Reforming Politics and Culture

New Website!


I am very excited to announce that after a month of designing work and strategizing, I have moved my blogging and political pondering across town to RPC’s very own, professionally-designed website!  Here’s a screenshot of the homepage:

RPC screenshot

WE’VE MOVED!!

Of course, this couldn’t have happened without the fantastic assistance I received from my long-time friend, Daniel Foucachon, President and Founder of Roman Roads Media (and the mastermind behind CanonWired).  The design work was done by my very capable buddy, Andrew Higdon, of Brand Headquarters.  Profuse thanks to both of you for your time and effort.

I also decided to give RPC its own FB page in order spare all my good friends who can’t stand it whenever a hot political topic rolls around, so you can run over and like that over here.

As of right now, the plan is to leave this spot I’ve called home for the last three years and set up shop fully at my new place.  I hope you’ll come along with me and participate in the discussions I hope to create in the process of reforming our politics and our culture.

Blessings,

The Editor

December 3, 2012 Posted by | Culture, Life, Politics | | Leave a comment

Culture-building


As I go about my day, I slowly accumulate a variety of articles and links that have either been recommended to me, or that I have independently come across and intend to read later.  Eventually, I do get around to reading them, albeit often after four or five days have gone by.  That is the case once again, so I’d like to share some quotes from two of my favorites.

First, Pastor Jeff Meyers wrote this short piece on the cultural implications of the Ten Commandments that I think is very applicable to our current situation:

“… The Decalogue is not given simply to guide individuals in their religious, private piety.  They are about how the community is called to live together in marriages, families, cities, and larger communities.  Here are two ways of summarizing the Ten Words that bring out the cultural focus.

The first way highlights what God seeks to promote in human civilization. The Ten Words are intended to form a particular type of society. A community of people . . .
  1. that put their trust in the true God (“In God we trust”),
  2. that worship God in a fitting way,
  3. that bear the name of God in a glorious way in their daily lives,
  4. A civilization that safeguards people from the slavery of never-ending work and frees them to gather for worship on the day of the Lord,
  5. A culture that honors and obeys parents and others in authority,
  6. one that protects the life of the innocent,
  7. that remains true to their marriage covenants.
  8. that respects the right of private property against theft,
  9. where the courts are respected and justice is the norm because people testify honestly,
  10. that are content with what gifts and goods with which God has blessed them.

The second way of summarizing the Ten Words calls attention to what is prohibited and the consequences of violating God’s law.

  1. If a community of people does not trust the true God, then someone will step in and play God, and that is most often “the State.”
  2. People that worship God through the medium of lifeless stone statutes and static images will dehumanize themselves and will bring judgment upon themselves and their children’s children.
  3. A culture that bears the name Christian but does not behave as such will not be able to hide from God’s righteous condemnation.
  4. When cultural authorities effectively enslave people by not allowing them rest and/or denying them the freedom of assembly for worship, then the culture is in danger of an Egyptian-style judgment.
  5. A culture that encourages dishonoring parents and others in authority will not last very long.
  6. When a nation refuses to protect the life of the innocent, the entire culture will be put to death.
  7. An adulterous people will experience the unraveling of lesser forms of covenants and contracts.
  8. A nation full of thieves will themselves be plundered.
  9. Without honest testimony, a community’s court system cannot hope ever to administer justice.
  10. Coveting and envying others’ gifts and property will result in social unrest.”

Second, Mr. Ahmari with the Wall Street Journal interviews a lifelong Democrat, a Mr. Greg Lukianoff, about the death of Free Speech on American university campuses.  Lukianoff points out that, even though he is personally pro-gay marriage and pro-choice, it is actually social conservatives are most likely to get in trouble on US campuses today.  Here are a couple of excerpts:

“The people who believe that colleges and universities are places where we want lessfreedom of speech have won,” Mr. Lukianoff says. “If anything, there should be even greater freedom of speech on college campuses. But now things have been turned around to give campus communities the expectation that if someone’s feelings are hurt by something that is said, the university will protect that person. As soon as you allow something as vague as Big Brother protecting your feelings, anything and everything can be punished.”

“A 2010 survey by the American Association of Colleges and Universities found that of 24,000 college students, only 35.6% strongly agreed that “it is safe to hold unpopular views on campus.” When the question was asked of 9,000 campus professionals—who are more familiar with the enforcement end of the censorship rules—only 18.8% strongly agreed.

Mr. Lukianoff thinks all of this should alarm students, parents and alumni enough to demand change: “If just a handful more students came in knowing what administrators are doing at orientation programs, with harassment codes, or free-speech zones—if students knew this was wrong—we could really change things.”

