Sunday, April 25, 2010
Baby Ruth Is Made Of Poop
When I was a very young child, I happened to mention to a playmate that the tooth fairy had left a Baby Ruth candy bar under my pillow.
My friend was appalled. "Baby Ruth is made out of poop!" he declared.
I was just six years old at the time, and my friend Gary was not yet five, but that was still the craziest freakin’ thing I'd ever heard.
It turned out Gary wasn't kidding. Not only was he adamant about the feculent contents of a Baby Ruth bar, he was unwilling to consider even for a moment that he might have been mistaken.
"If Baby Ruths are made out of poop", I argued, "why would I eat one?"
Gary was serious. "You just like to eat poop."
The source of Gary's knowledge on the subject of this particular candy bar was impeccable: he got his information from his grandfather. Baby Ruth candy bars are made out of poop. Grampa said so, and that was that.
More than half a century has gone by, and I sincerely hope that at some time between then and now Gary has realized that his Grandfather was pulling his leg. But who knows? That kid was never interested in facts. Had I produced a Baby Ruth bar and offered him a taste, he would have recoiled in horror before I got the thing anywhere near his face.
Between the two of us, I was clearly the Baby Ruth expert, having eaten one just that morning for breakfast. But the more we argued, the angrier Gary got about it. What he really wanted was for me to admit that he was right. Finally he threw a Tonka truck in my direction and ran home in a huff.
How Important Is the Truth?
I've since met people fully grown who are as certain in their fixed beliefs as Gary was at four. Any missionary can tell you of people they've met who claim to know all about the Book of Mormon, yet have never so much as held one in their hands.
On my mission I had an impish companion who liked to have a sly bit of fun with these types. The following is an actual conversation that took place between my companion and one of these smug Missouri know-it-alls. We could tell early on that this guy was bluffing, so we had our fun with him.
Elder: "Have you ever heard of the Book of Mormon?"
Contact: "Yeah, I know all about your Book of the Mormons"
Elder: "Oh, you've read it?"
Contact: "Yeah, I read all of it."
Elder: "What was your favorite part?"
Contact: "Well, I didn't really have a favorite part. All of it was my favorite part. It was mostly okay, but I didn't really like any of it."
Elder: "What about the part where Brigham Young rode that buffalo across the plains? Did you like that part?"
Contact: "Yeah, that was pretty good."
Elder: "My favorite part was when Joseph Smith wrestled that grizzly bear."
Contact: "Yeah, that was my favorite part, too."
I have known people who have carefully examined our scripture then decided it was not for them. Those folks I can respect. The ones I have trouble with are those who put themselves out as experts on something they have no fetching clue about.
One of the most valuable things I ever learned came to me in the form of a simple question posed by a teacher. That question came to mind recently, along with my memories of the Gary incident, while I was engaged in a series of online conversations with an intractable acquaintance on Facebook. That question went like this:
“How important is it for you to learn the truth about anything?”
It would advance the cause of civility if we all took a moment to really ponder that question now and again.
How important is it, really...
...to learn the truth...
Back in December I received some very positive feedback from a non-LDS reader who described himself as a liberal democrat. He had come across my blog and read my entries detailing LDS doctrine on war. The company he worked for had recently transferred him to Salt Lake City, and until he read my words, he had been under the impression that many of the Mormons he lived and worked among were bloodthirsty, warmongering yahoos.
My new friend had gotten this impression from the pap he was being fed by his coworkers who evidently were confusing their tribal political beliefs with the tenets of their religion. He was very happy to learn that Mormonism was not the mindlessly aggressive religion he had been led to believe. In fact, he was learning, it was quite the opposite. My blog was changing his opinion of Mormons and Mormonism for the better.
We emailed back and forth a bit, finding much to agree upon. We soon developed a mutual admiration for one another’s ideas, a liberal and a conservative finding common ground. Kindred spirits. Best Friends Forever.
Well, that love affair didn’t last long. A few months later my new-found friend was leaving strident posts all over Facebook decrying the awful tea party movement and declaring that those who attended such functions were motivated by nothing but racism.
When I responded in an effort to correct his obvious misunderstanding of the movement, he dug his heels in deeper and shot back with ugly personal insults totally out of character with the person I thought I had gotten to know. As with my childhood friend Gary, now that I disagreed with him, I was nothing but a stupid Stupidhead.
