Consumer Politics and Propaganda

Consumer Politics and Propaganda

 A new kind of politics is being practiced in America with new and old forms of propaganda.  I call it consumer politics. It begins with party leaders looking for special interest groups that can support their party.  Then they try to sell themselves to the group as the party that can get them what they want.  In essence, the party leadership is looking for consumers that will buy their leadership with their vote.  When the party finds their consumers, they then begin the propaganda to get the rest of the party to support the new special interest group.  Once they have enough of the party faithful convinced, they move on to try to win the sympathy of the general public.  Of course, at the same time, looking for more special interest groups so they can buy their votes; as time goes on the available groups get smaller and their issue gets more and more absurd.

One of the most effective forms of propaganda used by the party leaders is for them to get the party members to view the special interest group that is come on board as the underdog.  By making the new special interest the underdog you can manipulate the emotions of people and make an appeal to their compassion while demonizing the opposition.  With this technique, you can actually make the party faithful feel virtuous when supporting evil.  Once this underdog value system is set up in the minds of people, all other values will take a back seat.  We see an extreme case of this in some Americans who view the terrorist as underdogs and therefore come to their defense.  The question to these folks is no longer who is right or wrong or what is good or evil, but who is the underdog?  The underdog is always right, and the overdog is always wrong.  This form of propaganda is especially affective by those involved in class warfare.  In class warfare, the overdogs, who are the rich, demonize except for the one on the underdogs’ team.

Both the Nazis and the Communists used underdog propaganda to further their agenda.  The Nazis made the Jews the over dogs that controlled all the money and the medical profession and the German people were betrayed as the underdogs.  This gave the right and yes, the obligation to deal with this problem.  Of course, Hitler came up with the final solution.  The Communists used the same tactic on the rich and finally on the middle class, making them overdogs that the proletariat had to overthrow.

Another form of manipulation is to subtlely change the subject without letting your opponent and the audience knowing it.  To do this effectively the new subject must be emotionally charged and have a personal interest and benefit to the people you are trying to manipulate.  The best example of this is the abortion issue.  The debate was changed from abortion and when life starts, to woman’s rights.  This change in subject effectively closed the debate for the party faithful which now feel justified that they and their party are the virtuous ones for protecting women’s rights, even while being responsible for millions of abortions.

The pro-abortion movement was also aided by throwing into the mix lifeboat ethics, which basically used the fear of overpopulation to promote and justify abortion and at the same time giving people the feeling that they were saving the world by supporting abortion.  Lifeboat ethics propaganda was used intensely in the sixties to sway a whole party into supporting abortion even though it was contrary to their religious beliefs, which demonstrates the power of propaganda that is based on our fears and selfishness.

These forms of propaganda are being used by the gay rights movement.  They effectively changed the subject from a moral question to a civil rights issue with the help of a political party that wanted their support.  They then marketed the idea that they were the underdogs, being discriminated against as the blacks.  They accomplished this through their party and the help of the media, even though gay’s educational lever is higher than the average American and their income is much higher than the average American.  However, once you win the underdog status you cannot lose in American.  We love the underdog even if he is wrong.

Still another example of supporting the underdog whether right or wrong is the conflict between the nation of Israel and the Arab nations around them.  When Israel was viewed as the underdog everyone was on their side.  However, when the issue was changed from the nations around them to the Palestinians who were viewed as the underdogs, many turned against Israel even though in many cases Israel was right morally.

What does this do to people and political parties?  It puts a political party into the category of a religion, a place that no political party should occupy.  In essence, the party begins to shape people’s values and their loyalties through its propaganda.  I personally know a number of people that put their parties’ platform before their religious teachings.  Having your party serve as your religion also allows people to get a feeling of rightness for supporting the party no matter what the party is doing.  This is exactly what happened in Germany and Russia.  It seems to me that a feeling of righteousness should come from doing good, not from being a member of a political party. Lyle

 

God is Self-Evident

God is Self-Evident

People that I have talked to or those that have read my blog, know that I believe that faith in the existence of supreme intelligence or consciousness is a self-evident truth.  A self-evident truth is a truth that a majority of men recognize through natural instincts.  That is, by men who have not had their reasoning corrupted by false beliefs and ideologies.

Some might raise the objection, ‘if the existence of God is self-evident, why are there so many that do not see it?’  Jesus said, “some people have eyes but do not see”.  Sometimes overexposure deadens our sensitivity to a thing.  We are often actually insensitive to our senses until they are impaired in some way.  We seldom think about seeing out of our eyes until something threatens our sight.  When we look out a window, we will not often see the glass unless we focus on it.  The reason being, we have given our full attention to the things we are watching outside the window.  However, if the window is dirty or has a crack in it, we see it immediately.  The problem with modern man is that he is too focused on things to see God.  This lack of sight is encouraged by our capitalistic and materialist culture that focuses people more on the physical than the existential and metaphysical realities.

