Labors in the Afternoon

Labors in the Afternoon

The height of a Man’s Labor comes in the Afternoon.
Morning’s running gait gives way
to the slow, sure steps of diligence.
He wipes his brow, feeling the waning sun,
its waxing heat, and brilliant light.
Morning’s promises are burned away
forging what tasks remain, chosen and unchosen.
Stooping and sighing, (while no one is looking), his eyes
gaze West, and he feels the Truth of Evening:
Many tasks of Morning will go unfinished ere the failing of the light.
Standing straight, he lays aside tools unneeded and
takes ones not touched since sunrise.
In the Afternoon, he will do what can be done,
accepting Wisdoms not seen in the Dawn.
His chores are not less; he will yet sweat and strain.
But a song escapes his lips, and he feels alive again,
as he Labors in the Afternoon.


Bryan G. Stephens 2015


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Night before Christmas – What has PC Wrought?

A Politically Correct Christmas Poem

Twas the night before Christmas and Santa’s a wreck…
How to live in a world that’s politically correct?
His workers no longer would answer to “Elves”,
“Vertically Challenged” they were calling themselves.
And labor conditions at the North Pole,
were alleged by the union, to stifle the soul.

Four reindeer had vanished without much propriety,
released to the wilds, by the Humane Society.
And equal employment had made it quite clear,
that Santa had better not use just reindeer.
So Dancer and Donner, Comet and Cupid,
were replaced with 4 pigs, and you know that looked stupid!

The runners had been removed from his beautiful sleigh,
because the ruts were deemed dangerous by the EPA,
And millions of people were calling the Cops,
when they heard sled noises upon their roof tops.
Second-hand smoke from his pipe, had his workers quite frightened,
and his fur trimmed red suit was called “unenlightened”.

To show you the strangeness of today’s ebbs and flows,
Rudolf was suing over unauthorized use of his nose.
He went to Geraldo, in front of the Nation,
demanding millions in over-due workers compensation.

So…half of the reindeer were gone, and his wife
who suddenly said she’d had enough of this life,
joined a self help group, packed and left in a whiz,
demanding from now on that her title was Ms.

And as for gifts…why, he’d never had the notion
that making a choice could cause such commotion.
Nothing of leather, nothing of fur…
Which meant nothing for him or nothing for her.
Nothing to aim, Nothing to shoot,
Nothing that clamored or made lots of noise.
Nothing for just girls and nothing for just boys.
Nothing that claimed to be gender specific,
Nothing that’s warlike or non-pacifistic.

No candy or sweets…they were bad for the tooth.
Nothing that seemed to embellish upon the truth.
And fairy tales…while not yet forbidden,
were like Ken and Barbie, better off hidden,
for they raised the hackles of those psychological,
who claimed the only good gift was one ecological.

No baseball, no football…someone might get hurt,
besides – playing sports exposed kids to dirt.
Dolls were said to be sexist and should be passe.
and Nintendo would rot your entire brain away.

So Santa just stood there, disheveled and perplexed,
he just couldn’t figure out what to do next?
He tried to be merry he tried to be gay,
but you must have to admit he was having a very bad day.
His sack was quite empty, it was flat on the ground,
nothing fully acceptable was anywhere to be found.

Something special was needed, a gift that he might,
give to us all, without angering the left or the right.
A gift that would satisfy – with no indecision,
each group of people in every religion.
Every race, every hue,
everyone, everywhere…even you!
So here is that gift, it’s price beyond worth…



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Why I am grateful for the Reformation and Martin Luther

We have just had a big thread about the Catholic Church and it has brought something into focus for me. I do not believe the modern world would have happened without the Reformation. The Catholic Church supported Monarchy, centralized control, and a few men accumulating power.

As conservatives we talk about Scottish and French Enlightenments. Well, one was in a Catholic country and one was not. We know how they turned out. Northern Europe, with its Protestant Work Ethic has long been less corrupt in function that Southern, Catholic, Europe. Capitalism as we understand it was born in Northern Europe, with the Dutch, and later spread to England. Would a Catholic England have taken it up?

