Friday, May 27, 2016

Memorial Day, 2016

     The day will come when we no longer sacrifice the greatest wealth of our nation to right a wrong, or to stop an evil.  The only question will be, is it because there is no evil and all the wrongs have been righted, or is it because we are no longer?

     Our land existed before man, and it will exist after mankind has disappeared.  It is dirt and rock, streams, rivers and lakes, it is trees and grasses, mountains and valleys, but our nation is much more than a fortunate circumstance on a great land.  It is an idea that became an ideal, it is a promise realized, an opportunity taken.  We have strength, for those who are weak, we have will, for those who seek change, we have hope for those who are without hope, but we are fragile.  Each day we decide if we continue or we end, each day we seek to be united or we chose to support tyranny.  In the pursuit of power there are those who would divide us with their deeds, who choose to condemn us with their actions, who tolerate no dissent from their position.  They are like a cancer to our freedom.  What they say is undermined by what they do.

     This Memorial Day, like every Memorial Day since its creation, is a time to reflect on the price we have paid to keep these united states together.  We have sent generation after generation of our young men and women as payment for an ideal.  We are not a perfect nation.  Nothing created by man can ever be, but we have raised our young, tried to teach them about freedom, and hoped to inspire them to greatness beyond what we could imagine.  Now in our 16th year of a war with no end in sight we seem to be on the precipice of some great decision.  But, we have almost reached a point of stasis, where the loss of our young is acceptable and we become immune to the cost to our humanity. 

     Please don’t let that happen.  Don’t let their sacrifice to keep this nation as “one nation indivisible” be in vain.  If you are so inclined, pray for them for they know the end of war, but also pray for us, because we don’t.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

News from the Island of Dr. Moreau

In this release from NPR's All Things Considered, we see some scientists are now combining animal and human genetic material to create embryos that are a mixture of both.  Of course this is all being done in the name of research to help find cures for various diseases, but at what point do we question the moral justification of this course?  
Ah, the benefit of subjective morality.  

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

If it Weren’t So, Alas but it Is!

The USAF shared a video from DARPA that talks about the innovated things they are doing.  For those that may not be familiar with DARPA it stands for Defense Advanced Research Project Agency.  Here is a link to their Facebook Page - DARPA.
DARPA is the the organization charged with not only thinking outside the box, but building whole new boxes that others may not have even thought of.  It is from their research that the internet actually sprung.  They are the people who took a simple unclassified Russian theoretical paper and turned into Stealth Technology that helps the US dominate the Air, and reduce vulnerability on the sea.
As an agency of the Department of Defense their purpose is to prepare the US for the technology of the next war.  While there are off-shoots from this research, like the internet, that benefit all mankind, it is not their mission.  This got me to thinking about whose mission is it, and why can DARPA be successful in its tasks and whoever is looking out for all mankind not so much?
Unfortunately, I see conflict as an unenviable, but inherent, quality in mankind.  It was there in the beginning, it is in the first book of the bible, and I suspect, despite what Gene Roddenberry would have us believe, will be there in the end.  If we look at all the advancements of mankind, they are inevitably fueled by war and conflict.
Take for example Spaceflight.  Rocketry was envisioned by Robert Goddard in the 1920’s.  He worked his life to make it a reality, but it was not until the Germans developed the V2 in the second world war that real progress and application was made.  It was those same German rocketeers who took us to the Moon.
So, who is it that governs this balance of finding ways to kill and maim each other and turning the instruments of war into tools for peace?  When we had a widely accepted and “common” moral code we looked to our politicians.  Now that we no longer have a common morality I am not so sure.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

What Defines Us as a Society?

     From our beginnings we of European descent come primarily from people who were evicted, dissatisfied, persecuted, or limited by the societies of their homelands.  People who sought to stake their lives on the potential of an unknown land.  They brought with them a purpose, a will, and a desire for more than they had for both themselves, their children and their children's children.  Unfortunately, they also brought along the bad of their societies, sickness, slavery, and the idea of class distinction.  Subsequent to our founding others have come to this land for a number of similar reasons bringing with them their own traditions and values, or were brought against their will to serve the plantations.  Some have sought to integrate into the nation, others have sought to maintain their own heritage, but each has added to the fabric of our nation.

     As our nation expanded we were able to focus not on our differences, but on what we might become.  In the course of that expansion we faced the division of our nation over the idea that one man should enslave another.  In the end, the northern view that black slavery was unacceptable won out, but the physical victory could not prove the moral rightness of this to men and woman who chose not to accept the outcome.  That simple fact lives with us today and is played on by those who seek power through division.  Dr. King sought equality for a people based on the moral certainty that equality was right.  Today’s leaders seek not equality but domination of their views that grandchildren and great grandchildren of former slaves have by their heritage been short changed and should receive special consideration.

     The leaders and progressive movements in Government, Education and Industry have attempted to find ways to rectify the sins of the past through entitlement, and preferential scholarship and hiring.  Now, some 50-years past the Civil Rights Act, I look back and wonder, have these programs worked for the average black man or woman, or have they served only to enrich the powerful?

     It is good from time to time to think back on our founder’s and consider the wisdom of these exceptional men who studied, argued and compromised to create something the likes of which the world had not seen. George Washington, led the 1st Continental Army, led the Constitutional Convention, and served as our first President, setting the tradition that power should be limited and short lived through his decision to retire at the end of his second term.  His words in his 1796 farewell address formed the basis of our national approach for many years, lately they seem to have been cast aside.

     In his words, The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so, for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very liberty which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.”[i]

     There is much in the President’s address that is worthy of consideration in today’s world, unfortunately those who would contemplate and affect those warnings into society are but a few small voices easily drowned out by those who would pursue personal gain at the cost of the country.  We see this daily in the media, and in the public statements of our politicians, candidates for political office, and even the incumbent President, who is unable or unwilling to separate his desire for political conflict for the greater need of a government that serves the need of many versus the need of a political few.

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