Chosen Ones: Opal’s Bane

Opal in swamp scaredOpal couldn’t see the snake, but she could hear it, and started  to her feet. “Hello?” She tried to hear the others, but they seemed very far away. Finally, she could hear the hurried pad of Gino’s worn out shoes, and the metallic tramp of Davis’ boots. “Stay, Opal. Don’t fall in trying to get away.” Opal turned her head and tried to hear him better. Caro was the first one there. He hit the snake in the middle, and it hissed and squirmed, but didn’t die.boots

Gino grabbed Opal’s hands and tried to pull her away from the edge, but the snake slipped out from under Caro’s hoe and stuck at her leg. Opal became frightened, and losing her balance, tumbled down into a small patch of thistly branches. As Gino tried to pull her out, Davis and Caro engaged the snake in a deadly game of tag. The seemingly invincible snake skin would not cut under the hoe, or even under Davis’ sword.

Finally, Caro plucked up all of his courage and stomped on the snake. It darted its head snake 2out of the way in time, but Davis thought he found a weakness. “We have to smash its head. That seems to be the only way to kill this awful reptile.” Caro tried to get it to stay still so that Davis could crush it, but he wasn’t fast enough. Finally, Caro slammed his foot directly in its face. The surprised snake didn’t have time to avoid his foot, and was crushed into the ground.

He stomped on it several times before he was sure that it was dead. “Good work, Caro.” Davis said, pushing it into the muck with his hoe. “I’m glad it didn’t bite you.” “So am I.” Caro laughed, but the sharp fangs of the snake had unnerved him. “I figured it didn’t expect me to stick my foot in its mouth. All the same, I never want to do that again.” “Why didn’t the hide cut, do you think? It was such a strong piece.”

Gino had been helping Opal out of the briar, but he spoke up. “It was one of Nya’s serpents, and like all things of that sort, you must crush their heads. I’m glad that it didn’t bite you, but I can’t say the same about Opal.” The girl’s chin was resting on her chest, and she didn’t move. “It didn’t kill her, did it?” Caro asked, alarmed.

“No.” Gino said, bitterly. “But it has accomplished its purpose. Opal can no longer be our eyes, because she is sleeping. I’m afraid that she won’t wake up…ever.” He sat down and buried his head in his arms. Promise, who had been helping with the snake by snarling and barking, came over and licked his head. Puss scampered out of her basket and curled up on Opal’s chest, purring. “Poor thing thinks that she’s just sleeping.” Davis remarked sadly, as Caro burst out “Can’t you help her?”

“No!” Gino shouted, starting to his feet angrily. “Why must you all look to me? I am a shepherd, not a doctor, not a warrior, not a pioneer, nothing! I know my sheep and Promise. I’m so tired of you all expecting me to know everything!” “But you are Chosen.” Davis said quietly.

“Well so is Caro. Ask him, if you please, what we are to do. He has about a good of an idea as I.” Gino turned and stomped away, to think by himself: unsure of his emotions. Opal stirred in her sleep and muttered words that no one could understand. Caro glanced at her sadly. Something, almost like the feeling that he had when he buried Julietta, stirred in his heart. He couldn’t take it. Soon Davis was alone with a dog, a cat, and a sleeping girl.

When he realized this, he sat down, scratched Promise behind the ears, and asked “Well, boy, what are we to do now?” Promise wagged his tail slowly and licked his hand.

 

Returning to Drover

Hank #53 is where I found the Drover gets a Job dialogue.

Hank #53 is where I found the Drover gets a Job dialogue.

It’s interesting that one of my first posts was called “The Drover Generation.” Some of you might remember it, and some might not. I would encourage you to go find it with the search engine. But since this is my 101’st post, I thought I should return to Drover for it.

That Drover has been a key literary figure in my teenage life is a bit of an understatement. Sometimes I feel like comparing my brothers and sisters to this chicken-hearted little mutt. And yes, I repent of it. It’s not right. But today I’m not going to talk about Drover.

I’m going to tell you about Drover and Teaspoon.

For an intro, I should tell you about Theater Kids. Theater Kids is a small 2 week camp where kids learn to sing, dance, and act. But the production changed this year. Instead of being a variety show, it’s a play with a real script. Not knowing this, my brother and I schemed a year ago about entering a dialogue called “Drover gets a job.” In it, Drover has a job interview with a blue-heeler named Teaspoon.

