Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Government behavior and Change

I found grandpa lying down by the old oak tree that seemed to have been planted in another age, another time. His head was cradled in his arms up against a worn spot of the trunk and his legs stretched out and crossed. He seemed deep in thought.

He looked up at me and with a smile he invited me to do the same. So, I laid down beside him cradling my head and crossing my legs to take in the warmth of the sun as it covered us in its warmth. After a few minutes of silence grandpa had this to say without any prompting by me as if giving voice to his thoughts;

"Rights, boy, are possessions. Whether those possessions are tangible or intangible, no one is allowed to take away those rights other than the giver of them. God is the ultimate giver of all rights. We can declare that because all rights fall under those categories which the Declaration of Independence declares as being God given; the right of life, the right of liberty, and the right of the opportunity for happiness.

Rights can also be defined as having the sole power and authority to make the decisions in regards that possession. In this light, we recognize the philosophical theory of free will. In recognition of this we can say that God not only gave us rights but that He also gave us the gift of free will to do with those rights as we choose.

Now, while the above may seem to declare that we, as individuals, have the right to do anything our heart desires and there are some who behave as if it were true, we must consider one more thing. In a perfect world that would be correct but we do not live in a state of existence where perfection exists. In a perfect world, a person would not abuse those rights as given him by God. In an imperfect world, it is inevitable that rights be abused if only because free will exists.

What I can’t understand is, if we have the attribute of free will then how can some who adhere to that philosophy declare that something else be the cause of someone’s behavior? When we declare that something else is the cause of one’s behavior we are declaring that the person had no choice of behavior other than how he did behave. A good example of this is the sociological theory that poverty is the cause of violent behavior. This be the primary excuse used to explain and even justify the behavior of some persons especially if that person is of a certain class of people.

Sociology by definition is the study of society and its effects upon the individual within that society. It is deemed a science. Now, most would disagree with the second part of my definition but they could not argue if the word individual was replaced by the phrase 'individual classes'. The reason I use individual is because how can something effect a class of people and not effect the individuals within that class? Besides, you can only measure the effects on a class by ascertaining the effects on the individuals in that class.

We have a form of government founded upon the principles of a philosophy of government. If that be true then the laws and the enforcement of those laws enacted by that government should abide by the philosophy by which is the foundation of that government. Yet, every day we find that it is the theories of that science we call Sociology that governmental decisions are based upon. Furthermore, those theories appear to be counter to the principles of the philosophy. We have replaced wisdom of man with supposedly knowledge of man.

Philosophy is the study of how to think good of your self. Sociology is the study of how to feel good of yourself. I have never been able to reconcile the two, Philosophy and Sociology. I have no more to say, boy, except to say socialism was founded upon a sociological theory. Karl Marx was best known as a sociologist. Even if we were to admit that his ideas were philosophical rather than sociological it still would mean a need to change the philosophy of this country, thus change our Constitution to fit that philosophy. And that is exactly what the concept of a "living Constitution" allows. Need I say more?"

I said nothing knowing that grandpa didn't really expect an answer to his question. My eyes closed lazily and fell asleep while the sun did its job of roasting the skin of my body to an even deeper shade of brown.


tweetey30 said...

Cool story and thanks for stopping by my blog. I will add you to my side bar. Stop by anytime.

Gayle said...

Grandpa is a wise man and so is his grandson.

Our Constitution was never intended to be a "living Constitution", but socialists have definitely made their mark on this country.

You said We have replaced wisdom of man with supposedly knowledge of man. Can you explain the difference between wisdom and knowledge? My thesaurus says they are synonyms.

The Griper said...

