REMINDER: Quit looking for a hero or friend or partner in politics

We conservatives tend to be idol worshippers, focusing all of our efforts on the candidate. If it’s a good candidate, we support and help. If it’s a bad candidate we lambaste and oppose. Remember what Friedman said

“It’s nice to elect the right people, but that isn’t the way you solve things. The way you solve things is by making it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing.”

He was talking about Congressmen, but it’s a philosophy that applies equally to the President and to an entire party.

in thiis race, it’s Clinton v. Trump. One of those two will be the next President. You may be happy about that, you may be sad about that. You may fee embarrassed and ashamed that these are our pathetic choices. You may not want either one. I’m very sorry, but this country has survived bad Presidents before, we’ll survive this time, too.

The President is NOT the avatar of your self-worth. If he or she is a despicable human being (they both pretty much are), your support for one or the other doesn’t mean that YOU are a despicable human being.

Our job as responsible citizens of this Republic is to make a decision about which one of these wrong people can be best influenced to do the right things and then behave accordingly.

We know how Clinton is influenced, and we know who has the influence with her. It’s not us. She not only doesn’t care if we oppose her, she PREFERS that we oppose her. A weakend GOP Senate and House will not be able to persuade her of anything – she’ll have the backing of all Democrats, media, education, popular culture, and big business. At best, the GOP may be able to mitigate some of the horrors she is intent on. Perhaps instead of banning all guns and ammunition purchases, we’ll just have registration and application for permission to buy.

After 8 years of holding Obama back on some things, the public choosing “4 more years” of Obama policies will have a very strong pull on the GOPers who have always been squishy. Clinton victory will be a very strong message that the nation wants what the progressive left is selling, it will be more politically profitable for the GOP to do their thing than our thing. You know this.

We also know how Trump is influenced. He must be seen as winning, as smart. There’s some chance that a weakened GOP can have some influence there. Not much, but more than zero. We can make it politically profitable for Trump to do the right thing, in some circumstances.

Put away the anger and sadness, put away the disappointment, and get ruthlessly logical. If we are to have any influence over the head of the federal government, any at all, it’s Trump that has to be there.

Don’t Go Out On The Front Lines Without Training

We’ve talked before about the utility of comparing the Progressive-Conservative struggle to a War. I use that comparison all the time, not because I’m a violent bloodthirsty killer, but because most folks have a basic understanding of the most basic of components and concepts, also, I don’t “do” sports, so…war it is.

There are a LOT of ways to participate in the war effort. The sexiest way, the one most people think of first, is to be part of the group of guys with the guns. The front line warriors. They get the medals, they get the parades. (When is the last time you saw a ceremony honoring outstanding achievement in logistics?) I’m not a front line warrior myself, but I have a deep appreciation for those who are.

I see a lot of my fellow conservatives wanting to be front line warriors. But they neglect the most important part – BOOT CAMP.First_US_Army_Rehabilitation_Centre-_Recuperation_and_Training_at_8th_Convalescent_Hospital,_Stoneleigh_Park,_Kenilworth,_Warwickshire,_UK,_1943_D16598[1]

They have the passion to win. They have the knowledge of conservative policy and philosophy. They have the fire in the belly, a computer, and accounts on G+, Twitter, and Facebook. They are OUT THERE.

And..without training, they are ineffective at best, most likely wasting their own time, and harming the overall movement at worst. Don’t do that. You don’t WANT to do that. Just realize you need Boot Camp, you need a Drill Sergeant, you need role models to watch and learn from.

Ladies and gentlemen, Kurt Schlichter is that guy. I alluded to it earlier today, in this post, when I showed you a couple of his tweets.

At the time I hadn’t even read his article in Townhall. (Yeah, I denounce myself). But wow, seriously…he is absolutely up front about it in today’s article. It’s not just me thinking of him as the instructor, he’s outright admitting it. So…he’s offering you the chance to learn from him. Take him up on it. Become a better soldier.

Here’s a snippet of the training he provides in just one article:

But if you do choose to argue with a liberal, understand that your purpose should never be to change the liberal’s mind. You’re not going to change the liberal’s mind. Instead, if you choose to argue with a liberal, you should do it for one of two reasons – to either win over people who have not yet made up their minds, or to support people who already have begun to understand the truth.

There are two basic tactics to choose from when responding to a liberal pseudo-argument, defense and counterattack. Without getting too detailed and infantry-nerdy on you, think of defense as simply preventing a loss. You’re holding your ground. The counterattack, however, lashes out to seize the initiative and defeat your enemy.

