President Trump – Diligence, Faithfulness, and Prayers of Faith

Bobblehead DollPlease excuse me; I am branching out a little today.  However, I am not entering into the realms of religion, even though prayer and faith will be discussed.  I make this clear at the beginning so as to ensure no misunderstanding occurs; I am not here to tell you how, where, what, when, or who to worship; all I expect is the same courtesy in return.  We can discuss sensitive topics without causing problems and individuals choosing to be insulted.  There is a phrase (verse) in a book considered scripture by The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints that appears in the writings of Moses, somewhat differently worded as counsel to Joshua.  The same idea appears in the Old and New Testaments, and while in slightly different verbiage, it is available in various religious texts, dogmas, and belief structures.

All victory and glory is brought to pass unto you through your diligence, faithfulness, and prayers of faith” (D&C 103:36).

Hence why I am branching out a little today.  On 9/11, during a speech, President Trump called for 21 days of prayer for the nation.  It was one of President Trump’s better speeches, in my opinion, and the action resonates well with his other pleas, counsel, and instruction for the American Nation from his presidency.  President Trump’s counsel brought this phrase to mind, and I thought, maybe it IS time for America to rediscover an essential truth.Religion Quote 2

What is diligence?

The dictionary often details diligence as being heedful, careful, and showing constant and earnest effort to accomplish a task.  Other definitions include constancy in the performance of duty or the conduct of business and the persistent exertion of body or mind.  One of my favorite definitions includes unflagging effort with constant personal attention.  Hence, when I define diligence, these are usually what I am using, close personal attention combined with unflagging effort to accomplish a task or fill a role.Apathy

I like an Indonesian proverb that proclaims the potential of diligence and encapsulates the possibility of diligent efforts.

Diligence is the beginning of brilliance.”

As a child, Samuel Johnson’s words were often quoted:

What we hope to do with ease, we must first learn to do with diligence.”

Like the Indonesian proverb, Samuel Johnson’s words explicitly declare a truth; diligence is not observable in a single day or interaction.  Diligence requires observation over time.  Whether you like or dislike President Trump, was he diligent in performing the job as president; Yes.  The media hounded him so severely that even on his vacations, he couldn’t catch a break.  Whether you like or dislike President Biden, has he been diligent in performing the role of president; no, for he never fulfilled the role of Senator, unless you count selling influence as part of the role of being a senator.Angry Grizzly Bear

I distinguish between two people that are regularly in the news.  If you disagree, point to specific actions and their consequences to reflect a lack of diligent effort in performing the role of president.  Critical thinking requires evaluation and honest appraisals of situations.  Of the presidents I have observed, only President Reagan was more diligent than President Trump in fulfilling the role of president.  Agree or disagree, but use the definitions of diligent and diligence to support and defend your judgments.  The reverse is also true; the least diligent president to date is Biden, with only Obama and Carter rounding out the top three.

What is faithfulness?

Faithful is a word we should use more often and not when describing the actions of dogs!  According to the dictionary, faithful includes aspects of truth, loyalty, constancy, and a character of being exact and reliable.  Consider something faithful: being steadfast in affection and allegiance, being firm in your promises and observances of duty, and finally being true to facts, standards, and laws.

Mother Teresa is quoted as saying:

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”

Pink Monarch ButterflyLike tiny stones that fill gaps and plug holes in an earthen dam, the faithfulness of small things empowers the dam to remain strong.  Consider the story of the Dutch kid with his finger in the dam, it was a small thing that broke, and it was a small thing that plugged the hole.  Faithfulness is not about grand actions, large token gifts, and glorious virtue signals.  Faithfulness is all about the small daily acts of charity, the defense of a friend when gossip comes, and the day-to-day carrying out of duty.  Have you ever seen a butterfly’s wing under a microscope; little tiny feathers.  Each little tiny feather being faithful allows the butterfly to fly.  There is power in being faithful!

Detective 4Consider two examples and determine which is faithful to their cause, even if you do not support their cause.  Congresswoman A. Ocasio-Cortez went to the MET Gala event wearing a “Tax the Rich” message on her dress.  Tickets cost upwards of $35,000, and other costs are always exorbitant for these affairs.  Al Gore and the man-made climate change political machine demand that everyone else change their behavior, but not those directing the movement.  Personal lives do not reflect the public image created, personal conduct does not reflect public demeanor towards the issues advocated, and individual lifestyle does not meet minimum standards to match words.  By definition, is either of these two faithful to their causes?  Why are they followed?

Never forget critical thinking requires observation and decision-making, using the best information available.  More to the point, when critical thinking, you will always be asked to defend your positions logically.  Emotion has no place in critical thinking, observation, and discernment.Life Valued

What are prayers of faith?

