can we measure in money?

Beginning at 6:01 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, the flurry begins. The negotiations will be immediate; they will be active and ongoing. Texts… phone calls… face-to-face. The NBA’s annual Free Agency Moratorium starts tonight.

Perhaps one is not a fan of the professional hardwood; follow me still for a moment here…

The Moratorium is basically a week-long negotiation period in which teams may negotiate deals with free agents but cannot officially sign them or make trades; the deals are thus characterized as non-binding agreements.

The inexact, rumored, pre-period story lines go something like this…

Kawhi Leonard to the Lakers…

Kawhi Leonard to the Clippers…

Kawhi Leonard to anywhere in sunny southern California…

Kevin Durant to the Clippers…

Kevin Durant going home to New York…

Kevin Durant staying home in Golden State…

Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker, and Klay Thompson…

Jimmy Butler, Al Horford, and more…

They all need a place to play.

So it got me thinking…

Recognize the massive amounts of money these players will be paid. Durant, for example, after grossing $30,750,000 for last season, is expected to be offered either a five-year, $221 million contract or a four-year, $164 million deal. And due to injury, whatever salary he is paid next year, he will earn by not playing.

Back to the thinking (and non-NBA fans, thanks for staying with me)…

How much is a person worth?

Is it fair?

Is it accurate?

Does fairness even matter?

Can a person’s worth actually be measured in dollars and cents?

I suppose I have long struggled with the concept of discerning the worth of another in terms of money. Having a son with special needs brought that home for me years ago; professional options and compensation after high school and possibly college will differ for him from those a typical graduate would have available. I’d like to say that realization was a subtle, personal learning, but it was far more one of those divine, figurative whacks on the head, in an area where no doubt I needed to grow.

All men and women are created equal. One has no greater — nor lesser — worth than another. It doesn’t matter if you’re a thriving high school senior with Down syndrome or one ready to sign a max contract in the NBA. Each of us were created equal by God. We are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. In fact, I deeply believe that if each of us could learn to honor all of our neighbors equally — recognizing that God’s image in them is the same as it is in you and me — there would be remarkably less conflict and tension on this planet.

So back to the questions…

How much is a person worth?

And can it really be measured in dollars and cents?

Some assume we will start to figure that out at 6:01 tonight. My sense is that worth has already been established.



a selfie society

A random dozen, relevant, actual quotes…

“Sending my selfie to NASA, because I’m a star.”

“I don’t take selfies all the time. I just do it once and a while everyday.”

“Real men don’t take selfies.”

“Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s an Instagram filter.”

“I remember when Selfies where just called no one else.”

“A selfie day keeps insecurities away!”

“Twerking and selfie have just been added to the dictionary. Future and optimism have now been removed.”

“The ‘I’m doing something fun with a famous tourist landmark’ selfie (aka travelfie)”

“The best selfies are the ones that aren’t.”

“If I send you ugly selfies, our friendship is real.”

“Teenager Post #14606: For every good selfie there are 47 failed ones.”

“I haven’t taken a selfie for a while, but I am still very cute just to keep you updated.”

A “selfie” is a photograph one takes of oneself, typically with a smart phone, and then uploaded to a social media site. Millions of selfies are taken daily.

Just to play with the data a little (and not spending too much time attempting to comprehend who and why someone actually keeps track of said subject), note that the average millennial is expected to take 25,700 selfies in his or her lifetime, and now, more people die annually taking selfies than in shark attacks.

It’s a crazy phenomena — all these pictures of “me.” 

Elsa Godart, a renowned French psychoanalyst and philosopher, in her 2018 book, “I Selfie Therefore I Am” — writes about the inherent contradiction of the selfie.

At the heart of the selfie, Godart explains, is a contradiction. “What may look like straight-forward narcissism can often be insecurity and a craving for reassurance: a reassurance that you can only ever get from ‘likes.’”

I suppose the key phrase there is “what may look like.”

“What may look like…” 

“What may look like” does not equate to what actually is.

A selfie is a singular photograph, snapped at a singular moment in time. We see the pics. We form opinions. We judge the narcissism or whatever else we seemingly glean from the solitary photo.

But a solitary photo does not make an album.

A single image does not tell an entire story.

Where are we crafting entire narratives based on singular shots? 

… singular angles?

… singular moments in time?

