Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Guns Of August And September

     August 1914.  After years (centuries) of conflicts between protestants, capitalists, catholics, socialists, orthodox, nationalists, revolutionaries, communists, anarchists, freemasons, muslims, hindus, and various other interested parties, a planned political assassination in central Europe is transmuted into a "Great Power" confrontation by the political and financial elites.  This manufactured crisis is intentionally fanned into the flames of popular "outrage" and ginned-up "war fever" by the European press, and especially the British press, which is acting on the knowledge that un-elected, un-accountable decision-makers in the City of London have decided that this is the best way to advance their "interests" -- the usual inspiring, intoxicating, insipid cocktail of money, sex, and power for themselves -- while carrying banners, flags, crosses, crescents, guns, messages of optimism, messages of pessimism, apocalyptic notions, etc, etc.  A line is drawn around Belgium, the violation of whose sovereignty adds the necessary politically-moral touch.  To awaken American fears, and a desire to "save civilization,"  the Germans suddenly become "the Huns."
     The result is four-years of World War I, followed by its inglorious aftermath.

     August-September 1939.  After (twenty-five more) years of conflict between "all of the above," and with the addition of "game changers" like Nazis, Japanese, anti-colonialists, Chinese, etc., the same old game is re-played with higher stakes.  A line is drawn around the latest version of the borders of Poland, the violation of whose sovereignty add the necessary politically-moral touch.  The political and financial elites, well-prepared for these eventualities, direct the "world press" to fan the flames of popular outrage and war fever, trot out flags and symbols old and new, and have at it.  The enemy are "the Narzis" (Churchill's term) and the "yellow Japs" (American term).
     The result is six-years of World War II, followed by its inglorious aftermath.

     August 1964.  After another 25 years of conflict, now focused on "capitalists" vs. "communists," a United States warship conducting surveillance operations is attacked by the gunboats of North Vietnam.  Despite the fact that North Vietnam is a decidedly minor power (in fact, it is only one-half of a country), and that the "attack" by the gunboats did not even take place -- that's right, it was a false flag operation completely manufactured by the US National Security Agency and sold to an eager President and Congress -- this is held to be an event of such importance that the United States must send a half-million-man army to settle the matter.  The political and financial elites, well-prepared for these eventualities, direct the American "press" to stir up America's ever-ready righteous juices of "anti-communism" and "freedom for all the peoples of the world."  This time the enemy are the "gooks."
     The result is eleven years of the Viet Nam War, followed by its inglorious aftermath.

     August 1990.  After another 26 years, the "communist threat" is beginning to fade and America needs new foes to fight.  The Middle East looks like a good place to find them.  Our old client, Saddam Hussein of Iraq, takes it upon himself to invade and occupy the territory of Kuwait, and this gives us a chance to play the "good guys."  Immediately following the invasion, American public relations firms hired by the Kuwaitis plant false stories about Kuwaiti babies being dumped from hospital incubators by Iraqi soldiers, and of course the world-renowned American love of righteousness and little babies is again awakened.  The political and financial elites, better prepared than ever for these eventualities, prosecute an expensive war and project American power half-way around the world.  The enemy is "Saddam" (temporarily pronounced Sodom, for purposes of demonizing) and his "Republican Guards."
     The result, this time, is glorious:  a brief but expensive, exciting, victorious war, that "erases" the "bad feelings" about Viet Nam, and the oil flows freely again.  The aftermath is inglorious, however:  American enforced no-fly zones, treachery in dealings with Iraqi factions, sanctions of food and medicine, eventual invasion of Iraq "to defend our freedoms," participation in all sides of a civil war, etc, twenty-four years and counting.

