Category Archives: Featured

A Voice Crying in the Wilderness

Peterson

I have often considered the differences in telling people a hard truth, vs. telling them a comfy lie, or just not confronting anything at all. I truly believe that we do people a disservice by not telling hard truths – obviously time, place, and relationship all have to do with how this plays out – however, by not doing so we are taking it into our own hands, whether or not that person should have the opportunity to grow by tackling difficulty. By telling the truth, we at least give them a choice in how they are going to respond. Our culture at large is so obsessed with “sensitivity,” and “trigger warnings,” etc., that we are attempting to over-protect people to death. This is simply not representative of the state of nature and the real world. We are reducing these people into beasts who need someone to rule over them. Many of us know that ends badly – not in a pillow laden room with puppies.

I am eternally grateful for people in my life who have told me true words that I needed – but at times didn’t want – to hear. I have had to make a lot of hard choices – especially in my younger years – to break free of mindsets passed on to me, and to change bad habits. I am not perfect by any means, but I can look myself in the mirror in large part because of the things I chose to face. The battles I have won have given me a self respect that cannot be taken away, and as I continue to struggle, I only gain more.

This, I believe, is one reason why Jordan Peterson has such a following. People want to be told to do hard things, not because they like being bossed around, but because it is an acknowledgment that they can do it. What the over-protectors see as criticism that makes them want to create a safe space, is, in fact, the word of encouragement that so many are looking for. Yes, life is hard. Yes, you are a bit of a mess. Yes, this is probably going to hurt like hell, but YOU CAN DO IT. Oh! How liberating is that! Rather than wasting years of my life in hiding, I can actually confront my fears and overcome what holds me back.

On the broader spectrum of society and its ills, it is time to wake up and smell the rotten cabbage. Peterson calls out a lot of very concerning things, which is what really rocketed him more into the public eye over the last eighteen months or so. He isn’t wrong. The above sentiments are everywhere, and they are not producing a brave, hard working group of future citizenry. Funny how we are told that it’s all about “equality” and leveling out the playing field. No way it is. Any thinking person who really considers the situation, should be able to see that we are creating an easily subdued and subservient populace, which will only tend to give more power to the few, since the former need to be led around by falsehoods… because they can’t face truth.

Why does Peterson stand out so much? I mean yes, he is brilliant, but clearly he is not the only one who thinks this way. Maybe his unapologetic bravery at defying popular opinion is more rare than I think. In any case, there are a ton of great videos out there, and he is worth checking out, if you haven’t done so.

 

Amen for the Truth Tellers

Several years ago I had the opportunity to meet Ben Swann at an event he spoke at in Idaho. I’m linking the wiki page on him, because his career is incredibly noteworthy, though I am both amused and annoyed at their portrayal of him as a conspiracy theorist – simply because he questions official narratives. But, isn’t it actually amazing to have independent reporters that are not tooting the horn of mass media (Don’t look behind the curtain)! I am a huge fan of this guy, and I have been since he came on the radar of many friends and I back in 2012. This was when his segment; Reality Check, started questioning some of the shady goings on at county Republican conventions across the country, and doing honest reporting on the Ron Paul Campaign. Many believe that this was the time in Ben’s personal journal where he began to ‘go down the rabbit hole,’ as it were.

Ben branched out on his own, through the help of crowd sourcing, with a project called Truth in Media. Then, for a year, he disappeared. There was various speculation about what had happened to him, and what forces may have come against him to shut up his search for truth. Fortunately for all of us who value journalistic integrity, Dash crypto currency came along as a financial backer for Truth in Media, so that Ben could return to his great investigative journalism without the pressure of connected people trying to end his career.

Okay, so most of the people who have thus far read this blog, already know this story. They are, generally speaking, folks who have listened to Ben Swann. Other friends of mine, however, and many random people this blog will (hopefully, eventually) reach, might not have ever heard of Ben before. And, I think Ben is a guy worth knowing about, and listening to. He put a lot on the line to do some of the investigative pieces he has done while working with local affiliates.

I don’t remember a lot of Ben’s speech from the dinner I attended in Idaho, because that was more than five years ago. But, I do remember that he mentioned a rather well known verse from the book of Esther;

“For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this.” Esther 4:14 (NKJV)

This reminds me that life is going to happen, no matter what choices we make. Pain and suffering come to us all, but will we rise above that and do something that could potentially save/help/enlighten others. I think Ben stuck to the point that you never really know but that you may have been put here for a reason. In fairness, it seems to me that he has made sacrifices in order to bring the truth to others – and that he continues to do so. He could have chosen to stay happy with his local affiliate, and cave to the pressure put upon him. But, (and this is what encourages me) he didn’t. And that, my friends, is worth a shout-out, a highlight, a thank you. Thanks for speaking the truth, Ben Swann.

