Democrats are no longer hypocritical

For a long time, Dems held themselves out as the party of love and compassion.  That was always a stretch. 

After all, it was the Dems who defended slavery against the Republican party of Abraham Lincoln; it was the Dems who were behind racial segregation in the South; it was the Dems who opposed civil rights laws; and it was the Dems who bombed government buildings and attacked policemen during civil unrest in the 60’s.

It was the Dems of the Ku Klux Klan who lynched blacks and occasionally Jews, and persecuted Catholics; it was the Dems who rioted at their own national convention in 1968; and it was the Dems who advocated, and still advocate, unlimited abortion on demand, thereby killing half the black fetuses in the country – about 20 million of them.
It was the Dems who got us into the Vietnam War, resulting in over 58,000 American deaths and over a million other deaths.   

Yet until recently the Dems hypocritically professed to be that party of love and compassion.  Their proof was this: They wanted to give more free stuff to more people.

That has changed.  Yes, the Dems still want to give more free stuff to more people in the hope of buying their votes. But now it’s not out of a sanctimonious show of love and compassion.  It’s instead out of anger. It’s class warfare.

Here’s the wartime propaganda. Those from whom the Dems take (the givers) are portrayed as villains, while those to whom the Dems give (the takers) are portrayed as victims.

In other words, say the Dems, whatever money you want but don’t have is held by someone who stole it from you.  The Dems will steal it back and return it to you, less a hefty commission for their collection efforts, and just for good measure they’ll vilify whomever they steal it back from. If only you’ll vote for them.

Never mind that the top 1 percent already pay 37 percent of federal income taxes, and the top 10 percent pay 69 percent.

This Dem policy of stealing from earners to give to constituencies is bad. It’s dishonest. It’s theft. It spoils the incentives that create wealth for everyone.

But I can’t say it’s hypocritical. Because in this class war the Dems no longer falsely portray themselves as loving and compassionate. They candidly portray themselves as simple mercenaries – as pirates. Hire them, and they’ll raid the shipping lanes for you. They’ll even resort to violence if necessary and, like all good pirates, sometimes just for fun.

Hence, we have thugs like “Antifa” whose idea of justice is to roam our streets looking for people to beat up. And its predecessor “Occupy” which would squat in the parks with excrement and urine as a protest against those who like a safe public square for themselves and their children.

Such groups are not condemned by the Dems, but celebrated. For example, Antifa recently attacked a journalist. He happened to be gay and Vietnamese, but that didn’t generate enough love or compassion among Dems to offset his “wrong” of videotaping Antifa’s violence. He wound up in the hospital.

From the Dems, we heard crickets. Some of their media handmaidens were even worse in suggesting that the journalist got what he deserved

But give Antifa, Occupy and the other Dem activists some credit.  They may be criminals and accessories to criminals, but they’re no longer hypocrites. Their candid position is that people who disagree with them are unworthy of love and compassion. They’re worthy of only censorship, shout-downs and violence.

This isn’t just a far-left phenomena.  The Washington Post recently published a column suggesting that restaurants are justified in rude and abusive behavior to drive out Republican guests. Indeed, numerous Republicans have been refused restaurant service and one was spat upon, all just for being Republicans.

But again, give the Dems credit.  They may be rude, abusive and perhaps unlawful in refusing to serve persons whose political opinions they don’t like, but they’re not hypocritical. Nowadays, they own up to their rudeness, abusiveness and unlawfulness. In fact, they boast of it.

The left counts on the fact that Republicans won’t respond in kind, and they’re mostly right. That’s not the way most Republicans behave, and the Dems know it.   
The notion, for example, of a leading Republican-leaning newspaper, say the Wall Street Journal, suggesting that rude, abusive and unlawful behavior toward Democrats is justified, is ludicrous.

I hope it stays that way, for two reasons. First, we are Republicans and, with a few notable exceptions, we don’t get in the gutter just because that’s where our opponents live.

Second, gutter warfare is not the way to win moderate voters in an election. The Dems are likely to be taught that lesson again in 2020, though I doubt they will learn it.