     September 2001.  Four airplanes are used to attack the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.  Within 24 hours it is positively identified in the press that this was perpetrated by 19 hijackers whose names are known.  Despite the fact that 15 of them are from Saudi Arabia, whose "intelligence" operations are known to be well-financed, widespread, vicious, authoritarian, and arbitrary (and largely controlled by the Bin Laden family, who are close friends of the Bush family), the political-financial-propaganda elites quickly turn "world attention" to Afghanistan, whose Taliban government (also vicious, authoritarian, etc.) happens to be resisting the plans for an American oil pipeline project.  The Saudi connection is conveniently forgotten.  Americans can then turn their attention to punishing Afghans and other "ragheads" and "sand niggers."  (Their terms, not mine.)
     The result is a "Global War On Terror," a war on Islam, etc. etc.  Thirteen years and counting.

     September 2013.  The US government, arming and directing the "Free Syrian Army," (with the help of Saudi intelligence), and seeking to overthrow the elected government of Bashir Assad, plans direct intervention.  The enemy is the "atrocities" committed (exclusively by) Bashir Assad, which must be stopped.  (Rebel atrocities, including chemical weapons, as well as beheadings of old bishops and young men, are not so bad.)  The usual gang of political-financial-globalist elites are apparently a little bit "off their game" this time, because the pre-planned intervention does not take place:  perhaps it is the involvement of Russia, perhaps it is the outspoken opposition by the American people, perhaps cooler heads prevail in the Pentagon, or perhaps it is something else.
     Anyway the result this time is:  no overt intervention in Syria.  (Covert operations may, of course, proceed as deemed appropriate.)

     August 2014.  The new enemy emerges in Iraq.  Using arms it has captured, purchased, received, or otherwise acquired from the United States / Europe / Saudi / Israel sources, it poses an "existential threat" to everybody.  The enemy is "ISIS," or "ISIL," or more recently, the "Islamic State." This time, beheadings are bad again, because it happened to a young American journalist (with apparently close ties to the US intelligence "community") on a video (though there are some questions about the manufacture of that video); and there are the Yazidi "refugees" about whom we have a sudden concern  (only to discover that their numbers were inflated, their circumstances misrepresented, their desire to be rescued was overstated, and their long-hallowed traditions of "honor killings" -- stoning their women to death on a regular basis -- had gone temporarily unnoticed).
     The President must DO something!  Though we don't know what he should do, since we don't even have a clear idea what is going on.

     Stay tuned.  We're still in August.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

An Inquiry On The Immigration Question

Guest post by Ben Carmack.  
Ben occasionally blogs at his own site, and has graciously permitted me to reprint his post in full.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Immigration Question: A Modest Biblical and Conservative Inquiry

This is long. If you don't want to read it all, take a look at the synopsis at the end. Thanks.

We have all been hearing about immigration lately. The sudden arrival of youths from Central and South America has brought the issue to the forefront. Conservative radio personalities have been pushing against "amnesty" and for "border security" with great fervor.

The Boundaries of the Debate

The debate over immigration is often framed as a debate between those who "believe in borders" and those who don't. It is often framed as a debate between those who believe in "enforcing our laws" and those who don't. Some say it is a debate between a welcoming America and a closed America, or between a kinder America and an angrier, meaner sort of America.

I want to propose that the "borders" of the immigration debate are not what was suggested in the previous paragraph, nor is the debate between "liberals" and "conservatives." Immigration is an intra-conservative debate. Conservatives are the ones who need to decide what they want to do on immigration reform.

I say this because the political interest of liberals is clearly in favor of keeping the status quo. Moderates/independents can be won either way, depending on what conservatives decide to do on immigration.

One wing of the conservative movement I will label the Populist Wing. This wing is well represented on talk radio. These conservatives tend to be men and women of modest means who rarely give a lot of money to political campaigns but are often engaged as activists. They may homeschool their children, protest outside abortion clinics, call in to radio shows or show up at Tea Party rallies. The Populist Wing tends to take a hard line on immigration. "Enforce the border," they say. They are instinctively against any kind of "amnesty" and detest RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) who try to work for "comprehensive immigration reform."

