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In 1984 (pub 1949), George Orwell presciently invented the term “doublethink,” the ruling party’s language propaganda tool used to undercut people’s’ ability to think independently. 

Read his definition of doublethink and see if it sounds like what we’re hearing from some politicians today:

“To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy... The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them... To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies.”

The inverted logic, or illogic, political leaders on both sides of the partisan aisle have subjected us to during the coronavirus panic has been a wonder, and a scary thing to behold. 

I realize that political leaders if not also public health officials are learning and, in some sense, making things up as they go.  I understand this and I have no problem with reasonable public health information. I do have a problem with the eagerness with which Governors and Mayors have implemented draconian measures not just suggesting people “shelter in place,” but ordering businesses to close and fining people in some states for daring to take a walk alone in the park or on a beach. 

I don’t like exaggeration and try to avoid it, but in some ways it feels like “1984.”

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

In this 2:22 min video I reflect upon our family verse, Psalm 126:3, "The LORD has done great things for us; whereof, we are glad." We chose this verse in January 1976 when we had our first of what was later four babies. This little girl was our Bicentennial Baby, and we were overjoyed. Indeed, the Lord had done great things for us and we were glad.

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemonium, let's consider some good things, what the Lord has done for us.

By virtue of my birth, I am a citizen of the USA and with it am beneficiary to political freedom and civil liberties someone else sacrificed to give to me. I did nothing to earn them.

By virtue of my rebirth, I am a citizen of heaven and with this forgiveness of sin by grace through faith in Jesus Christ I am beneficiary to spiritual freedom that Jesus sacrificed to give to me. I did nothing to earn this.

Indeed, the Lord has done great things for me; whereof, I am glad.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020

This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com Follow him at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.

 

I grew up hunting, at least since about the 7th Grade. I greatly benefited from Grandpa Rogers’s farm being located just five minutes outside our small town, offering me the opportunity to roam the acres long before I was trusted with a gun. 

In this way I was exposed to the great variety of small game that existed at that time in rural America. Usually gray but sometimes fox squirrels, cottontail rabbits, groundhogs, and from time to time skunks, red foxes, raccoons, and a wide variety of snakes. And, of course, birds, including quail, grouse, pheasant, ducks, and very few turkeys.

One of my best farm memories is awakening there in the summer with the windows open. Birds sang loudly in an incredible cacophony that to me was a symphony. Music to my ears and in fact to this day birds are my favorite music.

Later, in the farmhouse’s front yard, Dad set me up with Grandpa’s double-barreled 12-guage shotgun and I shot it into a bush about 30 feet away. Needless to say the recoil rammed my shoulder hard enough to rock me back into Dad’s arms. It was the first time I fired a shotgun. I learned then that guns, particularly shotguns, were not to be trifled with for any reason. Unfortunately, this shotgun somehow escaped the family when Grandpa eventually sold it to a fellow passing through.

Then I was introduced to Grandpa’s single-shot, bolt action .22 caliber rifle. That gun is still in my possession, or rather now in the possession of one of our sons. It featured a scope through which I was able to hunt groundhogs and otherwise enjoy the pastime called “plinking.” 

Along about 8th Grade Dad took me to the next town where he’d located a shotgun for sale, one he thought might work for me. It was perfect in that it had a modified shorter stalk that fit my then not full-grown stature. The gun was a single-shot 16-guage with a lever action. Dad thought a single-shot was safer for a beginner—less likely I’d get so excited while hunting I’d forget what I was carrying and fire off another undirected round that could hurt me or others. That gun sits in my gun rack above my head as I write. It’s a revered family heirloom, at least to me because it brings back so many warm memories of hunting squirrel and rabbit, sometimes grouse or pheasant, over several seasons during my teenage years. 

I remember a time when Dad and I went hunting for squirrel on the family farm.  We got up early, really early for me, and were in the damp, cold woods by 4:30 am. I was freezing in the fall weather. Dad had brought along a thermos of coffee. As an eighth grader I’d never drank coffee at that point but there’s a first time for everything and this was it. Dad poured me a half-cup and I sipped away. I remember the bitter taste, scorching hot, but man was did that coffee hit the spot.

My Grandma Davis, Mom’s mother, grew up in an era when local farm and field small game were very much a staple of the American family’s diet. She loved the taste of “wild meat.” Since Mom didn’t particularly care for cooking squirrel or rabbit, Grandma Davis was next on the hit parade. She loved it and loved the game each of us grandsons brought her during season. 

