Thursday, March 28, 2019

Confounding, Rather than Contending

I informally study how to say things. I collect good examples, good rhetorical methods. Maybe that influences how I explain things. I hope it does.

This week I’m looking at ways to confound, rather than to contend.

In my religion, we have a thing against contention (see 3 Nephi 11:29). We’re encouraged to avoid Bible bashing, or trying to persuade by contentious arguing. That doesn’t mean we can’t debate ideas, discuss differences of belief, or defend attacks against our beliefs or our character.

It’s about the way this is done. With respect. Without rage. Keep undue emotion out of the way. Persuade with truth and human caring.
Studio C used Captain Literally to restore balance.
Image from here

Keeping this in mind, I rather like the feeling of “balance restored” when a wrong accusation or disrespectful argument is met with a confounding response—so full of truth that there’s no comeback.

I came across a couple of examples this week. Plus, I think I’ll add in some examples from recent weeks.

Let’s start with one that is just fun—from someone you don’t usually seek out for humor, but he is good for confounding clarity: Senator Mike Lee. This is during the Senate discussion of the Green New Deal. Not only are Velociraptors and Tauntauns involved, but also giant sea horses—all of which are more realistic than the so-called Green New Deal. Your life will be more complete after viewing this.


This next one isn’t as obviously fun, but it’s a pretty confounding response. Jordan Peterson had been invited to join with Cambridge Divinity School in an upcoming lecture series in which he talks about the psychological meaning of Bible stories, continuing a series he has done already, garnering great interest. He announced this joint undertaking on a monthly Q&A on March 18. On March 20 the divinity school rescinded the invitation. They did this through tweet, rather than a respectful phonecall, or even an explanatory letter or email.

The Cambridge University Student Union tweeted about how excited they were that the offer was withdrawn—three minutes before the divinity school made its public announcement. Peterson found out about it from friends who contacted him asking about it, followed by his searching social media more clues.

Jordan Peterson responds to Cambridge
image from here
That is not how civilized, educated people conduct business. But it is, apparently, how the uncivilized "social justice” types do it. Their claim is that it’s a political stance inappropriate for the university to have someone associate with them who holds the “transphobic” view that governments shouldn’t enforce speech requirements on individuals—views Peterson has openly held since he gained notoriety for speaking against the Canadian law in 2017, long before his lectures and interviews at Cambridge last year, which were popular and had led to the discussions about working together on the Biblical lecture series.

If it’s hard to follow their logic—well, that’s the point here.

What is great is that Peterson doesn’t let them get away with it. He responds. And what a response! 

First, he makes clear that he didn’t go “hat in hand,” seeking the collaboration; they had a number of friendly discussions, which led him to formally apply at their suggestion, and following which they had formally offered the invitation.

Second, they need him far more than he needs them, which he details quite deftly. I'm glad to know the lecture series will go on regardless.

The entirety is here, but I’ll point out a few gems.

In this quote, he rejects their claim to his not having academic legitimacy adequate to these elitists:

I also have to say, as a university professor concerned with literacy, that the CUSU statement offered to The Guardian borders on the unintelligible, perhaps even crossing the line (as so much ideological-puppet-babble tends to): what in the world does it mean that “it is a political act to associate the University with an academic’s work through offers which legitimise figures such as Peterson”? And who could write or say something of that rhetorical nature without a deep sense of betraying their personal conscience?
In this next one he makes it clear that he had thought he’d made a mutually beneficial agreement when he accepted the invitation. He made it with goodwill; the Divinity school apparently has a different set of values:

In the fall, I am planning to produce a series of lectures on the Exodus stories. I presume they will have equal drawing power. I thought that I could extend my knowledge of the relevant stories by spending time in Cambridge, and that doing so would be useful for me, for faculty members who might be interested in speaking with me, and to the students. I also regarded it as a privilege and an opportunity. I believed (and still believe) that collaborating with the Faculty of Divinity on such a project would constitute an opportunity of clear mutual benefit. Finally, I thought that making myself more knowledgeable about relevant Biblical matters by working with the experts there would be of substantive benefit to the public audience who would eventually receive the resultant lectures.
Now the Divinity school has decided that signaling their solidarity with the diversity-inclusivity-equity mob trumps that opportunity–or so I presume. You see, I don’t yet know, because (and this is particularly appalling) I was not formally notified of this decision by any representative of the Divinity school. I heard about the rescinded offer through the grapevine, via a colleague and friend, and gathered what I could about the reasons from social media and press coverage (assuming that CUSU has at least something to do with it).
 Then comes this final blessing/curse:

I think the Faculty of Divinity made a serious error of judgement in rescinding their offer to me (and I’m speaking about those unnamed persons who made that specific decision). I think they handled publicizing the rescindment in a manner that could hardly have been more narcissistic, self-congratulatory and devious.
I believe that the parties in question don’t give a damn about the perilous decline of Christianity, and I presume in any case that they regard that faith, in their propaganda-addled souls, as the ultimate manifestation of the oppressive Western patriarchy, despite their hypothetical allegiance to their own discipline.
I think that it is no bloody wonder that the faith is declining (and with it, the values of the West, as it fragments) with cowards and mountebanks of the sort who manifested themselves today at the helm.
I wish them the continued decline in relevance over the next few decades that they deeply and profoundly and diligently work toward and deserve.
What was supposed to be a public shaming of Peterson has become an even more public revelation about those doing the shaming. Instead of apologizing or dropping down into a silent hole, as they might have expected, he has simply spoken the truth, without embellishment, but with devastating clarity.

Tom Woods spoke about Peterson’s response on his podcast last week, with admiration. (I recommend listening to the full half hour on this subject.) In the email linking to the podcast, he offers this summary:

Now what is supposed to happen in situations like this is that the aggrieved party accepts being put in his place by the right-thinking elite, and quietly slinks away.
Not Peterson.
And that's part of what makes this dissident voice so important. Not only does his success confound them, but he's also a great fighter. He doesn't sheepishly fold. He calls attention to their shenanigans and rallies his supporters.
We're not supposed to do that, you see. We are supposed to accept the verdict of our alleged betters, like good and obedient losers.
Peterson's vigorous response—not just to the rescission but also to the profoundly juvenile way in which it was announced—guarantees Cambridge internal strife, angry calls from alumni, and a nonstop flurry of attacks.
Balance restored!

Another confounding encounter I enjoyed was an exchange between Michael Knowles and an audience member in the Q&A following a lecture in which he had honored Christopher Columbus. It’s only three minutes, so I've included the whole thing. The social justice warrior believes he has an ironclad attack, and is stunned to find that he doesn’t. This final takedown, after answering the question, is balance restoring:

I think that you’re standing on the shoulders of giants, and you think that you’re flying. But you’re not. We are dwarfs standing on the shoulders of that great man, and we spit down on him in our ingratitude. How pathetic!

In this next one, Ben Shapiro answers a question about abortion—specifically on the value of human life. This complete coverage of the issue only takes two minutes. Notice how fully aware he is of the opposition’s arguments.

What is the pattern? How is confounding different from contending?

There’s no hatred toward a person for having an opposing view. In fact, there’s a certain respect built in to the response: if they are given the clear truth, they’ll understand and maybe even reconsider their position.

There’s no coercion—no forcing someone to change their view. There’s no name calling—no claim that anyone with that view is evil simply for holding a different view.

That doesn’t mean the confounding answer won’t offend, or cause anger. Getting offended or angry is up to the other person. But offending is not the purpose; presenting the point of view as clearly and powerfully as possible is the purpose.

There’s an understanding of the opposing view—an ability to express it accurately—showing that full consideration was given before forming this differing opinion.

We’re not talking about defensive strategy. The purpose is not to just bat away the various hits from the opposition; it is to take away the weapon. When you disarm a foe, then there’s a chance for peace.

In our out-of-balance world, we need to give up contending, even when the opposition is contentious, and we must get better at confounding. To disarm, To restore balance. To bring about peace.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Passionate Pastor Rafael Cruz

Pastor Rafael Cruz
speaking at the Cherry Tree Republicans forum

This past Saturday I got to attend a series of speakers on the Constitution and conservative ideas (thanks to the Cherry Tree Republicans). The keynote speaker was Pastor Rafael Cruz, the father of Senator Ted Cruz. I’ve heard him a number of times before, and it’s always an exciting ride.

This was the day after his 80th birthday, so we sang Happy Birthday to him. His energy is almost overwhelming. He’s nowhere near an age at which he might consider slowing down.

He’s not a pastor with a brick-and-mortar church. He travels and speaks. His purpose is to wake up the churches. As he told us,

I talk to pastors all the time, trying to shake them out from staying behind their pulpits, scared to death of not being politically correct. And I tell them, “You need to be biblically correct, not politically correct.” And they give me all kinds of excuses. One of the most common I hear: “Politics is a dirty business. I don’t want any part of it.” I’m sure everybody in this room has heard that, perhaps some of you have even said it. “Politics is a dirty business. I don’t want any part of it.”
You know Proverbs 29:2. It says, When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice. When the wicked rule, people mourn. If the righteous, the people of principle, the people who stand on the Judeo-Christian principles that made America the greatest country on the face of the earth—if those people are not running for office, if those people are not even voting, what’s left? The wicked electing the wicked. And it becomes our fault.