My sense is a selfie society doesn’t always provide an accurate perspective.



freedom, filters & misuse

[Disclosure notice: the specific names and identifying details have been changed in the below account. Contrary to protecting the privacy of said individuals, the motive here is instead to diffuse the polarized reactions that often accompany partisan leanings.]

This weekend there was a gathering in which multiple political candidates from the same party vying for the same office converged in a singular, likeminded locale. They each spoke and were spoken to. They were interviewed and asked key questions. Each offered a speech to a live audience, who naturally reacted in spontaneous ways… perhaps some preplanned, too. 

There were most likely a surfeit of cheers and chants, even hisses and boos. 

There were most likely judicious, eye-opening comments, comments from the candidates that would give the viewer increased insight into who that candidate really is, what guides them, and what they truly believe. Viewers want to know those who potentially could represent them.

(Note the words “most likely.” See below why the Intramuralist could not see..)

No doubt one of the benefits of television viewership is that it changes the makeup of the audience. Too many candidates across the country change what they say depending who sits in that audience; therefore, the candidate’s “yes” doesn’t always mean “yes” and their “no” doesn’t always mean “no,” as it depends on who they’re talking to. The makeup of the audience matters. 

Hence, the ability to view the candidates, one after the another, in an unedited live window is of distinct value in comprehending the integrity of the candidate and what they believe.

This weekend, no less, the gathering’s host denied viewership, coverage, and livestream.

Only one network was originally given the right to broadcast. Note that it is a national network known to be somewhere between “skewed” and “hyper-partisan.” (Note: these exist on both the right and the left.)

Let us be respectfully clear…

No other network was originally given the right to broadcast. It should be stated that since the host’s original statement that only one national network would be allowed to cover, the host announced they would allow a small, local station to also air the speeches, seemingly bowing to journalistic pressure that came from every partisan angle. The left, right, middle — even “B-SPAN” (remember the specific names have been changed) — complained. Not even known, objective reporting is allowed. Let me say that again…

Known, objective reporting is not allowed.

When the state party chair was asked why they would limit live coverage of their convention to one cable outlet, he would not answer the question. He later said he was “done talking about the issue and declined to comment on whether other media outlets would now be allowed to broadcast live.” 

Note that in addition to the exclusive coverage by the one network, other media outlets were prohibited from airing any actual footage until three hours after the event ends.

Question: What is the motive for such control?

Why control those who are supposed to inform us — reporting, giving us insight, sharing the news — controlling what we hear and how we hear it?

Why would the gatherers not allow not only editorial comments from other filters — but also not allow coverage from the news outlets with no filter? Did they editorialize a candidate’s speech or edit a slip up or audience reaction, with the goal of making it sound better or worse? Did the host want to manipulate what the rest of us see and hear? Are we not allowed to walk away with our own perceptions? … or do our perceptions even matter?

Friends, I am no fan of the “fake news” cheers and chants, even hisses and boos. There’s too much throwing out of “the baby with the bath water,” so-to-speak, in that perspective; the freedom of the press and authentic, unbiased journalism is of great, necessary value in our country. We benefit from a healthy, objective media.

Yet this weekend’s event exhibits exactly the kind of control that fuels the cry of being “fake.” There seems ample intent to control what we see, when we see it, and how the general public sees it. That’s controlling — arguably manipulative — and definitely concerning.

This feels not as the right and need of the freedom of our press. Sadly, it’s seems more a misuse.



thoughts & prayers? really?

The signs on social media have been larger.

The passionate protests have increased.

And the bold call has only become louder. It goes something like this:

“No more thoughts and prayers! We need action!”

There exists a sincere desire for something to be actually done.

So allow me to begin with today’s bottom line…

Those protests are not wrong.

But they’re not right either.

Any time our country experiences tragedy, hardship or misfortune, one of the sobering jewels in our grief, is that sorrow is typically shared. As I attempt to find a silver lining, so-to-speak — or perhaps better identified as some sort of pocket of hope, somewhere, when these horrific events happen in our land  — I find myself somberly thankful at some point that grief is a shared experience; we are all in this together; wise men and women desire no affliction of the innocent. We crave calamity’s ceasing.

And that’s where the separation seeps into our semantics. That’s where the calls have become louder, bolder, and the passionate protests have begun to push…

“No more thoughts and prayers… Action! 

That’s what we need! We are sick and tired of this happening! We will accept no more!”

Indeed. We need action. Something must be done.

