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The Resurgence of Flat Earth

The flat earth theory has seen a massive resurgence as of late, and one can’t help but wonder how this is possible.  I wanted to share my thoughts on what I believe to be happening that would allow this debate to seemingly inexplicably rise from the dead.  Quick background on myself: I am one of the contributors to the Do You Believe Podcast (information below) and as such, I must remain open to all theories no matter how unbelievable they may sound.  On the podcast we try to present what facts we can, then follow-up with the less sound evidence to support the theories.  We aren’t in the business of proving conspiracies or debunking them, but rather presenting them in an unbiased fashion and leave interpretation open to the listeners. We do like to share our personal stances from time to time, but we are clear that we are not authorities on these subjects.

So naturally, after covering many subject from MK ultra, ghosts, and fake moon landings, we finally arrived at the amazingly controversial Flat Earth Theory!  Of course I was super skeptical at first, but I vowed to keep an open mind and listen to what the flat earthers had to say; at least for the week leading up to the episode.  I was actually rather surprised at the amount of evidence and claims that were brought to the table.  Further investigation was required.

I’m positive that many of you would have shared the following thought that I had in my head at the beginning of this adventure.  Growing up, from what I had learned in school, it was common knowledge that the earth was round due to the ancient observation in which ships sailing out to sea seem to drop out of view over the horizon, obviously due to the curvature of the earth right?  This is where my search began.  If they couldn’t explain that, the theory was over in my book.  So the first thing I did was check out YouTube.  And to my surprise, this was one of the first experiments to show up as proof of a flat earth, to my surprise.

The experiment I saw on YouTube involved a ship sailing out of view (supposedly over the curvature of the earth) however, the experimenter had a fancy camera that was able to zoom in on the ship, to my surprise, brought it fully back into view.  The once firm piece of evidence I had to support round earth was gone.  Perhaps there was more to this flat earth thing.  Of course, I am a very skeptical person by nature, so I didn’t jump on board in that instant.  Further investigation was required.  I didn’t think this would be the case coming into this podcast.

I won’t go into further detail about the pieces of evidence and all that.  I leave that to you, the reader.  You can check out our podcast episode if you want, but my main goal for writing this is to provide my rationale as to why we are still debating the shape of the earth.  I will provide this spoiler before moving forward.  I do not believe the world to be flat, but I can confidently say that I do not possess irrefutable proof that it is round.  I do have certain observations that strongly suggest a round earth.  Currently my evidence lies in the moon phases and how they are observed at different points on the planet.  The flat earthers do have explanations for this, but I do not find them credible based on my observations and understanding of science, however, I cannot, at this time, speak with certainty about the shape of our world.  Neil Degrasse Tyson even suggest that it is pear shape, so who knows.

Okay, the part you’ve all been waiting for: why is this even being discussed?

The week leading up to the podcast, I spent a lot of time talking about the subject to a number of different people.  Some completely sold on the idea, and some against it to the point of getting emotional…and everything in between.  I still have a number of conversations on this subject from time to time.  I think a small part of it is the fact that, for those of us who are a little more laid back, it’s a fun idea to mess around with.  If you shut yourself off completely from exploring ideas, yes even the seemingly ridiculous ones, you’ll fall victim to intellectual complacency.

This is how I will sum up my reasoning for why Flat Earth Theory is still around.  Both sides do not have a full understanding of how the world works and spend the entirety of their time defending their own position and attacking those with the opposing view (not with facts but rather naming calling and whatnot).  Those in defense of the round earth, from what I’ve seen, have placed their faith on evidence and reasoning just as flimsy as those on the flat earth side.  One quick example: I brought up the idea of flat earth to a friend.  He said he could easily disprove flat earth; he asked how boats and planes could possibly navigate on a flat earth.  He laughed arrogantly and asked how to explain that.  I calmly explained that compasses would work the same on a flat earth.  The needle will still always point to the north or center, depending on what earth model you support.  At this point I noticed some anger and contempt building in his voice.

