I pride myself on not being an ethnocentric American. I have traveled the world and served in third World Countries. I studied Anthropology in college and keep myself abreast of most world events. But as we libertarians spout a return to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and balance of power in the government, we look at the world through our red, white and blue glasses with no view for understanding-myself included.
A case in point is our harsh judgment of UKIP (United Kingdom Independent Party) as libertarians. They are touted as the Libertarian party of the UK, yet most American libertarians when presented with their party platforms and listening to their speeches, give them a “thumbs down” in the Libertarian assessment pool. UKIP is making some huge strides in the political realm of Great Britain. Their membership has reached a whopping 28% in EU elections (where they recently won their first seats) and polling at 15% in the general elections. Its American counterpart polls around 8%. This is especially impressive considering UKIP is about 20 years younger than the US Libertarian Party.
The reality of my skewed interpretation of UKIP hit me between the eyes or, I suppose ears, recently as I listened to Robin Koerner of Blue Republican Radio as he interviewed the Chair of UKIP, Steven Crowther. http://dailypaulradio.com/ukip-libertarian-interview-stephen-crowther/
We, as Americans, measure liberty by our culture and our Americanized view of the world. Two of the measures of liberty we fight for are freedom to bear arms and free market health care. We view both of these as an important measure of limiting government and, therefore, important libertarian issues.
When presented with these issues Mr. Crowther could not comprehend them as an important libertarian issue. In the culture of the UK, a society free of weapons (even in the case of the police) and unlimited free health care, is a benevolent function of government. It was in his view almost revered.
Never mind the fact that more medical breakthroughs have happened thanks to the free market medical system of the US. There is also the American clichéd view of Brits not having straight white teeth like the American obsession due to their social medicine. Had the British soldier who was knifed to death by militant Islamists been armed, he wouldn’t have lost his life. But I digress back to my American paradigm.
In any case listening to Mr. Crowther’s confusion at Mr. Koerner’s insistence on the importance of these issues for liberty caused me to recognize my own bias and lack of understanding of the differences between us.
It also struck me that if we strive for liberty in all areas we may be like the lion in the circus, who when presented with the three legged stool, not knowing which one to focus on, is controlled by the trainer. Maybe, like UKIP, who focus on getting out of the EU and immigration reform, we can take a few key issues, that are most important to Americans-like privacy and decriminalizing drug use. Then we can win them over for Liberty and a better America.
So goes the song by the group We As Human. Just when I thought the hardness of my heart had been broken away, I find that there was another layer to remove. Like the fine chrysalis of the caterpillar as it begins to transform into the butterfly. It is at first transparent so that the transformation is visible and the chrysalis pliable. And so this first layer of the chrysalis clung to me while the hard outer exterior had broken away. Though it did not imprison me like the stone like shell I once wore, that immobilized my heart and blinded my soul, it enslaved me nonetheless. I was enslaved by the illusion of love. It made me believe that being desired was enough. This kept me safe from the risk of real love with the possibility of real rejection. But real love came along and the illusion torn away by the pain that real love brings. And once again my heart has room to grow and has no barrier to sharing love with others. Once again my broken heart is the path to my freedom. Its pain is the path to joy. “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
I watched the season finale of Fargo last night. I saw nearly all of the episodes. Once again I find myself compelled to analyze a piece of popular culture. I realize that “Game of Thrones” is the TV show that dominated television with its season finale on Sunday. The themes in Game of Thrones, however, are more than I can stomach. When it comes to popular culture, I do draw the line at a certain point.
Fargo the TV show, like Fargo the 1996 Coen Brother’s movie, juxtaposes the innocent, nearly simpleminded residents of North Dakota with the bumbling criminals and their associations with true evildoers.
The mood and cinematography of the show is similar to that of the movie. It is dark and brooding, set against the pure winter white of the Dakotan landscape. The violence is unforgiving, and another strange dichotomy, set against the simple bucolic life of the North Dakotan town folk. The graphic nature of the show’s violence further confirms my premise in my blog (Is Violence The New Porn?). In the finale we got the privilege of watching Billy Bob Thornton’s character Lorne Malvo set his own broken leg with a large enough wound that we see the bone.
Lorne Malvo comes to his demise at the hand of Gus one of the innocent, good characters in the story. Lorne Malvo is bad- “muey mal” as they say in Spanish. He embodies the guiltless, sociopath.
What struck me was that the truly good characters were untouched by their exposure to the evil in the story.
Writer Noah Hawley tells Fresh Air’s Dave Davies. “And I think what people like is this romantic idea that you go off and you face evil and you come back and your reward is to lead a simple life. And you don’t have to go on this dark journey where you’re some demon-hunter who is haunted.”
It reminded me of many admonitions to Christians in the Bible about being “in the world and not of it” and being “wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16. These describe how evil can be all around you, and yet, leave your soul, your character, and your essence untouched.
