Saturday, May 31, 2014

Bothering to Vote

It's getting a lot harder to become excited about elections, and that's considering there are things which at one time would have made excitement easy.

Take for example Dr. Ben Carson. It's pretty obvious that many conservative media and social organs like him, and no doubt that he might well be a good right winger. Yet it's quite easy to say the right things to an audience which you're trying to cater to. But can you actually translate that into good use of real power?

That's a very difficult thing to do. Outside of the political structure one can say whatever they want. Inside the structure, when there are hundreds of elected officials many of whom are working at cross purposes to you, and millions more bureaucrats who can effectively stymie your efforts, well, how effective can you be?

This is not to let politicians off the hook. When you pledge something you must do your best to make it work. Yet all too often the invariable compromises move you father away from your mark. And that's before the courts allow minority opinions to block your way too. It makes one wonder whether, as many libertarians assert, voting is worth it.

It is, but only because the alternative of long range tyranny is far worse. Sometimes, however, that is not the best incentive to be a model citizen.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Karl Rodig's idea of Love is destructive

Self-proclaimed Bishop Karl Rodig of Detroit considers himself a 'rebel' priest. “I believe in love,” he says. “I think that love is for everyone, not just a few.” How quaint of a rebel to think that.

Of course, he is right. Love, understood properly, is for everyone. The flaw in his belief, however, is really the same flaw which is found with the folks who preach peace, tolerance, respect, education, liberty, and a great many more overused buzzwords. It is summed up in an amazingly simple question: what do you mean by love?

If our dear little revolt leader means that to love is not to judge (as so many liberals and non-traditionalists say it means), well, he violates his creed from the very start. As he is for women priests, married priests and same sex marriage, then espousing those views amounts to judging those who disagree (accepting another liberal axiom that to judge an action is to judge the person). If he doesn't mean that then he must qualify his statements. Otherwise we must ask: can a self contradictory message really help the world? Will it lead followers to humility and introspection, or would it actually give its practitioners a sense of self aggrandizement that will only keep them from a healthy and necessary questioning of themselves and their motives (something which real love calls us to do)?

You see, the problem with calls to love, to tolerate, to respect, to be peaceful is that they only work among those willing to be loving, tolerant, respectful, and peaceful. Not everyone will choose to be that way. Part of that reason is the abuse of free will. Left to its lonesome, it is quite liable to devolve into selfishness, and selfishness doesn't serve anyone well, even and perhaps especially the individual. Then there's the fact that some people simply won't give quarter to those who really believe in love and all the rest. That's why we have war and poverty: enough people in enough places dispense with love and its siblings so that no appeal to real and decent sentiment will sway them.

And we will not have real and decent sentiments until we realize that some things are not tolerable, not deserving of respect, and not in themselves lovable. Sometimes we must act in ways which are not peaceful because of the people who will not be peaceful, loving, or tolerant. This is the way of the world. To think anything else is simply irrational and naive.

Karl Rodig thinks himself loving. That thought might well lead to a far greater despotism than he sees held against those he supports. The despotism of the individual may well be the harshest tyranny there is.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Three Things for a Tuesday

Is global warming/nuclear winter/climate change generally accepted among the scientific community? According to the Obama Administration, yes. But not according to the scientific community itself. An excellent article in the Wall Street Journal, found here: http://m.us.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303480304579578462813553136?mobile=y&mod=trending_now_2 effectively debunks the science agrees on global warming/nuclear winter/climate change. Yet how many people will actually examine the issue for themselves? Not the Democrats. That's for sure.

John Conyers is back on the ballot in Michigan, and many think this is a good thing. Some believe it for valid Constitutional reasons, and that's okay. Some believe it because they think Conyers merits a spot in history (he would become the longest tenured Congressman ever if reelected); that's not so okay. Longevity means little to real public service, and Conyers has been such a leftist radical as to leave no significant legacy other than time of service. Having said that, it's not okay to want Conyers off the ballot simply because he's long been off the deep end. You're not likely to get anyone better anyway, and revenge however modest just ain't pretty. Let Mr. Conyers and his minions have their day in the sun. It's all they've really got.