He just returned from a trip to Romania, a mainly atheist country, as the Soviet states were. They need a religious reawakening, so he was talking to pastors there:

Romania only has 17 million people. Yet they have one year with a million abortions.  Now, we have a million abortions a year in America, but we have 330 million people. So they have 20 times more abortions than America. So my main reason to go to Romania was to wake up the church.
In the process of waking up Christians, he talked about the US Constitution, and how exceptional it is. He pointed out,

The average age, the average lifespan of a constitution around the world—you know how much it is? Seventeen years. Our Constitution has lasted over 230 years.
I agree with him; America, with our Constitution, and our foundation on an idea, rather than an ethnicity, is truly exceptional. He wasn’t the only speaker on the Constitution for the day. I arrived halfway through. I missed a Constitution expert, and my Congressman Dan Crenshaw (sorry to have missed him). But former Speaker of the House Tom Delay spoke on what’s in the Constitution as well.

Let’s start with a bit of history from Pastor Cruz:

The Declaration of Independence did not originate with Thomas Jefferson. I count nineteen grievances against King George in the Declaration of Independence. Did you know that each and every one of those grievances were preached in the churches of America for ten years—ten years, the preachers, from the pulpit, calling out King George for the atrocities that the British were perpetrating on the American people?
As a matter of fact, my friend David Barton says that you could consider the Declaration as a series of sermon summaries.
Going on, he took a history tangent, just for fun:

By the way, how many of you know there was a black patriot riding with Paul Revere? His name was Wentworth Cheswill. He was the first African-American to occupy public office in America. And he held nine different posts in public office before the year 1800.
Now Tom [Delay] also talked about people like George Whitfield, and Jonathan Edwards. But you know, along with—   a little bit later there was a black preacher called Harry Hoosier. From Indiana. As a matter of fact, most people in Indiana don’t know why they are called the Hoosiers. Because of a black preacher called, in the early 1800s, the greatest orator in America. See, all of that has been erased from history books.
We lived in Indiana when son Political Sphere was born, for just a couple of years. Loved it there. But he’s right, we didn’t know—and no one around us seemed to know—where the name Hoosiers came from. Now I know.

Returning back to the story of the Constitution, he tells the story about a tough time during the summer of the Constitutional Convention, about four weeks in, when Benjamin Franklin makes an important suggestion. He roughly quotes Franklin here, sometimes paraphrasing him (my transcription will look like it’s all an actual quote, for simplicity):

Anyway, it was falling apart. And it was none other than this so-called Godless Benjamin Franklin that addresses the president of the convention, George Washington. And Franklin says,[i] “Sir, how is it that we have not once called upon the Father of Lights to illuminate our understanding? Or, have we forgotten, when we first started our struggle against Great Britain, how we met in this very chamber every morning for prayer, seeking His protection? Sir, those prayers were graciously answered. Are we to think that we no longer need His assistance? I have lived a long time, and the longer I live, the more sure I am of this truth: that God governs the affairs of men.
“If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His knowledge, is it probable that an empire can be built without His aid? As the holy scriptures tell us, ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain that built it.’ If we proceed to build this endeavor without Him, we will fare no better than the builders of Babel.”
He concluded, and I paraphrase, “I beseech you therefore, that from now henceforth, before we proceed to our deliberations, we meet in this chamber on our knees for prayer, seeking His wisdom and direction.”
They left the Constitutional Convention under the leadership of pastor John Witherspoon, one of the signers of the Declaration. They met together for prayer and fasting. They came back to the Constitutional Convention in a totally different mood. Totally harmony, on their knees, seeking wisdom.
Seven weeks later they gave us the greatest document that has ever been written in history outside of the Bible: the Constitution of the United States of America.
I am convinced without a shadow of a doubt the reason our Constitution has lasted 230 years is because it is a divinely inspired document, because it was born on the knees of the framers. We need to honor our Constitution.
I’m convinced of that as well. I’m used to hearing these words among my church leaders. For example, J. Reuben Clark (for whom the Brigham Young University's law school is named), said, 

