Monday, August 29, 2011

Look to the right...

I put a donate button on the sidebar, cause my choir is going to sing for the Pope in Italy and it's not cheap. I as a college student have as my first priority my studies, but they aren't cheap either and the Pope is...well, the Pope. So I thought I'd beg any donation that people would be willing to give me. It doesn't have to be a lot.

Just thought I'd ask.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

"Nothing is certain but Death and Taxes" or so the saying goes. I might disagree, but the reality remains. There is death and there are taxes. We try to destroy death by medical means, and this often means, especially in dystopian novels, the killing of undesirables according to the Darwinian idea of "survival of the fittest". We want to reduce or abolish taxes and yet the only way to do this is to make everyone work more. In fact, it is argued that people will have to work more without taxes. I am not an economist and the point of this post is not economical. However, one of the points of the US project was the representation of its people because it was unfair to tax without a say in how it is spent. Now, in an age where the government is not a moral agent, all it becomes is a bank or a marketplace. If we abolish taxes and the government has no control over the money of the people (in any sense), then it ceases even functioning as part of "the market" or a bank at all. A bank can not run without initial investments that keep on coming. If we abolish taxes, then the government is useless for its use is to pay for things that the nation needs. At least since it lost its desire to be a moral agent, an example to the people. Therefore, if we do not have taxes and our representatives are not our examples for how to live, why have representatives at all? And if this is so, why did America start in the first place? Why are we a nation if we just want to destroy the meaning of our system? You say "no taxes"? Fine, but at least you should have a moral example, a public figure, maybe even a king. And since he can not tax, he will not become a dictator or a tyrant. 

My point is that we have lost a sense of the moral example of our elders and the politicians aren't doing it. The celebrities aren't doing it. Have an election for the king, I don't care. But abolish morality and taxes and you abolish the purpose of our system, the representative system. If you are so attached to it, bring back morality and bring back taxes. In other words: Stop trying to destroy death and taxes, they are certain. Without the second, there would be no American Dream. Without the first we would not get to Heaven. But that is topic for another time.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hello, Irene.

As rains and winds and swirling vortexes of doom attack the East Coast, one wonders whether this is really the Promised Land that so many people talked about. Yes, it was the Land of Opportunity for many people who sought asylum for one reason or another, but was it really our Destiny to spread throughout the land and instill in our children the mantra of "sea to shining sea"?

What I'm referring to, of course, is the idea of Manifest Destiny. Now I'm a fan of being exceptional, if America actually. We don't lose out on poverty, we don't lose out on Natural Disasters, terrorist attacks, riots, and stupid politicians. What we do lose out on is something to bring the nation together, to something higher than our lives, something concrete. The only thing we have is tragedies like 9/11 (which, incidentally, should bring us together) but what would be truly exceptional is if we were able to unify while at rest, at peace. Anyone can see a common enemy, how many can see a common friend? Instead we become lazy, complacent and selfish. Even those who have a cause are often not even personally affected by the problem. We have no common pride in the good of our country except some vague notion that we're a cut above the rest, which apparently we're not. We happen to have less poverty than third world countries, and that means we must have done something right if our poor are richer than other nations' poor, but still, how long can we keep it up? We keep insisting that we have the answers, are on the intellectual high ground. That they just don't get it.

I think we have terrible self-esteem issues as a nation.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Do we remember when the French Revolution was going on? Nah, I doubt it, only because there's not one person alive today who was alive then. I believe, however, that our very own Hero of Liberty was a huge fan of the movement known as the French Revolution. It seems we haven't much changed as a nation cause we're all gung-ho about the rebels in Libya taking over most of the city. They've finally gotten the momentum they need to take out the number 4.3 World's Worst Dictator. In the days of the French Revolution, the King was just taken to the guillotine. Nowadays, I guess the expectation is suicide.

I'm just saying, maybe we should stop being It's not like Revolution is an Inherent Good. I mean don't we remember what happened after the French Revolution? I believe the term is "Reign of Terror". We help destroy regimes only to produce a culture of terror, destruction and chaos.