When you counterattack, you ignore the proposition offered by the liberal and refuse to respond on the liberal’s preferred terms. In fact, you don’t even need to address the same subject the liberal is talking about. Your goal is not to undercut the liberal’s assertion. You’re going to counterattack to undercut the liberal himself.

Subscribe to Townhall via RSS, or whatever way you ca make sure you get all of his work. It requires thought, effort, and practice. Usually the liberal is just emoting, it’s what they do. If you take the time to learn the art of counterattack, you will be able to accomplish your goal – because you’ll be the only one actually thinking in the exchange. And ALWAYS keep track of your goal and your audience. You’ll never be finished learning and practicing. You’ll never be good enough at it. If you think you are…stop using social media for a few days, read Kurt’s articles, read his tweets, read tweets from random folks who imagine themselves to be warriors, and figure out how you can be better.

It’s a war, I want you to win. I want us to win. You have to work at it. Find yourself some examples like Kurt.

Here’s an example of Kurt firing back, just today:

The tweet from the Progressive:

The response from Kurt:

That’s how it’s done folks, counterattack, you’ll find examples like that throughout Kurt’s twitter timeline. He’s also written a bunch of books I’m sure he’d like for you to buy and read. Kurt’s Books on Amazon

It Was Never ABOUT Bundy, He Wasn’t A Hero

Open_Range_Sign_Interstate_10_Frontage_Road_Arizona_2014His fall doesn’t surprise me, and it doesn’t change what was important to ME about this case

We have a STAR culture, and every issue ends up being about a face and a person who is defined as either a hero or a zero. For many people who didn’t take the time to figure out what they were getting emotional about, it became about Cliven Bundy.

Support HIM, stand with HIM. Listen to HIM, etc.

He had daily press conferences, and feed the star-making system. The inevitable happened, and he said things that are indefensible. The press will now go into a new phase of tearing him down, and using that to delegitimize the folks who defended him.

There will now be a rush by politicians to distance themselves from the man, and they will also foolishly distance themselves from the situation because they lack the desire or ability to differentiate the two.

Bundy’s comments on race provide breaking point for Paul, Heller
And probably most other Cliven Bundy supporters as well, assuming that the New York Times report of his Saturday press conference is accurate.

He was, and is, unworthy of adulation. He’s just a guy, was always on the wrong side of the law, was unprepared for the spotlight, and has, expectedly, been taken down by the self-exposure of his own beliefs.

Cliven Bundy Just Ruined His CauseAfter Bundy’s overtly racist remarks, let’s see how far politicians run away from him.
Cliven Bundy stood by the Virgin River up the road from the armed checkpoint at the driveway of his ranch, signing autographs and posing for pictures. For 55 minutes, Mr. Bundy held forth to a clutch of supporters about his views on the troubled state of America — the overreaching federal government, the harassment of Western ranchers, the societal upheaval caused by abortion, even musing about whether slavery was so bad.

This particular land use situation will continue on, and be resolved in the courts, where it should always have remained.

The Feds over-reacted, HUGELY. Their bullying tactics were stopped by the rapid ability and desire of Americans to face down the thugs who would steal and kill his cattle over this dispute. The alarm was raied, the call was answered, and the feds backed down.

THAT was the point. THAT was the victory.

We do not continue to stand alongside Cliven Bundy, because it’s not about him. We continue to stand prepared to defend all others against over-reactions of the federal government, to get them to the point of resolving things civilly, and without Federal snipers, drones, and tanks used against American citizens.

The moment the Federal Jackboots retreated, THIS issue was done for me.

That Cliven Bundy still thinks it’s about him, that the press is still star-obsessed, that the effort to tarnish this man succeeded, is entirely predictable.

The left will now say that “we” have proven ourselve to be racists and supporters of racists. The apolitical folks will agree. The “true warriors” on the right will spend time defending this MAN, because they believe that they have to in order to defend their support for his defense.

We do not have to defend this MAN, I never did, it was never avout Cliven Bundy. It was, and is, about Federal Government abuse of power.

Great Products HAVE to Have Great Packaging

An excellent product with terrible packaging will lose in the marketplace to a mediocre (or bad) product with great packaging. It is of no use to complain about this fact, or even to protest that the excellent product is better.

If you’ve got terrible packaging, you won’t get new customers, you’ll lose current customers, and you’ll go out of business. You all know these things to be true, you see it when you go to the store, you see it in your own lives. This is absolutely the case with the Conservative movement.

Our product is terrific, demonstrably so. Our packaging, our marketing, our messaging – all pretty well shy of mediocre.

