2:17 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

Some support for waiting for marriage

Go check out this.
|W|P|83225476|W|P||W|P|1:41 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

Initial Evidence Supporting Christian Marriages are Happier

I didn't want this hidden in the comments. I found this after searching for about 30 minutes. The only resource I have here is the internet, but I'll be home with access to my personal resources, my church Pastor, and a library, so more will be added over time.

The Anglican Journal reported in November 1998 on a Statistics Canada finding that regular churchgoers tend to have more enduring marriages. A closer look at the data finds that 90.6 per cent of Anglicans who attend church at least weekly, report being "very happy" with their spouse.

Other interesting statistics

According to what people have reported in several large national surveys, the general level of happiness in marriages has not increased and probably has declined slightly. Some studies have found in recent marriages, compared to those of twenty or thirty years ago, significantly more work-related stress, more marital conflict and less marital interaction.

Many studies have found that those who live together before marriage have less satisfying marriages and a considerably higher chance of eventually breaking up. One reason is that people who cohabit may be more skittish of commitment and more likely to call it quits when problems arise. But in addition, the very act of living together may lead to attitudes that make happy marriages more difficult. The findings of one recent study, for example, suggest "there may be less motivation for cohabiting partners to develop their conflict resolution and support skills." (One important exception: cohabiting couples who are already planning to marry each other in the near future have just as good a chance at staying together as couples who don’t live together before marriage).
|W|P|83224376|W|P||W|P|12:58 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

P0rnography for Women

"I love you," he said. "That's why I rented a lear jet to fly you to New York and dine at the most expensive restaurant. And afterward, we will go see The Producers or the opera."
"But Jim," she replied. "I hardly know you. We've only been on three dates."
"I know, but I loved you since I first met you. You were so charming. Your hair is so perfect, your skin so clear. And I can't believe how well your shoes always match your outfit. That's why I ordered the fireworks display during dinner. You are the center of my life. You complete me."
"I'm flattered, Jim. But I don't know what to say."
Jim slid to one knee by her chair. "Then say you will marry me," he said, as he opened a small box to reveal a 30-karat diamond.
"Jim!" She gasped. "That must have cost you several months salary!"
"Three months. Which is saying quite a bit, since I make in the high three figures each year. But this is only a small token of the gifts I will lavish on you if you marry me."
"I don't know, Jim..."
"Then think about it for a week. But even if you say no, you may keep the ring. It is a small price to pay for the privilege of having you even consider my request."
"It's too expensive, Jim."
"Nonsense. It's only money, which is nothing compared to your beauty, charm, grace, and exquisite taste in window treatments. I have never seen anyone look as good in jeans as you do. And even if you say no, you may rest assured I will cherish these few moments in my heart forever. If you should find yourself lonely someday, without a love, you may call to me and I will drop everything, anyone, just to be with you again. Have I told you that you complete me?"
"Well, Jim, thank you for the ring, and the brand new Corvette convertible, the private glamour photo session, the weekend at the beauty spa, the Malibu beach house, and all the other expensive gifts you've given me. But I don't think I can marry you. Can I at least give you back the friendship ring you gave me the day we met?"
"No! I can only curse the fact that another man has won your heart first. But at least I will be able to dream of our brief moments together, and remember that I at least had the chance to try to woo the most perfect woman on Earth, the most natural mother, and someone who could cook the most flavorful quiche ever. Farewell! I shall miss watching Oprah with you."
"Goodbye, Jim..."
|W|P|83223117|W|P||W|P|9:00 AM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

Blowing my Own Horn

Someone said some nice things about me here. He's linked to the left, and an enjoyable read. Clicking around will get you to the riddle I won. Go check it out. You know, I really don't know why I consider it a compliment when someone says I don't take myself seriously....
|W|P|83216000|W|P||W|P|7:31 AM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

Taken from the comments...

...but probably should be stated clearly:

If you have any information that contradicts or disproves anything I say, send it to me, and I'll incorporate it in my writing or alter what I've written. Debate and refutation is highly encouraged. I'm not trying to prove anything here, just to share my thoughts and convictions. I have some silly idea that the recitation of my foibles, harebrained ideas, and mistakes might actually help someone. That's all I hope to do. If a posting doesn't help you, feel free to blow it off.

On a related note, I had a teacher who said that having a PhD is having a license to do your learning in public. I have strong attachments to my positions, naturally, but I will freely accept correction from those with better information. I may argue with you, but it doesn't mean your message isn't getting through, it may mean I'm just checking your committment/reasoning and challenging your thought process.

No idea is worthwhile if left unchallenged.
|W|P|83213409|W|P||W|P|4:03 AM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|


I was thinking about love the other day. How do you know you love someone? How do you know you can make a life with someone? How can you commit when the person you are dating isn't showing everything about themselves?
Well, now I think that maybe it's like two people on two different islands, each with a radio. You broadcast out on your favorite frequencies, and you broadcast your favorite music (or dreams, whatever...it's just an analogy, sheesh!). If there's someone that chooses the same frequencies as you, then you feel like you have a real connection with that person, that you can really communicate. If the things you share in the broadcast are much the same (if you enjoy listening to the other person's broadcast), then you have the same values, or common experiences. That's what tells you that you can marry someone.
And once you do decide to marry someone, you are bound together. Every person has been hurt, everyone person carries pain around, and has learned to protect themselves with a forest of thorns. And working through those thorns is not easy. It's painful to try to work through someone's bad experiences to reach their heart. You can't just barge in and try to change things, you'll tear yourself up on all the thorns (you'll keep getting in fights because you aren't sensitive to your love's insecurities). And the point is not to get rid of all the thorns, because you don't want to leave your love defenseless against the world, just against you. So you don't give up and do whatever your love wants, nor do you force them to open up or change. You work together, talking, gently trying to heal the pain with love, slowly working your way closer to their heart, the heart you glimpsed from the radio broadcasts. And the better connection you had through the better radio broadcasts, the better you can guide each other through the thorny forest. The beauty of the heart, the rose amid all the thorns, is the motivation that keeps you going despite the wounds you get from the thorns.
In a brutal honest appraisal of my relationship with my wife, I think that maybe we didn't have a good radio connection. Good enough, but not excellent, so it makes it harder for us to help each other heal our past pain. Plus, we both are very sensitive, so we both have BIG forests with BIG, SHARP thorns. But I did see the rose that is her heart, her spirit, and it was the most beautiful rose I've ever seen. I treasure the glimpses I've seen, and I want to guard her rose from more pain. I want to get lost in the beauty of her heart, and get drunk on the fragrance.
And since it is a journey to the center of her heart, the closer I get, the clearer I can see it. And the closer I get, the easier it will get.
That's what love is to me. A connection between hearts, an attraction to spirit/soul/heart, and the decision to work past defenses despite pain, so you can take care of each other's heart.
|W|P|83209567|W|P||W|P|3:53 AM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

Getting a Guy (The Big Lie, Part II)

No, I'm not turning this blog into the online version of the Lifetime Network, Emotional Crack for Women. I don't plan what I write, it just bubbles up from my subconscious. And there is no Big Lie in this post. But this builds on the previous post, here

In this case, I've been reading on Moxie's site about the problems she's had finding a guy, and talking with a friend, as well. I have four older sisters and a pretty vocal mom, so I've always been interested in the feminine point of view. I also fancy myself as introspective enough to try and figure out why I do the things I do, how and where I differ from other males, and so why they do the things they do. I have many female friends, and if I can help just one understand men a little bit better, to avoid some heartbreak for them (or even for some man they try to cram into an unfair stereotype), then I feel happy. Men, feel free to weigh in here, as well. I don't mind hearing where I'm wrong or if I've betrayed Men by revealing some secret handshake or something.

