The Gods of the Copybook Heading

An excerpt from the poem by Rudyard Kipling, originally published 1919.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man —
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began —
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire —
And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

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About Lance Ponder

Christian author of "Ask James one"; public speaker; husband and father. Available to speak on Creation and the Gospel.
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15 Responses to The Gods of the Copybook Heading

  1. Todd Beal says:

    | The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return! |

    Lance, I get the poem until this last sentence.  Please explain, I’m not good at poetry.

  2. Lance Ponder says:

    The Gods of the Copybook Heading are those who rewrite history with utopian ideals – those who supplant truth with philosophy as if they know better than God. Stupidity will return, relentless, and errors forgotten will be repeated. And with it comes wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    This excerpt poetically speaks of what we can expect from social progress – progressivism, socialism. Utopia to the elite, hell in drag to the masses. And the elite believe the masses too stupid to avoid returning to their vomit.

    It is also the text of the trailer for Glenn Beck’s novel, The Overton Window – a poignant choice.

    • Todd Beal says:

      Yes, and that is also the partial theme for Ecclesiastes: We always repeat our past.

    • Eclipse Now says:

      Again, I’m no communist. But I do wonder at the fairly immediate equating of socialism with stupidity. What about Christian socialism? Would that have a chance in some sort of parallel universe?

      What about middle of the road Social Welfare in a free-market economy, like Australia? Are we too socialist for you? Our medical system is pretty much guaranteed by the government for life threatening illnesses and incapacitating issues like easily preventable blindness. EG: I’ve said it before, but I’ve heard of patients in America being BLIND because they simply cannot afford a $12 grand operation! Our government just picks up the cheque for that one, and that makes sense! (Gives the poor a little less to stress with and a slightly better chance of making it).

      So while full socialism has had problems with information flowing properly through the economy, socialists themselves say that they’ve never seen what they want on planet earth: a DEMOCRATIC socialist society. I can’t imagine how that would work, but in this age of high-speed internet and smart phones, I can imagine information on the needs and services available in the economy moving around more efficiently than they have under previous socialist regimes.

      Anyway, just because something is Capitalist or Democratic doesn’t make it ‘wise’. Wikileaks has just revealed that US Diplomats actually *believed* al-Husseini, the former head of Saudi oil exploration, when he said Saudi Arabia had been overstating oil reserves by 40%.

      Sorry folks but that means the final oil crisis is here. And what have Australia and America been doing since al-Husseini came out with this information? Oh, building more and more suburbia as normal.

      Which leads me to ask, is America really a democracy if big corporations own the politicians before they even step into office? Indeed, with the cost of American elections, surely they can’t GET into office unless a major multinational already owns them.

      Is that democracy? Is a 2 party, bought out, corrupt system really democracy?

      http://cleantechnica.com/2011/02/09/wikileaks-saudis-oil-reserves-overstated-by-nearly-40/

      • Lance Ponder says:

        Eclipse, I’m not sure how the Aussie system works. I suppose it is a lot like the UK, but I don’t know for sure.

        Democracy is a very funny thing. The thing that separates America from most other democracies, at least in terms of its founding principles, is not democracy itself – but the underlying principle of self-governance. Can man govern himself? The US Founders all believed the answer is yes. This notion puts the individual above the state. The state exists to protect the individual from others.

        Socialism (along with almost all other forms of government) is based on the premise that in general man cannot govern himself. In this way the state assumes authority from the individual. The state takes responsibility and necessarily the rights and authority that goes with it. The individual becomes the ward of the state.

        What’s the difference? After all, in both systems you can find doctors, hospitals, armies, roads, tax collectors, and so forth. Socialists vote. Socialists take vacations and enjoy bar-b-q. There are several differences. For one, self-governance means the individual is responsible for his or her own choices. Socialism holds class and circumstance of the group responsible. Self-governance means the individual is rewarded and encouraged to succeed. Socialism punishes individual success. Self-governance means if you don’t work, you don’t eat. Socialism confiscates wealth and redistributes it so that laziness is rewarded.