The trouble is that students are usually intimidated into submission. “The startling majority of students don’t bother. They’re too concerned about their careers, too concerned about their grades, to bother fighting back,” he says. Parents and alumni dismiss free-speech restrictions as something that only happens to conservatives, or that will never affect their own children.

“I make the point that this is happening, and even if it’s happening to people you don’t like, it’s a fundamental violation of what the university means,” says Mr. Lukianoff. “Free speech is about protecting minority rights. Free speech is about admitting you don’t know everything. Free speech is about protecting oddballs. It means protecting dissenters.”

It even means letting Ann Coulter speak.”

November 26, 2012 Posted by | Culture, education, Quotes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Thanksgiving Proclamation


Thanksgiving Proclamation

George Washington

During the time of the founding fathers Thanksgiving was a day set aside for prayer and fasting. This is the first Presidential (instead of state or congressional) Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, issued by George Washington in 1789.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor – and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

original thanksgiving proclamationNow therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be

– That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks

– for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation

– for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war

– for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed

– for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions

– to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually

– to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed

– to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord

– To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and Us

– and generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
GO. WASHINGTON.

November 21, 2012 Posted by | Culture, Politics | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why All This Secession Talk Makes No Sense


I’ve been relatively “mum” on the hot topic of secession over the last week for a variety of reasons.  First, I knew it would blow over before long.  The hotheaded types who latch on to the idea would eventually quiet down.  Second, I was interested in seeing how the media would react.  Third, there’s just not a lot of sense in making a big fuss about this.

It is that third reason that I suppose requires further explanation, as I have several friends and acquaintances who actually have made a fuss about this, and believe we really ought to be discussing the “idea” of secession and why it really and truly could be a good thing.  So in response, I have three important points to make about this idea of secession and how Christians and conservatives ought to be handling the topic.

First, we really, really don’t want what secession would bring.  I know that to some, the idea of the “South rising again” or standing up to Washington in defiance of its liberal philosophies is romantically attractive, but the consequences of such ideas (and all ideas have consequences, I assure you) are catastrophic.  I will grant that the petitions written to the White House following the Presidential Election last week were aimed at some sort of peaceful separation, but in all seriousness, we know that could never happen.  (And that’s ignoring the comedy of “requesting permission” to secede.)  But back to the idea of a peaceful separation – we currently do not even have the ability to peacefully communicate with each other when facing the contrasting principles of liberalism and conservatism.  Our politicians have been known to drive crowds into a frenzy when opposing the views of “the other side.”  Why would we think that an all-out secession could possibly be peaceful?

Second, secession from what?  Didn’t anyone see the 2012 Presidential Election Results map by county???  What are we actually splitting ourselves off from?  Certainly not the rest of the country!  Except for Hawaii, or perhaps the very furthest Northeastern states, the entire country is conservative as a whole.  And with that tag “conservative” comes the anti-Washington, anti-big government, anti-abortion sentiments that these principled citizens are desirous of achieving.  But look at the map – splitting off will not achieve these ends – it will not end the federal tyranny we have all come to know and love.  Our problems are deeper and more fundamental.  Secession is not an ideological action, it is a physical one.  It is regional.  It involves cutting off a relationship with a person or a people.  Take a look around you – the answer lies in the hearts and minds of our neighbors, not in removing them from our lives.  Which brings me to my last point…

Third, secession, and the idea of secession, is a cop-out.  It’s cheating.  Secession would allow us to “escape” – to not have to face our problems and the difficult solutions that lie ahead.  Secession means saying that instead of investing the necessary time to change and win over the hearts and minds of our disagreeable neighbors, we’d rather just not have anything to do with them.  If they won’t come around to our way of thinking (even when we don’t do a good job of promoting our ideas) then we’ll just give up and walk away.  After all, who needs them?  We’re capable of standing on our own two feet!  Now as Christians, it should be obvious that this isn’t the way to go about life.  Christians are all about cultural transformation – the Gospel moves slowly but surely.  It begins in our hearts and changes our lives.  Christians can’t walk away.  Christians don’t secede.  Christians must fight the good fight and labor long hours in the hope that God will do a great work.  In the same way, conservatives have a similar responsibility.  After all, we’re of the mind that you shouldn’t give a man a fish just to feed him for a day.  Instead, in teaching others to fish, we have to accept the time commitment involved.  We have to accept the challenge that comes with learning a new skill and new way of thinking.

