Monday, October 29, 2012

Quote of the Week - William Lane Craig on the Self-Existence of God

"What we want to say on the basis of this material is that God is a self-existent being. That is to say, all of finite reality depends upon God for its creation, for its present existing, and for its future being. He brings it into existence, he sustains it in being, and it will remain in being so long as he sustains it and conserves it into the future. In other words, all of reality outside of God is shot through with a radical dependence. It is in existence only so long as God creates and sustains its existence. Were he to withdraw his creative power, the universe would be annihilated in a blink of an eye.
If God exists, then why does God exist? What is the cause of God? Once we understand the concept of God as a necessary being, then you can see that this is a question which is, if not meaningless, then at least obtuse. It is sort of asking, “Why is it that all bachelors are unmarried?” Nobody racks his brain trying to figure out why it is that every bachelor you meet is unmarried. Why? Because the very concept of a bachelor is that of an unmarried male. Similarly, the concept of God as the greatest conceivable being is that of a necessary being. Therefore, it is impossible for God not to exist. His non-existence is impossible. God had no beginning, he depends upon nothing, he cannot not exist. Therefore, the question, “Where did God come from?” or “Why does God exist?” simply shows that the person asking the question doesn’t understand the concept of a necessary, self-existent being."

William Lane Craig, Defenders Class, Doctrine of God part 2

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Obama Gets Praise From Collectivists

From Reuters

"CARACAS, Sept 30 (Reuters) - With both presidents facing tight re-election fights, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez gave a surprise endorsement to Barack Obama on Sunday - and said the U.S. leader no doubt felt the same.
"I hope this doesn't harm Obama, but if I was from the United States, I'd vote for Obama," the socialist Chavez said of a man he first reached out to in 2009 but to whom he has since generally been insulting.


"Obama is a good guy ... I think that if Obama was from Barlovento or some Caracas neighborhood, he'd vote for Chavez," the president told state TV, referring to a poor coastal town known for the African roots of its population.
Chavez is one of the world's most strident critics of Washington and his 14 years in office have been characterized by diplomatic spats and insults at the White House." 

From Fox News

"And Russian President Vladimir Putin -- who is back in Moscow's driver's seat after a stint as prime minister -- has said the reelection of Obama could improve political relations between the two countries.

He also reportedly called Obama a “genuine person" who "really wants to change much for the better."

Very interesting. This isn't splitting-the-atom kind of news, but it is interesting and worth knowing. Presidents like Thomas Jefferson, Coolidge, and Reagen doubtfully would have received praise, compliments, and endorsements from collectivists, don't you think? 

What is a collectivist? Socialism, fascism, and communism fall under the political philosophy of collectivism. The Encyclopedia Britannica succinctly describes collectivism as: "...any of several types of social organization in which the individual is seen as being subordinate to a social collectivity such as a state, a nation, a race, or a social class. Collectivism may be contrasted with individualism, in which the rights and interests of the individual are emphasized." and " such movements as socialism, communism, and fascism. The least collectivist of these is social democracy, which seeks to reduce the inequities of unrestrained capitalism by government regulation, redistribution of income, and varying degrees of planning and public ownership. In communist systems collectivism is carried to its furthest extreme, with a minimum of private ownership and a maximum of planned economy."

Collectivists don't like humans being unequal in their talents, abilities, size, and intelligence. They don't like that sports stars make a lot of money because they're talented in sports instead of working 40 plus hours a week in a cubicle for "the man." You hear them say stuff like "Is it fair that football players make as much as money as they do?" I ask, "Are you going to the games? Are you buying his merchandise? Is the stadium taking money out of your account to pay for the expenses?" I usually get a response like, "No! I hate football!" I then reply, "What's it to you then?"

They (collectivists) understand "all men created equal" to mean something like all men being equal materially, in their health, and outcome of happiness instead of all men being equal in their natural rights of life, liberty, and property. The latter means that all men are equal in the state of nature which is a philosophical term for man's natural state. Man in his natural state is free to do as he pleases. He is not subordinate to anyone or anything. He has a natural right to his life, his freedom, and his property. All men are equal in this way. We all have an equal opportunity to pursue our happiness. We are not naturally equal in talents, intellect, health, family, size; the list goes on.