 

Thoughts on Harney County

Harney_County,_Oregon,_sign
Photo by By Ken Lund

Recently I drove to Burns, Oregon, a place many people are now familiar with, due to the recent stand-off between activists and the FBI at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Assuming that anyone reading this is in the know, and were attracted by the “Harney County” in the title, let me share some brief thoughts…

I drove the 7 hours to Burns because my friend Mike (Tenth Amendment Center) was speaking there. When the Hammonds were arrested, again, and the Refuge was first occupied, friends of the Hammonds and other members of the community, wondered what the right answers were to this conflict, what their rights were, and what they could potentially do about federal encroachment. Many of them felt at a loss. So, someone began doing their research and found KrisAnne Hall, (who is a feisty ball of constitutional terrific-ness). She was the first in an ongoing string of speakers and teachers, which, has also included the The Center for Self Governance and last Monday, Mike Maharrey.

We all watched the media paint the folks in the refuge as a bunch of crazed militants. I generally have my doubts about the integrity of the media at large, and this was no exception. I was looking forward to talking to some locals for myself, and hearing their take on the whole situation. A friend made a good point earlier this week, when he reminded me that we, as a society, have gotten further and further away from our agrarian roots, and therefore it’s hard for a lot of people to relate to some ranchers “out west.” It makes sense. I grew up riding my grandmother’s horses, and I love the smell of hay and earth. My great grandparents had cattle that we moo-ed at while swinging on the gate. I think of ranchers as the salt of the earth. I know a lot of people never had those experiences in the first place, and I can feel even my own disconnection now.

I liked the people I met in Burns. People told us that they had visited the refuge when everything started. They hung out with the occupiers  and never felt threatened by them. Of course that isn’t to say that every person in town agreed with what they were doing – or how they went about it.  People told us stories, like how Harney County used to have a thriving GDP, back when the sawmills were still open and the country ranches thrived, and that whether or not you agree with the way this group brought attention to the situation, the truth is, that these ranchers have been being bought out and pushed off their lands for years. The Bureau of Land Management still owns 3 million acres in Harney County alone, 62% of county land. Constitutionally speaking, most of this land should have been disposed of (sold or given to Oregonians) by the Federal Government, when Oregon became a state, as they are only supposed to hold lands for enumerated purposes.

My biggest take away was really just a reminder, that we need to do our research on why things are happening, and not just absorb the mainstream narrative. On all issues. Also, we have to find good ways to communicate that. I know I’ve shared background links on Facebook, though perhaps not many people read them. It’s also true, there is vitriol from some who agree with the occupiers and some who don’t. Let’s face it, every group has some kooks and hotheads. My disappointment is that the entire narrative here revolved around the occupiers being armed. I don’t condemn the occupiers, as they were within their rights to be armed. I’m a 2nd amendment proponent. I get why they were. I just find it unfortunate that it stopped a bunch of people from relating to them, and really understanding what they were fighting for. Of course, I guess you could argue that that’s the issue which really got the media’s attention ( it figures), and is actually the reason this conversation has gained traction.

Mike encouraged the Harney County folks to tell their individual stories. I hope they, and many others, choose to do so.

You can read Mike’s terrific and much more informative blog post here; Refusal to Cooperate: The Moderate Middle Ground Between Revolution and Unlimited Submission.

A Place For Everyone

puzzle

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”
~ Charles Dickens

It’s been awhile now, but there were a number of years where I blogged anonymously,  just because I felt the need to do so.  I wasn’t ready to share all of my questions, doubts, and contrary opinions with the people I cared about.  Also, I struggled for a long time with wanting to make the stuff I wrote seem more academic. I am no good at that. I’ve had so many brilliant friends who do that well. It didn’t occur to me for awhile that maybe something else was needed.

It’s easy to get into a circle of great people with similar ideas and momentarily forget that you are still very diverse.  Clearly there are important things that bind us together, but we still reach and interact with others in different ways. We are unique.

I’m saying that to remind us that even among the people we like best, we have many different gifts and insights to bring to the table. Now expand that to all of the people we don’t know, and even the ones we currently don’t like. Just because we don’t see eye to eye with them, doesn’t mean they don’t have a part to play. Just because we think they are focusing on ridiculous things, doesn’t mean they may not end up bringing some well needed insight. You can focus all of your time and attention on the paint job and detailing of your car, but if you don’t have an experienced mechanic to fix what’s under the hood, all you have is a pretty thing that doesn’t go anywhere.