For the one who is prompted to pray — to embrace the thoughts and prayers — excellent. Submission to an omniscient God who created us and continues to love us like crazy no matter what, is a wise next step; it’s especially wise, recognizing none of us have life or all of its socio-political solutions all figured out. I would add that I also have concern in finding increasingly more who seem numb to the inherent wisdom of prayer — and when any of us refuse to respect those who engage in such a deferential discipline. 

Prayer is all about positioning; it recognizes that we are not God nor anywhere close nor is our thinking or decision-making even semi-equatable to his. Divine equality is an absurd concept; we will never be equated with him. That awareness prompts humility… perhaps the most vital virtue in in finding any solution, especially when wrestling with misfortune or conflict.

But our reaction to the adverse — whether it be an act of violence or volatile political dispute — shouldn’t end with thoughts and prayers; that’s why the bold protests are not wrong.

Seekers of wisdom are called to act; it’s the discernment in how faith and action fit together. 

What good is it if we say we have faith but don’t show it by our actions?

How can we show our faith if we aren’t engaging in good deeds?

Can’t we see that faith without those good deeds and willingness for action is useless?

Faith and action cannot be separated.

Hence to suggest we need no action makes no sense to me.

To ignore the wisdom of thoughts and prayers also makes no sense.

Both omit what’s vital…

… starting with a posture of humility.



incorrect ‘correctness’

On the Wednesday afternoon after the 2016 presidential election, a shoplifting attempt occurred at Gibson’s Bakery in the small town of Oberlin, Ohio. The bakery is adjacent to Oberlin College, a small private school considered “the second oldest continuously operating coeducational institute of higher learning in the world.”

In 5 years time, this was the 41st shoplifting incident at the family-owned, campus entity, with 40 adults arrested previously, 6 of whom were African-American. Jonathan Aladin, the student who was caught stealing in 2016, was also African-American. He was also underage. According to court records, Aladin was “attempting to steal wine from Gibson’s while purchasing other wine with fake identification.”

When the incident occurred, the store owner’s grandson, Allyn Gibson, who was working at the time, confronted Aladin and his attempted theft while still inside the store; the conflict continued as the suspect exited the store, at which time Gibson attempted to take pictures of Aladin on his phone, also at which time a physical altercation ensued between Gibson and Aladin — and now two of Aladin’s friends. According to the police who first arrived at the scene, “They [found] Gibson on his back, with [the three undergraduates] punching and kicking him. All three were charged, [the thief] with robbery and his friends with assault.” 

In the evening of the same day, again according to court documents, “Efforts were made to organize a protest outside Gibson’s Food Market and Bakery the following [next] day. Members of Oberlin College Staff and Administration were made aware of these efforts, and Dean of Students named Defendant, Meredith Raimondo, communicated with other faculty and staff members about having a meeting on November 10, 2016 in advance of the scheduled protests. Some of the individuals included in that communication were present at the protests…”

The protests began on the 10th, and Raimondo was present. Key to the two days of protests was a distributed flyer handed to many, which included the statement that Gibson’s is “a racist establishment with a long account of racial profiling and discrimination.” Legal testimony was provided that college staff — including Raimondo — distributed copies of the flyer and college copy machines were utilized in their creation.

Oberlin’s student senate would then pass a resolution, comparable to the language of the flyer. With affirmation from several among the college faculty, students were strongly urged to boycott the bakery for a significant time. Reports are that flyers promoting the boycott remained posted on Obelin’s property for over one year. 

Why would the case of a college, college bakery, and some unlawfully-behaving students become today’s topic?

Jonathan Aladin and his two friends later pleaded guilty to multiple misdemeanor charges. Not only did Aladin admit the theft and underage drinking, he also signed a sworn statement that Gibson’s actions were not racially motivated.

Friends, there was no discrimination. Oberlin’s protests promoted mistruth.

So let’s wrestle with a few significant observations, comments, and questions…

First, let this discussion not numb us to the reality that discrimination still happens today. Let the untrue not distract us from the true.

Let us also admit that not everything we think is discrimination actually is discrimination. 

Why is that so? Is it because our perspectives are limited? Is it because we hear what we want to hear, see what we want to see, and believe what we want to believe? Do we believe only what fits into our already engrained and established narratives?

Why the instant not only over-reaction by the college, but the incorrect reaction by the college?  Why the extreme, immediate slander of another?   

