Quote – Democratic Problems

In the long run, it is much easier to undo the policies of crooked leadership than to restore common sense and wisdom to a deceived population willing to elect such a leader in the first place. Any country can survive having chosen a fool as their leader. But history has shown time and again that a nation of fools is surely doomed.

Andy Andrews, How Do You Kill 11 Million People? Why The Truth Matters More Than You Think

Michael Munger on Choosing in Groups on EconTalk

Michael Munger on Choosing in Groups EconTalk

URL:
http://files.libertyfund.org/econtalk/y2015/Mungergroups.mp3

Description:
Michael Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his latest book (co-authored with Kevin Munger), Choosing in Groups. Munger lays out the challenges of group decision-making and the challenges of agreeing on constitutions or voting rules for group decision-making. The conversation highlights some of the challenges of majority rule and uses the Lewis and Clark expedition as an example.

Narcissism in Ministry | Green Baggins

This is an excellent post on narcissism in the pulpit. Very thoughtful. I have considered this problem before, but never as well and carefully as Green Baggins.

I have been doing a little bit of reading on narcissism recently for various reasons, including a realization that I have some characteristics of this mental condition. There are many ways of defining narcissism, but probably the easiest way to define it is to remember the ancient myth from which the condition gets its name: Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection in the pool. Words like “ingrown,” “egotistical,” “selfishness” will readily come to mind in defining this condition. Being wrapped up in oneself might be the best single description we could use. Another definition I have seen goes something like this: the primary characteristic of narcissism is an inappropriate lack of boundaries between the narcissist and the other person, whom he will attempt to use in some way. The narcissist sees the other person as an extension of himself. So, the other person exists to fulfill the narcissist’s needs.

One of the things that has been interesting in the literature so far is that the authors I have read agree that our culture encourages narcissism. It is a respectable sin. We give huge amounts of both criticism and idol-worship to the rich and famous, and both of these things encourage narcissism. The fact of the matter is that pastors get this at both ends as well. We have people who love to encourage us, and we have people who love to criticize us. It is just as easy to get self-complacent with the adulation as it is to get defensive about the criticism. Without the grace of God, pastors will VERY often allow this two-pronged engine to drive us into full pathological narcissism. The ministry is all about the minister at that point. The minister usurps the place of Jesus Christ. He becomes the personal lord and savior of his flock. You know that your minister has a big problem with this if he both flares up at the criticism and practically fawns over those people who praise him. What is interesting about this mental condition is that the situation is usually encouraged, while the word describing the situation is feared.

via Narcissism in Ministry | Green Baggins.

French Law Enforcement Belong to a Special Class

CNN Breaking News:

French law enforcement officers have been told to erase their presence on social media and to carry their weapons at all times because terror sleeper cells have been activated over the last 24 hours in the country, a French police source who attended a briefing today told CNN Terror Analyst Samuel Laurent.

So, if you are French Law Enforcement, you belong to a favored class who are encouraged to carry firearms for personal protection. If you are a regular citizen… too bad for you. The politicians have designated law enforcement personnel to carry for them. The rich and the powerful can hire personnel to carry for them. The average French citizen can neither afford professional protection, depend on the limited resources of civil servants, nor enjoy the privilege of owning a firearm for personal or family protection.

Before You Celebrate That 5.6% Unemployment

Source: The ammo this jobs report gives the GOP

Before you celebrate:

Friday’s jobs report showing a gain of 252,000 positions and a dip to a 5.6 percent unemployment rate offered up more good news for President Barack Obama, who is wrapping up a weeklong road trip to tout the improving economy and offer up fresh proposals on housing and education in advance of his State of the Union address later this month.

Keep the following items in mind:

The report showed that average hourly earnings decreased by 5 cents to $24.57, following an increase of 6 cents in November. On the year, average hourly earnings have risen just 1.7 percent, barely enough to keep pace with inflation. The encouraging 0.4 percent increase in wages reported in November got revised back down to 0.2 percent.

 

and

The labor force participation rate also ticked down to 62.7 percent, the lowest level since the 1970s. [my emphasis] That number comes from the volatile household survey so probably does not mean very much on a single-month basis. But the overall trend in participation will be very much a Republican talking point over the next two years.

