing often overlooked; or, worse yet, vilified in today’s passivistic, neutrality-obsessed, mediocrity-crazed world. That one thing may be summed in one word:

DRIVE.

The turning point of any man’s life is when he sees for the first time, for himself, the fundamental truth that all extraordinary people understand: in this world, you either drive, or you are driven. 

The Externally Driven Man, a person who is driven (by external forces) constantly sees the world as against him, complains about the way his life is turning out, and accepts the status quo, believing it to be enough. He schleps into the mediocrity continuum, unaware that his burden of bitterness has him sliding relentlessly toward oblivion, namelessness, and a forgettable style of living.

External Combustion, the fire without, is useful in some regards, namely for destruction, and–in some cases–light. However, its uses are extremely limited because this type of power is much harder to control. Think of a forest fire rampaging through a stand of trees. Man must stand in awe of its power! This power, though, is of little use because of its unconstrained nature. So man, left to the external drive of his circumstances, is of little use to himself or anyone else.

By contrast, The Internally Driven Man, one who is driven  (by an internal fire) to see the world as a proving ground, a puzzle to be solved, and a problem to be logically worked, is one who leaps into the mediocrity continuum, dropping the bombshell that things do not have to continue as they have in times past. He sees and experiences the same difficulties as the EDM, but through an entirely different set of lenses. Much like donning a new set of prescription glasses, he sees the benefits to be had from the struggle, and rather than running from it, leaps to meet it head-on, seeking to overcome and learn from it.

This is not to say that the IDM is “spoiling for a fight,” as the colloquial phrase runs. Rather, he embraces the challenge of life, taking all comers, that he may understand and learn some concept to help him succeed in tomorrow’s battle.

Internal Combustion, the fire within; ah, therein lies the secret to true power. Think of the vehicle that carries you to work. A car, a bus, an airplane, a train; chances are, it is powered by some sort of internal combustion engine. Wherein does the secret of this powerful engine lie? Within. The force that powers the engine is, in fact, a controlled explosion, the more useful because its destructive nature is controlled, caged, harnessed, and channelled into a useful form. The piston exploding downward forces the connecting rod downward, which drives the crankshaft around, which turns the flywheel, which spins the driveshaft; and, at last, the power is mated to the wheels which drive the vehicle forward.

Now, take a moment to ask yourself: Am I an EDM, or an IDM? Do I let life drive me? Or am I driven from within to make a life I want to live?

There are ethical and moral constraints which must govern the Internally Driven Man, to be sure, but we will visit those in future posts. For now, a good, hard look at how one responds to difficulties, and nailing down whether one is internally or externally driven, is sufficient.

Until next time, stay strong, stay thoughtful, and stay driven.

Internally Driven, that is.

Kids, Get Out!

As the oldest of nine children, I am well-acquainted with the different tones in which parents address their children.

“Son, why did you do that?” A mournful question, laden with unshed tears, brought on by the foolish choice of a young one.

“Perhaps if you tried it this way….’ A tender instruction, given with love to help the inexperienced nino learn more about a particular process.

“Don’t touch that!” “Stop that this instant!” “No!” Insistent, powerful commands intended to cause instant cessation of an undesirable activity. These were many, and oft-uttered, in the course of the author’s childhood, but the award for “Most Frequently Used Command” has to go to a three-word exclamation:

“Kids, GET OUT!”

In May of 2006, my parents finally decided–after several years of planning/dreaming–that we were going to completely renovate our house. As with any project of such scale, once work actually began, the scope of the job came more into focus as time went on. Before we began, my father was convinced that we could have everything done in a summer, and be moved back in before the rains came in September.

Before very long, it became apparent that such a rosy-eyed prediction was far from the reality of a now-dragging renovation. We had torn the house down to the bare skeleton (literally, the four outside, block walls and the foundation were all that remained), poured a foot of concrete on top of the walls, and set attic trusses that would contain the upstairs addition to our existing square footage. With July gone, and August flying by, the race was on to get the house “in the dry” before rains began to soak the Carolina foothills.

It didn’t happen. The rains came, the ground grew soggy, and still the roofing work dragged on. We began to see how very much we had bitten off, and yet we knew that we could not stop now–we were committed.

October passed, then November. At last, we began to feel that we were making progress: the roof decking was down, the sub-floor upstairs was installed, and the felt underlayment was nailed down–partially. The recurring winds/rain tore the tar-paper loose from the nails again and again in the six months it took us to install the metal roofing. From this we learned that do-it-yourself metal roofs should not include conflicting angles and multiple dormers–this makes for a long and complicated story that only involves grief and misery; I’ll spare you the details. 😉

Time passed, and the house was finally done. After three-and-a-half years, we were able to move back into the house and resume a somewhat normal life.

Photo Backup 1 from iPhone 079
The completed renovation.

Of course, some things changed.

One of the additions to our house was a nice-sized home office for my father (mostly storage space for his many books–nearly 4,000 volumes). At first, he didn’t seem to care who was in the office, but as time went on, and various items of importance got moved, “borrowed,” or just plain lost, Dad’s laissez faire attitude evaporated faster than a mud puddle in the Sahara.

Things came to a head one day when he came home and discovered yet another interloper in the office, using his computer without proper permission from appropriate authorities. Don’t ask me who–it wasn’t me, so I don’t remember. But I’ll never forget what happened next.

My dad barged into his office and rapped out the three-syllable command that would become a common refrain:

“Kids, GET OUT!”

