👁 Most recently revised on 8 July 2020 by Pious Eye (David M. Hodges) 👁
 With thanks to Dr. Fauci for helping scare America into its current state, we prepare to move forward. A few items follow. They include:
- a how-to for those in California who would like to enable supporters of the Constitution Party to vote for their presidential and vice presidential candidates even if the party doesn’t get enough registrants to qualify for the November 2020 ballot;
- an example, as though anyone needs another, of what a pointless waste of time it can be to engage in online discussions;
- some thoughts on a philosophy popular among success-guru “capitalists” that one would think a caricature if not for real people endorsing it constantly;
- remarks concerning the tragic incompatibility of biblical Christian decency with binge-watching in a decadent age;
- a few sentences proposing an improvement on “America First” policies; and
- some comments on whose values should define what’s “essential” and what isn’t.
Though these items seem almost random, some closing remarks suggest that they are interconnected. Some end notes, with the usual elaborations and asides, follow these remarks and conclude the post.
Ensuring that Californians’ Blankenship-Mohr Votes Get Counted ^
As noted in my last post, though I wasn’t initially pleased with the Constitution Party’s selection of Don Blankenship and William Mohr as this year’s presidential and vice presidential candidates, I did come around to thinking the Blankenship-Mohr ticket one I could endorse, particularly as it became clear that tolerable options in other third parties’ primaries were not going to win those parties’ nominations. Though ongoing research and reflection could change my my mind about this, since every opinion I hold that is not one of my fundamental values or a clear teaching of Scripture remains subject to revision, the only opponent of Blankenship I’ve interacted with so far has actually made me much more likely than not to continue supporting this year’s Constitution Party ticket.
When a party fails to qualify for the ballot in a state, as the Constitution Party (CP) did in 2016 and seems likely to do this year, the only way votes for its candidates can be counted is if they meet the state’s requirements for write-in candidacies. In California, with our system of open primaries where only the top two vote-getters overall move on to the main election, the freedom to run write-in candidates has largely been eliminated from partisan races. One may still run write-ins for president and vice president, however, but this requires being able to field enough write-in elector candidates committed to vote for one’s ticket. At present, the number of such electors needed for California is 55.
When Darrel Castle ran as the CP presidential candidate (with vice presidential running mate Scott Bradley) back in 2016, not enough people ran to serve as write-in electors for him. As a result, write-in votes for the CP ticket (including mine) were not counted that year. Meanwhile, five set of candidates did field enough write-in electors to allow write-in votes to count, including a ticket for disaffected Democrats featuring Bernard “Bernie” Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard.
Hoping to make it more likely CP write-in votes will count this year, and working on the assumption that we will not have a sufficiently large influx of new CP registrants to become a ballot-qualified party this year, I’m posting some information and documents to make the process of running to serve as Blankenship-Mohr write-in electors easier.
To become a write-in elector for the Blankenship-Mohr ticket,
- Download the attached California Secretary of State’s informational preface to the next two documents, entitled “Qualifications and Requirements, Presidential Elector Write-In Candidate, November 3, 2020, Presidential General Election,” and review it;
Then, if, on the one hand, you are an individual seeking to sign up just yourself to be an elector,
- Download, print, and add your name and address to (but don’t sign) the attached California Secretary of State’s “DECLARATION OF WRITE-IN CANDIDACY – Single Signature Form: Presidential Elector” with the names of our CP candidates already included;
- Take the document to a notary public, your county elections office (in my county, this is called the Registrar of Voters), or the Elections Division of the Secretary of State’s Office at 1500 11th Street, 5th Floor, Sacramento, California 95814. There, you will sign the document to affirm your oath and desire to be a write-in elector candidate. (When I went to my local elections office this year, I was only required to sign. A formal oath-taking might be required in some areas.)
- If you sign the document (and, if required, take your formal oath) at your county elections office or at the Elections Division of the Secretary of State’s Office, staff will retain the form and ensure that it is properly filed, probably providing you with some sort of receipt. (This is what I did in 2016 and what I’ve just done in 2020, since it avoids the notary fee. I had to make an appointment rather than simply walk in this year, for a reason you can probably guess.)
- If you sign the document at a notary, you’ll need to pay the notary’s fee and mail the completed form to the Elections Division of the Secretary of State’s Office at 1500 11th Street, 5th Floor, Sacramento, California 95814. In this case, the Secretary of State asks that you write “Declaration of Write-In Candidacy” on the outside of the envelope.
If, on the other hand, you are able to get together multiple people willing to sign up as electors with you,
- Download, print, and add the names and addresses of everyone in your group (leaving the signatures blank for now) to the attached California Secretary of State’s “DECLARATION OF WRITE-IN CANDIDACY – Multiple Signature Form: Presidential Elector” with the names of our CP candidates already included;
- Together with everyone else in your group, take the document to a notary public, your county elections office (in my county, this is called the Registrar of Voters), or the Elections Division of the Secretary of State’s Office at 1500 11th Street, 5th Floor, Sacramento, California 95814. There, you will each sign the document to affirm your oath and desire to be a write-in elector candidate. (When I went to my local elections office this year, I was only required to sign. A formal oath-taking might be required in some areas.)
