Zoo Station

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Archive for January, 2007

Government is not God’s primary tool

Posted by Chance on January 31, 2007

There is much debate about how much the government should get involved in morals, in the personal arena and the economic arena. No matter where we sit on this two dimensional spectrum of economic freedom vs. control and individual freedom vs. control, I believe that government should never be the primary means for enforcing morality.

For instance, no conservative should look to the government first to enforce Biblical morality. The church and the family should have the larger role in people’s lives. Besides, the government is often going to get it wrong. I see this play out in the public school arena. Conservatives fight for the public schools to teach them what they want their kids to be taught. But conservatives need to realize that they need to work for a system that is easier for them to send children to school that reflects their own values.

Liberals should not look to the government as the primary means for feeding the poor and needy here on earth. I believe that the most effective charity is that done voluntarily. This has nothing to do with the “immorality of income redistribution”, this has to do with what I believe is effective. I believe private charity is more powerful for the gift and the giver. Jesus did ministry for the poor and needy, and he usually accompanied it with spiritual healing as well. I’m not saying all charity has to make people ask Jesus in their heart, but at the same time, I think charity is less effective if it is done primarily by a government that, by the very Constitution, has to remain secular.

I suppose that is one of the many reasons I am not a liberal. As the government takes more control in the area of taking care of the poor, it moves the church out. I am not naive enough to believe previously ungenerous people will be more generous if they are taxed less, but I do believe that generous people can do more with 80% of their money, as opposed to 50% to 60%.

The government tries to take care of our kids and tries to feed the poor and needy. But whatever happened to the church and family? To how much the government should be involved separates the conservatives, liberals, libertarians, and populists, but for all Christians who want to perform Christ’s mission here on earth, I do not believe government should ever be the primary means.


Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

What do I mean by "Free Market"

Posted by Chance on January 31, 2007

I’ve done a post similar to this before, but I wanted to rehash some of my fundamental beliefs concerning the free market. I did a previous post called Foundations of a Free Market, but I wanted to state things in another way.

Basically, I believe that the economy should be based upon mutual exchanges between two individuals or parties. I think the price set should be discussed between those two people/groups, not regulated by a third party. That means that I believe wages and prices should be set between those two groups. I think that when wages and prices are regulated, it can hurt the weaker party as often as it hurts the stronger party. What if I cannot find a job for the minimum wage? Shouldn’t I have the freedom to bargain for a lower wage if it is worth it to me? Why do we allow unpaid interns, but not interns making less than minimum wage?

Also, I don’t think the person receiving the service should set the terms, but the person providing the product. For instance, it is unfair for me to demand that Apple provide their iTunes songs in any format I wish. It is there stuff. Who am I to say, “I want it like this.” Apple doesn’t even have to sell me anything. What if they didn’t exist at all. Should I say that I am better off getting nothing from them, than getting something from them, but not in the format I like. The same goes for smoking bars and restaurants. The restaurant doesn’t have to exist in the first place. Who am I to set the rules of their establishment? I’m not entitled to a non-smoking restaurant.

Furthermore, people should not be heavily restricted in being able to start a business. The government should not regulate the number of a particular business. For instance, if there are already plenty of insurance companies or taxi companies in a city, it is not the role of the city to say “No More!” Let the market determine how many of a business their should be.

Along with this, I don’t think government should regulate excessively concerning the quality of certain companies. Now, this is a gray area. I can understand the government getting involved somewhat when safety or health is concerned, and that is an area in my mind that I am still trying to figure out. What I refer to is more quality apart from the safety aspect. In short, I don’t think a professional should have to be licensed by the state or city, unless the license only includes issues such as safety and health. I don’t think someone should have to go through extensive training to hold a job, as long as it is understood that they won’t kill anyone. I believe the quality aspect will mostly be controlled by the market.

Oh yeah, and I do not believe in business subsidies, except for emergency cases (destruction of crops, airline closures due to terrorist threats.)

I would like to revisit the issue of negotiation of prices/wages. There are two reasonable criticisms I would expect from anyone of any persuasion.
1) Some people have much more power than others when it comes to negotiations. Corporations are a glaring example.
2) People may not receive their basic needs with a free market.