'tis a good and wise question you ask. and your thesaurus is correct but not complete. that gave you the knowlege you sought. but you saw there had to be more. and it took wisdom on your part to ask.

in this case as i used them it isn't just the words wisdom and knowlege that you must think of. it is the phrases, wisdom of man and knowlege of man you must think of to understand it.

simply put, i substituted the phrases for the words philosophy and sociology.
to have just used those words would not given the idea the meaning i wanted to get across.

man is a collective word, meaning it can be used to indicate a whole grop of people viewed as a singular unit or it can be used as a particular word indicating a singular person. in this case i used it one way in regards to philosophy(particular) and the other way in regards to sociology(collective). in other words it was a play on words but done so with a purpose.

now, for the words wisdom and knowlege. one way to see the difference is in the depth of knowlege we have indicates how wise we be.

the opposite of wisdom is foolishness. the opposite of knowlege is ignorance.

a man of greater knowlege of an issue can make a man of lesser knowlege look like a fool in a debate. and the man of lesser knowlege did not show much wisdom getting into that debate in the first place.

another way to see the difference is in how we use the knowlege we have. some with very little knowlege will use it wisely and be successful in his life. another man with a great deal of knowlege will use it foolishly and end up as a failure in life.

there is a verse in proverbs that i have always remembered in respect to wisdom and it goes something like this;

"a wise man will remain silent and be thought a fool. another man will speak out and reveal himself as a fool."

now, there are many ways to interpret this verse. one way would be to say that it is far better to learn from others than it is to teach others for the student will end up the more knowlegable in the end. that is the nature of learning.

another way would be that in silence a man cannot know how much another man knows and assumes him ignorant because he does not speak. while the other man reveals his knowlege without the wisdom necessary to know that there is someone far more knowlegable than he and, in challege, will end up looking like a fool because his ignorance rather than knowlege was revealed.

another, more practical way of seeing it is in terms of questions and answers. in answering a question we reveal our knowlege in respect to the issue stated in the question. in asking the question we remain silent in regards to our own knowlege and seek others to reveal theirs.

it is usually this one i'll use to teach a child. for it will make him feel more confident in asking questions and will teach him how to handle a situation when asked a question he does not know the answer to. for he will not lose that confidence when answering that he does not know the answer to the question.

you could have taken your new knowlege from the thesaurus and contested that statement. and a debate would ensue. but, instead, you asked a question in regards to it. were you showing wisdom or knowlege?

Gayle said...

"Wisdom" of course.

Thanks for going into your answer in so much detail. You always give me much food for thought, and the last question you presented me with absolutely clarifies the difference between wisdom and knowledge. Now I am more knowledgable and am a happy camper... I mean "farmer". :)

dcat said...

Socialism was a very poor idea in "my book".

Oh and the left just have the basket of flowers for the free love dove gullibles out there! With pamphlets and their forum of propaganda

dcat said...

Griper stop!

Yer giving me a head ach! ;)

The Griper said...

he laughs,,hey, gayle, it looks like i'm making dcat think too hard. lolol

do ya still love me? lolol

dcat said...

Need you ask!

I came back didn't I! >:[ ;) :D

The Griper said...

yes you sure did come back,,then he goes over to her ,,takes her hand,,lowers his lips to the back of it,,brushes it with a tender kiss.

Fallen' Angel said...

Well, bless my little cotton socks...THAT was a lot of food for thought to take in all at once, not to mention a bunch of common sense and wisdom.
I *do* have a question about the "living constitution?" (Forgive me folks, you're dealing with a Texas Aggie here - LOL!)While I understand it fully in the context of the post, I also can see it another way. Were we unable to make amendments, wouldn't that be a bad thing sometimes? Example? The case before the Supreme Court that came from DC's ban on handgun ownership. Suppose, (and may God have mercy on us all if this goes down,) that a Democratic Congress started writing legislation of the same sort for all cities or states?
First, would we not need the 2nd Amendment to protect us from this? And second, were it to happen somehow, could the Constitution not be amended again to prevent such legislation?
I realize such a question makes me appear rather uninformed in this crowd, but I can't think of a finer place to be educated either.