- If you sign the document (and, if required, take your formal oath) at your county elections office or at the Elections Division of the Secretary of State’s Office, staff will retain the form and ensure that it is properly filed, probably providing you with some sort of receipt. (Given COVID-19 flatten-the-curve measures that might still be in effect, you may need to make an appointment rather than walk in.)
- If you sign the document at a notary, you’ll need to pay the notary’s fee and mail the completed form to the Elections Division of the Secretary of State’s Office at 1500 11th Street, 5th Floor, Sacramento, California 95814. In this case, the Secretary of State asks that you write “Declaration of Write-In Candidacy” on the outside of the envelope.
And that’s it, unless I’ve inadvertently missed something, which I don’t believe I have. If the above modified forms, with their highlighting, candidates names already filled in, and splitting into separate documents, don’t work for you (they did work for me), feel free to download the original form from the California Secretary of State’s site. When I downloaded this form, I found that if I entered my information in the fields provided, this resulted in a printout where the font sizes of my entries varied oddly. I got better results opening the document in GIMP, adding desired text there, then exporting the document pages to pdf files for printing. When opening the original form in GIMP, be sure to choose the option to open pages as separate images, rather than as layers, and to set the resolution at 300 dpi or higher (for printing).
Those considering serving as electors for the CP ticket should note that serving as such an elector doesn’t necessarily imply anything about whether or not you will actually vote for Blankenship and Mohr when filling out your ballot in November. Being a Blankenship-Mohr elector only obligates you to vote for Blankenship and Mohr if they win California’s delegates so that you end up voting in the Electoral College. Running to serve as a write-in elector for the Blankenship-Mohr ticket is an endorsement of Californians’ right to vote for these candidates if they choose, not necessarily an endorsement of the candidates themselves. Even if you aren’t yet sure if you’ll vote for Blankenship and Mohr, you may wish to consider being an elector just so you and others have the option to vote for them.
If more than 55 people go through the procedure above to run as Blankenship-Mohr electors, only 55 of them will actually become electors for this ticket. I’m not sure how the selection is made if there are more candidates than elector slots, since one never writes in the names of electors when voting. Possibilities might include a random drawing or taking electors on a first-applied-first-selected basis. Ballot-qualified parties either allow winning candidates to select their electors by district or choose electors at their conventions. If a party has not qualified for its state ballot, which is the only reason its candidates would need to run as write-ins, it appears from the state documents I’ve reviewed that party officers and party members can only influence the selection of write-in electors by encouraging or discouraging people to run. As far as the state is concerned, a Blankenship-Mohr write-in candidacy would involve two candidates with no official party affiliation in the state. Still, CP members and watchers of the CP will know that votes for this ticket are votes in support of the CP.
Given that, in 2016, supporters of the leftist Sanders-Gabbard ticket met the state requirement of 55 electors, the CP should be able to get this done. Will the party of the Constitution be outdone again by out-and-out socialists?
Concerning an Unpersuaded CP Site User’s Unpersuasive Rejoinder ^
At least one user over on the Constitution Party’s NationBuilder.com page announcing the nomination found the short summary of my reasons for changing my mind about Blankenship unpersuasive. Since my short summary was mainly a collection of links to materials that had been important to my decision, and since this user’s response showed no indication that he had reviewed or reflected on any of those materials, I just offered some comments on that fact and elaborated a bit more on the basis of my decision (posted 27 May 2020). Were I to start this interaction over again from scratch, I would probably alter the tone of my response, such as by using wording other than “tired recitation.” I do not think this would have altered my interlocutor’s behavior, since I’m convinced I was dealing with a troll who was certain not to review any materials I cited, not to make any effort to understand or address my viewpoint, and not to alter his conclusions in any way, no matter what I said or what wording I used. Still, it would have made me feel better, even though I do think such wording as “tired recitation” was both fair and accurate.
@ [user with the display name] Wright Ryder [whom one should probably take care not to confuse with rodeo star Ryder Wright]: Your tired recitation of the mainstream media’s arguments without addressing the actual content of the Blankenship interview I referenced suggests to me that you did not watch the interview or review objectively anything else to which I linked. None of your four points addresses a single thing Blankenship said in his interview, for instance; each just “refutes” my conclusions based on what the mainstream media has said, with which I was already familiar and of which I made note in my post. [The “note” of the mainstream media portrayal in my post to the NationBuilder.com page was just a mention that there was such a portrayal which I had previously taken in and then reassessed. The portrayal with which I was familiar, and which I had come to doubt, was the same one Ryder had presented in his post.] So I won’t waste time trying to debate you since you have attempted a refutation [Ryder’s precise wording was “correction” rather than “refutation”] of opinions arrived at based on materials of which you are ignorant or which you have chosen to ignore. [A later response posted by Ryder showed that he still hadn’t watched the interview and, thus, had no idea why I had changed my mind about Blankenship.] The process I’ve gone through, the final decision of which your sharing of your emotions has left intact, is described @ https://bit.ly/Blankenship2020. [Again, Ryder’s later response showed no indication that he had even glanced at the material I’d linked to.]