The other wing is smaller in terms of numbers of people, but more than makes up for it by their wealth. This is the Chamber of Commerce Wing. The Chamber men give a lot of money to political campaigns and often serve or advise at high levels in the Republican Party. They influence which candidates rise or fall, which are acceptable and which are not. In general, CoCs don't favor "sealing the border" because it would jeopardize their business interests. Mass immigration, both legal and illegal, drives down labor costs and increases profit margins. 

Since the Republican Party emerged from the Whigs in 1854, there has always been a form of those two wings, but the Chamber wing, the Money wing if you will, has always had the upper hand. At times, the relationship between the Populists and the Money men has gotten strained, but they've managed to get along.

The power dynamics of the relationship allow the Populists to force the hand of Daddy Warbucks if there is a real electoral threat. Daddy Warbucks would rather keep his influence than lose his influence for the sake of business. He can negotiate. 

The Chamber wing knows that without the Populist wing, there isn't much of a Republican Party left. The Populist wing knows that without money from the Chamber wing, they have no shot at getting their message through.

Neither side is "good" or "bad." They exist. There is quite a bit of overlap between them. Many Populists admire Chamber types for their business success. Many Chamber types use their money to fund Populist causes. 

The Political Reality

There are fundamental differences in outlook and sociology between the two groups that are often difficult for die-hards in either camp to recognize. The path to conservative political success is to find a way to harmonize these two groups and get them to work together. Ronald Reagan was a wealthy man, but he had blue collar roots. Richard Nixon wasn't known so much as a man of wealth, but his moderate positions appealed to the Chamber of Commerce, and he knew how to court Populist support as well. Mitt Romney is a good example of a solid Chamber of Commerce man who was not very good at reaching out to the Populist wing, or even blue collar folk in general, to his peril.

I bring up these two groups because it appears to me that the immigration hard-liners on talk radio are largely unaware that this division exists and always has existed in the Republican Party. Since they are unaware, they generally assume that the "conservative" position on immigration is theirs and theirs alone. The blunt reality is that neither side of this divide within conservatism is going to get everything that they want, but if they are willing to negotiate with one another, there's probably a path to a politically coherent "conservative" solution to the immigration issue.

More importantly, not only is there a division of mere opinionbetween the Populist and Chamber wings, but both wings areworking against each other. The illegal immigrants coming across the border are being employed by Chamber of Commerce men. If the jobs weren't being offered, the immigrants would not come. In a sense, the entire problem of illegal immigration and "breaking our laws" is the fault of Chamber of Commerce conservatives, not multicultural liberals who have no idea how to run businesses.

The irony here is that the anti-immigration, talk radio, Populist conservatives don't seem to be aware of any of this. If they were, I think we would see more fracture within the conservative Republican coalition than we've seen thus far. Perhaps being aware that conservatives don't agree with each other on immigration in deep and fundamental ways is a job that conservative Americans won't do (if you'll pardon the humor).

What do we do to solve or remedy this impasse? Do we kick the Chamber of Commerce types out and start a True Blue Conservative party? Should we be the Tea Partiers of the True Flame? Maybe we should cast protest votes for libertarians, andreally rub in the irony?

Liberals are more or less united in their desire for more immigration. Conservatives are divided. Those who are against immigration are in the minority. If they want to advance their agenda, they will have to compromise. I don't see most Americans or most of Congress adopting a Minuteman stance on immigration. I think this will remain the political reality whether we like it or not.

Searching the Scriptures: Does God ordain borders? 

Populists are correct that doing away with borders entirely, and allowing any and all to come en masse is a bad idea. America is a distinct nation with a distinct culture that should be preserved and passed on because it is worth conserving. I believe that because I am a conservative, and I want to conserve the best of America. 

Borders are not simply useless "fictions" that hamper our global development into an international schmoozefest. Borders arelegal fictions. They exist "on paper" just like the Constitution exists "on paper." Borders represent important covenantal obligations and distinctions. 