The Great Awakening
I happen to believe that the recent phenomenon that has come to be known as the “tea party” movement is just one manifestation of a bigger spiritual awakening taking place throughout the world.
But if you were like my online friend and tended to accept the conventional wisdom, you would assume that the tea parties were just some Republican party scheme.
The conventional wisdom is wrong.
The first national tea parties were organized in 2007 as a protest against Republican policies.
Mark Twain famously said “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble; it’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
My liberal friend was sure of an awful lot of things that just weren’t so. Besides myself, several other constitutional conservatives who also happened to be LDS offered him links to sources intended to disabuse him of his prejudices and give him information he was clearly missing. But he flatly rejected all of these references. His own sources were telling him all he needed to know about the tea party, and if we couldn’t see it his way, we were the idiots. We, who knew something about the matter first hand, were the fools in his eyes.
The tea party, we explained, was not really a “party” in the political sense. Originally a mix of conservatives, libertarians, and disaffected leftists calling for a national protest in 2007, the modern tea partiers took their inspiration from the revolt of the colonists at Boston Harbor in 1773. Many were attracted to the constitutional principles advocated by presidential candidate Ron Paul, who decried the unlawful use of our military to engage in undeclared wars and nation building overseas.
Congressman Paul warned of the impending financial disaster that would soon overtake us if we continued to see our mission as the policemen of the world, and warned that the federal reserve system was leading this country toward imminent financial ruin.
When the predictions of Paul and others came true regarding the collapse of the housing bubble, rising unemployment, and the banking "crisis", more American’s awoke to the awful situation brewing in our country. New tea party protests were organized in response to the first wave of banker bailouts orchestrated by the Bush administration, and to the dismissive attitude many politicians were displaying toward their constituents. Attendance at these functions continued to expand.
By April of 2009, it was apparent that the new Democratic president had every intention of continuing the unlawful policies of his predecessor, committing the people to bailing out still more banks and large corporations while stepping up the number of violations of civil liberties at home. The wars on foreign soil increased while the war against the people and their constitution continued here at home.
The tea party movement exploded as millions more Americans saw their freedoms being threatened by signs of an emerging police state, and this year when a health care bill was imposed with little opportunity for debate and in defiance of the wishes of the majority of the people, the tea party movement now resonated with a majority of Americans.
According to a recent Rasmussen poll, 52% of U.S. voters believe the average member of the tea party movement has a better understanding of the issues facing America today than the average member of Congress. The move to restore constitutional principles over party loyalty was moving mainstream. The people were awakening.
The tea party movement is a rejection of the false religion of both major parties. That’s why I feel it typifies the spiritual awakening of America. The people are rejecting the false god of government.
Up until now most Americans have held out the false hope that if only the priests of their particular church/party were in power, salvation would surely come. But it never has. Tea partiers no longer worship at either the Republican or the Democratic churches, nor do they hold the priests of either religion in high regard.
The people are throwing off their superstitions. They recognize that America’s two biggest religious denominations are empty and false.
The people are rediscovering America’s secular scriptures, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, which the two dominant churches have ignored and subverted for far too long.
The high priests of both denominations are terrified of the tea party movement, as it is loosening their grip on the faithful. Tea party voters will not support a candidate based merely on party affiliation; candidates must run on constitutional principles. As Gary North has written, “The Tea Party movement is a threat to politics as usual. If incumbents of both parties are defeated this November, this will send a wave of fear through the Establishment. The swing voters are no longer under control.”
The Spin Begins
And so a war of lies is taking place as both churches attempt to retain their members. The priests of the Republican church decided to try to get in front of the movement and mold it as their own. Sarah Palin is on record as stating that the Republicans should absorb the tea party movement, and Republican operatives have had some success in hijacking rallies in some states.
Fox News heavily promoted the tea party rallies last year, maneuvering their on-air personalities into postition as key speakers. This resulted in the Church of the Democrats being able to convince their adherents that the tea parties were mere cheap Republican hustles, and therefore not worth a serious look.
But this war of lies isn’t working, as polls show that four out of ten people who claim sympathy with tea party principles list themselves as democrats and independents.