(Published Julhy 14, 2019 in the Aspen Times at https://www.aspentimes.com/opinion/glenn-beaton-democrats-are-no-longer-hypocritical/)

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In understanding the universe, we’re like dogs playing the shell game

Dogs can’t understand a simple shell game. Try it.

Let the dog watch as you put two cups on the floor. Under one, put a clean toy (not a treat or a dirty toy because the dog can smell them out). As the dog watches, slowly switch the positions of the two cups.

Then ask, “Where’s your toy?”

The dog will choose the wrong cup. That’s simply because the wrong cup is now in the location where he last saw the toy. He’s unable to grasp the fact that when you switched the positions of the cups, you also switched the positions of their contents. Dog brains are limited.

Human brains also are limited. Humans are unable to grasp some concepts, no matter how hard we think, experiment and data-gather. The following examples may fall into that category.

What existed before the universe came into existence 13.8 billion years ago? Almost as a matter of semantics, your answer must be “nothing” because the universe is defined to include everything.

OK, then how did the universe — everything — come into existence out of nothing? That would seem to require an effect without a cause.

Here’s another. Why do things fall? In other words, what is gravity? We can predict the consequences of gravity, at least in conventional time and space, but we don’t have a clue as to what it is.

How did life begin? This is a biggie. Consider first that life happened only once on Earth. We know this because all life is the same at the molecular level, and so scientists agree that it has one common ancestor.

Consider second that there’s no evidence that any extraterrestrial life has ever visited us. In fact, we have zero evidence of life anywhere but Earth, even though we’ve been searching for a couple of generations. As the great physicist Enrico Fermi put it 69 years ago, “Where is everybody?”

And consider third that our best minds using our best laboratories have been unable to create life in a test tube.

Those who say life happens accidentally everywhere in the universe that holds a primordial mud puddle have a lot of explaining to do about these three considerations.

Oh, I know about the Drake Equation where number crunchers put variables into an equation, crunch the numbers and out comes a calculation showing that alien life is all over except, evidently, hereabouts.

But recent work suggests that there may be many more input variables than we thought. Life requires more than a planet at a convenient distance from a suitable star.

It may require such things as a large moon produced by a freak impact with another planet at just the right distance to intercept most collisions with asteroids. Or a planet with a rocky mantle and a moving molten core to produce a magnetic field to block deadly cosmic rays. Or a bizarre biochemical reaction, or other things that may be rare.

As for the variables that are already in the Drake equation, we now know that they can be rationally assigned values that put the number of inhabited planets in the universe at exactly one — Earth. A recent TED show discusses this.

It’s like the old expression in computer programming. GIGO, or garbage in, garbage out. The Drake Equation is only as good as our guesses about the variables in it.

Bear in mind that it’s not unprecedented for events to happen only once. I happened only once, you happened only once and today happens only once. Why is that?

Here’s one last problem that appears incomprehensible to humans. Scientists say some 85% of the universe is unaccounted for. They call it “dark matter.” It’s everywhere but we can’t find any of it. As Fermi might have put it had he lived longer, “Where is everything?”

Some things just seem beyond our grasp. Maybe it’s not a matter of gathering more information or doing more experiments. In the area of fundamental physics — the science that would tell us what we are, who we are and why we are — we’re like dogs defeated at the shell game.

There’s something humbling and liberating about that. Dogs are happy, right?

All this reminds me of Job. After enduring terrible and undeserved misfortune, a puzzled and angry Job demanded an explanation from God. The reply Job received went something like this:

“Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Where were you when I laid the Earth’s foundation? Who marked off its dimensions? On what were its footings set, and who laid its cornerstone while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?” Job 38.

It’s good for us to ask the hard questions. But we can’t complain when our brains are too small to comprehend the answers right in front of us. Like the stars and the angels, we sometimes can only sing together and shout for joy.

(Published June 30, 2019 in the Aspen Times at https://www.aspentimes.com/opinion/glenn-k-beaton-in-understanding-universe-were-like-dogs-playing-shell-game/ )


Aspen lefties mourn Paradise Lost but celebrate Utopia Found

I’m talking about an ice cream parlor. Yes, people who wouldn’t know John Milton from Milton Berle are in hellish agony over the decision by a landlord not to renew the lease on a local ice cream and cookie shop called Paradise Bakery.