Liberty lovers, I am talking to you. If we truly want to expand the ideas of liberty, we have to engage with people in a different way than what we see all over social media. We need to stand out. Maybe less doom and gloom. It is true, there are some really difficult people out there, and you might be thinking; they are never going to see reason. However, I’d like to remind you that many of us were there once. Maybe if we were a bit more encouraging to people, they would be drawn to the sound of our voices.  There is a way for us to challenge while still showing respect. We should be thankful for the dialog – for the people who bother to engage, even if they are obnoxious. Who knows what might bring them around, and what great assets they might become.

I think we have all been in a new work situation where someone either showed kindness and respect to us, or was incredibly condescending and rude. That immediately has an effect on how we see that place of business and our role there. So how do we want to be perceived? This is something we all have to decide for ourselves. I have learned to embrace my role as the non-academic and pour more energy into things that I am naturally good at, like editing and being an encourager. I know my hard working friends just need a pep talk sometimes – and I can do that, no matter how I am feeling. My gifts feed the community.  After all, is liberty just about us, or is it about ALL of us?

 

Live Not By Lies

I find myself often challenged by the writing of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. This essay appeared in The Washington Post on February 18th, 1974.  I find it quite relevant for the times in which we live, and especially poignant considering the many and various scandals going on presently, not the least of which being the “lost” IRS emails. The main challenge found herein is this: what would it look like if we refused to take part in lies? All things considered, I found this made it an appropriate first post for this blog.

Solzhenitsyn

Live Not By Lies
Alexander Solzhenitsyn

At one time we dared not even to whisper. Now we write and read samizdat, and sometimes when we gather in the smoking room at the Science Institute we complain frankly to one another: What kind of tricks are they playing on us, and where are they dragging us? Gratuitous boasting of cosmic achievements while there is poverty and destruction at home. Propping up remote, uncivilized regimes. Fanning up civil war. And we recklessly fostered Mao Tse-tung at our expense — and it will be we who are sent to war against him, and will have to go. Is there any way out? And they put on trial anybody they want, and they put sane people in asylums — always they, and we are powerless.
Things have almost reached rock bottom. A universal spiritual death has already touched us all, and physical death will soon flare up and consume us both and our children — but as before we still smile in a cowardly way and mumble without tongues tied. But what can we do to stop it? We haven’t the strength.

We have been so hopelessly dehumanized that for today’s modest ration of food we are willing to abandon all our principles, our souls, and all the efforts of our predecessors and all the opportunities for our descendants — but just don’t disturb our fragile existence. We lack staunchness, pride and enthusiasm. We don’t even fear universal nuclear death, and we don’t fear a third world war. We have already taken refuge in the crevices. We just fear acts of civil courage.

We fear only to lag behind the herd and to take a step alone — and suddenly find ourselves without white bread, without heating gas and without a Moscow registration.

We have been indoctrinated in political courses, and in just the same way was fostered the idea to live comfortably, and all will be well for the rest of our lives: You can’t escape your environment and social conditions. Everyday life defines consciousness. What does it have to do with us? We can’t do anything about it.

But we can — everything. But we lie to ourselves for assurance. And it is not they who are to blame for everything — we ourselves, only we. One can object: But actually you can think anything you like. Gags have been stuffed into our mouths. Nobody wants to listen to us, and nobody asks us. How can we force them to listen? It is impossible to change their minds.

It would be natural to vote them out of office — but there are not elections in our country. In the West people know about strikes and protest demonstrations — but we are too oppressed, and it is a horrible prospect for us: How can one suddenly renounce a job and take to the streets? Yet the other fatal paths probed during the past century by our bitter Russian history are, nevertheless, not for us, and truly we don’t need them.

Now that the axes have done their work, when everything which was sown has sprouted anew, we can see that the young and presumptuous people who thought they would make our country just and happy through terror, bloody rebellion, and civil war were themselves misled. No thanks, fathers of education! Now we know that infamous methods breed infamous results. Let our hands be clean!

The circle — is it closed? And is there really no way out? And is there only one thing left for us to do, to wait without taking action? Maybe something will happen by itself? It will never happen as long as we daily acknowledge, extol, and strengthen — and do not sever ourselves from — the most perceptible of its aspects: Lies.
When violence intrudes into peaceful life, its face glows with self-confidence, as if it were carrying a banner and shouting: “I am violence. Run away, make way for me — I will crush you.” But violence quickly grows old. And it has lost confidence in itself, and in order to maintain a respectable face it summons falsehood as its ally — since violence can conceal itself with nothing except lies, and the lies can be maintained only by violence. And violence lays its ponderous paw not every day and not on every shoulder. It demands from us only obedience to lies and daily participation in lies — all loyalty lies in that.
And the simplest and most accessible key to our self-neglected liberation lies right here: Personal non-participation in lies. Though lies conceal everything, though lies embrace everything, we will be obstinate in this smallest of matters: Let them embrace everything, but not with any help from me.
This opens a breach in the imaginary encirclement caused by our inaction. It is the easiest thing to do for us, but the most devastating for the lies. Because when people renounce lies it simply cuts short their existence. Like an infection, they can exist only in a living organism.