On your allegation of Blankenship having engaged in “sexual harassment of female employees,” I have to admit that I’ve not even counted mere allegations against Trump (and there are some wild ones[, as there have been against people I respect a lot more than Trump]). [Ryder asserted that Blankenship had conducted himself in a Trump-like manner as an executive, with sexual harassment being the most specific of the vague allegations Ryder offered. Since even obscure and irrelevant “failures” like myself, who’ve had jobs but not careers, and who will never be able to consider “retirement” unless willing to settle for vehicular residence or early death, can scarcely make it through life without acquiring enemies willing to lie about us, I’m strongly disinclined to believe unproved allegations against people whose this-worldly success and non-leftist politics make likely targets of politically motivated smear professionals.] Since Trump has bragged about adultery (as an example of his deal-making skills), and about getting away with what amounts to sexual assault (the if-you’re-famous-women-let-you-do-anything clandestine recording), my disregard of mere allegations hasn’t made me more willing to support him. I did count his executive experience in his favor, though I don’t think it is as good as Blankenship’s (Blankenship wasn’t just a debt king and eminent-domain expropriator of others’ property; he was a CPA who rose to CEO over a long period of solid work that began with youthful work in coal mines), but I did not judge this sufficient to overcome Trump’s immoral, non-conservative background. [My characterization of Trump as “just a debt king and eminent-domain expropriator of others’ property” is an oversimplification, of course. If he were really “just” these things, his “executive experience” wouldn’t count for much. As no amount of good executive experience would make me decide to disregard the moral problems I have with Trump, however, providing a more comprehensive picture of Trump’s executive experience would serve no useful purpose. His performance as the federal government’s chief executive has proved true to his “debt king” background, having him behave in ways one would hope someone trained in accounting, like Blankenship, would try to avoid.]
I have to say, complaining that links to videos where Blankenship has an opportunity to give his side of the story in detail are not as good as the mainstream-media hit-pieces you draw upon strikes me as a little rich. [I had in mind the range of negative materials the mainstream media has posted about Blankenship, which I recognized as the source of Ryder’s characterization of the man, though Ryder did not in fact cite specific articles, aside from an NPR article on how Blankenship called himself “Trumpier than Trump” when running for U.S. Senate. Had you bothered to review the videos, you would have come to realize as I have that when Blankenship calls himself “Trumpier than Trump” he has certain policies in mind (some of which I definitely don’t endorse; but they aren’t what make me wholly unable to consider voting for Trump), not Trump’s morals, personal style, or campaign practices. [To my way of thinking, the only fair-minded way to interpret what people say is in terms of what they explain to be their meaning. Taking people’s words and reading into them whatever one likes, or what the mainstream news media assert they must mean, is neither fair nor moral.]
If you don’t have time to review lengthy videos, or if you just don’t care to give Blankenship a fair hearing since you’ve already made up your mind, that’s your prerogative. [This sentence would better be reworded: If you don’t have time to review lengthy videos, that’s understandable; and if you just don’t care to give Blankenship a fair hearing since you’ve already made up your mind, that’s your prerogative. Not having time isn’t a prerogative.] But don’t think to “correct” or “refute” someone if you’re not going to bother reviewing and understanding the bases of his current opinion. [Throughout our interaction, Ryder remained true to his initial refusal to review and understand the materials he wished to prove had misled me.] That’s just sounding off without data. Very Trumpian, if you ask me.
Though Blankenship is not the candidate I would have chosen, I’ve decided to support him. Since you’ve not provided me with any new facts; since you haven’t shown why you think Blankenship’s explanation of the mine disaster as caused by government regulators doesn’t hold water, nor even shown that you’re aware of his counter-argument; since you’ve not refuted or even addressed Blankenship’s explanation of the “cocaine Mitch” ad; and since you’ve otherwise just made vague claims about alleged Blankenship misbehavior, neither specifically identifying alleged instances [nor] providing supporting evidence that they really occurred, I don’t see anything in your post that should make me change my mind about Blankenship.
I’ve listened to the mainstream media and to the man accused, and I’ve found [at least for now] in favor of the man accused. So far as I can tell from your remarks, you’ve listened to the mainstream media only, found the man they accuse guilty, then ended your investigation of the issue. This is opinion formation a la Donald J. Trump, and not something I care to imitate.
Thank you, though, for sharing your strong emotions on this issue. Some of them are the same emotions I had when I knew only one side of the story. Should new evidence come to light, or should old evidence I don’t yet know about come to my attention, some of those emotions may return to me (at which point I suppose I’ll have to simply leave my ballot blank in November).
Before I could even finish preparing this section (of course, Pious Eye site post preparation has never been a model of rapidity), interlocutor Ryder responded negatively. Clearly, he isn’t going to vote for Blankenship in 2020. I responded to him as follows (posted 27 May 2020):
@ Wright Ryder. Re your statement “For the record wading through a nearly 2 hour and a half interview is not nearly as time consuming as researching the information i referenced” [this shows that Ryder didn’t even notice that I’d linked to more than video]: Up to that point, you’d provided a single NPR URL. [Having read the material at the URL, I can verify that it takes far less than two-and-a-half hours to review. Since I don’t tend to read rapidly, I must conclude that Ryder is the slowest reader on this planet, or that he has in mind materials he never cited. Why he should think it worthwhile to compare the time he spent reviewing materials he did not cite to the time it would take to review an interview I did cite, I can’t guess, though his remarks do make it clear he has no intention of watching the interview.] Vaguely summarizing what you’ve read on your own doesn’t count as “referencing.” You’ve now provided a second URL for the Herald-Dispatch, bringing your total references to two. (My apologies if I missed a URL somehow. I’ve scanned your posts for references repeatedly and can only find these two.) As you would have seen if you’d actually read my response rather than just gotten the gist of it and posted again yourself, I continue to read materials and view interviews related to this story, hence my allowance that “new evidence [might] come to light” or “old evidence I don’t yet know about [might] come to my attention.” This continued reading and reflection will include your voluminous collection of two references, rest assured, though I will not comment on them here but on my blog. I don’t see anything useful to be gained from interacting with you on this Nation Builder page any further.
