Beauty and the Beast

Last weekend, Disney released their live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast. Some Christians and “Christians” have decided to forego watching this particular movie due to the controversial decision of the openly gay director to include a “gay moment.” Others have decided to go on a bit of an absurd crusade against the movie and/or Disney for the same reason. But I would like to focus on a third group – Christians and “Christians” who have both failed to distinguish between these groups and who have thrown all sense of decorum out the window in order to castigate their supposed brothers and sisters for having the audacity to choose not to watch a movie.

According to self-described Christian John Pavlovitz, “conservative Christians have crawled out of the church pew woodwork” to opportunistically and self-righteously squash joy and persecute “the LGBTQ community.” He lambastes evangelicals for this, claiming that their support of Donald Trump exposes this as hypocrisy.

Trumping Hypocrisy

Pavlovitz’ statements are not without merit.

Trump’s widespread support among socially conservative blocs is bewildering, given how well Trump exemplifies moral deficiency and crassness. However, this is only true of enthused support for Trump, of which there is admittedly entirely too much.

But not everyone who supported Trump in some fashion is exactly enamored with the man. We must remember that deciding whether or not to watch a particular movie and deciding whether or not to vote for a particular presidential candidate are two very different decisions. The latter is typically a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils. The former is not. Right or wrong, many people voted for Trump because – and only because – they found him in some way preferable to Hillary Clinton. This author’s mother did precisely that. Her reasoning was that the media would generally operate as a propaganda machine under Clinton, but would fulfill its purpose as a government watchdog under Trump.

Therefore, people like this can “support” Trump and abstain from movies which promote homosexuality with clear consciences. Even if they are mistaken. To call them hypocrites is foolish. Only earnest supporters of Trump who should know better deserve that label.

Filming Hypocrisy

Pavolvitz’ article first came to my attention because a friend of mine shared it. This friend also pointed out that various other sins are rampant throughout film and television. This much is obvious. But this friend also reasons (though not in so many words) that we should afford positive portrayals of homosexuality the same acceptance we afford to positive, neutral, and negative portrayals of other sins. This is wrong.

If we assume that homosexual activity is no different from any other sin, then of course we should treat film portrayals of it just as we would portrayals of any other sin. However, in my opinion, any approach to modern media grounded in biblical teachings would result not in greater acceptance of positive portrayals of homosexuality, but in greater rejection of positive portrayals of other sins – particularly those to which we ourselves are susceptible. Glorification of violence, pervasive heterosexual sensuality, and profanity in various forms would all be prime candidates. I, like many, enjoyed the Bourne movies. But it should bother us that we find the violence appealing. It should even bother us if we do not and yet are willing to overlook it for the sake of our own entertainment.

Whatever movies we watch, we should always ask ourselves: is the entertainment value worth giving the creator substantial influence over my mind for two hours?

Clearly, there are other reasons to watch movies than entertainment, but entertainment is the dominant motivator for most consumption of films, particularly Disney films. This is applicable to all forms of media, but none more so than film and television.


Homosexual activity (as contrasted with homosexual attraction) is a sin. But in American discourse, it tends to receive disproportionate attention. There are both good and bad reasons for this.

Homosexuality is a current issue. We live in a time where acceptance in varying forms is rising. Some of this is good and some not so much. But the controversial issues – those topics which people are largely divided on – rightly garner greater attention. It is only fitting that we focus more on the sin of homosexual activity than that of murder, for instance, even though the latter produces much worse results. There is no point in discussing the morality of murder because virtually everyone agrees on that point.

Other reasons are not so reasonable. Among those abstaining from this movie, there are no doubt a great many who have failed to abstain from so many other sins – heterosexual immorality, alcohol abuse, or tax evasion to name a few (not to mention indulging in movies which glorify these things). This may be because they do not view such things as sin, which only shows how little effort they have put into actually learning what it means to be a Christian. Or they may know it, but refuse to deal with it because they enjoy it too much. This camp truly deserves the “hypocrite” label.

But most troubling to this author is a third crowd – those of us who know what constitutes sin and who avoid it for the most part but are unwilling to oppose such practices verbally for any number of reasons which usually boil down to some form of fear. However, by and large, the solution here is to cease the timidity with which we approach other issues and not necessarily to be less firm on this one.

Portrayal Matters

I have hinted at it already, but it bears further explanation. The portrayal of a sin matters in determining whether we should accept it in the media we consume. After all, any faithful adaptation of the Bible would necessarily include depictions of murder, rape, theft, sacrilege, idolatry, prostitution, greed, betrayal, and all manner of things. However, there are two major distinctions to be made.

First, these depictions may be intended to convey some meaning, rather than to titillate. A scene in which Bathsheba enters David’s chambers is all well and good. But an adaptation which shows the full act without restraint would, I think we can agree, cross the line. I don’t profess to know exactly where the line falls, but there is a line.

Second, depictions of sin can be positive, neutral, or negative. That is, they can glorify, merely convey, or condemn the actions they depict. Racism in the original Birth of a Nation (aka The Clansman) is an example of the former. A fair amount of profanity in football and war movies could constitute neutral depictions. Racism in Remember the Titans or Blazing Saddles exemplify the latter.

For this reason, I contend that there is no inconsistency, no hypocrisy in abstaining from Beauty and the Beast while watching, say, Saving Private Ryan.