This conversation gave me a glimpse into the minds of both sides.  Those in support of a round earth spew out random “proofs” and if you dare provide evidence to call that “proof” into question, they typically will respond by getting angry and ultimately questioning your intelligence.  The flat earth side does this too. I’m not trying to call out any side in particular.  This brings me back to my main theory as to why we are still discussing flat earth.  Those that claim they “know” the earth is round have no idea what they are talking about and flat earth supporters are able to pick apart the flaws in their “proofs” and then gain more credibility.  Those that argue against flat earth have done the entire scientific community a disservice by talking with authority on a subject they, themselves, do not fully comprehend. It is my belief, that if you are going to push a new scientific theory, you should only be seeking to disprove your own theory.  That is the best way to gain actual credibility.  Picking and choosing experiments/ideas that fit your own theory is the work of a hack.  I do see this a lot on the flat earth side and it is one of my biggest criticisms of their work.

I do think this has brought about some good.  People, myself included, have now been challenged to gain a full understanding of the subject themselves without taking someones work for it.  I think this will ultimately be of a benefit to society.  We have gotten to a point where no one wants to learn about science and is willing to accept whatever is told to them.  I’m not saying that the scientific community is working maliciously to spread falsities, but if we continue this trend of caring less and less about science, we could be opening up ourselves to the possibility later on down the road.

I will continue to do my own research and experiments until I am satisfied with my conclusion, but even after that, I will always keep myself open if new facts make themselves known.

If you enjoyed this read and want more, or simply want to point out my flaws, please feel free to send your thoughts to:

Email: request@doyoubelievepodcast.com

Website: http://www.doyoubelievepodcast.com

Twitter: @DYB_Podcast

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We’re All Bigots

Bigotry is defined as “a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions.”

The recent political landscape is testament to this post’s title. If you are one side, you are obligated to hate all opinions coming from the other side due to differences in opinion, related to politics.

That is a more obvious example; however, people in general, at this day in age, tend to hold serious contempt for anyone that holds a different opinion; whether it’s politics, religion, food, movies, sports teams, etc. This is why intelligent discussions are becoming a thing of the past. You are required to pick your side and fight to the death to stay on that side, but, believe it not, it is actually possible to change your mind. You will grow much more rapidly if you welcome differences of opinion as a chance to learn more about an opposing point of view. Review your differences and see if there is any common ground, perhaps something you did not know or had not thought about before will reveal itself. You may be able to grasp a better understanding of the opposing viewpoint.

If we are unable to think critically, weigh all option, or truly listen to an opposing viewpoint, it is only a matter of time before society completely collapses. The cracks are already showing.

-Jon

Quit Blaming the 1% for Your Financial Troubles

Background Info

Now, before you jump to any conclusions, I would like to provide some background information on myself.  I make $39,000 ($2,700/mo less tax); I have $40,000 in student loan debt ($500/mo), $8,000 ($300/mo) in car debt, and own a 1,000 sqft home for $110,000 ($700/mo).  I’d place myself in lower middle-class.  I give you this information so that you understand that I am nowhere close to that 1%.  No, I am not struggling to put food on the table, but I do have some insight, based on what I’ve observed since graduating, worth sharing.

The Problem

With the advent of the “1%” and the recent tax cuts, I have seen a large influx of people complaining about the “system” and how it is rigged to help the elites.  I do not wish to completely dismiss that.  I do believe there is certainly room for improvement; however, most of the complaints/arguments that I’ve seen, recently, are nothing more than comments from the peanut gallery.  It’s a lot easier to sit back and complain about everything instead of getting off your lazy a** and making some changes.  In the grand scheme of things, the “well-off” people got where they are today through hard work and smart financial decisions.  I know this is going to upset a lot of people, but deep down, they know they only have themselves to blame.  I’m going to address a few of the “major” arguments I see, as well as, share some of my own mistakes.

My Mistakes

I’ll start with my own mistakes so that you know that i’m not just playing the “armchair financial adviser”.  Based on the financial information provided at the beginning: I should not have bought a new car, and I should not have bought a house.  These were not the best decisions, given my income.  So why did I make this mistake? Because I wanted to do what everyone else was doing.  Sure, new cars are great and all, but in reality, it is one of the worst investments.  Cars do not gain value.  You have lost money the minute it drives off the lot; not to mention the full-coverage car insurance required and the interest on the financing.  This is probably one of the biggest mistakes, I can think of, that plagues people’s finances.  If I see you driving around in a brand new Challenger and you come to me complaining about how hard it is to make ends meet…let’s just say you won’t get any sympathy from me, and leave it at that.