A prayer of faith is a prayer that is made iwith complete confidence in God’s power.  Consider the New Testament and instructions left by the master instructor.  Jesus talked to His disciples repeatedly about prayer. He told them to pray for God’s kingdom to be represented on earth and for His will to be done; He told them to pray for their daily sustenance, for forgiveness, and strength against temptation. He also said to them that anything they asked for in His name, for God’s glory, would be done for them, and He assured them that God knows how to give good gifts to His children.  Hence, prayers of faith are part of all Christian religions and sects, and you find similar teaching in Judaism and Muslim faiths and denominations. Therefore, when we discuss this particular topic, all people can look to the prayers of faith, confident that solutions will come.  Yes, you are included atheists and other non-traditional religions, and whether you call it prayer, self-reflection, or becoming centered, please participate in prayers of faith.

Knowledge Check!I am not here to tell you what to pray for.  I think President Trump asking for us to petition for more honest, transparent, forthright, and constitutionally sound leadership in elected officials is an excellent first step for America.  I genuinely think having a knowledgeable, informed, and capable electorate is more important, and petitioning heaven’s help to achieve an informed electorate is critical.  However, the first steps in improving the electorate are found inside each of us.  Are we willing to be diligent and faithful in our actions, decisions, and lives publicly and privately and support the good in others?  If we are not willing to be faithful and diligent, what good is keeping America alive?

I know my answers; how do you choose?

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

Atheism: A Religion Ascending

Father Mulcahy 2The Daily Signal reported some news that tickled my irony bone this morning, and I had to share.  Harvard University, an Ivy League school begun by puritans, has hired Greg Epstein as Chief Chaplain.  From the Daily Signal report, we find the following reasoning for the new Chief Chaplain’s ascension:

A Harvard Crimson survey of the university’s 2019 class found that students were two times more likely to identify as agnostic or as an atheist than average 18-year-olds, The New York Times reported.  About 21.3% of the class said they were agnostic, and 16.6% said they were atheists.  About equal shares of the students said they were Protestant (17%) or Catholic (17.1%), 10.1% said they were Jewish, 2.5% said they were Muslim, 3% said they were Hindu, and 12% said they were “other.”

I make no broad-stroke generalizations based upon a report that has passed through The New York Times and The Daily Signal; however, it is interesting to note the data is a unique finding.  Now consider that atheists have begun holding meetings, singing hymns, hosting children’s meetings.  If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, atheists are flattering those they proclaim not to be.Father Mulcahy 5

President General George Washington made the following comment in his farewell address to the nation:

Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

Returning to the axiom of flattery being found in imitation, then the appointment of a US Military Chaplain who is also an atheist is both a possibility and shortly a reality— bringing up some interesting questions for those atheists who continue to proclaim that atheism is not a religion.  More to the point, a military chaplain is required to deliver services in a host of different religious services.  How will that work for both the chaplain and the parishioners?  What about spiritual counseling?  Marriage counseling?  Other life and death style counseling chaplains are required to perform?Father Mulcahy 4

Having been a US Military Chaplains Assistant, who has fought for religious freedom for soldiers and the soldiers’ rights to worship how, where, or what they may, I find this discussion intriguing and interesting.  When his command was telling a Christian-Jewish Soldier that he had to choose which holidays he would be allowed to celebrate, my job was to help provide a voice of reason and history to aid the command in supporting the soldier and discover a compromise.  When two Wiccans wanted to hold a wedding, guess who got behind the happy couple to handle the administrative affairs?  When a soldier needed a chaplain but was uncomfortable talking to his own, guess who called the soldier a chaplain who was more comfortable to be around.

Knowledge Check!Religion and social standards, laws, and morals all cross and intertwine.  In the mixing, society builds a value system and a method of thinking and acting.  Here is the opportunity, do we learn and grow or do we denounce and castigate?  I have met good people among those calling themselves non-religionists.  I have met some grand and noble people among those who would call themselves religionists.  The opposite is also true; I have met some genuinely deplorable characters among both religionists and non-religionists.  It has been fun and exciting to meet truth seekers among the religionists and non-religionists and watch the conversations unfold regarding science, math, logic, psychology, and every form of human study.

Religion QuoteWhere freedom of religion is concerned, I believe The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints says it best in their tenth Article of Faith:

We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, and what they may.”

From my earliest days as a child, I have espoused similar beliefs.  I do not care how, what, or where you worship, what you worship, or when.  Provided your rights to worship, do not refuse another person their liberties to pursue life, liberty, and happiness, enjoy your faith.  I will even come along and observe occasionally.  I find the shift interesting as a social movement by Harvard, and I want to think that the move to ascend an atheist chaplain to Chief Chaplain is not a move with hidden purposes and political leanings.Religious Thought

I offer my genuine and heartfelt congratulations to Chaplain Epstein as he takes his new promotion at Harvard and look to see what develops over the coming years that brings more harmony amongst religionists and improves religious freedoms across America and the globe.  I would caution Harvard if this is a trick, many an honest person will be angry when the truth reveals hidden agendas, and I hope the caution is not needed.  I do look forward to the day when Wiccans and other “non-traditional religions” obtain military chaplains.  Not because it would cause problems, but because it would reflect truth in religious freedoms we espouse in the US Constitution.  If a Muslim Chaplain can serve harmoniously with a Baptist Chaplain and a Jewish Chaplain in the US Military, I see no problems with Atheists and Wiccans joining their ranks.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

Dialectical Behavioral Theory – Decisional Balance Sheet – The Integrity Edition

Bobblehead DollAn email in my inbox started me thinking of Johari Windows first thing this morning, and in the process of proving myself wrong, I learned some interesting things and figured I would share my journey of discovery.  I am always fascinated when I prove myself wrong; I like it; mainly because it proves I am still human with a lot to learn!

