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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The inability of the Left to make important distinctions

MAGA hats are racist.  MAGA hats are divisive.  MAGA hats are a vehicle of white supremacy.

Here are a few recent examples.

"Why Trump's MAGA hats have become a potent symbol of racism" is the title of one article written in just the last few days.

"The MAGA hat, like the Confederate flag, wouldn't elicit outraged reactions if it were only a piece of cloth that harkened back to bygone days never to be relived. But it isn't. It is a signifier for those who believe America was great during some point in the past they dare not name, knowing if they do, it would reveal a time when it was worse for people of color. When was America "great"? When millions of black people were slaves? When hundreds of thousands of black men were sold to US companies via convict leasing? Maybe during the heart of Jim Crow, the height of lynching, or when black people struggling with drug addictions were viewed as criminals to be controlled, not fellow human beings needing help?"

"You can read the white rage in their MAGA hats"

"Alyssa Milano: 'The red MAGA hat is the new white hood'" 

Triggered over a MAGA hat.  by a CNN commentator!!

So what do I mean by the inability of the Left to make important distinctions?
  1. They can't see how America was ever great if it was flawed, such as in treatment of the indigenous peoples or in slavery.  By this measure, no one and no nation is ever great, nor could be.  Rome wasn't great.  Because only perfection is great, but nothing human is perfect.  They can't recognize that people and nations can be great and yet flawed.  Our Founding Fathers were great people for the most part.  But some of them supported slavery and others didn't but were slave owners.  The Greatest Generation was just that, but by today's standards we couldn't call them great because they didn't get rid of Jim Crow and racism.  Martin Luther and Martin Luther King, Jr. were great, but both deeply flawed.  The first was anti-Semitic, and the second an adulterer.  I would argue that the ability to make distinctions is the sign of maturity.  We should be able to recognize that Rome was great, but had serious flaws.  We can acknowledge the great good that MLK Jr. did, but not ignore the sins and flaws in his life.
  2. They can't see how people can wear a MAGA hat for different reasons.  There are undoubtedly racists and white supremacists who support Trump.  But those on the Left assume that anyone who wears such a hat or supports Trump is a racist or white supremacist, just because some of his supporters are.  But not all of his supporters are.  There are a lot of reasons why people supported Trump or would like to make America great again.  But the Left wants to associate all or most of his supporters with those groups.  This is utter nonsense and shows the lack of intellectual sophistication on the Left.  
  3. Anything that the Left disagrees with is reaaallllyyyy bad.  Like Hitler bad.  Or KKK bad.   Just because something is bad, doesn't mean it's totally, terribly, completely evil.  Really?  You can't make distinctions about how bad things relative to other things?  Everything is equally good or equally bad?
  4. The Left doesn't get that Trump doesn't care about words.  He uses them, but they don't mean that much to him.  What he cares about is getting things done, and words help him get there.  Results are what matter.  To the Left, results mean very little.  What does matter is words, and process, and feelings.  This is why Trump's gotten so much done.  If results mattered to the Left they would abandon many of their policies (such as the war on poverty) and try something else.
  5. The Left can't distinguish between legal and illegal immigration.  If you are against the latter, you be against all immigration.  And you are a racist.  Really?
  6. If I disagree with something, then I hate it.  Really?  You don't see the difference between hate (see my previous post) and disagreeing?  Hate means a strong dislike and a desire for bad things to someone or an idea. 
Is this an unwillingness or an inability?
  • Are those on the Left unwilling to make such distinctions?  If so, are they lazy, or evil?
  • Are they unable to?  If so, then are they mentally deficient, or merely uneducated?
Friends and others on the Left.  
Grow up.  
Develop some mental muscle and the ability to distinguish between things, ideas, and people.

If you are on the Right, you are probably agreeing with me at this point.  If you are a moderate Democrat, you are perhaps annoyed at my painting all Democrats with the same brush and not making any distinctions.  You might even accuse me of doing the same thing that I'm accusing the Left of doing.  And you would be mostly correct.  First, how do you like my doing what the Left does most of the time?  Second, please call out those on the Left when they are over top and when they fail to make distinctions.  Then we can make distinctions where they need to be made and begin to respect each other's views and each other.

thank you!