        It might seem that self-governance is cold hearted. The have’s enjoy the fruit and the have-not’s suffer in the shadows. But in this system there is motivation and all of society is improved because all of society is working toward success. Under socialism the best and brightest are punished and the poor are rewarded for sloth. The combined effect is to drain national wealth and depress the whole society.

        It is my understanding that Australia is somewhere between the two extremes. America too is between the extremes, certainly far from its founding principles yet also some distance from the socialist goals of the elites who would be our benevolent rulers.

        The practical appearance of self-governance is limited national government and maximum personal liberty. This structure breeds innovation, hard work, and an atmosphere where the poor are encouraged to rise up. Charity is personal and broadly available.

        The practical appearance of socialism is massive government with huge entitlements, dependence on a system supported by less motivated workers. Charity becomes the work of the state, impersonal, administered by and to sloth.

        In the self-governance system, all human life has dignity and value because the individual is most cherished. Under socialism human life derives its value in its ability to contribute to the well-being of the state. This is reflected in rationing of care, food, and entitlements. The state would prefer to abort life that has less statistical chance of becoming fruitful. The state would rather euthenize the old and infirmed who cannot contribute to society. After all, when there’s too much burden on the workers and the system teeters on the brink, do you tax more or spend less? When it becomes necessary to spend less, because you can only tax so much, then you must cut expenses – by cutting off those who are most expensive. When health care is measured by the value of life to the state rather than the value of life to the individual, that’s when you know you’re living in socialism.

        As for Christianity, it is not socialist at all. Charity is not socialism. Jesus loves a cheerful giver. Socialism doesn’t open its arms for donations, it confiscates at gunpoint.

        • Eclipse Now says:

          I like your ‘What’s the difference?” list, but it is a bit simplistic at a few points.

          ////For one, self-governance means the individual is responsible for his or her own choices. Socialism holds class and circumstance of the group responsible.”////
          In many instances the answer is not either / or but BOTH. Yes that black man from the wrong end of town was responsible for pulling the trigger, but what drove him to such a desperate act? What were his parents like, and their parents? Why? How much money and power and choice did they really have for raising this man back when he was a kid? What was his education like? What discrimination did he suffer? How alienated did he feel from his country? How far back did it go — what is the generational story of his family? What were his grandparents experiencing?

          America has come a long way since the dark days of slavery and your own ‘apartheid’ but these things can leave their marks for *generations* where stigma, prejudice, and economic disparity are maintained.

          ////It might seem that self-governance is cold hearted. The have’s enjoy the fruit and the have-not’s suffer in the shadows. But in this system there is motivation and all of society is improved because all of society is working toward success.////
          I agree with the principle, but it is the practice that is sickening. If we state it too ‘cleanly’ it just comes across a bit naive. Sheer greed at the top of the Capitalist empire corrupts the system.

          EG: Do the inventors of google really deserve to be *multi-billionares*? How can it be fair that any one person’s hour of labour is actually worth *thousands* of times the efforts of another? Does a CEO really deserve to earn in one hour what it might take a garbage collector 25 *weeks* to earn? They’re both doing tough jobs. One requires a tougher education and different skill-set than the other. So of course they deserve greater reward.

          ////Charity is personal and broadly available////
          I love NGO’s, but there’s a place for governments to do a bit more. They can stop providing such ridiculous tax cuts to the rich and actually do some *real* work in providing the education and skills and even *jobs* for the poor that they really need.

          So in summary, I really believe in free-markets and personal liberty. I’d hate a socialist government to dictate what I have to do. I personally hate maths and accounting, and love more creative brainstorming approaches to work such as writing and graphic design. I also agree that people are best motivated by a system of self-interest.

          But I also see human beings as sinful, abusive creatures that will use up other people if given half a chance. And so I see government housing and welfare projects as an essential way to right the wrongs, provide a way out, and maybe one day get back up on their own feet. In a prosperous market economy there’s enough room to ditch the government kick-backs to the rich oil companies and actually fund those who need it.

          ////In the self-governance system, all human life has dignity and value because the individual is most cherished. ////
          This kind of blanket statement is just wrong. It’s an ivory tower statement with no real bearing on the real world. Is the black guy shooting up a corner store valuing human life and individuality? Or is the guy drink driving because he knows his car can’t be searched valuing human life any more when he wipes out the family on their way home from night-church?