My faith teaches me that the Constitution is an inspired document drawn by the hands of men whom God raised up for that very purpose; that God has given His approval of the Government set up under the Constitution “for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles”:[ii] that the constitutional “principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before” the Lord….
So far as my knowledge goes, this is the only government now on the earth to which God has given such an approval. It is His plan for the government of free men.[iii] 
On my way out, Rafael Cruz was standing
at the door, no line, shook my hand
and looked at me like he knew me.
So kind. So I asked for a photo. The
event photographer was nearby and offered
to do that for me. I hope I have this much
energy when I am 80.
Point one is, the Constitution is divinely inspired. Point two is, we should read it and learn what it says. And what it doesn’t say:

Article I Section 8 of the Constitution only has 18 enumerated powers of Congress. If it ain’t there, the federal government’s got no business being involved in it.
You need to read Article I Section 8. The word education—nowhere in Article 1 Section 8. The Department of Education is unconstitutional. Marriage or the family—nowhere in Article 1 Section 8. Supreme Court had no jurisdiction to talk about marriage. But you see, we don’t know the Constitution.
Here’s a rule of thumb he shared with us: “The bigger the federal government, the lesser is your freedom.”

As he puts it,

You know, I must have told my son two dozen times, when he was growing up, when I lost my freedom in Cuba, I had a place to come to. If we lose our freedoms here, where are we going to go? There is no place to go.
If you’re not familiar with his story, he escaped Cuba nearly 60 years ago. He tells this story with a purpose:

One of the greatest things about America is the American dream. Just look at my life. When I came to this country, I didn’t have any money. I couldn’t speak a word of English. But I’ll tell you what; I worked my butt off. I worked full-time, went to school full-time. Got my degree in three and a half years, working in a restaurant 8 hours a day, going to school full-time. Seven years later I owned an oil exploration company. That’s America. And, within one generation I saw my son become a US senator and a candidate for the presidency of the United States. Only in America! Only in America! Only in America!
Rafael Cruz is a high energy speaker. Quintessentially passionate. His purpose is to wake us up, inform us, and motivate us to take action. I don’t think there’s any keeping up with this octogenarian. But I agree with him that the stakes are high. He repeated a warning Reagan quote,

You know, Ronald Reagan once said, “Freedom is not free. Freedom is not passed down from generation to generation in our bloodstream. Every generation has to fight to protect it and defend it. Or we may find ourselves in our later years, talking to our children and our children’s children about what it was like when men were free in America.” I don’t know about you; I’m not willing to have that conversation. And neither should you.
I’m not willing to have that conversation either. This exceptional country, with its exceptional, inspired Constitution, is worth doing what it takes to conserve.

[i] Benjamin Franklin’s prayer speech can be found here:
[ii] The scriptures quote are from Latter-day Saint scripture, the Doctrine & Covenants 101:77, 98:5.
[iii] President J. Reuben Clark, Stand Fast by Our Constitution, pp. 7, 172.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Modern-day Parable

 Sometimes a story is the best way to convey an idea. So, today, let's try a modern-day parable.

A young teen, age 14, goes to her parents and says, “I never want to have children. I need to get a hysterectomy to make sure I never can.”
image from here
The parents are heartsick. Why would their beloved daughter have this strange view? Where had they gone wrong as parents? And will this mean they never even experience the joy of grandchildren? 
And they feel tremendous concern for the daughter’s wellbeing. Are the long-term consequences of such a surgery even known for a woman so young?
They say to her, “Let’s wait on this for a while. You might change your mind. This isn’t something you should decide now, when you’re not even old enough to be ready to have a baby. And there will be other effects, hormonal and physiological, that will affect your overall health.”
“I want it. I want it. I want it! And you can’t stop me. And you have to pay for it!” says their little darling.
Unfortunately, the family lives in a world that doesn’t recognize the right of parents to see to the care and upbringing of their child. Plus, this surrounding milieu has a knee-jerk reaction favoring a philosophy that is pro-sex without consequence. Getting rid of the possibility of procreation suits that agenda.
The girl goes to a counselor at school, who puts her in touch with a doctor willing to do the surgery. When the parents object, this connection of authorities intervenes and takes the girl from the home—for her protection.
The parents are powerless to protect their child. Their insurance refuses to pay, since the surgery is elective, as well as controversial. But the parents nevertheless are forced to pay; the sizable sum is automatically deducted from their bank account.
After the surgery and convalescence, plus a few months, the girl decides she’d rather be at home in her own room than dealing with foster parents. Her heartsick but still loving parents welcome her back home.
She finishes high school. Struggles through college. And then works a series of jobs. She gets close to marriage, but her purposeful choice to never have children gets in the way, multiple times, when she would have liked a more permanent relationship. Temporary relationships with men who want sex without responsibility are plentiful—but strangely unsatisfying.
In her 30s, while friends are marrying and having children, or sharing their angst over the ticking clock of their chance to have a family, she has frequent regrets. She doesn’t feel the same way about things that she did at age 14—although she never admits these regrets to her parents.
She spends the rest of her erstwhile childbearing years taking hormones to make up for the organs that were removed. She ages more quickly than she would have liked. Eventually, she needs additional surgery to handle the displacement caused by the hysterectomy. These are health problems she would not be having, if she hadn’t acted rashly—and if society hadn’t facilitated her rashness—several decades earlier.