Monday, January 21, 2019

We are a hate filled nation, not a loving nation

Yesterday a story hit social media. 
"Teens in Make America Great Again Hats Taunted a Native American elder at the Lincoln Memorial"

and later in the day the other side. 
"Teen in confrontation with Native American elder says he was trying to defuse the situation"

and a summary and analysis.

The teens in question, students at a Catholic school in Kentucky, were in Washington DC for the Pro-Life March and were waiting for their bus to pick them up in the late afternoon.  Exactly who said and did what, and in what sequence, is still open to question.  Who was in the right or wrong isn't really my concern at this point.  I would instead like to make a different point.

This episode (and others like it such as those involving Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, and Henry Louis Gates Jr.) show that as a nation we are quick to judge and condemn and slow to forgive.  We don't want the whole story; we want the story that fits our narrative.  We want to feel righteous and condemn others. 

I was introduced to the story above yesterday by feeds on Facebook from two of my younger friends (both young enough to be my children).  In both cases the individuals who posted the story condemned the young man in the picture and his classmates.  I pointed out that this was a rush to judgement and that we should wait for the entire story to come out.  This morning there was much more on the second side, casting major doubts on the first narrative.  No doubt there will be more information that comes out, and who knows what the final verdict will be?   One of my two young friends is still inclined to believe the first narrative, and the second apologized for rushing to judgement so quickly.  (hooray for him!)

So how do love and hate fit in with this?  I think that the famous love passage from St. Paul will shed some light on this.

First Corinthians 13
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  8 Love never fails.   NIV, from on January 21, 2019

My two young friends (and a whole lot of other people) did not exhibit love in this situation.  They were easily angered, and kept a record of wrongs.  They seemed to delight in the "fact" that the young man was a racist and was disrespectful.  It didn't seem to occur to them that this was a sad thing, and might not even be true.  Lewis' comments below shed light on this. 

C S Lewis on 
“Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one's first feeling, 'Thank God, even they aren't quite so bad as that,' or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally we shall insist on seeing everything -- God and our friends and ourselves included -- as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred.”

― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity  found on on January 21, 2019

What do the Leftists and Progressives think of Trump supporters?  Do they think that MAGA supporters are as bad as possible?  Yes, I think that overall they do.  Are people on the Left frequently looking for reasons to be offended by those on the Right?  Yes.  Democrats think the worst of Republicans.  I don't think that the reverse is true, but it is rapidly become so.  As a nation we are increasingly acting out of hateful attitudes and motives.   We see the worst in the other side, and we only want to see the worst.  We want to be offended by the other side.

What's the remedy for this?  I'm reminded of Jesus' words of the second greatest commandment. 
"Love your neighbor as yourself."

Love is wishing the best for another person, and the best love is actively working toward that best.
Hate is wishing the worst for another person, and the worst hate is actively working toward that end.

By those definitions,

  • When we get angry at another motorist, are we acting in love?
  • When we react negatively toward people we disagree with, do we wish them the best in spite of our disagreement, or do we hope the worst for them?  Is this love, or hate?
  • When people threaten others professionally, or their lives, or in other ways because of disagreements, are we acting in love or hate?
  • When we look for reasons to be offended, are we acting in love?
What can you and I do about this situation?  
  • Practice thinking the best about others and giving them the benefit of the doubt.
  • Encourage others to wait for a more complete picture before rushing to judgement.
  • Call people out on truly hateful attitudes, words and actions.  
  • Differentiate between disagreement and real hate.
  • Pray for those we disagree with.
  • Actively do good things for others.
  • Stop looking for reasons to be offended by what others say and do

Our culture can be improved if we act more out of love, and less out of hate.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

My Etsy site

Yes, this is a shameless advertisement for my shop.  I know it's a little late for Christmas gifts this year, but I have an Etsy site with a lot of handmade wood craft items and forged items.  I also have some other items that might interest a local person, but are too expensive to ship.  My wife also has a lot of soaps, shampoo bars, and lotion bars, although she's sold out of most items at the moment.   

My Etsy shop
Pegler Crafts and Forge

Here are some pictures of items I've made that you might think of for yourself, or gifts that are on the Etsy site.  For other items, such as pens and pencils (mechanical pencils), please check out the Etsy shop above.




Here are the log slice lamps that I've made.  They are mostly around 20 inches tall, and are made of birch, walnut, juniper, aspen.  They aren't plugged in in the pictures below, but they can be plugged into a 120 v wall outlet.  No batteries.  These would be expensive to ship, so if you are in the Front Range of Colorado and are interested, let me know.