          But my favourite example where I am happy to sacrifice a little ‘freedom’ is RBT, Random Breath Testing. Here in Australia we can get pulled over at any moment and breath tested for alcohol. I gladly give up 5 minutes of my time to breath into a tube and live in a society with a lower chance of being wiped out by drunk drivers. So individualism V government intervention is a case by case matter. I gladly pay a little extra tax to live in a society with slightly less crime due to a slightly stronger safety net.

          As to whether or not ‘Capitalism’ or ‘American democracy’ is more ‘Christian’ than a more communal system, well, I don’t think we’ve really seen what the left propose. All we’ve had have been dictatorships, not democratic socialism. Just has America had a jump-start with all your plentiful natural resources including being the world’s first OPEC (before your oil peaked in the 1970’s and you began the long process of bankrupting yourselves by buying more and more overseas oil rather than weaning off the foul stuff), so too democratic socialism has been hampered by violent revolutions and dictatorships taking over the name. But with modern technology allowing quantum leaps in community co-operation, it will be interesting to see what incremental changes we see in co-operative behaviours down the track. Slightly new economic arrangements are already forming.

          And if Christians could serve Caesar, then as a Christian I’m free to support almost any economic system I see as serving a pragmatic purpose in a given situation.

          ////Socialism doesn’t open its arms for donations, it confiscates at gunpoint.////
          And the uber-capitalists (eg: at the head of Bectel) don’t open their arms to the needy, but instead buy politicians who arrange phoney wars to test their weapons and force their products onto new markets, and then sue the bombed out country for losses if contracts prior to the war aren’t met in full!

          While I love freedom of work, freedom of religion and freedom of speech, and while I love democracy and *some* level of a free-market and charity, I also want to see *certain jobs done*. So I will never just brush off certain specific needs in society as ‘charity cases’ and leave it as that. I remain agnostic as to exactly where the tax rate and government intervention index should be set, and how far along the ‘freedom’ bar it should creep. I’m happy to pay the tax I do and blow into the RBT bag and live the life I live in Australia, knowing there is a good welfare net if I fail.

          In other words, it’s a complicated world. 😉

        • Bee says:

          Well stated Lance… one of the best explanations I have heard!

      • Lance Ponder says:

        //a bit simplistic at a few points.//

        Okay. But whether its true is more important.

        Regarding responsibility for the “black man” you spoke of and all the circumstances you offered… Those circumstances may explain, but they do not excuse.

        Regarding generational disparity, I do not deny tragedy. But rather than prolonging the pain and trying to exact restitution from great grandchildren of slave owners, it seems to me far more noble and honest to heal the present by holding everyone responsible for their own behavior in the present. We are better off color blind and concerned with character, as Dr. King would say. Today there’s a great deal of racism and radicalization that has nothing to do with King’s wisdom yet uses his name in vain.

        >>////It might seem that self-governance is cold hearted. The have’s enjoy the fruit and the have-not’s suffer in the shadows. But in this system there is motivation and all of society is improved because all of society is working toward success.////
        I agree with the principle, but it is the practice that is sickening. If we state it too ‘cleanly’ it just comes across a bit naive. Sheer greed at the top of the Capitalist empire corrupts the system.>>

        Okay. Greed is ugly. I’ll grant you that. But it isn’t capitalism that causes greed. Man’s sin-nature causes greed. People in any economic or political system suffer the effects of this nature. Under self-governance capitalism everyone has some degree of opportunity and all of the responsibility for what they do with their gains. Under socialism those in the elite ruling class have power unchecked while the masses have no opportunity. The problem isn’t capitalism or socialism, the problem is sin-nature. Capitalism makes the playing field more equitable, that’s all.