The landlord was apparently offered a better deal by a clothing boutique.

This, say the lefties, proves again that capitalism is bad. First, capitalists come for the ice cream parlors and replace them with more profitable clothing boutiques. Next, they’ll come for the clothing boutiques and replace them with more profitable ice cream parlors.

Responding to people’s ever-changing tastes by selling them what they want to buy is just so immoral, huh?

So the social justice warriors are bombarding the newspapers with letters, vilifying the landlord and generally signalling simultaneously their love of self and food.

Enter our old tennis instructor cum new mayor who’s never met a problem too trivial for a ham-handed government solution. He demanded a meeting with the evil landlord. This is how things work in the socialist utopia of Aspen these days.

The mayor is probably but not necessarily smart enough not to explicitly threaten to sentence all the landlord’s pending building permits to an eternity in purgatory. So the lesson to the landlord will instead go something like this: “We Aspen progressives oppose this clothing boutique, except those to whom the boutique caters, who don’t matter because they disagree. We like our ice cream and cookies. If you get in the way of what we like, when we like it and where we like it, then you’re greedy. And greed is just as bad as gluttony. So that would make you just as bad as us.”

Advantage landlord. I don’t think that weak serve from the tennis-instructor mayor will be an ace. But unless the mayor is ready for a court other than his green concrete one, that’s all he’s got.

There’s precedent for the town politburo to dictate gastronomy to the serfs. A few years ago, they conditioned a building permit on the developer finding a restaurateur for the basement of the little building that was being permitted. Not just any restaurateur, but one who would agree to a menu and prices controlled by the city.

I ran a contest to name the new commie restaurant. A reader, Paul Menter, won with “Castro’s Corner” while Maurice Emmer suggested menu item “Pol Pot Pie.”

But it never happened. The space sat empty as the developer tried for years to find such a restaurateur. None was interested. Can you believe it? The town eventually quietly canceled the restaurant clause.

I’ll get back to ice cream in a minute.

I realize that the doctrine of these apparatchiks is “the government that governs best governs most.” But really, don’t they have bigger fish to fry?

What about the $3 billion taxpayer-subsidized housing program that is plagued by inefficiency, cheating, cronyism, rundown units and tax evasion — a program whose governing body practically begs to be scooped up for a federal racketeering prosecution by a Trump-appointed U.S. attorney?

OK, back to ice cream. Those in mourning point out that this isn’t just any ice cream shop. It’s at a corner where musicians from the music school play for tips.

I like music as much as ice cream, but have you noticed how many of the music school violinists are Asians? It’s almost like we’re harboring an unwoke music school that’s still hung up on musical merit.

The music school could take a cue from Harvard where Asians are discriminated against because so many are so good that they make the rest of us look bad and, worse, feel bad.

And what’s with playing jingoistic tunes in early July on brass instruments like the trumpet, which is related to imperialistic war machines like the bugle? And they do so with no trigger warnings!

Back to ice cream again. I have a cool suggestion to lick the problem. (You knew I had to say that.)

It’s this. If Aspen so values its socially just desserts (and maybe it does — this place hosts a food and wine bacchanalia every June, something you don’t see much in Venezuela anymore), then the operator of Paradise Bakery could offer his landlord higher rent as an inducement for a renewal of his lease.

The operator could simply pass his higher rent onto his customers in the form of higher prices for ice cream cones. The customers would be delighted to pay a few dimes more for their treats because after all they’re gluttonous, not greedy.

Unless of course this isn’t about ice cream at all, and is really just an excuse to bash business and capitalism. In that case, party on. But don’t expect the grown-ups to take you seriously.

(Published May 19, 2019 in the Aspen Times at https://www.aspentimes.com/opinion/glenn-k-beaton-aspens-lefties-mourn-paradise-lost-but-celebrate-utopia-fou/)

What about the adoption option?

Americans abort over half a million fetuses a year. A single organization with the ironic name of Planned Parenthood prevents parenthood in this way several hundred thousand times a year.

