I’ve opted for plain and simple for my format and layout. The default presentation gives you the last few articles I’ve written in a long, scrollable format. Sometimes I add a “more” tag, which takes you to the individual post, showing the remainder of what I wrote for that article, but usually you must click the heading (to the left of the primary text blocks) to get to the specific article, since I usually just write it all, letting all show on the scrolling composite. The basic reading format doesn’t include a comment box. If you click the heading and go to the specific posting, there is a reply box at the end, after the share buttons and the tags and categories. You can also click the quote-button comment link just below the title.

So, if you happen to read something you want to reply to, please do. I will almost certainly post your comment and reply to you. I’m not into censoring.

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My son asked me about Romans 9. Here is what I came up with. I’ll appreciate any comments anyone cares to make.

1I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit—Here, Paul is saying he is his speaking for himself. He is emphasizing the passion of his heart and his conviction in his assertion. He sometimes says he is speaking from the Lord, but here he emphasizes the personal nature of his words. 2that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. He is crushed that Israel doesn’t accept Jesus as Messiah. 3For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers,a my kinsmen according to the flesh. Again, Paul is expressing his grief and passion. He loves his nation and would give anything for them if it were possible and if it would help. We add too much if we suppose Paul wanted to add to the divine redemption. He was simply asserting his readiness to sacrifice all for his people. 4They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. 5To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. Here Paul speaks as a true believer and legitimate nationalist for Israel. Not all theologians, not even all Jewish scholars, are willing to say all Paul says here. It is essentially true, but the passion and conviction could be argued to be overwrought.

6But it is not as though the word of God has failed. Here, he wants to take God’s promises to Israel as absolute, but he can’t because not all of Israel accepts. He justifies by looking at the heart. While certainly not literalist, nor inerrantist, Paul is correct. Being of God is a matter of heart, not birth; spirit, not flesh. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, 7and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 8This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. 9For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” 10And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— 12she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” Hardness. These verses are simply a matter for one’s own heart. Paul rather blatantly decrees God sets fate. It is typical to invoke omniscience, transcendence, and God being eternal and timeless. God does see the end from the beginning, and there is no before, no after, only the eternal now. These points are biblical and orthodox. Of course, if one is fated, well, can one thwart fate? It isn’t like Jacob and Esau either one did rightly, earning honestly all that befell. Truly, too often, “deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it.” It is the nature of nature. All things are unwinding, and much of it simply will not go according to plan, nor fairness, nor just deserts. Why the extreme of Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated? As the bible tells it, things worked well for Esau, too. Overall, the two brothers were good brothers through most of their lives. It seems as accurate an interpretation as one might hope to say God held agape, god-like charity and devotion, toward Jacob, but how does God hating Esau work? The word is ἐμίσησα, a form of miseo, which literally means to hate or detest. It would generally be used comparatively, subjectively, rather than as an absolute, but here there is no comparison except love versus hate. Pretty solid. It is clear and affords us little room for interpretation and nuance. We have Jesus saying, Luke 14:26: “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate (3404 /miséō) his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple”. Jesus obviously isn’t telling us to hate everything, including ourselves; He is comparing. He must hold an unrivaled position in our hearts, or we won’t be His. It is solid interpretation to apply this principle to Jacob and Esau, but one cannot simply dismiss the words. They are strong. Paul goes on to address that strength.

14What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” Paul here simply invokes the deity. It is no different than saying whatever God decrees is the highest possible good and most honorable, but no normal person will accept blatant injustice as good simply on the assertion of the divine. We all know malice is evil, and God being malicious would be no less evil. Thus, we must understand that God cannot be malicious, and I deem that to be Paul’s point. Paul is saying God does what is right, even if we cannot tell it is right and just. In the end, we will see that it is. 16So then it depends not on human will or exertion,bbut on God, who has mercy. Here, Paul essentially says that anything God does for us is mercy because we deserve harsh judgment. The mere fact of our existence must be admitted as God’s mercy. True enough. 17For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. Ouch! God raising up this man to power just to show His own power doesn’t seem right. We should not argue it is. Keep in mind that Pharaoh was still his own. His heart was his own, and someone would have been the leader with all the power. The point may very well be that this particular individual with his particular personality, his particular strengths and quirks of will, set it all in motion, a plan of God that Pharaoh just happened to suit, rather than him being tailored for it. Also, the assertion is hard to construe any other way than Paul asserting God as capricious. We’ll have to reach into much of the rest of the scriptures and much of Paul’s other writing to establish for ourselves that capriciousness isn’t what Paul meant. It is a notion we must reject. Simply, He that comes to God must believe that He is, and must believe He is a rewarder of all who seek Him. Mercy and Justice cry out. Both demand to be satisfied. Only a perfect, divine judge can do so, and He will. But, how do we deal with this statement of Pharaoh? It essentially says God set Pharaoh up just to knock him down. Honestly, we really don’t have to worry this one. We know within ourselves exactly what it means within ourselves. We know our own hearts. We know the pride. We know we must be humbled. We know we cannot effectively humble ourselves, even though that is our fundamental task. We must rely on divine enablement. Merely being lazy about our self-humility fails. Deliberately asserting ourselves as the center of our own universe cannot be looked upon differently from the statement of Pharaoh. Not actively working at humility results in actively hardening ourselves, and divine interest in us and our potential will work to cut us down. We can never be free if we hold ourselves as the center. Micah 6:8.

19You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? Again, Paul shows forth as an honest true believer. He asserts the divine, the transcendent, and rejects our ability to comprehend; our ability is too trivial to consider. Again, true enough, but normal people will not accept that fiat argument. If we are arguing the divine and transcendent, we cannot claim it as basis for itself. We must acknowledge our limitations, and we must hold forth that our finite cannot comprehend the infinite, our nature cannot grasp the supernature; yet, we still know that we do in some sense. We get it, but, as Paul say elsewhere, we see as through a fogged-glass, darkly. We honor the divine within each of us when we honor one another in true love, in simple honor of our individuality. We recognize each other as innately children of God. We cannot accept that we are merely a pot made for refuse when we inephably grasp our potential and its ultimate transcendence. We know we are more than a lump of clay on a potter’s wheel, even though we know just as well it is an apt analogy. It is a hard thing, and years of study and contemplation are likely to only scratch the surface in understanding it. Again, Micah 6:8. It boils down to a matter of trust. It is a matter of trusting the Judge. I assert true free will. I hold that no meaning can exist without it. I acknowledge it all as dependent upon God, upon the divine transcendence, but it is real, and it is mine, or it all comes to nothing in the end. That is, without transcendence, without true meaning derived from actual freedom of choice with legitimate consequences resulting directly from the free choices, in 100 years, I will be as I was 100 years ago. Further, all will be, a trillion-trillion years hence as it was a trillion-trillion years before space-time came to be, and we cannot even know that it is, nor was. Free will is the reality and essence of reason or there is no reason at all. 25As indeed he says in Hosea,

Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’
and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”
26“And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’
there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”

27And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israelc be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, 28for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.” 29And as Isaiah predicted,

If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring,
we would have been like Sodom
and become like Gomorrah.”