The source of much unbelief could be contributed to the culture and environment that one grows up in.  Some men grow up in families and cultures that are anti-metaphysical and are dominated by the materialistic mindset.  If one grows up in such a culture, they absorbed a state of rebellion against God as normal or they are simply indifferent towards spirituality, without even knowing or understanding why they do not believe in God.  They literally have had their minds washed of the idea of God; literally, they have been brainwashed and immersed in doubt to the point that it seems normal for them.

They are ignorant of God because they have neglected the knowledge of God, (secular culture) and have failed to follow the natural revelation of God in nature that leads people to faith in God.  They trust in and exalt reason about what is reasonable.  Reason is a wonderful thing, but it has its limits and it has the propensity to become the handmaid of our passions and our will and for some men, reason has become a sick lady infected with finiteness and sin which has led to total madness.

It was for this reason that the scientific method was created to help keep science honest.  However, we are beginning to see that the problem is too hard to deal with through laws and methods because mankind uses reason to get around the law.  Mankind needs grace to deal with sin and to keep reason honest.

When I give a reason for something, I must subsequently give a reason for the reason and then a reason for that reason.  This regression would be infinite until I came to the end of reason itself.  We have one or two choices; to follow the regression of reason to the end of reason or follow it to a first cause.  If you are an atheist and deny that the first cause is ‘Intelligent’, your problem becomes insurmountable.  You will inevitably end up denying reason or make it the first cause and in that, you have made reason god and might I add, a very small god.  Moreover, reason will find its end when it comes up against itself, for how can reason explain itself without arguing in circles or chasing its own tail.  “I believe in reason because that is what reason says to believe.” or “I believe in reason because my philosophy professor said I should believe in it and he learned it from Plato, who learned it from reason”.

Am I saying that I do not believe in reason?  No, I am simply saying that reason has its limits and be careful not to ask too much of her.  She is not infallible and without a proper foundation to reason from, she is like a man trying to ride a wild horse, she can kill you.  Reason is a gift from God and was given as a tool to help us find our way on our journey.  If we corrupt her, we do so at our own peril.  If we make her into God, we bring the wrath of God upon ourselves.  “You shall not have any other gods before you.”  We make reason into god when we turn reason into rationalism.  The difference between reason and rationalism is that reason knows her limits, rationalism does not and in this, rationalism is unreasonable and even stupid.

 

Is God Personal? A Letter to a Deist

 

 

Is God Personal? A Letter to a Deist

It would seem it is quite hard to say anything about the deity seeing that the sizes of the universe demonstrate that God is far advanced over us mere mortals.  It would seem presumptuous of us to say anything about him, especially if those ideas lessoned his character in any way. Therefore, to say that he is personal or impersonal would be a presumptuous statement limiting him by imposing a human characteristic upon him. It seems it would be closer to the truth to refer to Him as trans-personal or beyond personality,  personality being a human characteristic. Jesus hints at this when he said that the deity knows every hair on our heads. This would indicate that His personal knowledge must be far greater than any human being. This might raise the question does not a personal knowledge of someone infer in itself a degree of a personal relationship?

The bigger question is, Why would one want to believe that the deity is impersonal? Would believing in a universe with an impersonal God be any different than a universe without a God? It surely is more convenient and comfortable to live in the universe with an impersonal God than a trans-personal one that might hold men responsible for their behavior. It does seem to me that belief in an impersonal God is not much different from atheism on a pragmatic level. The benefit of such a belief or non-belief would simply be to avoid any uncomfortable conclusion about God. It also would give one the convenience and comfort of avoiding some hard questions and decisions about life and death.

Of course, the truth is, if there is a divine trans-personal God like the Biblical God it really does not matter what we believe about Him. We still will be judged by His will and our decisions or even the lack of them. It will not matter whether or not we ignore or dodge the questions. The safe position is to believe in a trans-personal God. If there is no trans-personal god, it really doesn’t matter. Does it? However, if there is that would open the possibility that we share in some of his characteristics like anger and love. It comes back to whether or not you believe that man created God in his image or God created man in his.

