The 5000 Year Leap, Backwards?

I plan to make a book review every sunday. Get a copy of this book here:

 

Cleon Skousen wrote The 5000 Year Leap in 1981 slightly predating the Conservative reformation and it shows. Slightly eager to read a book summarizing the American Ideals of freedom, I picked up the book after it sat on my bookshelf for a few years. There was not even a crease in the spin before I was let down. Any Neo-con or Reagan –Era conservative may have already interpreted me as a freedom hating liberal, but please read on. If you are a true lover of freedom, you will read on and see the seemingly blatant misinformation the author communicates for his agenda. Skousen as well as the institution that published this book (The National Center for Constitutional Studies) does us a favor by summarizing the basics of freedom, but the reader must keep in mind that although the 1980’s Conservative movement was inspired by the global fight for freedom, it is also inspired by the biggest enemy of freedom: Theocracy. Conveniently for me, The 5000 Year Leap draws out exactly what I mean to illustrate by consistently confusing Freedom for Theocracy and Democracy for Totalitarianism. , Thomas Jefferson, aiming to create a more secular and moral Bible, edited it by taking out any miracles or divinity that cannot be proven or explained. I aim to do the same service to The 5000 Year Leap by highlighting the brilliant research of the Founding Fathers, while stressing the blatant misinformation that seems to fester and infect to this day, the Neo-Conservative movement. I hope that my true feelings about liberty is not overwhelmed by my criticisms of it’s self-proclaimed protectors. Freedom and Liberty is what the human race has driven for hundreds of thousands of years. It is the perfection of human government and it deserves our respect for that reason. And yet, tragically, I know people will misconstrue my opinions of this book because I am criticizing it’s authors. But in order to obtain the truth, especially on such important matters, we must be skeptical.

Skousen spares no time revealing his book as well as the publisher’s agenda within the first six pages. He immediately admits he thinks the founding of America was “guided and governed by the hand of god” (page 1). But then continues to list brilliant quotes by our founding fathers, all of who are agnostics. Among those quoted:  James Madison, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Jefferson are all agnostic, secular leaders without whom, we could not have had such a perfect and universal constitution. Part of the Treaty of Tripoli was ratified by Congress in 1791 without debate clearly stated: ‘The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.’

“When all men of all religions shall enjoy equal liberty, property, and an equal chance for honors and power we may expect that improvements will be made in the human character and the state of society” –John Adams

I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state – Thomas Jefferson

Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law – Thomas Jefferson

Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States, the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history – James Madison

This basic belief that our Founding Fathers created the constitution with spiritual influence is what corrupts the Neo-Conservative movement in a big way. Conservatives, the protectors of liberty and freedom, have the thorn of religion in their side; one that has become more painful as the country moves away from a spiritually lead country to a secular one.

It cannot be ignored that nothing about god is included in the constitution and it shouldn’t. And yet one cannot have a serious conversation about liberty without stumbling on the idea that god gave us this freedom. The author seems to think that such a universal document could not be conjured up without religion, but it leaves the rational reader to wonder “why would god wait until the 18th century to guide this sort of country?” It is the sort of thought that poisons any sort of serious conversation about our constitution. Have no mistake: this is not a harmless belief. Peter Marshall illustrates this point perfectly in the forward when he admits, “The choice before us is plain: Christ or chaos, conviction or compromise, discipline or disintegration. I am rather tired of hearing about our rights and privileges as American citizens…America’s future depends upon her accepting and demonstration God’s government” Would a quote like this be out of place in a radical Muslim country? The point of this quote perfectly sets up the bias for the reader: Freedom is an inalienable right…But you must submit to god (and the right god). This comes before everything else, especially the “rights and privileges” of American citizens. Ronald Mann, contributor, also attributes our biggest threats to liberty is because Americans have, “evicted ‘Providence’ from our counsels, schools, courts, and assemblies” (page xvii). Again, I must ask: would this quote be out of place in Iran or even North Korea? Granted, North Korea is not a religious state, but it possesses the same qualities that the author mistakes for liberty. If we are to hold the purest for of liberty, we must examine these claims.

Put bluntly: “Religion is a totalitarian belief. It is the wish to be a slave. It is the desire that there be an unalterable, unchallengeable, tyrannical authority who can convict you of thought crime while you are asleep, who can subject you to total surveillance around the clock every waking and sleeping minute of your life, before you’re born and, even worse and where the real fun begins, after you’re dead; a celestial North Korea. Who wants this to be true? Who but a slave desires such a ghastly fate? I’ve been to North Korea. It has a dead man as its president, Kim Jong-Il is only head of the party and head of the army. He’s not head of the state. That office belongs to his deceased father, Kim Il-Sung. It’s a necrocracy, a thanatocracy. It’s one short of a trinity I might add. The son is the reincarnation of the father. It is the most revolting and utter and absolute and heartless tyranny the human species has ever evolved. But at least you can fucking die and leave North Korea!” (Christopher Hitchens Grand Valley State University, 2010)

It is important to understand their key points about Ruler’s Law versus the People’s rule of law. This is an extremely well organized way to lay out Tyranny versus Democracy. However well put together, it is laughably ironic how quickly the author contradicts himself here. In this section, Skousen lists the following as Ruler’s Law:

  • Authority under Ruler’s Law is nearly always established by, force, violence, and conquest
  • All sovereign power is considered to be in the conqueror or his descendants
  • People are not equal, but divided by classes
  • The entire country is considered to be the property o the ruler. He speaks of it as his ‘realm’
  • The thrust of governmental power is from the top down…
  • The people have no unalienable rights

And so on.

