Archive for the ‘tyranny’ Tag

Tyranny By Another Other Name   Leave a comment

I like free speech and I like privacy. In fact, I think free speech depends on privacy.

 

Too bad the US government absolutely sucks at protecting our privacy.  Glenn Greenwald’s new book No Place To Hide reveals that the U.S. government tampers with Internet routers during the manufacturing process to aid its spying programs.

 

Do you really trust the government with control over the Internet? We know from the Fairness Doctrine that the government didn’t trust the media outlets to police themselves, so we can be sure that the government will need to technically verify whether the telecoms are treating data as they should, which will mean installing its own hardware and software at critical points to monitor Internet traffic.

 

We already know that , once installed, our government (and any other government able to hack in) will not use this access for benign purposes. They didn’t in the past. Why would they change their behavior now?

 

Oh, but you like Barack Obama and the current Chair of the FCC and you’re not worried that they will invade YOUR privacy or infringe upon YOUR freedom of speech. What happens if Jeb Bush is elected to the White House? What if Republicans remain in control of the House and Senate? That changes the dynamic a bit, doesn’t it?

 

If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. – James Madison, The Federalist No. 51

 

I used to believe the US government was a benevolent and wise parent looking out for the best interests of society. When Jimmy Carter violated Alaska’s Statehood Compact and the provisions of ANILCA, I got real-world woke up. I see the US government as a dangerous tyrant, influenced by large corporations, seeking to control everyone and everything.

 

At the crux of the debate between proponents and opponents of Net Neutrality are that some of us have become aware that Skynet exists and others of you still want to live in dreamland.You want to believe that the US government is all-knowing with good intentions that will never change without your permission and all will be well. I don’t believe that because I look to history and see Woodrow Wilson outlawing political dissent and FDR locking up US citizens of Japanese ancestry. The US government topples elected democracies, fights unjust wars and interferes in world affairs. It executes American citizens in violation of 5th Amendment rights.

 

I don’t trust the government. It doesn’t matter which party is “in” at the moment because I’m convinced they’re two sides of the same coin called tyranny.

 

Regulations can start out with the best of intentions, but when enough red tape accumulates, we drown in it regardless. That leads to less freedom for us individually and for society as a whole.

What Privacy Truly Means   Leave a comment

A video detection camera is seen at the Egan Drive and Mendenhall Loop Road intersection on Thursday. The camera, which doesn't take pictures or record video, is one of five at busy locations in the valley.  Michael Penn | Juneau EmpireTraffic cameras on Alaskan roads do not take film.

A camera that doesn’t record | Juneau Empire – Alaska’s Capital City Online Newspaper.

Posted September 19, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Alaska

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Get Over It, Alaska????   Leave a comment

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell apparently felt it was appropriate to tell Alaskans to “get over” the idea of building an 11-mile single-lane gravel road from Cold Bay to King Cove to provide emergency transfer when the seas are too rough for boat transfer of residents needing hospitalization.

 

Interior Secretary Jewell wishes Alaskans would “get over’ King Cove road

Anchorage blogger Amanda Coyne picked it up, but almost nobody else did.

Folks, this is highly indicative of the attitude that the Obama Administration has toward the entire country, but most especially if it is rural or owns resources.

We should just “get over” the idea that a functional economy requires things like pipelines and roads, mines and refineries, electricity and home heating. It’s far more important for his administration to pretend to to be considering opening the Arctic Petroleum Reserve to drilling (though they won’t actually do it) and make speeches about solar panels (which are next to useless here in the winter) than it is to consider the people their policies affect.

So could someone please tell me why the administrative state is a good idea? How do you justify the tyranny?

 

Since When is Significant Risk Ordinary?   Leave a comment

My Turn: Regressing to a new normal | Juneau Empire – Alaska’s Capital City Online Newspaper.

Rich Moniak | For the Juneau Empire  The writer, who I often disagree with, does a great job of explaining what he means and of asking questions about why this system exists and if it is necessary or should we be doing something else.

I believe the federal government uses the alert system to control American sentiment. We’re more comfortable with armed guards invading our personal space before we get on a plane. We object, but do very little about the NSA spying on our phone calls and emails. Have you had your bag checked while going into a public venue, ladies?

All of these violations of our natural right to privacy and security in our person and property seem “okay” to many Americans because of the “risks” we face from terrorism. We have to be “safe” and take “proper precautions”.

And American liberty dies with hardly a wimper because we traded it in for an illusion of safety.

Posted June 25, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Government

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Village sues feds to open road in refuge | Juneau Empire – Alaskas Capital City Online Newspaper   Leave a comment

Village sues feds to open road in refuge | Juneau Empire – Alaskas Capital City Online Newspaper.

Good for them! Not that the 9th circuit will recognize the right of people to have access to the outside world, but this speaks to the larger issue of federal overreach and the more of these court cases that make it into the national view, the better.

Ignorance of Our Nation   1 comment

What is the appropriate application of Romans 13 in a self-governed society?

When the American colonies revolted against King George, we were technically in violation of Romans 13. None of us alive today participated in that conflict, but we are the recipients of the liberty that was won through it. Our country was founded on the principle of civil disobedience in the face of tyranny, yet we who are the heirs of the liberty that was won in the conflict want to deny ourselves the option of using it now.

Why? Who are the civil authorities in the United States of America? Don’t we the people choose them and aren’t they supposed to represent us and our ideals, not their own interests? Yet when these “representatives” begin to usurp our authority and tell us how to live, we pull out Romans 13 like a magic shield that says we must submit to government in all guises — even to an illegitimate government that should not exist according to our founding documents.