Anyone who favors raising the minimum wage doesn't understand basic economics. It's not about what the worker wants but about the value of the work. That's why there's no talk about a minimum wage for doctors: there are fewer of them and the jobs they do tend to be highly specialized and high risk. They get paid in light of that. Yet anybody can sweep a floor. This isn't to disparage floor sweepers but, let's face it, the skill set is lower. The chore doesn't merit much pay. If you raise the minimum wage for floor sweepers you'll just get more bosses sweeping floors. Why pay someone else to do what you can go ahead and do yourself, and much more cheaply, depending on the exact wage requirements of the job.

There's a quick three hits for your consideration this Tuesday. Whether we've struck out or tripled in two runs is up to you.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day 2014

Memorial Day: the last Monday in May. The day set aside for remembering our fallen heroes and, we'll add, to think about those currently serving in our armed forces. It is fitting and proper that we do this.

Forget for the moment that it like so many other holidays has been been given something of a second class citizen status. It once was held every May 30th, yet in our rush to celebrate special days more on our terms than as an honest retrospective of deserving people and ideals it has been shifted to the last Monday of the month. That is so we may have three day weekends to party over more so than a single, specially set aside day to actually contemplate what the day is supposed to be about. Nevertheless, it is still a great day on our calendar.

Great hardly seems the right word. It is sad that we have to have a day such as this, sadder still that willing souls have given us their all in order to make such times a need. But that is the price we pay for living in a world where evil exists. We must be thankful for those souls who have made it possible for us to be here and reflect on their actions.

So we will stand by the word great. It takes great people for us to have a chance to celebrate their deeds. It takes great people for us to realize that freedom is not free and liberty not a given birthright. It takes great people to give us the chance to grill and hoist a brew and spend time with our families and friends.

It takes great people to lay down their lives for their friends. Remember them, today and every day. They've earned the honor. The very least we can do is acknowledge them.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Gay Rights and the 14th Amendment

It has certainly been a good week for the supporters of gay marriage. Two states, Pennsylvania and Oregon, have had their same sex marriage bans thrown out. This after several other states, including Michigan, have seen theirs trashed. All this has been done under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Yet whether you agree with gay marriage or not, this is little more than part of a trend which is slowly but surely choking the several states of their rights and sovereignty.

This is not a good thing, and it must be stressed that the reason it is bad ultimately has little to do with homosexual marriage. Since 1925, in a case known as Lochner v. New York, the US Supreme Court has been steadily 'incorporating' Bill of Rights protections against the states. In the nearly 90 years which have passed, many parts of those first ten amendments have been ruled to bind the states. To be honest, and setting certain of the framers' scrutinies aside, this can be good, as where Miranda rights are involved. It can also be very bad; a major defense of abortion was based on the 14th Amendment's Due Process clause. But the real point is that, over time, the Amendment has been used to drastically increase federal power over the states which gave birth to it.

Would all 50 states have abortion if it weren't for Roe v. Wade? Reasonably speaking, no. That is but one issue, of course, and it would bore to list them all here. The bottom line is: how many areas have we seen Washington's reach grow further and more strongly since the doctrine of Incorporation has been developed, and in more than mere Supreme Court rulings? That is not all due to the 14th Amendment, of course. The 16th and 17th have done their share of damage, and government overreach which started with Hoover's response to the Great Depression and magnified by FDR, Truman, LBJ and so forth, certainly share fault. Yet much of it seems to have started with that middle Civil War amendment and the liberal willingness to go to court rather than seek political solutions to the issues of the day.

If we are to remain a viable federal system, then many areas which are now in Washington's grip ought to be under state control. These areas are not limited to questions of marriage and abortion, and it is a shame that many conservatives and libertarians who normally loath Constitutional and federal excess support it when it is used to support their personal views. It is little more than a recipe for tyranny in the long run.