It is not my intent to convince anyone to avoid Disney or Beauty and the Beast. I myself may watch it if it becomes available on some filtering service. To boycott Disney over a single moment in one movie is somewhat ridiculous; it is typical of the too-common tendency to treat massive organizations as though they are single-minded individuals with no internal diversity or disagreement. As for avoiding the film itself – well, by all accounts, the homosexuality has been overblown in the media. Even so, simply abstaining from the movie is not tantamount to a “boycott,” which usually has some effect on the object of the boycott as the goal.

But more importantly, the idea is not to create a comprehensive list of movies people “can” and “can’t” watch. My points are mainly these:

  1. It is absurd to criticize anyone for merely choosing not to watch a particular movie.
  2. We in America who call ourselves Christians need to seriously rethink both the quality and quantity of entertainment media we consume.

The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

Final Thoughts

In addition to Pavlovitz’ article, I also came across this photo:


This image is rife with inaccuracies, sarcasm notwithstanding, so let me briefly summarize:

  1. The woman falls in love with a person who merely has the form of an animal. Case in point: Beast is intelligent and capable of abstract thought and communication.
  2. The witchcraft is a pretty neutral depiction, and in any case is a mere hand-wave necessary for the plot (rather than some unnecessary add-in due to the director’s worldview).
  3. The depiction of homosexuality is not a neutral depiction merely “acknowledging that gay people exist” but an endorsement of homosexual attraction. We need no more proof than the openly, actively homosexual director describing the scene in question as “deliciously gay.”


  1. 2017-03-28 14:53 EST – Partially rewrote the Conclusions section for greater clarity.

Check Your Privilege

This post is a work of opinion.
Any resemblance to actual ideologies,
logical or nonsensical, is purely coincidental.

The Enemy

Nearly since the dawn of recorded history, one particular demographic has consistently enriched themselves at the expense of all others. They have conquered “lesser” peoples, devised systems of government and economies which dramatically favor themselves. They have repeatedly pillaged and plundered, invading sovereign countries in the name of “colonization” and stealing not only their land and resources, but culture and identity as well. To this day, they deny any sort of widespread privilege afforded their ranks in spite of the efforts that we, the enlightened beneficiaries of higher education, undertake to rebuke their abusive ways.

I speak, of course, of the dreaded Urban Man.


To find proof of the nefarious legacy to which the modern Urban Man is heir, one need look no further than well-known historical events. Well over a thousand years before the Common Era, the Urban Man is said to have sought to commit rapacious sodomy against the guests of his neighbor.[1]

Just after the dawn of the Common Era, the Urban Man’s messiah, himself an itinerant resident of various cities, began appropriating the culture of the oppressed agrarian Jews to further his moralistic propaganda.[2] And his successors continued his urban-centric focus in their ministries, from their Pentecostal launch[3] to their insidious establishment in the greatest political center of the day[4]. To this day, his followers build their power bases in urban centers around the globe. They project this power far and wide, such that their religion has even become dominant among the subjugated rural peoples.

In the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries, the agents of the Urban Man sought out and subjugated new lands. They exterminated populaces with the diseases and weaponry they had perfected in their European urban centers for just this purpose. They took land from the indigenous peoples and, as is ever their desire, founded yet more urban centers upon the new continents. But factions arose within their ranks and the Urban Man of the so-called New World threw off the authority of their European masters.

Never content with their own culture, governments, and lands, these newly independent urban invaders continued the practices of their forebears, even inventing new ways of robbing their victims. Their new government appropriated aspects of the indigenous governments[5]. Over the course of the subsequent centuries, the Urban Man has appropriated the culture[6] and, as ever, the lands of the “lesser” rural peoples.


The bigotry and abuses of Urban Man continue in our own day and age. He has, admittedly, lessened his propensity for theft and slaughter. But his privilege continues unabated in other forms.

It is obvious that political protests inherently favor Urban Man. What victimized agrarian has the resources and time to participate in such actions? And even if he does, how often do such rural protests attract the numbers or media attention of their counterparts in Washington or New York?

While on the subject of the media, it is another area in which the urban privilege shows itself to the extreme. Media groups and corporations almost invariably are headquartered within dense population centers. And they constantly cater to their urban masters. It is obvious to the rational observer that stories regarding the goings-on of vast metropolises dominate the news cycles.

Television and films, of course, also exhibit this bias. If a police drama takes place in an urban city, it will invariably be made to appear exciting and interesting. More rural settings, in contrast, are mostly portrayed as dull and uneventful. And it is worth noting that there remains only one demographic group in modern media which can be widely portrayed as unintelligent, perverse, and utterly undeserving of pity. That group is the rural poor.

This bigoted favoritism is even evident in our own laws and tax codes! The overwhelming majority of government spending benefits the peoples and corporations of cities and towns. To them goes funding for public transit, major thoroughfares, and architectural projects. Even the government funding of ancestrally rural practices such as farming mostly benefits the city-based corporations which own most agricultural land in the modern era.