Johari Windows

A Johari Window is a visual method for looking at data about self-knowledge and delineates information into four areas of interpersonal relationships:

        • The Open Area – represents what we both know about me and openly share.
        • The Hidden Area – is what I hide from you about myself.
        • The Blind Area is what you know about me, observe about me, and are aware of about me, but refuse to share with me.
        • The Unknown Area – is the part of me which neither of us knows about on a conscious level.Johari Window

Dialectical Behavior Theory

The Dialectical Behavior Theory (DBT) simply stated, is an evidenced-based process where a psychotherapist and a patient work to increase a patient’s emotional and cognitive regulation by learning about triggers leading to reaction and assessing and building coping skills to apply to events, thoughts, feelings, behaviors to avoid undesired reactions.  DBT is a precursor of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), which has shown significant effectiveness for PTSD-related problems and spectrum mood disorders.  A tool used frequently in CBT and DBT is a decisional balance sheet that looks like a table in an MS Word document.

Plusses/Pros Cons/Minuses
Self
Others/Family

A decisional balance sheet crops up a lot in various forms and under multiple names in psychology to represent data visually in a decisional tree, where the optimum location is in the lower right corner.

Low

High

Low

High

Imperative to understanding is that each decisional balance sheet, or decisional tree, can be read top to bottom or right to left.  The optimum location remains constant, regardless of the topic.  This is mentioned solely as a differentiation method between a Johari Window and a Decisional Balance Sheet.  A Johari Window can be any size but cannot be read top to bottom or right to left with an optimum location in any of the boxes.  That is how you tell the difference and my mistake from earlier this morning.

Integrity

Integrity is the practice of being honest and showing a consistent and uncompromising adherence to strong moral and ethical principles and values.  In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions.  Integrity is the choice to be the best you can be.

Integrity is holding ourselves to the same high standards that we have for others. Expecting little of everyone is apathy. Expecting less of ourselves than others sets us up for hypocrisy. Leniency is expecting less of others than ourselves, and it fails to create accountability. Integrity is the box where we should be at.” – Adam Grant

Integrity is not malleable, changeable, adjustable, wishy-washy, or like a suit coat that can be put on and taken off.  You either possess integrity, or you do not, and if you do not possess integrity, you are not worth my time and energy!Integrity

The current US President has no integrity, and America’s enemies knew this and desired this quality in the American president.  The Vice President, the majority and minority speakers in both houses of the Congress, and many of the governors and mayors in America all lack integrity.  As witnessed in the 2020 elections, a lack of integrity is being experienced in the judges, the county supervisors, the election boards, and many state legislators, and state election officials as well.  America is suffering from a dearth of integrity in public officials, and that is a significant problem!

Plato 2As a kid, I was told to role model John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Colonel Sherman Potter, and even Father Mulcahy.  I was told to despise those who weaseled on deals, liars, thieves, cheats, lawyers, and politicians.  These people were necessary evils, but I never believed in a necessary evil.  If you were evil, then you were not worth my time or support.  I maintain that position to this day, and it disgusts me to no end when I have been hoodwinked by politicians I thought had integrity who turned out to be wolves in sheep’s clothing.  Senator McCain, I am talking about you specifically, and I do not care that you are dead!

Millstone of Designed IncompetenceI guess it has been a couple of years now, I thought it had only been several weeks, but I had a conversation on the power of religion to improve integrity.  I have found just as many atheists as religionists with integrity and just as many religionists as atheists without integrity; thus, I can only conclude that religion is a tool for improving integrity, but individual choice trumps religious flavor and fervor.  Yet, religion does play a role in providing a moral background for building a solid foundation under a person with integrity.  Seeing as atheism is a religion, I have no problems calling on religionists of the world to unite to provide a moral background to improve integrity where they currently live, work, and reside.

However, in calling for an increase in integrity, I feel duty-bound to call out those without integrity for public display, ridicule, and scorn.  For example, I have found that the Queen of England has a lot of moral fiber and a high level of integrity, whereas her son is a flat-out creep who somehow missed integrity lessons and is choosing the life of depravity.  For all her faults, I felt Princess Diana had a lot of integrity, and her kids had some integrity, but they seem to be choosing the way of the snake, which is difficult to observe.