        //EG: Do the inventors of google really deserve to be *multi-billionares*? How can it be fair that any one person’s hour of labour is actually worth *thousands* of times the efforts of another? Does a CEO really deserve to earn in one hour what it might take a garbage collector 25 *weeks* to earn? They’re both doing tough jobs. One requires a tougher education and different skill-set than the other. So of course they deserve greater reward.//

        Let the market determine the wage. So many people complain how unfair it is that an athlete or TV personality makes millions while a school teacher makes a few thousand. Shouldn’t we be inspired to want to succeed instead of whining about we don’t have? And most noble professions have mediocre pay because most people do those jobs and there’s plenty of people in that market. Only a few people can set records and rouse stadium crowds to their feet. Let them make their money. The same for a CEO. If he works hard and is successful as the leader, he is worthy of his reward. If you steal from him out of envy as socialism directs, it is not the wealthy business man who is evil but the thief who steals what he has earned. Remember, Robin Hood did not steal from those who earned their wealth, but from those who had obtained that wealth through theft from the poor. He was returning what was earned from those who’d stolen it. In that story it was the poor who were victims. They were capitalists who practiced self-governance and they accomplished justice against thieves. Socialism steals from those who earn and gives to those who do not earn and they pretend it is noble because the rich loose to the poor. In reality everyone looses. You’re right to say it is sickening, but the “it” here is socialism.

        >>////Charity is personal and broadly available////
        I love NGO’s, but there’s a place for governments to do a bit more. They can stop providing such ridiculous tax cuts to the rich and actually do some *real* work in providing the education and skills and even *jobs* for the poor that they really need.>>

        Government does not create jobs and it does not create wealth. It taxes wealth and it absorbs people from the wealth generating job market. Income tax is the worst possible kind of tax no matter who is paying it. It discourages the creation of wealth. When you tax high earners more, it discourages even more those who make the jobs and pay the wages. We should not tax the wealthy more than the poor and for that matter should not tax individual incomes (or corporate incomes for that matter) at all. Confiscation of wealth as it is generated inhibits wealth generation. Confiscation at the point of spending, while still insidious, at least inhibits frivolous spending instead of inhibiting production. Americans don’t save money because they are discouraged from earning through the progressive income tax and they are encouraged to spend what they do take home by not taxing consumption. America and the world would be wealthier by following the consumption model rather than the income taxation model.

        //So in summary, I really believe in free-markets and personal liberty. //

        You keep advocating for confiscation and redistribution of wealth, so pardon my cynicism.

        //I’d hate a socialist government to dictate what I have to do.//

        That’s what socialism does. It makes the state the nanny of the people. Self-governance is where people have the liberty to think and do and choose for themselves. Socialism tells you what food you can eat, what medical care you can get, when and where you can pray. I’m not exaggerating for effect – that’s what happens when you let the state become responsible for its people instead of the other way around.

        //I also agree that people are best motivated by a system of self-interest.//

        Then why oppose it?

        //But I also see human beings as sinful, abusive creatures that will use up other people if given half a chance. //

        Socialism enables an elite few to do this. Self-governance capitalism brings market forces to bear against abusers, at least to some degree, and everyone has an equal chance. Self-governance does not stop human sin-nature, but it does take that nature into consideration and to some degree level the playing field.

        //And so I see government housing and welfare projects as an essential way to right the wrongs, provide a way out, and maybe one day get back up on their own feet. //

        For a few it does this, but for most it is a trap where laziness is rewarded. It destroys most of the lives. There’s a time for relief (as it was called in the 1930s and 40s), but welfare is not meant to be a way of life. Poverty is a thing to be escaped, but entitlements promote poverty and government dependence. People need to be set free of government control so that they may govern their own lives.

        //In a prosperous market economy there’s enough room to ditch the government kick-backs to the rich oil companies and actually fund those who need it.//

        Again with redistribution. Steal from the earners and give to the lazy.

        >>////In the self-governance system, all human life has dignity and value because the individual is most cherished. ////
        This kind of blanket statement is just wrong. >>

        It’s not wrong, its the practical reality. A few examples include the great socialist systems in the USSR, China, and Nazi Germany. Hitler’s socialism devalued Jews and other undesirables to the point of executing 12 million. The USSR murdered more than 20 million of its own citizens. China has executed almost that many, plus continues with a birth limitation resulting in millions of abortions and regular euthanasia plus the male/female population ration is so off-kilter homosexuality is actually promoted as a way to reduce sexual-tension violence. The purveyors of socialism around the world regularly use violence as a means of domination and control, playing on fear (terrorism). Is the American system perfect? Certainly not. We slaughtered native populations and enslaved others in the name of Manifest Destiny (an evil perversion of God’s will). But if you consider that manifest destiny is a socialistic tool employed by American elites, it is still an extension of socialist idealism rather than genuine self-governance even in America’s great hours of depravity. Your emphatic statement fails to convince me of my error.