We come together as a society and form a minimalist state to protect our natural rights from those who wish to steal our natural right to property, who wish to enslave us stripping us of our natural right to liberty, and those who wish to murder us thus taking away our natural right to life. The state formed by society to protect our natural rights does not do anything positive like guaranteeing us a job, health care, property, friends, and so on. Some detractors say health care is a protection of our natural right to life. To that I ask, "Well, if the founders meant health care is a protection of your natural right to life, then what about good food? Wouldn't you say good food prolongs your life? Isn't it a requirement for life? If the government must protect our natural right to life with health care I would think good food would be protection, right? What about a good house? Not just a good house, but a mansion like Bill Maher has. Wouldn't that make my life better and protect it more?" It's ridiculous to think so. Government is to punish murderers, thieves, and tyrants, not supply us with things we can get through reliance on our self, friends, and family for in our task of seeking good health.

In short, collectivists seek power in a monstrous state. They like power. They like being thought of as "good" and "for the people" even when their policies do nothing but create poverty, dependency, and minimize the individual. For all their claims of loving diversity, people not getting a fair shot, and so on, they do nothing short of leveling the field of diversity, killing the individual's talents and abilities, making a desert out of a lush, beautiful, diverse, and powerful field of individuals who create a good society. I think it's sad that our president believes in and pursues policies that are shaped and inspired by collectivist philosophy. To have a guy like Chavez say what he did about our President makes me sad. I encourage all politicians to study individualism. If those on the left would only take a look into it, they will see that individualistic policies can not only produce a good society, but also reach liberal goals of peace and social justice. 

The Collectivist Monster 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Quote of the Week - John Locke on Tyranny

"Tis a Mistake to think this Fault [tyranny] is proper only to Monarchies; other Forms of Government are liable to it, as well as that. For where-ever the Power that is put in any hands for the Government of the People, and the Preservation of their Properties, is applied to other ends, and made use of to impoverish, harass, or subdue them to the Arbitrary and Irregular Commands of those that have it: There it presently becomes Tyranny, whether those that thus use it are one or many.”

- John Locke, The Works of John Locke, pg. 214

Monday, October 15, 2012

Quote of the Week - Kierkegaard on Love

Is it an excellence in your love that it can love only the extraordinary, the rare? If it were love’s merit to love the extraordinary, then God would be — if I dare say so — perplexed, for to Him the extraordinary does not exist at all. The merit of being able to love only the extraordinary is therefore more like an accusation, not against the extraordinary nor against love, but against the love which can love only the extraordinary. Perfection in the object is not perfection in the love. Erotic love is determined by the object; friendship is determined by the object; only love of one’s neighbor is determined by love. Therefore genuine love is recognizable by this, that its object is without any of the more definite qualifications of difference, which means that this love is recognizable only by love. 

- Soren Kierkegaard, Works of Love, 1847

Monday, October 8, 2012

Quote of the week - Robert Nozick on the Minimal State and Utopia

Our main conclusions about the state are that a minimal state, limited, to the narrow functions of protection against force, theft, fraud, enforcement of contracts, and so on, is justified, but any more extensive state will violate persons' rights not to be forced to do certain things, and is unjustified; and that the minimal state is inspiring as well as right. 1  

Is not the minimal state, the framework for utopia, an inspiring vision? The minimal state treats us as inviolate individuals, who may not be used in certain ways by others as means or tools or instruments or resources; it treats us as persons having individual right with the dignity this constitutes. Treating us with respect by respecting our rights, it allows us, individually or with whom we please, to choose our life and to realize our ends and our conception of ourselves, insofar as we can, aided by the voluntary cooperation of other individuals possessing the same dignity. How dare any state or group of individuals do more? Or less?

1. Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State, and Utopia, 1974, Preface, p. ix
2. ibid. pg. 333 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Quote of the Week - Allan Bloom on Openness

"There are two kinds of openness, the openness of indifference—promoted with the twin purposes of humbling our intellectual pride and letting us be whatever we want to be, just as long as we don’t want to be knowers—and the openness that invites us to the quest for knowledge and certitude, for which history and the various cultures provide a brilliant array of examples for examination. This second kind of openness encourages the desire that animates and makes interesting every serious student—”I want to know what is good for me, what will make me happy”—while the former stunts that desire. Openness, as currently conceived, is a way of making surrender to whatever is most powerful, or worship of vulgar success, look principled. It is historicism’s ruse to remove all resistance to history, which in our day means public opinion, a day when public opinion already rules."

-Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind, p. 41