Caveats out of the way, I've noticed that aging single women seem to treat the concept of marrying a man a lot like musical chairs: "The guys I know are too immature, too immature, too immature, BANG! they're all married and I didn't get one!"This is kind of sad, not only because it depersonalizes guys as if we are some sort of plant that must be harvested at the right time, but because it really reveals a lack of understanding about how courtship works with guys. Pop Culture reference: In Shallow Hal (aside: I use pop culture references as examples because I can talk about my cousin Bob until I'm blue in the face, and you still wouldn't know him; we can all relate to movies and TV shows, you can easily obtain them if you don't have them, and despite being fiction, they often illustrate some unrealized truth). Shallow Hal is a fantasy, so there's lots of distracting garbage in it, but there are two lessons we can get from the movie. I'll talk about one now. Hal dates his neighbor first, but she dumps him. Later we found out it is because she assumes (correctly) he is shallow. Later, after she recognizes he has developed some depth, she becomes interested. But he's not interested, because he's got what he wants (This is the second lesson. Keep it in mind for a later pos). It's a minor subplot, and she's not a fully-fleshed character, but if the movie were from her perspective, I'm sure the lesson she would take away is "Dang, I let another decent guy get away because I didn't notice he'd changed in time!" Nope. That would be the wrong lesson to take away. Actually, it takes the right woman to bring out the best in a man. Some women try to force the process, thinking if they hook a guy and marry him, they can always change him later. Save yourself (and us!) some pain, ladies, and don't even try. If the guy doesn't blossom as you are dating, he probably never will. If a guy you rejected becomes someone else's dream date, it's not that you missed hints, and it's not that you weren't "woman enough" to help him grow. You just weren't the right woman for him! It's a hard lesson, but you have to learn it, or you'll hurt yourself with "what if"s.

The next thing I've noticed is many women have a shopping list of requirements, and a shopping list of disqualifiers. Do yourself a favor and throw them away. Or heavily modify them, at least. Because the great guys you see who are already married probably developed into what you see after marriage. This is closely related to the previous paragraph, as I'm sure you can see. And don't start trying to get a guy to leave his wife, because when you rip a plant out of its native Earth, you usually destroy the roots and the plant dies. You've destroyed the sanctity and/or fact of a marriage for your own selfishness. (Side note: guys don't always tell you they are married, I know. Once you find out, dump him. He's slime. Even if he were willing to leave his wife for you (a rare occurrence), he'd end up cheating on you with someone else.

Digression 1

Don't even get me started on the number of guys who get rejected simply because they are only 5' 6". Short guys need love, too. And I've known several American girls who refuse to find Asian men attractive. How badly do you want to get married again?

Back to our regularly scheduled garbage

So how do you know if a guy is decent, then, if you can't tell until after you're married? Well, welcome to reality. A guy doesn't know if his wife is going to suddenly weigh 300 pounds after she has children, doesn't know she won't leave him if he gets fired, doesn't even know if she's going to cut her beautiful long hair. Ya lays your bets and ya takes your chances. But there are some ways to hedge your bets.

First, like I said, throw away the shopping lists. Lists are mostly useless because people lie about what they think and want. So many times it is easier to avoid a fight by fudging the truth. If the choice is telling a girl you want kids or having her leave you when you want to stay together, what do you think the guy is going to say (during the dating)? "I love kids!", of course. It's only after he feels secure that his true feelings come out. Or worse, what if his feelings change? Guys can change their minds, too. It's okay to talk about kids when they are safely 5-6 years in the future. But if you see other friends no longer have the time for skiing, drinking, football games, and the like, simply because they had children, it can change your mind. And let's not forget you can change, too. What you want in a partner at age 30 may be totally different than at age 50. Read Ann Landers and see how one 60-year-old woman writes in that her husband pesters her for sex too much¡­and then a week later when another 60-year-old complains her husband no longer has an interest in sex. Things change. It is much better to look for someone who cherishes you enough to try to satisfy your needs. Someone who will discuss and compromise, give and take. And yes, that means you might have to be flexible on some issues, as well. You might not be able to have children and a career, at least not when the children are young. A quality man is someone who will give up his career later in life so you have a chance to follow your dreams, too.

Digression 2

The world is littered with broken marriages where one promised the other "we'll do mine now, and yours later", and then leaves before the "later" comes around. I have no answer to that, except what I'm advocating above: don't look for someone who promises those things, look for someone who shows they value you and your needs right from the start, someone who gives every indication of being trustworthy. Which means you have to show flexibility and be trustworthy, too. You aren't going to find someone with integrity if you are too busy playing games.

Still with me?

So a bit of advice: the happiest marriages are those in which both partners are marrying for the first time after the age of 28. The happiest marriages are also those between Christians. If you aren't a Christian, I don't know what to tell you. If you are, insist on it, and watch him away from church. Watch his language, his respect for other people, his compassion, his forgiveness. A man with a good heart will make up for many other problems.

But if you wait until you are both at least 28, you have that Age 35 Biological Clock hanging over your head, right? Fertility starts to decline then. Yes. But it's not like you wake up the next morning and find yourself sterile. That leaves you a good seven years to find someone, love, marry, and have some kids. But since the time is limited, you don't want to waste time, right? Musical chairs and whatnot, right?

Here's my most radical suggestion. Stop dating seriously. Flirt with every guy you meet in the right age range. Every guy. The guy you might have rejected for working at 7-11 may be in his last year of law school. You won't know until you meet him. And go on dates. Lots of them. Meet as many guys as you can. Don't close yourself off to dating others until you find someone you want to spend a little time with. Hooking up with a guy is to the womanss advantage in the short term (you don't have to worry about a date on Friday night, you get flowers and dinner and stuff), but to the woman's disadvantage in the long run (because sex is an expectation of getting serious. That brings in the chance the guy will be dishonest to avoid messing up the sexual aspects, and you could end up having to break up with someone you slept with¡­much harder than if you hadn't). I recognize that last argument is a little iffy. But look at it this way. If you live together you are more likely to divorce. It doesn't help. Likewise, I believe that sleeping together before marriage increases your chance of problems, but there aren't enough people waiting to do a decent study on that anymore. So if you date around with many guys, you can avoid the expectations of sex. Which can lead to good discussions about what you both expect out of your sexual relationship. Once you do it, you tend not to talk about what you hope and expect from it. The sex itself replaces much communication. But if you are going to date a lot, there's a second, less palatable thing you have to do. Pay your own way. All the time. If he really insists, and I mean 2-3 times, maybe you should let him pay, but it depends. The reason why I say this is because if you date a lot of guys, and they spend a great deal of money pursuing you, but you stay out of reach, it will create understandable frustration. Let's face it, having the guy pay for everything is an outmoded tradition that serves no purpose at all. You can find out if a man is well-off enough to support you by other ways than the expense of the restaurant to which he takes you. And if you don't want to be supported, it is even more ridiculous. It is a system, and expectations go along with paying for everything. In fact, this can be another good conversation point: "No, Jack, I'll pay my own way because I don't want you to try to buy your way into my pants." You wouldn't want to put it that bluntly, of course. It gives you a chance to talk about why waiting until marriage is important to you, how it confuses the issue, how communication diminishes after the sexual relationship begins. And it does. Because you have increased the bond between you (and yes, it is bonding for the man, as well; just not quite as much as for the woman). Once you have started sleeping together, it is often easier to gloss over a problem then break up.

