Social justice and political correctness have replaced proper manners.

There is an awful lot of discussion these days about what is meant by freedom of speech. I cannot address with any authority, the legalities of what freedom of speech implies. I cannot offer expertise on libel or slander.

The old adage about not being able to shout fire in a crowded theater certainly holds true. Maybe not if there really is a fire? I’m not going to discuss that here though.

Is telling a deliberate lie expressing free speech? Some would say so. Is protesting or screaming to prohibit someone else from speaking, expressing your right to free speech? Many would argue in favor of this.

My question about free speech is much simpler and basic. Are manners no longer relevant? Is being polite a thing of the past?

As children most of us are taught not to lie, not to interrupt, to use our inside voice, to say please and thank you, not to be rude. Apparently there must be a statute of limitations on the positive things we are taught as children or perhaps there is an expiration date for civility.

Free speech now seems to be determined by those who see themselves as the arbiter of what is hateful or acceptable. The preferences of a few outweigh those of the many. If someone doesn’t like what I have to say, he or she has authorized themself to silence opposing views.

I have been told on many occasions that I cannot say certain things. Problem is, I’ve already said it, will likely say it again and do not recognize any authority of the person telling me what I can and cannot say.

It isn’t even that I’m lying, shouting or being rude. If this was the case then correcting me might be appropriate. No it isn’t that. It is political correctness which is what has replaced the manners we were taught as children. Now instead of civility being the norm, it is our words and thoughts that are being silenced by those who have claimed the right to do so.

Today is the Independence Day. We broke away from tyranny seeking freedom. Now, those who think they have the right to do so feel it’s okay to control the speech and thoughts of others. I for one am not having it.

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I’m judging you…and I hope you’re judging me.

Don’t judge me! We hear it all the time. A lot of the time it is said in jest. Maybe you overfilled your plate or ate something unhealthy and you notice everyone staring in your direction.

Obviously not what this post is about. A lot of people have a view that says “Don’t Judge Me”. Don’t hold me accountable for my words or actions. Let me do what I want and say what I want without any consequences or negative opinions. Just let me be who I am. What right to you have to be my judge?

I regret to inform you that everyone has the right if not an obligation to judge. If you don’t think so, then you are either a fool or a liar.

Do you have friends? How did you choose them? Have you ever stopped being someone’s friend because the relationship became toxic? What about a spouse or significant other? Did you simply take up with the first person available? I hope not.

What does the Bible say about not judging. It basically says if you judge another person, you must be willing to be judged by an equal standard. I’m very okay with this. That is the safeguard, the check and balance.

Now if you are getting the impression that we should all go around verbally passing judgement on each other then you haven’t a clue about what I’m talking about. Judgement should, for the most part, be absolutely silent and discreet. It should be that part of you that says “this is a bad idea”.

Ever interview for a job? What do you think is happening? Are you not being judged and are you not at the same time sizing up the person sitting across from you?

Being judgemental has been given a bad rap over the years. Just like with profiling, we are afraid to admit that we see others for who they really are. We pretend that we have no opinions about how others act. Much of this is a result of political correctness. By judging others we fear being labeled homophobic, racist, sexist, intolerant, discriminatory. Well I’m here to say enough of that.

If you want to walk around with blinders on pretending that you don’t have any idea when others are acting without any common sense you certainly have that right. If you are afraid to be honest or to point out hypocrisy that’s fine. But you are only fooling yourself.

America has become a very strange place. People are afraid to speak the truth because of whom it may offend or to be perceived as judgemental. Like I said, you don’t need to go around pointing out everyone’s faults. But be honest with yourself and others too.

Pretending everything is okay and acceptable does a disservice to everyone.

Are you secure in your convictions?

When you are insecure about what you believe, you have to convince others to agree. People in this category become angry when others don’t buy into what their selling. The more people they can convince to agree with them with nothing to back them up, the less proof they need.

This insecurity breeds contempt for anyone on the opposite of one’s political, social and even religious spectrum. As a Christian I am happy to share my faith with anyone who is interested. Whether you agree with my faith is not my concern. This is not true of other religions who feel you must be slaughtered if you are of another faith.

Another example of this is the climate change mythology. When Al Gore created this religious cult, he knew that it would make him lots of money. He has done a great job of convincing many that it’s a real thing. He is one heck of a salesman. I don’t have any problem with those who have bought into his ideas. I feel sorry for them as in my mind they are in the same category as flat-earthers and adults who still believe in the tooth fairy. But neither of these groups are out to force me to join them in their fantasies.

Apparently these folks are secure enough not to need my affirmation, which is rather funny when you think about it. You would be ridiculed for denying global warming but not for believing in a round earth. Figure that one out.

This is a short post but I hope it gives you reason to think about your own beliefs and conviction. Are you secure enough in them not to care what others believe? Or is anyone who disagrees with you cause for an argument or offense?

We live in a fake society 

Anyone watching the news should have no argument with the title of this post. Our society has indeed been overrun with the fake. Although our President has been quick to point out the trend of fake news I submit that this fakeness permeates our entire culture. And by the way, in case there is any question of where I stand, Trump is correct, most news is not at all news but a distribution of leftist philosophy. 