Compared to the rest of the world, our abortion laws are lax. Only about 30% of countries allow abortion simply because a woman wants one. The abortion laws of Finland, Germany, France and several other European countries are more stringent than American law.

Some fetuses survive abortions, and are intentionally killed on the operating table. Hard data on this is difficult to obtain, of course, but in the macabre clinic of abortionist Kermit Gosnell it apparently happened fairly often.

A disproportionate number of aborted fetuses are racial minorities. Nearly as many black fetuses are aborted as are born. Altogether, 19 million black fetuses have been aborted in the United States since Roe v. Wade — about triple the number of Jews murdered in the Holocaust.

Some states are nonetheless liberalizing their abortion laws further. For example, New York recently enacted legislation permitting abortion up to the moment of birth. One gets the impression that this type of legislation is not because there’s a pressing need, but simply to taunt the other side.

Other states are going the other way. They seek to outlaw abortions except under very narrow circumstances (though the law would apply to the performer of the abortion, not to the woman receiving one).

This is all tragic, but here’s the weird thing. While we kill thousands of fetuses a day, couples and singles desperately seeking to adopt and raise a child are on waiting lists extending for years.

Why this disconnect? Why are we slaughtering lives on a genocidal scale, considering making criminals out of doctors and potentially risking the health of women, all while making adoptive parents wait for years?

It’s because today’s politics is not about solving problems. It’s about bashing the other tribe. The reason politicians on both sides do this is because it works. It gets them elected and re-elected. We should blame ourselves for that, and should do something about it.

In the meantime, let’s stop weaponizing babies, criminalizing doctors, endangering women, demonizing men and bashing the other side. This is too important. Lives are at stake.

And let’s put aside the unanswerable questions of theology and philosophy like: “When does a living fetus become a living baby?”

Let’s instead talk about solutions. Here are mine.

First, allow prospective adoptive parents to sponsor pregnant women through their pregnancy. The sponsorship would entail paying for the woman’s medical costs together with a stipend in recognition of the significant hardship of pregnancy and labor.

Drug tests could be a mandatory part of the woman’s medical checkups during the sponsored pregnancy.

Second, make contraception available over the counter without a prescription, including the pill. Republicans recently suggested this, and Planned Parenthood strongly objected.

Third, make kindergarten and day care available at no cost to parents nationwide. We do this for first-graders because it makes us a better society with better citizens. Are pre-kindergartners any less important or less vulnerable?

Finally, limit abortion in the second and third trimesters to cases where the woman’s life is legitimately threatened. When a woman aborts for convenience, it’s reasonable to ask her to make the decision within three months, especially if there’s a real alternative of putting the delivered baby up for adoption by eager parents.

Insofar as abortion is concerned, I’m with Hillary Clinton who said back in 2008 that it should be “safe, legal and rare. And by rare, I mean rare.” (In her 2016 campaign, she deleted all three references to “rare” from her formula in a concession to the abortion lobby, which apparently wants abortion not to be rare.)

I know neither side will like my solutions. One side will say that a fetus is just a blob of cells that can be disposed of whenever and however the woman to whom it is attached dictates.

That argument is just not scientific. Ultrasound images show that a fetus in the later months of pregnancy looks and even acts like a baby, not a blob of cells. Studies show that at least by the third trimester, a fetus feels pain.

Sometimes that side of the debate also contends that as a man I have no right to an opinion on this issue because no fetus has seen fit to attach itself to me.

That argument is just stupid. It’s like saying I have no right to an opinion against animal abuse because I’ve never given birth to a dog. Having an opinion about legal and moral issues of the day is not only my right, but as a citizen it’s my obligation.

The opposite side to the debate may say that ending the life of a living fetus at any stage after fertilization constitutes infanticide. OK, that’s a bright line. But it’s one that produces inhumane outcomes in cases of rape, incest, horrible deformities or disease.

In short, the absolutists and polarizing protagonists will say what their agenda dictates without regard to hard realities.

And so maybe my solutions, disliked by both sides, are good ones. Anybody who thinks abortion is a simple problem that lends itself to simple solutions hasn’t really thought through it.

I welcome other suggestions. We surely can stop performing hundreds of thousands of abortions a year. We surely can stop this slaughter.