Paul is clearly pointing out God’s justice and mercy and the key and essential factor of the choices and deeds of the individuals. God is responding by rejecting those who reject Him and by loving those who love Him. Paul didn’t just make his own argument here; he used scripture.

Israel’s Unbelief

30What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; 31but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousnessd did not succeed in reaching that law. 32Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33as it is written,

Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense;
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”


I’m not seeing need for explaining anything here. Paul is very straightforward with “by faith.” Faith is a matter of the heart that works itself out in actions and deeds. One must hold with James and show faith by deed, but works and rules lead only to bondage. Rules held wisely can be useful, and routine is freeing, but hypocrites typically hang by their own hallows, judged by their own rules.

I agree with the notion that for the most part, we simply take up our cross and follow Him. We aim for the good. We learn of Christ and emulate. We learn of truth, and we commit to it. We hold to what is right even if it means losing all because we know the arc of history bends slowly but it bends toward the truth, it bends toward freedom, it bends inexorably toward the higher realm. The more of us who do our actual best (or at least try), the closer we all get to the ultimate good, no matter what the ultimate is.

“Perryman Comments on Wind Catcher Project Cancellation”

State Rep. David Perryman issued an official statement from the State House regarding the cancelation of the Wind Catcher project. Typical of politicians nowadays, he disparaged and cast blame. I’m not sure why the most important industry in Oklahoma was the target, but maybe it is good for votes in his district (but I doubt it). How does casting blame and disparagement make the world a better place?

Oklahoma dodged a bullet, and we should be appreciative to Texas for taking the brunt of the blame.

Big money investors, including Warren Buffett’s folks, were backing Wind Catcher. Their spiel was that the $4.5 billion would be rewarded over the next 25 years with net savings to the whole project (of which Oklahoma only had about a fifth) would amount to $7 billion. Of course, Oklahoma bears all the property value costs, none of which would ever be recovered. If it was so good, why did they need ratepayers to foot the bill so early?

I think politicians mourning the loss are disingenuous at best.

Oklahoma didn’t need Wind Catcher, and we don’t need make-work government projects, which is more or less what it would amount to.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-26/largest-u-s-wind-project-dealt-potentially-fatal-blow-in-texas

“Texas dealt a potential death blow to what would be the largest-ever U.S. wind farm: American Electric Power Co.’s $4.5 billion Wind Catcher project.”

Not really. If Warren Buffett and his big-money pals really think this is a boon, they can continue. They only have to accept all the risk, or at least a lot more of it. The hypocritical investors want to pay as they go with ratepayer money, years before any power is produced. If they are willing to pony up the funds themselves, the building approvals will mostly be clear sailing. (The powerline is still a problem. Significant oversight on the part of the investors, and obvious hubris.)

“American Electric’s proposal tapped a financial model that utilities have long used to build nuclear, coal- and natural gas-fired plants: by tacking costs — plus a profit — onto customers’ bills. The company asked regulators in four states for permission to use the strategy for a sprawling project…”

This isn’t quite true. Oklahoma utilities don’t earn a profit. It is a cost-basis monopoly. I’m not familiar with Texas, but it must be about the same. Sure, overall, our utilities make money, but it is tightly controlled and transparent. OG&E was going to build a second coal plant next to an existing one. It was in the plans a long time, and there was a significant amount of work to be done before OG&E would be passing costs to ratepayers. When the state-approved planned time came, cold-hearted Scott Meacham overstepped his office and launched a smear campaign against coal. Millions were instantly flushed down the drain, and Oklahoma is paying for it all in higher costs and more pain on the least among us. Our bats and birds are being slaughtered for it too. It is the fear that we will never be able to build more reliable coal plants that is causing us to engage in these risky and unreliable wind schemes.

These investors aren’t playing fair. They won’t take the risk. I mean, can’t Warren Buffett write a check for the full $4.5 billion today? It isn’t like they don’t have the money if they have the confidence they are advertising.

There is another tell. Why is Wind Catcher advertising with all these feel-good PR spots on radio and TV?

“American Electric’s Southwestern Electric Power has proposed owning 70 percent of the 2-gigawatt project. Arkansas and Louisiana already approved the plans. Oklahoma has yet to issue a final decision. The project includes a transmission line to take the power to Tulsa and into Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana.”

Oklahoma is balking, and Texas refused. Note the share of risk. Texas has a full 70% and Oklahoma has most of the rest. Is it any wonder Arkansas and Louisiana approved? They share almost no risk regardless.

Note the blatant falsehood of 2GW. We can ignore the conflation of power with energy because the point remains. The hand-wavers point to 800 towers with 2.5-megawatt capacity turbines on them. 800 x 2.5 = 2,000, right? Sure, but how much does one typically get from a given wind turbine? Here is the fact: The transmission line is only being built for 600 megawatts!

https://newsok.com/article/5587106/oklahomas-corporation-commission-asks-public-service-co.-of-oklahoma-to-seek-settlement-on-its-wind-catcher-plan

If the 800 towers ever actually exist, and if 100% are running at peak capacity, then over two-thirds of the power will be dissipated and wasted because it cannot be carried on the transmission line. Of course, 100% capacity is practically impossible. An average efficiency of 30% is probably a little optimistic. It is probably optimistic to suppose all 800 towers will ever stand at the same time, for that matter.

If Wind Catcher is a good deal, the investors should stop trying to pass costs on to the public until power is feeding into the grid. If Wind Catcher is good, prove it. Prove me wrong. The saddest fact hasn’t even come up yet: Taxes.

The whole investment doesn’t work without Federal money and Federal and State capital gains tax credits. Most of Warren Buffett’s profit is associated with manipulating taxes and receiving tax money straight out of our pockets. Buffett has done this many times. He invests, he rakes in the taxes, and he bails before the maintenance costs start showing everyone there is no free lunch, not even free breezes.

At best, in 20 to 25 years, all 800 of the bird/bat-choppers will be decrepit and hazardous. Who is going to clean up the mess? Will the investors do it? Will they come back with all their profits and make right for the landowners and land users?

Over and over for over 3,000 years we have abandoned windmills. We will this time, too, and someone has to clean up the mess.

This is one history lesson I wish we could learn. A windmill is a very limited tool, and industrial scale electricity production is not a use for which it is suited.

Oklahoma, did Texas just push us off the tracks in front of the oncoming train? I think so. Are we going to rush right back in front of the locomotive?