In light of these egregious violations of Justice, it is imperative that modern society takes several actions to right the wrongs perpetrated by the Urban Man. These are as follows:

  1. Guilt
    Whenever possible, an Urban Man must be subjected to constant reminders of the sins of his progenitors. No amount of reparations or apologies could ever alleviate this guilt, but it must be instilled in him to facilitate other reforms. An Urban Man’s personal guilt or innocence is immaterial. We need only concern ourselves with the actions of the Urban Man of decades and centuries past.
  2. Reparations
    As this deserved guilt works through the ranks of Urban Man, the case can easily be made that his rural victims are owed some reparations for the injustices of the past. But such demands for reparations must always be framed in such a way as to avoid any possibility of the Urban Man fully repaying his debt to society. He must be kept always in a state of guilty shame in perpetuity.
  3. Marginalization
    It is only reasonable to assume that Urban Man will resist these changes. This is easily dealt with. Whenever Urban Man voices disagreement with these progressive virtues, an accusation of Urban Privilege should be sufficient to discredit him and avoid overly-complicated – and boring – tête-à-tête with respect to any arguments raised on his behalf. The simple expression “Check your privilege” should suffice to accomplish this.


Despite the plain truth of the evidence we have put forth, many are unable to see past their urban privilege and conjure all manner of fallacious arguments. Let us address these absurdities.

Some will claim that many an Urban Man is actually quite poor. That he has difficulty finding any way to escape his poverty. This is, of course, patently absurd. The myth of the urban poor has been repeatedly debunked. After all, does not even the lowest of these urban “poor” enjoy many benefits in substantially greater availability than his rural victims? How many agrarians enjoy public water fountains? How many rednecks reside within walking distance of all the necessities of modern life? How many impoverished islanders have readily available Internet access?

Regarding the systemic bias written into our laws and taxes, many of the privileged townies will argue that they receive the bulk of the government benefits because they pay the bulk of the taxes. While this is true, it is utterly immaterial. They clearly are only able afford the bulk of the taxes because of past thefts perpetrated against their rural victims.

Another absurd claim originating within the urban camp is that of denying their own heritage. Many city residents, when confronted with the realities of their own privilege, will claim to be descended partially or even primarily from the historically victimized country folk. They are unable to fathom that their urban status and ancestry is more important than their supposed rural pedigree. Except, of course, if they embrace reality and join us in the fight for Justice. Then, and only then, may they properly identify themselves as heirs of the victims. Indeed, such solidarity absolves even those without rural ties – and even those who falsely claim such ties. These are our allies and must be afforded every privilege in the fight against privilege.

Lacking any rural heritage, a denizen of the depraved city may claim that he enjoys many a personal friendship with the rural folk. He may even have the temerity to claim that these acquaintances oppose the march of progress towards achieving Justice! These claims may be summarily disregarded. Such a man clearly “protests too much.” In the unlikely event that such an injustice-loving rural man does exist, he must be exposed for his class treason. Any metropolitan ancestors must be uncovered through genealogical research and publicized as proof that such a man is no true member of the rural community.

One final ridiculous claim is that much of the rural population is descended from the historically oppressive urban population. Such a fact is merely the product of rape and can be ignored with a clear conscience. These claims regarding cross-breeding lead to the regressive argument that reparations and the placement of blame become hopelessly unfeasible due to the impossibility of distinguishing the heirs of the oppressed from the heirs of the victim. Not so! Distinguishing the former from the latter is as easy as identifying whether or not the rural man is on the right side of history in our quest for Justice.

If any of these counter-arguments fail to convince – or if any other unforeseen argument should surface in one’s fight for Justice – the simple accusation of Urban Privilege is enough to absolve oneself of all burden of proof or obligation to afford the privileged any rights of expression. Anyone who says otherwise is clearly a bigot.


Clearly, this author has no love for the “white privilege” concept or especially for the various ways in which it is used to shut down discussions. That being said – and despite the satirical nature of this post – it is not my intention to say that the concept is 100% without any basis in truth, nor that history does not matter in determining the proper course for the future.

Please take this for what it is – a satirical criticism of the manner in which authoritarians and Social Justice Warriors attempt to shut down their opposition, and some of the arguments they use. Nothing more.


As always, I welcome any criticisms or disagreements in the form of comments, messages, emails, or smoke signals. But be advised that (a) I may ignore or remove profanity or ad hominem attacks, and (b) the First Amendment does not in any way prevent me from doing this.


  1. Genesis 19
  2. Matthew 13:24-30 (among many)
  3. Acts 2
  4. Acts 28:11-31
  5. Iroquois Constitution
  6. Example


  1. 2017-03-03 12:26 EST – Corrected spelling error in History section.

“Women’s” Marches

(This regards the so-called Women’s Marches which took place on 2017-01-21.)

As Christians, we are called to love our neighbor (Matthew 22:39). In this Christian’s mind, this means that we should oppose (in love) the systematic slaughter of 1/6 of our neighbors (2013, source: CDC[1]), including 1/3 of our black neighbors. It means we should avoid giving our approval to any organization or movement which not only defends this practice, but actively celebrates it. (Secular side note: if a practice kills millions of women, it is dishonest to call supporting events “Women’s” anything.)

Similarly, the Bible is very clear on the distinction between a man and a woman. So to engage in activities which celebrate transexualism is also grossly un-biblical. (Secular side note: it is incongruous to call something a “Women’s March” when the supporters have no meaningful definition for the word “woman.”)

There are other examples, but these two are the more egregious incompatibilities between the “Women’s March” and Christianity. They are more than sufficient.

Now some might say that this is not about morals, but about people being free to live their lives how they choose. This is America, after all. Fair enough. That is adequate justification for homosexuals calling their unions “marriage” as long as private citizens aren’t forced to affirm this (etc. etc.). But there are two major problems with this argument.

First, abortion. The victims of abortion are not free to live their lives, thanks to movements, groups and events like these.