Had you bothered to follow the link to my blog, you would have found that [before Ryder tried to “correct” me with his NPR link] I’d read another news site’s summary of the “Trumpier than Trump” story. You’d also have noted that I changed my mind about the story after hearing Blankenship’s side of it. To quote from the blog post I’m preparing on this unproductive interaction, “To my way of thinking, the only fair-minded way to interpret what people say is in terms of what they explain to be their meaning. Taking people’s words and reading into them whatever one likes, or what the mainstream news media [assert] they must mean, is neither fair nor moral.” Blankenship has explained the sense of his “Trumpier than Trump” to have to do with policy preferences. Are you saying I should conclude from an NPR story that he’s lying about what he means when he says something and assume he means something else? Sorry, I’m not willing to do that.
Do feel free to vote for whomever you like or to vote for no one at all. I’ve shared my reasons for how I currently plan to vote, which you needn’t take into account when choosing how you will vote. Since you clearly believe you have greater knowledge and sounder judgment than both me and those at the party convention who nominated Blankenship, your best course of action would be to just stop wasting your time talking to me and other people inferior to you. You would also do well to leave the Constitution Party altogether, if you’re even a member, since those most committed to it, those who attend its conventions and select its candidates, are clearly too far below your high intelligence level, research skills, and moral insight to deserve your allegiance.
To which I then had to add this addendum as another comment (posted 27 May 2020):
Correction: I will not be reading the Herald-Dispatch article because the URL (accessed 27 May 2020) provides no content, just an invitation to pay for a subscription.
As Internet interlocutors go, this “Wright Ryder” character rates pretty low (whether “Wright Ryder” is a symbolic troll name for someone who metaphorically “rides” people on the political “right” or a person’s actual name, I don’t know, but it seems unlikely to me that a genuine supporter of the CP would treat NPR as an authoritative news source). Though I sometimes happen upon erudite individuals whose arguments enrich my own thinking, most online respondents do seem to be just people who want to sound off and quarrel to no purpose. Ah, well. After concluding my side of this “discussion,” I unsubscribed from page updates. As a result, sadly, if Ryder responds with some surprising stream of erudition and scholarly references, I will be wholly unaware of that fact.
On the positive side, my unproductive interaction with this individual has helped me understand Trump supporters a little better. Though I’ve tried to be fair when I characterize those who, having surveyed the available candidates and reflected on the issues they deem most important, have decided to support Trump (noting, for instance, that Trump’s “support of religious liberty and the right to life has been sufficiently good to make voting for him a reasonable choice for Christians”), many who oppose Trump, particularly those in mainstream (aka left-liberal) media, seem intentionally to refuse to take at face value or try to understand anything Trump supporters say when explaining their support for him. Instead, they just repeat talking points while either ignoring or intentionally misconstruing what the Trump supporters say. This infuriating behavior just makes the latter want to support Trump more strongly in retribution. To be honest, seeing how the mainstream media treat Trump supporters has often infuriated me very nearly to the point of voting for the man myself. Had I just been pretending to have decided to support Blankenship to see how people reacted, Ryder’s responses very likely would have made me determined to go ahead and actually vote for Blankenship.
Will Anybody Deliver Us from Anybody-Can “Capitalism”? ^
One of the things that gives the free market (freedom in buying, selling, and all things related to these, the practical outworking of individuals’ God-given property rights) a bad name in the minds of many is the way that people who do especially well financially apply to their financial success the you-create-your-own-reality wishful-fantasy philosophy of New Thought, some popular nonsense not grounded in any sound economic or philosophical reflection. Providential variations in the geography, finances, and health of individuals’ birth and early life; in the relative economic and political freedom of the nations into which they are born; and in the lifelong allotment to them of physical health and raw vitality: all these things affect the possibility and influence the probability of individual financial success. Surely no one has failed to notice, for instance, that some people have, not due to any right decision of their own but purely as a gift of providence, reserves of vitality that make them “forces of nature” in their ability to act when compared to people of normal energy. And surely no one has failed to notice that the converse is also true, that some people, not because of wrong choices but solely because providence has so ordered things, have lower energy, poorer and less constant health, and myriad other impediments to “success” than even those averagely favored by providence.
