About This Blog
Howdy and thanks for stopping by! I'm weirdly obsessed with individual liberty and feel it's not given enough credit as being a necessary factor for living a truly empowered and fulfilled life.
Whether it's self serving politicians who are constantly trying to make victims out of us, or the negative fixed narratives we impose on ourselves that limit what we can do, we are constantly giving up personal power over to some person or thing which ironically only shrinks our world further.
This blog is about sticking up for freedom and hopefully opening up a deeper conversation on what it's meaning is, how it enhances our own empowerment and why it's so important to protect.
© Tricia Butler, 2014 – 2017
All images and content, unless otherwise noted, are copyright protected and owned by Tricia Butler. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given.
- September 2018 (4)
- August 2018 (2)
- July 2018 (6)
- June 2018 (3)
- May 2018 (4)
- April 2018 (2)
- March 2018 (3)
- February 2018 (2)
- January 2018 (5)
- December 2017 (6)
- November 2017 (4)
- October 2017 (3)
- September 2017 (3)
- August 2017 (5)
- July 2017 (3)
- June 2017 (3)
- May 2017 (3)
- April 2017 (5)
- March 2017 (4)
- February 2017 (4)
- January 2017 (4)
- December 2016 (5)
- November 2016 (6)
- October 2016 (3)
- September 2016 (4)
- August 2016 (2)
- July 2016 (4)
- June 2016 (1)
- May 2016 (4)
- April 2016 (4)
- March 2016 (4)
- February 2016 (7)
- January 2016 (6)
- December 2015 (6)
- November 2015 (4)
- October 2015 (4)
- September 2015 (5)
- August 2015 (3)
- July 2015 (5)
- June 2015 (4)
- May 2015 (3)
- April 2015 (3)
- March 2015 (4)
- February 2015 (3)
- January 2015 (10)
- December 2014 (7)
- November 2014 (5)
- October 2014 (3)
- September 2014 (3)
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Below is a transcript of a phone call between Brian David Sweeney, a 38-year-old former US Navy pilot and his partner Julie 3 1/2 minutes before his hijacked plane struck the World Trade Centre’s south tower.
“Hey Jules, this is Brian. Ah, listen… I’m on an airplane that has been hijacked… if things don’t go well, and they’re not looking good, I want you to know that I absolutely love you.
“I want you to do good, have good times, same with my parents.
“I’ll see you when you get here. I want you to know that I totally love you.
“Bye, babe, I hope I will call you.”
A sobering reminder of how horrible that day was. May we never forget.
If you haven’t seen the above video of Senator Ben Sasse from the Supreme Court conformation hearings, please take 10 minutes to do so. He thoroughly (but politely) humiliates those who have turned the hearings in to a circus freak show of grandstanding and faux outrage in their quest to take down Brett Kavanaugh.
There are some great nuggets in there too on the three branches of government and how the legislative side has neutered itself by transforming so much law making power to administrative bureaucrats. This in turn makes Supreme Court Jurists super legislatures (our Founding Father’s would be horrified) and has contributed greatly today’s unhealthy political environment.
Like I said, give it a watch.
I was spending time with friends the other day when one of them got to talking about his great uncles who were pilots in their 20’s during WWII. He told some amazing stories about their air battles, one of which involved a bullet ripping through fuselage and sheering off half of one poor uncle’s thumb. He kept fighting of course, not even thinking of landing his plane before the last Japanese Zero was struck down.
Was he brave and tenacious for doing this? Well yes, but he was also doing what seemed to come natural to people of that era; gritting through what must have been an incredibly fearsome situation to get the job done. He was part of the Greatest Generation that fought in WWII and what they went through and sacrificed should never be forgotten.
This got me thinking about today’s young men and women and on what would happen if, God forbid, the nation entered in to another world war and had to enact an involuntary draft. Hundreds of thousands of Millennials and Generations Z’s would be jettisoned from their comfortable lives to do battle for their country and this worries me more than just a little.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many in this age group who wouldn’t hesitate to step up to the plate and fight with the same valor, grit and sense of duty as the uncles mentioned above did. I know (and am related to) many.
We live in a different world though, one filled with safe spaces and trigger warnings to protect against so called hate speech, where the “wrong” Halloween costume or prom dress can spark a frenzied outrage of condemnation and where even eating a taco can cause offense because of the vastly shallow and meaningless term, cultural appropriation.
While we shouldn’t paint all young adults with this wide brush of nonsense, the very vocal and perpetually aggrieved ones screaming their heads off about stuff like this (and the older people that enable them) has me wondering if we have what it takes to rally and defeat another Hitler.