        //It’s an ivory tower statement with no real bearing on the real world. Is the black guy shooting up a corner store valuing human life and individuality? Or is the guy drink driving because he knows his car can’t be searched valuing human life any more when he wipes out the family on their way home from night-church?//

        Apples and oranges. Your straw people don’t hold up. Shooting people is an act of violence that is not protected by law, rather it violates law. And the drunk driver is subject to search when he’s weaving or giving any sort of reasonable cause.

        //But my favourite example where I am happy to sacrifice a little ‘freedom’ is RBT, Random Breath Testing. Here in Australia we can get pulled over at any moment and breath tested for alcohol. I gladly give up 5 minutes of my time to breath into a tube and live in a society with a lower chance of being wiped out by drunk drivers. So individualism V government intervention is a case by case matter. I gladly pay a little extra tax to live in a society with slightly less crime due to a slightly stronger safety net.//

        No system is perfect and even under self-governance there must be rule of law and law enforcement or there is chaos. Its really a question of scope. Liberty and security are naturally at odds with one another. The law must ensure a reasonable sense of security in one’s person. I’m not sure random breath screening fits that or not since it seems to me invasive without reasonable cause. It sets the stage for government abuse in any of several ways from sexual or racial favoritism to making it easy for a cop to let a friend pass while harassing a foe.

        //As to whether or not ‘Capitalism’ or ‘American democracy’ is more ‘Christian’ than a more communal system, well, I don’t think we’ve really seen what the left propose. //

        Fair enough. That said, we have a lot of biblical clues about the nature of liberty and the nature of socialism. I’d rather not add to this comment with a long explanation, but suffice it say IMO Jesus was all about personal liberty and opposed to group-think communism.

        //And if Christians could serve Caesar, then as a Christian I’m free to support almost any economic system I see as serving a pragmatic purpose in a given situation.//

        Fair enough.

        >>////Socialism doesn’t open its arms for donations, it confiscates at gunpoint.////
        And the uber-capitalists (eg: at the head of Bectel) don’t open their arms to the needy, but instead buy politicians who arrange phoney wars to test their weapons and force their products onto new markets, and then sue the bombed out country for losses if contracts prior to the war aren’t met in full!>>

        Not all capitalists are good and not all socialists are evil. And global corporations do not clearly fit the self-governance model. Charity is up to the individual. Jesus never commanded charity from the state or any individual against their will.

        //While I love freedom of work, freedom of religion and freedom of speech, and while I love democracy and *some* level of a free-market and charity, I also want to see *certain jobs done*. So I will never just brush off certain specific needs in society as ‘charity cases’ and leave it as that. I remain agnostic as to exactly where the tax rate and government intervention index should be set, and how far along the ‘freedom’ bar it should creep. I’m happy to pay the tax I do and blow into the RBT bag and live the life I live in Australia, knowing there is a good welfare net if I fail.//

        And that is the beauty of liberty. I am free to agree or disagree.

        //In other words, it’s a complicated world.//

        Yes, it is.

        • Eclipse Now says:

          ////But rather than prolonging the pain and trying to exact restitution from great grandchildren of slave owners, it seems to me far more noble and honest to heal the present by holding everyone responsible for their own behavior in the present. ////
          I don’t know that I said ‘restitution’ as if each and every descendant of a slave is going to be paid a few million bucks. But your solution to ‘heal’ the present by ‘holding people responsible for their own behaviour’ ignores the fact that we are not just talking about crime and punishment here, but issues of social justice. Is Capitalism automatically the ‘fair go for all’ as you present it — as if just a little bit of hard work will reward *anyone* who has a go — or does it need a significant welfare state to pick up the pieces when it fails for significant minorities? “Let charity deal with it” is just an excuse for inaction. Indeed the funds saved with this mantra seem to go towards ‘welfare’ for the rich (as in Bush’s tax cuts for enormous corporations).

