Category Archives: What I’m Reading

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.

Irony Abounds 0024: ObamaCare Penalties

Reading someone’s “ObamaCare FAQ” list (that ought to tell you everything you need to know, right there), I stumbled across this little gem, buried in the section on penalties for not buying insurance (remember, ObamaCare mandates that everyone buy health insurance):

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How’s that again?

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Carrots, Eggs, or Coffee: Which Are You?

This interesting anecdote should make you stop and think before you proclaim that you are a victim of your circumstances. Circumstances are things that are beyond our control, there is no doubt….but our reaction to them is firmly planted in the realm of things we can contain and control.

(NOTE: Not an original article. Copied from Huntington, Long Island, NY. Minimally edited for clarity and grammar. Enjoy!)

Words of Wisdom from Grandma

Words of Wisdom from Grandma

Grandmother: “Carrots, Eggs, or Coffee — Which Are You?”

A young woman went to her grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as soon as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the third she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, “Tell me, what do you see?”

“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” the girl replied.

Grandma brought the young lady closer and asked her to feel the carrots. The girl did and noted that they had become soft. Grandma then asked her granddaughter to take an egg and break it.After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.

Finally, Grandma asked the girl to sip the coffee. The granddaughter smiled, as she tasted its rich flavor, then asked, “What’s the point,grandmother?”

Her grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity–boiling water–but each reacted differently.

The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

“Which are you?” she asked her granddaughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?”

Think of this: Which am I?

Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff?

Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.

When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate to another level?

—AUTHOR UNKNOWN

(NOTE: This article shows how an ordinary person can use ordinary objects to impart extraordinary wisdom and common sense that will serve us well in life.

While I don’t agree with every iota of philosophy expressed in this story [think, last two paragraphs], I really like the principle the three objects’ transformations illustrate. More on my interpretation in a future post.)

Obama to the People: Get Humble…NOW!

At the National Prayer Breakfast this year, Obama called for more humility in our great democracy, stating that this is what we need to accomplish many of our goals.

“In a democracy as big and as diverse as ours,” he opined, “we will encounter every opinion. And our task as citizens—whether we are leaders in government or business or spreading the word—is to spend our days with open hearts and open minds; to seek out the truth that exists in an opposing view and to find the common ground that allows for us as a nation, as a people, to take real and meaningful action.”

(Collin Garbarino posted an interesting article on this subject over at Reflection and Choice. Read the full text here.)

Really? The President insulates himself from the real world, refuses to play ball on spending cut deals with Congress, sends his children to one of the most exclusive schools in the country (one with its own security staff of 11 armed guards, no less), and then preaches to the populace that they should be more “humble” in order to further the end of democracy in America.

Really?

This is completely ridiculous, much like a parent instructing his child to “do as I say, and not as I do,” and then punishing the child for committing an indiscretion  of which the parent is also guilty. It’s akin to a father having an acces de colere because his son uses 45% of the trust fund to make a down-payment on a Ferrari, when the father is concurrently spending 90% of his income on cruises on a casino ship. It’s like a father chastising his son for being an arrogant pain in the rear, when he holds his nose so high that he needs umbrellas for his nostrils so he doesn’t drown in a rainstorm.

Honestly, it also seems rather foolish for the President to so urge the nation to be more “humble.” What is that supposed to mean? Are we supposed to cave in to your every demand, Mr. President? He sneers at us from the bully pulpit of the White House, and though his words are always couched in the language of deference to democracy, behind them is the arrogance of the elitist, the pompousness of the monarch, and the inflexible will of the despot.

"Listen here, America, ya better get humble....NOW!"

“Listen here, America, ya better get humble….NOW!”

His message is clear, “Get humble, America, and bow to my will….or I’ll make you do it.”

Well, Mr. President, I humbly suggest that you begin to lead by example. All you have to do is look at the past history of this nation to see that its greatest leaders were those who lived out their ideals for all to see. I would agree that you have done so as well, but your rhetoric is far afield of the ruts in which you’re driving. If you want people to be more “humble,” how about showing us what that means? No more hiding behind buzz words, bully pulpits, and massive bills written behind closed doors, rushed through Congress, and rammed down the nation’s throat before they’ve had a chance to read it. No more executive orders to help you perpetrate end-runs around the Constitution and the Congress, two of the most important institutions in our governmental system. No more petulant refusal (reminiscent of a two-year-old who can’t get his way) to broker deals with Congress because they won’t give you what you want.

Mr. President, perhaps you should get humble…now!

What do you think is the significance of President Obama’s declaration? Why would he say we need to have more humility? Do you think he really is interested in promoting greater cooperation, humility and dialogue?

Something to think about…and discuss!