Scientists expect to be able to test everything. Perhaps, but it seems unlikely. There are things that might be real that might be untestable, unverifiable. Multiverse is untestable, yet many believe. It is equivalent to deifying infinity to the infinity power. Hawking recognized and devised maths to limit the possible number of universes to a finite set. Yet, the notion is still totally untestable. To me, the notion of the transcendent is required. Denying anything other than the quantum foam and the matter/energy of space-time, quite frankly, denies the possibility of knowing anything. It denies rationality and reason itself. I simply don’t find that reasonable. It is irrational. I suspect science will find reproducible ways to test for transcendence. I’m not sure the results will actually tell us anything useful. I suspect proving the existence of “a transcendent” will not make us wiser. It won’t answer the big questions. It won’t answer the ultimate “Why?”.


Most of us have little or no creativity. Regie has talent and creativity to make up the difference.

“The Declaration of Independence separates…if you want something, put it in writing …and sign it in blood.”

Regie's Blog

It’s not the amber waves of grain or purple mountains’ majesty.

It’s certainly not the rocket’s red glare or bombs bursting in …well …you know. It’s not even the free market or diversity or apple pie or fireworks or the Grand Canyon or the heartland or even the military (as much as I love them). And I’m going to go out on a limb here, and say that it isn’t even the beloved and genius Constitution.

No, the one thing that is the foundational tone-setter for what would become The United States of America (at least, in my opinion) is the Declaration of Independence.

Before anybody won a battle; before anybody ran for president; before anybody pledged allegiance (or took a knee), somebody decided to write something down that had never been written down. It was something you dare not utter and was only spoken of in hushed tones, under…

View original post 854 more words

https://kfor.com/2018/07/03/oklahoma-landowners-speaking-out-about-proposed-wind-farm-construction-project/

Wind Catcher is almost certainly going to be built; so we will see. The video in the above-linked report contains a lot of untruth in the last half-minute. Scott Norwood outright lies. He stumbles through his statements.

The rated capacity of 800 towers with 2.5-megawatt turbines is easy to calculate. The power production project is not like current, standard power plants. It will be limited to wind availability and to other inefficiencies. It will be irregular and uncontrollable regarding power production. The tell is the disputed power line, which will obviously steal value from all landowners near it; it is only being rated for 600 megawatts, a third of the pretentious rated capacity. They were calling this a $4B project. That number went to $4.5B soon after. The latest total cost estimate I’ve seen is now $5.4B. Also, keep in mind that the majority of the power from these bird choppers will be delivered to neighboring states, not the poor folks having to live in the midst of an industrial power generation facility.

What a mess!

Over and over for over 3,000 years we have abandoned windmills. We will this time, too, and someone will have to clean up the mess.

I applaud our State Attorney General for opposing the current request to start charging Oklahomans for the construction costs long before any power production.

Some years back, State Treasurer, Scott Meacham, similarly opposed a proposal to start charging for a conventional power generation facility. It was killed. That power plant will never be built. It was being built, in accord with agreements and published plans, next to an existing power plant. It already had millions of costs. Construction was far enough that OG&E asserted the project could not continue without cost recovery. Thus, when the State Treasurer started grandstanding (Who? Why?), the project was killed. It cost us Oklahomans millions and subjected us all to the suffering imposed by industrial fans. Scott Meacham owes us!

The State Attorney General is standing on legal grounds. Meacham simply threw a temper tantrum on emotional grounds.

https://newsok.com/article/5600278/oklahoma-corporation-commission-wraps-up-testimony-on-proposed-wind-catcher-settlements-but-no-decision-was-made

Many questions and responses centered on whether the project would benefit the utility’s typical residential customer, especially during the last 15 years of the project’s expected 25 year life.

For what it’s worth:

Commission Chairwoman Dana Murphy again discussed concerns she has about complaints the agency has received from various Oklahoman landowners that could be impacted by a proposed 360-mile line to get power from Wind Catcher into the utility’s Tulsa-area grid. Many have said the utility and the land company it has been using to acquire needed line rights of way have used deceitful and bullying tactics.

Note:

But in Oklahoma, a commission administrative law judge who considered PSO’s proposal recommends the commission deny the utility’s request.

The judge recommends denial because the utility did not seek competitive construction bids for the project and because that work had started before PSO filed its request.

While PSO estimates its 545,000 customers would see a rate increase of about $78 million in 2021 if the cost recovery were granted, it also maintains lower energy costs and connected federal wind production tax credits would offset that increase.

I’ve found no explanation of how Federal dollars (taken from us) will offset rate increases. If rate powers will collectively pay an extra $78M in 2021, how do they get back their money? PSO and the investors get the Federal tax credits. When does the homeowner (electricity user) get the money back?

Over the years, money people, like Warren Buffet, have invested heavily in wind and solar startups. They always pull their money out of the projects soon after starting, soon after they’ve collected all or most of what the Federal Government gives them from taxpayers. It is hypocritical, but it is a good way to fleece America. I really don’t see how taxpayers and ratepayers in Oklahoma are going to benefit from any of this.

Here in Oklahoma, a quarter-century from now, our children will have to figure out how to clean up the mess left by Wind Catcher. The fat cats will be gone, made all the fatter by those too greedy for a little extra revenue into municipal and county coffers. The short-term gain is small. The overall costs are large and enduring.

Production of energy is never free. There are always costs. Industrial fans happen to be the most certain long-term high-cost way to produce electricity. We will live to regret it. Our bird and bat populations already regret it.

Winds blow. Windmills suck!

 

 

 

Philadelphia Dec. 23. 1791.

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it. — Thomas Jefferson

A friend posted on Facebook about the Oklahoma State Question 788 legalizing marijuana per doctor’s note. I had commented about the legal prohibition forcing me to be responsible for the harm caused by the law.

I was camping for a few days, so now I’m able to take time to write a bit. We Oklahomans vote on the matter tomorrow (26 June 2018).

To be blunt, I oppose all legal prohibitions of vices. If there is no victim, there can be no justification for laws criminalizing the action. (Rationalizations and mental gymnastics should be employed for liberty, not for coercion.)

I’m using the word vice to mean actions that are reasonably called bad, even harmful to oneself, and perhaps, by extension, hurtful to ones loved-ones. I mean actions that are done willingly, even if unwisely, with malice toward no one. That is, if I abuse a substance, I will likely harm myself, but I’m not doing it with malice. I don’t intend to harm anyone, even if the end result will hurt those who care about me. On the other hand, there are natural crimes where my actions intentionally, or at least directly, harm someone else. The most obvious is murder.

It’s a hell of a thing, killing a man. Take away all he’s got and all he’s ever gonna have. Will Munny (Clint Eastwood’s character in Unforgiven.)

If I may use “natural crimes” to mean that which victimizes at least one other, and vices to mean that which harms no one directly except the doer, then perhaps I can be clear.

I first must set forth my consideration of law, any law, every law. When I consider whether a law is justifiable, I use this criterion: If someone was about to violate the law, and if I had a gun to the would-be criminal’s head, would I be willing to say, “Stop, or else!” If they persisted, would I be willing to pull the trigger?

If the law they are violating is life, if the perpetrator is about to commit murder (a natural crime), or inflict grave injury and harm, then, yes, I could suppose I’d be willing to pull the trigger, and I suppose I would be justified.