Plato 3President Biden is utterly bereft of integrity, his children are also utterly bereft of integrity, and Hunter is the worst of the bunch.  I do not wish to see how deplorable the grandchildren will be as they will be a millstone around America’s neck for a long time!  Vice President Kamala Harris and her spouse are two people utterly bereft of anything approaching integrity, moral uprightness, or even common decency.  They are joined by the Obama’s (including the children), the entire Clinton Machine, and the black hole of integrity has many others currently occupying seats in Washington DC for company.

Exclamation MarkSince we have so many examples of poor integrity, there must be examples of people with integrity.  Thankfully the answer is yes, and they are easy to spot.  Below are common ways to spot integrity, and I challenge you to look for and vocally support integrity where you find it.  One of the best ways to show integrity is to appreciate integrity in others.  Catch people doing good and vocally thank them.  Send thank you cards.  Send thank you emails.  Remember them after the incident.

        • Take responsibility for actions and consequences – Choosing to do the right thing is hard; accepting the consequences for failure, especially when it was not your fault is integrity in action. Allowing others to receive praise for accomplishments is integrity in action.
        • Put another person’s needs above your own. – This requires observation. Do the right!
        • Offer to help with action, not words. – As a disabled person, I do not want someone to offer to get a door, grab the bloody door! If I drop something, don’t offer to get it; bend down and grab it.  I will never criticize anyone for taking action.  Offers are good, but I always refuse offers to help, but I never refuse actions to help!
        • I will always give you the benefit of the doubt and start from the position that you are trying your best; please reciprocate.
        • Honesty is the only policy. Delivering honesty with kindness and forthrightness is socially the only way to move society forward.
        • Aretha Franklin was very clear, R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Learn it, live it, love it!  RESPECT is a two-directional street; you have to show it to get it.
        • Admit when you are wrong. It is called humility.  Humility is not weakness, but strength, learning, and growth.
        • People with integrity are reliable, they are on time (every time), and they work until the job is done.
        • Integrity includes kindness, even to a kid crying, dirty, stinky, smelly, and wet — a homeless person, a peer, a police officer, another driver, etc. Kindness is a choice!
        • Integrity is where we start each day anew as a lifestyle choice.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

The Proper and Improper Role of Government – Part 2

QuestionThe following is the second part of the series on the proper and improper role of government. First, imperative to the discussion is a quick recap on the purpose of a government, and then we will discuss the actual role of government.  Second, the following cannot be stressed enough, America was founded upon a Judeo-Christian understanding and philosophy.  Other representative governments have removed the influence of religion globally, but America, thankfully, continues to keep it around.  Third, nothing herein is to be misconstrued as supporting any single religion, including atheism and agnostics.  My religious beliefs are not your business, just as your religious beliefs are not my business; we are not here to debate theology, philosophy, or anything but the government’s proper and improper role.

What is the purpose of government?

The second sentence of The Declaration of Independence is long but powerful:

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.–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 to 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.”

The purpose of government is to “secure these rights… deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”  The rights the government is to secure are “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  When talking about securing, we are not inferring that those rights come from the government, are tools of government, or can be dispersed by the government.  When discussing securing, we are talking about the government protecting against threats to, harm from, or the need to make safe from those who would do the collective body of citizens harm.  The government securing rights does not mean affixing those rights to an individual, as the individual already owns these rights.  The government’s purpose is to protect the body of citizens by making the body of citizens safe.quote-mans-inhumanity

The etymology of secure is vital to understanding the purpose and proper role of government. “Mid 16th century (in a sense ‘feeling no apprehension’): from Latin Securus, from Ee- ‘without’ + Cura ‘care.’”  Hence, without care for an individual, the government secures, protects, and defends the individual’s inalienable rights.  Not deciding what is good for the masses, not selecting winners and losers based upon the whims and wishes of a bureaucrat, but considering the entire mass of citizens without preference and defending their inalienable rights is the purpose of government.

What is the proper role of government?

Government LargessFrom many Judaic and Christian sources, one can find various systems of government in place throughout history.  From despots of the most vile to the judges of Israel, which brought liberty and freedom instead of kings, one can find just about any form of government represented in historical texts of ancient date.  More specifically, one can find the proper role of government, which is stated most simply in the Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) of The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints, specifically Section 134:2.

We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.”

Is the proper role of government clearer? For example, suppose the government is only focused upon securing the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of [private] property, and the protection of life. In that case, that government is fulfilling its proper role.  Did you notice what is missing from the strict interpretation of the proper role of government?  Social services, arbitration, buying support through forced taxation, and much more.  Except, America was established as a Constitutional Republic with democratically elected representatives.  Thus, does America’s government have a different interpretation of the proper role of government?