We do not exhort ourselves. We have not sufficiently matured to march into the squares and shout the truth out loud or to express aloud what we think. It’s not necessary.
It’s dangerous. But let us refuse to say that which we do not think.

This is our path, the easiest and most accessible one, which takes into account our inherent cowardice, already well rooted. And it is much easier — it’s dangerous even to say this — than the sort of civil disobedience which Gandhi advocated.

Our path is not to give conscious support to lies about anything whatsoever! And once we realize where lie the perimeters of falsehood  each sees them in his own way.

Our path is to walk away from the gangrenous boundary. If we did not paste together the dead bones and scales of ideology, if we did not sew together the rotting rags, we would be astonished how quickly the lies would be rendered helpless and subside.

That which should be naked would then really appear naked before the whole world.

So in our timidity, let each of us make a choice: Whether consciously, to remain a servant of falsehood — of course, it is not out of inclination, but to feed one’s family, that one raises his children in the spirit of lies — or to shrug off the lies and become an honest man worthy of respect both by one’s children and contemporaries.

And from that day onward he:

• Will not henceforth write, sign, or print in any way a single phrase which in his opinion distorts the truth.

  • Will utter such a phrase neither in private conversation nor in the presence of many people, neither on his own behalf nor at the prompting of someone else, neither in the role of agitator, teacher, educator, nor in a theatrical role.
  • Will not depict, foster or broadcast a single idea which he can see is false or a distortion of the truth, whether it be in painting, sculpture, photography, technical science or music.
  • Will not cite out of context, either orally or written, a single quotation so as to please someone, to feather his own nest, to achieve success in his work, if he does not share completely the idea which is quoted, or if it does not accurately reflect the matter at issue.
  • Will not allow himself to be compelled to attend demonstrations or meetings if they are contrary to his desire or will, will neither take into hand nor raise into the air a poster or slogan which he does not completely accept.
  • Will not raise his hand to vote for a proposal with which he does not sincerely sympathize, will vote neither openly nor secretly for a person whom he considers unworthy or of doubtful abilities.
  • Will not allow himself to be dragged to a meeting where there can be expected a forced or distorted discussion of a question.
  • Will immediately walk out of a meeting, session, lecture, performance or film showing if he hears a speaker tell lies, or purvey ideological nonsense or shameless propaganda.
  • Will not subscribe to or buy a newspaper or magazine in which information is distorted and primary facts are concealed.

Of course, we have not listed all of the possible and necessary deviations from falsehood. But a person who purifies himself will easily distinguish other instances with his purified outlook.

No, it will not be the same for everybody at first. Some, at first, will lose their jobs. For young people who want to live with truth, this will, in the beginning, complicate their young lives very much, because the required recitations are stuffed with lies, and it is necessary to make a choice.

But there are no loopholes for anybody who wants to be honest: On any given day any one of us will be confronted with at least one of the above-mentioned choices even in the most secure of the technical sciences. Either truth or falsehood: Toward spiritual independence, or toward spiritual servitude.

And he who is not sufficiently courageous even to defend his soul — don’t let him be proud of his “progressive” views, and don’t let him boast that he is an academician or a people’s artist, a merited figure, or a general –let him say to himself: I am in the herd, and a coward. It’s all the same to me as long as I’m fed and warm.
Even this path, which is the most modest of all paths of resistance, will not be easy for us. But it is much easier than self-immolation or a hunger strike: The flames will not envelope your body, your eyeballs, will not burst from the heat, and brown bread and clean water will always be available to your family.
A great people of Europe, the Czhechoslovaks, whom we betrayed and deceived: Haven’t they shown us how a vulnerable breast can stand up even against tanks if there is a worthy heart within it?

You say it will not be easy? But it will be easiest of all possible resources. It will not be an easy choice for a body, but it is only one for a soul. No, it is not an easy path. But there are already people, even dozens of them, who over the years have maintained all these points and live by the truth.
So you will not be the first to take this path, but will join those who have already taken it. This path will be easier and shorter for all of us if we take it by mutual efforts and in close rank. If there are thousands of us, they will not be able to do anything with us. If there are tens of thousands of us, then we would not even recognize our country.

If we are too frightened, then we should stop complaining that someone is suffocating us. We ourselves are doing it. Let us then bow down even more, let us wait, and our brothers the biologists will help to bring nearer the day when they are able to read our thoughts are worthless and hopeless.

And if we get cold feet, even taking this step, then we are worthless and hopeless, and the scorn of Pushkin should be directed to us:

“Why should cattle have the gifts of freedom?

“Their heritage from generation to generation is the belled yoke and the lash.”