Moreover, to say that God is impersonal is to say that billions of people that claim to have a relationship with Him are delusional or simply liars. Such a belief would have to be totally subjective unless you could get into the skin of every one of those people that claim they have a relationship with God. The most that any person could say is I personally do not have a relationship with God. Of course, because an individual does not have a relationship with God does not mean or prove that God is impersonal and has no personal relationship with any humans. It also seems that a lack of faith in a personal God would slam the door shut on having any experience with God. Why would a person want to do that? If a person has the choice of living in a universe where there is a personal God or a universe where there is no trans-personal God why would anyone choose the impersonal? We all have reasons for our beliefs and it seldom reason.

Libertarianism A Christian Heresy?

Libertarianism A Christian Heresy?

It is common knowledge that Christianity has been the predominant worldview for 2000 years in the west.  Whether people like it or not you can see traces of its influence in every area of western life.  It has influenced every paradigm and ideology that has been created in the west from philosophy to political ideology.  Even its greatest critics have been influenced by it, such as Nietzsche and his idea of the Overman.

In this article, I’d like us to look at some of the strange similarities between libertarianism and early Christian thought.  However, before we can do this you must understand what the Bible, mainly the apostle Paul, says about the relationship of Christians to the law.  The apostle Paul in his writings sets forth the doctrine of salvation by grace, through faith, apart from keeping the laws of religion (Eph 2:8-10).   Paul taught that when a person accepts Christ as the Messiah, they would be given the Spirit of God which would be equal to giving them a new internal moral compass to live by, resulting in them no longer needing the law of Moses or the religious law.  In other words, in his thinking becoming a Christian would be similar to becoming a new person under a new constitution.  This experience was so dynamic that Jesus spoke about it as a new birth (John 3:5).  It was as though God would give a person a new heart or mind, on which the law was written.  This new spirit would change people’s will from their own self will, to desiring to do God’s will and the power to do it.  This is the reason why Paul could claim that Christians don’t live by the law, but by the Spirit.  He could say that the law kills, but the Spirit gives life.  He also could admonish Christians not to put themselves back under the law, but to live by the Spirit. Paul even went so far as to say that the law, or the Commandments, were abolished by the death of Christ (Eph 2:15-16).

It doesn’t take much thought to see the similarities between Christianity and the attitude that Libertarians have towards law. Their attitude is that the law is not sufficient because it does not change the person.

However, the problem with libertarianism in contrast to Christianity is not so much its teachings, as it is the raw material that it has to work with, i.e. people without the Spirit of God. The whole of Paul’s theology was based on the belief that believers had the Spirit of God that empowered them to will and to do God’s will.  What the Libertarians have is nothing more than philosophical dogma which has no power to change the hearts and minds of people which is the real problem to begin with. In actuality, the Libertarian movement has enshrined their philosophy as another law similar to how the Jews and other religious people have done with the 10 Commandments and the Bible.

In this, libertarianism is very much like many philosophical and religious cults that believe if you get the right doctrinal system you can fix the world.  However, many libertarians have no will to do the right thing or much less the will of God, though some strands of libertarianism lay more stress on the concept of responsibility than others, for the majority the emphasis is placed on liberty at the expense of responsibility.

Libertarianism also contains a millennial or utopian hope which reflects the belief of many early Christians.  The difference is that early Christians believed that Jesus Christ would usher in the millennium or utopia with the second coming of Jesus Christ when he sets up God’s kingdom on earth.  Libertarians, on the other hand, believe that humans can do it through embracing the Libertarian movement, mainly the free marked or by getting rid of all law and government, which also reflects the goal of communism as taught by Karl Marx.  Marx believed that government or some form of the state was a temporary state of mankind as he moved towards a fulfilled communism utopia. Marx in his own right was a copycat of Christianity in his views of egalitarianism and the future utopia.

When considered in its historical and Christian context the Libertarian movement must be considered somewhat of a cult.  Of course, some of the Libertarian’s dogma and attitudes are totally contrary to Christianity.  As a movement that was crystallized in the French Revolution, they tend to hate authority of all kinds, which includes the hatred of God’s authority.  If you remember, the slogan of the French Revolution was “no king, no God.”  Though in recent years, the idea of God has pretty much been stripped from Libertarianism making it the most secular form of Western politics.  In the past large numbers of Libertarians were non-believers and outspoken against God and religion.  Even today you will find in the left-wing of the Libertarian movement, huge numbers of unbelievers and many Libertines that have rejected traditional morality in general.