I realize this is radical.

The reason sex is such an issue is because if a man can't have love, he'll settle for sex. Yes, guys really want to find their true love, too. I suspect out big problem is we aren't very skilled at recognizing the right girl for us. We're too obsessed with sex. It's a hormonal thing, just like women's hormones that affect their emotional state every month. But a guy who finds his Ms. Right will cling to her, and cherish her, and treat her right. Look back at Shallow Hal. After he found Gwyneth Paltrow (can't remember her character's name), he didn't care about his neighbor at all. He had found the love of his life.

Yes, love. But having sex was still an important part of the step for Hal. Women who say men only want one thing are half right. Men only want one thing first. Once that's out of the way, we start looking how the rest of the relationship is going. Sex is important because it is a built-in, hardwired drive for us. And if a guy is going to settle down and be faithful to one woman the rest of his life, he wants to make sure it is fulfilling.

I've heard guys talk about wives that were completely willing, but completely passionless. Sex was a biological function to these women, less personal than a backscratch. Naturally, sex was completely unfulfilling. A guy wants to find a girl whose enthusiasm for and enjoyment of sex match his own. That's one of the reasons we want to have sex first. Establish the most important aspect, then worry about the rest. And even if it doesn't work, he still got to have sex. I know that sounds shallow and cheap, but it's just a different perspective. Women have their own shallow and cheap aspects, as well. I am not trying to lionize or vilify either gender here, because if just gets in the way of understanding.

'Nother pop culture reference: if you really want to understand how men think about sex, go see High Fidelity. If you think John Cusack's character is the worst slimeball in the world, then you really didn't understand. Go watch it again. He's a nice guy who really wants to find love, but he's too self-absorbed in his own wants. It's not until he learns to care about what she wants that he really finds love. But self-absorption with your own wants is just as much a crime when the woman does it, too.

So men want sex. Why not just give it to them? It certainly changes the relationship, and usually at a time when you should be concentrating on deciding if this is someone you want to spend the rest of your life with or not. It binds both of you together, and will leave scars on both of you if you split up. Yes, both. Even if he doesn't show it.

But didn't I just make a big deal out of how guys want to get that problem resolved first? Doesn't that mean I won't be able to get a guy to ask me to marry him (interesting phrase, that) if I don't address his concerns on that point? Well, that's kind of missing the point. What a man really wants is to know the women he wants to marry has the same enthusiasm for and enjoyment of making love. There are plenty of ways to demonstrate that without actually having sex. If you have a fun-loving attitude, it will show. And I can guarantee you the guy you are seeing will expect you to bring that same love of fun into the bedroom. That also means you do need to commit to being fun in bed. I haven't figured out any specifics to that. It doesn't mean you have to fulfill his every fantasy. That would probably be a bad thing. But if you make sure you keep a positive attitude of fun and flexibility, you will keep his attention and he will be faithful (in most cases...there are jerks, ya know). Remember, a successful marriage is about meeting each other's needs.

Let's summarize:
Insist on waiting until marriage for sex.
Date as many guys as you can. Be courageous enough to date guys you normally wouldn't, because you never know.
Pay your way.
Use the controversy as a discussion point.
Have a fun-loving attitude.
Throw away the laundry list of attributes, and start looking at character and the heart.
Wait until you find the right guy.

That's about it.
|W|P|83209433|W|P||W|P|3:53 AM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

Finding Guys, a Related Topic

If you don't feel you can join the military, where the odds are truly in your favor, you might try volunteering at a local airport USO. Despite the emotional difficulties experienced by being a military wife (and so movingly described by Jo here, I think marrying military is a good way to go. Sure, some are too young and immature. Some have been divorced, and a few multiple times. A divorced military man isn't quite the warning signal it might be with someone else, because sometimes it is due to impossible assignment situations (he's three years in Hawaii, she's three years in Georgia, no way around it) or because the spouse simply couldn't handle the life. But many are Christian (although some are the pig-headed kind¡­avoid those) in a strong, kind way. Many have a broader perspective from having lived in several parts of the US and overseas, and so are more apt to be flexible on a variety of issues. I know plenty who have wives that work, and plenty who have wives that stay at home. It's rare that the husband dictates that to the wife, it's usually her choice.

But if that's not your bag, get out and meet guys.

Another thing. I wish I had a $10,000 for every time I've heard a girl say, "I'm attractive, intelligent, funny, and caring, but I still can't find a man!" because then I would be really, really rich. Seriously, though, not everygirl is truly attractive, and someone has to be below-average intelligence, just by definition if nothing else. And of course you think you're funny. Humor is a personal thing, and most of the time we only amuse ourselves. Look, just because your girlfriends tell you that you are pretty, doesn't make it true. They are probably telling you that so you will have to respond in kind. Yes, if a girl is beautiful and in great shape, a man might comment on her ankles. But having nice ankles doesn't matter a whit if you outweigh the guy.

But none of that really matters, because looks don't really matter. Yes, they will catch the guys attention. But that's about it.

Like I said before, the most popular girls are rarely the most beautiful. Beauty is nice, but a guy is not going to crawl across a hundred yards of ground glass just to be with someone beautiful. If you start acting like being beautiful is some sort of gift to him, that you deserve more because of your beauty, that guys are waiting in line to date you because you are so lovely, you will probably get dumped. No one wants to be looked down on, especially because of looks. And the guy already half expects you will lose your looks when you have children, if not before. He's always hoping you will continue to put effort into your appearance for him, but it's at the back of his mind that there are no guarantees.

Attitude is the most important thing.

So be pleasant. Smile. (one study said that a woman who makes 'sour' faces when her husband speaks is three times more likely to be divorced) Try to have a fun time. Find out what he enjoys doing, and learn to enjoy it. Most guys are more jealous of a guy with a plain girlfriend who watches football with him than with a Britney Spears-lookalike who doesn't know a fullback from a pulling guard. Be kind. Be forgiving. Be accepting. Find a man with integrity, treat him well, compromise with him on the needs of you both, and you will have your Prince Charming.

I hope this helps. I'll probably be updating it and adding more later as I remember stuff I wanted to mention but forgot, so check back later.
|W|P|83209439|W|P||W|P|12:25 AM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

Why the US is sucking worse every year

Nah, this isn't a US-bashing post. I just wanted to get your attention.

But it is an attempt to define why there are disturbing trends and situations, like the DC sniper and girls being abducted, raped, and killed.