The dialogue was hilarious, and I thought that it would be perfect. But when the play was started, I realized that Drover might get pushed around a little. So I made sure to mention it to the writer. She said she thought it would work. Because of this, neither Adam or I tried out for any big parts because we had Teaspoon. Our mistake.

drover y teaspoon

See, we didn’t understand that even though we didn’t change, the play did. It was a first time thing, and it kept getting more and more characters to give everyone a part. As for Adam and I, we became corral leaders for the backstage, and Teaspoon was forgotten.

At first I was bitter. “I don’t want to be a McCoy and a townsperson. I wanted to be Rose, or at least be Drover, and now I’m nothing.” But as the play went on, I began to realize that Teaspoon really wasn’t what the play needed. The play needed people who are used to being teachers and who will always be staying on course. The play needed leaders to help it get moving. If I had done Teaspoon, I might have missed out on that, and it could have been sloppy.

My favorite co-op teacher, Mrs. Dunn, always spoke of a “moral compass” in the stories we read, like Helen Burns in Jane Eyre. The moral compass set the standard for what is good. Instead of a moral compass, I want to be an anchor. I want to show the others what is right, and do it, no matter who forgets. And maybe, if I had been preoccupied on what I thought was best, I might have missed my true place: backstage, behind the scenes, making a difference.

One of my favorite hymns is “God Moves in a Mysterious Way.” I love how the first verse goes

God Moves in a Mysterious Way,

His Wonders to Preform,

He Plants His Footsteps in the Sea

and Rides upon the Storm.

Isn’t that cool? But here’s something that I think is so much stronger.

Ye Feeble Saints Fresh Courage Take,

the Clouds ye so much Dread,

are Big with Mercy and will Burst

in Blessings on your head.

I don’t understand everything, nor am I expected to. God moves in a Mysterious way, but he knows best, just like Mr. Mark and Ms. Janice did about Drover and Teaspoon. I don’t know why only seven people persevered in the Bible Bee, why Grandma had to die, why Joel had a tooth knocked out yesterday, or even what I’m going to be when I grow up. But God knows, and he always does what’s best for me, even when it hurts. There is a Reason, like in that Caedmon’s call song that Dad and I like so much,

He makes all things good,

He makes all things good,

There’s a time to live and a time to die,

A time to wander and to wonder why,

There is a reason.

The Blood of Patriots and Tyrants

"President Abraham Lincoln, signer of the Declaration of Independence and the great general who led the (unknown number) of French colonies against the tyrannical empire of Canada."

“President Abraham Lincoln, signer of the Constitution on July 4th, and the great general who led the seventeen original French colonies against the tyrannical empire of Canada.”

“Time after time mankind is driven against the rocks of the horrid reality of a fallen creation. And time after time mankind must learn the hard lessons of history – the lessons that for some dangerous and awful reason we can’t seem to keep in our collective memory.” – Hilaire Belloc

Of any age group, teenagers and young adults are the least likely to know the correct answers to basic United States history questions – a disturbing trend that threatens not only national identity, but also national well-being.

More than a fifth of American teens do not know which country the thirteen colonies declared independence from in 1776 – 14% think it was France, 5% think it was Canada.

82% of interviewed Lumberton residents do not recognize the name “Millard Fillmore.”

89% could not name the first six U.S. Presidents, in order or out of order.

48% identified Abraham Lincoln as a signer of the Declaration of Independence. (Hint: he was elected President 84 years after 1776.)

26% cannot name the sides that fought in the Civil War – some said it involved Canada, others said Mexico, and some mentioned that it was between West and East.

Evangelist Ray Comfort and political activist Mark Dice are just two examples of interviewers who have asked “the man on the street” elementary questions, like “Who was Adolf Hitler?”

In the age of information, when so much of the world’s history is at our fingertips, when the knowledge and experience of the generations before us are accessible to the masses like never before, how come we don’t know the most basic details about how our nation came to be?