Borders between countries establish on the macro level the principle of private property. "Cursed is he who moves his neighbor's boundary landmark." (Deut. 27:17). God created a world blessed with distinctions. This, not that. Your land, my land. Your culture, my culture. My family, your family. God detests adultery in part because it involves a man stealing another's man family, invading the sacred covenantal space, as it were.

Deuteronomy 32:7-8 reads:

Remember the days of old,
Consider the years of all generations.
Ask your father, and he will inform you,
Your elders, and they will tell you.
When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance,
When He separated the sons of man,
He set the boundaries of the peoples
According to the number of the sons of Israel.

At the Tower of Babel, men desired to create an international schmoozefest of sorts, and God confused their languages, sending them all abroad (Gen. 11:1-9), indicating his desire that men separate to form distinct cultures and ethnic groups.

Saint Paul repeats this teaching on the God-ordained distinctions of nation and culture in his speech before the Athenians: 

He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope from Him and find Him, though He is not far from each of us.

Any discussion of immigration should proceed from the presupposition that the Word of God is authoritative and true, and serves as the Standard by which we make our decisions. I wish to make it plain that with Scripture as my Standard, I believe in borders.

Having said that I believe in borders, and that God's Word requires that nations have those legal fictions, what should be the nature of those borders? 

This would be a good time to bring in an analogy. I believe, with St. Paul and Romans 13, that civil government is necessary and ordained by God. Likewise, I believe in the necessity of taxation to support said government. Having said this, the next question would be what nature of taxation and government is best? 

Good Bible Christians should acknowledge that believing in the Godly institution of a thing is not a blank check to push the limits of said thing to the ends of Earth. The difference between a man who believes taxes should consume 98% of our income and the man who would prefer they only consume 10% is not the difference between a Bible believing citizen and an anarchist.

Likewise, the difference between a man who favors limited and appropriate immigration and a man who supports a moratorium on all immigration is not the difference between an Open Borders man and a Rule of Law man. The difference is on the application of a principle both men hold in common.

What is a Nation?

Having established that there is room for Christians to disagree on this issue of borders and immigration, I think it's useful to ponder what Scripture means when it uses the term "nation." A clue is given in St. John's Gospel in the final chapter. Jesus tells Peter and the disciples to catch some fish and they caught exactly 153, "and although there were so many, the net was not torn." (John 21:11). 

Why would the Holy Spirit record for us the exact number of the fish? In the ancient world, it was commonly believed that there were 153 distinct ethnic groups. This story, included at the end of a Gospel which is full of typology, allusions and symbolic language, could be thought of as a sort of "Great Commission" ending. The other three Gospels conclude with a Great Commission, though each account is different in subtle ways. Immediately after this story Jesus asks Peter to feed his sheep, reinstates him as an apostle and commands Peter to follow Him, even unto death.

Biblically speaking, a "nation" is more or less what would we would now call an "ethnic group." It is a group of people who are genetically similar, who have lived in a particular part of the world, who share a common language, etc. 

Today, we tend to blend "nation" with "nation-state." The nations are the people who happen to live under a particular jurisdiction. Those who live in China are Chinese. Those who are under the Mexican nation-state are Mexicans. Those who live under the American nation-state are Americans. The individual ethnic makeup or heritage of the person in question doesn't matter very much to us, only to whom he pays taxes.

"Nations" in the biblical sense continue to exist, and often exist across and within nation-states. Kurds are their own nation (biblical sense) but live in two different nations (modern sense), Iraq and Turkey. Yugoslavia used to be a nation (modern sense) but has split up into many nations (biblical sense). 

Within "nations" (biblical sense) regional differences and loyalties often exist. This is certainly true of border regions. 

I live in a border region between Indiana and Kentucky. It can be hard to tell, as you get to the edges of something, whether you are in one thing or in another. The culture of the people usually doesn't conform to the neat legal fictions of borders. Culture crescendos in and out gradually. 