Second, these marches are not just about the alphabet soup[2] demographic being free to live their lives. They are about forcing affirmation of these lifestyles on private citizens (excluding the likes of Kim Davis) with serious moral/religious reservations. And, often, they’re about demanding public funds to subsidize these behaviors.

This is what you endorse when you participate in these events. That is not Christ-like.

If you’re not a Christian, fair enough. You certainly shouldn’t be held to a standard you never claimed to adhere to.

But if you call yourself a Christian and think such participation is compatible with that… read your Bible.

(Note: It’s possible someone participating is unaware what it is they are endorsing. Said participation should have been enough to change that. If not, just look for YouTube videos of the speeches given [and watch the total lack of media coverage at next week’s March for Life].)



2. LGB…


As always, I welcome any criticisms or disagreements in the form of comments, messages, emails, or smoke signals. But be advised that (a) I may ignore or remove profanity or ad hominem attacks, and (b) the First Amendment does not in any way prevent me from doing this.


  1. 2017-03-03 09:19 EST – Added Engagement section.

A Gay Gospel

Earlier today, Travis Hoewischer published A Modern Gospel in  cooperation with “Christian rock star” Trey Pearson to facilitate the latter publicly embracing his homosexuality. (Full disclosure: I’ve never heard of either of these guys before.) In the course of the article, a number of criticisms are leveled at the religious establishment. Many are valid, and none seem to contain the sort of vitriol common to this issue. That being said, the importance of substance and reason dwarf style in any controversial discussion. And in the context of Christian lives and doctrine, sound biblical basis is equally important. Christianity with no biblical basis is nonsensical; it does not derive truth from any objective source, and is reduced to meaningless babbling of inconclusive subjective opinions of those who are Christian only in culture and name. So let’s examine this article from that point of view – concerned with biblical teachings and their logical extensions.


But first, let’s get this topic out of the way. It is undoubtedly quickly dominating the thoughts of the reader more powerfully than the Empire at Hoth. Or possibly even Alderaan. Every post on this site has thus far been very political in nature – half the site title is even the name of a political philosophy. But I wish to deviate from your irregularly scheduled programming to ignore politics for once.

Discussion of homosexuality within the context of Christianity is related to, but entirely separate from a discussion of homosexuality-related laws. Christians can and should have a variety of opinions on that subject. I personally am of the opinion that government involvement in marriage (or “marriage”) should be minimal, whether that entails permitting homosexual couples to adopt whatever label they wish or permitting private citizens to abstain from gay weddings. Contrary to what many leftists and ultraconservatives may think, the purpose of Christianity is not to codify Christian beliefs into law. Nor is the purpose of our constitutional republic to arbitrarily enforce some form of morality (or lack thereof).

In any case, it is not the purpose of this post to attack or defend any particular political position or ideology. Rather, I simply wish to look at the moral and religious issue through a biblical, Christian lens to shed light on what someone who identifies as a Christian should believe in this area.

Nature Versus Nurture

Trey claims that he was taught that “sexual orientation [is] a matter of choice.” Perhaps he is misinterpreting what he was told, but we have no reason to doubt his honesty or intelligence, so we should assume this is accurate. Many have debated whether sexual orientation is as much a conscious choice as Android vs. Apple on the one hand, or as biologically determined as hand size on the other… hand. But there are two important points to put this debate in proper perspective.

First, there is a distinction to be made between “choice” and “sum total of experiences.” Few – if any – claim that people choose homosexuality (though oddly many opponents of this assertion claim that people choose their sex). Usually, this is a perversion (by the pro-homosexuality crowd) of the common belief that people become homosexual due to their past experiences, in addition to their (somewhat unrelated) inherent genetic predispositions. For example, childhood sexual abuse tends to yield deviant behavior later in life. That may take the form of promiscuity, general perversions, or basic homosexuality. Or conversely, perhaps some think that a very close relationship with one’s own parent (or even a total lack thereof) may push an individual towards same-sex attraction. There are a variety of hypothesis, and many of them will likely turn out to make no more sense than Waiting for Godot, but the point is that life experiences can influence a person’s lifestyle without them “choosing” anything.

Second, the Bible is silent on the issue. No verse anywhere in the 23,000 verses of the Protestant Bible makes any claim whatsoever regarding the overall source of homosexuality. Romans 1 comes the closest, and it merely identifies homosexuality as the “sinful desires” and “shameful lusts” without one word as to whether that desire is natural or not. It does claim that homosexual relations (that is, activity) is “unnatural,” but this too makes no claim on the origin of the tendency. Also noteworthy is that scientists have yet to discover a “gay gene,” meaning that science has not yet definitively answered the question any more than the Bible has.

In the end, this debate is actually academic. Whether homosexuality is determined at birth, or by life experiences, or is consciously chosen has no more bearing on whether the Bible permits such behavior than whether it is rabbit season or duck season.

Temptation Versus Indulgence

A more crucial point is the biblical distinction between temptation and indulgence. This is a distinction entirely ignored by Travis’ article and Trey’s letter. A man who is attracted to another man’s wife is entirely innocent. It is only when he indulges that attraction – in the form of lustful thoughts or overt physical sins – that the Bible condemns him. The same applies to male-to-male attraction. The Bible never prohibits same-sex attraction, only homosexual activity (Romans 1:24-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9). (Some may claim that the Bible has been changed to add homosexuality to such verses, but the old KJV bans not homosexual activity, but even being effeminate.)

