Showing posts from 2017

On Foreign Affairs, Part One

The complexities of the current state of international conditions and relations are compounded by the occupant of the White House. This article will not focus on him, because there are larger issues that have nothing to do with his lack of qualifications or immature behavior. My hope is to give us a few things to think about about diplomacy and foreign affairs more generally.

The United States has been a successful experiment in nation-building. Here we are, 240+ years after our Declaration of Independence, and 230 years after our Constitution was ratified. There are very good reasons to feel that the US is exceptional, because our people represent the people of the world, thanks to our history of immigration, innovation, cooperation, collaboration, and exploration.
But we're not the only ones to be ground-breaking, and we're not the only great country on the planet.
Americans have a well-earned reputation around the world, and not all of it good.
I lived in Europe in the mid-…

On Dogma

I had originally intended to title this post "On Religion", but upon introspection, the issue is dogma as much as it is religion, and I believe I'll explain this adequately later.

If you've read the prior posts in this series, you will probably have many assumptions about what I intend to say. You're probably right. Let's dive in.

Merriam-Webster defines dogma as follows:
a :something held as an established opinion; especially :a definite authoritative tenet
b :a code of such tenets pedagogical dogma
c :a point of view or tenet put forth as authoritative without adequate grounds
a doctrine or body of doctrines concerning faith or morals formally stated and authoritatively proclaimed by a church Dogma, in a non-religious sense, is not damaging in and of itself. It is only as benign or malignant as its content, as well as how it is applied directly and indirectly to a population. For that matter, secular humanists subscribe to a certain level of non-religious dogma.

On Free Speech

Much has been made in the last year or two regarding free speech in the United States. The United States is one of the few countries where the freedom of speech is codified in the constitution. It might surprise many Americans to know that Europeans do not enjoy the same latitude. For one example, in France, it is illegal to deny the Jewish holocaust.

However, in the United States, the right to free speech is also not clearly understood.

Many colleges and universities, most notably the University of California at Berkeley, have been in the news for their response to controversial speakers coming to their campuses. UC-Berkeley has invited then disinvited speakers across the spectrum, and in cases where they have not, there has sometimes been violent protest against the presence of these speakers.

I strongly disagree with violence of any kind in response to an individual speaker, but I certainly understand and support the right to protest. There are some in this discourse who do not bel…

On Politics

I went back and reviewed prior posts on politics that I had published on this blog to sort of look back and see how thing had changed. My most recent post concerned President Obama’s re-election, and a perusal back through my history revealed what seems now to have been a much simpler time – simply advocating for equality for LGBT, lamenting the ideological makeup of the SCOTUS, and commenting on the general state of the Congress.
You know, back when America was great.
The bombastic current occupant of the White House has been described as a misogynista white supremacista narcissistpetty and vengefulunfit for the office
And I can’t say that I disagree with any of these observations.
There has been much discussion as to how and why Hilary Rodham Clinton lost the 2016 election. She, herself, identifies a number of reasons, but without actually taking blame herself. She came into this with significant baggage and controversy, and I think she and many of her supporters underestimate how t…

On Atheism

I am an atheist. I say this without shame or reservation. This essay will discuss my history and the contradictions and circumstances that have led me to this position.
My family history has included several examples of individuals changing religions because of who they wished to marry. These were various flavors of Christ-centered religions, so it wasn’t terribly jarring to the individual in terms of philosophies, but mostly in terms of rituals and rules.
I was baptized as a Methodist, although my mother tended to refer to us as Protestants. When my mother remarried, she converted to become Roman Catholic in order to marry in my stepfather’s Catholic church. My brother and I followed suit, and I was confirmed at age 14.
From a very early age, I questioned what I was being taught in the Bible in Sunday School or Catechism classes. First, it was the usual, “who did Cain marry?” Apparently, she was from the Land of Nod. I guess this was a suburb of Eden or something. No record of when …


Lots to cover, lots to discuss, lots of posts coming.

Stay tuned for new posts coming this week!