Griper - When you have time, take a peak at the buttons on the sidebar of my blog, specifically, between "The Conservative Voice" & "Jules Crittendon" - hope you like it!

Lista said...

Wow!! I guess I’m not surprised that your blog is very thought provoking. The problem is that it may be just a little too much so. I need to keep both my thoughts and also my choices relating to how much of those thoughts I should actually take the time to share under control. Choosing to focus on one thing, while for time sake, deliberately ignoring another requires a discipline that I sometimes lack. This is why I’m going to have to discipline myself to limit the frequency at which I visit your thought provoking blog.

I believe that though we do have free will, there are things in life that make certain options very difficult to choose. For example, a person who has been badly hurt will find it more difficult later to choose to trust. Some people who have been in extremely difficult marriages, which ended in bitter divorces, will have a hard time making a choice later to get married again.

To put this in the context of economy and success in one’s life, “lazy” people, who take advantage of Welfare, or don’t succeed in the job world to the extent that they may have the potential to, may have had bad experiences in their life that make them fearful of life. “Laziness” can actually be more the result of fear, than the reluctance of someone to do work. Bad experiences in the job world can cause a person to feel like no one out there really wants me, so what’s the point?! Aside from this, there are all sorts of life experiences that are emotionally crippling and hinder people’s ability to make the appropriate choices that would help them to succeed in their lives.

Psychology has found genetic tendencies towards things such as alcoholism and even criminal behavior. It has been found that certain children are by nature “strong willed”. If such a child is raised correctly, he or she has the potential to be a leader, yet if raised incorrectly, this same child has the potential to become a criminal. Extra testosterone can contribute to aggressive behaviors and also crime. I’m not sure what the genetic link to alcoholism is. I only know that research has found a genetic correlation.

Does this mean that the person will have “no choice” but to become an alcoholic or a criminal? No, of course not. It only points to a particular weakness in an individual and all individuals have their own unique weaknesses that they struggle with. It is important, though, when we judge others, to ask ourselves if we had the same exact experiences and genetic make up of another fellow human being, would we be able to make better choices? We need to be careful how we judge, for who knows how we would actually feel after walking a mile in someone else’s shoes.

That’s my response to the first 6 paragraphs of the above posting. I may possibly come back and deal with the last four paragraphs later. We’ll see.

Some of the other comments that have been made above respond to other issues, such as “Living Constitution”, “Wisdom” and “Knowledge”, “Philosophy” and “Sociology” and “Socialism”.

For the most part, “Knowledge” refers to information and “Wisdom” refers to how to best apply such information to life.

One of my favorite verses is similar to the one you quoted from Proverbs. Your verse was “a wise man will remain silent and be thought a fool. another man will speak out and reveal himself as a fool.” (Reference ?). The one that I like is “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” (James 1:19, KJV).

Asking questions and allowing others to speak first is a very wise approach, not just because of some of the things you said, Griper, but also because it causes people to feel like we really do care what they think and are not just trying to push our own ideas on them.

Actually, Griper, I know what Deat means by her remark “Griper stop! Yer giving me a head ach!”. Sometimes I think that you may just be a little too smart for me, yet that’s not really what’s happening. I am indeed smart enough to respond intelligently to all that you said, it’s just that you’re smart enough to cause that quest to be a considerable amount of effort, and thus, I’m forced to make choices about which issues to tackle and which to just let lay. Hopefully, I’ll be wise in my choices.

Anyway, with all of that said, that was not even the reason I came by. I came by to invite you to visit my new blog that I started on the same day as this post. I’m almost a little reluctant to invite you to my blog because I fear you might actually be smart enough to figure out the allegory I’ve written there and I’m actually sort of having fun watching people squirm who can’t figure it out. If you do come by and happen to think that you know the answer, perhaps you could wait awhile before writing it on my blog. I didn’t feel right, though, not inviting you, cause we’ve had some very good discussions and I think that you are the type of person who would enjoy reading the allegory.