Consider the Kentucky/Indiana border region. There are people in Indiana who work or have family and friends in Kentucky. The same is true of many Kentuckians. Many people in Indiana root for sports teams from Kentucky, and likewise with Kentuckians. Many people from Southern Indiana have southern accents like Kentuckians do, and even fly Confederate flags (even though Indiana was never part of the Confederacy). Northern Kentuckians often show many Midwestern tendencies that would surprise people looking for a "Southern" culture. The landscape and geography of Southern Indiana is very similar to that of Kentucky.

Of course the further you get from the border, the more Indiana becomes Indiana and Kentucky becomes Kentucky. When distance between people grows, cultures become more independent from one another and they diverge. 

The same is true of border regions between nation-states. Someone who parachuted into Eagle Pass, Texas would wonder if he was in Mexico or the United States. Someone who parachuted into a small village in extreme northern Maine would wonder if he was in Canada or the United States. 

In the biblical sense, however, the cultures of these areas are understandable. God has set the habitations of the nations. Particular groups have lived in the Southwestern United States/Northern Mexico region for many centuries. 

Many people who live in the United States in places like Eagle Pass, TX, have friends or family on the other side in Mexico. It is conceivable that some folks from Mexico work on the other side in Texas. Due to the vast stretches of dry ranchland, it is also conceivable that "working in the United States" would mean "working in a place deep inside the United States," so deep it might mean temporarily relocating to the United States several months a year to pick tomatoes, for example.

The local realities of employment and relationships that go across borders should give us pause whenever we hear that the proper "solution" to the "border crisis" is to "seal the border." If the border were sealed, we would upset many local relationships that presently exist (as they always do) in the border regions. It would be a case of the universal intruding upon the local and particular. It would be a classic case of federal overreach, of trying to plan everybody's life from Washington, DC.

If we look at the Southwest United States with a biblical conception of what a "nation" is, a few historical facts become significant: 

1) The original inhabitants of the land were the various Indian tribes. In the case of Pueblos (or Anasazi) these Indians were often quite sophisticated in their construction techniques, building permanent dwellings in desert canyons and making a living there

2) In the 16th century, armies from the Spanish nation arrived and took over the area, claiming it as part of the Spanish nation-state even though the people there were not ethnic Spaniards and didn't speak Spanish.

3) Over time, the Indians and the Spanish speakers mixed, creating their own culture. In the 19th century, the Mexican nation-state was formed when the various ethnic groups across the Southwest and into Central America rebelled against the Spanish nation-state and declared independence. 

4) American immigrants began arriving in large numbers in the largely uninhabited area known as Texas. The habitation of this area became majority American, and they rebelled against the Mexican nation-state and established a new nation, Texas.

5) In 1845, Texas joined the American nation-state. In 1846, a border dispute between Texas and Mexico led to the Mexican War, in which the American nation-state defeated the Mexican nation-state and took possession of the Southwest, a huge increase in territory, in 1848.

6) Besides Texas, ethnically much of the Southwest was largely still Indian or Mexican. The biblical sense of nation and habitation was overridden by the modern sense of nation as the governmental body which holds military control over a certain geographic region, regardless of the ethnic makeup of that region.

7) Over time, after the war, Americans began to settle the Southwest. The 1849 Gold Rush led to a population boom in California. Other states took much longer to come into the Union. New Mexico and Arizona did not become states until 1912.

8) The ethnic makeup of the Southwest has changed over time, but remnants of the Spanish, Indian and Mexican cultures have remained. Cities and geographic features retain their Spanish and Indian names. Ethnic Indians and Mexicans still live there. Several of them, no doubt, have family and friends across the border.

Immigration is Economic

Immigration is explosive because it is an economic issue, primarily, and secondarily an issue of clashing cultures. People fear that more immigrants means fewer jobs or lower wages. This is not a completely unfounded fear.

Since the Great Recession, immigration from Mexico has considerably waned. Many of the immigrants worked in the construction industry. When the housing bubble burst, the jobs dried up and the workers went home. See this informative article on the status of immigration vis a vis Mexico. Net immigration in the years after the recession was roughly zero or even negative.