Further, it was primarily Protestants who settled America at first. The idea of religious tolerance was born from the friction of different Protestant faiths. Granted, it was also born of that fact there was a Church of England, but the marriage of Church and State is something that Church inherited from the Catholic Church, and America continued the Protestant move away from it. I do not believe that any such thing would have happened in a Catholic dominated America. Indeed, since the Catholic Church supported the Divine Right of Kings, it is hard to imagine that America ditching Kings at all. Maybe, even, not to rebel, since no matter how bad the King, rebelling is in violation of God’s law. Then again, the Catholic French did rebel against their King, so maybe those Americans would have too. One hopes with better results. In England, of course, there was a civil war over that Right. Would that have happened if the nation was still Catholic?

The Reformation also put pressure on the Catholic Church to reform. They don’t engage in people buying their way into Heaven anymore (I know buying out of Purgatory, but since you exit into Heaven, it is still buying your way into Heaven). 1517 Luther posted Thesis. 1567 They were banned. Certainly, in matters of temporal corruption around Monarchy it is much better.

It is clear to me that the world in which we live, the one with America as the Shining City on the Hill would not exist without the Reformation. I do not think that capitalism would have flourished, and with it, all the innovations. We would not have gone to the Moon, or have instant communications around the Earth. Progress would have been slowed, weighted down by an organization more concerned with maintaining its temporal power than with saving souls, as indulgences indicated. Thesis 82:

Why does not the pope liberate everyone from purgatory for the sake of love (a most holy thing) and because of the supreme necessity of their souls? This would be morally the best of all reasons. Meanwhile he redeems innumerable souls for money, a most perishable thing, with which to build St. Peter’s church, a very minor purpose.

I Praise God, and I mean that honestly, that 500 years ago, God inspired Martin Luther to take a stand against the corruption of the Catholic Church, and it allowed the great flourishing of Christianity in the world. Without the Protestant Reformation, there would have been no Adam Smith, no capitalism, No Scottish Enlightenment, no British Empire, and no United States of America.

Thank God, for Martin Luther and his great and grand courage to stand up for what was right against a corrupt regime intent on its own glorification, rather than the glorification of God.


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The Khashoggi case demands context

I found this interesting:

In high school, Jamal Khashoggi had a good friend. His name was Osama bin Laden.

“We were hoping to establish an Islamic state anywhere,” Khashoggi reminisced about their time together in the Muslim Brotherhood. “We believed that the first one would lead to another, and that would have a domino effect which could reverse the history of mankind.”

Hmm. Maybe this man was not, in fact, a fearless champion of free speech. Maybe there is more going on. Maybe sometimes, the United States is allied with nations who also are bad actors. Maybe things are more complex than the media want to make themout to be.

Closing quote:

Before the media and the politicians who listen to it drag the United States into a conflict with Saudi Arabia over a Muslim Brotherhood activist based on the word of an enemy country still holding Americans hostage, we deserve the context.

And we deserve the truth.

The media wants the Saudis to answer questions about Jamal Khashoggi. But maybe the media should be forced to answer why the Washington Post was working with a Muslim Brotherhood propagandist?

The real mystery isn’t Khashoggi’s disappearance. It’s why Republicans aren’t asking those questions.

The media’s relationship with Khashoggi is far more damning than anything the Saudis might have done to him. And the media should be held accountable for its relationship with Osama bin Laden’s old friend.

Nothing is every simple as the headlines want them to be.


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Are libertarians Dupes? or Why do libertarians ignore the Binary Outcome?

Over at American Greatness, Edward Ring has an article titled Libertarians Are Marxist Dupes. In it, he shows some really scary facts:

In the 2016 election, the Libertarian Party candidate for President, Gary Johnson, attracted just over 4.5 million votes. The Leftist equivalent, Green candidate Jill Stein, received only 1.5 million votes demonstrating the superior understanding the Left has of political mechanics. Despite being a deeply flawed candidate, this Libertarian moved the national popular vote from a toss-up to a clear Clinton edge. In the Electoral College, Johnson’s influence was even greater.