To make matters worse, the financially successful you-create-your-own-reality people describe their financial success simply as “success,” as though success were a one-definition-fits-all thing meaning physical wealth and nothing else. A video YouTube recommended to me recently, Motiversity’s “THIS IS WHY ONLY 1% SUCCEED | An Eye Opening Interview with Robert Kiyosaki” (accessed 26 May 2020) exemplifies this sort of thinking. Adherents of this ungodly philosophy assert, “anyone can do what I’ve done,” and so imply that everyone deserves what he gets and no one should feel any obligation to help anyone who does less well. They give no credit or thanks to God for that providence from which they have benefited, nor do they accept the moral obligations that God’s generosity puts upon them. Judging by how much of their wealth some professing Christians spend on luxuries and amusements, I fear this ungodly sort of thinking is far from rare even among God’s people.
Those of us who reject the left-liberal assumption that government may legitimately determine and enforce the moral obligations that result from God’s providential generosity to some invariably find ourselves associated with these New Thought adherents and their “anyone can do what I’ve done” or “anybody can get rich” foolishness, particularly when we suggest that people who’ve done well financially should still be treated with fairness and impartiality. And it is this unfair association that keeps many people from embracing the principles of individual liberty necessary to freedom. While people like Robert Kiyosaki may have some sound and useful advice, and while following such advice over long periods may, God willing, improve one’s chances of doing better financially, their anybody-can-get-rich providence-ignoring pseudo-philosophy deserves neither the support nor the attention of thinking people.
No Binge to Watch On ^
“No beach to walk on.” Captain James T. Kirk.
“I have little to say about [Omicron Ceti III], except that for the first time in my life, I was happy.” Science Officer Spock.
I suppose I have the same natural inclination as others to binge watch serials during my passive downtime. Deciding to no longer start watching either R-rated movies or TV-MA-rated serials, having found that I always have to stop watching these to avoid implicitly endorsing materials contrary to piety, and even finding that conscience often demands that I not finish movies and serials with “safer” ratings, I’m mostly unable to join the crowd in this new form of leisure. The normalization of homosexual activity across all ratings classes has forced me to leave uncompleted materials I would otherwise have found both appealing and inoffensive. And, of course, the willingness of raters to allow the identifier “God” and our Lord’s precious name to be used as swear words without any effect on ratings, so that outright blasphemy might show up in even PG movies and TV-PG-rated serials (and maybe even in G movies and TV-G-rated serials, if these even exist anymore). Recently, in fact, I had to stop watching a documentary series alleged to describe life in the Middle Ages because it included simulated sexual intercourse in some fantasy or dream sequences of a monk on pilgrimage to then-corrupt Rome. Though, as a Protestant, I could appreciate objective description of the immorality of medieval Rome, this sort of gratuitous salacious content just turns edifying educational materials into degrading garbage.
I realize that many Christians think it sufficient to simply fast-forward past objectionable materials. In fact, some professing Christians think it sufficient just to say, “I really wish they wouldn’t include this kind of stuff,” as they continue watching. Several years ago, in fact, I noticed Game of Thrones among the movie likes on the Facebook profile of a professing Christian acquaintance. And I’ve known professing Christians whose love of violent “action movies” kept them watching films replete with foul language even after it was pointed out to them that such language was showing up in their own speech. Even before researchers came to recognize the lifelong malleability of the human brain, Scripture provided guidance clearly at odds with the “it’s just harmless entertainment” theory of television and film viewing: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).
Please don’t mistake these remarks for a holier-than-thou assertion of moral superiority on my part. My conduct has been far from perfect in this area. And don’t think that I’m proposing a one-size-fits-all rule based on ratings or specific elements observable in movies and television. You must decide for yourself whether your calling under God makes it necessary for you to review certain movies and television serials in spite of their potentially negative influence. I only ask that you not think it proper to consume such media as “entertainment” that you may passively enjoy, and that you not adopt the fallacious secular belief that anything goes so long as the corrupt standards of our degenerate culture say that it’s “age appropriate” for your cohort. I also ask that you keep in mind that media-streaming companies must keep track of how users behave when streaming their materials. Surely they notice whether users viewing movies, serials, and episodes within serials view them all the way through or end their viewing at some point. If so, then immediately ending your viewing when the homosexual “married” (or dating) couple is introduced in an approving manner, or when two actors simulate sexual activity on camera, or when some “heroic” character demonstrates he can’t control his tongue, shows that you’re casting a “no” vote against such content. Likewise, continuing your viewing casts an implicit “yes” vote for such content, to the satisfaction of the enemies of Christ.
Since binge-watching can have pleasurable mind-altering effects that one who’s gotten used to them may be reluctant to give up, I’ve opened this section with quotations from two relevant episodes of Star Trek, since, of course, every worthwhile topic can and should be associated with an episode of this classic series.
On the Inadequacy of “America First” Politics ^
“America First” is inadequate as a description of the proper policy stance for U.S. politicians. Based on the vision of government’s proper function set forth in this nation’s inaugural Declaration of Independence, “America Only” would be a more proper slogan. The U.S. government serves to ensure the rights of citizens of the U.S., wherever they may reside, and of all persons within the territory of the U.S., wherever they may be citizens, and no one else. Perhaps we should borrow our slogan from the Goths—not the Goths whom snooty Romans thought “barbarians,” but the Gothic music subculture: America “First and Last and Always.”
Declaring Churches Essential is Good; Letting Individuals Decide for Themselves What’s Essential is Better ^
This is a comment I just (on 28 May 2020) added to a Craig Huey article.
