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Blinking Lights Hero Helps Save Liberty—Again! | Lawrence W. Reed   Leave a comment

Image result for image of Zofia RomaszewskaEarlier this week after days of mass protests in Poland, President Andrzej Duda vetoed two bills that would have severely compromised the independence of the country’s judiciary, particularly that of the Supreme Court. Duda’s own party had put the measures forth, making his surprising, courageous move all the sweeter for lovers of liberty in Poland. One of them who played a key role in it all is a remarkable woman I first met in 1986 named Sofia Romaszewski (Zofia Romaszewska in Polish).

Source: Blinking Lights Hero Helps Save Liberty—Again! | Lawrence W. Reed

“We asked them to blink their lights and when we then went to the window, all of Warsaw was blinking.”

All of Warsaw Was Blinking

For more than three decades I have shared with audiences around the world a story I first learned from Sofia and her late husband Zbigniew when I secretly spent an evening with them in communist Poland. The two had only recently been released from prison for having run an underground radio during martial law. Its message was anti-communist and pro-freedom. When I asked them in November 1986 how they knew if people were listening and supportive when they were broadcasting, Sofia said, “We asked them to blink their lights and when we then went to the window, all of Warsaw was blinking.”

You can read more about the famous “blinking lights” story here.

Sofia is now 76. Her husband Zbigniew became a member of the Polish parliament when the communists were swept from power in 1989 and served until his death in February 2014. Three friends and I visited them in a free Poland in 2003 and I’ll never forget the kindness they showed us at their summer cottage in the Tatra Mountains near Zakopane, seventeen years after my initial interview of them.

Eternal Vigilance

Sofia was a hero 35 years ago, and she’s a hero again today.

Referring to Sofia by name, the July 25 edition of the Wall Street Journal reported, “The laws, she said, would return Poland to an era when courts took orders from the ruling party, as they did under Communism.” She knows what she’s talking about, from personal experience. Sofia was a hero 35 years ago, and she’s a hero again today. You can see photos and video of her this week with President Duda herehere, and here.

One of several organizations in Poland that FEE collaborates with is a student group called KoLiber, and its president is a good friend, Mikolaj Pisarski. KoLiber was among the first pro-market private groups in the country to issue a statement in defense of the rule of law during the recent controversy that Sofia helped to resolve. By e-mail, Mikolaj offered this comment:

“As Aristotle famously stated in his Politics, “it is more proper that law should govern than anyone of the citizens.” Ironically the party revering “The Law” in its very name wanted to completely ignore this wise advice. The current set of bills “reforming” Common Courts, the National Council of the Judiciary of Poland and the Supreme Court would have effectively centralized all power within hands of the Minister of Justice (who in Polish case is also Prosecutor General).

He would have gained power not only to halt already running terms of office of appointed judges but also would be able to arbitrary nominate judges on all levels of the judiciary system: from Presidents of Common Courts all the way to Supreme Court judges. These proposed laws represented a serious threat to the Rule of Law.

We at KoLiber urged Parliament to reject the bills and then when they passed, we asked the President to veto them. Luckily the President, himself a lawyer and a former member of Law & Justice, mustered the courage to veto two out of the three bills, opening a path towards much needed systemic and thought-through reform of the Polish judiciary. We applaud the President’s vetoes and Zofia Romaszewska for her important role in making them happen!”

Thank you, Sofia, for your life commitment to speaking truth to power! Your courage, your heroism, remains a beacon for us all.

For other articles by Reed on Poland and Polish heroes, see:

Posted August 17, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in Liberty, Uncategorized

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Don’t Let Freedom Lead You Astray   Leave a comment

Sometimes it seems as if the Christian movement is divided between two camps. On one side, you have the Frozen Chosen, who have 157 rules for how you should dress on Sunday and keep track of who is a “sinner”. On the other hand, you have the Freedom in Christ group, who smoke cannabis and have multiple sexual partners and will insist that Christ doesn’t care about any of that.

The truth, according to the apostle Paul is somewhere in the middle. The Frozen Chosen are the Pharisees of our day, but the Freedom in Christ crowd is far off the mark as well.

Everything is lawful,” but not everything is beneficial“Everything is lawful,” but not everything builds others up. 1 Corinthians 10:23

Image result for image of christian fellowship mealYou’ll notice that Paul is using some popular Christian quotes again. We discussed this in an earlier lesson. Bible scholars believe these were sayings that circulated in the churches, particularly the Corinthian church, in that 1st century and they were being used somewhat like aphorisms and to excuse immoral behavior.