What besides the news is fake? For one, gender identification. No longer satisfied with how they were born, there are some who have decided that not only are they a member of the opposite of their physical sex and gender, but they have come up with and ever growing list of other possibilities. These other genders are fake. They do not exist except as an artificial construct.

The new rule is, if the obvious is not adequate, add complications. Looking down past your waist should be a sufficient method of determining whether you are a boy or girl. But, no, this is too simple. Common sense is just too simple a tool for the deviant mind. And when I say deviant I am not referring only to sexuality.

A fake view of life also spills over into the realm of the unborn. Once upon a time if you made something alive become dead, you killed it. But this is way too simple, like the new fake descriptions of gender, we cannot call a baby, a baby. We cannot call someone who is alive, alive or someone who is dead, dead. The fake term here is abortion. Deviant thinkers have decided that the rules needed to be changed to remove the guilt associated with murder. How very convenient for them. At one time when a couple found out they were pregnant, they announced the expectation of a baby. Now, it isn’t really a baby, unless he or she is wanted. I predict that abortion, the fake name for murder, will eventually, sooner than later, start to be applied any time an unwanted or inconvenient life is taken away. Old people, the handicapped and babies, even those who make it out of the womb, will be murdered but it will be called abortion.

Fake rights are being created all the time. A gay couple can demand to be married. This is a fake right since two people of the same sex are not even a couple. Best friends, roommates, but not a couple. Same sex couples and same sex marriage are fake names for deviant behavior. 

From the same people who insist on the right to be a couple comes another fake right. The right to insist that every one else caters to their wants and desires. The “couple” who insisted that Christian bakers deny their own identity and rights in order to satisfy and help perpetuate the gay agenda would not have complied if the roles were reversed. 

Another fake right is the right not to be offended or have to allow others to speak their own mind. There is no such thing as a public safe space. Unless you wish to enter your own home and lock the door, there is no where else where you have the right to silence anyone who with whom you disagree or forbid their presence. 

This has brought rise to innumerable fake societal concepts. Social justice is another fake term that dares to violate my right to think or speak of ideas that are not politically correct. Of course political correctness is just another fake term for deviants to rule over traditionalists. 

I hope this post upsets you and triggers you in every way possible. Maybe then people will start using common sense again. 

Triggering everything 

I’ve avoided using my blog to enter into all the social justice and political debates. Twitter has been my outlet for this but it can be a pain to navigate because of all its limitations. But now I’ve decided to make increased use of this blog. 

America has become a really weird place. According to many, most of the values I embrace are antiquated, bigoted, racist, sexist and fit into one or more phobias.  There are many voices of reason though with whom I agree, ie Ben Shapiro, Steve Crowder, Gavin McInnes and many others.

It’s a good thing these people exist and have a voice. Unfortunately I don’t have their platform because, honestly, no one cares what I think or have to say. So at the risk of inviting a few scattered hate comments from those who allege to be the most tolerant of all, I’m throwing my opinions out there for all who might be interested in one more person to dislike.

There are so many topics to address it’s really difficult to choose one. I think I’d like to dive into the one about gender. Why not? I’ve heard it said that gender and sex are not the same. And yet, they really are. If you are born male, you’re a boy and if you’re born female you are a girl. When you visit the newborn nursery at a hospital you see boy babies and girl babies. You never see a sign marked, undecided or to be determined. There are many things in life left up to choice. A career, a place to live, a spouse. Sex is not one of them. Just like you cannot choose your parents or the location of your birth you do not get to choose whether you are a boy or a girl, a man or a woman. You can pretend but your body knows what it is.

It is a shame that so many people have decided to live in a fantasy world and are trying to get everyone else to live there as well. I am perfectly fine with reality. All the surgeries, cross dressing and weird names are not going to change the truth. 

Males are males and females are females. I don’t even need to prove this. Penises and vaginas have made the difference very clear.

Minimizing my minimalism 

Since starting this journey I’m learning a lot. My most recent revelation is that I do not want to live my life according to a term.  I am a member of a few groups defining themselves as “Minimalists” and have found lots of interesting people and useful information. But I have come to believe that many are living within this set of quotation marks who seem almost afraid that they won’t be true to the title if they don’t quite fit the mold.

Let’s go back a bit further. 

I’ve been a Christian for many, many years. More than half my life. For a long time I tried to make sure that I fit the term. I used all the right jargon. Made sure I called everyone brother or sister, said amen a lot. You know what I mean.  After many years, saying and doing all the right things almost seemed more important than the goal. The Bible is my handbook, the written source of all I know about God. But just reading it and carrying it doesn’t create a personal relationship with Christ. I have that now.  But it isn’t because I fit the mold. It’s because of the relationship that I have developed with Jesus over the years. Like marriage, the commitment takes a second but the relationship can take a lifetime.

