Random thoughts on politics, life and society

Reading the contract
Reading the contract | Source

War

I heard the president say this morning that we should take some of the money we are spending on wars that we are engaged in and spend it on some project he favors.

Does this mean he thinks the wars are unjustified or that they are not necessary? If that is true, why are we fighting them in the first place? Why has this president not stopped the wars if they are not just wars? Or if they are unnecessary wars? I have often heard politicians claim that the Iraq War was started by President Bush and is not necessary. However, President Bush did not start the war by himself. He presented it to congress and they approved it. At the same time the current president has taken military action without the constitutionally required approval of congress. We have not had a formal declaration of war for a long time, but we have had congressional approval of some wars.

How can the current president say we should take money from a war approved by congress?

If the war were necessary and just than there would be no sense to taking the funds away from it. If it is not necessary and just, I think the President is negligent of his duties to allow it to continue.

A religious belief I have that is not pushed enough, I think, is the idea that we are all given abilities, talents and gifts of one sort or another. As such I think we entail a religious obligation to develop and use those abilities. The extent to which we use our gifts and talents may be what we are judged on.

Have you ever noticed how often the Bible is referenced and the references are wrong? I always hear about the apple Adam and eve ate. But where does the bible mention apples? A forbidden fruit is mentioned. The Apple reference originated I think with the narrative poem “Paradise Lost” by John Milton. Other people, including our president talks about he Bible saying we are our brother’s keepers. That is not in the Bible either.

Be always a seeker of truth. If religious beliefs conflict with scientific beliefs, I think both should be examined to resolve the conflicts.

Democracy

Some people complain about Democracy because is messy, not neatly structured like other forms of government. All these folks voting. Very unpredictable. It is true of political freedom and it is true of “free will.” People may sin, or commit crimes. There is that danger but the alternative is to have no freedom. Who, in that case, will do our thinking for us? Yes, it has been said that the perfect government is a “Benevolent dictatorship.” However, how do we make sure the dictator is benevolent? Power tends to corrupt, so even the most benevolent could become corrupt and probably will.

The primary purpose of any government is to maintain an orderly society. The question is how much order will we sacrifice for how much freedom.

Battle of Perryville from Harpers weekly

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History

I think to understand history it is necessary to try to understand the culture of the place and time under study. It is not realistic to judge event and people of another time by the standards of our times. May I say that the same is true of works such as the Bible? Be cautious to pass judgment on things of the past because values were different and you may have been misinformed by previous interpretations.

We always have a tendency to present history the way we want it to be, but than we learn nothing from it.

These, as I said, are random thoughts that I share with those who car on politics, life, and societyto read them. Feel free to add to them, comment or I am sure; some of you will disagree with some of all of them.

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Comments 16 comments

Sooner28 4 years ago

"Some people complain about Democracy because is messy, not neatly structured like other forms of government. All these folks voting. Very unpredictable. It is true of political freedom and it is true of “free will.” People may sin, or commit crimes. There is that danger but the alternative is to have no freedom. Who, in that case, will do our thinking for us? Yes, it has been said that the perfect government is a “Benevolent dictatorship.” However, how do we make sure the dictator is benevolent? Power tends to corrupt, so even the most benevolent could become corrupt and probably will."

I just made this point in the forums about free speech. Some people seem to care more about order than allowing people to speak their minds.

As a liberal, it's hard for me to understand Obama. It's highly unlikely in 2014(or whenever the draw down is supposed to begin) that the situation in Afghanistan will have magically stabilized. Why exactly are our men and women dying? Is it because the President is trying to come to some "middle ground," where Republicans can't accuse him of being weak on "terror," and Democrats won't see him as a war monger? It's hard to say.

I don't think a benevolent dictator is the best alternative either. I think everyone needs to have free speech and a right to express their views, either through associations or through voting. The alternatives are just too scary to seriously consider. If elections don't go your way, there is nothing you can do but voice your opinion and hope to change the hearts and minds of the people who voted differently than you do.