You know, though I of course agree with you that Trump is more correct than his opponents on this issue (churches certainly are essential), I wish there were more and stronger pushback against the whole idea of government officials, whether faith-attacking secular governors or a faith-defending president, telling the people of this country what is and isn’t essential. The situation is so bad that people who just want to make a living, and to choose what risks they freely take with their own health and lives, feel they have to explain why their particular job should also be considered essential (“feeding my family is essential”). In a free society, that an individual just happens to value something enough to think it essential (whether it’s a job, a recreational activity like surfing, or something else) actually makes it essential for that individual. No further justification should have to be provided to government.
My comments assume, of course, that the thing deemed essential is legal and does not harm others or prevent them from exercising their own God-given rights. My comments also presuppose certain principles with which Americans today often aren’t familiar (though just reading and reflecting upon the Declaration of Independence can make them known to competent readers). As I’ve noted in prior posts with various wordings, the nation we find ourselves in today is not the America that once was.
By the way, concerning justifications of lockdowns and other acts of tyranny currently underway on the basis of various states’ lawmakers having passed “emergency powers” legislation: Because this was meant to be a liberty-centered constitutional republic, not merely a representative democracy, it is not automatically the case that laws passed by elected representatives are valid. As well, because humans are fallible, it isn’t even the case that laws passed by legislators are valid (read: compliant with this nation’s founding principles) just because some judges have ruled in their favor. If those judges happen to be in the U.S. Supreme Court, we citizens are pretty much obligated to give outward compliance to their judgment in matters of law, true, but even then we remain free to speak out in opposition to the High Court’s decisions if they err by running contrary to this nation’s founding principles, as, for instance, in the recent decision of a majority of that court’s justices against a Chula Vista, California church.
Closing Remarks ^
About the best way to describe the current situation in America is to quote some of our leading public health officials and mainstream media: “We’re all doomed! Run for the hills!” Of course, these officials don’t realize (I charitably assume) that the cause of the coming doom is government’s violations of individual liberty, along with the depredations of American morality helped along by immoral popular entertainment (of which people are consuming more than ever due to government’s stay-at-home orders), liberty violations and moral depredations facilitated by the mass panic these officials and media seem determined to maintain. Meanwhile, the trolls are out in force online, no doubt because many of them can’t get out of their homes for any activities government doesn’t deem “essential,” and a benighted wish-fulfillment philosophy drives the providentially gifted to shirk their moral duties. Surprisingly, though, the sort of dark and foreboding music best suited to the current environment suggests an improvement to government policies in general, an improvement, alas, that probably can’t be brought about by voting for one of the two major political parties. Fortunately, the ever-helpful Pious Eye has created some guidelines to assist those seeking an alternative.
Notes, Elaborations, & Asides ^
 Image: Fauci’s Job Well Done. Created by David M. Hodges for piouseye.com by modifying and combining two images, both under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license: Pandemonium by Shannon Kringen and Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., NIAID Director by NIAID. In accord with the terms of that license, this derivative image may also be used under the same license.
 Abusive Trump supporters who accosted me in 2016 had much the same effect on my determination not to vote for Trump. Trolls make terrible public relations people.
 “The Registrar of Voters Office Is Temporarily Closed to the Public,” San Diego County Registrar of Voters, undated, accessed 25 May 2020.
 “Electors and the Electoral College November 3, 2020, General Election,” California Secretary of State, undated, accessed 30 May 2020. Since selection of electors by district is only mentioned for the two major parties in this document, it does not appear that electors have to come proportionately from different districts.
 Link verified 27 May 2020. If you’re in the mood to be offended by foul language, this Trump clip should satisfy you (link verified same day). If you think Trump (or his party) shares your Bible-believing Christian convictions about homosexuality, think again (link verified same day).
 Of course, were I to apply the same approach to Trump as he applies to those who oppose him, I would consider defaming Trump with unsubstantiated allegations a great approach. One anti-Blankenship argument is that Blankenship’s “cocaine Mitch” identification of Mitch McConnell is the same sort of thing. Granted, calling someone “cocaine so-and-so” because cocaine happens to be found on a vessel owned by his in-laws manifests simplistic association-equals-involvement thinking, thinking on par with and often giving rise to memes (“Cocaine Mitch,” Know Your Meme, posted 11 October 2018 by user Matt, updated 11 July 2019 by user Y F, accessed 30 May 2020, at which point it still carried the “This submission is currently being researched & evaluated!” notification). Still, suspecting that, in this situation, a husband might be involved in some way, or might be deriving indirect benefit from the activity, is a natural tendency in the thinking of many people. I don’t approve of the tendency, considering it a flaw in thinking one shouldn’t see in someone with the analytical skills to become a CPA, but I do recognize it as common enough that I’m not willing to write someone off entirely for making the error occasionally. Now, if I observe this error becoming a consistent pattern in Blankenship’s thinking and rhetoric, as it seems to be in Trump’s thinking and rhetoric (based on my observations of the man since the 2016 Republican Party primary), I may find that, even though I’ve volunteered to serve as an elector for him should he be the first presidential candidate to win California as a write-in candidate, I’m not able to write in his name when I vote in November 2020.