Quickly, flip the page and read about where the Founding Father’s first found the common law of freedom: Ancient Isreal. Now, one can already see that the author has no idea what he is talking about. Please take the above and flip to a random page in Deuteronomy, and it will fit perfectly with the above Ruler’s Law. The confidence in the author’s knowledge should make anyone in the church embarrassed when he explains how Moses established freedom and liberty in Deuteronomy. This book, along with the Ten Commandments completely aligns themselves with the Ruler’s Law (The very first three commandments are orders to worship the dear leader and only the dear leader). Deuteronomy is the book that claims to be the foundation of freedom and liberty and yet the author admits the kingdom of Israel failed to live up to its freedom principles when they adopted slaves. Skousen fails to mention that the books of Deuteronomy lays out that the Jews could own slaves and even sets rules about how to keep them. It would be difficult to find a more profound example of misinformation…Until you get to the next page (page 16) when he says Moses was the leader of Israel. The Bible clearly says that Moses was never allowed to enter into the kingdom of Israel.

The reader gets some relief as they enter the 28 Principles of freedom, but one should not get too comfortable. The pain stakenly made stretch the author attempts to connect religion and liberty continues when you get to the second principle. The author makes very large claims by saying the Founding Fathers get the idea of freedom and love form his common man from the Ten Commandments. One does not need to point out the first three commandments are completely irrelevant for freedom, not to mention morality; but the claim that the Golden Rule is somewhere within the Ten Commandments complete discredits the author’s knowledge of the word. The Golden Rule, although not in the Old Testament what so ever, has been around long since Bronze Aged Israel. The oldest is recorded in Ancient Babylonia from an unknown author and even recorded by Confucius. Could this mean that humans are competent enough to run a libertarian, free government without the assistance of a divine being? Skousen says no, and attempts to wrestle the Founding Fathers into this idea as well. In Article 3 of the Northwest ordinance (if you haven’t heard of it, that’s because it has little bearing on modern day), Congress has said, “Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.” Although later, the author admits that the Founding  Fathers desire a separation between church and state, he now declares that Congress and the Founding Fathers are in favor of teaching religion in schools.

Also note how the author has complete disregard for the people’s opinions. It is a symptom of the religious power that infects Conservatives ability to truly protect people’s rights. The author tries to explain how time and time again, the people vote for the ‘wrong’ people or we are going down the wrong path. Perhaps Skousen separates Democracy, and freedom.  It is unfathomable to mistake Theocracy for Liberty, and yet this book unashamably assert this throughout the book.

Get you copy here!

The 5000 Year Leap

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Closet Sexists

In my daily life, I was surprised to find myself in a room full of adults declaring women cannot hold political office. I was astounded! It really makes one think of what they think about the women around them, or indeed themselves (as some were women themselves). But It turns out, that these closet sexists are far more wide spread than one would expect from a western country in the year 2016.

The most recent case, and the reason I was drawn to write about this, is Bryan Fischer comment. If you don’t know who he is, it’s because you probably have an IQ over 80. This old charlatan relies on the Bronze Aged morals to run his, and everyone else’s lives. Including not allowing women into a high political office. Here is the clip if you need a dose of brain-rot:

“I don’t think women should be entrusted with high political office… you could make a good Biblical case”

Fischer may not be able to use them, but he has the balls to even go after Massachusetts Judge Debra McCloskey Todd. And this is where the brainless sexists really get it messed up. Debra Todd is extremely suitable to be Judge. She has been serving since the eighties and has an extensive list of achievements that qualify her for office. (Here is the list http://www.pacourts.us/courts/supreme-court/supreme-court-justices/justice-debra-mccloskey-todd)

And yet, this is meaningless to this old prune. His mind is stuck in 2000 B.C. Jerusalem. The same with all the other supposed adults who hold this to heart. They may even think it is moral to keep women out of high office. This is just another tool you can use to truly judge someone’s mental capabilities, for these people truly belong in the infancy of our species.

 

Glen Beck is finally called out!

Glenn Beck, a hub for free thought without the “thought” part, accused a man for a part in the Boston bombing earlier this week, but how can he make this accusation? Could it be that he has knowledge unknown to the government or it’s people? of course not. This is yet another example of his believe system. his credulous beliefs are usually benign or just silly (remember when he fasted for Ted Cruz to win the Republican candidacy?), but this has taken a dangerous step.

Recently, he has been becoming less and less popular due to his air headed remarks during the last campaign, but Beck seems to need some sort of attention. It is far too easy to imagine him as a toddler, fighting fro attention. but the accusation is a step too far and it has been noticed.