Note that if immigration was roughly zero, then considerable numbers of Hispanic immigrants chose to leave the country when they could no longer work. They did not stay to collect welfare benefits, for instance. Perhaps that means that the reason for their coming was to work and better themselves?

During the years when Latino immigration was high, the economy was doing much better than it is today, aside from a mild recession that occurred from about 2001 to about 2003. Unemployment was often 6% or 5% among the legal, working population. That means that 94% of legal Americans already had jobs. The jobs that the Latino immigrants came to do were jobs that a prosperous economy created out of its abundance. 

When an economy is booming, the demand for labor often exceeds the supply. In times like these, immigration makes sense. The difficulty is that U.S. legal immigration is often complicated and lengthy, and doesn't respond to changing economic conditions very well. It's easier to come across illegally and take your chances than to apply for legal residency. 

When a recession hits, it makes sense for a country to restrict immigration, instead of continuing to allow corporations to import thousands of temporary workers from Asia to fill technical jobs, for instance. In a time of abundance, however, importing workers makes sense.

Immigration policy shouldn't be static because the market is not static, nor are human relationships static. Government policies should seek to harmonize as much as possible with what the market already encourages people to do. That leads to maximum liberty and optimum prosperity.

To accommodate those living in border regions, some kind of guest worker permit should be available, and should be relatively easy to get, so as to discourage illegal immigration. When times are good, legal immigration or temporary visas should be as streamlined and easy to obtain as possible, so as to discourage illegal immigration or over-staying one's visa.

When people settle in a new place and contribute to that community through work, relationships are formed and cultures are formed that benefit many people. Our economy, like it or not, has benefited from the labor of Hispanic illegal immigrants. Many of them have lived here for many years. To deport them or ignore them is simply unjust.

There is a valid economic argument that the presence of cheap illegal labor distorts the labor market against native Americans who have their papers in order. The blame for this ultimately does not rest with the Hispanic immigrants, who came for jobs and opportunity, but with those Chamber of Commerce conservatives who chose to hire them to save a few bucks. Remember: if there were no jobs, the immigrants would not come. When the jobs dry up, many of them go home.

Since the Chamber of Commerce conservatives are to blame, the ideal and efficient way to handle the problem is to level the labor playing field. Make the illegals legal. Give them the same labor protections and liabilities that native Americans have. Suddenly, the economic incentive for hiring an illegal over a native disappears. 

Reforming the immigration system is complicated of course and will require smart policymaking and compromise between all sides. Maybe the illegals should pay a fine (or better yet, their employers should pay a fine). Maybe they should pursue a path to citizenship of some kind that would be gradual, which would include learning English. All of these ideas are good ones and should be on the table. 

Ideally, these issues should be dealt with locally. God set the habitations of the nations (ethnic groups), and those habitations are in local places. Let most of the enforcement and handling of these things happen at the state and local levels.


To summarize my position, countries have a God-given authority to establish and maintain borders. God set the habitations of the nations, but did so with respect to ethnic, geographic, cultural and linguistic markers which are often papered over by modern nation-states. 

The border regions of the United States have and have had a distinctive culture that is partly American and partly Spanish or Mexican. Long standing relationships exist that would be upset by a rigid "seal the border" solution. Upsetting these relationships would also go against the biblical notion of nation-hood, favoring universal concerns over local concerns. 

A booming economy tends to produce excess demand for labor that is best met by increasing immigration in an orderly manner. Some labor is temporary. Other labor is more permanent. Immigration policy should be flexible and open enough to deal with these realities.

Illegal immigrants have contributed much to our country. Many of them have lived here for many years. They enjoy an unfair advantage over some native workers because their illegal status makes them cheaper and less of a hassle to their employers. To eliminate this unfair advantage, while also doing right by the immigrants for their contributions, it is best to pursue some kind of amnesty for those immigrants. Once they are legal, they will have no further advantages over native born Americans in the labor market. They will also begin to pay taxes and begin to assimilate into our society.