I recently saw a terrific visual example. An attempt at an image+text message, to get people to come to a rally. I don’t know who made it, I’m nut sure what the event is, that’s not the point. The point is that there is a MUCH better way to communicate the message. They’re trying to publicize an event and drive particpation.

This is the original:

before

I posted the image to a private group, asking the other members to provide their input as to what specific elements of the poster were off-target. A smattering of the answers:

  • Too much text
  • Excessive punctuation
  • Colonial outfits communicate crazy to the general voting populace
  • Too much bold, angry, shouting imagery – makes one think the event will just be a bunch of shouting angry people – that’s not enticing
  • American Spring calls to mind the Arab Spring which was a colossal failure resulting in death, destruction, and dictatorships
  • Too many logos, extraneous information, just too busy
  • Where do I get more information? No idea.
  • All white people
  • Hyperbole – a million people? most-important?
  • “force a tyrant out” – reinforces stereotype of violent dangerous Tea Party

Then, one of our members, Lynn Seborn posted an alternative:

after

Lynn’s guidelines in making the alternative:

  • Reframe negatives to positives
  • Move emphasis from looking to the past to looking our future
  • Simplify
  • Emphasize self sacrifice for others
  • Ask question to provoke response
  • Provide a place for viewers to go for more info

All of this transpired in less than an hour, on a workday, with ideas tossed in by 11 people, and the alternative was put together on a smartphone in 10 minutes.

My goal in posting these two images is not to advertise for or criticize any event, individual, or group but to show that we can do better, and it’s actually just as easy to market and publiicize well as it is to do it poorly.

We just have to change our perspective, focus on what the audience wants, what will persuade them, what will appeal to them.

So, what do you think of this transformation? Is this the kind of change in thinking that we can get behind? Is there some unacceptable compromise involved in trying to modify our messaging to appeal to people on a different level?

I think that for a quick illustration of a before and after, this little exercise was quite helpful. We need to do this sort of thing more often. The orignal image was a terrific learning tool for us – it got my little group talking about these things, and it was nice to see how quickly we really got into the idea.

We do have great ideas for how to sell the conservative product, we just need to share those ideas with each other, and implement them.

2014-03-18_2

 

Conservatives should be more like Liberals and Progressives

Did THAT headline get your attention? I hope so, There are actually quite a few ways we conservatives should be more like the liberals and progressives. Why? They are successful. How? Lots of ways, actually, today’s post will be about evangelism.

Liberals are successful. As you know, all too well, they control the culture, they control the media, they successfully claim the moral high ground. They win elections, and even when they lose elections, they stil advance their cause. They move forward without mercy when in the majority and extract significant concessions when they are in the minority. That’s success no matter how you look at it.

We must decide to be like these successful liberal / progressive folks.

Calm down.

I know, you’ve heard it a lot:

We need to be more like them, so we need to elect moderate (i.e.: liberal) politicians, adopt moderate (i.e.: liberal) policies, change our platform, and everybody get in line behind the Moderate Establishment.”

Um no. That’s the kind of lazy, shallow, toughtless response and “plan” we get from lazy, shallow, thoughtless people (like our media, a lot of our politicans, and a lot of the political class).

I’m not lazy, I’m not shallow, and I’m not afraid to think. I’m going to assume the same from you.

I don’t want to become a successful liberal. I want to become a successful conservative. So I want to adopt and adapt the successful techniques of the liberals and use them to further my own philosophy of conservatism.

First I have to figure out why they are successful.

They’re successful because they give out free stuff, so we have to give out free stuff! Otherwise we’ll stay the losers we always have been.

Typcial answer, you’ve exerted little effort, little introspection, and very little thought to come up with it. That’s a REACTION not an analysis.

  • If you’re on the “we have to do the same” bandwagon, I’m sure you’ll be a successful political consultant or lobbyist, and you’ll be very wealthy, and the conservative movement will not advance one bit. You are totally self-motivated, you care not for the nation as a whole or your fellow man. Stop reading this now, go away. I wish you well, but see no need for you to be part of my world.
  • If you are on the “we’ll stay the losers we are” bandwagon, I’m asking you to give it a little more thought, analyze things a bit differently, and see if maybe there’s some hope. If I can change your perspective a bit, perhaps we can all work together to make things better. Please hang in there with me.

They’re successful because they are the Evangelicals, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Mormons of the political world.

What? Hmmm. This seems right. They’re always working to gain converts, to preach the good news. They are confident that their belief system is correct, it is the best for everyone, and the path to political salvation for all. By trying to convert you, they are trying to help you. They want you to be saved. What does an Evangelical-type DO that is different from other religious folk?