What are these colleges teaching our kids? Were they honestly attempting to teach what is good and right and true?

And why is it that one of the seemingly most conflicting tensions of current culture — our efforts of political correctness — too often go too far? How can we lessen incorrect “correctness” — ensuring that the marginalized have a voice — but in our efforts to provide that voice, we are discerning and not promoting mistruth? Every incident is not the same.

Unfortunately for Oberlin, the college is now wrestling with the $44 million judgment levied against them last week — a judgment concluding their behavior caused significant lost revenue for the bakery and cost several employees their jobs. 

Hence, I continue to think that first pausing in these situations is prudent — for all of us. Our initial reactions are often more based on how we actually, already feel. When we instead pause, we allow for the grace and space for self and others to consider other angles and time to gather more of the facts. When we pause, we can potentially lessen the incorrect correctness.



revving it down the road…

As previously noted, the Intramuralist took so-called “the show on the road” for most of the past two weeks. There were people to see, graduations to celebrate, meetings and more to attend to.

Over the course of those two weeks, my son and I expected to journey an approximate 3,000 miles. Knowing, therefore, that significant time would be spent in the car, we wanted to delight in that time — thus renting a pretty sweet car. Let me just say, a brand new, V6 Camaro convertible rides very, very well.

Save for some friendly smiles, a few thumbs up, and some teenage heads turned, our automotive splurge was mostly a treat enjoyed by me and my son. Granted, there was one moment that slightly strayed from said narrative…

We were in a midwest suburb, on a four lane, 45 m.p.h. road, slowing to red light. Prior to our stop, a lime green, Kia Soul sedan whizzed right in, in front of us, seemingly needing to be first to go when the light turned green.

I was still making my way toward the stop when my passenger teased me about taking advantage of the power of a V6 engine. Not one to resist a friendly dare that is perceived harmful to no one, instead of coming to a stop behind the Kia, I decided to have some fun with the situation and moved into the adjacent lane, coming side-by-side to the car which had just pulled in front of me.

Sitting at the red light, we could see that the two lanes would merge maybe 100 yards in front of us. Hence, after thoroughly checking the surroundings, when the light turned green, I hit the gas and gave my car an immediate go. It was awesome!

Now let me just say, that my car never reached any majorly significant speed; it was simply that my vehicle was able to accelerate faster than all those around me. We endangered no one nor any other vehicle.

But that seemed lost to those in the Kia car. After we safely pulled in front of them with far more than ample space, the driver honked long and loud, offering obscene gestures, and her passenger actually stuck his head out the window, screaming a few choice profanities. They then tailed me extremely closely, obviously irritated by my intended-to-be playful act.

So let me pause there for a moment… making a few, basic observations…

I truly intended to be playful. I realize several would not approve of my behavior, which is completely valid. It is also true that my choice endangered no one.

What’s additionally true is that the only difference now for those in the Kia Soul was that they had to be behind me; they weren’t first. They were not delayed. They were not in danger. They were not even slightly detoured in the way in which they wanted to go. They simply were no longer first in line.

That’s what prompted me to ponder further…

What is it about current culture that compels one to scream and shout simply because they are no longer “first”? … that the situation is no longer proceeding the way they wanted it? Is there an entitlement factor here?

… If it’s not my way, I’m going to let you have it…

If it’s not my way, you must be in the wrong…

Not only are you wrong, but you deserve to be scolded!

… flipped off!

… told offf!

… punished…

… because it must be my way

It must be mine.

There is an element embedded here that seems vastly unhealthy (… yes, way beyond any small semblance of drag racing…).

The unhealthy element is this need to tell people off when we don’t like their behavior… this need to put down others because we don’t like how their actions affect us. It’s not about being in danger; it’s about what we don’t like in another.

That’s just it. We magnify what we dislike. The behavior of another may or may not be a big deal, but we are justifying our over-reaction.