Our road is the long road.  We won’t win the battle for the hearts of our liberal friends tomorrow, but we will someday.  We’re not in the business of bailing on our commitments and our mission field.  We have a responsibility to our friends and our neighbors.  So don’t spend your time talking of secession, or arguing that it could actually start a worthwhile conversation with those in Washington about the direction we’re headed, and how we aren’t going to keep falling in line.  Secession is not the answer.  It brings hatred and greater strife; it doesn’t even begin to answer the actual divides we’re dealing with culturally and politically, as it’s a regional and physical solution; and finally – fundamentally it is a retreat and an escape – a failure on the part of those who should care about cultures and movements.  We can do better.

November 16, 2012 Posted by | Culture, Politics | , , , , | Leave a comment

Strolling on the Links – 11/16/12


I have a couple of projects that I’m currently working on, but I’ve come across a few articles that are well worth reading, so I thought I’d share them.

  • Another at TPPF: Texans for a Conservative Budget make their case for Texans living within their means.

In other news, I’m thoroughly enjoying Craig Shirley’s Rendezvous with Destiny, and highly recommend that to anyone interested in presidential campaigns, or specifically Reagan’s 1980 campaign.

November 16, 2012 Posted by | Culture, Politics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

American Exceptionalism and The Conservative Battle


Two brief thoughts:

1. I believe in American Exceptionalism.  What made America “exceptional” in the past was her willingness to stand for the principles of liberty and free enterprise while acknowledging that it is the God of the Bible who gives us all good things.  For these reasons we sing “God Bless America”, say “In God We Trust” and “one nation under God”, and admit our consciences are pricked by those doing evil around the world.  These Christian principles were at one time prevalent in our society and guided our values.  Now they’re collecting dust on our shelves and our society has lost all sense of principle and morality in failing to acknowledge the evil that abounds inside our own borders.  The only way America can be “exceptional” again is to scrape the scales from our eyes, see our sins for what they are, repent, and thank God He is willing and able to forgive.  It is God’s grace that made America exceptional in the past, and only His mercy and forgiveness that will make us exceptional in the future.  It is not by our own works, but by His grace.

2. Conservatives need to embrace the cultural battle before us.  When 51% of our engaged population promotes an agenda that happily murders babies and praises sexual immorality, we have lost the hearts and souls of the American people.  We cannot fight for limited government and personal responsibility when the foundations of our society have been so crippled.  Our strategy must be to rebuild the foundations of Christianity so that we have something concrete to stand on.  Conservative principles cannot work in a godless, immoral society – we should have figured that out by now.  Look at the national map of the county election results.  Conservatism remains popular in rural societies where people still care about each other and know if you’re at church or skipping out.  Where your neighbors know if you’re cheating on your wife and they hold you accountable for how you treat others.  Conservatism doesn’t exist in our urban centers, where there is no accountability, no objective morality, and thus liberalism reigns.  We must fight to reform our cities – to create new forms of accountability.  This begins in our churches and congregations, and faithful churches will influence communities, and our communities will in turn influence our politics.  There is no other way.

November 8, 2012 Posted by | Culture, Politics | , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Message from Texas to the Nation


I wanted to share a message from Brooke Rollins, President and CEO of the Texas Public Policy Foundation.  I think she hits the nail on the head and does so eloquently.  TPPF is yet another reason why I’m proud to be a Texan, and given that Obama will hold the reigns in D.C. for the next four years, why I’m thankful to live in a state where an organization like TPPF can exist and thrive.

TPPF website: http://www.texaspolicy.com/
Article link: http://www.texaspolicy.com/center/tenth-amendment/blog/time-stand

>>>>

When Abraham Lincoln lost the 1858 U.S. Senate race in Illinois to Stephen F. Douglas, he remarked that he felt “like the boy that stumped his toe — it hurt too bad to laugh, and he was too big to cry.”

Those of us who hoped for a Washington, D.C., more sympathetic to American liberty’s cause, more solicitous of American aspirations, and more understanding of the sources of American prosperity know exactly how Lincoln felt. We are disappointed today. Yet in our disappointment, we must congratulate the victor: the now-reelected President Barack Obama. His victory signifies one big thing, and we who work for freedom ignore it at our peril:

He won an argument before the American people.

What argument did he win? It’s simple: he argued that Washington, D.C., is a better steward of American life and liberty than, well, Americans themselves. It’s a contention that we know to be discredited across time and history, yet it shows its power when an electorate battered by years of economic insecurity and material deprivation makes these choices. It’s not that they’re frightened, or unreasoning, or ignorant. We cannot believe that, and we can never condescend with that sort of conclusion. They’ve simply given up on the old American Dream.