As my friend with the great uncles said to me, “I look at what they went through during WWII and compare it to now where kids were given time off from school to deal with the “trauma” of Donald Trump’s election and I just think we’re screwed.”
Who knows really what would happen during a time of war, but if we continue down this path of coddling students, trying to protect them from icky feelings then yes, our future looks bleak.
Kids need to learn from a young age that things won’t always go their way, that getting a trophy for just showing up means nothing and that conflict is a natural part of life. The sooner they learn how to deal with it in healthy ways, the easier it will be for them to navigate the world as adults and live respectfully with others who think and act differently from them. College is all about getting your worldview challenged and feeling more than a bit uncomfortable should be the norm.
Gosh, what a different world we would have if schools actually promoted this type of environment and students embraced it. Where debate on tough subjects is encouraged and those who try to shout down differing opinions are ridiculed as the whiny babies they really are.
Feeling uncomfortable and hurt can be hard, but hardship builds character and character wins wars. Let’s stop pretending that smothering our kids and young adults to protect against any possible harm doesn’t have negative effects on this.
This has got to be the dumbest piece of news I’ve heard all month, perhaps even all year and that’s really saying a lot. A faith based women’s shelter in Alaska called Downtown Hope Center is currently embroiled in a nasty battle with a city agency over a discrimination complaint filed against the shelter for refusing to take in a biological man who identifies as a woman.
Timothy Coyle, who now goes by Samantha, had been ejected from a nearby homeless shelter for fighting before showing up drunk and wounded at the Hope Center’s door. He was denied admittance, but was provided cab fare and sent to the ER for treatment. When he came back the next day and again was turned away, he filed a complaint with the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission, claiming he is female and transgender and so belongs to a protected class that the Hope Center discriminated against by refusing to let him stay there.
Folks, this is where denial of truth goes off the rails and becomes dangerous. And, as usual with these types of things, it’s the most defenseless members of society who end up taking the hit.
Downtown Hope Center’s mission is to provide battered women and sex trafficking escapees a safe place to stay, while they get resources in place to move up and out of their volatile situations. It goes without saying that many of its residents live in constant fear of their abusers and that just being near any man can trigger severe emotional distress; thus shelter inhabitants are understandably limited to females only. Men can be offered assistance but are not allowed to live there.
Bettering the lives of vulnerable women however is not what a Social Justice Warrior bent on a cause cares one whit about, nor, really, are transgender people. You see this is not about letting people live their lives as they see fit, but compulsion. As Kevin D. Williamson states brilliantly in this NRO column about Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips:
“After winning his case at the Supreme Court, Phillips was again targeted by Colorado activists, one of whom asked him to make a cake to celebrate coming out as transgender. Phillips declined, and was ordered to the state to compulsory mediation. He is countersuing.
Liberalism has always struggled to balance the protection of minority rights against majoritarian institutions and — less often appreciated — the protection of individual rights. The American Left has liberated itself from such considerations by abandoning liberalism for identity politics and a might-makes-right ethic.
Why compel Jack Phillips to knuckle under? Because you can, and because you hate him. Hate is an inescapable part of tribalism, and hate is now the single most important organizing principle of the American Left.”
Hate. Such a small word, but one that holds enormous influence over our country’s political, cultural and social discourse. For some time now, most folks have accepted transgender people and their wish to change genders. While it’s probably impossible for outsiders to fully understand why a person would do this, most of us generally don’t like to see others suffer and are fine with people changing their sex if it offers some relief.
Live and let live is fine up to a point. It becomes a problem when it bleeds over in to threatening the safety and rights of others. Common sense tells us that a biological man staying at a shelter for battered women is a bad idea, as is allowing him access to female locker rooms and bathrooms just because he identifies as a woman. Again, whose interests are really being served here by compelling society to accept this as normal?
Certainly not women and girls and most people know this. Yet, those who push back get labeled as intolerant haters, facing social ostracism and even possible job loss for holding such “archaic” views. Most understandably end up shutting up and keeping their heads down. Normal people don’t have the time and emotional energy to spend days on end defending themselves on social media, plus no one wants to lose friends or put their jobs in jeopardy over stuff like this.
And that is the exact reaction the identity politics crowd wants. The majority of the country may not agree with them, but they know their loud and relentless bullying and cries of hater thrown at anyone who disagrees shuts down debate and allows their agenda to creep forward. Complex issues that require open and honest conversations, now get dumbed down to two opposing sides; the good, right side of history crowd vs those bad traditional values folks.
A free and democratic society that values truth cannot function under such tactics. A some point people will either decide they’ve had enough and stop catering to this social justice nonsense or draconian speech laws will eventually take root and religious freedoms will be greatly curtailed.