If the law they are violating is texting while driving, or smoking a joint, no. Don’t be absurd. Of course not. Yet, we have the laws.

Sure, driving while intoxicated or negligently distracted is dangerous, but it is not intentionally malicious. If someone is negligent along such lines, we have reasonable and justifiable liability laws. We hold them accountable.

Someone might object that a negligent driver may accidentally take a life as a result, and liability and reparations cannot bring back the dead nor satisfy the bereaved. Certainly, but let us consider the natural and often likely extreme; if law-enforcement attempts to apprehend the negligent driver (for citation or arrest), the driver may refuse to comply, and it doesn’t take much for someone to die in such circumstance. A high-speed chase is too often fatal. A “criminal” who objects to being criminalized for a vice often becomes belligerent, and, far too often, such situations end in someone dying.

In many instances, our protection is merely hypothetical. How can we justify proactively coercing someone to protect a life, when the coercion itself is an evil act and very well may result in loss of life. Life for life in the abstract is not justifiable. Life for life can only be justified when the threat of death is clear and imminent. Even in war, it is morally reprehensible for me to take the life of an enemy combatant who is clearly attempting to surrender.

Here is the point I hoped to make on Facebook regarding State Question 788 and the decriminalization of marijuana if a doctor signs off on it. The Law currently criminalizes the possessor or seller of a naturally grown plant. Said criminal is subject to all manner of force and coercion at the hands of law enforcement officials. I cannot justify sending our police to enforce such unjustifiable laws. Our police are armed, and they are trained to use force, even deadly force, to uphold the law. Whether the law is justifiable or not, I am literally responsible, given that is our system, and in it, I am the authority and basis of the government. The government rules by my consent. If I consent, I am responsible.

As Thomas Jefferson pointed out, I am much more willing to deal with the problems attendant to too much liberty. I do not have a clear conscience if I am responsible for too little liberty. I am responsible, in our society, here in the USA, here in Oklahoma, if our government is, in fact, tyrannical. I will act in legal, civil, and voluntary ways to increase liberty and to minimize tyranny. I must make a legitimate effort to repeal unjustifiable and unnecessary laws. I must support decriminalize of drug use, even if it is only halfway.

The same goes for immigration, but that is not the topic here. We must have constraints on immigration, but our laws are too restrictive, and worse, too complicated and hard to enforce. Many of our laws are based on fear. Many of our laws are based on favoring some at the expense of others. That is tyranny, and it is wrong.

I hope my point is clear. I oppose prohibitions on vices because I find the prohibitions more immoral than the vices prohibited. I oppose prohibitions on vices because such prohibitions require our police to enforce unjustifiable laws. Further, unjustifiable laws result in unfair enforcement and unfair judicial practice because mercy and justice cannot be consistently considered. Further still, excess laws, unjustifiable or simply unneeded, push our police beyond their warrant. Excessive laws force our police to overextend, increasing their risks unjustifiably.

Specifically, how many police have died because of a marijuana arrest? How many times have drug raids and drug enforcement deprived a more worthy use of police capabilities?

Again, all of this is my fault, our fault, collectively, because we vote for it. We don’t bend the ears of our legislators and peacefully persuade them to repeal the unjustifiable laws. We don’t vote them out and install representatives who will listen.

Prohibition of vices causes more harm than good. Prohibition of vices is more immoral than the vice.

We have the example of alcohol. Of course, it is different. Yet, it is simply a vice. Many people, good, bad, innocent, and otherwise, died trying to prohibit alcohol in our country. We have many problems associated with alcohol. Many people suffer, and many people die. Yet, we don’t cause it. We, collectively, are not responsible for suffering and death resultant from free choices of free people. Our responsibility ends with our innate obligation to love our neighbor as ourselves. I have a simple obligation to my neighbor, my relative, my friend, who has a problem with addiction, or whatever, in so far as I care about them and want the best for them, within my capabilities.

Passing a law and sending the police to enforce it is not the same; it is not a way to fulfill my obligation to love my neighbor. It is coercion, and coercion is evil.

Coercion, being evil, is only justifiable when the coercion enforced is obviously less evil than the harm prevented. By obvious, I mean a clear and imminent harm.

Again, I stand with Jefferson. No doubt, there are problems associated with decriminalizing drugs, but the problems of liberty are not immoral. The problems caused by coercion are immoral. Let us all choose to stand for liberty. Let us all honor every individual as self-sovereign. Let us all refuse to coerce.

 

 

 

Simplistic, but valid: From nothing comes nothing.
Either something exists, or nothing exists.

We can side with the likes of Stephen Hawking and assert eternal existence of gravity and quantum vacuum and, also, assign it practical [and mindless] divinity. Then we can reasonably speculate that myriad minuscule fluctuations in the quantum foam converged to burst forth from the singularity. Inflation, then space-time, which is running down, back down to the nothing.

Or, we can assume transcendence. That is, we can assume an eternal something that is truly beyond nature. Eternal is the key, and transcendence is required, or it is just natural, and we are back to nothing. There are some significant hurdles to deal with in assuming the divine, but an eternal transcendent actor can only be referred to as god. (Peterson says as much, often.)

If we hold to the first, methodological materialism, or naturalism, or atranscendence, then we are stuck with nothing and there simply is no such thing as agency. No choice is any more significant than any event. It takes two things to do anything: Time and Energy. States and systems exhibiting disequilibria will tend to equilibrate, taking time and using energy. Disequilibrated systems do anything that takes time and uses up energy, as long as it lessens the disequilibration. Often, order arises, emergent phenomena. A simple example is a dust devil in a dirt field. The ground heats unevenly under the sun, and the air warms slower, disequilibria. A warm thermal begins to rise, often beginning to spin, and up arises a dancing, self-organizing, dust devil, chasing the warmest spot near it. It is a dissipative system, more efficient at increasing entropy than simple convection. Assuming atranscendence, the dust devil is the same as any choice I make, any idea I conceive, any action I take. It all, only, tends to use up time and energy bringing the universe back to closer to the absolute and eternal nothing of its beginning.

Given my definitions above, the options are god or not-god.

That is, god is that which is eternal and transcendent.

Not-god is that which is yet eternal but nothing, that which momentarily and currently is subject to unwinding the initial winding of the singularity, and the unwinding is simply the using up of time and energy. (It makes no difference in this assumption whether the big bang is a single freak occurrence, or if it is quasicyclical, repeating randomly for all eternity.)

If we accept the god assumption, we are faced with eternity. We exist in time, but we will exist in eternity (and perhaps have always existed in some sense). The questions religion and philosophy address boil down to this: In eternity, with-god or without-god? One choice with two options. We will enter eternity having chosen god or refused god.

In that assertion, I’m assuming the god condition of eternal and transcendent reality. Given that assumption, the choice, the ultimate choice, true agency, is between with-god and without-god.

There either is choice, or there is nothing.

I admit I am defining nothing as meaninglessness.