Paul had just warned the Corinthians (and by extension, us) to flee idolatry. Eating food sacrificed to idols meant nothing to the Christian, because God is not knocked from His throne by the stump of a tree sculpted and painted to look like something else. As Christians, we have essential freedom in matters of morally neutral things, but … BUT … our behavior must be tempered with concern for others in the body of Christ. If our freedom is going to be expressed through Christian maturity, it must be concerned with the spiritual benefit to others.

That word “edify” means to build up or strengthen. It’s a word from the vocabulary of building construction. Paul used it in his letters to describe the strengthening of Christian character in ourselves and other people. When we’re faced with a decision about a particular practice, we must first ask ourselves if we have the right to do it. I would say if it’s not forbidden by Scripture, absolutely we have the right. We still need to take a pause and ask the next question. “Is it profitable and edifying. Will this activity build people up, both ourselves and others?” If the answer is “yes”, then we can participate with full abandon.

Do not seek your own good, but the good of the other person. Eat anything that is sold in the marketplace without questions of conscience, for the earth and its abundance are the Lord’s. If an unbeliever invites you to dinner and you want to goeat whatever is served without asking questions of conscience.  1 Corinthians 10:24-27

Our freedom is going to express itself in serving other people. Our thoughts should always be directed to other brothers and sisters in Christ. We should desire to sacrifice for others. The issue of freedom balances two extremes. Some feel the attitude should be “I don’t care what anyone says about what I do. I’ll do as I please. I operate on the principle of grace and am free to do as I please.” This attitude approaches libertinism. On the other hand, there are others who live in a spiritual straight jacket, afraid to do anything without a sense of guilt. There must always be a balance, but if you’re going to screw up, err on the side of putting your spiritual family members first.

Liberty in Christ will always triumph over legalism. Paul majored on our freedom in Christ. He said it doesn’t matter what we eat, including food offered to idols, because neither the taking of it nor the abstaining from it will have any effect on our relationship with God. All food is a gift from God. Paul encouraged Christians to enjoy life, to not be overly scrupulous. What you don’t know can’t hurt you.

Paul dealt with how Christians should behave when invited to a unbeliever’s home. My parents would have approved of his advice. Eat what’s put before you. The Corinthians shouldn’t make an issue of the origin of the meat or food they were eating. They should eat all of it. Eating a piece of meat that was offered to an idol will not defile the Christian. What defiles the Christian is participating in heathen worship. If eating a piece of idol-meat does not defile the Christian, there is no need to make an issue of it. This simply exercises an overly-sensitive conscience and introduces an unnecessary affront to the hospitality of the host. Paul implied that living out this freedom means that we’re going to have evangelistic entrée into people’s lives. There are nonbelievers who will invite us into their homes, and we have complete freedom to eat with them, whatever they put before us. Paul’s solution to a potential violation of conscience is “Don’t ask!” To the extent that we’re willing to do that, we’re reflecting the life of Jesus, Who ate with tax-collectors and sinners (Matthews 9:10-11). If we are legalistic, uptight, self-righteous, self-protective Christians, “holier than thou” types, our non-Christian acquaintances won’t want anything to do with us anyway. We’re not even going to get invited to their homes. But if we live a life of freedom and openness, that will attract them to Jesus.

But if someone says to you“This is from a sacrifice,” do not eatbecause of the one who told you and because of conscience I do not mean yours but the other person’sFor why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscienceIf I partake with thankfulnesswhy am I blamed for the food that I give thanks for? 1 Corinthians 10:28-30

Paul raised a hypothetical situation in which you’ve been invited to a non-Christian friend’s home, and one of your Christian friends is there who has a weaker conscience. They are offended or confused by the freedom with which you’re indulging: “Didn’t you know this is idol food? Are you sure you ought to be eating this?” Paul suggested that we might decide to refrain from eating the meat so as not to risk leading that younger brother or sister in Christ into sin or confusing their conscience. Paul made it clear, however, that even though we may choose to modify our actions for the good of the weaker brother or sister, we are not to adjust our own conscience. Their weakness ought to make us very gracious, merciful, and sensitive toward them, but the legalism of the weaker one shouldn’t make us feel condemned or influence us toward legalism in our own lifestyle. Paul defended his freedom to partake of any kind of food, especially food that he knew is a good gift from God, and receive it with gratitude. He refused to be fearful about what other people thought of him. He was not going to be controlled by that.