Published June 2, 2018 in the Aspen Times at https://www.aspentimes.com/opinion/glenn-k-beaton-what-about-the-adoption-option/)

Should Notre Dame include a mosque?

Just days after Notre Dame was nearly incinerated, wealthy French families pledged close to a billion dollars to restore that magnificent monument to European Christianity — several times the anticipated cost of the restoration.

French secularists who’ve been at war against religion since at least Voltaire were furious. First, the yellow-vested thugs protested that the money would be better spent on them, er, I mean on social justice. And anyway, how dare wealthy families be wealthy, and how dare they remind us of it by parting with some of their wealth, and how dare they do so voluntarily?

Then, even worse, the establishment weighed in. French President Emmanuel Macron declared that the historic Catholic church should be rebuilt “consistent with our modern, diverse nation.”

Architects — a profession devoted to foisting buildings that constitute a form onto a public that wishes their form would honestly follow their function — knew what Macron meant. They promptly suggested adding an Islamic minaret.

Presumably this political correctness will also dictate elements of Protestantism (which, as a Protestant, I suppose I should welcome but don’t), Judaism, Hinduism, paganism and — why not? — Satan worship.

This isn’t because the establishment likes Protestantism, Judaism, Hinduism, paganism or Satan, mind you. It’s because they hate Catholicism. And their hatred of Catholicism isn’t on doctrinal grounds, so don’t take it personally. Someday, if Satan worship wins out over Catholicism, they’ll hate Satan too (though ironically it will then be too late to do them any good).

No, their hatred of Catholicism is simply because they hate real religion and, despite some shortcomings, Catholicism is a real religion. The reason they hate real religion is that it threatens their personal religion of secular socialism.

It’s the same reason that all socialists from Lenin to Pol Pot have hated real religion. In the end, they believe, there can be only one religion. They aim to make it theirs and they intend to be the high priests. They don’t intend to share their authority with God.

So religion has to go. There’s no better way to destroy it than to require believers to acknowledge that their belief is no better or worse than competing beliefs. In other words, demand apostasy.

Surrendering one’s belief is surrendering one’s faith. Religion is thereby reduced to a civic club like the Elks, which frees up room for the religion of secular socialism.

Appropriating the symbols of a faith as a way of defeating it has a long history. Ancient Christians appropriated the pagan Pantheon — one of the remarkable engineering feats of Rome — and made it into the peculiar church it is today.

Christians later built their own remarkable structure, the Haglia Sophia of Constantinople. Perhaps in a case of poetic justice, the Muslims who conquered that city and renamed it Istanbul converted it into a weird mosque.

Both conversions were obscene desecrations. But of course, that was the idea. Just as that is the idea in forcing Catholics to share Notre Dame.

People have monuments to their faith, from the Western Wall to the Taj Mahal. We people of faith may all look the same to secular socialists — like superstitious fools who are blind to the demonstrated, or I should say soon to be demonstrated, glories of Godless socialism — but actually we’re all different.

As always, secular socialists want to make us all the same and equal in the eyes of our overlords. They want to make us all zero.

(Published May 5, 2015 in the Aspen Times at https://www.aspentimes.com/opinion/should-notre-dame-include-a-mosque/)

In an Age of Terror, What is the Responsibility of Islam?

I remember September 11, 2001. Terrorists hijacked civilian airlines and flew them into the two World Trade towers and the Pentagon. A fourth plane crashed into a Pennsylvania field after the hijacked passengers heroically overcame their captors.

Late in the day, our phone rang. It was a friend informing us that four of the passengers on the plane flown into the Pentagon were a couple with whom we were friends and their two young daughters.

At that point, I sat on the stairs, buried my head in my hands, and wept – for my friends and for the other 2,992 dead.

So much has happened since.  Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Boston Marathon massacre. Videos showing men beheaded and women burned alive in cages. Terror in Paris, again and again. It’s horrific savagery committed in the name of Islam.

So are all Muslims terrorists?

No. There are approximately 1.8 billion Muslims in the world – about a quarter of the world population. Even if a million are terrorists (and I’m certain the real number is far fewer) that’s less than one-tenth of one percent.

So is it fair to blame 9/11 on all Muslims?