The effects of not understanding this distinction are evident in the article. They create a false dilemma that consists of only two options: completely ignoring homosexual attraction and forcing oneself into an actively heterosexual lifestyle, or fully embracing one’s homosexuality. Needless to say, reality and the Bible allow for a third option – chastity. Indeed, even in the context of heterosexuality, Paul says that it is “good […] to stay unmarried.” Nowhere does the Bible encourage the course Trey initially took – of forcing himself into a marriage devoid of physical attraction. In fact, 1 Corinthians 7 even phrases the permissibility of heterosexual marriage (read: marriage) as a concession, not as a command.

No Christian is biblically required to marry under any circumstances. That Trey chose such a path is clear evidence of a fundamental ignorance or misunderstanding of biblical Christian doctrine. Given the near-total abandonment of the Bible in determining the “modern gospel” in its many forms, it is unsurprising that distortions like this have become commonplace. I don’t doubt that many modern “Christians” have more knowledge of the Jedi Code or the beliefs of various celebrities than they do of God’s word. Apathy leads to apostasy. Apostasy leads to distraction. Distraction… leads to Kardashians.

The (Un)importance of Identity

A consistent theme amongst pro-homosexuality “Christians” in general and this article in particular is the importance of being “true to one’s self.” Putting aside questions of whether or not that is actually what Trey is doing, we can conclude from a combination of reading the Bible and basic literacy that being “true to one’s self” should be utterly unimportant to a Christian. True, we should be honest. We should not hide our characteristics. But there is a big leap of logic from “we should be honest about who we are” to “we should embrace who we are without reservation.”

In fact, being “true to one’s self” is in many ways the exact opposite of what a Christian should be. Jesus said disciples must “deny themselves” daily (Luke 9:23). Time and again “the flesh” is referenced negatively – even being called “the sinful flesh” in Romans 8. That chapter explicitly states that “the mind governed by the flesh is death” (emphasis mine) and “hostile to God”! Put simply, the whole point of being a Christian is to deny our nature; that is, our “identity.” This has apparently never occurred to Travis or Trey.

It is sad – even disheartening – to see someone negatively affected by one combination of confusion and unbiblical teaching jump so quickly and shortsightedly to a different yet equally unbiblical lifestyle. Trey may not be jumping, in the words of Bilbo Baggins, “out of the frying pan and into the fire,” but he is certainly jumping from the kettle into the pot.

Moving Forward

A terminal underdose of Scripture is again evident in Trey’s subsequent actions. Towards the end of the article, Travis quietly and tacitly acknowledges that Trey has divorced his wife (or is planning to). While I agree that Trey should probably never have married the mother of his children in the first place, the Bible is pretty clear on God’s feelings on the matter. “The Lord God of Israel says that He hates divorce.” (Malachi 2:16 NKJV)

Even so, the proper Christian stance in this particular scenario is perhaps a bit murky. Does Trey’s homosexuality mean that the marriage was based on false pretenses and is therefore invalid? Some may make a good case for this, but I personally cannot see how “being true to one’s self” is sufficient reason to subject one’s children to the ordeals of a broken home.


Overall, it is clear that neither Trey nor Travis have made any effort to determine what God desires. The entire article is based on human perception and opinion, without a single relevant reference to the Bible. As is too often the case in modern “Christian” theology, personal desire is all-important, the desires of the Creator irrelevant. Self-denial is outdated, and self-indulgence paramount. As long as that is the approach we take, we will never be Christians, no matter what songs we sing. That is not obeying God’s command, and therefore it is not “loving God.” (1 John 5:3)


As always, I welcome any criticisms or disagreements in the form of comments, messages, emails, or smoke signals. But be advised that (a) I may ignore or remove profanity or ad hominem attacks, and (b) the First Amendment does not in any way prevent me from doing this.

Feel the Bern: Part 3: Social Justice

Social Injustice & Inequality

The second video of the sociopolitical discourse between Killer Mike and Bernie Sanders kicks off with Bernie bemoaning the “outrage” that is the existence of homelessness in America. He is also rightfully upset over the employment status of the African American demographic. The growth of American incarceration is mentioned, as is outsourcing jobs to foreign countries, and tax evasion among the wealthy. He rails against the indifference of business owners towards the national debt, against the greed of the “people on top,” and against America choosing a wealth/poverty system over a equally-and-moderately prosperous system.

Killer Mike, for his part, professes a trust of most old people and criticizes the departure of the American steel industry. He lays this at the feet of the increasing selfishness and greed throughout the country and wonders why people vote against their own self-interest. The video ends in agreement on the dangers posed by creating monarchs of political families.

Homelessness: To Be Or Not To Be?

A major problem in American discourse on homelessness is the variance of definitions. Generally, when a typical American refers to someone as “homeless,” the implication is that they are chronically homeless, in the sense that they have been homeless for a period of years. It also typically implies that they are likely to remain homeless. The problem is that both these characteristics are a tiny, though not insignificant, minority.

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2010 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress (AHAR), approximately 1.59 million Americans were homeless at some point between October of 2009 and September of 2010. Let’s stop right there and note the accomplishment. The 2010 census revealed a US population of 308 million:

Homeless:   1590000
American: 308000000

Even assuming that all of the 2010 homeless were permanently homeless, that means the homeless population accounts for 0.5% of the US population. While we should certainly strive to eliminate this unfortunate phenomenon, a 99.5% success rate is pretty amazing, as I’m sure any grade-schooler expecting a report card would agree.