Thomas Jefferson said that the “tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

Millions of Americans gave their lives so that we may live free from the yoke of tyrants and oppressors. Is it even in our place as Americans, living in the freest, most privileged, most prosperous nation on earth, to forget them who gave their lives so we may live ours to the fullest — in freedom and comfort?

Around the globe, hundreds of millions have perished under the very tyrants that selfless patriots have opposed. Dare we forget the millions upon millions of victims who have died as a result of human carelessness, tyranny, and depravity, some of it evils our own ancestors died fighting?

Ultimately, the one death that will matter to the end of time is Christ’s. Our nation has most of all forgotten His undying love, His ultimate sacrifice, and the blood He shed so that we may live in spiritual freedom.

The state of affairs is less than ideal when a people refuses to remember the blood of patriots and refuses to acknowledge the reign of tyrants, but how much worse it is when that people refuses to recognize the blood of Christ.

Knowing and understanding history is essential to maintaining the freedom and prosperity of the United States, and more importantly, Christianity’s unhindered presence here.

Learning the past gives us an identity, a sense of where we have been, where we should go, where we should never go, and where we are now. America has forgotten the consequences of accepting what God hates and spurning what he loves – and yes, there are most tangible consequences.

Samuel Johnson said that “the recollection of the past is only useful by way of provision for the future.”  And as Richard Weaver said, “Those who have no concern for their ancestors will, by simple application of the same rule, have none for their descendants.”

For reasons that exceed earthly bounds and go past the grave, history is important: never forget the blood of patriots and tyrants.

 

Hidden Dangers

Entertainment is a good business to be in right now. Let’s face it: video games are super popular, even among Christian Households. Sure, we cringe when we pass the Walmart video game aisle and see large posters of computer-animated terrorists with huge guns and scarves over their faces. But games based on movies, games that seem harmless, and older games like Mario, Sonic, Zelda, and their respective universes are more allowed.

The problem is, these games are actually made by the same people who make the shoot-em-up games that we’re so leery about. They make the games that mention drugs, alcohol, and other things, but since they stick a name that is unfamiliar to the other games (a nice name like Minecraft might work) it is snuck in.

And yes, I might have just killed the Cat of Bubastes by mentioning Minecraft, and the angry natives might chase me, but my brother thinks that it is worth it. For several months we had been hearing from homeschooling friends about this block-building game. “Oh well, it’s not like it’s bad or anything. You’re just digging around and making stuff.” Ok, Minecraft fans, don’t jump on me, I’ve never played it. But there’s a hidden danger in these ‘harmless’ games, one that makes them even more lethal.

If you think about it, games that look harmless are usually more dangerous than the ones that you know to be wrong. My brother was recently told that Minecraft was bad. Why? Because it is telling you to make your own universe. “What? How is that bad?” Because you’re creating something from nothing. It said that you are the master? Bear with me.

In the book, Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian and Hopeful were on their way to the Celestial city, when they saw a man named Flatterer, who said he knew the way to the Celestial city. They followed this man, who had the appearance of a Shining One, but were unaware of his true nature.

“And as they were thinking about the way, behold a man, black of flesh, but covered with a very light robe, came to them and asked them,  “Why they stood there?” They answered, “They were going to the Celestial City, but knew not which    of these ways to take.” “Follow me!” said the man; “it is thither that I am going.” So they followed him in the way that but now came into the road, which by degrees turned and turned them so from the city that they desired to go to, that in a little time their faces were turned away from it; yet they followed him. But by and by, before they were aware, he led them both within the compass of a net, in which they were both so entangled that they knew not what to do; and with that the white robe fell off the black man’s back: then they saw where they were. Wherefore there they lay crying some time; for they could not get themselves out.”

Later, they were rescued by a true Shining one, who was perplexed with how they had let themselves into that mess. ‘He asked, moreover, “If the shepherds did not bid them beware of the Flatterer?” They answered, “Yes; but we did not imagine,” said they, “that this fine spoken man had been he”.’

It’s said in the Bible that our adversary appears to be an angel of light. It only seems natural that his tricks should seem harmless. In all the stories I have ever read, it is those who seem the fairest that do the most terrible things. It was really Tolkien who summed it up for me. “You have frightened me several times tonight, but never in the way that servants of the Enemy would, or so I imagine.” Frodo said, looking at the Ranger, Aragorn. “I think one of his spies would-well, seem look fairer and feel fouler, if you understand.”