  • They will postpone their careers and spend a few years on mission.
  • They will form mega-churches with massive outreach communities
  • They will go into the neighborhoods of the poor to try to reach large numbers
  • They will speak the good news to anyone who will listen, and a lot who won’t.
  • Their every phrase is tinged with their belief system – they wish you a blessed day rather than just a good day.

There is a certain percentage of any population who simply want to be evangelical outreach missionary type people. Some do it with their churches, others do it with their politics. there’s also a certain amount of everyone’s day/week/year that we are willing and able to spend evangelizing about our passion.

Conservatives  tend to do their evangelizing and mission work for God and their Church. Liberals tend to do their evangelizing about politics..

Thus, there is a certain number of “default” people and a certain amount of “default” time from others that the liberals can count on, and DO count on, to perform the necessary work. To do the activism. You see it, I know you do. The activism and outreach of the liberal side of the aisle absolutely kicks the butt of the conservative side.

The people with evangelizing tendencies who are conservative, devote their efforts to evangelizing for their church. The people with evangelizing tendencies who are liberal, devote their efforts to evangelizing for their political causes. There’s a massive labor imbalance, massive. Liberals simply have more man-hours devoted to activism.

That’s the imablance. It’s simply an effect of human nature. I don’t expect it to change, and I certainly wouldn’t want people to stop evangelizing for their church.

No, think about this differently, and more deeply.

Accept that we will never match their political outreach, it’s simply not who we are. Our mission-oriented evangelizers (activists) are working for their churches (temples, synagogues, etc).

Understand that the basic comparison, using Christianity, is that Democrats are the evangelicals with the massive churches and the TV stations and the incredible growth. Republicans are the Episcopalians – we go to church on Easter and Christmas (we vote regularly) but the rest of the time we’re busy working and raising our families and stuff. Most of our friends have no idea what we think of God, or if we go to church at all,

Membership in the Episcopal church is declining, rapidly and badly. The influence of the Episcopal Church on Chritendom is waning. The evangelicals have all the juice right now. (Also the Cathloics are resurgent, and many Episcopalians talk about converting to Catholicism, but that’s not part of the point of this post, though it’s kind of related)

As regards our political lives, we can’t keep being like the Episcopalians, we have to be more like the Evangelicals.

  • You know Evangelicals, you know THAT they are evangelical. They have tried to get you to go to their church.
  • Evangelicals wish you a blessed day, not just a good day.
  • Evangelicals are confident, they know they have the right answers, and they want to share them with you.
  • They want to you to JOIN THEM.

Why can’t we do that with our political beliefs? The other side certainly does.

You know what else the successful churches do?

  • They spend very little time talking about the other faiths
  • They don’t focus on how bad the other faiths are
  • They spend ZERO time talking about how bad the other churches are
  • Their message is one of joy, success, happiness, togetherness, friendship, and love
  • They spend their time explaining why someone should join them

So…you have very little time to add “political activism” to your schedule. Make better use of the time you DO allocate.

Be a conservative evangelist. Focus on how great conservatism is, and talk about how great conservatism is, and carry the happy conservative warrior message everywhere you go. Everyone should know that you are a loving, happy person and that your conservative philosophy (not just politics, your life philosophy) is part of what makes you such a loving happy person. Everyone should know that you would be happy to help them to become a loving happy conservative as well.

So, though we may have fewer hours, nationally, dedicated to conservative activism, and that might not change drastically, we can, and must, be more effective with the hours that we do spend. You can’t change anyone else, change yourself. Are your own political activism hours spend like an evangelical? Could you perhaps retune your focus and be a bit more like the evangelicals?

Food for thought. Do with it what you will.

Old Media is Losing its Influence, What Can You Do To Help

Old Media – ABC, CBS, NBC, Reuters, UPI, NY Times – is  losing its influence, and that makes me happy. Let us turn that observation into a CALL TO ACTION – become a Broadcaster. [Hint: you already are one]

Ed Pluck shared a post in the Consevative Union referencing this article in the Federalist about how the Right is fiinding its way around the Leftists in Old Media. In that article at the Federalist, Mark Tapscott provides a couple of recent examples of terrific investigative reporting by right-leaning journalists, displacing the (non)work done by the lefties in old media.

Mark’s premise is an important one for we conservatives to understand. Liberal media is conquered NOT by changing them in any way. It is done by diluting their influence, providing better alternatives, rendering them irrelevant. We are largely successful in doing so, and have been greatly aided by the internet.

This contemporary transformation parallels momentous changes in what was once America’s dominant news source, the liberal mainstream media. That dominance is diluted now, thanks to newsroom insularity and market entry and business model changes sparked mainly by the Internet.