That doesn’t sound good and healthy and wise…



the last 2 weeks in questions…

So for the last two weeks, the Intramuralist has been on the road. It’s been great — great to interact and visit and listen and celebrate and invest in those I see less often. In order, no less to keep up on the news — and ensure I’m not following too much of a biased, therefore misleading site — I’ve written down the questions I’ve seen published while away. Hence, the last two weeks in 100 questions…

  1. Why Won’t Socialism Die?
  2. Does Intolerance Dampen Dissent?
  3. Hello, Boris?
  4. Is British Politics on the Brink of a Historic Realignment?
  5. Is the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process Dead?
  6. Why Do People Tear Down Architectural Landmarks?
  7. Will Venezuela Force Foreign Policy Reckoning For Progressives?
  8. What Is ‘Single Payer’ Health Care?
  9. Who is blocking Medicare-for-All?
  10. Would Bernie Sanders’s Medicare-for-All Save Money?
  11. Will Bipartisan ‘Lower Health Care Costs Act’ Help?
  12. High Drug Prices: Who’s Really to Blame?
  13. Who’s going to Win the Stanley Cup?
  14. Can the Boston Bruins win the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals?
  15. Can the Blues Break their Stanley Cup drought?
  16. Can Warren Overtake Sanders?
  17. How the Sanders Revolution Ends?
  18. Did Bernie Just Inadvertently Admit That Actually There Is A Crisis At Our Border?
  19. What’s So Funny, Joe?
  20. Is Biden the New Hillary Clinton?
  21. Can Joe Biden Be the Future and the Past?
  22. What is the Point of His [Biden’s] Candidacy?
  23. What is the Hyde Amendment?
  24. Did Leonardo da Vinci Have ADHD?
  25. What Would Leonardo da Vinci Think of the Future?
  26. What was Leonardo da Vinci Doing at Your Age?
  27. Why Is Mueller Fighting a Public Hearing on Capitol Hill?
  28. Did Mueller Lie to the Attorney General on March 5th?
  29. How much did the FBI rely on a discredited Trump-Russia dossier?
  30. Why Is the Info Behind Russia Probe All Linked to Clinton?
  31. Is Bill Barr a Bad Man?
  32. Another Year of Investigations?
  33. Is Common Ground on Abortion Possible?
  34. What Do the New State Abortion Laws Really Mean for Women?
  35. Who to Blame For America’s Iran Policy?
  36. School Choice: Civil Rights Issue of Our Time?
  37. Why Are Dems Still Foot-Dragging on Impeachment?
  38. Are Democrats Choosing to Lose?
  39. Have Democrats Given Up on Beating Trump in an Election?
  40. Do Dems Have to Impeach Trump to Have a Chance in 2020?
  41. Does the Dem Media Need Impeachment to Boost Ratings?
  42. Where’s the Media’s Explanation for Avenatti?
  43. Was President Trump Actually ‘Nasty’ to Meghan Markle?
  44. Are Meghan Markle & Prince Harry Really Moving to America with Baby Archie?
  45. Why Does Queen Elizabeth Have Two Birthdays?
  46. What’s Next for “Jeopardy” Phenom James Holzhauer?
  47. How Did the Warriors Get Here?
  48. This Can’t Be It for the Warriors, Can It?
  49. The Hottest Destination for NBA Free Agents Is … Brooklyn?
  50. Lakers? Knicks? Suns? Who’s Willing to Trade for CP3 and His Monster Contract?
  51. Why Is Spirituality Correlated With Life Satisfaction?
  52. Will Woke Progressives Allow Celebrities to Be Christian?
  53. Meryl Streep: What About Toxic Feminimity?
  54. Is there a Barack Obama-Steven Spielberg collaboration coming?
  55. What If Appalling FBI Texts Were Written About Obama in ’08?
  56. Why Did Obama Ignore Reports of Russian Meddling?
  57. Are We at Risk of a Chinese Dollar Dump?
  58. Why Is China So Afraid of the Memory of Tiananmen Square?
  59. Across China, Who Remembers Tiananmen?
  60. Is Russia Rethinking Its Relationship With China?
  61. How Would Reagan Approach Iran?
  62. Is U.S. Pressure Really Uniting Iran’s Rival Political Camps?
  63. Why Do College Commencement Speeches Ignore Economic Reality?
  64. Will Trump Really Pull the Trigger on Mexico Tariffs?
  65. Why Is Congress Incentivizing Illegal Immigration?
  66. Can We Blame Climate Change for the Tornado Outbreak?
  67. Can Soil Solve the Climate Crisis?
  68. Why Does Al Gore Keep Denying Science?
  69. Who’s in Danger of Missing the Third Dem Debate?
  70. Are “Children of Divorce” Doomed in Their Own Marriages?
  71. Why Does US Allow Food Additives Europe Says Are Unsafe?
  72. What Comes First? The Home or the Retirement Account?
  73. What Is A Safe Withdrawal Rate In Retirement?
  74. Is It 1998 All Over Again for Markets?
  75. Can Big Pharma Be Held Accountable for Opioid Epidemic?
  76. Did Cellphones Bring Down Crime Rates in the 90s?
  77. Is ‘Gaming Disorder’ an Illness?
  78. Where are the floods?
  79. What if We Hired for Skills, Not Degrees?
  80. What Inspired Orwell’s Masterpiece?
  81. Claire McCaskill and a MeToo Double Standard?
  82. Why Are Unions Joining Conservatives to Protect Pipelines?
  83. Why Do We Worry About Recession So Much?
  84. How Long Will My Money Last?
  85. D-Day, A Year Too Late? 
  86. Could Tolerating Disease Be Better Than Fighting It?
  87. Who Can Adopt a Native American Child?
  88. Should Conservatives Abandon the University?
  89. Modern Diversity Training: Reconciliation, or Grievance?
  90. What is Pride Month?
  91. Will Elon Musk Ruin Astronomy?
  92. To Vape or Not To Vape?
  93. What’s Next for Stocks As Recession Probabilities Increase?
  94. Did Ilhan Omar commit federal tax fraud?
  95. What Makes U.S. Military Interventions Successful?
  96. 2020 Census: Will Your Children Get the Support They Need?
  97. ISIS Using Mex Border in Terror Smuggle?
  98. Who is the best player at the Women’s World Cup?
  99. Who will rule the Women’s World Cup?
  100. Can We All Just Get Along?