So whether you eat or drinkor whatever you dodo everything for the glory of God. Do not give offense to Jews or Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also try to please everyone in all things.  1 Corinthians 10:31-33

Paul moved to summarize the entire (three-chapter) discussion. He indicated this with the use of the word “then” (oun). As a general principle, believers should do everything “for the glory of God”—and Paul particularly mentioned here eating and drinking. To do something for the glory of God means to reflect God’s glory in the way we live. We ought to use our liberty carefully and selflessly to glorify God. Our eating and drinking should bring glory to God, not to cause conflict, to honor a demon, or to undermine the faith of weaker brothers and sisters. Paul’s desire was to live out his freedom in Christ, partly because of its evangelistic potential for the sake of the Gentiles and the Jews who didn’t yet know Christ, and partly so he could have an influence on the church of Jesus Christ as an apostle. His concern was having an attractively inoffensive lifestyle of freedom. Paul had already acknowledged that some people were offended by the gospel alone, but he didn’t want his own life to bring offense to the gospel in the eyes of anybody, Christian or non-Christian. The real fear here was that legalism, being controlling, would somehow be the offense that would keep people from the Lord Jesus. His desire was to try to live without offending in any direction, always thinking of both honoring Christ and affecting other people in how he lived. And Paul always looked in both of those directions.

I do not seek my own benefitbut the benefit of manyso that they may be savedBe imitators of mejust as I also am of Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:33b-11:1

I’m sure there were people who thought Paul was a man-pleaser (Galatians 1:10). His concern was that his life would be attractive so that they would be drawn to Jesus in him. “Saved” in this context probably includes Christians and means saved in the wide sense of delivered from anything that keeps someone from advancing spiritually (see Romans 15:1-3). Paul is not content simply to live his life as an example for the Corinthians to emulate. He actually instructs them to become “imitators” of him. (4:16). For Paul, as an apostle of Christ, it wasn’t just a matter of preaching and teaching. It was a matter of living out the truth that he taught. In many of those cities Paul went to, he would be the first and only Christian they would see. So watching him live his life was very important for them to understand the reality of the gospel.

Paul asks every one of us to live a consistent Christian life. Do you want to properly balance freedom and restraint? Do you want to be in the world and not of the world? Do you want to have a positive spiritual influence in your community, but not allow that community to mold you so you compromise what’s true and what’s right? Do you want to live a balanced life, not being driven by the extremes of legalism or selfish license? If you do, then imitate Paul. He tried to imitate the selfless life that Christ lived. Glorify God in what you say and what you do and in the attitudes of your heart. As Paul later explained in Romans 7, results aren’t perfect, but we’re only human, so trying our best is good enough.

A Liberty Video for Independence Day   1 comment

Quotes About Independence Day AmericaHappy Secession Day! Yes, this is the day we celebrate the American secession from the British Empire. History calls it Independence Day, but in reality, it was a secessionist movement. It’s also often ignored that it was, by and large, a movement of the faithful. Yes, Thomas Jefferson had a list of grievances and they didn’t include religious oppression, but John Adams said that the religious hegemony of the Anglican Church, as required by the British Empire, was just as much a reason for rebellion as taxation, quartering, etc.

Which is not to say that I want to force anyone to believe what I believe, simply that I acknowledge that the liberty America aspired to was based in Christian concepts and I think others ought to be aware of that.

So, this video was sent to me by Off the Grid News. They claim it was banned from Facebook. I don’t know and don’t really care. We’ll see if it slips past the censors on my page. It describes how Christian liberty informed the secession movement of America independence. It’s a little rah-rah-flag-waving, which I don’t like, but it’s mostly true, which I do like. I can’t find anything in it worth of censure, unless you are a true believer in the State.

http://thelostsecretsofliberty.com/?utm_source=OTGN_TopRight_LSOL_Flag&utm_medium=OTGN_TopRight_LSOL_Flag

Centrally Controlled Transportation   1 comment

According to a study getting huge attention all over the media, by 2030, only 5 percent of the driving done in the US will be done by people like you and me going where we like, when we like and controlling the car ourselves.

In other words, our personal choices (autonomy) are being replaced by central planners’ choices (tyranny).

Image result for image of autonomous carsNow, don’t get me wrong. Although I still have serious concerns about the safety of so-called “autonomously-driven” cars, I don’t object to them wholesale. They might be a good resource for the blind and disabled. Certainly safer than public transportation for these folks. It’s just that we shouldn’t fool ourselves into thinking that cars programmed by others and so controlled by others and which drive themselves without our input and which are subject to outside intervention contrary to our wishes are “autonomous.” They’re centrally controlled and not by us. That’s anything but “autonomous.”

