Friday, October 23, 2009

Political Musings…

Have things gotten so bad in the U. S. that our collective political frustrations could actually lead some people to commit acts of political violence? Could some people's words actually incite some people to commit acts of political violence? These are questions many Americans seem to be asking themselves these days.

The U.S. has a very long history of civil unrest and political violence, so it should come as no surprise to us, especially during politically frustrating times, that politically violent acts (of various types) will likely be committed by some people. Well chosen words can incite powerful emotions, and well chosen words concerning genuine political issues and the frustrations which accompany them, can certainly incite some people to act violently. To think that words can have no effect upon people whatsoever—either toward their pursuing good actions or for ill—is simply ridiculous. Words are very powerful; "more powerful", it is said, "than the sword".

Monday, October 12, 2009

Private Property, Liberty, and Tyranny

"[A]ccording to Thomas [Aquinas], he [the ruler] may not take private property beyond what public need requires, though strictly speaking property is an institution of Human rather than Natural law. Above all, the rulership of one man over another must not take away the free moral agency of the subject. No man is bound to obedience in all respects and even the soul of the slave is free (a doctrine Aristotle would hardly have understood). It is for this reason that the resistance of tyranny is not only a right but a duty."

George H. Sabine, A History of Political Theory, Third Edition (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1937, 1950, 1961; 1965) pp. 255-256

This natural law principle is the philosophical anchor of American political theory. And it's why a leftist/Marxist style revolution can never succeed in the U. S. As I've said previously, any successful revolution is the U. S. would have to be premised upon our individual right to private property and liberty and the premise itself is based upon natural law.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a believer in natural law and it was the philosophical basis of his successful non-violent social liberation movement. In his Letter from Birmingham Jail, King asked: "

"How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal .law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distort the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority."

King's non-violent revolutionary movement had a sound philosophical basis: the individual's right—by virtue of their humanity—to private property and liberty, which has been the basis of Western civilization and law for centuries. And this is why the movement was ultimately successful. Any revolutionary movement for the liberty of the oppressed in America, if it's to be successful, must be based upon these to fundamental concepts, which are themselves based upon natural law: private property and individual liberty.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Today’s Marxism?

There are a couple of Marxist discussion groups here in Tucson and I would like to check them out. I am very interested in what today's Marxist might be thinking. Marxism has always been very idealistic, and since Marxism never delivered on its promise to the workers (i.e., that the workers would run things because the state would, after the revolution, no longer be necessary), I would think that most Marxists would be very disillusioned with the philosophy. I am interested in finding out why Marxism appeals to anyone today.

One of the Marxist discussion groups meets at the Revolutionary Grounds coffee/book store, while the other, an international socialist organization, meets at another locally owned coffee shop here in town. I will probably visit both groups sometime soon and I hope to learn much from the people I will meet and discuss Marxism with. There are certainly some aspects of Marxist thought that could be useful during any political/economic circumstances, but I fail to see how it could ever realistically imagined as being a viable sociopolitical/economic philosophy in the United States of America.

The U. S. has always held to a very conservative sociopolitical/economic philosophy that values to things above all else: private property and individual liberty. Marxism believes private property and individual liberty need to be abolished and I fail to see how anyone can actually believe the utopian Marxist vision of the future could take place anywhere, especially here in America; it's just not going to happen, People come to the U. S. looking for individual liberty and freedom; not to join a collective.

Marxism is revolutionary, but any successful revolution here in the U. S. would have to be based upon the government's infringement upon people's private properties and their individual liberties; the two principles we value above all else. The Marxist believes these two principles need to be done away with because they are the root causes of our sociopolitical/economic problems, which can be solved by the revolutionary socialistic abolition of private properties and individual liberties.

The Marxist ideology has never had much of an appeal here in the U. S., and I don't think that it ever will. So, I'm curious about why some people here in Tucson are Marxists today. I imagine they are idealistic and revolutionary, which are very practical aspects of Marxism, but I doubt that anyone really believes the worker's revolution can usher us into a brave new world wherein neither private property nor individual liberties can interfere with the desired harmony of the shared collective.

Friday, October 9, 2009



This is the title of a small booklet, which is published by Starbucks, introducing their life changing microbrew instant coffee: VIA.

