Dec

31

Posted by : Brian | On : December 31, 2013

My kids are right in the middle of that stage where they have similar toys, games, stuffed animals, etc.. and always want what the other kid has. This is the “no, I haven’t played with that toy in 3 years, but now that is in your hand, I want it” mentality.

Of course we don’t want to teach our children selfishness, so I guess the right thing to do is to force them to share their toys with the other child. Unfortunately, parents often fail to realize that the child wanting the toy is just as selfish, if not more selfish, than the child that is keeping the toy to herself.

What are we really teaching when we force our children (be it in the home or in the classroom) to share?

To the “unsharer,” it teaches:

1. Hold on to your belongings as tightly as you can until an authority figure tells you otherwise, then begrudgingly give them up.

2. You don’t need to act out of the kindness of your heart, you need to act when others tell you to act.

3. No need to have compassion for others. That is the authority’s job.

To the “wanter,” it teaches: (If this were twitter – #occupywallstreet)

1. You should have what others have.

2. If you’re loud enough – or ask sweetly enough (depending on the parent/teacher) – an authority figure will take from others to give you what you want.

I don’t want my children to learn this. Too many people learn this model as children and it correlates to how they act as adults. Those that have less believe that they can vote to have an authority force those more well off to give them what they want. Those that have more believe that if they have to give of what they have, they should wait until the tax man comes and begrudgingly give it up. Any moral responsibility for others is gone.

I don’t want to raise my children to think that way.

I want my children to think in such a way that they are content with what they have and are happy for those who have more. I want my children to think in such a way that they have the privilege as a Christian, an American citizen, and a fellow human being to willfully and happily give to others.

So girls, you don’t HAVE to share, but it would be nice if you did.

This usually – not always- but usually ends with one sharing with the other. Both remain happy and the sharer has learned and experienced the old adage “sharing is caring.”

Dec

28

Posted by : Brian | On : December 28, 2013

For those that don’t know, or may have bad info due to the rumor mill, my path in life is changing quite drastically soon.

I’ll try to cover as much as I can in the briefest way possible.

Where I’m at now: I’m currently a student at the University of Washington as an active duty Marine in the MECEP program (Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program). The purpose of the program is to send enlisted Marines to college to get their degrees so they can become an officer in the Marine Corps. I was scheduled to graduate and be commissioned in March of this coming year.

During the 2012 elections, I became pretty involved in politics and started to question everything I’ve known about it up to that point. At the beginning of this year, that led me to question America’s involvement overseas, and specifically my role within the armed forces.

As time went on, my conscience began to weigh on me heavily about my personal involvement and I felt like I could not go on to commission and remain in the Marine Corps with a clear conscience. I won’t go into specifics since I am still in.

Anyway, in November I wrote a letter to my Commanding Officer outlining why I could not go on and that I wanted to find a way out if at all possible. I believed that I had three options at that point:

1. Stay in, keep my mouth shut and commission. Do my 6 years, then get out.

2. File for conscientious objector.

3. Disenroll myself from the MECEP program and finish out my current enlistment (ends in May of 2016).

The reason I didn’t choose #1 was because my conscience couldn’t take it. It would be a disservice to the Marine Corps as well as to the Marines that I would be leading. I didn’t choose #2 because I don’t believe I qualify. The Department of Defense states that to file for conscientious objector status, you must be against ALL war, which I am not. So my only real option was to take #3 – a decision that I am pleased with.

That is where I am at right now. I have disenrolled from the MECEP program and I am currently awaiting orders back to my old enlisted job (most likely in North Carolina) and I will spend the next 2-2 1/2 years there until I can get out.

It’s a huge change for us, since we always thought that we would do 20 years in the Marine Corps and retire. It’s a new adventure for us, but we’re excited about the future.

I’m more than happy to discuss specifics, just not here 🙂

Dec

18

Posted by : Brian | On : December 18, 2013

You’re never going to believe this. I actually finished a book.

I know what you’re thinking. “Economics? Sounds….riveting!” Well, no. I don’t think that I could say “riveting” is the right word, but it did keep my attention for the most part.

With my recent decision to leave the Marine Corps at the end of my current enlistment, I’ve been forced to actually look at my future. Crazy, right? I had to go back to the 3rd grade question of “What do you want to be when you grow up?” While being an astronaut still sounds intriguing (If only to say that I walked on the moon), it is clearly not my passion. If you know me at all, you know I’m passionate about politics.