The break with Old Media started in the rise of Talk Radio, continued with the explosion of blogging. The repeal of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 lowered the barrier to entry for conservative talk radio – and we got Rush. Then the internet lowered the barrier to entry for publishing. We can compete, and are doing so, and the success of conservative websites speaks to the success of the free market.

We got great conservative opinion sites first, and now, we’re getting the conservative news sites. We’ve solved a problem not by changing the other guy, but by figuring a way around it.

Hurrah, and SO WHAT?

The internet and smartphones have lowered to barriers to entry for news gathering, reporting, and publishing. But what about broadcasting? Getting the news to the eyeballs of those who need the information? Gosh darn it, the networks are still just too strong – one episode of network nightly news is seen by millions, we just can’t compete.

WRONG.

In the old days, the “broadcasting” of news to millions of people so as to inform and shape opinions was done by CBS, NBC and ABC. The formula was one person to millions of people. And there were about 20 people broadcasting.

Now the job of broadcasting is done by your friends, acquaintances, and the people you follow on social media. It’s done by YOU. You are a broadcaster. Did you realize that? It’s just different math.

Instead of ONE (or a few) outlets choosing the stories and sharing with millions each, we have millions of outlets choosing the stories and sharing with tens, hundreds, or…I suppose thousands each.

But truly it’s not that – I may have thousands of followers, but a story I share is really only going to reach maybe a hundred or so. Because regardless the numbers on the social media, humans are human and our ACTUAL sphere of real INFLUENCE is only ever a couple hundred in any meaningful way. And really only a couple dozen on a regular basis. But that’s ok, that’s enough.

Once I recognize that I am a broadcaster, my actions change a bit.

I take a bit more care with what I share, because I’m doing so with a different purpose. It’s not just to make friends or shoot the bull around the water cooler. I’m asking others to give up some of their time to read and think about what I shared with them. They deserve a bit more consideration from me than just “Wow! Thoughts?” I can excerpt a paragraph or two, I can add a sentence or two of my own impressions.

Most folks won’t click the link and read the article. If all I share IS the link, that they won’t click, I have just spammed them. If all I did was add some silly comment or snarky hashtag that doesn’t add meaning, I’ve spammed them with a colorful envelope. Maybe it makes me feel good about myself because I’m sharing and “doing something” but I could do better.

Most folks don’t devote much of their day to news of the world. If they are following you on social media – you have an opportunity to BE part of that time, but you have to respect them and use your power responsibly. That means be aware of what you are.

You’re a broadcaster – realize it, take advantage of it. BE PART OF THE SOLUTION to the Liberal Dominance of Old Media and the minimal amount of time that people have to devote to news of the world.

Now….get out there and CHANGE THE WORLD!

Mike Lee: What’s Next For Conservatives

Utah Senator Mike Lee spoke to the Heritage Foundation recently, and his remarks are well worth watching and reading. Real Clear Politics has the video and transcript.

ft_img3

What do we do next, not only to stop Obamacare… but to advance a larger, positive vision of America, and craft a practical plan to get us there? What’s next for conservatives?

That is the question I would like to try to answer today.

I expect that we will cover this speech in detail over at the Conservative Union community, perhaps as a “Topic of the Day” later in the week.

It’s important for us to not only HAVE ideas for what we want to do once we take power, but to discuss these ideas, and then to figure out how to communicate them efffectively. This speech is a terrific step towards getting that process kicked off. I see it that the Defund Obamacare campaign woke up and engaged the troops, helped us identify one another and declare our intention to keep fighting – to not just roll over and accept the world of Big Government.

Now it’s time for the next step, which involves some hard work, thinking, research, discussing, etc.

Read and watch this speech, form your own opinions about what he says before reading the opinions of others, and then…let’s talk.

Call for Religious Liberty

hhs.july_.2-300x204From Kathy Schiffer at Patheos I learn that today, the 2nd of July, the anniversary of the day that the Continental Congress adopted the resolution breaking ties with England, a group of religious leaders have gathered to sign their names on a call for Religious Liberty, here in these United States. It’s a direct response to the HHS final rule on the Obamacare contraception mandate.

They call upon Congress to expand the conscience protections to cover any “organization or individual that has religious or moral objections to covering, providing or enabling access to the mandated drugs and services”

Agree with the mandate or not, that is not at all the issue. The issue is the ability of the Federal Government to coerce “Citizen A, against his or her moral convictions, to purchase a product for Citizen B”. This violates the freedom of expression that our Founders so dearly protected. We all are going to have to take a stand for something. It seems to be time.