So there it is. It is a very tricky game to play, one that means the difference between victory and defeat.  It’s a crazy and confusing trick, but games that include acting like God, destroying others, or participating in magic don’t help. They’re like parasites that eat away at our defenses. Beware of the things that look fun (or fair) but are truly foul.

 

 

 

Sin and The Scarlet Letter

the scarlet letterA day or so ago I was reading an old book to see how bad it would be when I needed to write a book report on it for literature next year. It was The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and I had heard conflicting reports about it. If you are around High-School age, and you need to read a book that was written before the American Revolution, this could either be a drudge or an enlightenment.

To be honest, I thought that it would be heavy and painful to read. A story about the result of two people’s sin and the secrets that neither would reveal, the hatred of man and the Holiness of God…what could be more painful? Yes, there was no happily ever after. But how could there be? The corruption of sin marred all.

Oh, for a day when we could accept that the world isn’t “And they all lived happily ever after, The End.” The end of The Scarlet Letter proposed a stark contrast to that: it is a Romance where one of the lovers die; it is a tragedy that ends with hope; it is a satire that somehow has no sting. Could you call it Gothic writing: romance, spiritual, horror? Maybe. But under the surface there is a strange light, a light that pierces the muck of the sinners.

Hester Prynne, Chillingsworth and Dimmersdale were all sinners. All were filled with lust, though one’s was not for love or intimacy but for revenge, and one, being the pastor, should have known better. But the forgiveness that was extended from heaven towards the sinners who longed to make retribution for their sin but could not is a lesson for us as well. Romans 3:23 tells us that “All have sinned, and fall short of the Glory of God.” Maybe a passage like this was what tortured the learned priest as he struggled to conceal his sin. But the next verse would give him hope, for if he continued on he would read “and are justified by his grace, as a gift.”

Unfortunately, we are disappointed by stories like this: stories where the ending isn’t what we think is best for the characters. Their plan fails, their boat is sunk, or one dies. But the wonderful Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ shines forth in these dark tales. “Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,” says Romans 5:20.

We want everything to be fantasy, fancy-free, happily-ever-after, but it isn’t. The classics, let’s face it, are dark, evil, and painful. Some of them I would say not to read until you are “rooted and grounded in faith” because of their particularly dark nature. But there is one thing that I would like you to see.

Literature is one of the ways our culture shows its need for God. Some works are more pathetic than others, and Hawthorne’s classic is a striking example of sin in a puritan community. Hypocrisy, greed, lust, and worse sins stained the “holiest of the holy” just as they did the Pharisees in the days of Christ. Let us take heed and beware. But one other thing that I want you to see is this: though Hawthorne was not a Christian, he realized his need for salvation, and his characters express that longing for forgiveness and reconciliation throughout the pages of his book. Though he mocks the puritans severely and even makes use of a “Spirit Child” to do so, he seems to say that though he does not agree with them he knows that there is a Diety, somewhere, that he cannot find.

As the sin-stained Puritans started at the scarlet letter, so we chafe against our guilt and desperately try to hide it. But as the characters found, “If we confess our sins, He is Faithful and Just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

 

Amen.

Patriotism: Good or Bad?

 

True patriotism is love of one's country. Its antithesis: love of government.

True patriotism is love of one’s country. Its antithesis: love of government.

 

In 2014, to some the word patriotism carries with it an aura of hero-worship from FDR’s days, a hint of Washington propaganda, and most of all a dangerous – and unfortunately, oftentimes effective – push for unconditional support of the central government’s policy, all in the name of national image and “American exceptionalism.”

The term “patriotism” bothers many libertarians and advocates of smaller government. The Austrian School of Economics is quick to point out the damage done in the name of “patriotism” and national pride; some have even gone so far as to say that love of country is economically detrimental and opens a door for big government.

Essentially, what has come to be known as liberalism – a better name for it is totalitarianism – is in direct conflict with traditional patriotism: a patriot loves his country, a liberal loves his government. There is a difference. One is good, the other is a statist variation.