Sometimes, I feel a special closeness to isolationism.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I want to design a church and I want it to get built.

I want to found a cultural center in some city where not only education happens, but also sports, other leisure and the creation of things happens.

I am an idealist, but it has only been in recent decades when idealism was equated with pipe-dream. Probably around the time when the phrase "pipe-dream" was invented.

There was a time when an idealist would tell his ideas to others and they would be inspired to help him attain those ideals. This was often in connection with a building project. Or the establishment of some institution. The University of Notre Dame is one of these. It started as just a couple priests from France with an idea. But it's now a whole huge research university.

But the average joe has forgotten what it's like to need something. Something outside of his own making for himself, or so it seems. I'm not the only one who's noticed.

What we need is for there to truly be specific projects for the people to get behind that come from the community and are created in the community by the community.

I think this could happen.

But then again, I am an idealist.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A new blog from a semi-new friend

Once, when I found myself singing in the Notre Dame Liturgical Choir, I realized that not everyone in the choir was quite normal. Now most members would say "Duh", but here is one example of "unnormalness" that I appreciate from one of my friends from choir.o

To see more from this fine fellow, here is one episode of his vlog, "Pertinent Commentary".

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

While terror reigns in London...

The Royal family is trying to reign in their own way. And their doing a heck of a better job in my opinion than the poor excuses for politicians.

To explain myself, I will link to a story.

Harry is a true King. He may not rule a country. He may not be in direct line to the throne, but he is a noble man who wishes to lead his country with honor and defend his country with his life. William, so it seems, is also noble. They both have active jobs in protection of the British nation. They are in the public eye enough to make it know...inspirational. And that is what a King should do. Inspire the people.

We need inspiration in our country. I wonder when it will come.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Riots and things

In the last year or two, Milwaukee has developed a problem. I would call it the "mob problem" or maybe the "Augustine Syndrome", although that might not be quite accurate. It started, as far as I can remember at Mayfair Mall. The linked story was not, I think, the first riot-like event at Mayfair. Apparently this one was the result of a flash-mob game of freeze tag, or at least that's what was said at first. I'll have more about flash-mobs later. More recently, however, there has been what some might call a rash of incidents after/during the summer festival activities. The first of these was when a group of "youth" entered the Riverwest neighborhood and apparently beat people up and ransacked a BP station on July 4th, right after the Summerfest fireworks. And just this past weekend, on the opening night of the Wisconsin State Fair, a group of youth ran through the Midway attacking people etc.

Here's what one blogger had to say about it.

Some have said that it is racially motivated and a hate crime. Sometimes I have to wonder if some people "just want to watch the world burn" (The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan). This is of course why I called it the Augustine syndrome. Augustine, in his Confessions tells about an incident when he and his friends stole into a neighboring orchard, picked the pears off the trees and just threw them about. He did not want to eat the pears, he just wanted to cause trouble. Of course, Augustine became a saint, so you never know what's going to happen. However, conversion doesn't just happen. Augustine was educated in the best schools and his mother prayed for him constantly. I don't know, sounds like it might help these hooligans.

I really need to get back to that educational theory I'm developing...

On a related note, there was another riot in Tottenham in England. There seems to be a lot of rioting recently, even in so-called democracies. (I know, technically the US and the UK are not democracies.) It brings to mind the ideas of Polybius the Roman historian. His claim is that each form of government has its corrupted form. A monarchy becomes a tyranny, an aristocracy becomes an oligarchy and a democracy becomes mob-rule. Each abuse is solved by instituting the next form of government, or trying to combine them like the US tried to do with minimal success. Anyway, living in a country with an attempt at a mixture of them, we are tempted to think that none of the abuses will happen.

Well, they still do and even worse we really don't see it coming. Another post may be needed to explain how these occur in our system, but these riots and mobs show that the concept of mob-rule is truly just around the corner. And the only way to change that is someone with enough resources to quell the mob and establish a monarchy. It's happened before. Maybe it needs to now.