It is an open letter to all Americans. Here it is in its entirety

Standing Together for Religious Freedom

An Open Letter to All Americans

We write as an informal and diverse group of religious leaders, theologians, lay practitioners and community servants. We believe the doctrines of our respective faiths require something of us beyond the walls of our churches, synagogues, temples, and other places of worship. Those faith convictions manifest themselves through our daily interactions among family, neighbors, strangers and institutions.

Further, we recognize the United States, at its best, is unique among the nations of the world when it defends the self-evident freedom of all people to exercise their faith according to the dictates of their consciences. This freedom contributes to the vibrancy of our nation. Unfortunately, this delicate liberty of conscience is under threat.

Through its contraceptive coverage mandate, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) continues to breach universal principles affirmed and protected by the U.S. Constitution and other federal laws. While the mandate is a specific offense, it represents a greater fundamental breach of conscience by the federal government. Very simply, HHS is forcing Citizen A, against his or her moral convictions, to purchase a product for Citizen B. The HHS policy is coercive and puts the administration in the position of defining–or casting aside–religious doctrine. This should trouble every American.

Many of the signatories on this letter do not hold doctrinal objections to the use of contraception. Yet we stand united in protest to this mandate, recognizing the encroachment on the conscience of our fellow citizens. Whether or not we agree with the particular conscientious objection is beside the point. HHS continues to deny many Americans the freedom to manifest their beliefs through practice and observance in their daily lives.

The First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Free exercise includes the freedom to order one’s life, liberties and pursuits in accordance with his or her convictions. HHS breaches the free exercise clause and federal statutes (passed with broad bipartisan support) by selectively denying some Americans this constitutionally protected right.

Americans afford each other broad liberties with respect to lifestyle choices. However, the federal government has neither a compelling interest nor the appropriate authority to coerce one citizen to fund or facilitate specific lifestyle choices of another. If the federal government can force morally opposed individuals to purchase contraception or abortion-causing drugs and devices for a third party, what prevents this or future administrations from forcing other Americans to betray their deeply held convictions?

Therefore, we call upon HHS to, at a minimum, expand conscience protections under the mandate to cover any organization or individual that has religious or moral objections to covering, providing or enabling access to the mandated drugs and services. Further, because HHS claims to be acting on authority granted it by Congress, we ask Congress to consider how it might prevent such offenses from occurring in the future. Any policy that falls short of affirming full religious freedom protection for all Americans is unacceptable.

And here is a list of the signatories:

Most Rev. William E. Lori

Archbishop of Baltimore
Chairman
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty

Russell D. Moore, Ph.D.
President
Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of
the Southern Baptist Convention

Leith Anderson
President
National Association of Evangelicals

Bishop Andrew
Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church of America

John Ashmen
President
Association of Gospel Rescue Missions

Bishop Gary E. Stevenson
Presiding Bishop
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Randall A. Bach
President
Open Bible Churches

The Most Rev. Craig W. Bates
Patriarch
International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church

Stephen Baskerville, Ph.D.
Professor of Government
Patrick Henry College

A.D. Beacham, Jr., Th.M.
Presiding Bishop
International Pentecostal Holiness Church

Dr. Gary M. Benedict
President
The Christian and Missionary Alliance, U.S.

J. Brian Benestad, Ph.D
Department of Theology
Assumption College

The Rev. Roger Boucher
Commander, US Navy (ret)
Chaplain at College of St. Mary Magdalen

Bishop John F. Bradosky
North American Lutheran Church

Anuttama Dasa
Minister of Communications
Governing Body Commissioner, Vice Chair
International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)

Most Revd Robert Duncan
Archbishop
Anglican Church in North America

Rev. Jim Eschenbrenner
Executive Pastor
Christian Union

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez
President
National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
Hispanic Evangelical Association

Rev. Dr . Matthew C. Harrison
President
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

Dr. William J. Hamel
President
Evangelical Free Church

Bishop Bruce D. Hill
Evangelical Congregational Church

John Hopler
Director
Great Commission Churches

Bill Hossler
President
Missionary Church, Inc.

Clyde M. Hughes              
Bishop/General Overseer
International Pentecostal Church of Christ

Dr. Jeffrey Jeremiah
Stated Clerk
Evangelical Presbyterian Church

Jo Anne Lyon
General Superintendent
The Wesleyan Church

Dr. George O. Wood
General Superintendent
Assemblies of God

Alan Robinson
National Director
Brethren in Christ Church, U.S.