Just asking questions, friends. Any reliable new source should allow each and all of us to ask them.



super-sized, once more…

Ten years ago, in the early days of the Intramuralist, we penned the beginning of this post. I’m fascinated by its continued relevance…

“Everything’s bigger in America. We’ve got the biggest cars. The biggest houses. The biggest companies. The biggest food. And finally, the biggest people. America has now become the fattest nation in the world.”  (From Morgan, in “Super Size Me”)

The fattest nation in the world. I wonder: is bigger always better?

In the wake of prodigious deficit spending, we continue to hear the government convening in order to decipher what new legislation to enact. They speak of which programs to add and where to increase spending. Let me be the first to say, much legislation supports what many consider to be a good program. But question: when do we employ our discernment skills? In other words, when do Democrats and Republicans examine which programs are no longer effective or which do we simply have no resources to fund — even if it’s good? Once a program is funded, does that mean it is subsidized (or super-sized) for life?

The size of our government has increased exponentially under most all current and recent executive and legislative branches. Few laws are rescinded. Hence, our “fat” nation now controls how we park, how we drive, what we drive, what we eat, what we drink, how we behave in public, the level of noise we can make, what drugs are available, what words can be said on television, our guns, our banks, the car manufacturers, interest rates, dairy standards, the animal population, what others can say in regard to our health, what they can say in regard to our character, what must be taught, what must be preserved, what is extinct, how to vote, how to marry, how to own, how to rent, how to buy, how to sell, how to operate a boat, what insurance to obtain, the toll roads, parks, how many can sleep in a hotel room, when and where you can buy alcohol, how much income tax to pay, sales tax, gas tax, real estate tax, personal property tax, estate tax, excise tax, utilities tax, payroll tax, dividends tax, motor oil tax, gift tax, amusements tax, consumption tax, yada yada yada. That looks on the plus size to me. Let us say it differently: our government is big! And that is due to both Democrat and Republican-led efforts. That is due to multiple administrations.

Is this what the Constitution intended?  Big government? Control and influence in as many aspects as elected officials deem necessary? Where will they stop? 

Now ten years later, government continues to be super-sized. 

Such prompts me increased concern as heading into 2020, we witness the public flirtation with socialism. Why? Because Socialism would make government even bigger; hence, we ask: have we forgotten the historic dangers of super-sizing?