I’m defining eternal and transcendent as meaning, reason, and rationality. It is my assertion, my premise. It is fundamental within me. (It is fundamental within the universe.)

Choice, agency, is the only thing that matters. If not-god is the reality, then there is no choice, no meaning, no rationality, no reason, nothing. If god is the reality, and there is no choice, no agency, regarding eternity with god or eternity without god, then we are back to nothing, back to no choice, no meaning, no rationality, no reason.

Given any reality approximating that, truth has no meaning in any case where choice, true agency, isn’t foundational and intrinsic. Individual agency must be real or there is not even anything that can be called truth, not in the abstract, not in the concrete, not in the ideal, not even in the notional. If I have no choice in the matter, no agency, nothing matters and nothing is the only true reality. If there is such a thing as reality, choice is real; agency is real.

Obviously, I cannot get away from the notion of truth, and one might argue such persistence makes it deeper, more real, than choice. No. First, we must not conflate Truth with Reality. That which is real is not the same as that which is true, not even in the ideal. It goes to meaning. If the not-god reality is real, then all that we seem to know is simply a random confluence of quantum fluctuations that happen to have congealed into a mass hallucination. If my mind is merely matter and energy and chemical processes running in patterns dictated by quantum fluctuations, I have no mind, and I have nothing on which to base any assumption. I can have no reason to assume any of it will continue. I have no real reason to base any of it on.

In that case, I have no reason. There would really be no reason and no such thing as reason, only matter, only energy, only a persistent, sequential running down and unwinding.

Frankly, I find it unreasonable to assume there is no such thing as reason.

I find it irrational to assume there is no such thing as rationality.

It seems as certain as anything else that there must be an eternal transcendent actor. Being confined to time and nature, we cannot hope to know this super-nature directly. We can only hope to systematically and rationally investigate it and aim at truth, as we do with all of nature. The nature of nature, our reality, seems to include something transcendent that we typically call mind. There isn’t a significant difference between “mind” as we use it, and “spirit” as we use it. There is no quantifiable reason to suppose mind is any less real than matter. Consciousness is really a thing, a thing we do not understand. Our religions may be so far from truth as to be laughable, but so may our sciences.

Again, without choice, there is no truth.

If I am not really a free agent capable of making real choices with meaningful consequences, then there is simply nothing, at least nothing that has any meaning, nothing that matters.

Per the OK voting site:
Tuesday, June 26 Primary Election
Last day to register to vote: June 1 (already past)
Deadline to request absentee ballot: 5 p.m. June 20
Early voting: Thursday, June 21, 8 AM – 6 PM
Friday, June 22 8 AM – 6 PM
Saturday, June 23 9 AM – 2 PM
 
Get your personalized sample ballot there (approximately 15 days before). Mine is ready already.
There is a primary ballot. If you are registered with a party, you will see their ballot for the primary. If you are independent, you will probably see the Democratic primary ballot.
You will at least see the State ballot. It includes nonparty items, like judges, and the State questions. Only 788 this time. I’m with Jefferson. I much prefer the problems associated with excess liberty than the want thereof.
 
The text of 788 is: “This measure amends the Oklahoma State
Statutes. A yes vote legalizes the licensed use,
sale, and growth of marijuana in Oklahoma for
medicinal purposes. A license is required for
use and possession of marijuana for medicinal
purposes and must be approved by an
Oklahoma Board Certified Physician. The
State Department of Health will issue medical
marijuana licenses if the applicant is eighteen
years or older and an Oklahoma resident. A
special exception will be granted to an
applicant under the age of eighteen, however
these applications must be signed by two
physicians and a parent or legal guardian. The
Department will also issue seller, grower,
packaging, transportation, research and
caregiver licenses. Individual and retail
businesses must meet minimal requirements
to be licensed to sell marijuana to licensees.
The punishment for unlicensed possession of
permitted amounts of marijuana for individuals
who can state a medical condition is a fine not
exceeding four hundred dollars. Fees and
zoning restrictions are established. A seven
percent state tax is imposed on medical
marijuana sales.”
 
Good enough for me. My bottom line, prohibition doesn’t work.
 
I still vote and probably always will, but I’ve grown cynical. It doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t. Whoever wins will do what they want, not what we want. (Just ask Scott Inman.) If we can get some Libertarians in, maybe there is some hope of smaller government, but the fact is, government will continue to grow, taking more of our money and more of our freedoms. The nature of government is to oppress. The less we stand up for ourselves, the more government will beat us down, and they take our money to pay for it all.
 
So, vote if you want to. Register if you feel like it. It is too late for the primary and state question, if you haven’t already registered, but you can register for the next round.
Regarding drugs in general, I realize legalization will have its own set of problems, but we already deal with most of that. What we will lose with legalization is knowingly criminalizing people who aren’t actually hurting anyone (except themselves). You can pretend dealers hurt users, but that is silly. Vehicles kill many, many people continuously. Are car dealerships hurting users?
Think it through. Get past the superficial. We can eliminate drug crimes and the associated deaths by decriminalizing and letting freedom ring. People engaged in criminal activity cannot call the police. They resort to violence. Decriminalize and end such violence. Sure, problems will continue, but at least we are not sanctioning such violence. At least we will not be forcing our police officers to execute drug dealers for trying to defend themselves (in their mind).
It isn’t easy, but I cannot approve of my government killing people for simply suffering from vice or addiction. We have legal vices. We have problems accordingly, but they are problems we can deal with legally and peacefully. Prohibition simply doesn’t work. It doesn’t! Why keep prohibiting things that don’t obviously hurt people?
Coercion is evil.
If you coerce, you are sinning against your neighbor.
If you coerce, you are culpable.
Laws, by definition, are coercive. Do the laws you favor clear your conscience? Let me ask it this way: Is the law under consideration so important to you that you would personally kill to enforce it? Example 1, a bloody adult is running at a child with a knife raised and fire in his eyes, while he screams his intent to kill, and you have a gun, drawn, aimed at the crazed adult–you are well trained and a good shot. Do you aim center mass and pull the trigger? I would hope so. Example 2, a 17-year-old is texting while driving. You have a gun, drawn, aimed at the careless adolescent–you are well trained and a good shot, and the car will certainly veer harmlessly into the adjacent ditch and halt. Do you aim center mass and pull the trigger? I hope not.
See the difference? The one law is reasonable in the extreme. The other really isn’t justifiable at all. It is coercive, and sooner or later, suffering results from the coercion, from the law.
Prohibition actively causes pain, suffering, and death.
Sure, vices cause the same, but we, as a society, as a collective conscience, are blameless. Each of us has a moral obligation to do good and assist our neighbor, but if our neighbor refuses polite advice and wisdom, we stand blameless. If we outlaw an action that has no direct victim, we stand guilty of the harm caused.
Our laws against drugs make us guilty of the harm caused by our law enforcement, harm caused even when assiduously following the letter and spirit of the law. The law is bad, the harm is evil.
Stop it. We are worth more than the ephemeral security of vices outlawed. Our police are worth more. Take responsibility and end prohibitions of vices.