–David

The Southern Voice Writer

Friedman: Greed, the Free Market, and the Constitution

Having recently finished the excellent book, Capitalism and Freedom, by Milton Friedman (and at the further urging of a good friend), I was spurred by my insatiable curiosity to hunt up more of what Friedman had to say. In the course of obeying this impulsion, I found this video on YouTube of the late Dr. Milton Friedman answering the three-part question of an espousee of the progressive mindset. Very informative, and I thoroughly agree with the title: Friedman does indeed crush this man’s doubtful disputation with the facts.

Incidentally, near the end–where he speaks about using the Constitution to control the government–is particularly telling.

And this video, though brief, demonstrates Friedman’s ability to totally disarm an opponent’s entire method of attack by addressing, in a series of questions, the inconsistencies in the underlying ideology. Also notice how he turns the very same questions the host asked around and requires him to answer them (or try to do so). This is from an interview on Phil Donahue’s show, from 1979. Fascinating!

“Nothing New Under the Sun”

Many people who reference the title statement of this post may not realize that it is actually an almost-perfect quote from the Scriptures. Nearly 3,000 years old, this statement appears in the book of Ecclesiastes, and was written by King Solomon of Israel, around 977 B.C. It is taken from Ecclesiastes 1:9. The context surrounding this verse runs as follows:

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us. There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after [emphasis mine].” — Ecclesiastes 1:9-11

In our modern day, technology and a decaying education system have meshed to create a generation with no attention span, and increasingly, no memory. Even in this author’s lifetime, the attitude toward feats of memory–and what defines such feats–has changed radically. People quoting extensive passages of Shakespeare or other writers to illustrate a point was once commonplace; today, people regard someone possessed of such knowledge with something bordering on awestruck disbelief. Increasingly, too, people scoff at the idea that someone who wrote hundreds of years ago could have anything to say that is “relevant” to the world today, and the situations in which we now find ourselves.

However, this Scripture passage flies in the face of the belief that all truth is relative, and that there are no overarching–universal–truths and principles that apply to every man in every age.

Today, as I was browsing some articles relating to current events in America, I chanced upon an author’s personal website, which had a “quote for the day” displayed in a side-bar much like the one that appears to the right of this post. The quote ran as follows:

The oligarch and the tyrant both distrust the people, and thus deprive them of their arms.

–Aristotle

(Interested in seeing this page for yourself? Go here to see the quote, and let me recommend reading the articles Paul Jacob has written on this subject–after you finish reading my article.) 😉

Since I’ve now ignited your curiosity to go and see what Paul Jacob is writing about, I’ll carry on for another forty-two paragraphs.

Just kidding! I’m nearly finished.

I’ve written for weeks now about the importance of pausing to think about things we see, hear and read; now, I’d like to ask you to begin to apply those principles to the information above, as well as to the conclusions Mr. Jacob reaches in his columns listed on his website. What are some of the thoughts these things prompt in your mind? Is there any correlation between the principle in Ecclesiastes 1:9-11 and the quote from Aristotle? If so, what application might these quotes have to current events?

Here’s your chance to contribute to this blog!

An Invitation: Get the Facts, Join the Debate

Have you ever visited Townhall.com? This liberty-minded website carries articles by many well-educated and articulate authors whose views are the exact opposite of many in the mainstream media. And yes, for you conservatives who are convinced that such a person cannot exist, they do, and their numbers are surprisingly high.

If your primary source of news is the television, reading the articles on this site may be quite a shock to your system that’s been acclimatized to the bias and spin the major networks put on their stories; therefore, I recommend that you consider easing into this new routine. Read an article or two a day as a beginning. After a week or two, increase your intake to four or five. After a month, go to ten if you have time. After a couple months, consider signing up for the Townhall Daily email, which will deliver ten to fifteen columns on subjects you specify.

You may have to step out of your comfort zone to begin this process of considering alternative views. Will it be easy? No, probably not. Listening to those who disagree with us on points of opinion is always hard. I’ve addressed people with whom I come in contact on this issue for nearly two years now, and I still struggle to allow someone who disagrees with me have their say in a debate. Reason tells me, however, that doing this is the only way to engage someone in a rational debate and have a chance of changing their mind.

The truth is, while some seem to think that everyone is as set in their ways and opinions as they are, many people haven’t given some of these topics a whole lot of thought. To be successful in engaging and winning over the culture, we must go out and kindly encourage people to consider both sides of an issue before coming to a conclusion.

I’d like to recommend one article as a jumping-off point. Larry Elder has written “‘Gun Culture’ — What About the ‘Fatherless Culture?’” This extremely insightful article that delves past the surface and addresses one of the major issues of American society, and is an example par excellence of the rational and thoughtful analysis behind the columns on this site.

So, my fellow Americans (undecideds, moderates, and liberals alike), let me invite you to consider another point of view: the logical view. Visit Townhall.com today, and let’s begin a journey toward rational, reasoned, logical thought and debate.

I’ve already stepped out on this path…will you join me?