Joseph Tkach
President
Grace Communion International

Most Reverend Nicholas J. Samra
Bishop of Newton
Melkite Greek Catholic Church

Rev. Susan Taylor
National Public Affairs Director
Church of Scientology

Anne Hendershott, Ph.D.
Daniel R. Kempton, Ph.D.
Patrick Lee, Ph.D.
Franciscan University of Steubenville

Assist. Prof. Richard S. Meloche, Ph.D.
Department of Philosophy & Theology
St. Gregory’s University

Sister Jane Marie Klein
Chairperson of the Board
Franciscan Alliance, Inc.

Richard Land, D.Phil.
President
Southern Evangelical Seminary

Marc A. LePain
Professor of Theology
Assumption College

Fr. Sean O. Sheridan, TOR
President
Franciscan University of Steubenville

Tom Minnery
Senior Vice President
Focus on the Family

Greg Mitchell
President
The Mitchell Firm

David Nammo
Executive Director & CEO
Christian Legal Society

Rocky Rocholl
President
Fellowship of Evangelical Churches

Patrick J. Reilly
President
The Cardinal Newman Society

Dr. William Riordan
Director of Undergraduate Theology
Ave Maria University

Terri Marsh, J.D., Ph.D.
President
Human Rights Law Firm

Brent McBurney
President & CEO
Advocates International

Barbara Samuels
Catholics for Freedom of Religion

Steven A. Long, Ph.D
Professor of Theology
Ave Maria University 

Prof. Dr. Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher, and
Prof. Dr. Christof Sauer
Executive Directors
International Institute for Religious Freedom

Alan Sears
President
Alliance Defending Freedom

Matt Smith
President
Catholic Advocate

David Stevens, MD, MA
CEO
Christian Medical Association

Rabbi Aryeh Spero
President
Caucus for America

Craig Steven Titus, S.T.D./Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Director of Integrative Studies
Institute for the Psychological Sciences

Mark Tooley
President
Institute on Religion and Democracy

Ryan Topping, Ph.D.
Fellow
Thomas More College of Liberal Arts

Sister Margaret Regina Halloran, l.s.p.
Provincial Superior, Brooklyn Province

Sister Maria Christine Lynch, l.s.p.
Provincial Superior, Chicago Province

Sister Loraine Marie Clare Maguire, l.s.p.
Provincial Superior, Baltimore Province
Little Sisters of the Poor

One man, just one insignificant man

On Memorial Day we remember those who gave their lives in service of this nation. While I am blessed to have many relatives who have served, I am extremely blessed in that I have to go back all the way to the Civil War for a direct ancestor who was required to give all.

Bombardment and Capture of Island Number Ten on the Mississippi River, April 7, 1862

The family story is that my great-great-grandfather, Lafayette Riffle, died in a Yankee prison camp. He left a poor widow in Mississippi and an 8-year-old son. Thanks to the work of thousands of genealogists, who scan and transcribe every scrap of history they can find, we’ve been able to put a bit more flesh on the bones of this long dead man. Even a few bits of information – dates, places, events – researched and shared by several of my relatives and countless strangers allows for the creation of a narrative.

Lafayette Riffle married in October of 1853, in a poor farming community in MS, his son was born the following April. That honors the “tradition” in the poor communities of old that perhaps there wasn’t always a preacher and a courthouse around to document the marriage, and that first baby doesn’t always take the full 9 months to get here.

Mr. Riffle enlisted in the Confederate Army, at Fort Pillow in TN – which was pretty close to Itawamba County MS, where he was married, so that’s likely the closest place. He didn’t enlist until February of 1862. What caused him to wait? What caused him to enlist then? What arrangements had he made for his wife and son to be cared for or even to survive while he was away?

He was just a private. Cannon fodder. Bullet stopper. Not a professional soldier, not a creator of military strategy, maybe not even aware of much in the way of battle tactics. It seems likely that he fought to defend his home, his farm, his wife and child, his state, his friends. He knew the war was coming to his front door – it wasn’t far away, it wasn’t in some foreign land against foreign people. The South was fighting a defensive war, they didn’t want to conquer the North, they wanted to leave in peace – did Lafayette Riffle get involved in the larger political issues, or did he just want to be able to farm and raise a family? We don’t know.

We do know that in February, shortly after he signed up, his company was ordered to New Madrid MO, to defend Island #10. Battle waged there from February thru April. Did he sign up because of the battle? Did he know that he’d be going to defend that bend in the Mississippi River in the hopes of preventing Yankee invasion?

We don’t know. We do know that his company arrived in New Madrid March 21. Eighteen days later, most of the company was captured. One day after that, Lafayette Riffle died.

Had he been wounded in battle, and died of his wounds? Had he been ill and died of flu or fever as so many soldiers did? We don’t know.

We only know that he answered his nation’s call, and he gave his full measure.

