A Citizen Soldier Stands Against the President

Is it time to take to the bunker yet? I do not think so.  Though, things are getting quite scary.  As a soldier and a citizen and a Christian, the President of the United States of America is an enemy of the people.  Not the press, not the Democrats, and not the Muslims of the world.  The President daily signs death warrants for soldiers he does not care a scrap for nor gives more than an afterthought over dinner.  The President has chosen his own power and prestige over truth and the good of the American people.  And it is our own President who incites violence (in violation of his own claimed faith) at home and around the world against Muslims, compared to the uncountable hundreds of thousands of Muslims who have taken up arms in our defense in Iraq and Afghanistan and around the world… not to mention here at home in the USA.

As someone who risked his life daily for the American people, I resent the fact that the President has portrayed the US institutions of truth, science and the press, as enemies of the people, institutions without virtually any monetary reward and little notoriety who do their virtuous work in silence.  I deplore the fact that the President has deliberately undermined the Department of Justice and the FBI, organizations which have worked for decades and for over a century to work against the current of politics and protect every American’s rights.  And finally, I despise our President for putting his own politics above the integrity of our electoral system.  There is overwhelming evidence that members of his advisory team and cabinet were beholden to the Russians, and President Trump can do nothing but refuse to talk about the matter or lie.  He would rather repeat a lie than dig up the truth, a play fit only for the Mein Kampf.

Maybe I am exaggerating our situation, but I do not think I am.  There is not anywhere left for the Republican regime left to run except to crime.  This is not an evenly divided system between right and left.  The right has clearly gone off the rails.  They have their own networks of black ops that regularly and consistently distort the truth in a demonstrable and refutable manner.  They have constructed legislation behind closed doors without hearings.  If our Constitutional Republic can survive Trump’s assault intact, it will be a miracle.  We can only match this assault with an army of spirit-warriors.  Satyagraha is our weapon.  Only by peace, mercy and the truth will we find a foundation for a true government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

May our Republic survive by the way of love.  Amen.



Blastocysts and Personhood

So it is time to weigh in on the issue of embryonic personhood.  It is territory fraught with danger, but women’s rights over their own bodies hang in the balance.  So let me risk a little by adding nothing more than a re-presentation of the case against early-term embryonic personhood.

In the earliest stages of pregnancy, the fertilized egg grows into what is called a blastocyst.  What is a blastocyst? A blastocyst is defined as:

A thin-walled hollow structure in early embryonic development that contains a cluster of cells called the inner cell mass from which the embryo arises. The outer layer of cells gives rise to the placenta and other supporting tissues needed for fetal development within the uterus while the inner cell mass cells gives rise to the tissues of the body.

At this stage there are no organs present, no nerve cells to detect pain, etc.  There is just a mass of totipotent cells, genetically human in much the same way that a skin stem cell is human.  The primary relevant difference between blastocysts and other masses of cells in the human body is that the blastocyst has the potential to divide and differentiate into any and all of the many organ systems which make up the human body.

Here I would like to argue that destroying a blastocyst is more like clipping your nails than murder.  Remember there are no nerve cells present, no capacity for memory or thought, no organs at all.  The atheist pro-life advocate will give ground here, because the capacity for personhood in any clear sense of the word is simply missing at this stage of development.  But the religious pro-life advocate holds to a metaphysics that says that the blastocyst is the material aspect of a soul-matter hybrid called a human.  To destroy the blastocyst is to separate the soul from the body, which is, by their definition, murder.  There is no reason why every act of separating the soul from the body must be classified as murder, which implies a moral judgment as well as a factual account of some action.  Sidestepping that problem with the pro-life position, however, let us consider why there is reason to believe no soul inhabits the blastocyst.

Somewhere around 50% of pregnancies do not make it past the initial first few weeks of pregnancy.  The body routinely flushes the blastocyst out just as it does with the vast majority of unfertilized eggs.  So there is reason to suspect, assuming that life is in some way divinely guided, an early stage embryo is nothing more than the initial material condition for the development of a person later on down the road.  If this is not the case, God is busily filling heaven with natural abortions.  This seems like a rather crass approach to what we take to be precious life.

Of course, what I am saying only applies to very early stages of pregnancy, but it is worth noting that life does not start with conception.  At best, conception is a continuation of the life of the father and mother’s gametes, making possible personal human life at some later stage of embryonic development.  And if we don’t view the case as I have described it, then souls have no clear value.

Affordable Care

In the midst of our ongoing national debate over healthcare and its costs, we have failed to consider non-medical, non-iatrogenic approaches to health, specifically mental health.  Philosophy is, if anything, a form of mental gymnastics.  Sometimes it is called so pejoratively, but it is nonetheless true.  Philosophy challenges the mind, pushing it beyond its limits.  And so, philosophy has often ended with a kind of mysticism, whether it is Socrates yearning after the blessed vision of the True and the Good, Nietzsche’s discovery of the earth’s meanings or Wittgenstein’s warning “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must remain silent.”  This is a form of mental well-being that is not clearly offered by other avenues of self-knowledge, except the religious avenue.  The uncovering of a sense of metaphysical security is priceless, and can be uncovered virtually for free by our own philosophical inquiries.

Philosophical practitioners have the training to help in the search for metaphysical security, and if they are worthy of the name ‘philosopher’, their services’ costs should be tailored to those in need of philosophical “therapy”.  It is a moral obligation that has its roots at least as far back as Socrates.