To my knowledge, such a scenario hasn’t actually taken place. But our world is showing signs of being that warped. On another issue it is that warped.

If a child, who cannot take a prescription without a parent’s consent, or get ears pierced, or get a tattoo even with consent, decides to be the opposite gender from reality, what sane parent wouldn’t be concerned? 

A sex change means mutilation, disfigurement, and permanent sterility. And sex change does not mean overcoming the gender dysphoria. It doesn’t decrease tendency to suicide. It does nothing real. But it pretends to change the world to go along with a delusion—a delusion that can be treated and often resolves on its own without physiological intervention.

It seems to me that a thoughtful parent would want to get mental healthcare for the child. But the world has made it practically illegal for a therapist to deal with the underlying issues; only positive, enthusiastic affirmation of the erroneous belief is allowed. So the parent can’t turn there.

And authorities are stepping in.

There’s a story from the UK, showing that government has begun taking kids away from parents who don’t want to go along with gender “transitions.” 

Commenting on this situation, blogger Jonathon Van Maren says: 

As the numbers of children identifying as transgender soar, parents have often been left at a loss as children have been swept away by what some experts are referring to as a social contagion. Numbers in the United Kingdom have now risen by over 4,000 percent, prompting a government investigation and urgent warnings from health experts, while the number of young people being referred to the National Health Service for gender reassignment has risen by 1,000 percent. Many parents feel that their child’s struggles may have nothing to do with gender dysphoria, but feel powerless to object as transgenderism is trendy and anything but full-hearted support for hormone treatments and life-altering surgeries is condemned by activists as hateful bigotry.
My guess is that this “trend” will look strange indeed as we look back half a century ahead. Van Maren notes that officials claim the issue is complex, and children aren’t removed simply because they are transgender. But…

You’ll notice that the wording here carefully says that a child being transgender doesn’t get them pulled from the home—but preventing transition could very well do so, especially now that LGBT activists are claiming that anything but vociferous affirmation of the desire to transition is harm.
Another story from the UK tells of parents of a 14-year-old, who temporarily lost custody of their son because they hesitated to support his taking irreversible hormone blockers. They believed his gender dysphoria was related to his Aspergers, and that therapy should be tried first, before irreversible damage could be done.

It is a sign of the craziness of our world that government officials step in—not to protect a child from irreversible damage that deranged parents want to impose, but to overrule caring, protective parents in order to impose the irreversible damage.

Lest you think we’re safe here in America, further in the story, they mention the Texas dad, Jeffrey Younger, of a 6-year-old whose ex-wife is transitioning the son into a girl, against the will of the dad, against the will of the son as expressed to the dad when the mother is absent, and the dad is being threatened with loss of his child if he doesn’t go along. Regardless will be forced to pay for it. 

Younger says,

I want you to imagine having electronic communication with your son on FaceTime, and imagine that your ex-wife has dressed him as a drag queen to talk to you. He has false eyelashes and makeup. His hair has got glitter in it. He’s wearing a dress.
Now imagine how you would feel seeing what I believe is actual sexual abuse—I believe this is not just emotional abuse but is the very, most fundamental form of sexual abuse, tampering with the sexual identity of a vulnerable boy.
Jeffrey Younger at TX State Capitol
screenshot from video
posted on Facebook by Norma Jeter for
Concerned Women for America of Texas
I shouldn’t have to point out this obvious fact, but six-year-old girls do not wear false eyelashes and makeup unless it’s Halloween, or maybe a misguided princess pageant. And these days girls seldom wear dresses, except for church or special occasions. In a typical first grade classroom you might not see any dresses worn as regular daywear. If someone were helping this boy “be” a girl, shouldn’t that be a normal girl in normal girl attire?

I think the father is right; his ex-wife is abusing this child. Getting him away from her, and getting him some therapy to recover from the confusing abuse, would likely lead him to a normal life—most likely as the boy he was born to be.[i]

This dad spoke recently at the Texas State Capitol. His story is heart-wrenching. We’re fighting multiple attacks from SOGI (sexual identity and gender identity)[ii] laws in the current legislative session.