NIMBY

No one wants to live in an industrial power generation facility. Industrial fans hurt people, and they do it today and will be doing it for years to come.

http://gatehousenews.com/windfarms/home/

http://edgarcountywatchdogs.com/2013/09/our-living-hell-life-next-to-wind-turbines/

A bit of Googling can find many more examples, old and new.

These problems are not new. Not to mention the disrupting and killing of birds and bats.

Oklahoma is about to fritter away $4.5+ billion installing 800 fans in the Pan Handle with 360+ miles of high wires to take the power to Tulsa, then on to MO, LA, AR, and TX. One can call such effort most anything but smart. I expect Wind Catcher to be the last of the large projects completed.

For a telling bit about the lies and exaggerations common with wind, why are they building a 600 MW power line for an installation of 800 2.5 MW fans? (Do the math.)

http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/state/route-of–mile-wind-catcher-power-line-concerns-woodward/article_fa380ab5-d101-5255-b174-797e42007dcf.html

https://psoklahoma.com/info/projects/windcatcher/

I expect to see the last industrial fan built in my lifetime.

I expect my grandchildren to have passed from the scene before the last derelict is cleaned up.

Sadly, we humans fail to learn from history and our mistakes.

I do not understand why someone would file for office as a total unknown.

Take me for instance, if I had filed yesterday, anyone with access to a computer could immediately find reasons to laugh at me, reasons to oppose me, or maybe for the rare few, find reasons to support my candidacy. (Hypothetical, of course.)

There would be no reason to wonder if I might be lying. You can look it up. I’m here. I’m on Facebook. I’ve statements scattered far and wide. You can figure out what I think without asking me to lie about it.

The fee for filing is nontrivial. It costs $1k to file for US Congress. The links are here: https://www.ok.gov/elections/Candidate_Info/Candidate_Filing/ All 794 of these folks plunked down at least $500. I suppose most had someone encouraging them with at least some portion of the fee. (For better or worse.)

Regarding the US Congress, each representative has nearly no significance for the state, except for bringing home some bacon. Not a thing I appreciate, but some find it paramount. My BS detector alarm goes off when I hear too much about “for the people” from candidates for US Congress. I want to know your principles, and I want to know what you intend to work hardest for. Beyond that, Congresscritters just don’t matter to the state, being stuck too close to the political-middle between anything useful.

It is this lot that has me writing at the moment:
UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE – DISTRICT 05
Democrat
00107 W KENDRA HORN, 41, 5909 N Ross Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73112

00295 W TOM GUILD, 63, 2109 Rushing Meadows, Edmond, OK 73013

00444 W LEONA KELLEY-LEONARD, 47, 905 Lincon St, Seminole, OK 74868

00507 T TYSON TODD MEADE, 55, 1728 NW 13th, Oklahoma City, OK 73106

00555 T ED PORTER, 67, 4205 NE 116th St, Oklahoma City, OK 73131

00668 F ELYSABETH BRITT, 39, 13600 N Blackwelder Ave #239, Oklahoma City, OK 73134

Republican
00546 T STEVE RUSSELL, 54, 1291 Scenic Trl, Choctaw, OK 73020

00568 T GREGORY DUNSON, 49, 123 NE 2nd St #365, Oklahoma City, OK 73104

00652 F DeJUAN EDWARDS, 36, 13717 Kirkland Rdg, Edmond, OK 73013

(BTW, WTF? What is W, T, or F on each?)

Ms. Kendra filed first. Cool. Gung ho! I found her with no problem. She looks like the Democratic candidate already, but where is her history? All I can see is lies about bipartisanship and pledges to make the Federal Government more meddlesome in Oklahoma. (I say lies because the Dems are no-nonsense when it comes to toeing the party line. Bipartisanship for Dems is purely partisan. Cooperate only when the party bosses tell you to, or you are out.) Regarding Ms. Kendra’s promise to involve the Fed more, I believe you, and that’s the trouble. (Nyves) (Don’t get me wrong; GOP is similar, but not as Draconian.)

Mr. Tom, need I say more than hope springs eternal?

I’m totally unable to find anything worth mention regarding Ms. Leona. Ms. Leona is sufficiently unknown that my internet searches didn’t find that she filed and ran in 2016 and in 2014, receiving about 7,000 votes both rounds, coming in third both times. I happened to notice the fact looking at other candidates on Ballotpedia.

Regarding Mr. Tyson (I’m sticking with first names), he’s a rocker. Cool, but what does he stand for? The name of his old band (in the political sense) just might foretell the results of his run, but who knows how much his celebrity will gain him.

Mr. Eddie was easy to find, although only political. His bio is worth acknowledging. His Facebook page makes me think I’d appreciate his thoughts on corrections. He seems a general contrarian, though.

Ms. Elysabeth was just as easy to identify politically, and reasonably identifiable otherwise. I applaud her for trying to make herself known.

There is this: http://newsok.com/article/5582043/steve-russell-regains-fundraising-edge-kendra-horn-continues-to-lead-democrats

For the GOP, Mr. Steve is incumbent, and minds are pretty made up. I have a lot of respect for him, his experience, and knowledge, but he isn’t a stickler for precision. He doesn’t always bother double checking before he says things. He’s been in politics too long to find anything nonpolitical, but he’s been in politics long enough, you know what you are getting.

Mr. Gregory and Mr. DeJuan aren’t hard to identify, but they don’t seem to have any politics. Perhaps last-minute decisions.

I just keep wondering why anyone would wade into the muck. Well, no, I understand why someone would wade into the muck and the slime and the stench of politics, because I’ve always felt the pull. But it only takes a little exposure to snap me to my senses. These folks not only took time and made the effort to go down and file, they put their money into it. Those campaigning and fundraising have no out-of-pocket expenses. They let the campaign pay for everything. But, per the news-blurb, there are only three of them with any significant funding. Complain all you want about money, but it is just talk. Money really is speech and protected when used as such. It takes a dollar to do a dollar’s worth of getting the word out. Also, money isn’t everything, just ask HDR. She out spent the Donald two to one.

For me, the bottom line is that it costs me no money to find out. If I can research and do my own homework at no cost beside my time, then I’m okay with any money anybody wants to spend on it all. I can look up news articles. I can research at the library and online. I can find folks on Facebook and LinkedIn, et al. I see it as my responsibility to figure out where the candidate is on positions, and where they are talking out of both sides of their mouth, and where they are likely to compromise effectively, and where they are likely to compromise their principles and disappoint me.

Bloomberg complicates the things involved here, but presents some things well. It is clear that if money was the key, HDR would have won. https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/graphics/2016-presidential-campaign-fundraising/

While about 800 people signed up for about 200 elections, there were still unchallenged positions, with only the incumbent. http://newsok.com/governors-race-tops-oklahoma-candidate-filings/article/feed/2002984 I would like to remind everyone that we were used, especially the teachers. The only real point to the teachers’ strike, especially its timing, was the politics of the Democratic party. Undeniably, we were used and abused, and most people seemed not only eager but happy to oblige. I know it hurt me. I know others suffered in silence.