But that 0.5% can be considered exaggerated, because only 39.1% of that 1.59 million were homeless prior to October of 2009, bringing what might be termed the “homeless problem” down to 0.2%! I do not mean to dismiss the hardships the other 955K people endured, but while homelessness that ends in less than a year[1] is worth addressing, it is not all-important, especially in the face of the yearly million or so abortions and the specter of more US involvement in the Middle East. Nor does it necessitate a massive rethinking of the system.

In any case, the number of chronically (using a fairly liberal definition[2]) homeless individuals – that is, the definition most commonly assumed by typical Americans – was around 124K in 2010. It is worth mentioning how many of the homeless actually choose homelessness due to a gypsy-like love of roaming, a desire for near-total freedom, or even, yes, simple laziness. My parents once took a homeless woman off the streets for several months. They finally made the difficult decision to have her leave after she spent those months watching TV over the Internet in the room she virtually monopolized, all while doing nothing around the house save cleaning dishes on occasion. She did have some mitigating health issues, but the point is that she never exhibited a desire to earn her keep or even express gratitude in any tangible sense.

Hopefully, we can agree that the issue of homelessness is small enough to be considered even by the most ardent statist as falling under the purview of private charity and existing systems.

Black Employment

It is true that the employment situation among African Americans is disproportionately negative. However, it does not necessarily logically follow that this necessitates political action. Given that the United States has elected a black President and that many of the country’s leading executives and business owners are minorities, it is irrational to assume the unemployment issue is a result of systemic racism. And therefore, I find it very likely that it is cultural shifts – not political revolutions – that are required. The idolization of gangsters and the idea that economic success marks one as discredited or even someone who betrays or abandons one’s race must stop. I won’t be so arrogant as to outline goals and plans for the reduction of African American unemployment. There are many people more qualified and in touch with the community than either myself or Bernie Sanders. And many of them are saying the exact things I just wrote.

Wisdom of the Ancients

Killer Mike briefly breaks from politics to express his trust for most of the elderly. It might interest those of similar sentiments to know that the elderly are much more likely than youth to embrace the label of “conservative,” which when coupled with the idea that the elderly possess vast stores of wisdom gives rise to the saying that “a young conservative has no heart, but an old liberal has no brain.”

Steeling Economic Prosperity

Killer Mike cites the flight of the US steel industry as evidence of growing selfishness, completely ignoring the preceding unionization of the steel industry and accompanying rise in costs, the liberalization of China, and other relevant factors. This seems indicative of a common statist practice – ascribing malicious motives to the direct actors of a specific economic event rather than holistically considering all the build-up and convergence of circumstances that propels a system to such an act.

Similarly, Sanders lambastes U.S. business owners for moving jobs overseas, which creates several interesting questions. First, where is the intellectual integrity in demanding higher wages while simultaneously wishing to penalize outsourcing? Second, is Sanders implying that Americans deserve those jobs more than the Chinese or the Indians? If so, how can he claim that his ideology is motivated by a compassion for the poor or a desire for equality? If not, then why is outsourcing a morally negative practice?

The Good Old Days

Mike and Bernie seem in agreement that the United States is becoming more selfish, more greedy, and more self-absorbed. Putting aside the issue that this supposed trend coincides temporally with a rise in policies and legislation in line with Sanders’ plans (increases of government spending, increased welfare, increased taxes, increased regulation), I wish to examine this common failing amongst people of all walks of life and political persuasions. That is, a yearning for the Good Old Days and a belief that people from one time period are fundamentally different than those from some preceding time period. The Good Old Days of business owners supposedly caring more for their employees and being more selfless were also the Bad Old Days of lower standards-of-living, racist legislation, and massive warfare. I am not implying causal links between these things. I am merely attempting to remove the rose-colored glasses with which these two statists are viewing modern history.

What About the Deficit?

Continuing in a similar vein, Sanders attacks business owners for not caring about the national deficit. This is highly irrational and hypocritical. Irrational because, except in the context of voting, it is not truly a business owner’s responsibility to care for the national deficit. That is the responsibility of those who create it, i.e. the government, i.e. Senator Sanders. His attack heavily implies that he believes one should have concern for the deficit. That is an interesting opinion for a man who consistently advocates for increased government spending in almost every category. One may argue that he also endorses corresponding tax increases, but if the government has thus far been unable to balance what it has, it seems unwise to exacerbate the problem by continuously tithing more and more money into the abyss.


A consistent theme throughout the video is the greed of the rich and powerful. But Mike and Bernie seem to espouse a double standard on the definition of greed. According to the Sum Total of Human Knowledge, greed is composed of an

intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food.

Selfish simply means to desire for oneself (without regard for or to the detriment of others). While the wealthy Sanders and successful Killer Mike may not be putting forth ideologies that are selfish from their perspective, it is obvious that they are appealing to the selfishness (and greed) of the voting public (among other – possibly more positive – things). And in this context of satisfying one’s own needs and wants by taxing the properties of others (and justifying it with accusations of excess and greed), we must add envy to the list as well. Sanders is building his campaign on voters’ desire for free healthcare, free food, free education, and free shelter. (That is, sanfreedoms.[3])

In light of this attack on selfishness and greed, it is incongruous that Killer Mike complains that many of the Sanders opposition seem to be voting against their own self-interest. One cannot maintain integrity by both attacking greed and appealing to it.