It was something I had been planning on writing about, but my thoughts on it were stiumlated today by a piece by David Gerlenter in the Opinion Journal at WSJ.com on 18 October. I read it from my Hotmail account, so I can't give you the link, sorry.

He doesn't really go into it deeply enough. I'm going to try to do so, but briefly.

I assert the biggest problem with the US today is that we have lost our sense of community. Community itself used to be a restraint on the misbehavior of our citizens. For those few who were not restrained, our judicial system was sufficient to the task. Being convicted and sent to prison was not just about being locked up, but about the shame you endured and brought upon your family name. Now it's no big deal. Is it no wonder our penal system isn't up to the task lately?

We have become a very wealthy nation. Even our poor are wealthy (LLD protestations to the contrary). One of the things we buy with our society's wealth is privacy. It has become an obsession with us. I'll admit that part of my view on this is from personal experience that not everyone shares. I have moved around and gone from living in a small town to living in major metropolises. Metropoli. Metropoleese. You know what I mean. We never locked our house or car doors, and never paid any price for it. Now I lock the door when I mow the lawn (okay, I don't actually, but exaggeration is a valid form of persuasion). I have lived in many places where I don't even know what my neighbors look like, much less their name. That has probably been exacerbated by being the military, sure. But I have to believe it is a nation-wide phenomena (beep bee bedeeby. Yes, I grew up on Sesame Street), because I've seen hints of the same thing in movies, TV, books, and hearing friends speak.

We are living in an anonymous nation now. People don't want to be known by their neighbor (although they DO want to be famous...).

And anonymity is the breeding ground for the heinous. If a person has dark thoughts, dark fantasies, feeling like an unknown makes it that much more likely those fantasies will be carried out.

No, I don't think pop culture like "Silence of the Lambs" really has much to do with it. I really think that if people are a part of a community (even if they are known as the eccentric loner), they will be much less likely to do such horrible things. They do them because they think they are not noticed. Because they think no one sees them, no one cares.

I wish I had some pithy anecdote to try and convince you of this view, but I don't. Just ponder on it a while. Think about the first thing the neighbors say anytime a Ted Bundy is convicted: "He seemed like a nice boy. Of course, it's hard to tell, he was so quiet. Always kept to himself. Never really saw him. Can't say that anyone really knew him." Maybe if the killer had been assimilated more fully into the community, they wouldn't be able to lash out against the community so fiercely. I've said before that one of the reasons China has such a harsh penal system is to control the large and dense population they have. But while they may feel the need to have a repressive and arbitrary judicial system, I think the real deterrent to violent crime there is society. Everyone knows everyone there. And as a result, I can walk alone anywhere in a city of 16 million people (New York has just 7 million) at any hour of day or night. Now that they are tearing down all the old neighborhoods and putting up high-rise apartments, I predict you will see a rise in violent crimes in Beijing over then next 5 years. Just in time for the Olympics in 2008. You heard it here first.

And the more people that know an individual, the more likely that one will notice strange behavior. You can bet if I lived in Washington DC, I would pay attention to the movements of any neighbor I know has a rifle and a white van. But if I don't know my neighbors, how can I know anything?

The most effective crime deterrent to date that I am aware of is a good Neighborhood Watch program. Yes, your neighbors will be watching your house, so they will notice if you bring a woman/man home when your spouse is out of town.

I guess my only answer is that maybe we should all be willing to give up a little privacy for the sake of our society. I'm not saying it should be mandated. Just do it on your own. Get involved with your neighbors. Have a block party. Talk about anything unusual. Get to know their names, have them over for dinner.

And, of course, live a life of honor, so you don't NEED privacy to cover doing anything embarrassing, okay?

This wasn't one of my better posts. I don't really set up my arguments clearly enough, relying instead on a largely emotional appeal. But that's....okay. Because I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!
|W|P|83206144|W|P||W|P|11:09 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

As long as I'm linking to other blogs...

...I could link to some great posts at Scrappleface. Except that nearly every 4-5 posts he comes up with a classic. If I start linking them, I would end up doing nothing but Scrappleface links. Heck, I would be better off just setting up a re-direct to his website. He's THAT good. Go take a look. And make it a daily visit.
|W|P|83204343|W|P||W|P|11:06 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

Tony Does It Again

Tony Woodlief writes another great post at his Sand in the Gears site. All atheists who feel there is no benefit to Christianity should check out this powerful testimony. And then go hug your kids.
|W|P|83204269|W|P||W|P|9:41 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

Hypocrisy, thy name is Brainfertilizer

After telling Peach (Double Click Dailies) that she is going to have to post more regularly before I'll move her up out of my "product testing" section, I go and fail to post anything substantial at all for the last 48 hours.

What can I say? Everyone needs some down time. I've been spending more time working out, which tires me enough to make me sleep more. Plus, I think I've gotten over the initial rush of excitement over this blog, when I would check for new comments every 10 minutes.

Right now I'm deployed. I should have time to post at least one article every day, maybe more. Eventually it will be routine. But if I go a few days without posting anything substantial, please bear with me.

By the time you wake up tomorrow morning, I will have an article going a little deeper into "How to get a guy". I want the guys to pay attention, too, because I want you to call me on anything you think is blatantly wrong. After that, I should be posting an article on Love Itself, plus another one on some ideas I have on what contributes to a successful marriage.

See, these ideas percolate and bounce off of each other. I can't write 'em before they're ready. So I will probably tend to post in bunches.

Coming soon (within 72 hours):

More on faith, Chinese Pop Music, and some more political philosophy.
|W|P|83201603|W|P||W|P|3:58 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

Carnival of the Vanities

I've only read one of the articles thus far. Here's the address I have to access it. Happy reading!

|W|P|83139903|W|P||W|P|7:02 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

A Question for you, dear reader

Is there anything I've posted thus far that would be worthy to submit to Carnival of the Vanities? If not, be sure to let me know if I ever do.

|W|P|83094351|W|P||W|P|6:44 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

More on Guns

I didn't want to make this into a pro-gun advocacy blog. But then, I didn't intend it to be a forum to discuss religious beliefs, either, but it is a better blog for doing so. So here's the latest salvo from the pro-gun side.

Here's an excerpt:

Gun control inverts the presumption of innocence. It attempts to tar millions of people with the guilt of a few thousand. It is collectivist, and attempts to regulate harmless individual behavior in the name of a nebulous and questionable greater good. It imposes penalties on people who have committed no actual crime, and who have caused no harm and threaten no harm to anyone. By imposing prior restraint, gun control flies in the face of much of the American legal tradition.

Now go read the rest.

I don't have the knowledge or experience to argue the side I support, so I'll let people like Rob Lyman do it for me. Thanks, Rob!

|W|P|83093406|W|P||W|P|6:00 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

So you like talking about faith, huh?

We are having a great discussion on faith over at World Wide Rant, and there's been some great discussion here. I didn't expect such an enthusiastic response. I will be posting more on faith and Christianity in the coming days. I have a few more ideas on various topics, including expanding on what I've written in the comments both here and at Andy's site. Stay tuned. Same Brainfertilizer time, same Brainfertilizer channel.
|W|P|83091382|W|P||W|P|5:47 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

I love this thinking!