This wasn’t true of all of the characters. Lester, the bumbling criminal turns from causing a second degree homicide to a first degree murderer from his first wife’s death to that of his second wife’s.
What is the difference between these characters that some would be unscathed, while others would be enticed and destroyed by evil? In Fargo, and I think in reality, it is your support system-your friends, family and those who spend the most time with you. Gus and Molly have each other and the wise, goodness of their mentor-Molly’s father Lou.
Lou describes evil to Malvo- somehow sensing it.
I saw something that year I ain’t ever seen, before or since.
I’d call it animal. Except animals only kill for food.
This was… Sioux Falls. Ever been?
The Bible concurs with this:
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Eccl.4:9-10
Lester on the other hand, a loner, is drawn like a magnet to Malvo. He is the only person in the story that has a true relationship with him. The Bible has something to say regarding this as well.
1 Corinthians 15:33
Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.”
And so, Lester’s corruption leads ultimately to his death.
In the end, we see Molly and Gus watching ” Deal or No Deal” on TV with Gus’s daughter Greta, as they await the birth of their new child. Although Gus has murdered Malvo, he is untouched by the act, and redeemed by the fact that it was done to protect his family.
It was an interesting journey into the darkness of evil. I- for one- will be haunted by it and remember its lessons.
Wonder what season 2’s journey will be?
A new bill was passed in California meant to put a stop to sexual assaults on college campuses. It narrows the definition of consent in sexual relations and increases the opportunity for prosecution of assault.
Is the real problem a sexual revolution gone awry? We live in a culture where men are the winners and women the losers when it comes to sexual freedom and promiscuity. When did I as a woman consent to that?
Relationships for the majority of America’s young adults are reduced to sexual hookups. In an article based on a study done at the University of Pennsylvania one participant describes it this way:
“It’s kind of like a spiral,” she said. “The girls adapt a little bit, because they stop expecting that they’re going to get a boyfriend — because if that’s all you’re trying to do, you’re going to be miserable. But at the same time, they want to, like, have contact with guys.” So they hook up and “try not to get attached.”
And the article goes on to reveal the dark side of this “hook-up” culture that leads to assault:
Women said universally that hookups could not exist without alcohol, because they were for the most part too uncomfortable to pair off with men they did not know well without being drunk. One girl, explaining why her encounters freshman and sophomore year often ended with fellatio, said that usually by the time she got back to a guy’s room, she was starting to sober up and didn’t want to be there anymore, and giving the guy oral sex was an easy way to wrap things up and leave.
It is a catch-22. The women get drunk in order to consent to the “hook-up” culture and being drunk blurs the lines of consent and assault in these sexual encounters. More from the article:
In a 2007 survey funded by the Justice Department of 6,800 undergraduates at two big public universities, nearly 14 percent of women said they had been victims of at least one completed sexual assault at college; more than half of the victims said they were incapacitated from drugs or alcohol at the time.
Some may argue that sexuality is equally pleasurable for men and women so there is no reason to say that women are the losers in this hook-up culture. Biology says otherwise:
Men aren’t “exploring their sexuality” when they have sex without strings attached. They’re doing what for many of them comes naturally. Conversely, it isn’t natural for women to have sex without strings attached—and there’s an easy answer as to why: oxytocin. The female body is steeped in oxytocin and estrogen, two chemicals that together produce an environment ripe for attachment. Oxytocin causes a woman to bond with the person with whom she’s intimately engaged. It also acts as a gauge to help her determine whether or not she should trust the person she’s with.
Men have oxytocin, too, but a smaller amount. They’re more favored with testosterone—which controls lust, not attachment. That’s why women, not men, wait by the phone the next day after a one-night stand. That’s why the movie He’s Just Not That Into You wasn’t titled She’s Just Not That Into You. When a woman has sexual contact of any kind, it’s an emotional experience—whether she intends it to be or not. The moment touch occurs, oxytocin gets released and the attachment process begins. It just doesn’t happen the same way for men. Call it unfair, but there it is.
I believe it is time for women to take back their sexual power and no longer consent to a culture that leaves them unfulfilled and on the losing end of a proposition. Let’s start a love revolution and balance the Economy of Sex. Then maybe the ambiguity of assault will be a thing of the past because sexuality will be about love and commitment and not “hook-ups”.
It is a story as old as the one of the rich, young ruler in the Bible. When he asked Jesus “What must I do to be saved?”
21 Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Matthew 19:21,22
So many in the world today are like the seeds in the parable of the sower.
The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced.
They are lured by the trappings of this life-money, success, lust, power, greed-like shiny toys that a child will not lay down. When presented with the gospel of Christ and the promise of eternal life they cannot give up the pleasures of this world.
It reminds me of the story of how indigenous people catch monkeys in the Amazon. They place a piece of candy inside a coconut. When the monkey makes a fist around the candy to take it, its hand is too big to come back out of the coconut. For the price of a piece of candy the monkey loses his freedom and ultimately his life.