Meanwhile, right here in Houston, the public library recently admitted they had hired a convicted sex offender to read to children—because somebody had an agenda to push transgenderism by having drag queens read to small children. And that agenda was so overridingly important that they failed to do a background check on the multiple drag queens they hired. 

Is there a way to fight the craziness? I’m not sure. But standing up to it is a start.
screenshot from here

In Pennsylvania, a female HS student has filed a lawsuit claiming her rights were violated when she had to suffer a male (transgender) watching her change clothes in the school locker room.

Her attorney, Andrea Shaw, makes this argument:

Opening up restrooms and locker rooms to members of the opposite sex is sexual harassment. Like most forms of sexual harassment, the girls in this school have little power over their situation. The school's only solution for my client was for her to wait outside the locker room until the individual of the opposite sex was finished changing, and then she went in and was late for gym class and also late for her second period class.
The school made the young girl out to be the problem. Shaw adds,

Women have fought long and hard for privacy rights under Title IX, for equality, for equal access in education. And now we are telling these girls that they no longer have a voice. The privacy rights of these girls don’t change based on what a male believes about their gender; their privacy rights belong to them. And it is the school’s duty to protect those girls’ privacy rights.
It seems to be a clash between world views. But only one view is in touch with reality. That’s the one that’s likely to prevail. Truth has an inexorable weight that enforced pretense can’t overcome for long.

[i]  There's a Save James website, here:   
[i] A good piece to understand SOGI laws is “Ten Years of International Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Laws: Lessons Learned” by Daniel Moody:

Monday, March 18, 2019

Batting a Thousand

This is a celebration day—the 1000th post on the Spherical Model blog. 

I want to thank you for coming here and reading what I have to say. Today we’ll cover a little personal history, highlights, and future planning.

Back in 2004 I was homeschooling my kids—a few years into that adventure. I don’t remember the exact context in which it came up, something related to our history lessons. But I was thinking through the idea of political directions. The usual right-left orientation assumes left is communist and the right is fascist. That leaves a balance somewhere in the middle as a desirable goal. People talk about America as center-right.

There are problems with that model. For one, the right and left designations are arbitrary, and refer originally to the seating arrangement of European parliaments. The left—or liberal—side was in favor of more voice of the people, while the right—or conservative—side was in favor of maintaining the monarchy.

I don’t know any conservatives who favor a monarchy in America. And “liberal,” which has etymological roots in freedom, has nothing to do with either communism or fascism—both totalitarian extremes.

And, while we’re at it, can we just say, there’s very little difference between one flavor of totalitarian statist regime and another. Communism uses the power of the state to take away everyone’s freedom; fascism uses the power of the state to take away everyone’s freedom.

I had a short piece by W. Cleon Skousen (author of The 5000-Year Leap) that changed the ends to tyranny as the far left extreme, and anarchy as the far right extreme, with freedom being balanced around the middle.

That makes more sense to me that the other left-right model. But I still had problems with it. It seemed to me that, if you have a society trying to escape anarchy, they would pass through the balanced freedom center long before they would reach the other tyrannical extreme. And they’d look around and say, “This is great! Let’s stay here.” But that isn’t actually very common. What happens more often is that people turn from anarchy to tyranny, directly. Trotsky and others even used that as a plan: create chaos and promise relief, thus talking people into granting more power to the tyrants.

So, as I was mulling this over. And the idea came to me that tyranny and anarchy aren’t the extremes. 
They aren’t even very different. Back in 2014, I wrote a summary description. At this point in the explanation I said this:

Total government control means the state has all the power—the police, the military. The state can do what it wants, and the mere citizen is without any rights except what the state decides to grant.
Anarchy, on the other hand, means that power belongs to whoever is stronger and meaner than the next guy. If you threaten to beat people up (or kill them) if they don’t give you all their belongings, and you’re strong enough to mean it, then you have power. If someone else is stronger or better armed than you are, then you have to yield power to them.
In other words, anarchy, while less organized, is power in the hands of the strongest and best armed—just like a tyrannical government.
So maybe government tyranny and anarchic tyranny are pretty close to the same thing.
All right. So, then what is the actual opposite of tyranny? Freedom. You could use the word liberty. It means there’s just enough government—combined with a great deal of personal responsibility—to allow people to enjoy opportunities, and choices, in the use of their lives.

But what about the difference between statist tyranny and anarchy? That’s real. But it doesn’t seem to be a polar opposite difference. It’s more about who is exerting power. We could look at that side-to-side movement as a difference in interest. Is it local? Is it state (or province, depending on where you live)? Maybe a region? A nation? A group of nations? The entire globe?