Jo at Commentary Du Jour has a great post about minimum wage and supporting yourself in the face of adversity. Jo is impossible to pigeonhole. She's conservative; no, wait, she's liberal; no, wait, she's moderate? I don't know. I guess that's the best way to be: not in lockstep with any ideology, but evaluating each issue on its own merit. I like to think I do that as well.

About minimum wage, one comedian said the true meaning of the minimum wage was that if they could pay you less, they would. In my opinion, having a minimum wage actually keeps wages down. McDonald's and Burger King both hire at minimum wage. There is no advantage to applying at one or the other. But if there were no minimum wage, each business would be forced to hire people at whatever the going rate might be. It might be lower, but if one business wanted to attract better employees, they would have to raise their initial pay, which would leave the opponent with the lesser-quality workers, and starting a bidding war if they wanted to improve their employee force. Minimum wage is, in effect, price fixing to the advantage of the businesses. Don't raise it, eliminate it! (gets off soapbox and hands it back to Jo)
|W|P|83090823|W|P||W|P|5:35 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

I've had just enough success...

To be irritated with not having more. Several blogs are starting to become more vocal about the sniper not being a nutcase, and probably not even being domestic terrorism. The main indications that it is foreign terrorism are here. If you scroll down in Brainfertilizer to my post labeled "Whistling in the Dark" on Friday the 11th, you see I looked at it from the linguistic angle several days ago. I emailed this to all the blogs you see to your left, but only Clayton Cramer linked it. Oh, well. I added some more thoughts the next day in "Sniper Update". When they finally get this case solved, come back and leave comments on either how brilliant or stupid I was (depending on how it actually turns out). I will either appreciate the validation or need the humiliation, I'm sure.

Then just today, Clayton referred to rich liberals as being like Marie Antoinette. I'm sure it is just a case of great minds thinking alike, or maybe my feeble mind thinking like his great one, but it is frustrating. Had he read the rest of my blog when he linked my post about the sniper, he could have said the exact same thing and gone ahead and linked my blog again.


I'm making too big of a deal out of this. I like thinking, I like discussion, so I like what's been going on so far. I got some face time at Steven Den Beste's blog in my response to his response to Kent's response to his response to someone else's letter. ANYWAY, what I say about Steven Den Beste's blog is what I hope I have made clear about mine. I am throwing ideas into the ring for debate and discussion. I don't pretend I'm right, or my viewpoint is the only way of looking at things. My opinions are mine, simply put. If you successfully refute my assertions, great! I just learned something. If I change your mind, wonderful! If I challenge you and make you think without changing your mind, merely helping you to understand and strengthen your own opposing viewpoint, that's perfectly fine with me. This blog is not about winning arguments. The only loser is someone who leaves unchanged. The closed mind is the dead mind.

So eventually, when this blog has been around three years or more, maybe I'll have the readership for which I hope. Maybe not, maybe we really have too many blogs out there. Who cares? I'm glad I've met the people I've met and touched lives and been touched. In any case, the responses I've gotten have been great. I can't tell you all how grateful I am for taking your time to come here, read the crap I put out, and actually comment. Every comment is appreciated. Well, maybe not a troll's comments, but I've missed out on that dubious privilege thus far, thank God.

Tell your friends. Link to my posts. Email other blogs who post something similar, if you think my arguments can add to theirs or if you think I offer a valid counterview. I will do the same for you. Let's help each other out.

|W|P|83090233|W|P||W|P|10:14 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

Okay, no one called me on it, so maybe this post is unnecessary. Let me know. It will help me tailor my posting to what audience I have.

I realized yesterday that in my post on my faith, all I did was cover some of the objections people have made to Christianity. I pretty much completely missed mentioning the central part of my faith: Jesus Christ.

And there are a few things I can add even on such a basic subject as this.

I believe that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. We, although children of God, are different in that we were made, not begotten. Jesus is both God and Man. He came to Earth, born through conception by the Holy Spirit, and lived a perfect life, completely fulfilling the Law, which we could not. Then he sacrificed himself on the cross for us, taking on the burden of our sin. Dying for our transgressions. While on the cross, he suffered both physical and mental/emotional torments, including all the torments of Hell. The worst torment was being abandoned by The Father. Jesus, with all his knowledge of who he was and his powers of Godhood, was so tormented that it caused him to cry out. I posted a few days ago that here on Earth we are not in the direct presence of God, but neither have we ever known a moment without God being with us. Of all people living, only Jesus has ever experienced this. There is much I don't understand about what he did. If he is fully God, as the Bible says and I believe, then why would being abandoned by the Father bring about such anguish? Was he, at that time, only Man? Did he actually give up being God during his time on Earth, until he was resurrected? I don't know. More on that later. In any case, the Bible has proven its veracity to me in so many areas, I accept what it says about Jesus. If there are few apparent contradictions, then I have the mental flexibility and faith to accept these until I grow in understanding, or until I am with God in Heaven, when all will be made clear. After all, God is infinite, and I have a finite mind. How could I hope to understand fully?

That is mostly the central aspect of salvation. It can all be summed up in one sentence: He who believes and is baptized, shall be saved. Or, For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son to die for us. So that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

There are other aspects to faith. Should someone be baptized at birth and confirm it later? Is there an age of accountability (I pretty much already answered that one: in my opinion, no.). Do you have to use wine in communion? Is dancing a sin? What about drinking? What about smoking? Can you be a homosexual and still be a Christian? (that question will be covered in a post of its own very soon) Is immersion the only valid form of baptism? And what about circumcision? Ah, yes, what about circumcision? Paul's arguments about circumcision provide us the logic for some of these other aspects that aren't central to salvation. Jesus never said, Believe, be baptized, and get circumcised and you shall be saved. Believers were using their circumcision (or lack thereof) as a way to feel superior to other Christians. From what I understand, Paul agreed that it could be an important issue, but only if you made it important. And just like the food sacrificed to idols, the believer should not insist on his view to the detriment of his brother in faith. So I would love to discuss any other aspects of faith with anyone who enjoys that sort of thing, as long as we both agree to the central aspect of faith in Jesus Christ as the most important element of Christian faith.

I think that's about enough on this. What do you think?
|W|P|83049480|W|P||W|P|9:48 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

On Spanking

Tony Woodlief has a great post on spanking. Here's an excerpt:

The purpose of corporal punishment is not to physically hurt the child. It is to teach him that punishment follows sin. This is, to the Christian, to people of other faiths, and to many secularists, a reality of the universe that must be imparted to the child for his own well-being. It need not really hurt or be very frequent if done properly and begun at an early enough age.