One of the biggest problems is that marketing has taught you that you need everything!  Latest iPhone, newest gaming system, best clothes, a nice car, your own house, the best food, etc.; however, when you are struggling to make ends meet, you have to make cuts.  People are too prideful to make these cuts, however.  That is a huge part of the problem.  People truly do not understand the basics of managing money.  I am willing to admit that it is not entirely their own fault; they don’t teach this kind of stuff in school, strangely enough.

On a final note, I was able to avoid one major financial pitfall: credit card debt.  Credit card debt should be avoided at all costs.  The astronomical interest rates ensure that you never escape the debt!  Now, I understand that there may be absolute emergencies that may warrant this, although there are usually safer options, but that requires some effort; however, I know so many people that go into credit card debt buying the stupid sh** mentioned above.  Again, you won’t get any sympathy from me.

“I’d be much better off if it wasn’t for all these taxes”

If you paid no taxes at all, you would be in the exact same situation.  All that extra money would end up going towards buying more useless crap for yourself, I’m just being real.  And I don’t buy the “rich people should pay more taxes”.  They already pay significantly more taxes than you do, and why? Most wealthy individual busted their butts to get where they are today, and they have to pay more in taxes because lazy people are envious.  Yes, there are exception, for example, the son that inherits his father’s assets, okay, but that doesn’t make up the majority.  I can’t remember where I read this, my apologies, but if all the wealth was taken and distributed evenly to all people today, within 5 years, it would all be back where it was originally.  This is because some people are willing to put for the effort and work hard, and also make sound financial decisions, others, not so much.

“The ‘system’ is keeping me down”

You’re keeping yourself down because you are lazy.  Everyone I know, that complains about not making enough money, goes home at the end of their shift and plops down on the couch and watches TV or plays video games, and eats.  Do you really think things are going to magically change for the better?  This is one of the greatest things about America: you are in full control of your own destiny, for real.  Don’t buy into the lie that the system prevents you from doing just that.  It’s important to remember: you only get what you put into it.  You need to actually put forth an effort.

“If only my boss paid me more”

This is the fun part about a free market.  You can go somewhere else.  If you are not getting paid what you think you should, there are two possible reasons: 1. You are a crap employee, but have somehow convinced yourself you are God’s gift to the company…  2. You’re employer sucks, so you should find a new one.  If I’m an employer, and no one wants to work for me, it will clue me in that perhaps I do not pay enough for the work being done, or I just suck in general.  The people that are most successful at my work are going above and beyond to help the company.  How can you possibly say that, you deserve more, when you are sitting in the break room complaining how unfair it is?!

Conclusion and Concession

If you want to succeed, quit being lazy; also, do a little research on proper money management; it will go a long ways. If people followed these two simple ideas, I truly believe that we would see a significant drop in the infamous “wealth gap”.  I’d love to be proven wrong, so why not try it out first before calling me an idiot.  I am willing to concede this: there people out there that truly have been dealt a losing hand, and we need to do our part to help them, but I refuse to help those that are not willing to help themselves.  You reap what you sow.

-Jon

 

Matthew 13:10-15 (Why Parables?)

Why did Jesus insist upon using parables?

Throughout His, rather brief, ministry, Jesus insisted upon using parables to share the knowledge of the kingdom of heaven.  I’m positive that most readers of the Bible, like myself, are curious as to why Jesus was not more cut-and-dry with His approach to teaching His followers.  In fact, the disciples themselves, in the book of Matthew, asked Christ this very question.

10 His disciples came and asked him, “Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?” (Matt. 13:10 NLT)

It’s important to remember that the disciples were normal people, like you and I.  The disciples, who were physically able to follow Jesus, were not afraid to question Jesus on the things He was teaching.  Curiosity is part of human nature, as is the desire for understanding.  Jesus, knowing full well that the human mind is limited, was willing to clarify and expand on some of His parables.  He did so without anger or contempt.  If you grew up in an environment that scorned any questioning of scripture, know that those closest to Jesus had their concerns, as well.  The Lord will reveal to us what we seek.  We must be willing to receive the answers without influence from our own ideologies or preconceptions.

I want to preface the following by saying: This is my own, personal interpretation; and therefore, you must realize that I am human and fallible.  I believe it to be useful to hear what others have to say about scripture; however, it is important to remember that we should always put our faith in God’s Word, not man’s word.  Due to man’s sinful and imperfect nature, he will never be able to fully comprehend the kingdom of God.

