By Dr. Jim Ferguson
A song by Kathy Mattea resonates with me this week because I’m “home alone.” Mattea described the lifelong relationship of Claire and Edwin, whose byline was, “Where’ve you been? I’m just not myself when you’re away.”
This September Becky and I will have been married thirty-eight years, more than half our lives. We are both fairly resourceful and I can take care of myself over the short term. As I sat in a funeral this week and observed the widow of a friend, I found myself imagining life without my partner. Life would go on, but I would never be the same again. Fortunately, our journey together continues.
My wife is in Washington DC, marching on the Capitol with fellow TEA party (Taxed Enough Already) patriots. This may shock some of our friends. However, I believe the confusion comes from not understanding the TEA party movement. This movement has never been a political party except in the disinformation campaign of the media and Democrat party who are, for the most part, one and the same. The TEA party focus has always been that the Government is too big, is wasteful and is out of control. The revelations from Benghazi, the cover up at the State Department, the abuses of the Justice Department, the spying operations of the FBI, the CIA, and the NSA do not engender confidence in the government.
My wife and others are in Washington this week to protest another egregious abuse of power in the IRS which is under the Executive branch of the government and controlled by its leaders. This agency that dips into all our pockets singled out conservative citizens and organizations and treated them unjustly. And to add salt to the wound, $70 million in bonuses are to be paid to IRS employees despite President Obama’s sequestration. I wonder if the IRS has already hired the additional sixteen thousand agents deemed necessary to assure compliance with Obamacare regulations and fines.
Do you believe in tolerance? I think most of us would say yes, at least to a degree. I am tolerant of others who are different and America has always prospered because of diversity. But tolerance must have limits. I am intolerant of child abuse and animal cruelty. I am also intolerant of injustice. At the heart of the definition is a sense of fairness. Most of us would say it’s not fair for someone to step in front of another in line or to take something out of someone’s pocket and give it to someone else. And yet this injustice is rampant in the Government and the IRS. Make no mistake, I believe in Federalism and even paying taxes to support the government and the common good. I don’t believe in this government any longer.
Most of us know what’s right even if we don’t want to acknowledge that inner voice we call our conscience. We know that we shouldn’t smoke, overeat, or take drugs; so why we do these destructive things? The Apostle Paul asked the same philosophical question 2000 years ago in his letter to the Romans (7:15). Unfortunately, post-modern man has come to deny an absolute standard of right and has replaced it with relativism and situational ethics. Victor Hugo’s classic tale “Les Miserables” is a study in situational ethics. Some quibble that the movie’s characters don’t have Broadway voices, but I maintain that the movie’s presentation of this timeless drama is compelling and more than makes up the difference. Everyone should see this movie and consider this tale of absolutes.
Something is happening in my neck of the woods. A deer jumped off the three story garage next to my office today, and last week a bear was trapped off Clinton Highway. Rumors abound in my neighborhood that another bear roams Lakemoor Hills. I can’t remember seeing so many possums and raccoons killed on the roads. I’ve even seen red foxes and heard coyotes in the city. Is this the Wild West or is the fauna coming out to receive the Federal benefits of our welfare state? We had a barn cat named Boo Ridley, named after the enigmatic and reclusive character in Harper Lee’s great novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Even our namesake cat came out and left us to apparently sign up for disability benefits.
The 13th century scholastic philosopher and theologian Thomas Aquinas posited a series of hierarchical laws. He said that everything exists and functions under God’s Universal Law. The Master then gave us Divine Laws, such as the Ten Commandments, to keep us safe and focused on what’s important. Man functions at the next lower level within Natural (Nature’s) Law and concocts his positive laws like speed limits at the lowest Thomasian state. Our Founders knew that without a sense of the sacred no law is sacrosanct and no man is safe. Again, we know what’s right and yet we cast aside the Force that guides happiness and purpose. It’s been before and always leads to destruction.
So let’s apply the common sense acronym KISS–keep it simple, silly. Warren Buffet says he doesn’t invest in things he doesn’t understand. I don’t understand this Leviathan we call government which now threatens to devour us. Thomas Hobbs wrote of this in 1650. Google it!
Tune in next week for the answer, as well as something unique and a treat!