It will be interesting to see what happens with same sex marriage when the leviathan its supporters have come to love becomes fully despotic.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Anyone can be nice, but...

"This is a nice man, what does it matter?"

- quote from a parishoner about an openly gay man, 'married' to another man, who is now banned from parish duties at his Catholic church.

There is no easy way to write this. How can you write against a nice man? It is a question which resounds in the secular world, a question which the secular world apparently interprets as THE question. Is he a nice man? Yes? Then why can't he do whatever he wants?

Well, perhaps because niceness does not equal moral.

It is a legend among the Catholic faithful that if one should meet the Devil Himself on the street, one would like him. He would seem 'nice'. A good neighbor. The kind of guy who kept his lawn mowed neatly, with nice crisp trim lines along the sidewalks. He would appear to be all that is good, to the point of going to Church and talking to fifth graders about their confirmation. An all right Joe.

And that's the trouble with evil. It is enticing. It promises so much which seems so good: satisfaction, pleasure, and a certain self assurance. It seems so good; all our wants addressed in one neat little package, if only we should do, or allow someone to do, something. In this particular case, what someone wants to do without introspection, without a consideration that he, an otherwise good Catholic, ought maybe to question his own motives. He's a nice man. Why shouldn't he do whatever he wants, provided, of course, that it doesn't seem to hurt anyone?

But does it not? When an immorality is accepted, even an immorality which we of course would not do but if someone else should want to do it, well, what's it to us, how does it not affect us, our children, and our community? If a man was an island, such might be fair questions.

Yet a man is not an island, is he? It takes a village, does it not, Mrs. Clinton? And what should that village do when raising the young? Instruct them on what is right and good, or ask them if their conscience is clear on a matter, any matter, and thus allow it? How does that make them grow? Satisfied, pleasured, and self assured, perhaps?

Indeed it will. But where should such thought leave them as individuals? As nice ones, or good ones? That's the real issue, and the one which gets ignored far too often in the secular and even, it seems, the religious world.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Fighting the Good Fight

It looks bleak, doesn't it? Washington is trying to force religious institutions as well as the seriously religious into violating their very consciences. Gay marriage, let's face it, will soon be the law of the land. We are well over forty years fighting the evil which is abortion. And we're only scratching the surface with those examples of modern error in these United States. It's easy to give up hope.

Yet that is the one thing we cannot do. No matter how bad it seems today, the future really is unwritten. We might well survive these current ills. We might be stronger for it. But we will never know that if we surrender.

There's no need to end the battle even should government power, societal wishes, and legal wrangling carry the day. Indeed, we are called not end it. Perhaps all we actually need is a retreat and regroup moment. A 'tactical readjustment of the lines' as the military might call it. Perhaps it's time to take a deep breath, exhale slowly, and consider the past in light of future potential.

The world is fallen, after all. We are fallen, and if we are truly Christian we must accept that. Why ought we expect our endeavors to always bear fruit? Might that not be a certain arrogance in itself, to expect otherwise? Surely we should work as though we will prevail. We will, of course, in the long run. Yet that run includes a Second Coming which we cannot accurately foresee. We will win in the long run, but only because God will keep us from completely destroying ourselves.

We need to consider how much we may have, however inadvertently or unintentionally, hurt our cause in the past. Dr. Carlo Grassi, a very good Professor of Thomistic Philosophy at the University of Detroit during the 1970s and 1980s, once opined that maybe we were cursed with abortion because we were too condemning of out of wedlock births beforehand. We weren't willing to accept that people make mistakes; uncaring about the difficult situations people faced; unconcerned that we know little about how culpable people might be for their sins. Maybe what we need is to become more fully Christian. Maybe we need to not cast a stone until we have all, or as many of them as we can, facts at hand. Maybe not even cast that stone then, but to only help the willing to escape their failings. Maybe we need to preach forgiveness over condemnation.

Do not misunderstand this point: evil is still evil, wrong still wrong, and error still error, and we must work against them. Still, we must also be more careful about our own acts. If we push people into further sin, we will be held responsible. We need to remember the call for Charity. We need to remember to hate the sin but love the sinner. We need to remember that that is how God views us. Even when we're recalcitrant.