Concerning criticism 1. Yes, some have more power than others. But I do not believe this power balance is stagnant. People can attain more bargaining power as they go, primarily through work experience, and through education. A free market rewards those who work hard. Those who are just starting out have little bargaining power, but those who work over time gain bargaining power in their wages. I think it is just that one’s wages match their accomplishments, education, and ingenuity.

Concerning criticism 2, I think this is an area for other institutions to get involved. I would prefer private charity, but remember, I don’t call for the abolition of welfare. I prefer welfare to help those who help themselves. But if I had my choice, I would prefer a larger welfare system over a more regulated market. I think a less regulated market helps prices, so less welfare would be needed. Also, I think it makes sense philosophically. Things cost what they cost, and people’s work is what it is worth. No amount of regulation will change that. I would rather someone receive a little financial help to buy a house, than regulate the price of the house. I would rather welfare give someone a little push, than making him work for a wage that is higher than what his current skills are worth.

There are other issues, no doubt. For instance, the morality of what can be sold, i.e. adult movies, drugs, etc… Also, another huge issue is the environment. But when I refer to the importance of a free market, I mostly refer to the negotiation of prices/wages, the freedom of someone to start a business, and the customer not dictating the terms of the negotiation.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Joseph, Father of Jesus

Posted by Chance on January 27, 2007

I sometimes wonder what it was like to be Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus. He was someone in a very unique situation. I wonder if anyone ever talked to him about how he felt about his responsibility. If he was interviewed, I suppose it would go something like this*:

Jerusalem Post (Pre-destruction of Israel edition): This is a part of a special series we are doing called MessiahWatch. Is the messiah among us today? Many are saying that Jesus, a carpenter out of Nazareth could be the one. Let’s get to know those close to Jesus, we have his father, Joseph, right here. Joseph, what was it like raising Jesus as a child?

Joseph: He’s always been a really good boy. He always seemed to stay out of trouble. He always minded his teachers at school, and hardly ever got detention. Well…now that I think of it, I don’t think he ever got detention. Such a bright boy too, seems to know so much about the Law. More than I ever did. He is a bit of an iconoclast though, always seemed to have a few controversial ideas. Although I could never think of anything in the Law that he contradicted.

JP: What are Jesus’ ambitions for the future?

Joseph: Well, everyone keeps expecting him to start some revolution against the Romans. I don’t know. He never really talks about politics that much. Well, I’m not really sure exactly. When I ask, he says cryptic things like “the Son of Man must be lifted up like Moses lifted up the snake.” Yeah, I’m not sure exactly. Whatever it is, it’s going to be great. I think his Real Dad is in on it somehow.

JP: Oh, so you are not the biological father?

Joseph: Yeah, that’s right. His Real Dad goes by several names. Yahweh, Jehovah…

JP: What’s it like comparing with the Lord of Hosts as a father?

Joseph: Boy, let me tell you. His Real Dad is hard to compete with. He has this real oneness with his Real Dad that I can’t explain. It’s like they are the same person. Just the other day, he healed some blind guy, and his mother Mary said “he takes just after his Father.” I see so much of His Real Father in him, more and more every day.

JP: Would you say His Father is emotionally available for Jesus? Does He do His part?

Joseph: Oh yes, definitely. Talk about someone who is always around! It’s like He is everywhere! Jesus is always going off to the mountains or some place to spend time with Him. I can’t recall if his Real Dad has ever dropped by unannounced. Usually Jesus looks for Him, but He seems readily available.

He’s always helping out too. I thought Jesus was really in a jam last week when he was preaching to all these people, and he didn’t have any food. Fortunately, his Father was there to help him out. He brought some bread and fish right away. Jesus never gives himself credit for anything he’s done. He’s always like “my Father helped me do this, or that…”

I’ve never really seen his Father, but I imagine he looks somewhat like Him. His eyes are always showing absolute peace. It’s like there is a storm around him, but when you look into his eyes, there is a calmness I can’t explain. And the love! Every once in a while the religious guys rassle him and give him a hard time while he is out preaching. And boy, does Jesus bite back! But even that whole time he seems to have a love for them, and at the same time, a sadness for them, I can’t quite explain it. And you think a guy like that would give the prostitutes and the tax collectors a hard time. But you see so much love and compassion in his eyes for them.