Elections are messy business. Respectable people will have nothing to do with elections. (Let that sink in.)

That points makes it rather shocking to me that people are willing to give up teaching positions to run for elected office. It will be a rude awakening, a slap in the face. For those few who succeed, the regrets are almost certainly going to outweigh any gains they can point to. I suspect the former teachers who are in office now will admit the life of an elected official is harder than that of a teacher, and generally with fewer rewards.

I’m looking at a lot of research requirements just for the statewide positions and the ones in my district. 15 candidates filed for governor. (15 x $2,000 = $30,000, I would suppose money like that will keep the polls open.) 15 candidates, lots of homework to do, but none of it matters per the experts. The frontrunner is clear. We shall see if the race muddles any. I’d like to see the Libertarians getting some press and stage time. I like their ideas and their flair. (I mean, who doesn’t appreciate that tragic soul, Joe Exotic?)

It will be a relief to have a new representative in District 94. I’ll be doing my homework, but I’m already worried. My main hope is to not have another grandstander.

I noticed something. My initial hypothesis is that there is a causative correlation between district wealth and the number of candidates filing. I’ve tabulated the races with more than four candidates, at least the ones I noticed.

First number is always D, second R, third is L or I, and fourth is I.
Senate 16 has 3 & 3
Senate 30 has 2 & 7
Senate 36 has 2 & 4

House 5 has 1 and 4
House 14 has 2 and 3
House 17 has 2 and 5
House 20 has 1, 6, and 1 (grudge match–people love to hate Bobby)
House 22 has 3, 2, and 1
House 26 has 3 and 3
House 27 has 1 and 5
House 31 has 2 and 3
House 36 has 0 and 5 (Rs)
House 41 has 3 and 6
House 43 has 2 and 4
House 47 has 3 and 4
House 48 has 2 and 3
House 53 has 3, 3, and 1
House 63 has 2 and 4
House 66 has 2 and 3
House 68 has 3, 4, 1, and 1
House 69 has 3 and 2
House 71 has 1 and 5
House 79 has 2, 3, and 1
House 80 has 4 and 3
House 81 has 1, 3, and 1
House 82, jeeze! has 1 and 12
House 86 has 3 and 2
House 91 has 3 and 2
House 95 has 4, 1, 1, and 1
House 98 has 2, 6, and 1
House 99 has 5 and 0
House 100 has 2 and 3
House 101 has 4 and 4

I didn’t double-check my hypothesis or data. I’m mostly noting several races have excessive candidates. The sad part is, it matters so little. No person’s vote really matters. We pretend every vote counts, but it is much more realistic to assume no vote counts.

Larry Norman said it well in many ways so long ago. When he asked who would lead us if none of us would vote, I always knew the loudest mouth or biggest fist would.

I haven’t given up voting, but I sure understand those who neglect it, and those who denigrate it. Voting, democracy, really isn’t all it is cracked up to be. The tyranny of the majority is tyranny nonetheless.

Plato talked about inferiors ruling, but that is inevitable. The only guards are restrictions and limitations on government. Otherwise, the violent do violence, and the manipulative use and abuse us all, far too often in the name of the children or some other vulnerables, never actually helping anyone but themselves.

Bottom line, do your own homework and be an informed voter. Or, forget about it; don’t sweat it, knowing you’ll almost certainly live just and long and die just as happy.

Only Matthew records the tale of the day-laborers in the vineyard.

http://biblehub.com/cev/matthew/20.htm

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ So the last will be first, and the first last.”

The commentaries expound well, but they don’t dig deep. http://biblehub.com/matthew/20-13.htm http://biblehub.com/matthew/20-15.htm

I think it important to remember Jesus’ closing of it, “The last shall be first, and the first last.” We know, we experience so often, this truth. Mark tells us, and Matthew records two instances, where Jesus tells us that from he that hath not, even what he had will be taken away.

http://biblehub.com/matthew/13-12.htm

http://biblehub.com/matthew/25-29.htm

An obvious point is the fleeting nature of worldly goods.

Paul seems to have noticed, and he stated he was content regardless of what he had.

There is a lot in the parable, a lot for every era and time, but I think especially for our time. The day laborers, the notion of fairness, the uprightness of faithfulness even without generosity.

Wikipedia, of all places, has a nice note and interesting details, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_Workers_in_the_Vineyard

Perhaps Jesus expected us to assume the owner of the vineyard remembered the command, “You shall not oppress a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your brothers or one of the sojourners who are in your land within your towns. You shall give him his wages on the same day, before the sun sets (for he is poor and counts on it), lest he cry against you to the LORD, and you be guilty of sin.” http://biblehub.com/deuteronomy/24-15.htm

This instruction seems a good thing to remember when considering migrant workers, even foreign workers. (That is a thorny and complex topic. I’d settle for few, limited, simple laws, consistently enforced, that considered each as an individual, not a labeled-group.)

The central point seems to be an individual responsibility to be content with agreements. If I agree to a price, or a wage, that is it. I have agreed. If other considerations make it seem unfair, my obligation is to remain faithful to the agreement. I’m responsible for what I agreed to and fulfilling my part of the agreement. Me, each of us, individually. I am responsible for my agreements and obligations. (Yes, I like redundancy.)

Jesus seems to be condemning the attitude of envy, and that seems consistent with all we know. Life rarely works out fair. Don’t begrudge the fortune of others, for no life is trouble-free. Wealth and influence generally make life less hard, but life, in general, is hard.

I note and emphasize that the owner asserted the right to do with his own as he pleased. That seems especially obvious when the use benefits others.

The owner had no obligation to explain or justify. He had a need, he hired workers to accomplish it. Each worker agreed to work for pay, and apparently only the first hired had established the set amount. (Note that the amount was the then current wage for a day’s work for a day laborer.) Those who went out for less than a full day likely expected a fair portion of the full-day rate. Those last hired were probably resigned to fasting for the day, so what little pay earned could go to feeding the family. Can you imagine the joy and relief each felt while accepting the full portion of pay?

Note that the money belonged to the owner. He, apparently, had earned it. He seems likely to have been a good and honest man. He chose to be generous with his worldly goods, and he chose to pay a full day for everyone that worked for him, even for only a twelfth of that day.

Changing tack, people who work for the government are in a different circumstance. People who work for the government are paid from taxes, money taken from others, for no reason other than the majority voted for it, at least in some roundabout way. Tax expenditures are governed by law, not generosity.

Again, tax expenditures, even if worthy wage paid for worthy work, are governed by law. Generosity is the sole domain of the individual. The government has no positive value. It makes no money of its own. It takes from citizens, and it uses the money according to law. While individuals run a mutually enriching system of agreements and exchange, the government’s system is zero sum. Whatever it gives to one, it took from another (and wasted some along the way). There are valid activities we want the government to do (but that doesn’t address governmental overreach), but when one group riles and rouses the majority and demands more, the fact remains, the favored are gaining at the loss of others.