The only concern I have is that people often don't understand how to think for themselves. Our schools are not producing critical thinkers, so most people don't put in the necessary time and thought to form coherent opinions about the political system. When people all become sheep, democracy can end up sowing the seeds of it's own destruction.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I think we sometimes get caught up in terminology like "conservative" and "liberal." Most of us are liberal in some things and conservative in others. The terms are also very relative. I don't think today's liberal is the same as yesterday's liberal. After awhile the terms fail to serve a purpose.

I am getting more and more doubtful of government schools. School should teach independent thought but does not seem to. at the very least I want competition from other schools.

Thank you for commenting.


Sooner28 4 years ago

You are correct. I suggest checking out John Taylor Gattos' book, "The Underground History of American Education." - http://johntaylorgatto.com/underground/ Gatto hits the nail on the head. He's a little too religious for my sensibilities, but his overall point about most of the schools in America is dead on. It also doesn't hurt he had direct experience in the school as a teacher for 30 years.

Also this one. -http://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chica... which is about how much students are really learning in college.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I never thought about it when I was younger but the idea of government schools is a bad one. I think most people think they have always been that way. Thanks for the references.


Sooner28 4 years ago

No problem. Reading Gatto will shock you. He's a libertarian.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I agree on some things and disagree on others with libertarians.Thanks.


Valentine Logar profile image

Valentine Logar 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

The President took action based on our agreements with the United Nations, in truth those agreements were approved decades ago by Congress and have never been rescinded. Despite the talking media heads fueled by the opposition, he did not need a declaration of war to support NATO troops.

As for the rest, what would you have him do with the mess in the Middle East? As much as most of us would like to simply throw up our hands and say enough, can we say that is the best answer? I suspect the lack of stability we created with our greed, our bad behavior, our lies and our willingness to put not just US lives at risk but the lives of our allies at risk to gain our ends (nation building and oil) will not support an immediate draw down. The previous administration sent us into the Middle East with lies, with propaganda and misdirection. They kept us there with more of the same. Now we have to find a way out that leaves behind at least a minimal stability.

Religion and personal belief systems are just that, personal. They do not belong in the public forum. They are in fact supposed to be barred from the public forum. People in this nation have been fooled into believing many things over the years, including a mixed bag of what the Bible does and does not say. Because most Christians are functional illiterates regarding their own Holy Book, it is easy enough to continue to feed them BS.

To the winner goes the spoils, also the writing of history. Our education system has been demolished over the past 38 years, perhaps more. We have allowed this to happen. We no longer teach critical thinking skills. We no longer teach Philosophy, Language or the Arts. History is nearly a true thing of the past, re-written to make us look good rather than to prevent repeats.

As a nation, we are failing our future.

We are a Democratic Republic, but have fallen into disarray. More and more a minority are striping the rights of the majority, to vote, to speak, yes even to choose for themselves the direction of their lives. Soon we will join other nations that have failed to achieve greatness, soon we will see the end of this grand experiment due to the greed of a small minority.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Just because the president has some legal right(if he does) is not a reason to go to war.What I said was a war should be necessary and just. As far as Iraq is concerned, we went there based on intelligence data in which agencies all over the world reported a danger. President Bush went to congress. They voted for war.There were no lies that I know of. wrong information does not constitute a lie.

Why does not religion belong in the public forum. Certainly the founding fathers were in favor of it. What they did not want was a state church like other countries had. Also the states were free to have official churches if they wanted them.

I agree that we are failing future generations but we probably do not agree on the reason.

Anyhow these are my observations and you are welcome to your own. Thank you for reading my thoughts and taking the trouble to comment.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago

I have the book one of your readers above mentioned: "The Underground History of American Education." It is a truly outstanding piece of work.

America is crumbling but not because of greed as one of your commenters above ignorantly claims. Greed has existed in every society in the history of earth. What is killing the Spirit of America is what your commenter above wrote:

"Religion and personal belief systems are just that, personal. They do not belong in the public forum. They are in fact supposed to be barred from the public forum."

Are supposed to be barred from the public forum says who? That is the opposite of what made America great. That is said by somebody who has swallowed the Kool Aid and has no clue as to American History. That is Satan talking. It is he who says the only belief system—worldview—allowed in the public forum is Secular Humanism, which is a nice word for Marxist Atheism. Everybody has a worldview. Your commenter above sees the world through the glasses of the Devil. Her worldview is certainly no more valuable to the public square than that of a Christian.