Ziggy - IRS AuditThe founding fathers, and several of the first presidents in America, were considered statesmen. However, statesmen are not merely politicians, and politicians are never statesmen!  A statesman is a person who is well versed in the principles or art of government, actively engaged in conducting the business of government or in shaping its policies.  The statesmen are respected for their skill, diplomacy, power to communicate ideas, and being principled.  Thus, the statesmen are morally upright and can be trusted to understand why they are morally principled and why the law should be morally centered.  It cannot be stressed enough. The true statesmen values principles over popularity and works to create popularity for political principles in government operations that are morally sound and bring the most freedom to the most people.

Consider the following from Albert E. Bowen:

Right and wrong as moral principles do not change.  They are applicable and reliable determinants whether the situations with which we deal are simple or complex.  There is always a right and wrong to every question which requires a solution.”

The Duty of AmericansNow, returning to the proper role of government, any form of government instituted by man, we find the following as guidance in measuring said governmental role.  From D&C 134;1-2, 5:

1 We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society.

2 We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.

5 We believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; and that sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen thus protected, and should be punished accordingly; and that all governments have a right to enact such laws as in their own judgments are best calculated to secure the public interest; at the same time, however, holding sacred the freedom of conscience.”

From the US Constitution’s Preamble, a person will find why the government was instituted.  “… in order to form a more perfect Union (government), establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”  Between the Articles of Confederation, the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and the offered verses, we find similar language discussing the purpose and role of government.

Thus, the proper role of government remains simple and easy to understand.  The proper role of government is to secure man’s inalienable rights, protect private property, and ensure each citizen may pursue their path of happiness.  A citizen’s path of happiness cannot infringe upon another citizen’s pursuit of happiness, steal their property, damage their property, or destroy public property.  Hence, the government must balance the inalienable rights of a person to commit crimes against the acceptable restriction to hold people accountable to socially acceptable laws while never infringing upon an individual’s conscience.  Therein lay the seeds of the improper role of government.Apathy

What is the improper role of government?

Ziggy - NSAThe improper role of government begins with refusing to accept that government power is limited to only those powers the citizens grant the government.  Thankfully, there is a simple test for understanding what powers the government has or does not have.  The test: Can you order your neighbor to pay for welfare for another person?  If not, the government does not have this right or power.  Can your neighbor call you to pay subsidies to them for keeping their lawn and home maintained?  If not, the government does not have the right to spend taxpayer money to subsidize another person’s housing.  This simple test relates the power of government, the government’s improper role, and reasonable government restrictions.

The line between the proper and improper role of government is thin but very distinguishable using the simple test described above.  Claude-Frédéric Bastiat was a French economist, writer, and prominent member of the French Liberal School. A member of the French National Assembly, Bastiat developed the economic concept of opportunity cost and introduced the parable of the broken window.  We present Bastiat as providing the logic behind the simple test.  “Nothing can enter the public treasury for the benefit of one citizen or one class unless other citizens and other classes have been forced to send it in.”  Hence, the simple test regarding a neighbor forcing you or forcing your neighbor is justified as the test for the proper or improper role of government.Patriotism

Forced taxation is a form of legal plunder, and since payment is the test for which powers are proper or improper for government, we must return to Bastiat for a delineation of legal plunder.

When a portion of wealth is transferred from the person who owns it – without his consent and without [just] compensation, whether by force or by fraud – to anyone who does not own it, then I say that property was violated; that an act of plunder is committed. … How is legal plunder to be identified?  Quite simply.  See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong.  See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.”

Government Largess 3Legal plunder is theft through the misuse of the power of government.  Consider the following example, your paycheck.  On that paycheck, the Federal and State governments demand money from you, not earned but forced through jurisprudence and legislative fiat, and those funds are given to another person.  As a private citizen, if I took your wallet and removed money from it, I would be guilty of theft and liable to the penalties of criminal and civil law, even if I did not keep your cash but donated it to a charitable organization.  Remember, the simple test that details the difference between the proper and improper role of government.

One additional piece of knowledge where the improper role of government is described and dictates that government cannot create wealth.  No government, at any time throughout history, has produced wealth.  The government takes from the citizens to survive, and the proper role of government would see every cent of forced taxation as a precious resource, needing to be accounted to the citizens forced to pay.  People create wealth, and if you desire a full explanation of how money is created, please see the following link.

Plato 2Why does it matter?

The government cannot exist without the consent of the governed.  Your inalienable rights should be the only concern of any government form, type, or methodology.  Yet, what do we find; legal plunder to buy other citizens’ support.  We find legalized plunder without transparency, without accountability, and without regard for those struggling to pay the forced taxation (legalized plunder).  We find Trillions in missing money in every government, where the representatives are not concerned, or even aware, of the money lost.  We see government spending above and beyond its intake, creating debt penalties for many future generations to pay for the benefits of the current generation, all because the government refuses to live on a budget.  We find bureaucrats treating citizens as property and abusing that property worse than any corporate polluter of the 1970s.