Perhaps especially then.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Private Trash Collection good for Detroit

Shape up, Detroit, and get yourselves in gear. Your trash, it appears, will actually get picked up on time nowadays. One aspect of the city's bankruptcy has been an attempt to get more bang for the buck in terms of services. Detroit's trash pickup has always been lacking, in some cases to the point where collection was as much as two or three working days late. But now that trash collection has been privatized it looks as though a new leaf has been turned.

In the Woodbridge area of Detroit, residents were expected to have their garbage picked up anytime after 7AM on Fridays. No one took the timing seriously, for it rarely mattered: the actual pickup would be at least well into the morning if not the few days late already mentioned. Yet today the trucks of Rizzo Environmental Services were patrolling area streets almost right at 7. Neighbors running late were scampering to get their trash cans out ahead of the garbage trucks. Rizzo has the contract for most of southwest, central, and east Detroit; Advanced Disposal will cover most of the west side of town.

There will be regular weekly collection of normal household trash, and regular bi-weekly collection in season of yard waste and all year for bulk items. Before, yard waste was often left in the streets and on the curbs in Woodbridge, and bulk collections were only 4 times a year. For those into it, for the first time in Detroit history there will be curbside collection of recyclables, albeit for a one time $25 fee. All of this simply because garbage collection is privately run. All of it after Kwame Kilpatrick had an added $300 charge to city residents' property tax to pay for better trash service which was never really delivered.

This is a prime example of where private initiative trumps public intentions. The city can't pick up trash on its own because it has no real competition, while Rizzo and Advanced Disposal know they will be, ah, kicked to the curb if they don't live up to expectations. We see the effects of that in the garbage trucks out and about right when they're supposed to be.

Privatization works. In the long, it will improve Detroit in more ways and manners than garbage collection too.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Liberals, libertarians, and an increasingly ill society

Miami Dolphins player Don Jones has been fined by his team, and committed to sensitivity training, for his rather innocuous tweets after openly homosexual football player Michael Sam was drafted by the St. Louis Rams. He has also apologized to Sam and the Dolphins, and the Miami fans. What to think, what to think.

In the defiant world which is American football, well known for insults and trash talk, the very idea of sensitivity training simply begs for comedy. Yet this is no laughing matter. There are too many ramifications for the larger society involved, not the least of which involve First Amendment free speech and freedom of religion rights.

Consider there's this the fascinating mix of societal reaction towards personal beliefs. Michael Sam is praised for merely being homosexual; indeed, he's truly lauded for being ostensibly nothing more than how he was born. Any contrary reaction to that brings on the derision and sensitivity counselors. Yet when Tim Tebow is openly Christian and his football peers react ill towards it, nothing. Donald Stirling isn't even offered sensitivity training; he's just ostracized. This from the snake oil salesmen who peddle tolerance.

Sterling's comments were reprehensible, of course, and there's no issue with public and private censure there. Interestingly enough, however, that's actually a conservative position. We say and have said that certain attitudes merit censure. Tebow and his Christian fellows likewise preach it. The left are the ones who preach pretty much open tolerance yet demonstrate by action that they are more draconian than the right. Just gore their ox, in this case the ox of homosexual rights, and we see that their pleas for tolerance ring quite hollow.

They weren't particularly supportive of Tebow. No NFLer was sentenced to sensitivity training for reactions to him. Yet a guy who's presumably against gay rights, an historically valid and at least arguably more moral more position to hold, is sent to the sensitivity police. Who ought we send next? The Catholics? The Evangelicals? The Muslims? Oh, that would be quite interesting, wouldn't it?