You and I, when we get behind the wheel of a car, that’s an autonomous act. We choose where we go, when we go and how we go. Inanimate objects are not autonomous and it’s Orewellian doublespeak to treat them as if they are. It’s an inversion of meaning.

According to the media party line, the stampede to turn over our keys and give up our driving autonomy is organic and inevitable. It just makes so much sense, they say, to turn this task over to computers. It’ll be safer and more convenient and it will save energy and … and … and …. Why would anyone but criminals want to still operate their cars themselves? Trust me, sometime between now and 2030, it will be proposed that driving autonomously should be made illegal.

This study smacks of propaganda to me, if only because there are other studies showing that American drivers don’t agree with it, but also because the only thing I can find about RethinkX is by RethinkX and that tells me a lot about them. It appears intended to create the aura of inevitability and the impression that to “cling” to our old self-driving (by ourselves) ways is sad, pathetic and not future-forward.

The real reason people are becoming disillusioned with driving and owning cars is the expense and hassle, the endless rules, fees and mandates … all of which are creations of government. And the reasons given for government to expand access to other-than-ourselves-driven cars speaks to the galloping nannyism that hides behind the guise of “safety”.

Given that the “think tank nobody has heard of” has moved on to the subject of health care, I willing to bet the RethinkX study was funded by interests with the goal of ending American mobility and freedom of movement … in the same way that the ACA and the subsequent AHCA are ending freedom of choice in medical care. The idea of limited mobility (and therefore freedom of movement) is an idea that’s been around at least since Ralph Nader’s war on individual transportation and it has gained traction slowly, but inexorably.  There is an incredibly amount of freedom in being able to go where you want, when you want, and how you want without having to consult with central planners. That’s why individually owned cars are so popular in the United States and why they were typically highly restricted in the former Soviet bloc countries. This is just a way to make it seem like it is our own idea.

“Look at the safety, the convenience, the savings.”

And once we’ve moved over to centrally-controlled cars, we may well find that, if the organization controlling our cars doesn’t want us to go somewhere because it doesn’t like the ideas espoused there, our only choice will be walking … unless they take that away too.

Anarchy Saturday   1 comment

Image result for map showing how many states are GOP controlled 2017I edge toward anarchy after I listen to PBS on Friday evenings. I do it to see what the progressive liberals think and it convinces me every time that progressive liberals are statist totalitarians who really want to enslave society to their lock-step policies.

Last night on Washington Week, some pundit was talking about how the Democrats in Congress are talking about impeaching President Trump, but are debating whether to do a “grand bargain” in which Mike Pence is allowed to remain a figurehead president, but some of them really feel they should install someone more to their liking.

They are openly discussing overthrowing the constitutional form of democracy we have operated under for 140 years and they think it’s a good thing.

I didn’t vote for President Trump, but I don’t think we had a good choice and when two major parties offer two deeply flawed candidates to an electorate that has been brainwashed to believe they have to vote for either the blue or the red candidate, this is what you get.

Image result for image of us civil war 21st centuryTrump has had the audacity to do some of the things his constituents wanted him to do., taking steps to dismantle some of the government structure that is strangling our economy and our freedoms. How dare he listen to those idiot hicks out there in the rural districts! That’s paraphrasing Mark Shields from PBS News Hour. David Brooks had the sense to couch it in partisan terms … that’s Trump’s constituency, but then he agreed with Mark that it was bad governance. According to him, President Trump should be taking his advice from the elites in Washington just like every other president has had the good sense to do since the Deep State killed John Kennedy for hinting he might stand up to them. I can’t believe I just typed that. I have resisted that “conspiracy theory” since college, but I’m seeing the evidence for it every day now that the press has actually admitted the Deep State exists. The same thing happened to Reagan when he spoke to a nation weary of government about dismantling the greater part of the State. Reagan lived and he stopped talking like that. Although he did some good after that, but he really wasn’t the president people elected him to be.

Image result for map showing how many states are GOP controlled 2017But the very fact that the media is now talking about the “Deep State” says libertarians are impacting this culture. You never heard anyone in the media talk about it other than to call it a “conspiracy theory” before Comey paraded in front of Congress and pulled the curtain back on a world most of us suspected existed.

The sad thing is that the progressive liberals and a fair number of progressive “conservatives” are embracing the Deep State as the great salvation of the country as embodied in the government they want. They’re going to bring down the illegitimate presidency of Donald Trump and then they get to install whichever dictator they want.

Yes, dictator, because anytime the democratic process (ameliorated by republican principles) is overthrown, whoever is installed at the head of state is a dictator because they have not been chosen by the people according to the rules that are in place. Gerald Ford was a dictator … a nice dictator without any power, but still a dictator.