JP: So do you feel inferior to his Real Dad?

Joseph: Well, no doubt I can’t compare… But you know, I trust his Real Dad. He gave me an awesome responsibility, I mean, He trusted me with his only son, to raise him, teach him how to be a man. Not that I think Jesus needs my help by any means, but just the fact that I am in his Real Dad’s plans.

JP: Okay, we’ve gotta run and report on the Barabbas trial. Thanks for your time Joseph.

Joseph: Thank you.

JP: Next week, we interview one of Jesus’ most trusted companions. He is one of the elite 12 in Jesus’ company, and he is also the treasurer. Join us as we interview Judas Iscariot.

*In reality, Joseph was probably dead by the time Jesus started his ministry. An interesting intellectual exercise nonetheless.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

5 Things You May Not Know About Me

Posted by Chance on January 23, 2007

I was tagged by Josh:

– I worked as a math tutor for 4 years during college.
– I did not learn how to ride a bike until I was 13.
– The movie I have seen the most times in my life is either The Matrix or Happy Gilmore.
– I used to be afraid of circus acrobats.
– I also had an abnormal fear of vomiting. I was vomit-free for 7 years.
– I came straight outta Compton.

Okay, that last one I made up.

I tag…anyone who reads this and wants to partipate.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

My favorite political post in the blogosphere…ever

Posted by Chance on January 22, 2007

I have nothing to add to Katherine Coble’s post.

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments »

Basic argument against gun control

Posted by Chance on January 19, 2007

With increasing gun violence in neighborhoods and schools, at first, the obvious answer is to simply outlaw guns, at least, private possession of them. I wanted to give just a simple explanation of why the legality of gun ownership is important. Now, I don’t want to get into the issues of what types of guns should be legal (semi-automatic, guns with safety locks, etc…) or the registration process, but more on if, on the whole, gun ownership should be legal.

Prohibition of guns, as with illicit drugs, would have debatable effects. It could curb gun ownership or have little effect at all.

But for the sake of argument, let’s assume that prohibition of guns would, in fact, curb gun ownership effectively. The fact remains, however, that gun ownership would not be completely eliminated. Such a step would create a dangerous differential between criminals and citizens who would use the guns lawfully, such as defending their homes. Although criminal ownership of guns would be curbed, it would not be altogether eliminated. There would be fewer criminals with guns, but there would be NO law-abiding citizens with guns. In effect, guns are an even larger threat.

Of course, this assumes that everyone disobeying the law and still owning a gun remains a threat. But say that some people who keep their guns have honest, good intentions. However, do we want the success of gun prohibition to rest on the idea that the right type of people will disobey the law?

There have been numerous studies concerning crime rates with respect to gun laws. However, there is another factor, and that is gun ownership. Not everyone exercises their right to own a gun, just like not everyone exercises their right to vote. Keep gun ownership rights in tact, but create harsher punishments for those who abuse that right.

Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments »

Who Said the Democrats Can’t Do Anything Right?

Posted by Chance on January 19, 2007

From ABC News

The House rolled back billions of dollars in oil industry subsidies Thursday in what supporters hailed as a new direction in energy policy toward more renewable fuels. Critics said the action would reduce domestic oil production and increase reliance on imports.
The legislation would impose a “conservation fee” on oil and gas taken from deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico; scrap nearly $6 billion worth of oil industry tax breaks enacted by Congress in recent years; and seek to recoup royalties lost to the government because of an Interior Department error in leases issued in the late 1990s.
“The oil industry doesn’t need the taxpayers’ help. … There is not an American that goes to a gas pump that doesn’t know that,” said Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. Pump prices topped $3 per gallon last year as the oil industry earned record profits.

I don’t know enough about the leasing issue to comment on it, but I do agree with the rolling back of subsidies. However, the Democrats will probably just redirect the subsidies to renewable energy sources, as the article implies.

I am against subsidies for any source of energy. People want to make money. If there are legitimate renewable sources, they will be found.

Update. Cato has their take on the issue.