To be sure, the actions against Don Jones were privately taken. Yet why not take them? And why not send those others to camp as well? We're society, we're not the government. We can't be oppressive. And therein lies the problem which our liberal and, yes, it's true, our libertarian friends (notice how little they've had to Jones) will not see. Yet it is their attitudes which are producing modern America. Society can be even more oppressive than government precisely because it is governed by nothing but its passions, and there are few real checks on them. Never mind that society is ostensibly (the word of day, because it fits) private. It still can and does violate rights. Indeed, it can violate quite more immediately and comprehensively than a government can.

You don't think so? Then consider again the swift and sure reaction to Don Jones. And consider that all the NSA does, relatively speaking, is listen to your phone conversations with your mother.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Pope Francis and the little green men

Pope Francis is at it again. When asked if he would baptize an extraterrestrial life form, he said he would if they wanted it. Where he comes up with these odd thoughts is simply alien to many. You can read more here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2626889/Pope-Id-baptise-Martians-arrived-asked-Catholic-leader-says-green-men-allowed-church.html

All right, the groan is well deserved. Still, what the Holy Father has said is perfectly in line with Church teaching and perfectly contrary to what many earthlings think about life elsewhere in the Universe. All of creation was created by same God. Therefore (and understand here that we are speaking within a broad philosophy with a tinge of theology as well) any other sentient, self aware life would face all the challenges we on Earth fight with every day. They would need food, clothing, and shelter, to name a few, and would struggle as we do in obtaining these necessaries. They would as well need the same God we do.

This should thoroughly astound the non or irreligious among us who say that discovering life somewhere else would stand religion on end. This means that even 'green men, with a long nose and big ears' as the Pontiff quipped, would need and deserve baptism. 'Any entity - no matter how many tentacles, it has has a soul...' as Vatican astronomer Guy Consolmagno said, would be eligible for baptism.

But the SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Life, if successful, would turn religion upside down.

Only for those who choose not to understand religion.

Stop the Busses!

Many school districts in Michigan and in the country at large undergo regular financial stress. Reductions in state aid are often the culprit, forcing districts to cut programs at various levels. The hue and cry is always loud and shrill. But it seems that one easy area to cut, an area where there should be little fanfare let alone controversy, would be transportation. The school buses ought to be stopped.

There is no inherent reason why schools should have to pay to get students to the classroom. As with education itself, parents are the ones primarily responsible to get their kids to class. Why the general public must pay extra for what is essentially a middle class perk, and a somewhat limited perk when you consider the number of taxpayers without school age kids, is beyond reason.

Private school parents make the effort, as a rule. Why can't those in the public education sector? Yes, yes, some moms and dads won't get their kids to school, but be honest: if their dedication to the enlightenment of their own kids is so small, those students need a lot more help than a bus ride. Besides, sacrificing true educational goals and programs just to get Johnny to school is asinine. It simply is not part of academia's job.

The needs of the many at times outweigh the needs of the few. This is one of those times. Stop the buses. Make people take responsibility for their own progeny.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Michael Sam plays the gay card

Michael Sam is disappointed. He wasn't drafted until the seventh round and felt he ought to have been drafted sooner, namely in the first three rounds. He all but wondered whether his having come out as gay was the culprit.

This, friends is the new racism and the new sexism rolled up into one. You didn't draft me early enough? It must be that I'm gay, hint, hint. Well, you're the one who came out, and as we opined several months ago (you can read it here: http://www.examiner.com/article/michael-sam-hypocrite ) we wondered whether the the whole point was to increase your chances of getting drafted by the NFL. Today we feel that our suspicions are confirmed.

Yes, he stopped short of saying it. But how many seventh round draft picks get the attention he's getting? He wasn't selected significantly higher than most experts had him pegged, which was in the middle to late rounds. Why did he feel he ought to have been a third rounder when few others did?

He and his allies in the media and elsewhere are playing the gay card exactly as too many folks play the race or the sex card. Perhaps his late selection was influenced by his sexual preference, but not likely, given the experts' opinions. Michael Sam thought he could make history easily by simply being gay and did not get the payoff he expected. So, naturally, the problem is due to something else. It can't be that maybe, just maybe, he isn't cut out for the NFL.