Muddled terms and blurred lines

It is true: politicians and government-loving interventionists everywhere have hijacked the word that once signified a force holding our government to its constitution. They have used it to the advantage of the traditional patriot’s antithesis, the totalitarian. After a busy century of term-swapping and muddling borders (physical, ideological, and terminological), the left has fostered a misconception that patriotism includes unconditional support of government.

Most libertarians have no issue with national or cultural pride, but any true libertarian (or any conservative-minded citizen) will disagree with unconditional loyalty to all government policies.

For instance, an American disgruntled with Washington may say he is no longer “patriotic” or “proud of my country” when what he really means to say is that he disagrees with Washington’s power-grabbing policies. Occasionally libertarians will claim that patriotism is hurtful to the cause of freedom; quite the opposite.

True textbook-definition patriotism is very helpful, almost essential, to winning and maintaining freedom – if you didn’t love your country, do you think you would really care whether or not future generations had the benefits of liberty? Would you care if there was government oppression? Would you risk your life to tell the government that it was wrong?

Some libertarians have misjudged the importance of American patriotism: while it is not impossible for freedom to come into being without it, it is a powerful motivator that pushes passionate patriots to fight against oppression.

True patriotism, a love of one’s nation, is not love of one’s government. When a person is willing to die for the cause of liberty, that is patriotism, not blind loyalty to government.

In 1776, those in favor of secession from Britain were known as the Patriots – and most definitely not because they supported their government. They did, however, love their people and their freedom.

The Darker Side

Although patriotism is a beautiful thing, it has a darker side when the left contorts its definition. For one, the manner in which politicians will ensnare citizens with the word patriotism; for two, the way that incompatible ideologies like socialism will exploit a love of country and transform it into a sinister, cult-like mob movement; and for three, confusing citizens into accepting short-sighted policies like trade protectionism, claiming that the alternative hurts Americans and America when in reality it’s only a lobbyist-sparked initiative to allow businessmen extra profits and a near-monopoly status.

This is where patriotism can become a bad thing. It’s the side of “patriotism” that has libertarians and small-government activists worried.

Presidents plead with citizens to endorse plans for war, invoking patriotism and promising that national greatness will diminish without it. Lawmakers insist that the true patriot will do his part to support Washington’s next great scheme. Nearly every politician in America is at some time or other forced to admit or lie that they have a scrap of “patriotism” in them just to appease their voter base.

In almost all official definitions, patriotism is defined as a love of country; not a love of government, government policy, or sheep-like loyalty to Washington.

A country is so much more than its government: it is a culture (sometimes many), a way of life, a common cause. Government does not equal a country; it is merely the official political and legal representation of that country’s people (official, maybe, but as is the case in North Korea, certainly not legitimate representation).

Patriotism and support of the government are as different as supporting our troops and endorsing a war. There is a distinct difference.

Totalitarianism and Patriotism

Totalitarianism wants nothing more than to exploit patriotism for a time, to establish an unfaltering obedience and support from citizens.

To accomplish this goal, an ideology naturally opposed to true American patriotism had to appear as if it were patriotic. In the end, the left’s advocates did what they always do: change the meaning of a word and then base a decades-long propaganda campaign on it.

Modern liberalism (to clarify, we are most definitely not referencing classical liberalism) does not really want the best for America, its people, or even the world – it merely wants power. Ultimately, a government powerful enough to control everything about life is the end result of modern liberalism.

American patriotism is national pride and a desire for a people’s and a nation’s well-being, to fend off attackers, enemies, and detractors of that nation.

Liberalism is patriotism’s enemy: it is the attacker and the detractor that wants to bring down what our founding fathers built up.

Modern liberalism’s goal is for America to be defined by government only, to blur the very lines between culture, lifestyle, language, and political issues, to introduce everything into the government’s scope.

Love of Country

It is clear that patriotism is not bad – but its mutant-like variants engineered, exploited, and misconstrued by politicians have a very dark side.

The 1776 patriots weren’t acting out of loyalty for a political institution or government, they were acting for freedom, for themselves and for their people. Unlike what the left would have you believe, a patriot does not agree and accept everything that government tries to cram down his throat.

A patriot loves his country, a liberal loves his government. Love of country sometimes means opposing one’s government. Love of government always means opposing one’s country.