On a cliché note: Killer Mike and Bernie Sanders claim the country is selfish. Indeed it is, such is the nature of mankind. Free market economies are fueled by and dependent on this selfishness. The leftist ideals these two espouse are dependent on changing this aspect of human nature, of establishing a system fueled by that which we lack in sufficient quantities: selflessness.

Fallacy Time!

It is at this point that Bernie Sanders appeals to a major and all-too-common false dilemma. In his view, the world can be a world of haves and have-nots (the wealthy and the homeless) or a world where everyone is “doing pretty well.” It is inarguable that self-interest creates wealth (through mining, farming, and construction, among others). It is also evident that in the general sense, selflessness merely shares wealth (few have ever obtained or created jobs and goods solely for the purpose of providing for others). Therefore, a system that rewards selfishness will tend to increase in overall wealth, while a system that does not will tend to stay level at best, and will almost certainly decline.

The two options presented are not immediately obvious as a false dilemma until you add in the hidden qualifiers. That is, in Sanders’ view (as stated), the world can be a place of wealth disparity with a given quantity of wealth or a place of relative equality with that same quantity of wealth. In actuality there are several potential systems, and among them are wealth disparity with a world-leading quantity[4] of wealth and wealth equality with a much lesser quantity of wealth as evidenced by Denmark’s[5] $10,000-lower per-capita wealth.

To put it cliché terms, any rational individual would prefer a smaller slice of a larger pie than a perfectly equal slice of an insufficient, shrinking pie.

Together in One Accord

Killer Mike ends the video with apprehension over the potential creation of “monarch” families in American politics, a concern which I share wholeheartedly. He is referring to the potential of Hillary Clinton’s election as the second President in her household. And no doubt Sanders would use a similar argument (correctly and accurately) against a potential Bush dynasty.

I will however, caution that this is not a novel trend. The Kennedys have wielded substantial power over the last fifty years. Two Roosevelts have occupied the White House and the George W. Bush was not the first President Jr. While this concern would have likely prevented me from voting for Jeb Bush had he won the Republican primary, it is not cause for panic or hyperbole.


As always, I welcome any criticisms or disagreements in the form of comments, messages, emails, or smoke signals. But be advised that (a) I may ignore or remove profanity or ad hominem attacks, (b) the First Amendment does not prevent me from doing this, and (c) if you inform me via smoke signal that you are a socialist, I may wonder what a socialite is doing on a political blog.


  1. A conservative assumption, given that AHAR’s homelessness estimate for 2015 is a mere 0.5 million, meaning that homelessness is declining, meaning that those who were newly homeless were not likely to remain so
  2. 1+ years or 4 instances of homelessness in the last 3 years.
  3. See Part 2
  4. As Sanders himself emphasized so thoroughly only one video ago.
  5. It is unfair to single out a particular country (insufficient sample size), but Bernie chose this one, so my intellectual conscience is clear.


  1. 2016-06-02 10:33 EST – Slightly updated definition of selfishness.

Feel the Bern: Part 2: Economic Freedom & Rights

Economic Freedom & Rights

econfreedomThe core of the first video in the interview between rapper Killer Mike and Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is Bernie Sanders’ discourse on freedom and rights. He equates the freedom of speech with a hypothetical right to healthcare, food,[1] shelter,[1] and education. In the form of a rhetorical question, he posits that one is not truly free if one lacks these things. He terms these services and goods as “economic rights” and claims that as the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, America can and should do a far better job of providing these rights. Also included in these rights are employment, a “decent wage” (by which he means a wage that allows you to “make it”). Essentially, he desires to guarantee a minimal standard of living for every American.


One of the roots of Sanders’ disconnect from reality is his concept of freedom. True freedom is defined by the Wise and Benevolent Disseminator of All Knowledge as this:

the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.

While this definition does not quite explicitly capture the distinction, the phrase “without hindrance or restraint” begins to shed light on the difference between true freedom (the right to be free from interference) from Sanders’ pie-in-the-sky freedom (the right to be free of want).

lemonade_girlsThe problem with sanfreedom[2] brings us back to the question of reality. True freedom can easily exist in reality. Say you drop a man on the surface of the moon. Harsh mistress though she is, the man has by default true freedom. No one will interfere with his plans to sell lemonade, to hunt moon fairies, or to vainly suck in nothingness as he inevitably surrenders to the chilling fatal embrace of the endless void.

He does not, however, possess sanfreedom. He has neither food nor healthcare; neither shelter nor additional education. Because Wal-Mart has not as of this writing claimed Luna for all of Buffetdom, there is no one there yet to provide these things. Therein lies the crucial distinction between true freedom and sanfreedom. True freedom is negative – it requires nothing to be done or created. Sanfreedom is positive – it requires things to be produced and performed. Therefore, since these goods and services must be provided, sanfreedom is entirely dependent upon their availability and – crucially – cannot be guaranteed regardless of political rhetoric or legislation. Just as vacuous pop stars come and go with the tide of fandom, so will “economic rights” come and go with the rise and fall of the economic supply-demand equilibrium (read: price).

Furthermore, a right that infringes upon someone else’s right is irrational. A right, by nature, must apply equally to all, otherwise it is a privilege. Since sanfreedoms depend on goods and services which must be produced, any would-be guarantor of sanfreedoms (such as Sanders) must have a mechanism by which to extract these goods and services from the producers. Since the guarantor does not have infinite resources, he, she, or the Brain may be forced to exchange fewer resources than the provider is willing to accept or be forced to exchange under circumstances which the provider is unwilling to accept.