The weeks following the attack, Beck alleged that the government had labelled 20-year-old Abdulrahman Alharbi as a “proven terrorist” who funded the operation.

“You know who the Saudi is?” Beck, formerly of Fox News, said. “He’s the guy who paid for it.”

glenn-beck

 

The claim was untrue, unfair, and irresponsible. Alharbi was questioned, his home searched and cleared by the authorities. But people are catching on! U.S. District Judge Patti B. Saris, has demanded proof from Beck. finally! Justice! It is doubtful that he can provide that proof because he doesn’t deal in proof. Of course Beck has good ideals involving personal freedoms, but evidence is not his specialty.

If Beck fails to produce evidence, the judge threatens to jail Beck for contempt. To be fair, Beck should also be tried for slander.

Mike Pence the Credulous

More like Mike the Non-thinker. In a recent News interview with MSNBC, the Republican Vice Presidential Nominee, believes “Evolution is just a theory”. And just when I thought the Republican ticket may have a candidate with some brains, Pence decided to throw away any intellectual vote. Beyond the brain rot I could go on about, this really goes to show the voter the thought process behind the candidates.

In fact, the Evolution vs Intelligent Design debate is perfect to quickly determine people’s thought process; that is, one’s opinion on the matter can greatly assist in determining if that person is a critical thinker. I challenge the reader to use this tool to decide if the person has some capability of critical thought.

I appeal to the fair mindedness of the readers and assume you believe in evolution. the basis for it’s “belief” is founded in fact. Any critic who says otherwise has no viable alternative except the old “POOF! God did it with magic!” We have to grow out of this.

And just as we expect a certain rational analysis in our own thought, we defiantly need it in our presidential candidates. I challenge the reader to use the Evolution VS Creation tool to determine between a fact and credulity.

The Confirmation Bias: Our enemy

Once you notice it, you cannot un-notice it. It is absolutely necessary to decisions, opinions, and actions, and yet, it is missing from the majority of today’s conversations. And that is critical thinking. The ability to think before believing and asserting. Far too often than we would like to admit, we jump to conclusions. Since childhood, we are told think and we accept them as facts. Its only natural since such beliefs are drilled into our evolutionary survival. A parent tell’s their child to stay away from the lion’s den because it is dangerous. If every child has to go investigate every claim, there will be no more children! They would all be dead. These are our ancestors. And although it is useful for survival, we must break away from this primitive and childish way of thinking.

It does not have to be a parent advising a child. The vast majority of beliefs held today are political or religious or both! Lets say I am a conservative youngster just beginning to look into the world of politics. I stumble across and article (conservative) that says Global Warming isn’t real. Because I self identify as a conservative, I would accept that as fact! Who has the time to research it? And since I know it is from a conservative source, I defiantly wouldn’t investigate, because it already confirms my belief. There is a lot of evidence that people seem to migrate to their own beliefs and read only sources that confirms their opinions. Imagine the relief they get when religious devotees are falling away from the church and attend service. They are over whelmed and no doubt relieved to see that so many people agree with their beliefs. One can easily see how this confirmation bias would work for the mentally insane – how overwhelmingly pleased they are when they find others to believe in their irrational yet convincing ideals. This bias, officially called the “Confirmation Bias” is well researched, but is not well communicated.

“If one were to attempt to identify a single problematic aspect of human reasoning that deserves attention above all others, the confirmation bias would have to be among the candidates for consideration. Many have written about this bias, and it appears to be sufficiently strong and pervasive that one is led to wonder whether the bias, by itself, might account for a significant fraction of the disputes, altercations, and misunderstandings that occur among individuals, groups, and nations.”

– Raymond S. Nickerson

Of course people know about it, but what does it have to do with them? Of course they are right. But I strongly believe that everyone falls victim to this dreadful bias. I have plenty of times! Remember that poor Conservative youngster from above? That was me! It took many years of stubborn fact searching but I finally became aware of it. I defiantly do not think I have it all figured out, but it is what we don’t know that makes people intelligent. I think the late Christopher Hitchens puts it best

The essence of the independent mind lies not in what it thinks, but in how it thinks”

This is my goal for this blog: to tackle stories I find and break them down, if not for the reader, then for myself.

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First blog post

Being a news junkie myself, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and start my own blog. But being a Skeptic, I plan to use my blog for good. I will start to post news articles from a skeptical and investigated angle. I despise the biased news, and usually end up researching stories, so why not create a blog to flex my writing abilities as well?

I plan to work this blog daily, mainly writing about a news article a day.

Monday – Thursday I will post daily news ranging from politics, health, science (pseudoscience), business, and historical stories.

I want Friday to be Good Friday  were I post on stories related to religion, science, philosophy and the like.

Saturday will be a week in review were I will either review the direction of the news stories or touch on a story that seems important enough to warrant another article.

And finally, Sunday will be my book review day where I will touch on books I loved or hated.

This is will be a blog started out of my news obsession as well as a way to start writing more – If it becomes something more, then I’ll be happy and write more!

Suggestions and comments are welcomed

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