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.

Featured

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.

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

Where, Oh Where Has “The Southern Voice” Gone?

For several weeks, I’ve been hearing from followers on both WordPress and Facebook, wondering where in the world I’ve been, and why I haven’t been blogging more often. I would like to take a moment to update all my followers with a long-overdue status update and outlook for the blog.

Most of the folks who follow this blog have been with me long enough to know that I’ve been in school on and off since the end of 2008. This past semester proved to be the busiest yet, with a full class load and a full-time job for the last month and a half of the semester. Nothing new for a self-financed college student, but this semester has been different.

The truth is, Facebook followers of The Southern Voice have an advantage over those who stick to WordPress. They’re in on the secret. And it’s a good one. That’s why I’m grinning like the cat that ate the canary.

Grinning like the cat that ate the canary
Grinning like the cat that ate the canary

There are many things that are cause for rejoicing. In the last year, I’ve gone from being unemployed, limping on a strained ankle, and without transportation to unrestricted ambulation (a medical professional’s term for walking normally, lol), owning a dependable, fuel-efficient vehicle, and working, not one, but two jobs.

But that’s not all.

After breaking my hip last June, I had to drop out of two summer courses at the school where I was enrolled. During the six months that followed, I spent a large amount of time reading, thinking, and pondering the ins and outs of life. It was during this time that a great number of this site’s post were written, including the series entitled, A Refreshing Pause. Instead of going off to Kings Point, New York, as planned, I stayed home, found work, and went back to school during the spring semester of 2013.

There are times in life when time seems to stand still, and nothing seems to be happening. The most amazing part of it is that these times are almost always directly followed by a time when life accelerates to a fever pitch, and everything begins to happen at once.

At the beginning of the semester, I re-enrolled in the math course I had been forced to drop, determined to follow through and finish the job this time. After sitting through the now-familiar orientation class period, I lit into the coursework with a vengeance. This time, I vowed, I would track the math down and kill it.

Okay, I’m becoming overzealous with my metaphors. Moving on…

I couldn’t help but notice that one of the tutors was a young lady about my age, but at first, I really didn’t think too much about that. I was fairly sure that she had a person of interest in her life, and I was preoccupied with school anyway, determined not to get distracted from my goal of finishing the educational course.

However, after two or three weeks in class, I began to notice that the young lady in question was not attached to anyone, as it were. Still determined to stay focused, I merely noted that fact and went on about my business. I could never have expected what happened next.

About two weeks after school started, I went into the math lab early to make up time for an absence. As I was sitting at the desk, with my nose in a book, I couldn’t help but overhear this girl telling another tutor about a “stalker dude” that was giving her trouble.

This “stalker dude” (he shall remain nameless, to protect the guilty) was nearly twice her age, and making all sorts of stupid comments, such that Hannah was feeling quite uncomfortable–indeed, threatened–while at her workplace.

At this point, I knew that I should do what I could to help, even if we never became more than acquaintances.

Having determined to do something, I “happened” to encounter Hannah in the hall later that evening. After a few nondescript pleasantries, I observed, “It sounds like you’ve had a rough day in the math lab today.” Her face fell. “Every day’s a rough day,” she said despondently. “I feel like I’m doing something wrong to draw that much attention to myself.”

(I should mention here that Hannah never did anything indiscreet that would have drawn attention to herself, and was always professional and modest, both in demeanor and attire.)

“No, not at all,” I told her, “It’s guys like that that are the problem. They paint targets on whoever they want.” She brightened a bit as she looked at me and asked, “Do you really think so?” I nodded, adding without hesitation, “I’m a guy, so you can take it from me: you are not doing anything to attract undue attention to yourself. Ok?” She nodded, and a smile crept onto her face as she answered, “Okay.” Then, just as suddenly, her face fell again. “That still doesn’t solve my problem…”

I nodded. “I know.” I knew that now was my only chance to take the plunge, so I drew a deep breath and bailed off, “If you want, I can walk you out to your car after work tonight.”

Her eyes widened; clearly, she was surprised I would even offer. “Really? That would be great!” “All right,” I said, “It’s settled then.”

If you have stuck it out thus far, thanks for your patience. I’ll move more quickly now.

Since my math class was the last one on the schedule for the two nights I was there, it fell perfectly into both our routines for me to escort Miss Hannah to her car, and for a week or two, that was the extent of our contact with one another. As time went on, we began to spend a few minutes together before my class (it just so happened that was when her break fell in the schedule). One day, about three weeks after we had begun talking to one another, her father and brothers walked into the hall where we were talking. They said they had come to “talk to” the other fellow, the one who was bothering their daughter/sister, but Hannah later told me they had come to meet me, too.