But obedience to Christ has reward in this life as well. Nothing in this life compares to peace with God through Christ and the adventure of a life following Him. In my book Confessions of a Christian Twi-hard, I share about some of the adventures and rewards that I have experienced in my life. The saga continues as God continues to bless my life of obedience and service to Him.
CS Lewis describes it well:
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, and Other Addresses
There is a promise in the Bible
Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
Who other than the One that created you would know the true desires of your heart? When I look at the rewards of obedience, I am amazed at how God has met needs and fulfilled dreams beyond what I could ever imagine.
I dare you to prove me wrong. Surrender to Him and give him your life and tell me that you do not find more joy than the piece of candy in the coconut that enslaves you.
In my blog Rhett Butler-Libertarian I discuss the Liberty Movement in America and how it crosses party lines. There has been some interesting movement between the Libertarian Party with a capital “L” and those who espouse libertarian values with a small “l” in other political parties-particularly the Republican Party. Candidates who embrace the tenets of the Libertarian Party but feel that their chances for getting elected will be better in the “D” or “R” party are led like lambs to the slaughter within the Bi-partisan wolf packs of these parties. This was evident in the 2012 presidential election in the way that Dr. Ron Paul was bypassed in the Republican Convention despite his popularity in the primaries.
As the results are finalized for the 2014 California Primary, once again Republican shenanigans have squelched the efforts of those candidates bearing the small “l” in their philosophies and political polices. Money was infused into the campaigns of the candidates who would maintain the status quo of the Republican political machine. In one district, it was evident that a candidate was purposely moved to the district to oppose the “libertarian” Republican opponent and thousands of dollars were given to his campaign by an “establishment” republican benefactor. Libertarian ideals are dangerous, according to Governor Chris Christie and the powers that be are eliminating the danger. This was evident in several of the races in California. The small “l” libertarians were shut down by their “own” Republican party.
I had the privilege of hearing from and meeting Governor Gary Johnson at the Washington State Libertarian Party Convention in Seattle, Washington on May 30-31, 2014. I had the great honor of Governor Johnson allowing me to join him for breakfast at the hotel coffee shop for an individual conversation with him, as well. Gov. Johnson served as Governor of New Mexico under the Republican brand but ran for president as a Libertarian and continues to affiliate with the big “L” as he considers another shot at the White House in 2016.
After recently hearing the speech of small “l” Rand Paul at UC Berkeley, it was refreshing to hear from a true capital “L” Libertarian who not only espouses libertarian values but proudly wears the brand of the Libertarian Party. Other candidates who are “lovers of liberty” would be better served by following Governor Johnson’s example by joining the party who will embrace and support them rather than the more powerful parties who will sabotage their efforts.
I was impressed by the charisma of Governor Johnson, something I had previously not seen in the small amount of media exposure that he received during the 2012 elections.
I loved his opening story about Big Boy the rapper from Outcast who was asked if he still experiences racism. He said, ”Yes I was approached by a woman in an airport in California who said ‘ you must be happy that your guy won’( meaning Obama) I told her “b_ _ _ _, I voted for Gary Johnson!” This apparently has become a popular bumper sticker in Florida!
Here are some of the Libertarian Party’s Values and how Governor Johnson is a proponent of them:
-As Governor, Gary Johnson vetoed more bills than all of the 49 other governors combined
-Abolish the IRS, income tax and corporate tax- implement a national consumption tax and reduce govt by 25%
-use the consumption tax to fund Medicare and Medical
-Abolish the Federal Department of Education –for every 11 cents that the FDE gave to the state of New Mexico during his service it cost the state 16 cents to follow federal compliance rules.
-reduce term limits
Strengthen the Free Market
-School Choice Vouchers to promote Free Market competition to improve education
-insurance for catastrophic health care only to stimulate free market in health care
-create a level playing field where everyone has an equal shot at growing their businesses
Increase personal freedom
-Repeal the Patriot Act
-No Department of Homeland Security
-De-felonize drug use
-observe the 2nd amendment
-uphold the constitution
-eliminate the death penalty and the possibility of any innocent being executed
-allow for work visas for immigrants who want to come here to work –consumption tax would provide resources
Non- Aggression Policy
-stop our military interventions which are creating enemies around the world. Drone strikes have no due process and take out more lives by thousands than just the intended target.
-de-militarizing the police force
It was refreshing for me to hear his unabashed support for these Pillars of the Libertarian Party and proudly wear the Libertarian Party label. You can view the speech at 1:00 on the following link http://tvw.org/index.php?option=com_tvwplayer&eventID=2014050112
As I said my good-byes to Governor Johnson after a pleasant conversation with him over breakfast, I told him “I look forward to supporting you for president in 2016. America needs you.” Yes it does.