Chosen Ones: Venom

Gino came out from behind the marsh grasses, his dark eyes full of worry. “What’s wrong?” He looked down and took in the scene quickly. “Right, I suppose that would be it. Come, this way. I found another pad. It’s the heat. It’s making everything decay in this area.” He looked at Opal, who was nodding slowly. “Yes. This weather change is Nya’s work. She was quite trying to drown me. If it hadn’t been for our soldier, I and our animals would have drowned.” To back up Opal’s words, Promise grinned and thrashed his tail. Davis half-smiled, but then grabbed hold of a tree branch that broke off in his hands. “I think we can talk later! Shepherd, if you’ve found us a new place, let us get there before the earth dissolves.”

Gino took Opal’s hands and helped her onto the path. Caro jumped on behind them, and Davis and Promise came last. The two Chosen said nothing, but kept their eyes down, as if they were thought-talking. Caro wasn’t sure what it was, but the two had done it often, and it usually worked. “No!” Opal suddenly shouted, breaking the thought-barrier. Gino stopped and searched her face. Her eyes were contracted into tiny slits. “Tis a serpent. I heard it. A wicked snake.” “I saw a snake as well.” Davis volunteered. “Though here that is no surprise.”Opal in darkness

Caro kept quiet. He had never seen a snake, or a serpent, and the talk of them was beginning to get on his nerves, as it had when they spoke of magic. He knew nothing of magic, but Opal’s words haunted him, and he wondered how far Nya had really left the path of the Chosen.

After they came to a nearly identical looking pad, Gino, Davis and Caro went off to fish out the supplies. Contrary to his usual practice, Promise curled up near Opal’s feet and refused to move. Gino looked at him with worry, but went with the others to find the supplies.

Gino and Opal began to make Caro feel strange, though not on purpose. Neither spoke much, but instead began to do things that they had never done before. Gino began shivering uncontrollably, even in the heat, and Opal began to mutter to herself. Confused, Caro and Davis began to talk about what to do.

“They’ve been doing this for days.”  Caro said, sadly. “What are they doing?” “I don’t know.” Davis shivered as well. “Oh, goodness. Now I’m shivering too. It’s something they’re doing, like they’re picking up—radio signals, signals that we can’t read!” He began to think. “Wait! Dawes did that too! His aides sometimes said that he would sit alone and talk to no one.” Gino’s head came up, and he stared at them. “Dawes? Why are you speaking of him?” His voice was quiet, but it trembled as he looked into Davis’ eyes. Davis looked away. “Nothing.” Caro sighed, but Gino didn’t give up. “No, I heard his name. Why are you speaking of Dawes?”

“I mentioned that he seemed to talk to someone, like you and Miss Opal do.” Davis said slowly, not sure of what the reaction would be. Gino closed his eyes again and muttered something that Caro didn’t hear. “You think we are talking, don’t you? Well, you’re right. We do talk this way, maybe because it’s easier. I forget sometimes that it disturbs people. Maybe that’s why the myth that I was insane and Opal a witch had such a market.” Davis looked at Caro, who shrugged.

Gino continued to speak to himself. “Aye. So Dawes is one of the ones behind this. I shoPromise sniffing the airuld have known. That monster seems to want to be Nya’s lackey, by destroying us!” Davis and Caro traded looks and exclaimed “How?” “These snakes. They’ll be back. I can feel them sliding around. They’re creepy, to say the least.” Promise began to bark again, growling at a coiled up form in the muck that was rearing its head at him. “Like that one?” Caro asked, recoiling.

“Aye! And that one is headed towards Opal. Grab that hoe! If this is Nya’s work, which it is, it’s trying to get to her! Hurry!” Gino scrambled to his feet and grabbed a stick, Caro following close behind.

 If you’ve missed any of the Chosen Ones, you can find them in order Here.

The FDA: All About Fads

Widespread dietary issues in the United States don't need to be subjected to more federal interference, but rather, less.

Widespread dietary issues in the United States don’t need to be subjected to more federal interference, but rather, less.

Hundreds of lawsuits, thousands of fuming activists, an entire government administration, dozens of significant Congressional moves, and even proposals to cap the size of sodas have resulted from America’s supposedly offensive eating habits.