The transgender community needs acknowledgement from outsiders that they too are just regular people trying to forge a happy and fulfilling life. Balancing their needs with society as a whole requires great empathy, and grace plus an understanding that there are no easy answers.
The denial of truth however should not be tolerated, nor should anyone be shamed in to thinking it should.
Head in the sand, blissfully unaware as the world goes by. Here’s why.
For days now it’s been unusually hot in my little neck of paradise here in coastal San Diego. It’s been humid too and the air stagnant, which means my normally breezy and comfortable little beach house becomes a sweltering tinderbox starting at about 2pm daily. Seriously, I could probably make good money renting it out as a sauna.
The heat frying my brains, on top of a busy work schedule and a nasty bout of food poisoning has left my motivation for blogging just dying on the vine. Instead of scouring the daily news and picking off any one its multiple absurdities for a meaty blog post, I’ve chosen to ignore it all together and pretend all is good with the world.
And can I tell ya something? It’s been pretty nice. I’ve been way more relaxed and my mornings have been fabulously stress free as I forgo catching the latest headlines to pray more, read Oprah like self-improvement stuff, or just get a jump start on work.
I know I can’t stay this way forever and I’ll be back at it again soon enough. Just not quite yet. I’m enjoying my blissful ignorance and plus it’s rather cool here beneath the wet sand.
As a girl raised by a strong father, I really enjoyed this article, “Masculine Dads Raise Confident Daughters” by Abigail Shrier. It’s a heaping dose of refreshing common sense actually, that dares to question the prevailing cultural view on the evils of “toxic masculinity”.
From the piece:
“Masculinity, like femininity, is neither inherently good nor bad. Enormous damage can be inflicted by the sorts of malice we associate with girls: spreading rumors, convincing someone’s friends to turn against her, refusing to acknowledge someone purportedly beneath notice. Femininity and masculinity are manners of comportment and modi operandi; they are not codes of conduct. Men have used masculinity for acts of heroism and decency. That they have also applied it to despicable behavior says nothing of masculinity itself.”
Now in case you actually have better things to do than keep up with the latest in feminist orthodoxy on this topic (and please tell me that you do), here it is in a nutshell.
Because society assigns young boys with gender specific traits like being physically strong, stoic and assertive, it conditions them to think they are superior to girls and that it’s ok to dominate and control them. These boys in turn grow up to be knuckle dragging misogynists, heavily influenced by a toxic masculinity that “harms all genders. It promotes sexism, misogyny, violence, and rape culture, while enforcing dangerous stereotypes of masculinity and femininity.”
Phrases like “man up” and “don’t be a girl” apparently enhance this and if you say this to your child you are part of the problem. Even teaching your son good old fashioned chivalry is dangerous according to psychologist and sex stereotype expert Peter Glick from this New York Times column:
“One thing you want to be careful of,” he said, “is teaching boys to be chivalrous. We need to stop socializing boys to see women as needing protection.”
“……the idea that women should be cherished and put on pedestals fosters what’s known as benevolent sexism, which subtly demeans women as fragile and less competent. It reinforces a sexual script in which a man takes charge while a woman remains passive.”
I’m thinking Peter Glick probably spends a lot Saturday nights alone. I rather enjoy being put on a pedestal and would bet my last dollar a majority of other women do too. Feeling protected and cherished in a relationship, not only makes us feel physically safe, but emotionally too, as it fosters trust and motivates letting our guards down and being authentic. This isn’t demeaning to women, it’s empowering and strengthens relationships.
Back to Ms. Shrier:
“So many seem to believe that if we can remake boys as feminists—by which they seem to mean boys who check their male privilege, are unafraid to cry, and are politically progressive—we will have largely solved the problem of sexual harassment. A glance at the public figures felled in the #MeToo purges—not to mention Bill Clinton —should cure us of the idea that progressive politics incline men to better treatment of women.”
Exactly! We’d all like to see sexual assault and harassment eliminated, but focusing on the bogeyman of masculinity will only make things worse. Squelching the natural male instinct to be masculine doesn’t make it go away, more likely it will erupt elsewhere in the form of increased violence and brutish behavior. A young boy told enough times that his desire to be strong and heroic is not only wrong, but must be repressed will undoubtedly have negative effects later on.
On the flip side, those who are told these feelings are normal and encouraged to express them through positive endeavors like sports or “playing war” with good role models leading the way (i.e. masculine dads, coaches, etc…), will have a better sense of themselves and what it means to be a man and how to properly treat other people. Note though the role of a “good” mentor is key, bad ones of course will do more harm than good.