If you could wait on the public trial and hanging, that’d be great.

That passion I have leads me to believe that I have a future in politics, so I plan to run for office upon departing the military. I still have 2 1/2 years to go, which may seem like a long time, but it is a relatively short time to prepare myself to run for an elected position. These 2 1/2 years will mostly be spent nailing down principles that I believe to be important for our state and/or country.

Two areas of politics that I am admittedly poor in (for now) are economics and international affairs. Now is the time to fix that – hence the reading of this book. It also ties in nicely with the theme of this blog – apathetic no longer.

Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt covers the very basics of economics and dispels many of the current myths and beliefs of economists and politicians today. The opening sentence in the preface is “This book is an analysis of economic fallacies that are at last so prevalent that they have almost become a new orthodoxy.”

Some of the topics Hazlitt covers:
The Broken Window Fallacy
Government Price-Fixing
Minimum Wage Laws Also here and here.
Rent Control
Unions
Inflation
Much, much more…

The book is very easy to read and is intended for newbie economists such as myself. I would highly recommend this book for every person as a citizen, and you could probably stop there (unless you want to go further, which I will). It is clear and concise enough that will help you understand the danger and harm of feel-good laws that are intended to help those in need. Be an informed citizen and voter!

Best of all, you don’t even have to buy it. It’s free right here.

 

Dec

07

Posted by : Brian | On : December 7, 2013

Do you label yourself pro-life?

The majority of Americans who vote for the guy with an “R” next to his name would probably answer yes to this question, but that’s also assuming that “life” only refers to the unborn child.
Conservatives are known for being pro-life in the abortion debate – at least when it comes to the ballot box or the comments section at the bottom of a Yahoo! article. Unfortunately, conservatives have joined alongside their liberal counterparts, relying on the government to point everyone’s moral compass to the same direction as their own. The belief that “if we just make a law” will stop the murder of innocent children is as fallacious as believing that the prohibition would stop people from drinking.
(Side note: Yesterday in 1933, the 21st amendment was ratified, repealing the 18th amendment – alcohol prohibition within the United States)
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not against creating laws to make abortion illegal. I think the only just laws are the ones that protects a person’s life, liberty, and property. Murder just so happens to deprive a person of their life. If the litmus test for a just law is protecting a person’s life, liberty, or property, then a law against abortion is a just law.
But do you think you’re doing enough to end abortion by voting for it?
Consider this quote from, you guessed it…
   “Law reflects the morality of the people. Ultimately, law or no law, it is going to 
    be up to us as parents, as clergy, and as citizens-in the way we raise our 
    children, how we interact and talk with our friends and neighbors, and the 
    good example we give – to bring about changes to our culture toward greater 
    respect for life.”
                                                                                           – Ron Paul
…toward greater respect for life…
This brings me to the actual point of this post and my reason for possibly questioning your pro-life stance. You see, those same Americans that usually vote for the guy with the “R” next to his name, are usually very excited and proud to see the young men and women of this nation march off to another war – to kill. They exalt people like Navy Seal Chris Kyle who is known as the “American Sniper” with over 160 confirmed kills.
“Yay for the people that kill a lot of people – except for the people that kill unborn babies. They’re evil.”
Do we see a disconnect here? The killing of unborn babies is demonized (which it should be) while the rejoicing of killing people in other countries is celebrated? Oh wait, I know. They are fighting against Americans, so their death is justified -which explains why they believe American’s deaths are justified for the sole reason that we are their enemy. Plus, what about the civilians over there that are killed? Maybe we don’t exactly rejoice over their deaths, but we sure don’t care about them.
Can we see why people think the pro-life labeled groups are hypocrites? Channeling Jeff Foxworthy:
If you are against abortion, but for more war – you might be a hypocrite.
If you are against abortion, but celebrate the troops that are used to kill in offensive, interventionist wars – you might be a hypocrite.
If you are against abortion, but vote for candidates that support endless wars – you might be a hypocrite.
If you are against abortion, but couldn’t care less about non-Americans being killed – you might be a hypocrite.
Here’s the bottom line:
 
The pro-life label must mean what it says. Be pro-life. Be for life. Celebrate life. ALL LIFE. Americans or non Americans, black or white, baby or adult. Life is a precious gift from God and should be seen as such. Does the way you live your life reflect your respect for life, or only your ballot?