Wrote author Robert Tracinski two years ago in response to the younger generations’ belief that socialism is positive as a whole:

“What have they missed that they can believe that? Here’s what they’ve missed: the artificial famine in Ukraine, the Soviet Gulags, the forced deportation of Lithuanians, the persecution of Christians, China’s Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution, the killing fields of Cambodia, North Korea’s horrific prison camps and famines, the systematic impoverishment of Cuba, and now Venezuela’s collapse into starvation and mass-murder…

There’s always someone who insists that it isn’t fair to pin all of these crimes on ‘socialism’ because those examples weren’t really socialism. The only ‘real’ socialism is the warm, fuzzy welfare-statism of a handful of innocuous Western European countries. This is a pretty obvious version of the No True Scotsman fallacy…” 

[“No true Scotsman or appeal to purity is an informal fallacy in which one attempts to protect a universal generalization from counterexamples by changing the definition in an ad hoc fashion to exclude the counterexample… (“no true Scotsman would do such a thing”; i.e., those who perform that action are not part of our group and thus criticism of that action is not criticism of the group.”)

In Pres. Bill Clinton’s 1996 State of the Union address, encouraging a bipartisan approach, he said the following: 

“We know big government does not have all the answers. We know there’s not a program for every problem. We have worked to give the American people a smaller, less bureaucratic government in Washington. And we have to give the American people one that lives within its means. The era of big government is over.” 

With the size and debt of the federal government recently articulated as a significant problem plaguing our country today, I wonder if we’ve forgotten the wisdom in Clinton’s words… and the danger of being so big.



note to the graduate ’19

[Originally penned 4 years ago, when my oldest was graduating from high school… still one of our most popular, timeless posts…]

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven…

A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest.

A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up.

A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.

A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away.

A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away.

A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak.

A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.

As we pen a final post to those now formally entering adulthood, allow us to address a few more brief truths as you take these next few, albeit humongous steps…

First, there is a time for everything — every activity under heaven, every season under the sun. Hear me now: you will not enjoy nor desire each of these times. Every activity will not be wonderful nor every season incredibly joyous and fun. Don’t let me discourage you; that’s not my intent. My intent is to wrestle with reality.

Remember that enjoying and embracing are not the same thing. As you face life’s next chapters, the truth is that there will be seasons and chapters that stretch you beyond your wildest imagination — beyond where you ever thought you’d go or perhaps ever wanted. You have a choice in how to respond. When the time comes to tear down or turn away, embrace the time; when the time comes to speak, speak — or be quiet, be quiet. Enjoying the season is less important than learning from the experience. The wise man learns and grows from the seasons that are hard.

Second — and don’t let me shock you — but contrary to perhaps your long-held belief (or any fictional, parenting mantra) — you cannot be whatever you want to be. I’m sorry; remember… we are wrestling with reality. Similar to the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, and that jolly old St. Nick, there are a few things we’ve told you that aren’t actually true.

It is true that you cannot be whatever or whoever you want to be (… just ask all those who’ve thought they should be President). You can, however, be all that God created you to be. 

Embrace your gifts. Utilize the unique wiring within you — the wiring that makes you distinctly and beautifully, uniquely you! Don’t compare yourself to another, falling prey to society’s hollow teaching that another person’s wiring or set up is somehow better or worse than yours. Simply embrace your own strengths and grow from your own weaknesses. Seek God first; seek his intention for your life. Then be who he created you to be, and do what he created you to do. Don’t compare your calling to any other.

And third (because this proud, reflective parent always has seemingly much to say), let me offer a brief rapid fire of final encouragement…

Love deeply. Offer grace generously. Never view grace and truth as opposites, as each should be applied in ample measure. Wash your sheets. Don’t be selfish. Resist being quick to anger. Be fast to forgive. Be humble. Forgive again. And again. Pursue wisdom. Consider coffee. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. Separate the reds from the whites. Be charitable. Save some; spend some; and give some away. Don’t be afraid of sorrow. Turn off the XBOX. Put the iPhone down sometimes. Chew with your mouth closed. Don’t think of equality with God as something to be grasped. Listen to the elderly; invest in the young. Bow and curtsy when appropriate. Show respect — in what you say and how you think. Remember that respect does not mean accepting as equally good and true. Remember that all things are not equally good and true. Know when to say that; know when to not. Open doors for other people. Look another in the eye. Use your napkin. Be discerning. Be aware that just because something feels good, it might not be wise. Be prayerful. Figure the faith thing out. And embrace each and every season shared above… embracing the time to laugh… the time to cry… the time to grieve… and yes, the time to dance.

There is a time for everything. God has made everything beautiful for its own time. Graduates, without a doubt, now is your time to dance. Enjoy… how beautiful…

With a special salute to this year’s grads…