 

Advocates of government intervention are all too quick to find a problem (currently the most hyped-up issue is the obesity epidemic) and demand that Washington, D.C. address the situation by throwing money at it, assigning a few Congressional-Chief-of-Staff wannabes to a federal administration, and tossing a couple hundred tactical Barney Fifes in the mix for good measure.

 

After successfully shooting down decent education standards and methods, punishing men and women who chose to risk their lives serving our country, butting into medical matters, squeezing between manufacturers and consumers everywhere, and regulating everything from chemical elements in dish soap to the size of seat belts, it was only natural that the federal government would also insist on meddling in what Americans are and are not allowed to eat.

 

The Left despises almost everything American, and yes – that includes diet.

 

The “obesity epidemic” and the rise of weight-related health problems in the United States is definitely a problem, but Washington bureaucrats aren’t the solution and never will be. Government can only do a few things in any situation: tax, subsidize, ban, ignore, or talk about a given problem.

 

For years now, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has adopted a policy of doing each and every one of those things to different foods, manufacturers, and corporations –it isn’t a game of chance, nor is it a matter of what’s scientifically or nutritionally better for the American people. Everything is decided by lobbyists’ money.

 

Government taxing, subsidizing, or banning a product almost always has a negative effect, but it can get worse. When lobbyists introduce cash and the bureaucrats accept it, the American people end up with a corrupt stronghold of special interests dollars fighting against their best interests.

 

Limited consumer options, wealth redistribution, and high food prices are the best the federal government has to offer; the only true solution to America’s dietary woes – if they can be called woes – is to permanently do away with the middleman between consumers and food: namely, government. Allowing free market forces to prosper is the only solution to the problem.

 

Constitutional Authority: Zilch

 

First and foremost, the federal government has no constitutional authority to interfere with food: the Tenth and Ninth Amendments strictly prohibit it. “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people,” reads the Ninth — meaning that even though there isn’t an amendment specifically regarding federal regulation of food, you still have the right.

The Tenth Amendment is fairly self-explanatory: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” The FDA has no legal right to exist in the United States.

 

Central planners, the only beings that can make adequate food choices.

 

The very concept of central planners – particularly in the area of diet, food choices, and food manufacturing – defies everything that modern liberalism claims to support. Specifically equality, diversity, and justice.

 

If the entire nation (except for the gifted minority running the FDA) is deemed incapable of making its own dietary choices, the left’s “equality” façade becomes apparent. Big government in and of itself assumes that a nation is an institution full of sheep-like citizens so dull they cannot be trusted to make a satisfactory decision about what’s for dinner. Central planners are not the only adequately equipped beings on the planet that can make food choices – although that’s a stretch, because it has yet to be decided if central planners as individuals are capable of making decent dietary choices.

 

The definition of liberty: “the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views.” One’s way of life most definitely does include eating habits. Even from a textbook-defined point of view, the FDA curtails freedoms and intrudes where it’s not welcome.

 

FDA: all about fads

 

Central planners are not only against equality, liberty, and property, they’re corrupt. And they’re government, meaning that they are first in line to accept politically correct standards and fads.

 

The FDA never does promote food safety; it promotes political correctness. In the 60s and 70s, Washington began promoting eating less meat, eggs, and dairy; in the 90s, it began pushing carbohydrates and low-fat options. Currently the government is attempting to promote more vegetables and whole grains.

 

If you sense a flip-flop, maybe that’s because there is one. Knowledge is constantly changing, the scientifically proven and nutritionally ideal diet is always morphing into something new.

 

When it’s considered that what may be assumed as healthy at the moment may actually be tantamount to poison, it makes even less sense to have a central planning organization that bans certain foods and promotes their “safe” and “healthy” alternatives.

 

Barney Fife, revisited

 

barney fifeWhoever thought it was a good idea to give milk regulators machine guns? The FDA is more than a nuisance, it’s a dangerous nuisance. If you start to sell raw cheese or unpasteurized milk, expect a visit from the FDA’s modern-day equivalent of Barney Fife.

 

When government micromanages citizens’ lives, it fosters a police-state mentality. Evidenced by federal sting operations on Amish farms and food co-ops, personal food preference is a crime with the FDA. Importing your food may land you in jail; eating your favorite cheese may be a federal crime; bringing your own lunch to school could be a no-no with stiff consequences.