An interesting paradox to all this is that the more we single out “the patriarchy” and male dominance as the cause of all our gender woes, the more we weaken women by reducing the incentive to reflect on their own faults and the negative effects they bring to the table.
As Ms. Shrier states,
“There is something regrettable in the way our exclusive focus on boys and men lets young women off the hook. As if women bear no responsibility for their own behavior. As if they are too weak, too emotional, too foolish ever to take care of themselves.
And that is the greatest disappointment of the #MeToo movement, that it has so spectacularly refused to insist that a woman not allow any man to treat her badly. Failed to insist that young women have an individual responsibility to demand better. That they should all agree no job is worth more than their dignity.”
Indeed. This is not to say that a woman is at fault for being sexually assaulted/harassed, that is never the case. I’ve heard too many times though of instances where years of abuse were tolerated before something finally gives way. There can be many reasons for this, but one big one unfortunately involves feelings of self hate and of deserving to be treated so poorly.
There is nothing more empowering for a woman than to understand and believe in her own value and self worth. The masculine men in her life can help nurture this.
Note: If you find yourself stuck behind a pay wall forAbigail Shrier’s article, try googling the Wall Street Journal plus the title and it may get you behind it.
I caught this shot the other night of Venus and the moon and it reminded me not only of the celestial glory God provides for our entertainment, but of the many ways He leaves big flashing dots for us to connect.
Luke 1:37 tell us, “For no word from God will ever fail”. Of course not. He gave us light, separated day from night, made days, years and calendars and created signs in the sky to help us navigate and mark the different seasons.
Those signs, among many other things, all point to Him and His unyielding, uncompromising and never-ending love for us. Sometimes all we need to do is look up to be reminded of this.
And so He made the stars also…..
Photo Credit: Library of Congress, painting by J. Trumbell
It’s the 4thof July and so today we celebrate America’s separation from British rule, formally ratified through the Declaration of Independence.
It’s important to remember just how revolutionary this document was; both in laying out the ideals and principles of our young nation’s new government and in justifying breaking off from the oppression of Great Britain. It was the philosophical basis of a government that exercised power only by consent of the governed, which was truly a radical concept for this time!
Most of human history to that point consisted of government ruling over its people with power always ceding to the wealthy and politically connected. The Declaration of Independence and its inspired creation, the Constitution, flipped this on its head and outlined the conditions of a free people whose rights and liberty are derived from God, not man.
Liberty was of course high on the minds of its authors, the Founding Fathers, who understood that for people to truly live well, the oppression of government must be tamed so the dignity and freedom of the human spirit can thrive.
So enjoy today’s festivities with your loved ones; the BBQ’s, the fireworks, the games, the fellowship. Just don’t forget to share a toast (perhaps with a Sam Adams Boston Lager?) in celebration of the freedoms we enjoy today because of the foresight and extreme sacrifices from those that came before us.
Cheers and Happy Independence Day!
“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government — lest it come to dominate our lives and interests”.-Patrick Henry
“He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.”–Thomas Paine
“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!”-Benjamin Franklin
“The security of a free Constitution,” depends on “teaching the people themselves to know and to value their own rights; to discern and provide against invasions of them; to distinguish between oppression and the necessary exercise of lawful authority; . . . to discriminate the spirit of liberty from that of licentiousness,” and to unite “a speedy, but temperate vigilance against encroachments, with an inviolable respect for the laws.” –George Washington
“What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.”-Thomas Jefferson
“Be it remembered, however, that liberty must at all hazards be supported . . . cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people . . . And the preservation of the means of knowledge among the lowest ranks, is of more importance to the public than all the property of all the rich men in the country.”-John Adams
“They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security” –Benjamin Franklin
“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”-Thomas Jefferson
Did you know that nobody really knows exactly how many federal criminal laws/regulations there are on the books? And that each day the average person is breaking at least 3 of them without even knowing it? And that every year Congress continues to criminalize a new crime each week?
This surely was not the case when Founding Father James Madison was alive, but he certainly could have predicted it. Madison helped write the U.S. Constitution and Federalist Papers and eventually became president himself in 1808. He was very keen to this type of danger saying:
“It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man who knows what the law is today can guess what it will be tomorrow.”
Well today there are over 5,000 federal criminal laws and somewhere between 300,000-500,000 regulations that can be enforced criminally. Even if just a misdemeanor or an arrest that doesn’t result in a conviction, the end result can still be disastrous in terms of lost money, time and reputation.
A large and powerful government enforcing Increasingly complex and incoherent laws that its citizens may or may not know they are breaking, takes us far, far away from the concept of individual liberty so cherished by our Founders. In fact it is a form of tyranny that’s leading us down a bad path that someday will be impossible to get off of.
Will we wise up before it’s too late?