          /////Under socialism those in the elite ruling class have power unchecked while the masses have no opportunity. /////
          I think to be honest here you should remove the word socialism and replace it with tyrants. “Under *tyrants* those in the elite…” For example, is China a socialist state or Feudal? The Socialists I’ve met online are Democratic Socialists. I’m not sure how they plan to run things, but it is definitely not North Korea or Soviet Russia. ‘Communism’ was just the ideology the tyrants used to run their dictatorships and brainwash people.
          Anyway, I’m not a socialist, I’m into “Social Liberalism: Civil rights, Social Justice and State funded welfare in a Market Economy”.

          ////Capitalism makes the playing field more equitable, that’s all.////
          There’s that naivety again. You’ve obviously never done any welfare work or actually lived on the wrong side of the tracks?

          ////. If you steal from him out of envy as socialism directs, it is not the wealthy business man who is evil but the thief who steals what he has earned. Remember, Robin Hood did not steal from those who earned their wealth, but from those who had obtained that wealth through theft from the poor. He was returning what was earned from those who’d stolen it. In that story it was the poor who were victims. /////
          You’re comparing some wealthy and corrupt banker CEO to the poor victims in Robin Hood. You’ve obviously never seen the documentary “The Corporation”. Hire it or buy it. It’s a 3 hour list of the many and constant crimes Corporations commit to cut costs, including child-labour, sweat shops overseas, dumping toxic pollutants, lying about the sources of products, abusing staff, having undue political sway through their vast money and influence, and you want to compare the CEO’s of many of these criminal empires to the poor victims in Robin Hood? When the CEO is the one authorising stealing from the poor and robbing them blind through underpaid labour, or polluting their land as they illegally dump waste and toxins to save a few tip fees? Wow, that takes guts I’ll grant you that.

          I’m not sure whether or not I agree with you about your spending taxation proposition. It is going to pay the government bills? Are you going to make it 20 or 30% of the product’s value? How will the poor buy food?

          //////I’d hate a socialist government to dictate what I have to do.//

          That’s what socialism does. It makes the state the nanny of the people. Self-governance is where people have the liberty to think and do and choose for themselves. Socialism tells you what food you can eat, what medical care you can get, when and where you can pray. I’m not exaggerating for effect – that’s what happens when you let the state become responsible for its people instead of the other way around./////

          Not necessarily! You have not looked up what the democratic socialists propose. You’re still actually defining ‘tyranny’ — which I hate — not democratic socialism. Even the socialists I’ve met online hate the same things you hate…. if I understand what they are saying.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_socialism

          Lastly, your paranoia about an abuse of RBT is just amusing. You’ve been raised believing we have a ‘right to privacy’ that includes being ‘private’ about whether or not we are breaking the law when drunk driving! Really? Wow. That’s why I’m against a codified bill of human rights. Our human rights should be protected by a democratically elected parliament, NOT a once-for-all-time bill that codifies ‘rights’ without understanding all the future contexts and shapes of society. I BET the spirit of the founding fathers would have wanted to protect little kids from being wiped out by drunk drivers. I BET they would have wanted RBT to protect the vulnerable little ones from the drunk drivers of a ton of screaming metal! But America can’t go there — you are trapped by your own paper work.

          None of your paranoia about ‘invasions of privacy’ have occurred because of RBT. Instead, Australia enjoys slightly safer roads. I haven’t been RBT’d in about 3 years, mainly because I don’t drive a whole lot and am not out late on a Saturday night when the partygoers are. But I’d gladly be RBT’d once a month to guarantee safer roads! You’re so stuck thinking about selfish rights to privacy you can’t get your head around the fact that this policy SAVES LIVES and gets dangerous drunks off the road!

          ////Jesus was all about personal liberty and opposed to group-think communism.////
          Oh, *thats* why the early Christians seemed to live so communally in Acts! 😉

          ////Jesus never commanded charity from the state or any individual against their will.////
          Jesus hardly said ANYTHING about the relationship between the church and the state except “Give unto Caesar that which is due to Caesar, and unto God that which is due to God”.

