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The Meaning of Words (Part I)

Posted by Doug S on June 2, 2009

There are plenty of others who may discuss how our country has lost its way in better terms than I might. But it doesn’t make what I, or anyone else, might say any less relevant. Our journey off the path has been gradual such that it has gone unnoticed by most. But how? What is it that has made it that we have been seemingly blind for so long to the steady progress to this modern era of socialism in the United States?

And yes, I said it: modern era of socialism in the United States.

My personal opinion is that we have been lost by the meaning of words. I’ve often wondered “Do all people perceive the color blue in the same way?” It’s really a philosophical question about how we see the world around us. But regardless of whether we do or not, we can all point to the sky and agree that it is blue, whatever that may mean to each of us individually. Words however no longer hold their original meaning and have instead been used to demonize one group or another, one individual or another, to the point that it is nearly impossible to divine the truth of what is real and what is fiction. Words do not have that tangibility to them. They used to, but they no longer do.

For those who have been reading Cleon Skousen’s “The Five Thousand Year Leap”, on page 255 there is a quote from Daniel Webster (yes, that Webster)

“And whatever may be said to the contrary, a correct use of the English language is, at this day [1843], more general throughout the United States than it is throughout England itself.”

I don’t think this would be the way I would describe the use of the English language in our country now. To the contrary, I have read studies in the past citing the continuing downward useage of our language from generation to generation. My generation uses a significantly smaller percentage of the words available in the standard dictionary than my parents’ generation. And their generation less than their parents. Societally we have sought to further bleed meaning from our words by espousing such nonsense as Ebonics and not expecting those immigrating to our county to learn and speak English.

To that end we have lost the ability to truly dialog about the direction our country is headed. Evil has become good and good evil through the contortion of meaning. I think it will be a useful exercise to revisit what some of the things we say, what some of the terms we use to describe each other, really mean. If we don’t know how we are truly defining ourselves, then how can we hope to define, and therfore solve, our problems?

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Posted in Books, Politics | 1 Comment »

Liberty or Tyranny More Than a Book Title

Posted by Nancy on March 29, 2009

From Mark Levin’s  new book Liberty and Tyranny, a list of ten items needed to take back America.  This should be a new Contract With America for conservatives.

1.)    Taxation – Eliminate the progressive income tax and withholding.
2.)    The Environment – Eliminate special statutory granting of “Standing” to environmental groups.
3.)    Judges – Limit the Supreme Court’s judicial review power – eliminate “lifetime tenure” for all federal judges.
4.)    Sunset all “independent” federal agencies – reduce the civilian federal workforce by 20% or more.
5.)    Government education – Eliminate the government’s monopoly of our education system by applying antitrust laws to the NEA.
6.)    Immigration – Secure the nation’s borders by enforcing the immigration laws.
7.)    Entitlements – Eliminate them and resist all efforts to nationalize the healthcare system.
8.)    Foreign Policy and Security – Ensure that all foreign policy decisions are made for the purpose of preserving and improving American Society.
9.)    Faith – Oppose all efforts to remove the nation’s founding justification – that is, God-given inalienable, natural rights that the government can neither confer on the individual nor deny him.
10.)    The Constitution – Eliminate limits on and rationing of political free speech.

Controversial?  Yes, but it shouldn’t be.  How have we gotten to the place that enforcing the founding principles and laws of the land are controversial? 

By not standing up to the special interests that have benefitted from the public’s largesse for so many years.

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No Particular Place To Go

Posted by Nancy on June 1, 2008

Sundays are quieter since Elaine and Matt moved to suburban Radiator Springs.

Sunday dinners used to involve at least six adults and eight kids every week, but now we are down to four adults and four kids most of the time.  Today it was just two adults – Bud and me.  Doug doesn’t have his kids this weekend and Katie’s kids all have colds.

While I miss seeing the kids every week, the quiet is nice too.  Just so it doesn’t get too frequent and we all get together for dinner at least once or twice a month.

Today was Fast and Testimony meeting in church where anyone can stand up during services and say whatever they want.  It is supposed to relate to their testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, but that isn’t always the case. 

Or as Matt and Elaine call it, open mic Sunday.  They used to attend an inner-city branch with some members who were,crazy, senile, mentally impaired, colorful, and you never knew what you were going to hear.  Thus the undoubtedly sacrilegious designation they gave it, which continues to stick. 

What would you call it when someone wearing a prayer shawl and yarmulke claims to be a Jewish prophet responsible for maintaining peace in the middle east?

Ours was a nice service with some touching testimonies today, and it gave the congregation an opportunity to gain spiritual strength from one another.  I was glad to see Lisa there; her health problems have kept her away for a long time but I still consider her the best visiting teacher I have ever had.

I finished reading Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister this evening.  It is so much better written than the Stephenie Meyer books, but I can’t say it was any more enjoyable to read.  The Meyer books are grating in their repetition of the same words and phrases over and over and over (will somebody please buy the woman a thesaurus?), while this one exercises and expands your vocabulary skills.  Still, as a variation on the Cinderella theme you know where the story is heading and I got anxious to get there, to see how the plot was going to unwind.  It definitely had some unique twists on the story.  Katie has several more by the same author, so I may try Wicked or one of the others next.

I am so grateful for Sundays and the opportunity to have a day of rest.  There is no guilt about a nap on Sunday, or taking time reading.  Life is so hectic this island of relaxation is a welcome relief.

I need to spend more of my reading time on scriptures, though.

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Sowing Summertime Pleasure

Posted by Nancy on May 30, 2008

While I was gone this week Bud got tired of fighting our old laptop and bought a new Acer that does wonderful things.  Office Depot had a great sale, and the price was amazing.  They are approaching throw-away status.

The only question is, why do we need two laptops and two desktops for two people?  Not like they’re all new, but they’re all here.  I think the one desktop could probably go and free up some space, since it is seldom used except when there are a bunch of grandkids here who want to play games.  I use a laptop for work, but that second one….

I finally finished planting the petunias in the park, but am still committed to helping the local historical society plant some in the township’s two “pocket parks” tomorrow.  That may or may not happen though, with thunderstorms predicted to go through the state tonight.  We could use some rain, but I’m not looking forward to any violent weather.  This has been such a weird spring, with below normal temperatures and above normal tornadoes across the midwest.

This evening I replanted  squash and cucumbers in my garden, since the first batch didn’t come up.  I seem to be out of luck on the spinach and lettuce though since the store didn’t have any of those.  Maybe I will try somewhere else tomorrow.  At least the peas are finally up.

Katie gave me Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire today.  She says it is a pretty good book, so that is my next adventure into semi-fine literature, but one of these days I’m going to have to pull out some classic literature and give my brain some real exercise.  Somehow the vampires and werewolves I have read recently, and now take-offs on fairy tales, seem a little, um, fluffy.

Ah, but that’s what summer reading is all about – an easy escape.  All I need now is a beach and a hammock, then all will be right with the world.

Posted in Books, Gardening | Tagged: | 3 Comments »