That’s basically a neutral difference—unless someone tries to assert control that would be more appropriate for a more local level.

I was thinking this over, and it occurred to me that, with three dimensions, you can describe the polar opposites of tyranny and freedom while also looking at the lateral difference between one level of localization and another. You can see it on a sphere.

Freedom is north, tyranny is south
on the Political Sphere
screenshot from video
The first time I tried drawing this, I used a plastic Easter egg. I even wondered if that was appropriate, because so much of history ends up in the southern, tyranny zone, maybe that should be a larger end of the egg.

Eventually, though, I wanted something larger to show this on, so I painted an old globe all white, and made a way to attach lines on it to delineate an equator and some longitudinal lines. This is what I used when I finally made a video of the explanation.

I think the concept is easiest to see and understand in the political sphere, which I’ve just described. But the same spherical idea can work for economics—with polar opposites of poverty in the south and prosperity in the north. For a while I called these poles controlled economy and free market economy, which accurately describes the differences, but I now prefer describing the different outcomes rather than the rules for getting those outcomes.

Additionally, there’s a social sphere, with polar opposites of savagery in the south and civilization in the north.

The neutral side-to-side movement from local to larger interest works for all three spheres. And, on many issues, you can see how the political, economic, and social spheres interrelate. The Spherical Model makes it easier to show that. A person might believe they can be a fiscal conservative while being a social liberal; but, if they do, they’re really ignoring some basic truths.

This three-dimensional model is slightly more complex than a simple left-right model. But it’s a lot more accurate, and solves so many confusions—particularly related to associating conservatism (as in conserving the US Constitution) with fascism, or anarchic resistance to any government. When you look at the sphere, you can see that fascism and anarchy are both very south, just with different levels of control: anarchy is likely to be local, while fascism is likely to involve a national government. Those are both very far away from the freedom ideas of the Constitution, which are brilliantly designed to protect life, liberty, and property with a very limited government.

I wrote the first description of the Spherical Model in 2004, just for my kids, and eventually some other homeschool teens. In 2010, my daughter started classes at the community college, shortly before she turned 16, and a parent was required to be on campus with her. So I carried my computer along and set up a writing station in the library while she was in class. And that’s where I wrote much of the material that shows up on the website. I got the website up in November of that year, and the following March started this blog.

As with many important ideas, the person who thinks it up feels more like it came through them than from them. The Aha! moment I had when I got this idea still strikes me as a gift from God, providing me understanding that I appreciate, and that I feel obligated to share.

I have a long-term intention of writing a book. Certainly a thousand posts, on top of the website, would indicate there’s enough material. But it’s a matter of choosing what to say, in what order, in the best way to share these ideas for the audience most likely to benefit.

I haven’t yet figured out how to finish a book. After that I’ll need to look at how to get it published, and marketed, so it gets into the hands of people that can use it. I’m slower than I would like. I’m amazed at people with very busy jobs who nevertheless regularly put out books. But, if God gave this to me, He knows my limitations. So I’ll trust Him to get me to a finish line in His own due time.

For readers, if you want to understand the Spherical Model concept enough to use it for organizing your own thoughts, and to share it, I suggest (again) the following:
This is me, Linda Nuttall

·         The Spherical Model website. There’s an intro, then a section for each sphere: political, economic, and social; the social sphere divides Civilization into two sections.

·         The video.
·         Summaries similar to today’s:
o   The Political World Is Round  December 29, 2014
o   Year Two Begins   March 5, 2013 
o   The Basic Principles   January 2, 2017  
·         About the author:
o   Behind the Sphere   October 21, 2013  
o   Anniversary Celebrations   March 2, 2017 
o   About Me   April 2, 2018  
·         Various Best-of Collections:
o   Best of Spherical Model, Part I, Part II, Part III  June 2013
o   Defense of Marriage Collection  July 1, 2013
o   Education Collection  July 24, 2013 
o   More of the Best, Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV  March 2015
o   Sampling the Spherical Model 2018   December 27, 2018  


Thursday, March 14, 2019

Who Is Pulling the Strings?

I’m sharing a video today that I’m not altogether certain about, but it has gotten my attention.

It’s a 25-minute presentation by a commentator named Chris Kohls, on a YouTube channel he calls Mr. Reagan (referring to Pres. Ronald Reagan).
Chris Kohls, Mr. Reagan presesntation
screenshot from here

He asserts that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a puppet, hired through a casting call, who essentially learns her lines but has no ideas of her own. He presents evidence that she’s managed and controlled by her chief of staff (among others), who is part of a group called the Justice Democrats, founded by Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks.