We the people, including Christians, are the government of the United States. We are the sovereign authority of the nation — the king, if you will (though I think more regents of the True King, Jesus Christ). Read the Constitution and note the first sentence, if you doubt me. Moreover, the states are meant to direct the federal government, not the other way around.

This is a completely different situation from what Paul was writing to the Roman Christians who lived under a dictator. The emperor was THE higher power and as long as he ruled justly and did not command Christians to violate God’s law, Christians were bound to submit to him. They had no say because they chose to live in a society that did not permit mere citizens to have a say.

In the United States, however, we are a Constitutional Republic which was explicitly founded upon Biblical principles. Romans 13 cannot apply in exactly the same way as it did to the Roman Christians because the PEOPLE of the United States are THE higher power. We are supposed to be self-governed by God’s law, which means we are bound to disobey laws and statutes that interfere with our submission to the Creator. The Founders believed “There is no king but Jesus”. Any other attitude but this is nothing short of idolatry.

Really Early “Protestants”   Leave a comment

The early Christians relied on direct witnesses to the events in Jerusalem surrounding the birth, ministry, crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. All of the writers of the New Testament either knew Jesus or knew someone who knew Jesus well. Even Paul qualified, since he met the resurrected Jesus on the road to Damascus. In one of his letters, he told people who had doubts about the resurrection of Jesus to go talk to some of the witnesses, who were well-known in the 1st century Christian community. Although there were believers who apparently doubted Paul’s authority, Peter did not and affirmed that authority in his own letters. Christians considered direct witness to be the best determination of what was truly “Christian”.

When the apostles began to die out, those who had known the apostles personally were seen as the best witnesses to their teachings. The New Testament as we know it was not widely available, though textual critics believe there was a codex in circulation with most of the books we’re familiar with by AD 160.

We know from Paul and John’s writings in the New Testament that there were heresies about in the early church. The earliest heresy was the Judiazers, who believed that Gentiles must hold to the Jewish dietary and cultural laws in order to be Christians. This was settled by the Jerusalem Council in AD 49, but it was by no means dead, prompting Paul to write the letter to the churches of Galatia.

Some groups deemed “heretics” by the Roman Catholic Church may well have been neo-protestants, but there were some whose beliefs were clearly nothing like what the New Testament Christians believed.

The largest heresy was the Gnostics – who believed that flesh was evil and spirit was good, so the god who created the earth was also seen as evil. But Jesus was the spiritual being who brought salvation, so he could not be the son of the God  of the Old Testament, but somehow was indwelt by a higher power. Docetism and Marcionism developed from that dualism. Jesus could not be thought of as truly a man. He just appeared as a man, but the highest good could not truly be united with sinful matter. Therefore, he didn’t die and was not buried. The Christ spirit must have left the man Jesus before his death or the death was simply a shame. There was a “good” God as well, but he didn’t create the world, but sent Jesus to liberate us from our bondage to matter.

The Gnostics were true heretics and the apostle John seemed to have been dealing with proto-Gnostics in his epistles from Ephesus.

Maybe in reaction to Gnosticism, the Monarchists held that God was God, but Jesus was a man indwelt by God’s spirit. Like the Gnostics, this heresy had several derivations that are sometimes viewed as separate heresies – modalism(Sabellianism), and unitarianism. Yes, there were and remain heresies and some still exist today.

In contrast, the Montanists may have been the first protestant movement. As the catholic church became more regimented, there arose in Phrygia (Asia Minor) a group that emphasized new revelation and condemned the orthodox church as lax and cerebral. Tertullian (my favorite of the Patristic writers) became a Montanist possibly because of his opposition to the church at Rome extending its authority beyond the environs of the city of Rome. Tertullian was a powerful defender of the faith and his writings align with what I know of the New Testament, so I have a hard time naming him a heretic.

Hippolytus was a presbyter (lay-leader) of the church at Rome who attacked the bishop Zephyrinus as a modalist (believing in the compartmentalizing of God). He later accused Zephyrinus’ Callstus of extending absolution to adulterers. He formed a second church at Rome. Eventually he was sent to the Roman mines along with the current bishop of Rome, Pontian. They reconciled and were martyred together. Were they heretics or simply men of conscience who had the audacity to stand up against the authorities of the church?

Cyprian was Bishop of Carthage who, following a severe persecution under emperor Decius, conflicted with the “confessors” who were readmitting the “lapsed” into the church. These were folks who had denied Christ under persecution. This was (and continues to be) considered an unpardonable sin, though Baptists (my own polity) accept that a non-Christian can deny Christ and letter accept Christ as savior and be pardoned. Cyprian’s win really ushered in the Roman Catholic view for the future. Was he a heretic? Were the “confessors” the heretics? I’ll note that Cyprian, born to a rich pagan family, became a bishop within months of converting to Christianity (AD 249), making me think it was a political move, but I don’t know the man’s heart.

Novatian and Cornelius got into a fight over which of them was the bishop of Rome (AD 251). Following a time of persecution, Novatian denied readmittance of those who had denied their faith. He and his “confessors” broke the church of Rome in two and induced Cyprian to write “On the Unity of the Catholic Church”, from which came many of the ideas of traditional Roman Catholicism such as no salvation exists outside the Church. The Novatian “kathari” withdrew from the “catholic” system, rebaptized their followers and refused to submit to what they considered to be a corrupted Church. Were they heretics or just standing on principle?

My point here is show that there were divisions already happening in the Christian church before the rise of the Roman Catholic Church. The early church dealt with it by examining the doctrine of these “heretics” and showing where they did not match with what the apostles were teaching. Where the Church went astray, I believe, is when it began to name as heretic anyone who called out immorality among church men or drift from New Testament beliefs. The insistence that the Roman Catholic Church, no matter how far it drifted from New Testament teachings, was the sole door to heaven was bound to — someday — lead to problems.

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