Mike Pence would not be a dictator at the outset because he was at least selected by the constitutional election process. He’d have to ignore the will of the people who elected him to be deemed a dictator. So, of course, the left doesn’t want to allow the constitutional succession because they know who elected Mike Pence and it is unacceptable to them that those ignorant rural hicks should have a voice in government. Forget that to bypass him or to turn him into a figurehead with no power is a violation of the constitutional democratic process.

And yet that is openly discussed now on PBS.

Yeah, we’re in a civil war where we hurl ideas at one another instead of bullets. There are two ways this will go. Either we peacefully choose to loosen the ties that bind us or we start shooting at one another. I vote for Option #1.

Why do I think the country will choose Option #2 eventually?Another thing I saw on display last night was the absolute rage the urban dwellers feel toward the rural districts for not doing things “the right way”. Why aren’t they listening to their betters? We must get rid of Trump before the rural districts hand him a second term and permanently change the world.

Another thing I saw on display last night was the absolute rage the urban dwellers feel toward the rural districts for not doing things “the right way”. Why aren’t we listening to their betters? We must get rid of Trump before the rural districts hand him a second term and permanently change the world.

Yeah, that’s how people felt about Obama and you told us we were hysterical. We shouldn’t be afraid of the President 49% of the country voted against turning the country into Europe without the advice and consent of Congress and against the will of half the voters. We were told to wait our turn, but to know that conservativism was over, that we would never have a voice in national politics again because the country had finally gotten “smart” … as if $22 trillion in debt and the surveillance state was a great idea. How was that any different than now with Trump? The Teaparty got together in parks (with appropriate permits) and waved signs, trying to be heard (and utterly ignored by the Obama administration except to be ridiculed) and the culmination of that was the red tidal wave that has swept the country. Take a look at the election map that shows how many

How was that any different than now with Trump?

The Teaparty got together in parks (with appropriate permits) and waved signs, trying to be heard (and utterly ignored by the Obama administration except to be ridiculed) and the culmination of that was the red tidal wave that has swept the country. Take a look at the election map that shows how many states are under Republican leadership. The districts are rising up against the Capital and they’ve done it peacefully through the constitutional system.

How dare they! The districts can’t be in charge. We’re not smart enough to rule ourselves. Just send your resources and your young to the elite urban areas and shut up, sit down and accept that are betters are permanent in charge now.

This government is illegitimate not because someone unacceptable to the elite has won the presidency under the constitutional election system. It is illegitimate because it doesn’t ask individuals if they even want to be part of it. Nobody asked me if I wanted to pay an income tax. Nobody asked me if I wanted to support US military aggression across the globe. Nobody asked me if I wanted to curtail my ability to heat my home by being party to the Paris Accords. Nobody asked me if I wanted the State of Alaska to own the mineral wealth under my land. Nobody asked for my agreement on a myriad of restrictions that affect my life every day.

But I’m expected to act as if I agreed to those restrictions. If I don’t, I will be jailed or face other negative consequences. I’m expected to march to the polls every four years and vote my conscience and then see those who win (whether I voted for them or not) continue to institute policies that more and more restrict my liberty and my ability to support myself without government “assistance”. And I’m not the only one who thinks this is an illegitimate way to organize a society.

We see that right now in the violent hysteria of the leftists marching in our streets. They object to the changes that are occurring because they lost an election. We saw that when the Tea Party was peacefully protesting Obamacare, terrified of what happens when you hand government the power of life and death when we know how truly inefficient government is at everything else.

So, today, I’m ready to (PEACEFULLY) blow up the whole system and not really start all over again. Let people decide for THEMSELVES how they want to live. The blue zones will, if they mind their own business, quickly discover that the doings of the red zones don’t affect them at all so long as they agree to the terms of exchange for our resources.  They can get together with their neighbors and reform a government to their liking and periodically elect their own dictators according to their principles. They don’t need the rural districts to do that.

The red zones, divorced from the tyranny of the federal government, would probably mind their own business because that’s how they have tried to conduct their lives anyway. We’ll figure out how to build our own roads … we already have people here who know how to do that. Maybe we can still cooperate with one another in dealing with the greater world.

Let’s all go our own way and stop this madness before the blue zones decide to crush the red zones and we decide to fight back.

 

What the Founders Thought About Gov’t   Leave a comment

Image result for image of thomas Jefferson“God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. … And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
It is its natural manure.”  Thomas Jefferson, November 13, 1787, letter to William S. Smith

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