Knowledge Check!Look carefully, dear citizen; government only exists by the will of the governed.  Do you think it is time for a change in government?  Do you feel your government is fulfilling its purpose and proper role or is your government abusing its rights and powers as granted through the consent of the governed?  You must answer these questions and then decide where you stand.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: The Role of the Rule of Law

GavelRome made global history when it wrote down its laws and posted these laws in a manner that told everyone that the law was the highest order in the land, and everyone is held to the same legal standard.  Writing down laws was nothing new in societies; the Jews had written and codified their laws long before Rome, but to hold everyone accountable to the same legal standard set Rome apart and blessed their land.  Why did Rome eventually fall; they stopped holding everyone responsible to one rule of law.

What is the Role of Law?

Ask a lawyer this question, and you will get a similar answer to the following:

Laws provide a framework and rules to help resolve disputes between individuals. Laws create a system where individuals can bring their disputes before an impartial fact-finder, such as a judge or jury.”

Frankly, my experience with lawyers is as productive as my relationship with the VA, hostile and not productive.  Hence, I infer that the law’s role in society is to bring order to a social environment, produce equality under the law, and punish those who decide to break the law.  Law is an expectation, a social contract, that restricts and constricts behavior to a socially acceptable level.

Thin Blue LineConsider today’s tragic events in Boulder, Colorado.  Before the blood was even clean at the scene, we have the President and selected hysterical gun-grabbing politicians making hay and demanding “gun reform.”  Except, “Gun Reform” always means stealing guns from legal owners and doing nothing about illegal gun holders.  Nothing is being urged to avoid and eliminate criminal behaviors with a firearm.  The Rule of Law’s role only applies to those who choose to live according to society’s laws and rules.  Those choosing to live outside society’s rules are terrorists and need to be treated as such!

President Lincoln is quoted thus:

Let every American, every lover of Liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their abuse by others. As the Patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear [down] the character of his own, and his children’s Liberty. Let reverence for the [Constitutional] laws [of America]… become the political religion of the nation.” President Lincoln is quoted thus: “Let every American, every lover of Liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their abuse by others. As the Patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear [down] the character of his own, and his children’s Liberty. Let reverence for the [Constitutional] laws [of America]… become the political religion of the nation.”

President Lincoln continued to proclaim:

When I so pressingly urge a strict observance of all the laws, let me not be understood as saying there are no bad laws, nor that grievances may not arise, for the redress of which, no legal provisions have been made, I mean to say no such thing. But I do mean to say, that, although bad laws, if they exist, should be repealed as soon as possible, still while they continue in force, for the sake of example, they should be religiously observed.” The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume I, “Address Before the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois” (January 27, 1838), p. 112.

Does President Lincoln’s plea inspire you, encourage you, and provide direction for improving the government moving forward?  The role of the “Rule of Law” is to empower and motivate people, to create order in a society, and to constrict and restrict behaviors for those choosing to live outside societal norms and acceptable behaviors.  Is the role of the “Rule of Law” clear?

President AdamsWhat is the “Rule of Law?”

As President Lincoln was quoted above, the “Rule of Law” in America is:

“[The] support of the Declaration of Independence, the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear [down] the character of his own, and his children’s Liberty. Let reverence for the [Constitutional] laws [of America] … become the political religion of the nation.”

Are laws currently abusing America; absolutely!  Herein is the charge to action; the government has chosen to declare you are the US Government’s property (Reich, 1964).  Charles Reich’s discussion on “New Property” is unacceptable and unconstitutional in the extreme.  The lack of treating the western states in a constitutional manner is also unconstitutional.  The theft of farmer’s goods, fisherman’s wares, and ranchers’ products remain 100% unconstitutional.  Yet, the bureaucrats’ actions and the politicians continue to treat you and me as unwanted property in our own country.

ApathyLike Rome, the legislators and the President are not above the “Rule of Law.”  Even though these people continue to consider themselves above the “Rule of Law.”  Worse, no matter how many laws a country produces, if the society is immoral, the “Rule of Law” is a joke.  Consider the knife and machete attacks in the United Kingdom, outlaw guns, and people are still finding ways and means to hurt other people.  France has stringent laws, yet people rent vehicles and mow their neighbors down in case lots.  Japan, very orderly society; how do criminals make the news there; they use chemicals to poison their neighbors on a subway.  Laws do not dictate moral behavior, ever!

Laws can only, ever, restrict and constrain those amenable to living a moral life.  A “Liberty FIRST Culture” understands this principle and protects itself accordingly.  Bringing this topic to a subject closely related to the “Rule of Law,” morals, morality, and moral living are all products of people amenable to religious belief structures.  Those people who desire to maintain connections to a religious society act their ideology through living a moral life.

Life ValuedI am not saying everyone needs to change religions; I am claiming that religion plays a significant role in reducing people’s animal minds to become amenable to living in a social order that respects the law and being ruled by law to enjoy maximum freedom.  We also need to be clear, atheism is a religion per Webster, and while this is a topic for another article, religion is a codified belief system with adherents that form a social order based upon expectations of behavior.  Liberty and freedom require choices; choices require more than a single option or two for a person to make more; Liberty and freedom require written and codified moral statements that grow from living a moral lifestyle.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

Atheism – A Religion: Understanding Brings Knowledge

Are we in trouble?  We didn't do it!!!
Are we in trouble? We didn’t do it!!!