I don’t know Kohls, hadn’t heard of him before seeing a clip on Tuesday’s The News and Why It Matters on The Blaze. (This section is about 18 minutes in; a subscription is required.) But I later saw a link to the longer video, which I’ve included below, at the bottom of this piece.

I looked up Kohls. He’s an actor and commentator. Other commentators have also started as actors; Michael Knowles, on The Daily Wire, for example, so being an actor doesn’t necessarily mean he’s just acting.  But is it possible someone is scripting this for Kohls? I guess that’s possible. It’s also possible that he’s right.

So I also looked up the Justice Democrats. According to Wikipedia:

Justice Democrats is an American progressive political action committee founded on January 23, 2017, by Kyle Kulinski of Secular Talk, Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks, and former leadership from the 2016 Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. Uygur and Kulinski are no longer affiliated with the group.
from Justice Democrats platform page
I took a look at their platform positions on the Justice Democrats website. It’s probably safe to say I’m diametrically opposed to everything they want—or, when they claim to want something I also want, I know you can’t get that result the way they want to get it.

They want:

·         The Green New Deal—i.e., $40 trillion (double the annual GDP) in programs that would devastate the economy, take away our transportation, and lower our standard of living to “equal” poverty.
·         Guaranteed jobs and income, regardless of merit or willingness to produce.
·         Higher taxes—without a way to escape (from which anyone who could would, of course, move away).
·         Free Medicare-style healthcare for all. Paid for by those high taxes that people and companies would leave the country to avoid.
·         Free college and trade school tuition. Paid for by—well, as I said above.
·         Protection of abortion under all conditions—enforcing paying for it through taxes, no matter what.
·         And other “social justice” causes that either have no connection to reality or are purposely intent on imposing tyranny on us all.
·         Oh, and also abolish ICE.
Kohls says Ocasio-Cortez didn’t “run for Congress”; she “was run.” In other words, it wasn’t her idea to run as a candidate for Congress; it was some puppeteers’ idea to run someone in that role—someone they could control and use as a vehicle for their agenda.

The current Justice Democrats director, Alexandra Rojas, says they got 10,000 applicants for the role. Ocasio-Cortez says she wasn’t even the one who put her name in to apply; her brother put her name in.

Kohls says he’s done casting, and he’s been cast in roles. He thinks they did a superb job of casting. Ocasio-Cortez is appealing, attractive, appears to be a “common man” type of representative.

And she’s almost devoid of any ability to think through an issue beyond the talking points. I don’t think she’s stupid; I think she’s ignorant. She doesn’t know what she doesn’t know. But she seems perfectly willing to speak the lines given to her. That’s got to be better for the puppeteers than a politician-with-own-agenda would be.

This explains why Ocasio-Cortez never engages in interviews that pit her against an adversary, or even a serious line of questioning. And she doesn’t debate. Even under these conditions, when she’s pressed beyond her talking points, she blathers.

Saikat Chakrabarti, co-founder Justice Democrats
and chief-of-staff for Rep. Ocasio-Cortez
screenshot from here

I had been thinking she must at least be brilliant at social media. But it turns out those behind her are the experts at that too. Among them are experienced social media manipulators. Saikat Chakrabarti, social media expert for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, who is one of the co-founders of Justice Democrats, is Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff. Supposedly it was her staff that wrote the behemoth Green New Deal legislation--during a weekend in December. Justice Democrats are listed as one of the groups that helped. Kohls says he can't find evidence that Ocasio-Cortez was even in the room during the creation of her flagship legislation.

If it were only about this one district in a very blue area of New York, I wouldn’t give this a second thought. But they’ve been doing this practice in multiple races, targeting mainstream democrats to make them more radical. In 2018 they won three races. That was their first campaign year. They’re playing a long game.

It’s something to watch for. We tend to expect both lies and radicalism from democrats. But this isn’t about fighting candidates, or even politicians who could be voted out. This is about the people hidden behind the scenes, controlling the message, controlling the media messaging, controlling the votes of representatives—and these puppeteers are unelected and unaccountable. If one of their puppets gets voted out, they’ll just cast another for the role.

Imagine the damage these shadow-governors could do with a larger portion of the legislature, or, heaven forbid, the presidency.

People who think you’re seeing a fresh, new face with great new ideas—you’ve been duped.

That was this year. The next question is, how do we keep you from being duped next year? Because the freedom, prosperity, and civilization of all of us depends on you susceptible populists not getting duped.