We are actively driving workers out of the workforce. This is really, really, exceptionally bad. With 27.3% of the workforce not even trying to find jobs, many of whom are relaxing in the comfortable “hammock” of unemployment or other social welfare programs, the load on those who remain in the workforce carry a tremendous burden. The heavier this burden becomes, and the more generous we are to those not working, the less incentive people have to work.

Sometimes, “generosity” – especially the “generosity” that comes from the plunder of workers (i.e. taxes) – kills.

 

“Free” stuff for everyone!

CNN Breaking News:

President Barack Obama says he’ll propose making two years of community college “free for everybody who’s willing to work for it.”

“We … have to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to constantly train themselves for better jobs, better wages and better benefits,” the President said in an announcement the White House posted to Facebook and Vine on Thursday

The problem with giving stuff away “for free” is that NOTHING. IS. EVER. FREE.

Robert Heinlein told us in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, “There Ain’t No Such Thing As a Free Lunch” – TANSTAFL. Even breathing is not “free.” College tuition certainly is not!

Do not be fooled by the “generosity” of those who are willing to plunder your neighbors to give you the loot. This is not generosity. This is plunder in the guise of caring.

Obama vs Krazy Kim

CNN Breaking News:

U.S. investigators have evidence that hackers stole the computer credentials of a system administrator to access Sony’s computer system, U.S. officials tell CNN’s Evan Perez.

The United States is preparing to publicly blame North Korea for the Sony Pictures hack, and one official said, “We do think it’s appropriate to respond.” The White House and government agencies are holding a series of high-level meetings to discuss the range of options, a senior official in the Obama administration said. 

Maybe President Obama will “draw a red line!”

Sony, The Interview and North Korea

So, it appears that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un (hereafter referred to as Krazy Kim) hired some hackers to jack Sony servers, release a bunch of personal trash and get a movie release canceled. Nice. That’s SO “Communist Dictator Play Book” material. All of the Great Leaders who have gone before would just love that.

From CNN: “The movie’s plot involves the attempted assassination of North Korean dictator [Krazy Kim].”

Anyway, now there is this movie setting on servers at Sony, and thousands of copies (on whatever media studios ship movies to theaters on) out there that I had no interest in seeing…. But now I have to!

I predict that a copy will escape, get bootlegged and become the most watched movie of 2015, and an instant cult classic – even if it is terrible… Especially if it was terrible!

I am already imagining the official press release from Sony Studios with angry language about the criminals who released a copy of their intellectual property and the criminals who continue to copy and distribute the material and calling for legal action and threats…. Yes, “don’t watch this illegally obtained movie. That will make us very, very angry. Don’t do it!”

I wonder if they will re-edit the movie before it “somehow” gets “leaked?”

On Losing Liberty

Lamenting Liberty Lost http://reason.com/archives/2015/01/08/lamenting-liberty-lost

A British author, residing in the United States for the past 30 years, created a small firestorm earlier this week with his candid observations that modern-day Americans have been duped by the government into accepting a European-style march toward socialism because we fail to appreciate the rich legacy of personal liberty that is everyone’s birthright and is expressly articulated in the Declaration of Independence and guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

I often do not agree with Reason’s Libertarian ideology, but I will not deny that they often get things correct.

Thoughts on Offerings (in Church)

From Douglas Wilson: A Box in the Back http://dougwils.com/the-church/a-box-in-the-back.html

When it comes to godly fund-raising, there are two basic methods employed in the Bible. When Paul puts the godly squeeze on the saints, it is for the sake of distributing practical relief to others (2 Cor. 9:2-4). Even there, there is a point made of having accountability (2 Cor. 8:18-20), but Paul does lean on the saints to dig deep and give . . . to the poor.

This is worth thinking about….

Books Read

In 2008 I started keeping a list of books that I have read. I wish I had started sooner. I’m very happy that I did not wait longer. 2014 was my best reading year ever. I did “cheat” a little by recording every book of the Bible separately, but I have no regret on that score. I hope that 2015 is as good.

image