Is Libertarianism compatible with Christianity?  The answer is absolutely not.  Libertarianism not only has its roots in Christianity but also in Liberalism and libertinism.  In essence, it is nothing more than a hodgepodge of Christian doctrine and a radical form of Liberalism.  To see the similarity between it and Liberalism all you have to do is put the word radical before the foundational concepts of Liberalism; radical individualism, radical egalitarianism, which would include radical democracy, which would border on mob rule.  Its radical individualism has its source in Darwinism and the dogma of the survival of the fittest.  Therefore, its dogmas favor the rich and the strong.  I think it would be fair to say that American Libertarianism has been captured by the Koch brothers who control Reason Magazine and the Cato Foundation which in America are the leading mouthpieces for their brand of Libertarianism.

 

Two Kinds of Truth

Two Kinds of Truth

There are two kinds of truth: a truth that is developed by reason[i] and self-evident truth.  If we allow the latter to be pulled into the former, the latter and former are both lost. The very idea of knowing anything to any degree of certainty would be lost.

If a man denies that there is a cosmic order, i.e., a God, which I believe to be a self-evident truth,[ii] what grounds does he have to believe that his reasoning can be trusted?  If his reasoning is nothing more than a bundle of atoms interacting with each other in his brain, how can he trust it? Can he use reason to prove reason without first assuming that his reason can be trusted?  He may say that reasoning can be trusted because it was perfected by natural selection, but that is to say that a mindless force we called nature created reasoning and then perfected it by another mindless force, natural selection.  The atheist must trust or have faith in a blind force in order to trust his reasoning.  If he believes in reasoning, he must believe in it through a leap of faith in a blind force, which in my thinking begins to look a lot like a God hypothesis called by the name, reason.

To really be consistent with his atheism, he must maintain that everything (including his reasoning) is a mere illusion of his biological illusion maker that is in his brain. Then in order to function in the world, he must split the world into what is real and what is an illusion, and he must choose to live in and out of his illusions for it is impossible to live in the world he thinks is reality.  On top of this and at the same time, he must cling to the belief or the illusion that he and his beliefs are reasonable and everyone else’s (believers) are unreasonable.

He is like an actor on stage pretending to live out an imaginary story but believing at the same time that backstage is reality, which is meaningless and chaotic.  Of course, if he pretends long enough, he may begin to believe that the play is real, or if he gets really caught up in the story, he may even forget that it is all just make-believe.  The paradox is that often while playing out the story, he holds his audience in contempt for not knowing that the story he is performing in, is not real, or for not knowing what’s going on behind the curtain.

I have found that few atheists have the courage to take their beliefs to their logical conclusion for fear of the life it would produce.  So, they proclaim one set of beliefs while living by another. They claim to find meaning in a universe, which they say has no meaning, and they claim to have a purpose in a cosmos that they claim has no purpose.  They claim to be rational, in fact, the most rational of humans; however, does not rationality demand a willingness to take your own thinking to its logical conclusions and in turn, live out those conclusions?  Yet, I have never met an atheist who has consistently lived out his own thinking. Now, this is not to say they do not exist, but rather I have never met any.

Without a cosmic order, does not reason take you to the point of questioning reason itself?  Does not pure skepticism demand that you become skeptical about your own skepticism?  Should not a true doubter, doubt his own doubts?  Without self-evident truth, reasoning will, in the end, chase its own tail.  You must have something to reason from; you cannot reason from doubt.  As William James said, “You must have a will to believe something.”  Reason must start with something and cannot start with nothing.  Even the atheist must start with something: “I believe there is no God.”  Here he starts with assuming that his reason is sound.  Then he moves to himself “I” and his belief there is no God.  However, he cuts off the limb he is sitting on when he says, “no God.” Can a finite “I” make such a statement without being the very thing that he denies exists, i.e., God? [iii]  Moreover, can he make such a statement without having blind faith in reason?

[i]  These are truths that are formed by deduction and inductive reasoning. However, these truths are not the facts in themselves but are ideas that are inferred from the facts. Believers believe they can trust reason because it is the reflection of a reasonable God in whom image, we are created.

[ii] Some might raise the objection, If the existence of God is self-evident, why are there so many who do not see it? Jesus said, “Some people have eyes but do not see.”  Sometimes overexposure deadens our sensitivity to a thing. We are often actually insensitive to our senses until they are impaired in some way. We seldom think about seeing or our eyes until something threatens our sight. When looking out a window, we will not often see the glass unless we focus on it. The reason for this is that we have given our full attention to the things that we are watching outside the window. However, if the window is dirty or has a crack in it, we see it immediately.  The problem with modern man is that he is too focused on things to see God. However, his lack of focus does not mean that God does not exist.

[iii] To make an absolute statement that there is no God, a person would have to know everything in this vast universe and be everywhere at the same time. For if he did not know everything, the thing he might not know is that there is a God, and if he was not everywhere at the same time, the place he was not at might be the very place God exists.