You have to read the whole thing to get the full brunt of his reason and logic.
I have a few things to add. First, opponents of spanking say that spanking teaches hitting. Not at all. Even kids who have never been spanked learn to hit playmates. They learn to hit by being hit. Hitting may even be a natural way of acting when you lack the language to express yourself. I can assure you I never bit my son, but he went through a biting phase at daycare as well. No, spanking teaches a child there is an authority over him that can use physical force to inflict physical punishment. To a child, the ultimate punishment is a spanking (aside: part of this is because all sensations are more intense to a child. I'll post more on that soon). This prepares the child for a life in society, in which society has a range of measures in which to punish wrongdoings.
I agree with Tony that if started early, spanking need not and should not be frequent. It should not be used for every punishment. It is most effective when used sparingly, and only for the most important issues: danger to the child or to another child, or willful, deliberate disobedience. A parent should always try lesser methods first: scolding, time out, loss of a toy. But when those don't work, the parent must use spanking. It really is for the good of the child.
|W|P|83048705|W|P||W|P|4:42 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

Further thoughts on Capitalism vs. Socialism

There is another flaw with both systems, although capitalism seems to catch the brunt of the blame. Neither system really has any incentive to look at long term effects. After considering it briefly, I guess I have to say that socialism is the worse of the two, because socialism uses money as a resource that can be exploited, whereas capitalism uses resources to make more money. Thus, in socialism, money is consumed, and people get poorer. This is self-defeating. In capitalism, money is created, and people get richer. The biggest problem is that while it is not self-defeating, it might not be self-sustaining. The argument of the 'sustainability' movement is: We will run out of resources eventually, and then what will we do? The only problem with that argument is, technology is increasing faster than resource consumption. Right now we are only consuming the easily-obtained resources. The very nature of capitalism will ensure that technology advances quickly enough to open up new easily-obtainable resources (in space, perhaps, or under the ocean) as they are needed.
There's lots of room to debate this one, people. Don't let me down.
|W|P|82986707|W|P||W|P|3:57 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

My Christian Faith

Yes, I’m a Christian, if it’s not obvious. I do feel I take a slightly different approach to my faith than most people. Logic, reason, philosophy, and my faith in God are all intertwined. Here’s how:
I start with the assumption that everything, everything you see, everything you experience, everything has a source, a reason for existence. It’s not enough to say the universe started with the Big Bang; where did the Big Bang come from? Why did it bang? The substance it emitted had to come from somewhere right? Likewise, evolution doesn’t really explain everything well enough. It certainly explains biological niches and variations within species. But the evolutionary explanations for intelligence make as much sense as that for giraffes: if it really was such an advantage to be able to reach the leaves on top of the trees, every leaf-eating mammal would have a long neck. And don’t try to bring up spontaneous mutations, either, because I read an article the other day that the whole point of the DNA/RNA system was to prevent mutations. Furthermore, advanced functional structures like eyes could not evolve incrementally from a light-sensitive spot. There are too many interdependent modifications that would have to have happened simultaneously to be any good. Likewise, there is no way to develop lungs through a mutation; it is too complex. An animal would have to have lungs already developed before it could grow big enough to need them; otherwise, not needing them, it would never develop them.
So there is a source for everything. Being the source of everything, it is thus self-consistent. Being self-consistent, it therefore provides a reason for everything. You can talk about the laws of physics, but what set those laws as such? You can say it merely is, but that’s not any more of an answer than if I say God merely is. (And I do…)
C.S. Lewis makes some good arguments regarding this in Mere Christianity. It is not my intention to restate his arguments, even though I find them compelling. You’ll have to go read them yourself. To sum them up, he says that cultural standards aside, everyone has a similar sense of what is “good” and “fair” (as opposed to unfair).
My argument is similar, but not identical.
I have studied the Bible. And I have found it to be the best and only source for fully understanding humanity. The Bible explains how we want to do the right thing, and know what the right thing is, and yet still do the wrong the thing. It explains that true love is the secret to developing good relationships. It demonstrates how selfishness always corrupts and brings you down. I’m having a hard time putting into words all the things I’ve learned from the Bible. But when I apply in my life what the Bible teaches, I’m never wrong. It teaches you to not be naïve about the dark side of human nature, yet to not be cynical about the higher desires of humans. It teaches you to be content with what you have, to be grounded in the present, but eager for Heaven. It teaches you that life is not easy. It teaches you to persevere, to never give up. It teaches you that you are loved. It teaches you that there is a universal standard of conduct and thought. It teaches that you will be judged for what you do, think, and say, as well as what you don’t do, think, or say. It teaches mercy, and grace. It teaches that there is nothing you can do to be saved, but that you can be saved anyway. It teaches you to be in the world, but not of it. In short, the Bible is a lesson in paradoxes, and teaches that the world is a paradox. And everything I’ve seen in this world convinces me this is true. Since the Bible has demonstrated its truth in the complex questions of humanity (and no other work has), I accept the Bible’s other statements to be true. Especially where it says it is the inspired word of God. More on this later.

No, I can’t just transplant my understanding into your head/heart. I can only leave you the clues on the journey I’ve taken.

I’ll approach this from another direction: My children have taught me so much about God.
When my first child was born, I felt a wave of love wash over me. I thought, “In some minor way, this is what it is like to be God. This child depends on my totally, trusts me totally, and needs me for everything.” I knew he would disobey me. I knew he would anger me sometimes. There was not a single thing he would be able to give me or do for me for months, and yet I still loved him completely. Maybe because he needed me. That’s exactly how God can love us despite our imperfections. Because we need Him, because we are helpless without Him.
Well, how about imperfection? The Bible says even babies are sinful, but how can such a cute, little, innocent baby by sinful?
The answer hit me one day (I can’t remember the circumstance). I suddenly realized that a baby only cares about itself. If it is hungry, it wants food NOW. If it is wet, it wants to be changed NOW. If it’s cold, it cries. If it’s tired, it cries. All it knows it what it wants. And that’s another way of looking at sin (besides the damage idea I introduced earlier): When we put our will above God’s will for us, we have sinned. And a baby certainly cannot know the will of God, and its own will is more important than anything, so it is sinning. That makes our job as parents even more vital. As a parent, I must teach my children about God, and His will, and to subordinate themselves to His will.
Why is His will so important? Does He have this massive ego trip or something?
No. He is the source of all things, and thus all things are self-consistent. He didn’t just sit around thinking about what rules are good for us. He knows what is good for us, because He is the source of all that is Good. He doesn’t do good because he chooses to, he IS Good. What he is defines what good is. Everything that is aligned with His will is good, anything that is not aligned with His will is evil. A self-consistent universe, remember?


Don’t fall into the Manichean trap of thinking about a separate and opposite but equal power that we just call evil. God is wise, intelligent, kind, patient, consistent, and more. If the Manicheans were correct, Satan would have to be foolish, stupid, cruel, flighty, impetuous, and more. But evil is certainly none of those things. Evil can only be effective so long as it twists good things. Trickiness, cunning, twisting logic, patiently corrupting someone, this is evil in our world. Go read some more C.S. Lewis or even St. Augustine’s Confessions for a better explanation of this.

Back to the main topic

So the Bible is the inspired word of God, huh? You think it is perfect?
What about the inconsistencies? What about God telling people to kill everyone in a country, even the children? What about times when God ‘walks’ from place to place?