And why wouldn’t they? They hear that class determines destiny. They hear that education is unaffordable. They hear that only government can secure their homes. They hear that the free market — or what they’re told is the free market — is rapacious, capricious, and a threat to their homes and families.

When that message takes root, the reelection of President Barack Obama becomes plausible. And when it becomes plausible, it becomes real.

The question for those of us in the liberty movement is the same question Robert Redford’s character asked at the end of the 1972 classic, “The Candidate”: “What do we do now?” For us at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, an answer to that question is crystal clear.

We keep defending Texas.

We keep defying Washington, D.C.

You’ve heard me say it time and again over the last four years that Texas is where freedom proves its case. That reality is cast in stark relief when you consider the record:

  • Texas accounting for a near-majority of American job creation across the past half-decade.
  • Texas attracting nearly a thousand Americans a day in search of a better life and more opportunity.
  • Texas beating the national unemployment rate, despite the immigrant influx, for nearly five full years.
  • Texas boasting some of the cleanest big-city urban air quality in America.
  • Texas surging past big-state peers like California in nearly every relevant metric.
  • Texas becoming America’s largest manufacturing state.
  • Texas becoming an epicenter of the fracking-led American energy revolution.

The Lone Star State accomplished all that — and more — in the teeth of Washington, D.C.’s mismanagement, and sometimes opposition, during the worst national economic times since the Great Depression. That’s extraordinary. And it’s a testament to what a free people can do when they’re allowed to be free.

Texas is where freedom proves its case — and it’s proven to be more prosperous, more vibrant, and yes, more compassionate than its detractors ever dreamed for their own ambitions.

The mandate before us now is to keep that flame alive — not for Texas, but for America. Everything great about our state is simply what’s great about our country, and we intend to keep on as we’ve been: dismantling big government where we can, fixing it sometimes, and opposing it always.

The national-election results illustrate well why we’re embarking upon a series of big pushes in the forthcoming 83rd Texas Legislature that convenes this coming January:

  • We’ll work to reform the entitlements behemoth that is Medicaid, which is presently threatening to consume nearly half our state budget in return for inadequate results. We believe that Texas can run its Medicaid program better, for less money, for better outcomes — and get care to the people who truly need it.
  • We’ll work to bring real choice to our school systems, and place the control of our children’s educations in the hands of teachers, students, parents, and taxpayers — and not the myriad bureaucracies that grasp for funding dollars at the expense of the Texas future.
  • We’ll work to continue and extend the extraordinary achievement of the 82nd Texas Legislature, which implemented the first all-funds cut from a previous budget in over half a century. It was one thing to do it when projected revenue collections were down — now we’ll have to do it when they’re up. But the outcome is worth the effort.

When we do these things in Texas, we’ll be doing more than just helping Texas. We’ll be reminding America that liberty works, that freedom is a birthright, and that hope and change are more than just slogans. Ronald Reagan reminded us that America is a “shining city on a hill,” and the task — and the privilege — of our generation is to illuminate it with the Lone Star.

Congratulations to Barack Obama, reelected to the Presidency of the United States. And welcome to all of you who join us now in the renewed fight for freedom.

In liberty,

Brooke Rollins

President & CEO

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November 7, 2012 Posted by | Culture, Politics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Election Day 2012: The Aftermath


I woke up this morning to find that last night’s results remained the same.  Well actually, that’s not true – this morning it was worse.  President Obama increased his lead in the popular vote, proving that at least 60 million of our countrymen are incapable of discernment, considering him to be worthy of another four years of leadership.

And yet, we move… forward.  (Ironic, no?)

Today is a new day, the sun still rises, people aren’t rioting in the streets (not on account of the election, anyway), and Jesus still reigns as King.  We can and will survive four more years of President Barack Hussein Obama.  He will do his worst, and we will do our best.  In the end, hopefully we’ll cancel each other out.

So now we must ask ourselves: What do we do now?  What does “our best” look like?