11 He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. 12 To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. 13 That is why I use these parables,

For they look, but they don’t really see.

They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand. (Matt. 13:11-13 NLT)

At first glance, the answer seems to be that Jesus wanted to share knowledge of the kingdom of heaven, only to those that were willing to receive it.  Parables require the listener/reader to put forth some sort of effort in order to derive its true meaning.  Jesus may have wished to separate those who truly wanted to understand His teachings from those whose only goal may have been to scrutinize and mock his teaching.  Man is required to exercise his free will if he wishes to receive the gift of salvation, that our Savior provides.  Jesus had no interest in providing knowledge to those that were unwilling to receive it, and, based on the second half of verse 12, He wished to remove any understanding from them, as well.  It is all or nothing; one cannot be lukewarm, when it comes to faith.

14 This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says,

‘When you hear what I say,

you will not understand.

When you see what I do,

you will not comprehend.

15 For the hearts of these people are hardened,

and their ears cannot hear,

and they have closed their eyes—

so their eyes cannot see,

and their ears cannot hear,

and their hearts cannot understand,

and they cannot turn to me

and let me heal them.’ (Matt. 13:14-15 NLT)

The above verses certainly would have applied to those that were following Jesus’ ministry, in person; however, His teachings were not exclusive to the society of His time.  The teachings of the Son of Man are just as, if not more so, relevant in today’s culture.  These verses hit very hard with the realization of their accuracy.  Society’s current view of Christianity is not a good one.  Our behavior in the name of God has certainly contributed to society’s cynical view of the church.  This view is not exclusive to those on the outside; those within the church have grown increasingly complacent in their walk with Jesus, and, in many cases, people have begun to reject any suggestion that they may not posses a complete understanding of scripture.  Man’s own arrogance may be the biggest threat to his salvation.

My harsh criticism is not meant too be accusatory but rather a call to action.  I am just as guilty of succumbing to the whispers of pride.  There have been many times in which I have sought out my own ideals within scripture, only to come up short.  I looked, but I did not see.  My own perception of understanding blinded me from seeing the truth that would have, otherwise, been revealed to me.  When reading God’s word, one need only be willing to receive what is to be revealed.  God will provide what insight He knows is necessary; thus, it is imperative that we do not distract ourselves with our own ambitions.  God’s Word speaks to that which is not bound to this physical world, the soul.

 

-Jon

Matthew 10:34

34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. (Matthew 10:34-36 KJV)

This is a very interesting verse that sounds almost contradictory in nature when compared to the other teachings Jesus provided.  I think it’s worth taking a closer look to see what is being said here.  I believe there may be a couple different ways to interpret this.  It’s possible that it has multiple meaning as well; this is not uncommon in the Bible.

My first interpretation is that Jesus is referring to future conflicts that will arise within the family household when religious-related differences arise.  Looking at this literally, He may have been predicting the fallout that would ensue after His death.  If the Roman government and/or Jewish officials condemned all teachings of Jesus, maybe even to the point of death, as was not uncommon, one could easily envision a scenario where family members would be forced to turn on each other for fear of death or eternal damnation, depending on their beliefs.  This is the surface-level interpretation of these verses, but I believe it is important to always look below the surface.  This is something that has always fascinated me about the Bible; no matter how many times you read a certain passage, you will no doubt come back to the same passage later on in life and come out having learned something new.  There is definitely some truth to referring to the Bible as the Living Word of God.

My further interpretation can be applied to many areas of life and the world we live in. Jesus came as a sword to split the spiritual world from the material world.  Jesus knew that His teachings would create huge rifts in the world.  I believe He truly wanted to bring peace, but He knew human nature all too well.  I think it is safe to say that Jesus was a realist.  He knew the truth.  He spoke the truth.

Obviously, living in a divided household when it comes to religion will provide plenty of conflict.  It is interesting that, based on the titles given in the verse, the young are turning against the old; but it doesn’t say which side is correct.  Nowadays it seems almost exclusive that the younger generation wishes to move away from religion and God.  While the older folks keep their faith.  This could completely flip-flop further down the road.  Perhaps our children’s children will once again seek to follow Jesus.  We know all too well that the Israelites were constantly in this cycle.