Well, what does perfect mean to you? To me, it means the Bible fulfills its function perfectly. Would you look in an encyclopedia to find the definition of a word you don’t know? Would you use a AAA map to navigate the Mississippi in a paddleboat? Would you learn to fly an aircraft from a computer flight-sim? The Bible is the perfect tool to find out about God and His plan for us to gain salvation. My answer is that the Old Testament is an account of humans figuring out who God is. I wouldn’t be surprised if the orders to slaughter whole nations of people were actually from priests who had other purposes, but wrote it down as God’s will. And it was left that way as God inspired the writing of the Bible, because these mistakes about God demonstrate the mistakes people make about God. The way to decide if something you read is truth or a divinely-permitted mistake is to know Him well enough to recognize when something is a bad description. You use the Bible to interpret the Bible. In this manner, the Bible remains a perfect tool for starting us on our search for Him. There is enough in the Bible to start us on our search and no more. I’m convinced it was His plan to give us the bare minimum, because searching to know Him is how we commit ourselves to Him. If He wanted to, He could have caused a million volumes to be written about Him, and they still wouldn’t capture the entirety of who He is. For that matter, He could come down and appear to each of us, all at once or one at a time. But he didn’t. The Bible in itself is enough. He wants us to seek Him, to put effort into our search. By the way, this is why going to church is important. It’s not a sin to not go, but if you really love Him and put His will above your own, you will be eager to hear more and search for deeper understanding of Him.

Which brings me to the final point I want to make today: Why we are here on Earth.

I taught Sunday School class for more than a year. The kids were great, and they asked some difficult questions. One of the toughest was: Why does dying make you perfect? Why couldn’t God have made us perfect without having to live and die first? I spent a year thinking about that. Furthermore, if being in the presence of God (and the absence of sin) would free us from sin, how did the angels (including Satan) fall? Supposedly mankind has free will, but so did the angels, apparently. What makes humans special?

My understanding is that the angels were in God’s direct presence. They had to accept or reject Him and His authority. Rejecting God with full knowledge of Him is something you cannot retract or from which you can be saved. It is the most blatant form of putting your will above His. But here on Earth, we are not in His direct presence (nor are we out of His presence, either). Therefore, we can reject or accept him without it being a final choice. Here on Earth, he has given us the tools to seek Him. These tools include the Bible and our own conscience. It is here that we can learn to seek His will, accept it, and subordinate our will to His. When that choice is made here, out of His direct presence, than it will be easy to confirm and solidify that choice in Heaven. If we reject Him and His will, I can only hope that once in the direct presence of God, there will be a final opportunity to make the right choice.

And I do believe that God is both just and merciful. I don’t know what His plan is for those who have never heard His message of grace. I have no idea if conceived babies not yet born are actually sinful and lives in their own right, and what happens to them if they are aborted, or miscarried. I have no idea if my assumptions (and agreement with the Lutheran church) that babies are sinful at birth is correct, and what happens if they die before they are baptized, or if baptizing them before they can even sit up is effective or not. I do have faith that God has a plan for all these ‘what if’ scenarios. His full plan is unknown to me, but it doesn’t matter. I know what His plan is for me. He loves me and wants me to love Him, serve Him, and seek His will in all things. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. And we do.

Maybe my faith is wrong. Maybe the Muslims are correct, or the Pagans, or the Mormons, or the Assembly of God, or B’Hai, or Buddhists. But not only do I believe that my faith is correct, I am trying to cultivate an attitude of humility and acceptance to God’s will, no matter what form will eventually be proven correct. I do believe there is a God, but maybe I’ve been deceived as to His true nature. If so, then he must have a plan for those led honestly astray. I want to be sure that when I am judged, I am not proud of myself, that I make no excuses, that I am still placing my will subordinate to His.

In any case, I’m convinced my faith is correct. Can I prove it? No. That’s why they call it faith.
|W|P|82984988|W|P||W|P|1:30 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|


I see where I went wrong in my original post against Anoinette liberals. I said "LLDs of all types". That was meant to imply that there is a small but vocal portion of LLDs that fall under this category, but cannot be lumped together easily because there are several different mutually exclusive variations. I can't say that all the Antoinette Liberals scream about oil, or scream about revenge, or scream about war mongering. Some do all of these, some will put forth one until you tear it apart, then put forth another. Some stick to their assertions no matter what you say. This is the "all types" I was referring to, most definitely not trying to tar LLDs with the same brush. I expressed myself too clumsily.
The only evidence I have to offer that I am not an Antoinette Conservative is that I would gladly have voted for Tsongas. I was evenly split between McCain and Bradley. I'm not particuarly happy with John Ashcroft, not particularly pleased with Pres. Bush's cabinet choices, and I really don't like Tom DeLay (what an ironic name for someone in the Legislation Branch).
That's enough for now, but I'll give more examples later.
|W|P|82979381|W|P||W|P|12:07 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

The Best Recap of the 2000 Election Fiasco I've Seen

This ran on Gregg Easterbrook's column on ESPN's Page 2 website. To see the original, you'll have to go to his archives and look for the one labelled "Conspiracy Theories". I have no idea how long the archive will be available, and there's so much to his article before he gets to this (it's mainly about football), so I am letting you read the important section here. My comments follow.

A week ago many readers objected to TMQ's statement that the Bush vs. Gore legal contest was "over in the first quarter because the Florida Supreme Court fumbled the United States Constitution." Craig Heckman of Simsbury, Conn., countered that the United States Supreme Court "should have been called for illegal procedure and unsportsmanlike conduct" since the Court's conservative majority says it advocates states' right, yet the Bush v. Gore lawsuit ended when the Supremes refused to let Florida complete its third recount.

TMQ carries no brief for the Supremes' final decision on the 2000 election. The United States Supreme Court should have let Florida proceed to the bitter end on grounds of the very federalism that, Heckman rightly points out, the Supremes advocate on other matters. Technically, the Court's game-ending whistle was an injunction, and injunctions are justified to prevent "irreparable" harm. Nothing would have been "irreparable" about letting the final zany, wacky, "midnight recount" imposed by the Florida Supreme Court proceed.

We now know from the media-run Recount of the Recount of the Recount that George W. Bush almost certainly would have won the final recount anyway, and then the United States Supreme Court would have needed take no action. If Gore had won the third recount, the Supremes could have debated whether to reverse the outcome. In either case, letting the zany, wacky third recount proceed would have been wiser, and there's no doubt the United States Supreme Court's action to stop the third recount was politically motivated.

But also there's no doubt the Florida Supreme Court was politically motivated. Bush wins the original tally, then wins the mechanized recount. The Florida Supreme Court, as brazenly pro-Gore as the Washington court was brazenly pro-Bush, steps in and imposes a hand recount whose terms openly defy the Electoral Count Act of 1877, which Congress passed after the Hayes-Tilden election specifically with this situation -- disputed slate in one state that can determine the national outcome -- in mind. Bush then wins the hand recount, making him 3-for-3. Meanwhile, United States Supreme Court issues its first ruling, saying the Florida judges don't seem to understand the Electoral Count Act and ordering the Sunshine State court to explain its reasoning. The Florida judges refuse! Given a direct order by the United States Supreme Court, the Florida Supreme Court repudiates the United States Supreme Court, since the Florida judges know they can't give any coherent explanation of their first set of orders.