Since the provider may be unwilling and the guarantor must take the provisions regardless, it follows that the guarantor will violate the producer’s true freedom (that is, his right to be free of interference). This is true even if the guarantor is entirely virtuous at heart. Since supply is finite and subject to fluctuations, the guarantor will at some point reach a crossroads where they must either fail in their guarantees of sanfreedoms or violate true freedoms. This is evidenced in the low wages of public educators and the laggardly pace at which government documents are obtained. (Which is not to say that low wages are a foregone conclusion for public educators – trade-offs do exist.)

Therefore, since sanfreedoms require the violation of rights, they cannot logically be considered true freedom.

The Logic Train Breaks Down

train_wreckIt is simple, trivial, and obvious to determine that the invalidity of sanfreedoms invalidates the basis upon which Sanders has built all the ideology he espouses in this video. And, therefore, the justification for his socialist policies of government guarantees must be discarded by any rational observer. This does not automatically prove his policies immoral or illegal, but it does leave them wanting for justification.


This is all not to say that Bernie Sanders’ statements are entirely with out merit. A critical statement of his follows:

bernie_sanders_twitter_profile.jpgYou don’t have food in your stomach. You don’t have a house, roof over your head. If you don’t have any education are you really free?

This is an interesting philosophical statement worthy of some consideration. It is true that the realities of human existence create constraints on our freedom to do as we will. The very nature of things requires us to perform some action (typically work) to produce or procure food, shelter, and all the rest. Therefore, we are not truly free to do as we will. However, since these constraints are imposed by the nature of a finite reality – which trends towards maximum entropy –  they cannot be removed by human policy or ideology.

Therefore, Bernie’s rhetorical question, while relevant, is a non sequitur in the context of supporting government-guaranteed services.


I wish to take a quick moment to note that Bernie’s emphasis on America’s wealth has no bearing on my preceding arguments. Wealth is a factor, of course. Wealthy America might take longer to reach the guarantee-or-bust crossroads than, say, the Central African Republic. But reach it it would, and our wealth would only make the crisis all the more dramatic, just as our depressions and booms are more far-reaching in their effects than those of much smaller economies.


While Bernie Sanders and Killer Mike both seem completely earnest and desirous of helping others in need, the ideals and policies put forth in this video are self-contradictory and defy physical reality. Unless I am very much mistaken, rational people of principle and logic must therefore discard their arguments and seek policies, ideals, or at the least arguments more consistent with physics, scarcity, and internal consistency.


As always, I welcome any criticisms or disagreements in the form of comments, messages, emails, or smoke signals. But be advised that (a) I may ignore or remove profanity or ad hominem attacks, (b) the First Amendment does not prevent me from doing this, and (c) if you inform me via smoke signal that you are a socialist, I may wonder what a socialite is doing on a political blog.


  1. implied; not explicit
  2. sanfreedom – An ancient term I just made up, meaning “freedom from want.” It works equally well as a reference to Bernie Sanders or San Francisco.

Feel the Bern: Part 1: The Interview


Some time ago, a rapper named “Killer Mike” sat down and had a fairly all-encompassing social, economic, and primarily political conversation with Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. I admit it is quite refreshing to see a relatively novel form of political discourse, and the interview has only enhanced my opinion that Sanders is a “true believer” to a greater degree than most politicians. (And it provides a convenient segmentation on which to outline a response.) That said, they say a great many things that may sound nice to the casual observer, but their ideals – while arguably admirable – are simply incompatible with reality.

To illustrate what I mean, I’ll say that every human has  a right to life. However, our society must nonetheless deal with the realities of death in the form of burial arrangements, inheritance laws, and even the simple act of recording history. The human right to life does not obviate the need for various systems to deal with and account for failures to protect that right. We pay not only police officers, but also district attorneys, judges, and coroners because reality does not permit the ideal which we desire.


What I hope to accomplish here is to expose where the sentiments and statements of people like Mike and Bernie conflict with reality, and are therefore untenable. I am Christian, and that will likely have considerable bearing on my train of thought, but I believe these arguments will be apparently accurate to any honest seeker of truth, regardless of political or religious persuasion.

My goal in this series is not to assault Bernie Sanders intent or sincerity and perpetrate an ad hominem attack. I make no claims for or against these qualities; I wish only to discuss his goals and ideas on their own merits.


Killer Mike frequently refers to capitalism, which everyone is familiar with (to paraphrase Ronald Reagan’s definition of “status quo”) as the colloquial term for “America’s dysfunctional system.” I (both generally and in this specific argument) am not intending to defend America’s current system in many respects, and will therefore use the term “free market.” This system is more relevant in any case, as it constitutes the system most securely rooted in personal liberty (i.e. “freedom”), the actual ideological opposite to Sanders’ beloved (democratic) socialism (as opposed to the quasi-opposite system America represents in Killer Mike’s false dichotomy).


As always, I welcome any criticisms or disagreements in the form of comments, messages, emails, or smoke signals. But be advised that (a) I may ignore or remove profanity or ad hominem attacks, (b) the First Amendment does not prevent me from doing this, and (c) if you inform me via smoke signal that you are a socialist, I may – due to the inherent inaccuracies of the medium – wonder what a socialite is doing on a political blog.