"I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history." -Cardinal Francis George

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Rules are great... for other people.

PHOTO: Edward Snowden, seen here in an interview with The Guardian newspaper, told the newspaper he was the source of a series of leaked documents from the National Security Agency.

I am not much of a news guy. I check the mainstream news every few days for a few minutes. The other day I saw something unique, however, and it captured my attention. All the more because my wife and I are going through the T.V. spy series Alias again. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, and sometimes when you think you are suspending too much disbelief for a fictional story, real life outdoes fiction.
 Edward Snowden is the NSA spy who defected to China last week and is spilling the beans on some seriously problematic and tyranical behavior of the U.S. Government.
There it is. That sentence tells all you need to know. Yet if you look at the news, you will find many people denying one of those statements. But he did defect, and our government is behaving like a tyrant. I love my country. But with G.K. Chesterton I say- my country, right or wrong is the same as saying my mother, drunk or sober.

In an article for the Guardian, the same paper Snowden approached to go public, there is an article today which tries to tell us that it is just fine for our mother to be drunk, because hey... she is our mother, not the other guy's ugly drunk mother, but our beautiful drunk mother.

Here are some of his disturbing remarks-
The political implications are grave. Snowden has given Beijing something it couldn't achieve on its own: moral equivalence. Now, China can portray itself as a victim, besieged by America, and simply trying to defend itself.
 But has Snowden given moral equivalence, or has he merely revealed it? The answer is as sad as it is obvious. The U.S. has been berating (rightfully) China for cyber attacks for a long time. Yes, China is bad for doing these things. But the sticky thing about making moral judgements is that they apply universally. Rules aren't just good for other people, and optional for the moral people. On the contrary, following the rules is what makes one moral. The U.S. can't seem to understand this basic truth. Ever since Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, the rules which we want applied to other nations we feel should not apply to us.

But people are bad because they behave badly. Of course there is forgiveness and redemption, and of course in the inner man is often revealed a good heart that seems betrayed as if by a phantom hand by the actions of the outer man. Nevertheless, you are what you do. If you do evil, you are evil. If rules of morality don't apply to everyone, then they aren't rules, but merely norms.

The authors most disturbing statement-
But Beijing does not deserve moral equivalence, given the intensity of its cyber-attacks against America. The key point is that China struck first, developing a pronounced asymmetric advantage.
 Any parent recognizes this "he hit me first" mentality, and it makes as much sense in international relations as it does on the playground. Just because Johnny throws sand in your eye doesn't mean it's OK for you to throw it back. And in fact, throwing it back makes any claim to moral high ground laughable. All sympathy melts away as the other kids in the schoolyard slowly turn their back on your petty little squabble.

This is a great country, and many brave men have died for it. But they didn't die for government clowns to piss on the fourth amendment and then tell the world it's raining. That is not America. Between this current scandal and grievous offenses like the contraceptive/ abortifacient mandate which will take effect soon, it is getting harder to recognize where America is anymore among all B.S. it is pulling.

Monday, June 10, 2013

I Want my 40 Grand for Homeschooling

So in my state (Minnesota) the State spends $10,685 per year, per kid, in the public school (as of July 2012).
The average homeschooling parent spends $500-$600 per year, per kid, for their homeschool costs.

Personally, my wife and I have never spent nearly that much to homeschool our 3 school age daughters, and I suspect the numbers for the homeschooled kids are inflated because so many are first year students. After all, homeschooling is growing seven times faster than public school enrollment, and that makes for a lot of first time homeschooling parents. Not to mention, the public schools themselves now have an online option for homeschooling which is free to the parents. For many, like us, we can reuse materials for the younger kids. So a $200 4th grade writing course isn't $200 for that 4th grader... because her little sister will use it too. You get the idea. In this way we have never spent more than $1,000 on homeschool supplies in a year, and this year, for a kindergartner, second, third, and fifth grader, we will spend around $750 for all 4. And we could have scrimped and spent less. So that is $15-$19 a week, very affordable. By the time our oldest is out of high school, the cost should go down dramatically because we should have most of the materials we need already.

So considering we will have 4 kids in school next year, that would cost the State of Minnesota $42,740 if we sent them to public school. Ouch! In a couple years, I will have 5 school agers, and the State would be paying $53,425 for them to go to school.

The cost for my kids... well let's see... lets get them a laptop and take them on a field trip to get the cost up to $600 per kid... really splurging on 'em. So next year I would be spending a total of $2,400 for extravagant homeschooling. Public school would need $42,740 to put them in a prison with bars and metal detectors and let them be bullied, teach them how to put a condom on a bananna, teach them homosexuality is just fine, and oh, yeah, besides all the moral problems, not teach them accademically as well as we could homeschooling them.

Same kids, same numbers and alphabet, same SAT, but the government spends $42,740 to teach them and I only need $2,400.

They spend 18 times as much to make it 18 times more likely they become:

-less literate,
-morally blind,
-whose last brush with the word 'logic' was from Spock in the recent Star Trek film.

No thanks. I will have smarter, holier, better adjusted, happier kids for 1/18th the cost by homeschooling them.

Oh, and I am waiting for my check in the mail for the $40,340 I saved the State of Minnesota by homeschooling. Or even just the check for $2,400 would be a nice gesture.

Still waiting...

(crickets chirping...)