I’ve currently got two people stumped. Since I’m the one who wrote it and already know the answer, I never realized that it was going to be such a difficult puzzle. Oh well.

Do come by, Griper and I’ll try to visit your blog occasionally too.

Gayle said...


dcat said...

He is a smooth one gayle LOL

The Griper said...

fallen angel,
the fact we can amend the Constitution does not make it a "living Constitution." it is in the interpretation of the meaning that does. it takes the Constitution out of context of its original meaning and intent of the role and purpose of the central government.

Fallen' Angel said...

Thank you, Griper, for explaining this, and a whole lot more.

Lista said...

This is the entry that I was having so much trouble with. Perhaps I should give it another shot. I see that you chose not to give much response to what I've said already.

Though we shouldn't try and justify behavior, we also shouldn't judge it in a way that cripples those who are failing to live life as perfectly as we think that they should. So often we judge others and try and justify ourselves, yet what's more appropriate is to judge ourselves while giving others the benefit of a doubt and trying to assist whenever possible.

I've already commented on the first 6 paragraphs and I agree with paragraph 7.

As I read further, I wonder if I even understood all that you wrote the first time that I read it. You seem to be valuing wisdom above knowledge and to that I would also agree. I'm actually more into Psychology than Sociology, which focuses more on Individuals; an emphasis that you seem to prefer.

I'm a person who doesn't like anything that seems extreme to me. I'm always looking for middle ground between the two. Pure Socialism, without any free enterprise is oppressive and doesn't work too well. Mostly this is because people lack motivation and incentive. Pure Capitalism, without any Government Intervention or Social Programs doesn't work well either, though, because the strong trample on the weak and without Government Intervention and Assistance, there is no protection for those who for what ever reason do not have within them what it takes to effectively compete.

Just as Socialism lacks incentives and kills motivation and drive, so also, the repetitious failure of someone who really genuinely is trying, but is slower, less intelligent or handicapped in some way also kills motivation and drive. Family up bringing, involving either encouragement or constant criticism, also plays a part in motivation. Human weaknesses are caused by all sorts of factors, not just society and not just up bringing either. Genetics are also a factor. When I say that, I am not speaking of class or race, but simply of the genetic make up of individuals. The genetic ideas that I've presented in my previous comment above are based on research that has been done on twins that are raised separately. It's more than just theory. It's research.

Of course, I can't resist including my own experience with depression and lack of drive. I don't think I should go into all the reasons for my own depression, but only to say that my own life gives credence to the conclusions of the research. Praise be to God, I eventually came out of this depression and have been doing quite well now for quite awhile, yet I don't have any long list of accomplishments to brag about. Unfortunately, I just am who I am and my life went the way it went and that's just how it is.

I'm an intelligent person who probably could have had enormous potential under the right circumstances, but what can I say. Oh well.

We all seem to fight for causes that relate to our own personal experiences and hurts and do not usually realize that there are so many other causes, experiences and hurts that are just as valid. If only we could get past our own experiences and really see and feel what others are really trying to say.

Let the negotiation and bargaining begin and let's just try to be fair with one another.

The Griper said...

ok, i'll respond more specifically.
i'll grant that life experiences may make it more difficult to make decisions. but it also helps make decisions. and just because decisions are difficult does not mean that the choices are not there to act on. but i agree that is human nature. but i will also say we have put off making decisions that we have regretted putting off too.

laziness is not a factor as far i'm concerned.

and i won't argue correlation, because it says nothing about cause. that is one of the first thing you learn in Statistics as well as in Psychology. and when people use correlation to declare cause it is an abuse of the two disciplines. even if it is used in a manner as to imply cause. and that was the point of my example

and furthermore i have come to the conclusion, myself, that genetics is an influence on all behavior not just some as you are using it. and there is one of my gripes. they'll use genetics to explain poor behavior or the weaknesses but when was the last time you heard someone use genetics as the reason for good behavior or the strengths? when have you heard genetics as an explanation of a peace loving man or a person who works to gain his money rather than stealing it? they refer to these type of people well- brought up. not genetically driven.