When I saw the little red VIA booklet at Starbucks, I was immediately reminded of Chairman Mao's Little Red Book.
On the very first page of the Starbucks booklet, below the title quoted above, with black text printed on a red background, it says: "*(OKAY, WE ADMIT THAT'S A SLIGHT OVER-PROMISE, BUT LET'S FACE IT, IT IS REVOLUTIONARY.)"

"REVOLUTIONARY"? Hmmm…I guess I was correct in recognizing the similarities between Chairman Mao's little red book and the VIA booklet from Starbucks. The VIA booklet resembles Mao's book intentionally.

It's odd that a corporation as large as Starbucks, with all of the money it's spending on marketing its new product (VIA), would choose to mimic the appearance of the workers revolution. I'm sure someone at Starbucks thought that "the revolutionary red look" was a great idea for marketing VIA, but it does makes one wonder. Maybe Starbucks is linking up with FARC down in Columbia?

Who knows? I know the booklet appears to be marketing VIA as being very useful to our performance in any place and at any time of day. What it’s doing is pushing the number one selling drug in the world: caffeine.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

What Does the Gospel Have to Do With the Poor and the Oppressed?

What does the Gospel have to do with the poor? St. Luke tells us that Christ said: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed" (Luke 4:18).

The Gospel belongs especially to the poor. St. Luke tells us that "…he [Christ] lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: 'Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God'" (Luke 6:20). St. James instructs us concerning the poor and of how they have been chosen by God to believe the Gospel: "Listen, my beloved brethren. Has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which he has promised to those who love him?" (James 2:5).

Off the top of my head, I can think of two nations that use poor foreigners to do work within their societies while building a wall/fence to keep poor foreigners out of their societies: The United States and Israel. The U. S. uses poor Mexicans to do work within their society while building a wall/fence to keep poor Mexicans out of their society. Israel uses poor Palestinians to do work within their society while building a wall/fence to keep poor Palestinians out of their society.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Israel, Eschatology, and Oppression

You might not think it possible, but an erroneous eschatology has caused its adherents to actively support the organized oppression of innocent peoples in the Middle East. Israel's existence as a nation is thought by many people, especially fundamentalist and evangelical Christians, to be the fulfillment of God's plan for the Last Days.

The term eschatology is a theological term, which comes from the Greek word eschatos, meaning: last. Christians who hold to what is known as pre-millennial eschatology believe the world is getting worse and that Christ's second coming is soon at hand. They also believe the sudden appearance of Christ will initiate what is known as the Rapture of the Church, which could occur at any moment.

No one can really understand the problems in the Middle East without a working knowledge of the area's history and religions. Christians who adhere to pre-millennial eschatology support Israel's right to exist in the Middle East because they believe that God (in the Bible) has promised the Holy Land to Israel. Fundamentalist Jews, which include many Israeli settlers, also believe this to be true; although their eschatology is much different from that of the Christians. The one commonly held belief between fundamentalist Jews and Christians, as it expresses itself today, is the belief that the geographical area traditionally known as Palestine doesn't belong to the Palestinians; it belongs to the Jews.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

An American Economic Bloc

I've long thought that a good long-term economic plan for the Americas would include a common currency. Much like the Euro in Europe, the Amero would be the currency used throughout the Americas.

Thinking of the Americas as an economic union might seem unthinkable, but it's really not. Actually, it makes a lot of sense. The combined U. S. and Brazilian economies alone would be a formidable player in global economics. But the first reaction first world people have to the idea of the Americas having one currency is one of fear. The fear our first world nation will be drawn down to second or (God forbid) third world status. In truth, the U.S. would likely become more like a second world nation and the third world nations throughout the Americas would become more like second world nations too. And that seems fair. Yet this is unacceptable to most first world peoples.

Economically speaking, we pretty much have anything we might need right here in the Americas. The Western Hemisphere is our side of the planet, and with the combined resources of every nation in the Americas united in one economic bloc we would possess more economic strength than any other nation or union of nations. The global economy, at this point in time, should both be expanded, to include all of the Americas and, as much as possible, be restricted to our side of the world.

If we Americans—North, Central, and South—will unite in a common struggle to survive together, as one economic force, we will be far better off than we are right now and there's no telling the benefits we would reap from it. God, in his wisdom, has given us this land, a New World, and from that land he provides us with all we will ever need; if we will only learn to cooperate and share with one another.