Not my house

Back to the present 

I took a dream job on a ship where I would have very little space for stuff. I planned to be gone for 6 months and it didn’t make sense to keep paying for an apartment and utilities and so I left it all behind. The monetary value of my possessions was less than the cost of keeping them in storage for 6 months. At first I tried selling things. I did sell a few items but the clock was ticking and I had to be on a plane by a specific day. After distributing the most sentimental items to my kids I had to figure out what to do with everything else. I’ll admit it was difficult. There was nothing that I could not eventually use again in the future. But my plan was to be at sea for a couple of years. Little did I suspect that this would change and instead I’d be back in less than 3 months. You can go back and read about that another time.

And so, minimalism, was thrust upon me. But I embraced it. I took it to the utmost degree. One day I dragged my old sofa outside and not having a truck, hacked away at it with a hammer until I could haul it away in tiny pieces in the trunk of my small car. I removed every item from upstairs and brought it downstairs. The clock was ticking faster. If someone came in to buy a chair, they left with a bunch of other stuff as well. A hoarder would have been devastated by my wonton disbursement of all that I’d  accumulated. 

Not my house

I was by no means a packrat. Before the kids grew up and before my wife passed away, we had already downsized to move from our house into an apartment. But that is another story.

My goal was to only have what would fit and could be stored in my car, which would stay in storage at a family member’s home.

I met that goal. 

Now here I am just a few months later with much less than most minimalists. What is not in my car is in the room where I am staying. I recently went on a road trip up north and literally had all that I own with me. 

Not my house

As minimal as I have become,  I am avoiding the definition. I’ll admit that when I first started I embraced it wholeheartedly. I watched the videoes, joined the groups and took pride in this new identity. I made sure my Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other profiles all specifically identified me as a “minimalist” with extra large quotation marks!

I suddenly realized that I was doing the same thing I had previously done with Christianity. I was making sure I had the fish symbol on my car, went to every service, was on several church boards, etc. It was not until after I’d lost my wife that I realized that seeking God was the goal, not just talking the talk. 

Not my house

The same is true of what we are calling minimalism. I seek a simple, happy,  uncluttered lifestyle. I’m getting pretty darn close. It’s a bit late in life but sometimes you must lose a lot to figure out what is important. There is still a lot of tweaking to be done.  Ultimately,  satisfaction will not come to me be because I only have a chair and a tv and one piece of art on the wall. It won’t because I have less clothes than everyone else. It will be due to finally figuring out who I am and what I want my life to look like. With God’s grace I am going to get there.
Comments, questions and subscribers to this blog are appreciated. 

A word about Christmas, Minimalism and Gifts. 

The time is coming. It’s not even Thanksgiving and stores are full of trees and decorations for sale. We have not even had the opportunity to be thankful for what we have before getting ready to make a list of what we want.

For many, the spiritual aspect of Christmas is all but gone. No, it isn’t Giftmas. What once was a sacred occasion is nothing more than a time for stores to make as much profit as possible.

Now that I’ve ventured into the world of minimalism I’m getting to see a whole new side of Christmas that had really not been so much of an issue for me. But for many, it’s a big deal. And not just Christmas. It’s about birthdays, anniversaries and any other holiday, religious or not, where gifts are involved.

As minimalists desperately try to purge unwanted possessions, many dread situations where they are in danger of receiving unwelcome clutter in the form of a gift.

While I am no expert of etiquette and relatively new to minimalism I will offer my opinion, right or wrong, for you to consider and glean from it any portion you deem useful. What I have to say is not only for minimalists.

The conversation that arises is how to let others know that you don’t want any gifts or at least none that you won’t appreciate. Why let others waste money, time and effort on something that you don’t want? This is not an unreasonable mentality but there is much to think about on both sides.

For many, Christmas, birthdays and such are times for giving and many enjoy giving. And so picking out gifts for loved ones is a great pleasure. As the potential receiver you can’t take that away from them. It’s not your responsibility or place to tell others how to spend their money.

At the same time, gifters have some opportunities here. Since the last time they went shopping they have had an entire year to learn about what loved ones value and what their lifestyle is. Hopefully, as a gifter you know enough about your loved ones to show that not only did you take the time to shop, but you also took the time to learn about that person. Shopping for a minimalist can be hard work and frustrating because they seem to want nothing. Often whatever you get them might be regifted, exchanged or returned. Worse yet, it might get tossed in the trash. That is why, having a whole year is plenty of time to figure out when a gift card is a much better gift than a cheese slicer.

I am not a fan of Christmas lists. They are self indulgent and teach kids to think of themselves. It creates an air of expectation and entitlement. Parents have a whole year to learn what their kids like and don’t like. They shouldn’t need a list.

As receivers of gifts, no one, minimalists included, should fear the undesired gift. It is not your responsibility to make sure that your loved one is spending his or her money wisely. If they have not learned enough about you to know the best gift for you, take whatever it is, be grateful you were thought of and say a sincere thank you. So what if you end up giving it away, it didn’t cost you anything. So what if you didn’t get what you wanted. Go out and buy it yourself. You are entitled to nothing. You didn’t earn it, it didn’t cost you anything. A gift is just that, a gift. The giver has no obligation to give it or to make sure it will be appreciated. Receive it in the spirit it was given and say that you.

So stop worrying about getting the word out that you don’t want or need anything or that you have a list that others should adhere to. The world will not end because you got something you don’t want. Your life will not be ruined.

Merry Christmas