          It is ROMANS where we really unpack the difference between the Law and Grace, which leads to St Augustine’s 2 cities. I have never read this but heard many quotes from it during our former Prime Minister’s speech on the church and state. Before he became Prime Minister Mr Kevin Rudd attended the “Church & State” discussions at a Sydney University. It was an awesome night, and the first time I heard Kevin Rudd speak from his heart as a Christian. That’s when I first thought he had the potential to become the PM. And he did.

          • Eclipse Now says:

            To explain the bill of rights a little more, here’s a few points from an old blog post.
            *****
            EG: I would have sworn the Australian Christian Lobby would have been for human rights, which of course they are, but they are against a bill of rights as the means by which to best guarantee them in Australia.

            Instead, Brigadier Jim Wallace, AM, (Ret’d) Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby said something to the effect that “Bills of rights enshrine selfishness over the rights of the community”, which helped me remember my conversation with my American friend about breath testing.

            Not only that, but a bill of rights can:-
            * politicise the judiciary which are meant to be about interpreting law, not social policy
            * promote an *absolute* formula of ‘rights’ as interpreted by our generation, and make them absolute for all time when ‘rights’ are often about social policies more appropriately held to account by the political process and democratic discussion of the day
            * reflect the silly prejudices and blind spots of our day
            * condense into silly summary issues that are far more complex and require weighty volumes of legal document to truly unravel
            * promote selfish policy at the expense of the public good

            Please, “Don’t leave us with the bill!” Download the podcast here.

            http://www.abc.net.au/rn/bigideas/stories/2009/2596855.htm

          • Lance Ponder says:

            Yes, we are talking about social justice. Social justice and equal justice are not the same. Social justice implies collective salvation. Perhaps you don’t use these terms the way most American liberals do, but that’s what social justice means here.

            I respectfully submit that as a person who does not live in the US you may not have a very good picture of what the Bush tax cuts accomplished so I will ignore your comments on that subject.

            Charity, whether private or public, is only as good as the hearts of the people who provide it. Private charity has the advantage of being a deliberate choice by individuals. Public charity, while arguably necessary in certain cases, requires some form of taxation.

            Have I ever lived on the wrong side of the tracks? I’m making about a third of what I was a year ago (which was modest), in danger of loosing my car and home, and unable to pay various bills. I’m living on noodles and rice and whatever the church can help us get. For a few weeks I collected unemployment. But, even though my current job pays little more than the unemployment, I would rather be working and live in a tent than have a fine home living off the backs of others. Pride makes taking charity difficult, but the notion of forcing others who produce more to give to me because of my situation makes my physically ill. I’m personally disgusted by those who have no such qualms.

            I oppose social justice. It is a polite euphemism for class warfare.

            Regarding your war against corporations, while they are institutions made up of people and people are anything but perfect, corporations are not all evil. I haven’t seen that documentary, but if it is made in the Michael Moore tradition it is nothing more than radical propaganda. I’ve worked for more than one large corporation and I’ve had access to the halls of power. I never saw horns growing out of the heads of any of the executives. I did see those with the most money making the biggest personal donations to charities and worthy causes. I think you’re documentary must be very one-sided.

            I’m not paranoid about RBT. I live in a rural county. I know what the local cops will do.

            //You’ve been raised believing we have a ‘right to privacy’ that includes being ‘private’ about whether or not we are breaking the law when drunk driving! Really? Wow. That’s why I’m against a codified bill of human rights. Our human rights should be protected by a democratically elected parliament, NOT a once-for-all-time bill that codifies ‘rights’ without understanding all the future contexts and shapes of society.//

            We have laws against drunk driving, as I’ve already said. We also have this thing called probable cause. It works.

            You obviously don’t understand how the US Constitution and Bill of Rights work, nor the Declaration of Independence which illuminates the foundational reasoning. You’re not an American so I wouldn’t expect you to understand it. And you clearly do not. I have no idea what the proposed Australian Bill of Rights looks like and it may very well be rubbish. I’m not going to judge it because I’m not familiar with it. All I can tell is ours work because they are not arbitrary and they are based on clear core principles explained in detail in the Federalist Papers.

