Friday, September 29, 2006

Reducing Government Corruption in America

Derek raised a whole bunch of issues in his comment to my last piece. I will try to eventually get to all of his points, but I want to start by addressing government corruption in the United States.

First of all, just as it is impossible to be human and not sin, it is also impossible to have any government without some corruption. I have to constantly fight and battle my own nature in an effort to minimize my sinfulness and I believe voters and participants in government also need to constantly fight and do battle with government institutions and legislators in order to minimize government corruption.

Americans are blessed with a Constitution that provides a built-in structure for minimizing corruption. The three branches of government and the distinction between federal and state responsibility automatically helps to minimize and control corruption. American government institutions, even with all our wealth and power, compares very well to all other forms of government throughout the world.

However, America has evolved away from a country founded on the principle of a relatively weak central government to a country with a strong central government. By returning to the original intent of the founders, more decisions and regulations would reside at the state, county, and city level and fewer at the national level. This would effectively bring the providers of government services closer to the consumers of government services and to the taxpayers who fund government services. Close proximity of the government to the governed would go a long way in minimizing corruption.

Another factor in government corruption is the size of government. Shrinking the cost and size of government, would reduce the incentive for unscrupulous power brokers to buy influence from unscrupulous politicians and less opportunity for unscrupulous politicians to be bought.

The size of government in a democracy is a function of the character of the governed. When the governed make demands on government, the size of government will increase. When the governed choose self reliance, the government will shrink. At this point in American history, the lack of character of the governed in choosing bigger government over self reliance is adding to the likelihood of corruption. In other words, we get what we deserve.

Finally, I think there is a difference between the two major parties in America. There are plenty of unscrupulous elected Republicans, but it is hard for me to name a single elected Democrat who exhibits personal and public integrity. Of course, most of us would have different definitions of integrity, but I would still like to have at least two major political parties in America where most elected members exhibited real integrity. The only way to get there from here is to always vote for integrity and refuse to vote for anyone without integrity regardless of party, regardless of promises, and regardless of how the important issues affect each of us individually.

Let's Export Red Christianity

I believe Red Christians in America and throughout the free world are essential to spreading the Gospel and solving the problems associated with poverty in the under developed world. It’s not enough to tell unbelievers that Christ died for them if we aren’t also willing to demonstrate and prove Christ is alive in us and can live in them.

Red Christians don’t need to export American culture to every under developed country in the world in order to spread the Gospel, but we do need to confront corrupt governments throughout the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and South America. While we’re at it, we should also confront the corruption in our own government in the United States in both the Democratic and the Republican parties.

The Blue method is often the sowing of seed on hard soil. For most of my life, American Christians have been very charitable to the poor in India. However, our charity never did solve the problem of poverty in India and it never produced reproducing believers because it mostly produced dependence on more charity.

Poverty is the natural state of the world where freedom is restricted and private property rights are not enforced. The Blue method has never and will never solve the problems associated with poverty. It is not possible to solve the problem of poverty by taking from some and giving to others. However, our commerce associated with private property rights in the United States and in India is solving the problem of poverty there. We now have some fertile soil to do some work and create disciples.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Girly Golfers?

In most PGA (Professional Golfers Association) tournaments, one or two players will withdraw before the third round due to injury or food poisoning [euphemism for staying up a little late the previous night]. However, in tournaments that include Michelle Wie, the number of withdrawals is significantly higher.

There are ten men [might be too strong of a word for these guys] who have withdrawn so far in the 84 Lumber Classic with half of the golfers not even starting their second round yet.

One of these guys is an outspoken Christian, another is an outspoken anti-Christian; pride got the best of both of them.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

60 Million Murdered is not Nitpicking

In a piece posted at RedBlueChristian, Rob Asghar writes that Fareed Zakaria is demonstrating clear thinking with the statement, “Washington has a long habit of painting its enemies 10 feet tall-and crazy. During the cold war, many hawks argued that the Soviet Union could not be deterred because the Kremlin was evil and irrational.”

Most people, especially passionate people, are prone to exaggeration. However, real clear thinking, along with a knowledge of a few facts, would indicate the Soviet Union was a real threat, not just a perceived threat. Most historians agree that at least 20 million people were murdered by the Soviets after World War II. Some, including R.J. Rummel, even believe the number is closer to 60 million. It is not unreasonable to assume a country with leaders that murdered 20 to 60 million people would also be a threat to America.

The military capability of the Soviets is also a documented fact. There is no way to know what would have happened if America didn’t fight the cold war, but there is absolutely no doubt, the Soviets could have wiped America off the face of the earth if Americans didn’t take the threat seriously and increase Defense spending and planning.

Rob is an impressive and professional writer, but he seems to be paving his path to glory with the same in-astute observations as the current crop of Washington pundits. I don’t know if this is a tactic or just a careless mistake on his part. I don’t think it will work. The Washington pundits of the future will not just be the writers who graduated from the right schools with a talent for writing and very little time for nitpicking. The Washington pundits of the future will be mostly bloggers who honed their skills by being challenged and nitpicked with facts and counter arguments.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Primitive Justice

Practically the only news we hear or read out of Iraq is the number of people killed and the way they were killed. These two facts alone do not convey any information of real importance. In order to learn anything meaningful, we need to know why someone or group was killed.

For example, wouldn’t most people feel differently hearing that O.J. Simpson had just died in car bomb than hearing that Billy Graham had just died in a car bomb? I’m sure there are some innocent people being murdered in Iraq. However, I’m just as sure, that many of the people being killed in Iraq are receiving the justice they deserve from previous acts of injustice. Sure it’s primitive justice, but until Iraq has the time necessary to establish a government with consistent credibility, primitive justice is better than no justice.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Two [mostly] Unrelated Thoughts

A couple of mostly unrelated thoughts:

There is a fine line between nuanced thinking and sloppy thinking. Nuanced thinkers often take moderate positions after considering all of the facts, but so do sloppy thinkers who want to appear nuanced. So far, RedBlueChristian seems more sloppy than nuanced to me.

Why are Senior Pastors the highest paid employees of any Christian Church? If Christian leadership is servant leadership, shouldn’t the Senior Pastor be the greatest servant in the Church? If not, why isn’t the greatest servant the Senior Pastor? If the Senior Pastor is the greatest servant, why does he require a larger salary than the associate pastors and other Church employees?

Friday, September 01, 2006

Becoming Pro-Life

Fred Barnes has written a good piece on why 5 pro-lifers became pro-lifers.


One common thread is obvious. All of us, because of the circumstances we found ourselves in, were forced to think about the taking of a life and what that means in both practical and moral terms. Most people avoid thinking about troubling moral issues like abortion or euthanasia. We couldn't.

And the other common thread is that something happened to make us choose life and choose it firmly and reject death. I think it was our conscience that intervened or, if you prefer, the basic human instinct that favors life over death. Or it you are a Christian, as I am, it was God.

Now I'm sure there are many exceptions to our experience. Not everyone who contemplates abortion or euthanasia is bound to take the intellectual path that five of us--six, including my wife--did on the way to becoming pro-lifers. But I suspect there are many more than like us than not. And many more to come.