At the state level in 2016, Gary Johnson very nearly handed crucial states to Clinton. In Pennsylvania, where Trump’s margin was a 1.3 percentage points, Johnson got 2.4 percent. In Wisconsin, where Trump won by 0.6 percentage points, Johnson got 3.7 percent. In Michigan, where Trump won by a razor thin 0.3 percentage points, Johnson got 3.6 percent.

So we see that Johnson, the Libertarian candidate had higher percentages than Trump’s win in these states. Attracting a few more votes could have turned things over the Clinton. Indeed, his margin in some states Trump lost was the factor.

Not only did Gary Johnson very nearly leave the “Blue Wall” intact for Democrats, he also took states out of play that might have been toss-ups. In Colorado, for example, Trump lost by 3.6 percentage points, but Gary Johnson got 4.7 percent. In Nevada, Trump lost by 2.7 percentage points and Johnson got 3.1 percent.

What about “purple states”? Florida went for Republican Trump in 2016 by a margin of 1.4 points, but Johnson got 2.2 percent. By 2020, assuming the biased media can continue to brainwash hundreds of thousands of recent Puerto Rican refugees into thinking Trump deliberately neglected their hurricane relief, Trump will need that 2.2 percent.

I am left aghast. Never Trumpers told me, in no uncertain terms that their votes did not matter, so they were going to vote for whomever they wanted. The Binary Outcome was denied. Still, we see here, by going after right of center voters, Libertarians may well have pushed the election over to Clinton. While I understand that libertarians don’t seem to see much, if any, difference between the Republicans and Democrats, any rational observer would be forced to conclude that the Republicans are more on the side of personal liberty and smaller government than the Democrats. Oh sure, not as much as libertarians want, but they are closer to the mark than the Democrats.

Now, in 2018, Ring points out:

The stakes in 2018 could hardly be higher, but Libertarian Party candidates don’t seem to care. In states where the races for U.S. Senate are too close to call, and in similar cliffhanger congressional races across the nation, Libertarian candidates are runningNone of them have the slightest chance of winning, but dozens of them are capable enough to attract two-percent or more. If more than a few of them do, Republicans will lose control of Congress.

Emphasis added.

What on Earth are libertarians thinking? What is helped by running races that they lose, know that they will lose, that may give the edge to the Democrats. Do libertarians actually believe that is no worse for the nation? Really?

First—and sorry to have to state the obvious—America is not a parliamentary system. Even if Libertarian Party candidates attracted five percent of the vote, that would not translate into 22 seats in the House of Representatives. These votes for Libertarian candidates will do only one thing: help Democrats win.

We need to quit indulging the preposterous talking point that Libertarian Party candidates siphon as many votes from away from Democrat candidates as they do from Republican candidates. No, they don’t. Libertarians, for all their incoherence, agree on one thing: smaller government. And Democrats, for all their incoherence, also agree on one thing: much bigger government. Get real.

Whatever may be the flaws of the Republican candidates and elected officials out there (and there are many), Libertarians need to grow up, and recognize a painful fact. The lesser of two evils is the lesser of two evils. The real world isn’t perfect. You take what you can get, because if you walk away, you’ll get something worse.

Libertarians, as a party, they have never been able to make the sale with the American people. Those voters they attract would have had a home with Republicans. There will be Democrats or Republicans in control. That is the brutal fact, and pitching a fit about it won’t change it. I am not saying that the Republicans have a right to anyone’s vote. I am saying that Libertarians seeking votes from the pool of voters on the right helps to elect Democrats. The math bears it out.


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I am so with David French on Police Shootings

Moreover, there are legal doctrines that need to be reformed or abolished (such as qualified immunity, but that explanation requires a whole separate piece). And there should be a culture change in the way officers are taught to perceive risk, a culture change that thoughtful veterans of the Iraq and Afghan wars could help initiate.

The police get too much leeway. Their job is not to come home at the end of the day, their job is to serve and protect. Their job is to die, if necessary, so that citizens don’t have to.


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