Legal immigration should be streamlined in a sensible manner, in order to discourage illegal immigration. When taxes are high and unreasonable, incentives are created to avoid the taxes. When immigration controls are unreasonable, incentives are created to break the law. While taxes are lawful and nations may lawfully control their borders, they must do so reasonably and fairly.


Immigration is obviously emotionally charged and complicated. There are no easy answers. The politics of it is also complicated. Hoping for a total solution that satisfies only Tea Party or Populist conservatives is naive. It isn't going to happen. Compromise will be the order of the day.

Some issues are black and white, and admit little opportunity for compromise. Marriage is one. Abortion is another. Others are more complicated and require sophisticated and nuanced political solutions. I believe immigration is one of those latter issues. We can compromise on immigration and not betray our fundamental principles.

Christians should remember in all of this that God's Providence sets the boundaries and habitations of nations, and that this Providence includes the Great Commission. Different cultures exist so that they may be reached with the Gospel and seek God, bowing before King Jesus, each glorifying God in a distinctive manner as nations. Recognizing the world-wide unity the Church shares across cultures, we are to show kindness and hospitality to the stranger and the sojourner, while also remaining loyal and submissive to our lawful governing authorities. Doing both is complicated and calls for judicial wisdom (I Cor. 6:1-4, Prov. 18:17). 

In wisdom and understanding be men...

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Former Congressman George Hansen RIP

     Former Congressman George Hansen has just passed away.  Since the time of his political activity was mostly in the 70s and 80s, an entire generation has grown up that is unaware of him, what he stood for, who they were who made themselves his enemies, and what was the price that he paid for putting his constitutional principles into action.

     Will Grigg has just written a post about George Hansen's life.  Please read it.

     When I read it, it triggered in my mind a whole cascade of recollections and reflections that wanted to turn themselves into an essay of my own.  Which I may eventually write; but I know how these things go, and I want to go ahead and give this story exposure, just as it is.  It is something we need to remember -- or know for the first time.

     Thanks, Will, for remembering, caring, and taking the time to remind the rest of us.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Tipping Point?

     Hi.  Have you had a tipping point this week?  (Or recently, or even long ago, that made a permanent  difference for you.)

     I did.  I will not tell you mine (yet), and you can decide not to tell me yours (yet).  Let's give the things that were all piled on one side of the see-saw time enough to slide to the other side.  And that might take a little while.

     Other people are having their tipping points, too.  One of them is Ellen Finnigan.  She writes about it here.  It is personal to her, and is probably not exactly the same as yours.  It is not exactly the same as mine, either.  But also, not exactly different.

     Point is, those tipping points are happening.  And have happened.  And will happen.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Sixty-Nine Years And Remembering

     I've read history (especially military history) with great interest since I was a child, and I'm good with remembering dates, so I usually remember where I am in the annual military cycle.  June 22 for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union, December 7 for Pearl Harbor, June 6 for the Normandy Invasion, and so forth.

     Today, August 6, is the date for the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima, and August 9 is the date for its companion event, the bombing of Nagasaki, sixty-nine years ago and counting.

     You can understand some important things about military history from the dates, the maps, the photographs, and the published histories.  Among my piles of books, I have many volumes of the official histories of World War II, published by the Army.  Thus far the histories.

     Then there are the people, the human beings, the incarnations of the Image of God -- who have their own, and their more reliable, and their more significant, histories.   When the massive edifice of the Pentagon has been long abandoned for something better -- or worse -- those other histories will go on.  As C. S. Lewis truly said, "We shall live to remember the galaxies as an old tale."

     Such a story was lived out by Hiroshi Mori, who was a youngster living in Nagasaki on the Big Day.

     His story -- well really, its aftermath -- is briefly recounted by Davydd Price, here, in a brief essay titled "Mr. Mori."  Mr. Price currently writes at his blog, "10 Miles From Everywhere."