as for being extreme, that is funny. because no one tries to be extreme in what they say but they tend to demand it of others. or more appropriately absolute in their argument. remember the bell curve in psychology? a person's arguments should apply to the center portion where the biggest number of people exist. you are arguing from the extremities. no argument can be absolute.

besides,,this post has more to do with certain words and their meaning to me. it also dealt on the foundation of our government and how it appeared that it no longer abided by that foundation, that foundation being philosophy rather sociology as it seems is the application used today.

Lista said...

Boy! You got that right about the abuse of Statistics! Science has really gotten sloppy, especially when there’s a political motive. I'm constantly shaking my head.

That's a good point about genetics being referred to good points and not just bad points. The lesson behind this, though, is similar to the other. Not only should we not judge people for their weaknesses, but we also shouldn't take credit for anything either, just like the Bible says...

"For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?" 1 Corinthians 4:7

This aspect of Genetics is not talked about much because let's face it, people love to take the credit. Whether it be for their own accomplishments of for raising someone right, it doesn't matter. Whatever credit we can get, we eagerly take it.

When I talk about this subject, people think I'm off my rocker. They really don't want to hear it. It’s refreshing to hear someone else say it.

Sometimes we use extreme examples in order to emphasis our arguments. The actual answer is always in the middle. Sometimes I view debate as something not that different than a negotiation, or bargaining process in which all that is really wished for is for the person to come just a little bit more towards the other side of the issue. My goal is actually always somewhere near the center.

My dad is a word person too. I think his favorite book is the dictionary. I'm still not sure if I understand this whole "Philosophy"/"Sociology" thing. I'm more into human well being in terms of happiness and suffering. I want as many people as possible to have a basically Ok life. Is that so wrong?

Lista said...

As to the Bell Curve in Psychology, wouldn't it be beneficial to have programs that help has wide of an area of that bell as possible? It's not as if Doctors refuse to treat patients with rare diseases just because they are not in the center of a "Bell Curve".

The Griper said...

the extremities of the bell curve, lista, ends at infinity. to address all the problems of society would require infinite resources and government is not God.

" I'm more into human well being in terms of happiness and suffering."

happiness and suffering is a necessary part of everyone's life, lista. we can't eliminate one without eliminating the other. they are connected.

"Not only should we not judge people for their weaknesses, but we also shouldn't take credit for anything either,..."

there isn't anything wrong in taking credit for something. what is wrong is not taking credit for the wrongs we do as so many are prone to do by blaming something else. though i grant you it is far better that someone else gives you credit for the things you do right. that is called a compliment. we can take credit for something good in a humble manner or an arrogant manner.

it is not accepting responsibility of the things wrong that people are not willing to do because it requires a repentent acknowledgement of it to have any effect that is good. and that be true of anything which we see as an negative effect whether we call it sin or not.

"Sometimes we use extreme examples in order to emphasis our arguments."

using extreme cases for this purpose may be the intent but it does not serve the intent because it actually is saying something that contradicts itself.

if you think on it it is saying;
"i agree with you but at the same time i disagree with you because of this extreme example."

if you want to be in the middle as you say then you must acknowledge that your answer does not address the extremes either. the only difference may be in the identity of the extremes.

debate is the art of persuasion. negotiations is the art of compromise. and we need to understand the difference or we will end up compromising our principles and those should never be compromised.

"I want as many people as possible to have a basically Ok life. Is that so wrong?"

no that is not wrong at all. in fact that could be said of anyone who has any feelings towards others. but what i would say is wrong is determining what that life be for others instead of allowing them to. my idea of a ok life may be different from yours. and if that is true then we must apply it to everyone.

and government solutions cannot distinquish between the needs of one from the needs of another. and because of it cause even more mischief as Mr. Douglas was saying. only as individuals can we address our own particular needs because only as individuals can we define those needs.