Tuesday, December 4, 2018

all things work together for good

Romans 8:28 English Standard Version (ESV)
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28 American Standard Version (ASV)
28 And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
28 We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.

This verse has become very meaningful to me recently.  My children still aren't reconciled to me, my parents moved across the country in their 80s, my job is in jeopardy as I write this.  Much of this is my own fault, as well.

Some observations about what Paul writes: 

  1. Paul does not say that the good things will work together for good.
  2. Paul does not say that the things I've done right will work together for good.
  3. Paul does say all things.  That includes the things that I've done well, the things that I've done badly or for the wrong motives.  It includes even sin and the effects of sin.

God is bigger than our mistakes and our errors and our sins, and he will work these things out for good.  This is not an excuse for doing things poorly or sinning, but it is a great comfort to know in times of difficulty, even difficulties that are of our own making.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

The joy of dogs

About two and a half years we had to put down our dog of 12+ years.  She couldn't move much and was gaining weight.  Her mind was still good, but her body was failing.

It was one of the saddest things and hardest things I've ever done.

Then I had a new family and my wife, Ariane, had a dog, Guinness, that she had had for 13 years or so.  He too was getting older and a few weeks ago we had to put him down as well.  He was 15.  It was very hard.

The following quote was sent to me by a friend who has had many dogs over her life on the death of our first dog, Ginger.  

“The misery of keeping a dog is his dying so soon. But, to be sure, if he lived for fifty years and then died, what would become of me?” – Sir Walter Scott

Last Spring we began to think about getting another dog because we knew that Guinness would not live too much longer  We were able to find a local family that had two adult Miniature Schnauzers (Ariane loves the breed.) and on Father's Day Weekend picked up our two new puppies.

They were so small!

They have grown, and are a delight and joy and a comfort in hard times.

Dougal (Dougal Frederick MacGyver Schnauzer Pegler) is a love dog.  He loves to love and to be loved.  His biggest problem is whether to choose a walk, food, or love.  Walks usually win.  Piglet loves to eat, but she too is becoming more affectionate.  She is huge for her size (20 pounds) and last night we wanted to see if she would work for a Thanksgiving meal main dish.  So that's why she's in the roasting pan!!

They are a great joy and loads of fun for us and for the girls.  Puppies and young children were made for each other!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Why have children?

Last week some of my high school students asked me, "Why have children?"  Tomorrow is my son's birthday.

So, some thoughts on why we should have children beyond the obvious - to carry on the species.

First, children are a delight.  Not all the time or every one of them, of course.  But overall children are wonderful.  Their enthusiasm, energy, questions, and delight in the world are contagious and help us older people enjoy life.  They remind us that God has given us every gift to enjoy in this life.  They are full of laughter, joy and they are care free.  (Yes, I know there are exceptions.  I'm speaking in generalities.)

Second, children are precious.  The energy, love, and resources that go into bearing and nursing every child (hats off the women at this point!!) make every child extremely valuable.  I don't understand Obama or the "pro-choice"  (which really means pro-killing your own child) point of view.  Punished by having a child?  No, children are a reward.  Yes, they will consume resources and they will cause pollution.  But people also create solutions to these problems. 

Third, children help give us purpose in our lives.  Now that my children are grown and adults I find it easy to plod along without seeing a trend in life or a reason to continue every day.  Children's growth and maturing help us to anticipate every new day and celebrate milestones more often than occur in middle aged and older people.

Fourth, children are trainable and moldable.  Adults are called on to give something back as we model good lives and train and teach children the skills and knowledge that they will need to be good people when they are adults.

Fifth, children are our gift to the future.  Most of us will leave little impact on the world and the world will take little notice of our existence here once we are gone.  It is unlikely that we will cure cancer or poverty or even save someone else's life.  Perhaps the major way that most of us can impact the future is to have children and raise good quality children.  Some people ask why we should have children when the world's future looks so dark.  To me the dark times are the times when good people should have children.  Otherwise, what hope does the future have?

Sixth, children teach us to be less selfish.  Women in particular give up a lot for their children.  When we give up our bodies, energy, time, money, and other resources for other people we become better people.  Children teach us to be better people.

So have children (but to give them the best future possible, get married to their other parent).  Enjoy them and train them.  Thank God for them.