 As I noted in a prior post, “I do grant the possibility that some of these individuals [Christian leaders who portray today’s Trump as quite different from what his public behavior and known background indicate him to be] might know things about Trump those of us who only see his public behavior and know some of his background do not see. I grant the possibility, but I doubt the probability. I think it more likely that Christian leaders who like being close to power just have a talent for seeing only what they want to see in political leaders who favor them.”
 Don Gonyea, “Former Coal CEO Turned Senate Hopeful Don Blankenship Says He’s ‘Trumpier Than Trump,’” NPR (National Public Radio), 8 March 2018. The article, standard biased fare for left-leaning news agencies like NPR, does do more than misrepresent what Blankenship means when he calls himself “Trumpier than Trump.” For instance, because doing so might further bias readers against giving Blankenship a fair hearing by associating him with someone who’s already been successfully defamed, it repeats allegations against a prior candidate left-liberal types succeeded in defeating with accusations alone. As well, it accuses Blankenship of racism for referring to “China people” in an ad where he contrasts this to “West Virginia people.” Grammar requires understanding these contrasting linguistic constructions as parallel; so, since “West Virginia people” can only mean “people residing in West Virginia,” there being no “West Virginian” race or ethnicity, “China people” must be interpreted to mean “people residing in China.”
Usage of the outdated terminology “Negro” (in what context, the article does not say) also gets Blankenship labeled a racist. (Though being “racially insensitive” sounds like it should mean that one simply lacks certain interpersonal skills or knowledge of current social conventions, in which case it would not be something morally blameworthy but just unfortunate, in practice left-liberals use the phrase as a quasi-intellectual way to say “racist.”) But not everyone in every area of the country keeps up with the latest trends in this-term-you’ve-always-used-is-now-offensive-and-forbidden usage. Oxford’s Lexico provides the following information in its “Usage” note for “Negro” (which it identifies as “dated, offensive”):
The 2010 US Census questionnaire was criticized when it retained the racial designation Negro as an option (along with Black and African Am.[American]). The Census Bureau defended its decision, citing the 2000 Census forms, on which more than 56,000 individuals handwrote “Negro” (even though it was already on the form). Apparently, Negro continues to be the identity strongly preferred by some Americans. (“Usage” note for the word “Negro,” Lexico, undated, accessed 28 May 2020).
Though I can’t recall the term ever being in common usage where I live (Southern California), I suspect Blankenship’s West Virginia, where he grew up and spent most of his working life, and where he was running for Senate, is probably one of the areas where usage of the term “Negro” has not long been unacceptable. Does anyone have any room for some charity here? For my part, I reject the concept of human “races” altogether, since humans exist in a spectrum and all descend from the same Adam and Eve. I suppose one can’t debate that certain populations were long enough separated from one another after the Tower of Babel to develop shared characteristics that do distinguish them from other populations, though. One of these population groups used to commonly be called “Negro,” and that usage persisted in some areas of America at least through 2000 and 2010. Interestingly, of the related classical racial terms Negroid (Negro), Mongoloid, and Caucasoid (Caucasian), only Negroid (Negro) and Mongoloid are identified as “dated, offensive.” Caucasoid is consider “dated” but not offensive, and Caucasian is still in use with a more restricted meaning (“Negroid,” “Negro,” “Mongoloid,” “Caucasoid,” “Caucasian,” Lexico, all undated, all accessed 28 May 2020). Apparently, terms identifying so-called “white” people cannot be offensive.
The NPR article also suggests that Blankenship “has referred to McConnell’s wife, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who was born in Taiwan to Chinese parents” in a “racially insensitive way,” but the ad quoted (and embedded, with a biased title from Slate, which I reported to YouTube as being “hateful or abusive” because it “abusively libels Don Blankenship by labeling his ad ‘Insane, Racist’ based on Slate’s subjective impression of the meaning of his remarks”) only speaks of how Mitch McConnell’s “China family has given him tens of millions of dollars,” which doesn’t even say anything about Elaine Chao specifically. If the reference is to Chao’s extended family, and if some of that family still resides in China, “China family” would be ineloquent but accurate. If Blankenship refers to a Taiwanese family as a “China family,” in keeping with communist China’s view that Taiwan is not an independent nation but just a province of China, that is truly deplorable and I hope he’ll recant. If, on the other hand, he means that Taiwan is in fact the legitimate and true China, and that all the provinces of mainland China are in fact parts of this same Chinese nation that should rightfully be ruled by the Taiwanese government rather than the usurpers who now control it, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), then I agree with and endorse his viewpoint.
Frankly, I’ve never been convinced by the media that Trump is racist, and this NPR article doesn’t convince me that Blankenship is racist. Since I reject the mainstream, left-leaning media’s bias, according to which any “white” person is presuppositionally racist until proved otherwise and any male person is presuppositionally sexist until proved otherwise, I’m unwilling to treat nationalism, lack of eloquence, or lack of mastery of recent linguistic trends as proof of racism. Both Trump and Blankenship appear to be nationalistic in a way that makes them hostile toward American politicians whom they judge to be serving the interests of people in foreign nations at the expense of Americans. I’m not a fan of all the policy positions Trump and Blankenship seem to favor on the basis of this nationalism, nor am I a fan of the wartime-style rhetoric that often goes along with it. I do like when American politicians realize that their authority is exclusively national and their responsibility exclusively to the people of the American nation, as I’ve noted, however, so I find the concepts of nationalism, Americanism, and “America First” unproblematic in themselves, even as I disagree with some of the policies being proposed in the name of these concepts.