Naw. It's has to be an underlying homophobia at work. That's how you play the gay card.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day 2014

Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms out there. Happy Mother's Day too to all of you whose Mothers had you. They deserve the credit, and you owe them everything. Don't waste the chance they gave you. Start by thanking them.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Forget Your Carbon Footprint

We have written several times about how unimpressed we are with the recycling fad which increasingly permeates our society. Today, we're going to write a bit more just the same.

Many of our conservative friends have latched onto the R-Train. "Conservative means conserve, right?" one asked me the other day. Another, holding out his plastic water bottle in demonstration, remarked that he "...didn't want to see this end up in a landfill." We fought the urge to ask, why not? We were at a party to cheer up a sick friend, and good taste recommended not pursuing what can become a highly charged topic in such a setting.

But now we will ask, why not? At our current rate we will have, in about 300 years, a total landfill area only about the size of Yellowstone Park. We see no landfills producing zombies or adversely affecting the water tables or local agriculture or industry or home life. Why not keep burying the trash?

A large part of conservatism certainly involves conserving various things and ideals. But that cannot mean that there isn't a necessary prioritizing of what we do. Fighting abortion, big government (which is, let's face it, greatly responsible for forcing recycling around our necks, which I think in itself makes the policy suspect), and the myriad factors of liberalism which threaten to tear our social fabric apart. To wit, the critical part of what we conserve must be our well being as a people along traditional lines. What we do with our garbage, while important, pales beside that.

So we here at the Wayne County Conservative's Office say, screw carbon footprints. There are more important things to worry about than whether we incinerate our debris or put it in a hole in the ground. Unless and until you can prove beyond reasonable doubt that those things are substantially harmful to the human condition, society can live with them. That's conservative environmental policy in a nutshell.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Conyers Should have to go the Write-in Route

Long time Congressman John Conyers has failed to get enough petition signatures to get his name on the August Democratic Primary ballot. Yet that likely will not count him out of the race. He has too many friends in high places, too great of an amount of name recognition, and too much clout in Washington for that to happen. He'll pull every string he can to ensure another term in Washington. Thus says today's Detroit Free Press, and not without truth. The strengths Mr. Conyers has certainly play in favor of his reelection bid. He could surely do well with a write-in campaign, and he may even be able to use his legal beagles to have his name put on the actual ballot anyway. What's not to love?

Well, for starters, what this says about our political system and the voters who effectively run it makes love difficult. That anyone could get elected and reelected so easily as John Conyers (and the recently retired John Dingell, who's wife is clearly intending to use the Dingell name to take his seat, and countless other politicos throughout our history) have been over the years reflects poorly on our democracy. It indicates that voters are lazy and will cast ballots for the least of reasons, among those simple electoral longevity (which really tells us nothing of ability or accomplishments) and that they know a name. On this basis great decisions are, presumably, made.

Nor does our system put candidates and office holders in a good light. Conyers has been in Congress for almost 50 years, which mean he's faced election twenty five times, and fifty if you count primaries and general elections together. Yet he didn't realize, or had organized a staff which didn't realize, or he just doesn't care, that to be on the ballot requires a certain number of petition signatures turned in by a definite time. This cannot have been news to him. Yet he missed the deadline, and now looks to secure his place on the ballot and in Congress in any way, by any means necessary.

This is not saying that all of the means at his disposal are wrong; he absolutely could mount a write in campaign and no one could rationally quibble. It merely demonstrates that he appears to believe in a kind of divine right to his seat in the House of Representatives. It is an arrogance too common in modern American politics.

Yet we wonder why so many citizens see elected officials in such a poor light.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Breaking Away from Michigan

Ever hear of the state of Superior? How about the state of Ontonagon? Both are ideas which have been discussed from time to time as attempts by the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to split off from the rest of the state occasionally arise.

Nothing will come of it, of course, and it's almost certainly done at least partly in jest. But it is easy to sympathize with the Yoopers. They feel themselves too distant from Lansing, and also believe that rest of the state is simply using them for whatever nefarious reasons, up to and including taking away local property taxes on the mines up there. Seeing as they only make up 3% of Michigan's population, residents of the UP can certainly feel shunned by the rest of us.

