Month: June 2016

Going Backward to Move Forward

The big news is the exit of Great Britain from the European Union. The vote seemed to be close by all polls and guesses, and was so. Some well-known political people supported the exit, and others did not. The critics of the separation predicted doom and gloom on the European economy, which would affect our own. It will take some time to gauge the effect.

Yet another great experiment in uniting sovereign nations into a conglomerate under the supervision of a powerful central entity has failed. It simply will not work for long! How many times must it be tried before the result is firmly in our minds to quit trying? The people of Britain have once again declared they want to be the decision-makers of the their fate as a nation, and others may be shocked if they wish. This is a lesson for more than the advocates of unity at all costs; it is also indicative of the principle in most other areas of culture and politics.

Secession is a right of a group of people. Breaking the ties that no longer serve people are sometimes necessary. Obviously there are problems to work through to make it happen, but they are worth it, if the larger entity becomes more a burden than a benefit. We are reminded once again that governments are made for people, not the other way around. I’m glad to see this happen, and hope it will offer hope to all others who wish to be associated voluntarily to take of the people’s business. So many times an idea looks good on paper, but is not realistic to human behavior. The only way to maintain such an arrangement against the will of the people is by force, and we have tried that as well.

Voluntary Limits

“But he that accuses all mankind of corruption ought to remember that he is sure to convict only one.” (Edmund Burke). Edmund Burke (1729-1797) was a member of the British Parliament for several decades and defended the Americans’ right to have their own government. He also realized that mankind was subject to corruption. This is the foundation of a government that takes human frailties under consideration.

Our country’s leaders have always proven this point, that power tends to corrupt, and will continue to prove it. With few exceptions, the case is made that those in power do not easily let it go. I am hesitant to completely support term-limits by law, since the voters still have control of it. We should not relinquish to the legislature what it is in our power to do . I am in favor of seeking candidates who will voluntarily commit to self-limits on the number of terms they will serve. They could put it in writing and be subject to the critique of the voters if they go back on their word. These servants could be satisfied and take some pride in the fact they “did their part” to make their constituents proud and leave the country a little better than when they began. These kinds of citizen-legislators would then step aside to allow the next person willing to take part do what they could. I admit this is idealistic and has only happened infrequently. Former Senator and Congressman Dr. Tom Coburn pledged to serve only a limited time in Congress, and did so. He was then elected Senator from Oklahoma, having now retired from that, for health reasons. He followed through on his promise.

It seems logical to think like many of our original leaders on a national level to see government as a necessary evil, and only wanted to serve until they could go back to being farmers or whatever else they considered their vocation to be. This would also limit the influence from lobbyists and others who would be looking for favors from our representatives. We could look for such people, if we set our minds to it, and then we wouldn’t have to “throw the bums out.” If they are bums, they could be so elsewhere than in Washington D.C.

 

Batting 1.000?

We may not have though about it, but baseball is fun, but difficult. For example, it is impressive when a player bats .300 or more. This means that they get a hit on average every third time at bat. The great Ty Cobb has the greatest lifetime average at .366, which has stood since his last professional game in 1928. It may be a long time until anyone matches that.

We also understand that a player will continue batting 1.000 (perfect) until they strike out. From then on, batting perfectly is not possible, even if they hit a homerun every other time at bat. It’s that way in any area of life. Once we make one mistake or commit one sin, perfection is beyond possibility.

Why then do some expect to “improve” society and culture toward perfection or utopia when it will still involve people, who are imperfect? The effort to continue experimenting with and alter morals and mores to make everything and everyone “better” is an exercise in futility. Can we be and do better? No question, and we should continue to do so, but no one or two or series of laws or regulations will do the trick, to force such laws is fantasy. This does not allow for humans to be human. Some things will never change, and that also applies to progressives who hang on the idea that we can be perfected.

The Foundation

The writers of our constitution hashed over and debated the type of government the new nation should have. They recognized (and rightly so) that different type governments work for different people groups. They made proposals, counter-proposals, and adjusted and edited the documents until enough agreed on enough of the principles to deliver our constitutional republic.

One thing that seemed nearly unanimous was the concept that the form of government was for a moral people. Without that, it would not work. They recognized the tendency for those in power to abuse it, and for others to simply ignore the boundaries of ther branches of the federal government.

So where does that leave us? To be honest, not in good shape. It doesn’t matter the politics of the executive, legislative or judiciary; it does matter if a moral foundation has eroded to the point of being non-existent. The thing for each of us to do is act locally. We communicate with those around us to help and foster the good in people. That’s doable.