This brings me back around to envy. It is an individual responsibility to avoid envy, especially that which begrudges and hates others.

Also, faithfulness. Fulfill your obligations, even if someone claims a higher calling. You can’t faithfully fulfill an obligation by abandoning another.

Finally, given the parable is about the kingdom of God, I take the lesson as showing us God treats all equally, and it often doesn’t seem fair.

Oklahoma is in crisis.

The unions are reporting increased parental support, but they’ve lied so much already I won’t accept anything they say.

I’m heart torn. I hurt. We homeschool. So, it doesn’t directly affect my family, but we’ve always supported our local schools and the teachers we know. The slogan is the walkout is for the kids, but the only fact establishable by empirical evidence is the teachers walked out on the children. It is abandonment, betrayal.

I don’t understand it. I know so many teachers, friends, family (including my daughter), younger, older, former, and current. I cannot doubt the heart of any one of them. I honor and respect everyone one of them. They each have accomplished so much, given so much. I trusted them, would have trusted them, but they did not remain faithful.

Again, I don’t understand. I know these teachers have the biggest, most giving, most loving hearts of any people I’ve known; yet, they walked out.

Not only did the teachers and their unions warn they would hold the children hostage and extort the parents, the parents (and legislators) believed them that their plight was dire (It was.), and the State paid the ransom. The legislators bit the bullet and raised taxes, a large tax increase. Sadly, the old adage held. Pay the ransom and embolden the extortionists.

It is interesting, even praiseworthy, how the teachers have acted, and, moreover, how many in our community have responded. Many private people and businesses have provided goods, services, and cash. It is with very mixed emotions that I watch it all. Despite being intimidated and threatened, we love our teachers and continue to work with them.

Of course, there is very little of anything good can be said of any politician in this whole mess. (Well, a small few, but that is not of concern here.) It is hard to condemn the politicians being under so much stress, intimidation, and disparagement. Some messed up, some just didn’t act right, and a few grandstanded and put on the show at every opportunity, never shying from any deriding or devise remark.

An oft-repeated chant aimed to deride the legislators was, “Do your job!” while teachers constantly thronged them and posted derogatory reports whenever the legislator was trying to attend business rather than offer a sympathetic ear. Teachers have boasted of overcrowding the legislators. Teachers complained when their disruption wouldn’t be tolerated. Teachers (and the grandstanding pols) pitched royal fits when the legislature adjourned early one day, and started slightly late the next. Lose-lose for all the legislators but the grandstanders.

As to doing their job, what is their job? The teachers seem to think it is to raise taxes and give the failing education system more money. Is it the job of the legislature to penalize the citizens of the state to appease the teachers unions?

No, the job of a legislative representative is to represent the people who elected him or her. Being in the district of the chief grandstander, it just might be that the majority in my district did so want more expensive failure in education, and the majority may very well have thought it right that grandstander-in-chief opposed all tax increases for being too small, until the strike was certain. (I wrote him often asking him to not raise my taxes and to not make such spectacle of himself.)

However, it is clear from recent history that most of the voters in most of the districts wanted their legislators to represent their interest in holding the line on tax increases. Maybe moods have changed, but it is simply disingenuous to assert the representatives were failing in their job. The legislators were, in fact, fulfilling their duties and obligations. Again, there is blame can be handed round all round, but on the whole, the legislators were doing their jobs, even while being railed against by the grandstanders and union activists.

Amongst the railing and intimidation and threats, the legislatures settled on a package of tax increases that drew compromise agreement of the required supermajority. A large, and likely painful, tax increase, and there were celebrations and dancing in the streets, even a high-five from the Governor as she rushed to sign the measure.

Yet, the strike was still on.

Come Monday, with new tax increases and new laws funding education confirmed and in the books, the strike came. The teachers walked out of their classrooms leaving students and their parents holding the bag. Betrayal of trust by any objective evaluation.

Yet, the parents bucked up and voiced support. I’ve heard no estimates of how many people had to take off work. The cost has to be over several millions of dollars, just for that first day of the walkout. In Oklahoma, it is illegal for teachers (unions) to strike against the school board (their actual employer). However, the school boards also believed the dire circumstances, and many authorized the walkout, keeping it legal.

Still, day two. Surely the teachers had made their point. Surely, with the extraordinary raise (16 to 18% per teacher, and more money for this and that) and tax burden tolerated, the teachers would be happy, but no. The unions had started the mantra Monday that it was never about the raise, never about “the money,” but about the classrooms, about education in the state as a whole. Oklahoma already spends half of its budget on education. One can argue particulars, but one cannot claim Oklahoma doesn’t care about education. That fact mattered not to the unions.

Now, we’ve muddled through the week. Some schools have called the teachers back to the classrooms. A few never walked out at all. (At least one small district sent a delegation of teachers to represent them while classes continued. Quite reasonable, I believe.)

Still, most, including all the larger districts, day by day canceled class for want of teachers. I know not what most of the school boards have done, but they face the very real possibility of having to fire, perhaps even prosecute, teachers if they (the board members) grow stubborn and insistent. There is no win, only harm, in that prospect. It is still possible. It may come to it in some instance.

I’ve waxed verbose, and I offer my appreciation for reading and sharing my pain. I aim to express my disappointment in the teachers, even in those who have vehemently supported them, but my primary aim is to end the betrayal. I hope the teachers will return to class. It is a sad fight. It is sad that it is a fight at all.

While the teachers say the government has failed, it cannot be said the education system is better. There are systemic problems of myriad sort in our education system, even more than our government system. Both are flawed from inception, with error compounded upon error over the decades. Our defects have grown for more than a century. No thorough fix is possible in even a few years.

But we can start, but not while teachers raise ruckus and disgraced politicians show no shame. The legislators cannot do their job while teachers hinder them.

While I sincerely hope the teachers will return to class Monday, we citizens of Oklahoma, all of us, must continue to call upon our legislature to address the flaws in our systems, all our state systems. They are badly broken. The problems are clear, but the causes are not. The remedies are even more elusive, but we must. We simply must find repairs, and we really must install workable systems before we make them all more expensive. We may find we need more taxes. We likely must revamp our taxing system overall.

No easy answers. We won’t find any if we get complacent. We will repeat this hurtful, tragic fiasco again in a few years if we don’t keep at honest effort for accountability and solutions.

 

But hatred is best combined with Fear. Cowardice, alone of all the vices, is purely painful—horrible to anticipate, horrible to feel, horrible to remember; Hatred has its pleasures. It is therefore often the compensation by which a frightened man reimburses himself for the miseries of Fear. The more he fears, the more he will hate. And Hatred is also a great anodyne for shame. To make a deep wound in his charity, you should therefore first defeat his courage.

Screwtape to Wormwood, per C.S. Lewis

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