Public Service Announcement:  I cannot find where I originally posted this article.  So I edited the article, and am re-posting here.  Please note, I respect people’s choices to believe as they will, provided their beliefs do not interfere with the liberty of someone else to worship as they please.  The same day I originally wrote this article, the following fictional analogy came across my feed, and I include it here as a point of interest.

In a mother’s womb were two babies. One asked the other: ‘Do you believe in life after delivery?’
The other replied, ‘Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.’
‘Nonsense,’ said the first. ‘There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?’
The second said, ‘I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now.’
The first replied, ‘That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need. But the umbilical cord is so short. Life after delivery is to be logically excluded.’
The second insisted, ‘Well, I think there is something, and maybe it’s different than it is here. Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore.’
The first replied, ‘Nonsense. And moreover, if there is life, why has no one ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery, there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It takes us nowhere.’
‘Well, I don’t know,’ said the second, ‘but certainly we will meet Mother, and she will take care of us.’
The first replied, ‘Mother? Do you actually believe in Mother? That’s laughable. If Mother exists, then where is She now?’
The second said, ‘She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of Her. It is in Her that we live. Without Her, this world would not and could not exist.’
Said the first: ‘Well, I don’t see Her, so it is only logical that She doesn’t exist.’
To which the second replied, ‘Sometimes, when you’re in silence, and you focus, and you really listen, you can perceive Her presence, and you can hear Her loving voice, calling down from above.’” (Pablo Molinero).

Detective 3Recently, Atheist Republic posted a question on LinkedIn that was intriguing and promoting a multi-week discussion.  As I seemed to have kicked over an anthill, I figured I would expound on the principles discussed to more fully detail why atheism is just another religion.  Agree or disagree as you choose; however, all I ask is your consideration of the ideas discussed.  Through the use of language and the accepted definitions from reputable sources, I posit that atheists and theists are closer together than they are apart.  Atheists have taken for their religion the only belief that separates, a cognitive refusal to believe in god, God, or gods, as supreme authorities in the cosmos.  Other items that can be considered religions include daily routines.  When taken too far, consumerism becomes a religion to those thus engaged, as do sports, debt, and any other belief that creates enthusiasm in the individual.  Many theists will find significant support among atheists regarding these different beliefs.

Religious ThoughtAtheists do not have a belief structure in god, God, and gods.  An absolute insistence that there are no supreme beings is a belief structure and an organized belief system.  Consider for a moment that a particular religion believes that a gigantic beet runs the universe; the atheist would automatically reject this for lack of evidence.  Star Trek: Next Generation had “Q,” a potent being in the galaxy; again, a supreme power the atheist will reject out of hand.  I met an atheist and a theist who both insisted that their belief systems allowed them to be rude, crude, disrespectful, and so forth as a method of worshiping and acting — proving, to me, that individual belief is stronger than training and the traditions of their parents, communities, and society.  Two more miserable people I have never found an equal; yet, together, these two people found and lived after their manner and understanding of happiness.

As an organized belief structure, and in the most exact definition of the word, atheism is a religion.  Every person spouting non-belief is a belief structure.  In describing their beliefs to others, which begins with, “I believe…”  More to the point, Webster, the accepted repository for words, has religion defined as “a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance.”  It is of supreme importance to atheists to not believe anything; thus, we can only conclude that atheism is a religion.

President AdamsI have found that atheists have a specific personal belief structure regarding god, God, or gods that then is projected onto others.  While many times the atheists are not finding their expected belief structure reflected, the atheist becomes hostile to all others they come in contact with and attempt to change other people’s beliefs through legal or other force mechanisms.  Individual belief, even if not shared, can be considered a religion to that person; hence, Webster’s definition is very accurate and applicable to this discussion.  Regardless of the belief in god, God, or gods, there are other beliefs of supreme importance to the atheist that makes up their religion.  The Cambridge Unabridged Dictionary carries a similar definition, “an activity that someone is extremely enthusiastic about and regularly does.”

Religion QuoteHenry Chester is quoted as saying, enthusiasm is the greatest asset in the world; it beats money, power, and influence; it is nothing more than faith in action.  Not believing in, or following, a god, God, or gods is of supreme importance to atheists. Other beliefs are based upon the personal theology and behavior, dogma, mantra, etc., of the person. Thus, those beliefs range from abortion through environmental activities and feelings to the power of food, science, and so much more. Without a core written tenet, the only belief that is universally accepted as distinguishing atheists from theists is the belief in god, God, or gods.