My junior high, high school, church friend, Ed, virtually lived in the field and woods. That guy loved hunting like no one I knew then or have met since. Not sure if he continued this in adult life, but I enjoyed many hours tramping over hillsides with him trying to scare up rabbits.

Hunting back then was something nearly every boy did at some point in his upbringing. We didn’t needless harm or act cruelly toward animals, but we weren’t squeamish and didn’t treat animals like they were human beings either. Hunting was something you did with respect for the animal, the weapons, and the experience. For me, hunting small game in small town USA is nothing but good memories.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

Politically, I keep wondering:

1) Why must Christians, Evangelicals (for that matter any religious group), Republicans or Democrats declare absolute fidelity to a person/politician/Party no matter what?  That one and only view becomes my way or the highway, with no wiggle room allowed.

2) When did critical, independent thinking become unacceptable? There is very little of either on social media.

3) Why can’t we salute good ideas/policies/behaviors while also critiquing or rejecting poor ideas/policies/behaviors, rather than assuming all-or-none positions?

4) When did your Party’s Pols become Angels and the other Party’s Pols become Demons? Seems to me there’s plenty of bad behavior to go around. 

5) Isn’t it possible to support the President or other politicians, or not, without defending carte blanche their bad ideas/policies, poor behavior, or given actions?

6) Isn’t it possible even desirable for our argument to offer criticism (on the merits) of those with whom we disagree without adopting the current trend toward loathing and demeaning language? This embrace of name-calling and rancor among Christians is even more difficult to understand or justify. In fact, it is senseless. There is no justification for using insulting language to describe one’s political opponents. It’s juvenile at best.

I’ve always enjoyed discussing religion and politics, and I am privileged to have earned a Ph.D. in Political Science. But the political rancor that built in the 2000s and exploded in 2016 made it virtually impossible to discuss political perspectives-policies-politicians without dividing any group, often to the point of hard feelings. Very few people, it seems, can debate politics objectively, i.e., without getting us vs. them emotional. 

Since I value friendships (and since I represent a nonprofit organization) more than politicking, I quit posting, stopped raising political or even most contemporary issues among family and friends, and even wrote an article on “The Death of Discussion.” 

Since 2016, demeaning insults (on both sides of the partisan aisle) that pass for intellectual discourse have only gotten worse. My choice to “go dark” is not for everyone.  I miss good debates, and I think non-discussion is bad for citizenship and democracy. But I still value those friendships and I don’t see any changes other than more ugliness in 2020.

Only in the past two weeks, in the wake of the overreach, unconstitutional, and unnecessary actions by state governors, including Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer, have I re-engaged politically on social media. I do this not for partisan interests, because I have none, but out of great concern for the preservation of American civil liberties.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

Should freedom of mobility, privacy, commerce, and civil liberties, including assembly and religion, be put on hold or suspended in the name of public health, security?

1-Governors issuing “orders” requiring citizens stay home.

2-Governors determine a) there’s such a thing as essential and non-essential businesses, b) actually assigning businesses to these categories.

3-Absurdity of pet, marijuana, liquor stores, and abortion clinics considered essential while churches are non-essential. 

4-Mayors threatening churchgoers with fines and directing police to record the vehicle licenses of anyone attending a drive-in church service. 

5-County officials mandating churches not include singing in live stream programs. 

6-Some state and local police monitoring and stopping drivers to “check their papers” vis-a-vis essential activities, while other state and local police refuse to enforce governors’ similar orders. 

7-Police empowered to break up gatherings of more than three people. 

8-Attorneys General, Mayors encouraging people to report neighbors to authorities if they’re seen working at non-essential businesses or violating stay at home orders, with some mayors offering rewards for “snitching,” and 911 lines being flooded with non-emergency calls. 

9-County officials requiring people wear government-issued pink arm-bands indicating they’re local and have been quarantined 14 days in order to shop at grocery stores. 

10-Some states trying to block people entering from other states, and some states saying their residents are prohibited from leaving. 

11-Smart phone data analyzed (surveilled) to determine personal movements. 

12-Big social media corporations providing (and mining) personal data, even if “anonymized,” in the name of “public service” while advancing their profit interests at the expense of privacy. 

13-The US Department of Justice requesting Congress give it authority to allow judges to delay trials and detain people indefinitely during "emergencies."

All of these things are happening in the United States in the name of fighting the coronavirus pandemic. Both Republicans and Democrats have participated in this overreach, unconstitutional, and unnecessary action.  While a health crisis is important, it is short-term. Trading away civil liberties is a long-term, enormously significant concern.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

 

This 1:50 min video is a shout out to SAT-7's ministry partners, thanking them for their faithful and generous support.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020

This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com Follow him at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.