Everything is impossibly complicated

Archive for October, 2012

Evangelical Monk

I read a blog post about Vaughan Roberts, a prominent English evangelical leader, talking about his homosexual attraction. I found two things about it interesting:

  • Roberts doesn’t agree with the idea that homosexual desires can be changed.
  • Nevertheless, he also doesn’t believe that his desires give him the excuse to indulge them.

In particular, Roberts sees his homosexual desires as a call to celibacy. That’s an interesting twist that I hadn’t thought of before. The New Testament seems to discuss a gift of celibacy, but what it was always seemed kind of vague.

Additionally, the article made me realize what a loss it has been to the church to get rid of all the diverse institutions–like monasteries. These different institutions provided a way for people to serve G-d in accordance with their own inclinations and personal makeup, and receive honour and recognition for their service. Instead, it seems like we try to fit everyone into a single mould, causing all sorts of personal pain and dissatisfaction.

Wait, Where’s the Affordable Health Care?

My health care costs are going to go up 33% next year. I blame Obamacare.

I know, that’s what everyone says. But here are my reasons for it. Obamacare has, for some time now, required insurance companies to get rid of lifetime maximums. I like that. It also requires them to cover unemployed children until they’re 26. Sounds pretty good. And just this year, now all women’s preventative care must be covered too. Meh.

But it’s blindingly obvious that all of this costs money. It only takes a half-second of reflection to realize that making a law that forces people to do more expensive things is not going to make those things less expensive. So I’ve expected, for some time now, that Obamacare would make costs go up. But until now I hadn’t seen anything drastic.

Now that it’s happened, it’s very clear to me. Until now, the individual mandate was not in effect. As long as people could refuse to buy insurance if it got too expensive, there was a pressure to keep costs down. After all, if too many people walk away, you lose more money than if you just eat some of your profits.

Now that the individual mandate is in effect, that pressure is gone. There’s nothing left to keep prices from soaring while everyone is forced to buy it. It’s nothing more than a monopoly. And the only good that President Obama has done is make health insurance a sure bet for wealthy people who want to further enrich themselves off the poor.

Good job, Mr. President.

Not Voting

I read an interesting blog post by a pastor named Thabiti Anyabwile. Pastor Anyabwile seems to be pretty well respected among the more neo-Calvinist-leaning blogs I read. The post is W.E.B DuBois Would Not Vote in This Election.

DuBois was, among many things, a graduate of Harvard and an active leader of the civil rights movement in the early 1900s. In a speech given in 1956, DuBois gave his reasons why he wouldn’t vote. He describes the many elections he participated in, all of which had done no good in his opinion. For example,

…In 1916 I took Hughes as the lesser of two evils. He promised Negroes nothing and kept his word. In 1920, I supported Harding because of his promise to liberate Haiti. In 1924, I voted for La Follette, although I knew he could not be elected. In 1928, Negroes faced absolute dilemma. Neither Hoover nor Smith wanted the Negro vote and both publicly insulted us…

By the time 1956 came around, DuBois was fed up:

In 1956, I shall not go to the polls. I have not registered. I believe that democracy has so far disappeared in the United States that no “two evils” exist. There is but one evil party with two names, and it will be elected despite all I can do or say. There is no third party…

In particular, I appreciate that he didn’t do this out of despair, but rather out of a determination to no longer continually compromise the ideal of liberty and democracy for the “lesser of two evils”:

Is the refusal to vote in this phony election a counsel of despair? No, it is dogged hope. It is hope that if twenty-five million voters refrain from voting in 1956 because of their own accord and not because of a sly wink from Khrushchev, this might make the American people ask how much longer this dumb farce can proceed without even a whimper of protest…

Stop yelling about a democracy we do not have. Democracy is dead in the United States. Yet there is still nothing to replace real democracy. Drop the chains, then, that bind our brains. Drive the money-changers from the seats of the Cabinet and the halls of Congress. Call back some faint spirit of Jefferson and Lincoln, and when again we can hold a fair election on real issues, let’s vote, and not till then. Is this impossible? Then democracy in America is impossible.

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