According to Webster and Cambridge, religion carries the following definitions and related words. “ideas about the relationship between science and religion.”  Synonymous with: faith, belief, divinity, worship, creed, teaching,  doctrine, theology, sect, cult, religious group, faith community, church, denomination, body, following, persuasion, affiliation.  “A particular system of faith and worship.”  Synonymous with: faith, religion, religious belief(s), religious persuasion, religious conviction, religious group, faith community, church, persuasion, affiliation, denomination, sect, following, communion order, school, fraternity, brotherhood, and sisterhood.

Religion Quote 2One of the most egregious issues in our world today is the plasticization of words to exclude all definitions, but the “common” definition, usually known as the first definition found in a dictionary.  Common definitions do not provide the complete etiology of a word; thus, closing minds to the language’s glory.  As a noun, theology defines as “religious beliefs and theory when systematically developed.”  Hence, when taken together, religion being beliefs that are of supreme importance, when systematically considered and developed, can be attached to any belief one chooses to raise to the level of devotion.  Even non-belief is regarded as a religion and theology.  People have chosen belief structures that include thousands of different topics, including, but not limited to, people, animals, and methods of living.  I have met footballers, American and European, whose devotion to their sport is a religion!  I know one religion that worships making beer; thus, belief and non-belief in god, God, or gods is not so farfetched.

We could speak about lines of congruence, paradox, and assimilation brought about by religious organizations, including the fellowship reward obtained by adherence to a specific religious flavor.  We could speak about how everything that exists in theism is directly observable in atheism.  Atheism and those claiming to be atheists are a religious organization in every meaning and aspect of Webster’s definition. Substitute god, God, or gods, with whatever is the most substantial item clung to, e.g., science, math, football, consumerism, abortion, climate change, etc., and you have a type of religiousness recognizable by every theist in existence.

Non Sequitur - Carpe DiemAtheists and Theists have a belief structure centered around god, God, or gods. I have met many beautiful people who were raised in homes with a belief structure that was absent a centrally recognized god, God, or gods, whom theists would term “non-believers,” atheists would term “atheists,” and both terms would not apply.  To first be a theist or atheist, one must have been taught about a god, God, or gods.  The people I discuss have a belief structure and system made from their fathers/mothers, tribes, and society’s traditions.  Thus, they are not unbelievers or non-believers, as they have a belief structure and system.  They are not atheists as they have not been taught god, God, or gods; thus, the only term I know to use is “person.”  We choose the labels we call ourselves.

If atheism is not a religion, why do atheists cling to the “Freedom of Religion” clause in the US Constitution? Why do atheists cling to the Freedom of religion clauses in all countries allowing Freedom of religion and then try to warp the laws of those countries into Freedom from religion?  It seems atheists cannot claim “Freedom of religion” and not be a religion.

moral-valuesInherent to understanding Freedom of religion, by necessity, requires understanding “Freedom from religion.”  However, a specific set of beliefs that a person is enthusiastic about forms a religious belief; thus, the phrase “Freedom from religion” itself is a misnomer and fallacy.  The separation of church and state is meant to protect your right to believe and not believe in a supreme being, defending your beliefs from government oppression.  Then no religion can claim authority over others, and all are equal and free to exist without fear. Atheists are covered by the Freedom of religion, as are theists.  The Freedom of Religion clause in the US Constitution implies a people can rid themselves of all religion as a personal choice and ritual, without cause to fear reprisals from any government body.

Atheists cannot have it both ways, claiming Freedom of religion, then demanding Freedom from religion, all at the expense of other religions! Hence, returning to the original point, atheism is a religion.  Atheism is an organized belief structure centered around the refusal, after being taught, of god, God, and gods.  Atheism is a belief system where the refusal to believe in god, God, or gods, then cultivates an entire process of a belief that leads to action, enthusiasm for those stated beliefs, e.g., or non-beliefs, as a tool for governing behavior.

Freedom's LightDogma, “a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true.”  This definition is straight from Webster and a congruent description found in the Cambridge dictionary.  By experience, every atheist I have ever crossed paths with, takes upon themselves the authority to lay down the principle of no supreme being, as incontrovertibly true, plus belligerently insists that all others must bow to this belief structure.  I am not saying this makes the atheist right or wrong; I am saying that atheism has a dogma, and is very much a religion, and a religious belief, based solely upon not believing in a supreme being.

In conclusion, I consider the following three points as central to a peaceful society under the US Constitution and inclusive of all state’s laws where religion, and religious free exercise, is concerned:quote-mans-inhumanity-2

      1. The world is not split between theists and atheists. Not believing in a supreme power can be caused by a lack of education and experience. To be an atheist, a choice is required after schooling is provided for Freedom of religion.
      2. Not sharing another person’s theology doesn’t make either person right or wrong. I do not have to share in the rituals of other believers to have a shared identity. Simple respect for those closely held beliefs is all that is needed.
      3. Provided the moral values of a religious belief do not interfere with my rights under the US Constitution, let them worship “… how, where, or what they may.”

© 2019 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.