Scratch Pad

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Self-righteous people hate self-righteousness

Please enjoy the irony of this letter to the editor published in the Deseret Morning News.
Brigham Young University is not hated for its superiority as Frank Millward says (Readers' Forum, Nov. 23). It is hated for its arrogance and holier than thou attitude.

My wife was offered a scholarship to attend BYU but turned it down to attend Utah State University. Two of my friends were accepted by BYU and went to the University of Utah. I, too, was qualified to go to BYU but pursued my academic career elsewhere. All four of us dislike the Y., not because we could not get in, but because of the self-righteous attitude that Millward and other BYU students, alumni and fans display.

Robert Cottrell
South Jordan
Why did all those people apply to BYU if they all dislike it? Does Cottrell think pride is a trait unique to BYU among the universities of America?

Law of the Harvest

From CNN

Police shot three young men who had just left a bachelor party at a
strip club early Saturday, killing one man on the day of his wedding,
according to police and witnesses.

So... on the day he was going to commit himself to a woman for the rest of his life he's at a strip club?

Bell and his fiancée had two children, ages 5 months and 3 years.

So... he has already committed himself to his wife-to-be and had two children with her... and he was at a strip club?

No, it is not a death penalty offense. But, going only off the information provided in this one report, we see a picture of a man who lived his life in contradiction to the principles of righteousness. He reaped a bitter harvest from his actions, for him and his family.

It doesn't even matter if this man knew that the life he was living was wicked. He may have been raised to know little better. But life has natural consequences for many actions. You are a zillion times less likely to be shot by the police, accidentally or otherwise, if you are living the sort of life that doesn't include strip clubs at 4 AM on the day of your wedding.

I'm sorry for this man's family and for his community. I truly hope that they can grow from the shock of what has happened and cast off whatever wicked traditions they may presently perpetuate.

As I write this, I imagine in the my head the indignant response that could come. "How dare you moralize to this man and his family! How dare you defend the evil police officers that did this thing! How dare you assume you know this man's heart! I knew him and he was a good man that loved his kids and his fiancée."

Let's look at each of those possible responses. As to the charge of moralizing, I can only point out the the end result of the life he chose to live is no longer hypothetical. The "moral" of his story has been written. I just hope others can avoid the risk factors that put this young man in harm's way.

As to the officers, it doesn't matter if they were wicked or righteous in this exchange. Sometimes accidents happen, so even if these officers were perfectly straight, you can't dispute the fact that you are more likely to get shot by cops in front of a strip club at 4 AM than you are at home in your bed with your wife. (After all, they should have been married before the first child was born, not after the second was born.)

As to the man's moral character and how much he may have loved his family, I'd only note that he didn't love them enough to refrain from selfish behaviors that resulted in events that will now permanently scar their future.

Does all of that make me an intolerant jerk? No more than I'd be a jerk for pointing out that people who eat raw meat are more likely to die from food poisoning. It may still be tragic when it happens, but it is no surprise. Life has natural consequences. We'd do better to pay attention to them rather than smearing people who point them out.

Guelzo on Lincoln on Agency

We pass this test, Lincoln said, not by dedicating cemeteries, but by dedicating ourselves. That dedication lies first in seeing that equality is an imposition of self-restraint. It means refusing to lay upon the backs of others the burdens we do not wish laid on our own. Slavery was an outrage on the notion of equality, not just because it treated members of a different race as unequal, but because it allowed one race to exploit another without any restraint at all. "As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master," Lincoln explained in 1858. "This expresses my idea of democracy." Popular government is not about what we want, or about our demands for ourselves, but what we should not want and not demand of others. Dedication lies, second, in the enforcement of self-restraint. Democracy is a discipline. One cannot opt out on the plea of liberty whenever the political score goes against us. The Southern secessionists imagined that they were protecting their liberty by seceding from the Union, but they were in fact negating it. Secession, Lincoln argued, was the essence of anarchy, not liberty, since the only liberty the secessionists had in mind was the liberty to do what they pleased, without restraint, and to people whom they deemed unequal. Against that, a democracy must take up the sword, or cease to be a democracy at all.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Buy Nothing Day

In a post about Buy Nothing Day, there were some good comments that got me thinking.

First we heard from Andrew who said, "Buy nothing day is every Sunday for a mormon."

MLU jumped on that by saying

That’s what I’ve always thought.

It seems a bit forlorn that those caught in the Sabbathless pursuit
of success–or something that feels meaningful–would find stepping aside
from commerce for one day a year to be revolutionary.

It more illustrates their essential bondage, I think.

It is an interesting argument for the return of the Sabbath day from a secular perspective. It seems we keep finding arguments for religious things from a secular perspective. In the end, that should be no surprise. God wasn't going to tell us the wrong stuff, after all. Human knowledge, as it progresses, must generally move towards convergence with the truths that God has revealed.

Gay Marriage in Mass.

Jay Tea at Wizbang! offers his opinion of the current gay marriage fiasco in Massachusetts.

Ethnicity vs need

Ethnicity determines need? by DKL at Mormon Mentality. A discussion of a whites-only scholarship being offered at Boston University.

Glenn Beck's Conversion to Mormonism

The More Good Foundation Blog had a link to a YouTube video of Glenn Beck being interviewed where he explained how he came to join the Mormon church.

Why are you here?

This blog is just a scratch pad of links and ideas I come across that I'd like to be able to find again. There won't be polished posts; heck, I can hardly polish the posts that go up on my other "production" blogs. If you're interested in learning more about me, you might as well peer into my head and heart at Hot Blava and PonderIt.