Monday, January 26, 2015

Things I Don't Believe

What follows is a partial list of stuff I don't believe. Some of them are things I may have believed at one time but no longer do because of education, training and experience. Some are things that I have never believed but are listed here because so many other people do. Some are people who I believe cannot be trusted to tell the truth. Some are people who do tell the truth on occasion but have lapsed into the bad habit of circumstantial fibbing. This is not to say that I always tell the truth. Far from it. We are all capable of lies great and small. These are merely the ones which are most obvious to me.

1. With regards to Barack Obama... I do not believe that he is a Muslim, a closet Communist, or is secretly trying to destroy the country because he hates America. No one in the history of this Republic has benefitted more from the American Dream than our current President, and I believe he knows this full well. There's a gigantic difference between being a Manchurian candidate and being merely mistaken about policy. I profoundly disagree with his conception of the role of government and the nature and purpose of the Constitution. This does not require me to adopt a conspiracy theory which places the President of the United States at the center of some nefarious plot to destroy the country. Calm down people.

2. I do not believe that global warming is the gravest threat to the survival of the planet. That prize goes to the existence of thermo-nuclear devices winding up in the hands of an outfit like a Boko Haram. I believe that science knows precious little about something as impossibly complex as planetary climate and to advance the notion that their limited knowledge is complete and certain enough to call for the reordering of society is the single worst example of hubris ever to manifest itself on planet earth.

3. In 2008 I believed that Sarah Palin was a nice enough person but had no business being a heartbeat away from the Presidency. Today, I believe that she is an embarrassing nut job.

4. I once believed that Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots were always being accused of cheating because the rest of the league was jealous and simply tired of getting their collective asses kicked. Now I believe that maybe they are cheaters. Where there is this much smoke, there's bound to be some fire.

5. I used to believe that church was too stuffy. Now I don't think church is stuffy enough. Too much glib familiarity and not enough reverence and awe.

6. Modern education theory and practice hasn't had a decent idea since the one room schoolhouse.

7. Speaking of education, there probably exists nowhere a more destructive idea than the notion that "anyone can teach."  While anyone might, in fact, be allowed to teach, real teachers are those very few among us with the gift of teaching. The ones without this gift comprise the majority of employed teachers in America. Those with this gift change the world.

8. I do not believe that the history of the world is the story of decline and ruin, rather I believe that history illustrates the evidence for the gradual betterment of mankind. Who among us would prefer to live in the Middle Ages with its barbarism or even the 1920's in America when the second leading cause of death was diarrhea?

9. I believe that salvation is a lot simpler than the Catholics would have us believe and a lot more complicated than we Baptist hope it is.

10. I used to believe that Walt Whitman was an overrated hack. But the other night I read "A Song of Myself" again and discovered that it was quite beautiful.