No. The vast majority of Muslims had nothing whatever to do with 9/11, and were as appalled by it as I was.  In fact, a large percentage of today’s Muslims had not even been born on 9/11. Blaming today’s Muslims for 9/11 is like blaming today’s Germans for the Holocaust.

But….

I posted my sentiments about this on Facebook a few weeks ago, and received over 800 comments.  Many people disagreed with me. A few expressed raw bigotry, and I was forced to unfriend them. But many others were worth considering.

One point they made is that a disproportionate number of modern terror attacks are by Muslims acting in the name of Islam. That’s true. But it doesn’t take a logician to recognize that this point alone doesn’t go far toward indicting Islam. It’s like saying that because nearly all acts of terror are committed by men, nearly all men are terrorists.

Another point made by some is that Islam as a religion advocates violence against non-believers whom it calls “infidels.” That’s also true. The Quran does urge violence against infidels.  But so does the Old Testament, which urges violence by Hebrews against non-Hebrews.

Implicitly acknowledging that there’s been violence in Judaism and Christianity, some of those commenters observed that they have largely put their violence behind them while Islam seems not to have.

Well, yes and no. The fact that well over 99.9% of Muslims are peaceful people suggests that Islam, too, has largely put its violence behind it.

Furthermore, violence and even terrorism are not exactly extinct in Christianity – witness the violent terrorism against civilians in Northern Ireland within my lifetime between two sects of Christianity.

And in India, it’s Muslims who are typically the victims of religious violence, perpetrated mainly by the majority Hindus.

All that said, the data does suggest that today’s backward Muslim countries tend to be more violent. But I submit that the reason is that they are backward, not that they are Muslim. When Christian Europe was a backward society in the Middle Ages conducting pogroms against the Jews, the Muslims in the Middle East were leaders in mathematics.

Here’s the strongest point offered in response to my Facebook post. Peaceful Muslims are often reticent in condemning violence and extremists who engage in it. Many Muslim organizations did condemn 9/11 and other terrorism, and for that they deserve credit.  But too often, they fall silent or issue an equivocal criticism.

For example, a newly elected Muslim congresswoman whom America rescued from violence and starvation in Somalia, and who seems to think that the problem in Washington is that too many legislators owe “allegiance” to the Jews, recently referenced 9/11.  The words she chose were “some people did something.”

That offends me. What happened on 9/11 was not just that “some people did something.”

What happened was that psychopathic Muslims in a perversion of their religion murdered thousands of innocent men, women and children in the bloodiest attack on American soil since the Civil War.

Still, I won’t blame all Muslims for that attack or for one congresswoman’s stupid remark about it. I firmly believe that to do so would dishonor my decent friends who died that day.

That leaves me with the question posed at the outset. What is the responsibility of that congresswoman and other Muslims in today’s world of terror?

It’s this: They need to step up. They need to man up. They need to Allah up. The many decent and devout ones need to distance themselves from – nay, they need to condemn, ostracize and, if necessary, destroy – the few psychopaths.

In short, the responsibility of Muslims is the same as the responsibility of Jews, Christians and all other people of faith and civilized secularists. In the battle against violent bigotry, there’s no middle ground.  You’re either with us or against us.

Be with us. Be our brothers and sisters in our battle for humanity. We want you.

If that’s not reason enough to be with us, then be with us just to be on the winning side.  Because we will indeed win, I promise you.

(Published Apr. 21, 2019 in the Aspen Times at https://www.aspentimes.com/opinion/glenn-k-beaton-in-an-age-of-terror-what-is-the-responsibility-of-islam/)

Barbarians are well past the gate

And it’s probably too late to push them back out. If you disagree, answer me these questions:

What’s up with TV commentators like Rachel Maddow?  For two years, she relished the impending impeachment of the president and built her TV ratings high as an Aspen ski gondola full of Spring Breakers.

When the investigator’s report finally debunked her impeachment fantasy, she fought back tears.

Why? I’m old enough to remember when the determination that a president committed no crimes would be seen as a good thing, not something to cry about.

But that was before cable TV news.  I mean “news.”

Here’s some more questions for you. Continue reading