  • First, we must recognize and admit that we as conservatives compromised with Mitt Romney as the “Republican” alternative.  I said this repeatedly during the primaries – Mitt Romney is not a conservative.  Conservatives across the country settled with him back in the spring, and we paid for that compromise.  Ends up the two were not different enough.
  • Secondly, we need to do our part to make certain that we stop making the same mistake of “settling.”  When we have a chance in 2015 to get behind a real conservative candidate in the Republican primary, we need to do so. We need to consolidate.  We need to unify.  The only way to do so is to educate ourselves, our families, and our neighbors.  Conservatives need a viable strategy that is focused on actually preserving life without exceptions.  Conservatives need to recognize that we can’t afford military engagements around the world when we can’t afford to handle our own debt (regardless of whether or not we ought to be doing anything abroad).
  • Third, we need to get serious about our kids.  That begins with standing up to the government-run public schools.  Republicans as a group should be pushing against public schools across the board.  If the federal government or the state can refer to our children as “their kids,” then we are falling down on the job.  Our children are OUR CHILDREN, and their education is our responsibility.  If your kids’ public schools aren’t teaching them the Bible, morality, and values, then you’re destroying your children’s future.  They will grow up with no respect, no foundation, and no responsibility.  It doesn’t work to just offer those things to them at home.  Kids need those values and morals repeatedly taught.  It’s what gives us a conscience.  Kids without a conscience end up having sex freely, stealing, cheating, doing drugs, and failing miserably in life.  Look around you – that’s the kind of kids we’re graduating from our public schools.What’s the answer?  PRIVATE EDUCATION.  Find a private school.  Homeschool.  Make the necessary sacrifices to show that you’re serious about raising and taking responsibility for your children.  Do whatever it takes.
  • Fourth (though it is primary), we need to be serious about our Christianity.  It’s not hard to see why President Obama was reelected.  He won 43% of the Protestant vote, and 50% of the Catholic vote.  I’ve got to ask – how can you be a Christian and vote for a blood-thirsty, baby-killing, free sex-loving agenda?  How can you?  I’ll tell you how – because our pastors and our churches have failed.  They’ve not only failed to boldly proclaim the Gospel (which condemns both murder and free sex, as well as a host of other immoralities), but because they’ve failed to hold their congregations accountable.  This is where a free and open membership has destroyed the church.  Pastors must be serious about their obligation to Christ and His Church.  What are the keys for, after all?  If your members are in sin and are unwilling to repent, then they must be excommunicated.  I’m not saying our churches can’t be full of sinners.  They are, they must be, and they always will be.  But our churches should be full of repentant sinners.  Our churches are currently full of murderers and adulterers who are smiled upon and welcomed as “different.”  Love your brothers.  Tell them the truth: God hates those things.
  • Fifth, and finally, we must focus on our local politics.  Work in your communities, elect Godly men and women to lead your towns and cities.  Volunteer.  Run for office.  Preach the Gospel.  Aid the poor.  Assist the orphaned and widowed.  Love your neighbor.  We’ll only see true progress in our nation if we’re making changes at the ground level.

To wrap up, I’ll share a quote from Pastor Wilson, who wrote a similar post this morning:

“We also need Christians with a thorough-going biblical worldview writing good books, making good movies, and recording good music. As I have argued before, you can’t have a naval war without ships, you can’t have tank warfare without tanks, and you can’t fight a culture war without a culture. And by Christian culture, incidentally, I do not mean pious schlock and I do not mean hipster poses with extra mousse in your hair to make it stick up.
So don’t despair. As the Marine general said in the Korean conflict, when his forces were completely outnumbered and surrounded with Chinese troops — “Well, they can’t get away now!”

When the history of our time is written, and they are trying to describe us, we should want historians to have to use the word irrepressible.”

November 7, 2012 Posted by | Culture, Politics | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Buzz on Election Day


Well, Facebook is preventing me from updating anything whatsoever.  It appears the libs are censoring me and my media outlets.

In case you’ve missed it – here’s some of the buzz around the nation as we approach the close of the polls on the East Coast:

  • According to Rush Limbaugh, early reports out of Colorado show Mitt Romney on pace to win Adams county which hasn’t been won by GOP since 1984.
  • Plus – overall, early vote turnout OH is up 2.44%. Down -4.1% in Obama/Kerry counties; up 14.39% in Bush/McCain counties.
  • Reports are that 75% of registered voters are turning out in New Hampshire.  This could be a good sign for Republicans.

I remain of the opinion that Virginia will indicate what will occur tonight.  Let’s hope the GOP turnout is high there as well!

November 6, 2012 Posted by | Culture, Politics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Election Eve – Prediction


Time for my prediction for tomorrow.  I admit – this is very optimistic, but I can’t get past the idea that the MSM polls are desperately skewed and hide the truth.  To be honest, I’m not sure how it’ll turn out tomorrow, but I can give you this much: keep a close eye on Virginia.  If Virginia goes for Romney by any significant amount, bets are on he’ll perform well in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin.  He’s sure to win at least a couple of those states if not all three.  Then again, if Obama wins Virginia, then we all might as well hit the hay, because January won’t bring any “changing of the guard.”

Be sure to get out the vote tomorrow and drive your neighbors, family members, and friends to the polls!  Vote conservative and vote Republican!

November 5, 2012 Posted by | Culture, Politics | , , , , , | 1 Comment

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