 

Diet is one of the most personal aspects of life on earth: religion, lifestyle, health problems, preferences, allergies, and price ranges define what a person eats. When government mandates what is allowed and what isn’t, whether raw milk is bad for you or if organic food must be certified, the state eliminates possibilities and violates the inherent rights of mankind.

 

The only solution

 

In the 70s, the FDA’s pet peeve was heart disease; now it’s the obesity epidemic. No matter what the case, the problem could be solved not by more government intervention in what Americans eat, but by less. Fewer regulations means lower food prices; lower food prices means more healthy eating options (for those of us with less grocery money than Michelle Obama has at her disposal).

 

A free market allows you to eat what you want, when you want – but you have to pay, and you have to face the consequences of your decisions.

 

In the end, the lawsuits, fuming activists, and insanely unworkable proposals about banning fast food or GMOs, keeping raw milk illegal, or mandating “nutritious” school lunches is unjustifiable totalitarian baloney.

 

We the People: the relevance of constitutions

The Constitution is at its strongest when "We the People" stand behind it and protect it. At this point, the nation isn't. Where does that leave the conservative movement?

The Constitution is at its strongest when “We the People” stand behind it and protect it. At this point, “We the People” most definitely aren’t. Where does that leave the conservative movement?

“Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties,” Abraham Lincoln once said.

 

Lincoln, perhaps the most unconstitutionally-inclined president in United States history, managed a half-truth in the above quote. While the U.S. Constitution is the best of its kind and probably always will be, it remains a mere piece of paper – an aging piece of paper, at that: signed over two hundred years ago; forgotten altogether by Washington, D.C.; and trampled on by decades of bureaucracy, scandals, corruption, and undue government intervention.

 

If the Constitution was the only safeguard of liberty, the United States would have been a dictatorship ten years into its existence.

 

Unconstitutionality is an undesirable thing in the United States, from a viewpoint favorable to life, liberty, and property, because our Constitution is a critical element in preserving freedom.

 

Disregarding one’s own constitution may be thought of as a bad thing; yet human-rights abominations such as North Korea, Cuba, and China all more or less follow their own constitutions. In every country with a constitution, there will also be constitutionalists – oftentimes individuals that will ideologically deify a document.

 

A communist or a Nazi can be a constitutionalist – it simply depends on which constitution they ideologically adhere to. Constitutions in and of themselves are nothing, in the grand scheme of things.

 

The United States constitution is meant to be a tyranny preventative, but the protection it offers is far from an automatic occurrence. Lincoln was wrong about the exclusivity of the Constitution as safeguard of our liberties:

 

“The strength of the Constitution lies entirely in the determination of each citizen to defend it. Only if every single citizen feels duty bound to do his share in this defense are the constitutional rights secure.” – Albert Einstein

 

Today’s conservatives consistently point to “unconstitutional” goings-on – government activities breaching the legal parameters the Founders left for them – but never bring up another reason why the law or action is wrong. It’s a fatal mistake for the cause of liberty.

 

If the people do not respect the Constitution, neither do the lawmakers; if the lawmakers do not respect the Constitution, it is a powerless legal boundary meaningful only to schoolchildren and tourists, peering at it through several inches of bulletproof glass and layers upon layers of excuses in the National Archives.

 

At this point, “We the People” are miserable failures when it comes to protecting and standing behind our constitution; like Einstein said, public acknowledgment and demand for Constitutional protection of freedom is necessary for the document to remain relevant.

 

Pointing to a document isn’t the worst way to prove a point about the right or wrong nature of something, but it certainly isn’t the best way either. If the Constitution is the only means by which you can define your political thought, what position would you be in if it were drastically amended – or perhaps abolished altogether?

 

ObamaCare isn’t constitutional, but if it were constitutional, does that mean it’s right? A document is a document, after all.

 

Constitutionalism in America is still an honorable thing, and should not be abandoned; but conservatives would do themselves a favor by giving more than just constitutional arguments to support their cause.

 

Documents can change, amendments can happen, and yes, sometimes constitutions can be abolished, but the cause of freedom in and of itself will never change.