He was just a private. A poor farmer. With only one young son. He only served for two months. Unimportant really. Not a great warrior. No tales of heroism survive.

Private Lafayette Riffle’s son, Samuel Scott Riffle, his 2nd wife, and the 6 of his 10 children to survive into adulthood.

By the time the America’s Bicentennial rolled around, there were five living generations of his progeny – still building, defending, and appreciating this nation. There are now hundreds who descend from that one insignificant man.  We all carry his strength, and his commitment to duty – even if we don’t know it.

The rest of the story:
His full name was Marquise de Lafayette Tribble. He shows up on some war paperwork as MDL Trebbell, His parents, whoever they were, clearly had some appreciation for the Revolutionary War and our French allies.

His son, 8 when his father died, 14 when his mother died, ended up with a different name. He was always Samuel Scott Riffle.  Another mystery then, when and how did that name change happen? It’s fairly easy to “mishear” Lafayette Tribble as Lafayette Riffle. So, it’s even sadder I think, that one insignificant Confederate Private who managed to father hundreds of Americans, is preserved only in our hearts and our stories, and not by name.

He answered his nation’s call. He defended his home. He gave all. We reap the benefits of his sacrifice to this day.

This is the story of America. This is the story of a soldier.

The Basics: Profit – Don’t Be So Emotional About It

Profit
It’s not JUST money!

Some words arouse very strong emotional reactions in adults. When I stumble across such words, I tend to get curious. Is the emotion justified or are people’s emotions getting in the way of understanding? “Profit” is most definitely one such word. I’ve come to believe that the emotions attached to that word prevent rational discussion of ANY issue even tangentially related to it.

Maybe we can strip away the emotion, and just consider what the word means, and then we can start having rational discussions again.

Profit = Benefit – Cost

That’s it. That’s all it is. Benefit minus Cost. The word profit is an accounting term with some very specific parameters and implications for tax payments, but it has also been used widely for non-accounting purposes. Thus it has become more generic and less restrictive in its definition for most of us.

The expectation of profit is the reason for all conscious human action.

Why are you reading this article? You expect to gain benefit that exceeds the cost to you of reading it. For you, at this moment, the benefit may be knowledge, satisfaction of curiosity, sleep aid, whatever YOU define as benefit. The cost is electricity, internet bandwidth, time not spent playing with the dog, wear and tear on your desk chair, whatever YOU define as cost. If, after reading this article, you find that the benefit exceeded the cost, you will have profited from reading this article. If not, not. That’s it. It’s that simple, and that complex.

You see, I don’t know how YOU determine profit in the transaction of “reading this post”. I don’t know how Google determines profit in the transaction “hosting and serving this post to the readers”. I don’t need to know. I have an expectation of profit from the writing of the article. You don’t need to know what my calculations are. You don’t need to know if I succeed or fail in achieving that profit.

We don’t need to know each other’s business. If there is no expectation of ongoing relationship at all, we don’t need to even care if the other person profits. However…if there IS an expectation of ongoing relationship, then we BOTH should hope that the other person profits, because then they will return for a second similar transaction.

Both profit? What? When one person wins the other person loses!!! That’s why profit is BAD!!!!

Stop. You’re getting emotional. Stop feeling, start thinking.

BOTH sides can win in a transaction that is freely made. You are free to read or not read this article, and will, hopefully, gain more benefit than the cost. I am free to write this article and post it, and will, hopefully, gain more benefit than the cost. We will BOTH have profited from the transaction.

If you don’t profit, you will stop reading. If I don’t profit, I will stop writing.

If a company doesn’t profit, they will stop making, mining, or growing whatever it is they make, mine, or grow.

If employees don’t profit, they will quit working.

If customers don’t profit, they will quit buying.

Oh, and “non-profit” organizations that you have been taught are the “good guys” while the for-profit corporations are evil? EVERY individual who works for that organization does so because it profits them to do so.

Non-Profit Organization is a Federal designation, and that designation controls how they are taxed and what they are allowed to do with the profits that they earn. They have to put all of their profits back into the organization – as salaries perhaps. For-profit corporations are allowed to distribute profits as dividends to their investors. Simplistic? Yeah. But that’s pretty much the gist.

Once you realize that the desire for profit, the expectation of profit, the hope for profit, is the catalyst for all action, you discover how silly it is to get all emotional about whether or not someone ELSE achieves it.

Other people making profit doesn’t necessarily impact your ability to profit from the things you do. It’s not a zero sum game. 

The people who want you to be angry at those evil profit-making corporations and the Richie Rich guys who run them? They’re trying to manipulate you, via your emotions and your ignorance.

Don’t let them win. Be smarter.