TMQ has always thought the Florida court's snub of the Supreme Court (Florida judges issued an explanation only many weeks later, when the dispute was over and no one cared) was the overlooked momentum-changer in the whole recount mess. How could anyone with a One L understanding of the Constitution think a state court could simply refuse to answer a direct instruction from the United States Supreme Court? Rebuffing a direct instruction from the United States Supreme Court made several Supremes think the Florida Supreme Court was a bunch of buffoons. Sandra O'Connor, prominently, swung to the end-the-recounts position when she concluded that the Florida Supreme Court was under the control of buffoons.

Al Gore was destined to be picked off in the 2000 presidential election -- no matter what the U.S. Supreme Court did.
Then the Florida Supreme Court imposed its wacky, zany "midnight recount" plan, whose distinguishing feature was that it compelled different vote-validating standards for different counties, based on guesses about what would favor Gore. In so doing, the Florida court violated the due-process clause of the 14th Amendment. One tenet of due process is that any particular level of government must treat everyone the same. Thus, different counties in Florida could enact different vote-counting standards, so long as within any given county -- within the level of government -- all standards were the same for everyone. Thus, Illinois might have one standard for chads and Texas a different standard, as was the case in 2000, so long as everyone within each state was treated the same. But the state of Florida could not mandate that some counties use one counting standard and other counties use another -- that would constitute one level of government (in this case the state of Florida through its Supreme Court) not treating all citizens the same. When the Florida Supreme Court imposed different recount standards for different counties, it generated a due-process violation. A relatively small one, to be sure, but this Constitutional violation practically begged the United States Supreme Court to step in.

And though the Supremes should have let the zany, wacky final recount proceed, was any real harm done by their stepping in? We know from the Recount of the Recount of the Recount that Bush was the true winner in about three-quarters of the vote-validating scenarios. Bush would have been the winner in all political scenarios. Had Gore prevailed in the final midnight recount, there would have been two slates of electors from Florida (one for Gore chosen by the Florida court, one for Bush chosen by the Florida legislature) and either the United States Supreme Court would have had to sort it out anyway or the issue would have gone to Congress where the House (pro Bush) and Senate (pro Gore) would have split. That under the Electoral Count Act would have left the final decision to the governor of the state where the dispute arose -- namely, Jeb Bush.

Once he failed to win any of the first three tallies, Al Gore was fated to spend 2001 in Europe growing a beard; there just wasn't a scenario where he prevailed. Is it so bad that nine unaccountable old people in robes took the heat for ending this mess sooner rather than later? One shudders to think how bad vote-buying by both sides would have been, had the election been thrown into Congress.

By the way, the worst thing about the Florida recount follies was that they diverted attention from the fact that Gore won the popular vote. Bush was the true winner in electoral terms, but Gore was the choice of the people, which is what ought to matter. Had the election ended without the ridiculousness of the recounts, the focus would have been on revising the Electoral College to prevent the second-place finisher from ever coming out on top again.

I have two problems with his thinking. First, since he says Justice Kennedy's vote most likely swung on the FSC being a bunch of buffoons, and because he correctly and clearly identifies the FSC violated the constitution, how can he claim the decision was based on political bias? In fact, I'm stunned that the dissenting justices weren't livid that a lower court refused to recognize the Supreme Court's authority. How's that for putting your bias above the law? Second, I totally disagree with his opinion that the electoral college needs to be revised. Had the situation been the exact opposite (the electoral college in Gore's favor with Bush winning the popular vote), I would have been disappointed but accepting. The electoral college is a necessary balance between the political power of states with high populations in urban areas (with certain desires and needs) and that of states with low population living in mainly rural areas (with other desires and needs). The electoral college requires candidates to campaign to the whole nation. For example, a politician could promise the sun, the moon, and the stars to New York, California, and Texas (and especially the larger cities in these states), and carry enough votes that whatever s/he picked up in the less populated states would be enough to get elected. That would be tantamount to a massive disenfranchising of citizens in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, etcetera. That would shift the balance of power even more toward urban areas (and it is already unfairly skewed).
But the main point of this post is to offer you a balanced and accurate view of the election. In the next column, Gregg said that Gore fans thought it favored Bush, and Bush fans complained that it favored Gore. I guess that's just the Antoinettes on both sides. If you find yourself upset with this account, try a little self-examination and insight, okay? Then feel free to vent in the comments.
|W|P|82975939|W|P||W|P|11:58 AM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

Self-elected Criticism Reception

This is a clarification/expansion to my post on Antoinette Liberals.
If something I say doesn't apply to you, it is probably not meant for you. When I skewered Antoinette Liberals, I certainly didn't mean to imply all LLDs have that problem. Rep. McDermott, broadcasting from Baghdad and insinuating Pres. Bush is less trustworthy than Saddam, Noam Chomsky and his ravings, and everyone on every blog (or in the comments) who says this war is only about oil because of Pres. Bush's and Vice Pres. Cheney's connections to oil (or revenge, or avoiding the economic problemes, etc) are the ones of which I speak. There are people who really believe that crap. Opposition to war in Iraq is not the problem. Unreasonable opposition is. And please note that I am asserting that those who oppose unreasonably are *still* not anti-American or Blaming America First.
I had alot more to the post. Things I've been seeing and to which I've been reacting emotionally. Since it was based on an emotional reaction, it wasn't fit for publishing. I finally cut it down to that paragraph.
What I've noticed is there are people with whom I cannot have a conversation. They seem intent on absolutely disregarding any explanation that does not fit their paradigm of "LLDs good, CRRs bad". These are the people who insist that all Pres. Bush cares about is oil, when even foreigners can tell he is making decisions in the best interest of the nation that may not be in his best interest. These are the people who insist that doing something (anything!) about a natural economic cycle downturn is more important and less political than discussing Saddam's threat to our national security. This specifically includes Democrat congressional leaders who transparently want to avoid the politicization of an issue that is not in their favor in order to increase the politicization of an issue that is in their favor. These are the people who insist Pres. Clinton did nothing wrong because he was never convicted of anything (despite large numbers of Clinton associates who were convicted), yet insist Pres Bush and Vice Pres. Cheney are guilty of wrongdoing (despite no regulatory body even hinting they might have done anything wrong, and particularly despite no associates even being indicted). These are the people who insist The Supreme Court handed Pres Bush the presidency in a partisan move, totally ignoring and discounting the extemely partisan and completely untenable moves by the Florida Supreme Court. It is likely that the swing vote in favor of Bush's suit came because the Florida SC completely ignored the Supreme Court's request for the basis of the FSC's ruling, in effect totally blowing off the Supreme Court (not a good move).
The next post will address that issue in more depth.
Are there Antoinette Conservatives? Certainly. But I'll freely admit my bias: they don't concern me. I accept the non-thinkers on my side. I love the thinkers on my side. I respect the thinkers on the opposite side, and never fail to learn something in discussions with them. I worry about the non-thinkers on the other side. Mainly because I feel they are going in the wrong direction and will not listen to sense. I would hate to see someone drive off a cliff without doing everything I could to warn them. When I'm tied to a rope attached to their truck (which I am in regards to taxes and socialization), I'm even more concerned. And yet, I don't think they actually hate America. The best explanation I could come up with is they are so deeply ensconced in opposing All That Is Conservative they have no real clue how the world really works. And the best analogy I could think of was Marie Antoinette.
That's all.