I don’t remember much of what we said that night, but for some reason, her dad took a liking to me, and told Hannah that if it worked out that we became more than friends, that was fine with him.

That was nearly seven months ago. Not only is she my best friend, but she is the one person in the world I feel like I couldn’t live without.

Hannah and Me
Hannah and Me

Today, I am thankful for the way that the Lord worked in my life, orchestrating circumstances and locations so that I would meet Hannah just when I did, and be in the frame of mind that I was when I met her. Although I didn’t set out to find a “person of interest,” I firmly believe that the Lord moves people as He sees fit, and that He had more than just a wonderful friendship in mind for the two of us, long before last semester.

All that being said, where does that leave The Southern Voice? Well, there are other things afoot. My work situation is still in a bit of a flux, so I’m sometimes pressed to find time to post. At the moment, however, it looks like I’ll be able to post at least once a week. As time permits, I’ll continue to post on a more regular basis.

I would like to conclude this rather lengthy post by thanking my readers who have stuck with me throughout the course of the last year, through both showers and droughts of writing. It is your patronage that encourages the heart of this writer, and helps to motivate him to write posts for your reading enjoyment and mental provocation (After all, one of the things I strive to do is stimulate thoughtful contemplation of life.). Although I enjoy writing for writing’s sake, it is even more enjoyable to know that other people are reading what I write, and enjoying–and perhaps profiting–from what I have written.

Here’s to many more years of blogging together! Long may reading–and writing–continue in this forum!

For writing’s sake,

David

The (Happily Taken) Southern Voice Writer

Bloomberg: The Capeless Crusader

Bloomberg: The Capeless Crusader

Bloomberg is a man who never sleeps, apparently.

His zeal for public health and safety is unabated, despite a resounding “No,” from the courts in response to his ridiculous legislation banning large cups and bottles of soda. Now, the “capeless crusader” has turned once again to the item which health crusaders attack most often and most viciously: cigarettes and other forms of smoking tobacco.

The Capeless Crusader: Tireless Defender of Everyone Else's Health
The Capeless Crusader: Tireless Defender of Everyone Else’s Health

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t endorse smoking, nor do I smoke. But neither do I endorse the government-funded war on smoking. My reason for this is simple: smoking is not healthy, it’s true. But neither is eating too much. And the zealots are already turning toward overeating as their next crusade, starting with a seemingly innocuous requirement that restaurants post calorie content of each menu item. Today, require caloric content to be posted. Tomorrow, completely ban the food items that are the unhealthiest.

All that aside, I think the Mayor’s actions speak for themselves. And they say . . .

And they say . . .

Well, what do you think?

Can’t Sleep? Post…

Yes, it’s true. Time Change Sunday caught me prepared for a change…don’t everybody fall over dead at once, now. Instead of feeling dead to the world, tired, and ready for a good night’s sleep, I’m wide awake and suffering a mild case of insomnia. 😛

So, not wanting this time to be a complete waste I hop on the ‘net and find…..

A refreshing dose of sanity.

South Dakota is now my favorite state. Well, almost. NC is still my favorite.

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Go on…you know you want to…

Oh, and by the way, South Dakota Legislature? I came up with the idea.

Now, about those royalties….

That's right. I'm gonna ". . . make you an offer [you] can't refuse."
That’s right. I’m gonna “. . . make you an offer [you] can’t refuse.”

Poem: God Give Us Men!

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An American Statesman — Senator Rand Paul

In honor of Senator Rand Paul (and his recent filibuster), here is an incredibly relevant poem that is a prayer for men who aren’t afraid to lead. There are several lines that stood out to me as readily observable characteristics of this man among boys in Washington, but I will leave the entire poem in original form, invite you to read it (it’s quite brief), and then comment and tell me which lines you saw that reminded you of something about this statesman.

God give us men! A time like this demands

Strong minds, great hearts, true faith, and ready hands;

Men who the lust of office does not kill;

Men whom the spoils of office cannot buy;

Men who possess opinions and a will;

Men who have honor; men who will not lie;

Men who can stand before a demagogue

And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking!

Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog

In public duty and in private thinking;

For while the rabble, with their thumb-worn creeds,

Their large professions and their little deeds,

Mingle in selfish strife, lo! Freedom weeps,

Wrong rules the land and waiting Justice sleeps.

— Josiah Gilbert Holland

Brief, but powerful–and laden with commentary on our day, even though it was written over a hundred years ago.

Do you see any characteristics of Senator Rand Paul in this poem? Do you disagree with my classification of him as a statesman?