        • Eclipse Now says:

          ////All I can tell is ours work because they are not arbitrary and they are based on clear core principles explained in detail in the Federalist Papers.////
          They work so well that the rights of the individual are encoded higher than the rights of the community. As I already said, our Australian Christian lobby has concluded that *where-ever* they are introduced they tend to elevate the selfish rights of the individual over the rights of the community. This is after studying YOUR example and the example of countries in Europe that have adopted them.

          http://www.abc.net.au/rn/bigideas/stories/2009/2596855.htm

          So my example of the RBT is just one example. I could rant against your so called ‘right to bear arms’. But I’ll stick with the RBT for now. You have never experienced RBT. I know even some of my *Christian* mates have said they would be tempted to have that extra glass but for the threat of the RBT pulling them over. You can lose your driving licence on the spot, and if your blood alcohol level is WAY above the legal limit, even end up in gaol. I say GOOD! I don’t want my family wiped out by some idiot kid who’s had a few too many and thinks he’s hilarious when he speeds drunk. You say you’re worried what a few cops might do with RBT powers? I’m worried about what young idiots do with their beer-induced ‘super-powers’! Probable Cause is too late when your family is dead. So once again, what is wrong with blowing into the RBT bag once every few months to guarantee safer roads?

          I could be wrong, but it appears the idea is so alien to you because you have been raised in an extremely self-focussed culture that just does not consider blowing into a little bag now and then an act of service to the community, but a terrible affront to some “holy of holy” individual right to privacy. And that just demonstrates how even Christians can buy the lie that we are to *be* served, and not the other way around, to be the slaves of all.

          • Lance Ponder says:

            //They work so well that the rights of the individual are encoded higher than the rights of the community.//

            Except for those rights explicitly granted to the national government, all others are retained by the states or the people. That’s our 10th amendment (paraphrased). And yes, I’m perfectly fine with that. I do believe the rights of the individual trump those of the community or the nation where the law is not being broken.

            We have all sorts of random police checks where everyone is pulled over and checked for alcohol. I don’t think that violates rights and I think you’re comparing apples and oranges. A violation of privacy would be illegal search and seizure. I already talked about probable cause (aka reasonable suspicion). I really don’t think you understand our system. We have strong laws against drinking and driving. My ex-brother-in-law served 3 years in prison for killing someone driving drunk. I am not opposed to cops pulling over someone who is weaving nor am I opposed to random road blocks where everyone is checked. Roads are public and there must be some weight given to public safety over privacy when it comes to operating lethal equipment (automobiles) in public places. Also, our driver licenses are granted with certain stipulations including allowing police checks and requiring submission to breath or blood testing. It isn’t a perfect system, but it does cut down dramatically on people like my ex-BIL. I hope it does for your country, too.

            I think the right to bare arms is a much more fertile area for discussion, but I’m not going there unless you want to open it up further. I also think there’s plenty of room to discuss the invasion of privacy in the investigation of terrorists and other bad guys. Those would be much more meaningful than drunk driving which we both have laws for.

  3. Bee says:

    Kipling is very intriguing, there is always more there than what you first suspect. I had to go look up this poem and read the whole thing, it is very interesting! Copybooks were used to teach penmanship in the old days. There would be a phrase at the top that usually reinforced some kind of moral lesson or proverb and the child was to “copy” that text and hence improve his handwriting. So as I take it the “gods” of the copybook headings were the either self appointed or govt appointed “architects” of society, with their influence beginning with the children. Does that sort of go along with Beck’s book? I have not read that yet… is it a good novel?

    • Lance Ponder says:

      You looked up the same site I did to get that poem. LOL. Yes, I think you’re right. The gods are the one’s who assign what is to be copied. Its the elite, or as you said the architects of society. And yes, influence over children is a vital element of controlling society. Consider China’s reeducation system and childhood indoctrination. The same is true of most cultures. Allowing children to learn the thoughts and values of others, as we do here (to some extent anyway) seems like an inherently dangerous thing to do, yet those who have such a broad knowledge are much better off for it. So many of our children today have much more monolithic views, and usually not those of their parents.

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