 The explanation is basically that Blankenship believes McConnell has indirectly benefited from the cocaine trade because he’s received money from his wife’s family which, in turn, has profited from the trade, which he assumes to be the case because cocaine was found on a ship owned by that family. Though I don’t find the thinking behind this explanation cogent, that it exists shows that Blankenship doesn’t mean merely to defame McConnell to achieve a certain political objective. He really believes that McConnell profits from China-based cocaine trafficking. Something similar might be true of some of Trump’s defamatory remarks about his opponents, though I’m not sure anyone but an extreme misanthrope could believe all of the aspersions Trump has cast on those who oppose him (“Lying Ted [Cruz]” comes to mind).
 The sort of metaphorical “riding” that makes people say things like “get off my back.” Though I would guess this derives from riding beasts of burden, as with saddled horses, there’s the possibility of obscene intention in people’s use of it, as in much obviously vulgar metaphorical slang out there. As of this writing, I don’t judge the topic one that merits study.
 I’d be surprised if many members of the CP judge NPR, or its televised sister PBS, even marginally trustworthy. In fact, I doubt that anyone to the right of Bernie Sanders politically considers NPR an objective, unbiased news source.
 Actually, though I’d unsubscribed from the page, I still got a couple email notices of new responses from Ryder. Since I’d already ended the discussion, however, I just opened up the unsubscribe URL a few more times (okay, seven or eight times), confirmed the “unsubscribed” confirmation each time, and deleted the notices. Refusing to let an unproductive conversation end is hallmark troll behavior, and I refuse to indulge it. There sure are a lot of these jokers, aren’t there? (I was very tempted to leave the message “Since this conversation is over, I haven’t read your new posts” followed by the URL for a “talk to the hand” image. I resisted this temptation, however, mainly because “talk to the hand” is so 90s.)
 Though I remain unable to vote for Trump myself, I now focus little if any effort on discouraging others who plan to vote for him. Those who can’t let go of the Republican-Democrat binary because they think that the only hope for preserving the nation is a path of pragmatic compromise that chooses the least bad of the major-party options every election—well, I see sound reasons for people like this to have chosen Trump over Clinton and to choose Trump over Biden.
 For example, especially severe allergies or an unidentified viral illness, or an illness due to some other cause, forced me to set aside this post for several days just as I was ready to wrap it up. Physical infirmities such as this, and ones much more severe and chronic, do not assail all people equally. People rarely assailed by such things may get the mistaken impression that they are in control, and these people, failing to give God credit and thanks for his direction of events, may then infer from their own experience of being in control that all individuals must be similarly in control. When unfavorable providence precedes favorable providence, those who fail to recognize providence at all may see themselves as having autonomously overcome adversity, and may infer from their experience that anyone else facing adversity may likewise overcome it autonomously, needing only the proper mindset and concerted effort. This is practical atheism and a delusion.
 Or, as unbelievers would have it, from mere chance. Left-liberals who are part of the religious left might allow for providential influence. Most left-liberals, who tend to be secular and evolutionary in their thinking, replace God’s providence with random chance and dumb luck. In the unbelieving system of thought, however, any concept of moral duty before God vanishes, and a concept of moral duty before the void makes no sense.
 “The Naked Time,” Star Trek, Season 1, Episode 9 (aired 29 September 1966), directed by Marc Daniels. Kirk speaks while still under the influence of the episode’s mind-altering substance, knowing that influence is about to end.
 “This Side of Paradise,” Star Trek, Season 1, Episode 24 (aired 02 March 1967), directed by Ralph Senensky. Spock speaks of his experience under the influence of the episode’s mind-altering substance, knowing that influence has passed and will not return.
 I often distinguish between profanity, the profane use of the names of God and of Jesus Christ as swear words, and any similar use of other sacred material, on the one hand, and vulgarity, the use of crass terminology for excretory functions and sexual activity to show emotion or simply to offend, on the other. Though the latter, vulgarity, should properly be considered less severe and objectionable than the former, profanity, since offending men is less severe than blaspheming God, film and television ratings clearly treat vulgarity as more objectionable than profanity, and treat sexual vulgarities as more severe that excretory ones. Although the profanity-vulgarity distinction is one few people use or recognize, using it does help one to perceive the ungodly inversion of God-centered values now dominant, at least among the people who rate today’s films and television programming.
 To which one might wish to add the fan-fiction series, Star Trek Continues, which so effectively captures the spirit of the original that I’d be inclined to incorporate it officially into the Star Trek canon—if, you know, I were one of those convention-attending Star Trek fanboys, which, of course, I’m not.
 Accessed 28 May 2020. The YouTube broadcaster, Tras, notes (punctuation modified): “Despite [Sisters of Mercy front man] Eldritch’s highly vocal rejection of the designation ‘Goth,’ ‘First and Last and Always’ has consistently been praised in the canon of gothic rock, and in December, 1999, Q magazine included it in their list of ‘The Best Gothic Albums of All Time.’”
 Paraphrased from various remarks and reports interpreted in light of the strictest state edicts.