Thank you. :)


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks for commenting James.The problem with the first amendment is so many people spin it. I am not sure what the public square is, but I do know that the founders had respect for religion. Ben Franklin worked with both Catholic and Protestant clergy.It seems to me that the words of the constitution are clear, yet people turn them into something else. Thanks for your comment which helps clarify it.


bethperry profile image

bethperry 4 years ago from Tennesee

Daghoglund, you raise some very good questions and make some excellent points. I especially like this, "Be cautious to pass judgment on things of the past because values were different and you may have been misinformed by previous interpretations."

When it comes to Afghanistan, I am extremely unhappy with our troops remaining over there. I do believe one reason there has not been an official declaration of War made is because war, per se, is a mission executed to carry out a specific purpose. The reasons we have been given for our troops being there, while at first understandable, have become complicated by political agenda and, I fear, further complicated by a President who fears troops returning home and entering a job market he has compromised at every turn. The need for a President to have Congressional approval for declaration of war should be respected by ALL Presidents; unfortunately too many of them have circumvented law. They will continue to do so until restrained by representatives of the people who honestly care.

Voting up.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

bethperry,thanks for commenting. I agree with what you say.I don't know if "official" declarations of war ill ever be made again but certainly congress should be involved in the here and now. I don't think the UN should determine who we go to war with.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

In general, I agree with your random thoughts, Don. The tiny parochial school in the small town of Okauchee, Wisc. (3 classes in one room!) put me so far ahead compared to most students in McAllen, Tex. (public school) that I was very bored the first entire year. It was mostly all repeat for me.

A high school education back when my grandparents attended was a better education than what most colleges deliver today. Most everyone would agree that our educational system has taken a drastic turn in the wrong direction.

Our founding fathers certainly were religious, but as you say did not want an official religion for our country. It was left up to the person.

As to the war in Iraq, it was bad intelligence that led us there and it was not only U.S. intelligence (but intelligence from other nations as well) that led us to the conclusion that there were weapons of mass destruction ready to be unleashed upon the populace. And Congress approved the actions based upon that intelligence. Yes, President Bush, as commander and chief, approved the action...but he certainly did not instigate it. Should he have turned his back as our current president is doing in Syria and just allowed the people to be killed? His heart was in the right place and he demonstrates over and over again what he thinks of our troops...even out of office with no political gain to be enjoyed.

Anyone taking a foreign language knows that there are many adjectives for the same word and for the most part there is not just one correct word that can be used for translation. When you think how many times the Bible (as an example) has been translated, is it any wonder that each word cannot be held to mean only one thing? Look how the different Protestant religions differ and yet they are all Christian. A slight twist in meaning this way or that can alter what is meant.

Sounds like I am rambling now! Oh well...it is what we older people sometimes do (speaking personally, of course). Haha!

Voted up and interesting.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks for your thoughts Peggy. I suspect college education has suffered from college becoming more of a business than a place to absorb the knowledge and wisdom of our culture.I would never be able to afford an education in today's world, but then I am not sure I would want it.


lrc7815 profile image

lrc7815 4 years ago from Central Virginia

Great thoughts! I agree with you mostly. History, as it is taught, is rarely accurate. We have a tendency to hear what we want to hear, be it politics or religion. I often argue that we put far too much stock in the Bible, which is mostly interpretation that has been altered slightly with each new version. Even the sermons taught from the pulpit have been colored with interpretation and represent few facts. As a people, we are easily influenced, not by facts but by what seems popular at the time. I often wonder what our world would look like if we knew the facts of our history and the true stories of the Bible. Enjoyed this hub immensely.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I have found through life that nearly everything is a matter of interpretation. I have no problem with that as long as it is an honest interpretation. People of past times were subject to different sets of ideas,feeling and knowledge. As such it is not logical to expect them to think the way we do. Yet, I hear constantly voiced accusations about people of the past because they don't feel the way the speaker does.

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