Now, some of the more tolerant (less experienced with children?) members of my audience would decry such a stern outburst from a parent, but I tell you plainly: it worked! Like magic, the office was empty, and stayed that way for several days. The kids knew that Dad’s office was off limits, and they avoided it like a dog avoids an invisible fence. In time, the taboo lost effect, and the squatters reappeared, but so long as he remained vigilant and consistent in his enforcement, the sanctum remained untouched.

This humorous anecdote is more than an amusing tale; there is a principle here that has been sorely neglected–indeed, completely forgotten–in modern America.

Constitutional government involves constant, thorough attention to matters of importance which hardly anyone cares to focus on these days. After all, in the midst of the hustle and bustle, the rat-race to make a living and get ahead in the world, who has time to monitor the activities of the representatives we have elected to Congress and other governmental positions? Isn’t the purpose of electing such folks to remove the burden of daily concern with political matters?

Yes, this is partially true. It is also true that our system of government is intended to allow Congress to be a representation of the beliefs and principles of the populace. Furthermore, it is also true, as Jefferson stated, that “…the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.”

Unfortunately, the underlying moral base upon which our current system of government is dependent has been eroded over the past 100 years. Education reform (it’s been re-formed, and not necessarily bettered by it), national policies, and social pressures have all contributed to a systemic decline in our country’s social, moral, and political climate.

Today, our interests and ideas of an ideal country are so various that we are in the throes of “a conflict of visions,” as Thomas Sowell so aptly titled it. The number of people who subscribe to the notion that the government owes them a living is roughly equal with the number of people who ascribe to the traditional, American vision of independence and economic freedom for the individual. At least, such is the case, if the polls are to be believed without question. However, a more reasonable estimate would be that at least a third of the country is of the belief that the government should “help those in need.”

It is interesting–as a side-note–to observe that many of the charitable organizations in existence today were founded by men and women of the Christian faith and worldview. In point of fact, one of the fundamental principles of Scripture is for all to be concerned not only with their own affairs, but also with the needs of others.

The belief that the government should be the sole provider of such philanthropic considerations, however, is deeply rooted in a fundamentally pagan belief that the government is basically God to those under its domain. I say pagan, because–at the bare-bones level–this belief resembles the demand of Third-World dictators and regimes for total, unquestioning “loyalty” and “obedience” (just nice words for subservience and fear, really).

Further, the assumption by some in government today that the Founding Fathers would approve of the current state affairs is ludicrous, particularly when one considers quotes like the following from Thomas Jefferson: “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter [emphasis mine].”(1)

All this ties into the main subject of this article in two ways: first, it demonstrates to what extent the caliber of politicians has devolved since the days of Jefferson and Co.; and, secondly, it demonstrates to what extent people’s thinking has been reshaped by the education system, and political demagoguery so prevalent in today’s Washington, D.C.

The political system erected by this nation’s founders has survived to the extent that the representatives are still a microcosm of America at large. And it is sad to what extent that is true.

With only a few exceptions, (and none in a certain party), the members of Congress behave like many of their constituents: they act like spoiled brats.

Pueristocrats (remember that term from earlier?) are set on getting their way, no matter how many people they have to throw under the bus, or to the wolves, or wherever. They pitch tantrums, hold press conferences, and leak threatening memos that show just how strong they are. In reality, all it does is confirm what we already know about their all-consuming lust for monopolistic power over the lives of the poor, demented plebes that are the rest of us.

That’s you and me, folks, and that’s how they feel about us.

At times like this, watching the government “shut down” because our representatives in Washington can’t agree on how to spend imaginary money that nobody in the world has anyway (and thus, won’t lend to us), I can’t help but feel as though the good faith and laissez faire attitude of the American people is going the way of the aforementioned mud puddle. And, furthermore, I can hope that I know what will happen next.

We're Going to Stop Working
(2)

I’m waiting for the news media to show the film of thousands storming the capital in an organized, decent, and legal way, marching in with banners and signs waving. I’m waiting for someone to stand at the head of such a band of united, disgusted patriots, and–microphone in hand–thunder forth the words on everyone’s minds. I’m waiting for him to raise an arm and point a defiant finger at the chambers of the halls of Congress and the White House. I’m waiting for him to shout a thunderous, three-syllable command for the entire nation to hear.

“Kids, GET OUT!”

IMG_0511

Sources:

(1) brainyquotes.com

(2) Facebook–R. Lee Wrights

NOTE: “…the price of liberty…” quoted as memory served.

ALSO NOTE: Other photos not credited are original work of–and copyrighted by–David Crain, Jr. and The Southern Voice. © 2013, All Rights Reserved.

An Exciting Change

The Southern Voice is finally in the 2010’s era. After lagging for far too long, the admin has finally downloaded the WordPress mobile app! *loud cheers greet this announcement*

I, too, am thoroughly excited about this development, because it will free me somewhat from the need to be tied to a computer in order to post updates. Having a mobile app will also encourage me to publish some shorter, more precisely-worded updates from time to time. *further cheers* HEY! I heard those cheers, and I’m offended!!

Just teasing…we all know I’m too wordy sometimes.

Ok, ok….most of the time.

All right! I surrender! All the time.

Anyway, the mobile app is now firmly ensconced on the writer’s phone, and will be on the “frequently used” list–soon and permanently.

Thanks again for your continued patronage of this blog!

Sincerely,

David Crain
The Southern Voice Writer