To be sure, many areas are more culturally part of Wisconsin than Michigan. In the western part of the UP in particular, they're in the central time zone, read the Milwaukee papers, and root for the Green Bay Packers (and seeing as the Lower Peninsula has the Lions, can you blame them?). Indeed, among the secession proposals have been ideas to incorporate part of northeastern Wisconsin ans several northern Lower Peninsula counties into a new state. It is thought in some quarters that a larger land mass than merely the Upper Peninsula itself would be necessary for such a state to be economically viable.

t is interesting to note that almost every state in the Union has at one time or another addressed secession from the larger body. But as with any local changes, they have met with no serious attempts at breaking off from the mother state. Often they were simply protests against feeling shunned by the rest of the given area.

Still, the state of Ontonagon sounds better than the state of Superior, and especially Northern Michigan, as had been suggested too. But again, nothing will come of it.

Yet that won't stop our northern brethren from dreaming, even if it is of the pipe variety.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Science has no Meaning

What is there about discovering our collective roots? We aren't talking about compiling family trees; that's the sort of thing which has an immediate effect on us, seeing exactly where we came from, and who our grandparents and great-grandparents were and what their homelands looked like and so forth. Yet when we extrapolate beyond that, when we grope at issues such as evolution and the formation of the Universe, well, what are we really in search of?

This isn't to disparage such endeavors as academic exercises. If there are things to be discovered which may help us in the here and now, if even there are things whose discovery would cause us to appreciate the wonders of the earth and space around us, that's cool. But our fear isn't about any of that. Or fear is that too many of the folks who seek such things aren't seeking them for the sake of real and useful knowledge. We wonder if they are in fact following along a trail which will do nothing less than make humanity less special than it is.

Not that we seek an arrogant humanity either, as may happen should we being to think ourselves too special, too 'all that'. It strikes us that either extreme may be, well, a sin of some kind. We should want to know and understand who we are, with either approach.

Still, the one seems less critical. We are talking about the one which addresses more the flesh and bones humanity, the scientific approach which sees only empiricism. Aren't the abstractions, the philosophical ideals of who and what we are, and what we ought to be, more important?

Does the formation of planets, the study of evolution, nay, even the Big Bang, actually deal in those questions? The purveyors of science say yes. But we don't see how. To be sure, they appear to believe that if we should come to understand the start of the Universe, the developments within evolution, that we shall then understand creation and can dispense with tired concepts such as God. They are quite unwilling to consider whether such things may require a God of some sort. But why?

The only conclusion we can see is that it would take away from their being God. That's truly sad. Too many scientists or, at least, the pop scientists such as Stephen Hawking or Carl Sagan, try to make us believe that creation is wonderful without a Creator. But what does that leave us with? Exactly this: two human beings, neither of whom can possibly be, in a scientific sense, any better than any given one of us. Because if all we are are products of an evolutionary environment, if we are wholly accidental and not guided by anything, then why are they and their thoughts so important? Their very own knowledge and 'understanding' is only incidental. If it's only incidental, as any knowledge thus must be, then it is valueless.

And that simply doesn't make sense. We don't mean scientific sense. We mean philosophic sense. Science is only, and will never be more than, flesh and blood and rock for it knows not what. Scientific knowledge will always be nothing more than rote. That doesn't mean it isn't important. But it does mean that science is only a tool for our use, and nothing more. It means science can only tell us what will happen with certain chemical reactions under such and such conditions. Yet it will never tell us why they must happen.

If all we are is material, atoms inadvertently coming together by nothing more than accident, then we are no better than inanimate objects. What good is a thought which we cannot help but think? But when we can judge, ah, our freedom becomes obvious. We can choose the right or the wrong, whether scientific or philosophic. We are more than muscle and sinew and electric reactions in the brain. We are human. And we can think for ourselves.

In that light, we find meaning. It is a much brighter light indeed.