Lista said...

Ok, should I now try and tackle this one as well?

Since the bell curve relates to people, the only way it could be infinite is if the number of people was infinite, but there are an finite number of people in our country, so the extremities of the bell curve can not be infinite. The fact that the government has limited resources, though, is very true.

There is nothing wrong with trying to make things easier for people whenever we have the resources to do so, but I guess the second part of this sentence is the key.

I agree that we shouldn't blame others for "the wrongs we do", yet sometimes in our struggle through life, when we have exhausted all of the resources that are inside our own personal being and we can no longer think of anything more to blame ourselves for, all we have left to do is to ask for help and if all we get is judgment, rather than understanding, that is not very helpful.

It's sort of like seeing someone drowning and instead of reaching down and pulling them out of the water, blaming them for not figuring out on their own how to swim.

I guess I get frustrated sometimes because it is so hard to find the middle ground. Democrats stress love, forgiveness and grace so much that it often seems to exclude responsibility, yet Republicans sometimes stress responsibility so much that they sometimes forget to love.

Maybe at least part of what I'm saying is not even political, but spiritual and social. We need to love and help our fellow man whenever possible.

The Griper said...

i don't deny a word you say, lista. but sometimes the best help you can give is an option that the person never thought of. that is called advice.

every problem of a human nature has a solution. in fact more than one solution. that is what constitutes choice. and we do have freedom of choice. and i'll grant you one more thing. some solutions require more of us than others. and i'll grant you that some solutions require more than just advice. and some solutions require special types of people to help.

and lastly, some problems may appear as to not have any solution at the time of need. but this does not justify giving up. it may require us to change our lifestyle and expectations but even that is a part of the solution.

the solution to some problems is to just acccept it as a part of our lives as we were meant to be.

but if you notice, every one must come from within us first.

offering to help someone because he appears to need help is not helping him. he may not need your help as you thought he did and by offering you insulted him rather than trying to help. the intent was good but the resulting act was not good.

Lista said...

Hello again Griper,

Most of your above comment is really good. All I found that needs response is the first and last paragraph.

People give me "advice" all the time, Griper, that reflects nothing new, but instead something that I've already considered and have already decided against even before the "advice" was given. Quite often all people want is to use someone as a sounding board to help them to figure their own answers out for themselves.

As to you comment about offering to help someone, who may not need our help. I agree and interestingly, this relates to advice as well.

I guess what I was more concerned with in relation to my own life are the times in which I was asking for help and even crying out for it, but could not find it. All I received was judgment, not help. I'm not sure why that occurred. It just did. Oh well.

This post is moving further and further back in your blog and I'm going to try and move on.

The Griper said...

yes, i agree. you must remember advice is usually based on one's experiences or how they think they'd handle the situation if it was their problem. and they may think it never occurred to you. and a big part of the time that will be the advice we get.

advice should be sought after all the time in areas we do not know the answer to and most of time it takes a while to find that individual who can give the right advice. that is the frustrating part of it for we want answers now. that is human.

The Griper said...

and i grant you that there are times when we just want sounding boards instead of advice. but i think this is where people truly realize their human weaknesses by thinking we are seeking help when we really are not. people by their nature and caring want to help others especially those they care for. we just need to communicate what we want from people better than we do in this area.

The Griper said...

and yes people judge instead of helping. but if you ever noticed they are people who cannot understand the problem in the first place. they cannot see the problem as ever happening to them.

The Griper said...

yes,,this is a good place to end the thread

Lista said...

Just one quick sentence, or maybe two. Sometimes I come across advice givers who are actually angry at me for not taking their advice and this is so annoying. I've stopped opening up to her.

The Griper said...

yup,,we all have come by those. i agree again.


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