…There is no identifiable market failure that might cause private actors to significantly under-invest in domestic oil production. In practice, however, the Democrats are simply transferring subsidies from one energy sector to another with no net reduction of taxpayer funds going to corporate in-boxes. Moreover, they are sneaking in energy-tax increases under the rhetorical cover of a war on subsidies. Accordingly, there is little reason for conservatives to get particularly excited.
[…]The case for oil subsidies is laughably thin. Proponents argue that the more you subsidize oil production, the more oil you’ll get, and that, after all, is a good thing for consumers when gasoline prices are around $2.25 a gallon. Unfortunately, there’s simply not enough unexploited oil in the United States that might be exploited as a consequence of those subsidies to greatly affect world crude oil prices.
In short, eliminating — or at least, cutting back on — federal subsidies to the oil and gas business is a fine idea. But that’s not exactly what the Democrats have in mind.

The article also goes on to discuss the leasing issue, and you can follow the link if interested.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

College Football: Bring on the playoffs!

Posted by Chance on January 4, 2007

Before the season started, I made a few predictions on who the champs would be, and who would go to the national championship. Concerning the conference champs prediction, I was 1 for 6, predicting that Florida would be the SEC conference champ. I didn’t expect Texas to have the collapse they did at the end of the year.

Concerning Oklahoma State, I predicted a 7 and 5 regular season record, but they went 6-6 in the regular season, with a bowl win over Alabama for an overall record of 7-6. I suppose that is not too bad. Their marquee win was over Nebraska, and they played most opponents very well and were one last play away from beating many opponents, including OU.

I predicted that the national championship game would be Notre Dame vs. West Virginia. I didn’t expect Ohio State to do as good as they did, with so many new people on defense.

The Oklahoma-Boise State game had to be one of the best college football games that I have seen. It was like watching a sports movie. At first, Oklahoma was the hero of said movie, rallying from behind to tie the game, then making an interception return for a touchdown with 1 minute left. However, it didn’t take long for Boise State to become the hero of this theoretical film, as they tied the game with 7 seconds left with a trick play, then won in overtime with another trick play.

As many columnists have cried out after this game, college football should move to a playoff system. What if…What if Boise State is good enough to beat Ohio State, or at the very least, give them a good game? Even the USC-Michigan game made people wonder how well USC would do against Ohio State.

The main argument against a college football playoff system is the additional amount of games. But games are being added all the time, as a 12-game regular season was approved this year. Teams with a conference championship game can potentially play 14 games. Furthermore, CF playoffs exist in other divisions. If teams were limited to 10 (without a conf-champ game) or 11 (with a conf-champ game), there would easily be a 16 team playoff system.

There could still be bowls. Teams with winning records could play bowls in the post season right along the top 16 playing in the championship bracket.

As it is right now, the opportunity to play in the championship is based too much on subjective opinions. Sure, Ohio State won all their games, but so did Boise State. And we have already had seasons with three or more undefeated teams. The playoff system is only fair.

Posted in Sports | 8 Comments »

Post about Politics with a little bit of life happenings thrown in.

Posted by Chance on January 3, 2007

Well, I survived yet another blizzard in Colorado, yet I actually wasn’t home during the blizzard, but was stuck in Kansas due to road closings. My wife and I rang in the New Year asleep at a hotel. Nevertheless, it is not where I was at on New Years, but who I was with. Although I did miss my cats.

I do not feel very assured looking at the candidates for the next Presidency. The Democrats, well for me, that goes without saying. The Republicans, well, McCain, he’s well, he’s so old. I would like Giuliani, as I think he would be a great administrator, but there are two things that as a cultural conservative I abhor, abortion and the eroding family structure. I don’t like his stance on abortion and from what I’ve heard, he has treated past wives horribly. Divorce I disagree with (minus what Jesus allows), but I’m willing to look past, but horrible treatment of family, no.

Romney, well, he likes his government the way I like my McDonald’s meal. Super-sized with a double-quarter pounder with cheese. That means he likes it big. His ideal government is so fat, let me tell you. It’s so fat that when it sits around the TV, it sits around the TV. When his ideal government comes walking down the street wearing red, people shout, hey “Kool-Aid”.

I wish I knew more about Ford. He seemed like a swell guy.

Posted in Politics | 5 Comments »