Attempts by the neocon Republicans to keep their members docile and in line are failing because at every rally across the nation thousands of free DVDs are distributed that describe the essence of what the tea party movement is really all about. Once a person views these documentaries, the major churches no longer have him in their spell.
Going To The Source
The tea party movement has no real leaders, as it is made up of disparate groups of individuals united primarily by their love of liberty. But there is one man who has been called “the prophet of the tea party movement”, and that man is Alex Jones. A gruff young Texan, Jones is host of a syndicated radio show who is a thorn in the side of both the Republican and Democratic establishments because time after time he has exposed both factions as working against the interests of America.
Jones is also an accomplished documentary filmmaker, and he has encouraged viewers to make copies of his films and distribute them freely.
Two of his more recent documentaries, “Fall of the Republic” and “The Obama Deception” have been distributed by the tens of thousands to attendees at tea party rallies. The number of people who have seen his films online for free is conservatively estimated at more than 100 million.
These movies lay out for the viewer what has gone wrong in America, who is responsible, and how we can go about fixing it. (It’s worth noting that “The Obama Deception” doesn’t focus only on how Americans were deceived about Obama, but also how we were deceived about George Bush.)
Regardless of one’s political views, it would make sense that in any discussion of a given topic, the logical place to find information on that topic would be to go to the source. Alex Jones is as close to the source of the tea party movement as one can find as his films, broadcasts, and internet sites have become Information Central for all things connected to the tea party movement.
Yet when I suggested to my online friend that he check out this source he scoffed at the suggestion and snidely ridiculed me for it. His own sources, you see, had already conditioned him to believe that Alex Jones was a violent racist and a right-wing tool. I offered another favored source of truth, LewRockwell.com, and received a similar pecksniffish dismissal.
My friend continued to insist that the tea party movement was a collection of vehement white racists, and nothing more. They were a bunch of slack-jawed hillbillies angry only because there was a black man in their white house. That was all it was. He could see no further motive.
When asked to provide evidence of this pervasive racism, my friend provided links to commentaries by others equally as ignorant as himself. He spoke constantly of empirical evidence proving his claim, but never produced any.
I sent him a link to these videos which completely refute the widely reported claim that the words “nigger!” and "faggot!" were shouted at black congressmen at a Washington rally and that one of the congressmen, John Lewis, was spat upon while walking through the crowd.
A $10,000.00 reward has been offered for any evidence of such racism at that rally. I reminded my friend that there were hundreds of cameras present, so it should be easy for him to claim that ten grand.
He hasn't claimed it yet.
Here's a couple more videos o' them redneck tea party racists:
There is a glorious awakening taking place in America, yet my Facebook friend is completely missing the entire adventure because he continues to kneel at the altar of the beast, refusing to investigate any source not approved by his parochial gatekeepers. His sources are the high priests of the liberal faith, and they have spoken. He has been warned to keep his distance from this phenomenon, and not to look directly at it; for it is, they assure him, a vile, squalid, filthy thing.
Trapped in the blinders of his false religion, my friend has eyes that cannot see. Where I delight in a delicious nougat center dipped in peanuts and covered in chocolate, my friend sees only poop.
How Important Is It?
I enjoy engaging in dialogue with those whose beliefs differ from my own because it nearly always results in my learning something new and useful. But in some conversations there comes a point where you discover that the other participant does not seek enlightenment, but only contention.
Such people are toxic to the search for truth. They waste time. They don’t care about facts, they only care that they win. And if they can’t win, they throw things.
Sometimes they throw insults, sometimes Tonka trucks.
Steve Allen once said that there are two kinds of facts: the kind you look up, and the kind you make up.
One way to tell the look-up facts from the made up facts is to go to the source. If you want to know what a guy believes in, ask the guy.
I don't require that anyone agree with my beliefs. You can politely point out what you believe to be holes in my religion or the flaws in my political philosophy. You can tell me you've found a hair in my candy bar. But don't ignorantly proclaim that my religion, or my philosophy, or my candy bar is crap. That is not how dialogue is advanced.
"How important is it for you to learn the truth about anything?"
Is it important enough for you to learn the difference between a candy bar and a stream of excrement?
If so, then let the conversation begin.