I think we can also apply this to friendships.  Making the decision to fully commit yourself to Jesus is nearly impossible for most people, and I think that comes down to the temptation of the material world.  Let’s say for example, you were the partying type.  Always going out to drink with your friend.  If that was the primary way that that group of friends liked to hang out, dropping the Jesus bomb on them would seem like a daunting task.  I think most of us are afraid to do this because we know the potential result.  It is most likely that they will continue to hang out in the same way and simply write you off as a prude.  A lot of people are willing to follow Jesus right up until the point that they have to change how they behave in the material world.  Satan loves to whisper that it is okay to let those “small sins” slide.  When you truly wish to change, to truly pursue God, it will not mesh with those wrapped up in the material world.  Jesus knew this, and this may have been a warning.

The misconception that all things will go great when following Jesus needed to be addressed.  These types of verses are often overlooked and not quoted.  Jesus brings with Him spiritual peace not earthly peace.  He knew it would take a double-edged sword to cut us free from the death-grip of the material world.  I think most people, when they truly look at themselves, care far more about what the world thinks of them than what the Creator of the universe thinks.  Even among those claiming to follow Christ.

A third interpretation can be applied to the church.  This holds up less than my previous examples, but it is worth noting.  There is so much division and conflict within the church itself that we can run into the issue of relatives turning on relatives, siblings against siblings, families against families.  I see it constantly.  All the different denominations with Christianity are a testament to this.  Wars were even fought within the name of Christianity.  Satan is certainly not barred from entering churches; Churches that are not acting as Christ would have wanted are prime targets for corruption.  And what better a way to discredit Christianity.

It’s is important to understand that Satan is extremely crafty and subtle.  The last thing he would ever want is for you to realize what he is doing.  He goes at length to ensure that the world continues to think that he does not exist.  Satan uses the same method that chefs use to boil frogs: put them in and gradually turn up the heat.  The frog won’t even notice the difference until it is too late.  Be on the look out in your life for even the smallest hints.  Take a close look at what you say and do and determine if it is of benefit to your spiritual self, or you worldly self.

 

-Jon

 

 

Israel Asks for a Worldly King

1 Samuel 8:1-22 NKJV

This seemingly simple story from the book of Samuel may not seem like much on the surface, however, this passage notes a very distinct and dark turning point for the nation of Israel. Samuel has began to show is age and it has become apparent that he will need a successor.  His sons had been appointed to important positions of power, but the people of Israel had concerns.  Samuel’s sons did not follow in his faithful and holy footsteps. “(3) they turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice.” The people of Israel had a great idea of their own instead; they asked Samuel to appoint a king.  Israel had not had a king up until this point, but rather followed God’s instructions relayed to them through the high priest.

All of the surrounding nations in this land had kings of their own, and Israel was feeling left out.  Now if we are being honest, we can understand where the Israelites were coming from, to a certain extent. All of the nations had a tangible king that was among them.  Taking orders from an omnipresent being may have seemed odd, especially when everyone else in the world did not. However, Israel seems to have a short memory because every time, up until this point, when Israel obeyed God’s commands, He delivered them. The tangible world itself seems to put up the biggest fight against God. Even though Israel had the power of the true King at their backs, they would take one look at the tangible world in front of them and request to conform to earthly ways rather than the divine. Man’s desire to conform to the material world poses the greatest threat to their own salvation.

Continuing on, Samuel takes the people’s request to God Himself. We do not see a reaction of anger from God, but rather sorrow. Samuel felt as though he was being rejected, however God said “(7) for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me.” Time and time against God had delivered the Israelites, but at every turn they were obsessed with what the tangible world had to offer.  God wanted what was best for them, but He also gave them free will.  It appears at this point, God is going to advise them against appointing a worldly king, but He already knows that they will not heed the advice. God has Samuel tell them about all the baggage that will come with having an earthly king. The king will take you sons, daughters, harvest, money. etc. and when they cry out, God will not be there to hear them because they did not obey.  Israel does not listen and appoint Saul as king. Needless to say, thing eventually go south, just as God had said.

As a parent, you do everything in your power to teach your children about the world and hope that they listen to your advise, but at some point you just have to let them go and learn for themselves.  This is essential the constant struggle that goes on between Israel and God in the entire Old Testament.  They do make their way back to God after hitting rock bottom, but as soon as they get back to smooth sailing, they wander away again.  This story was put in the Bible, not only to give you a backstory for the Israelites, but to act as advise for us in current times.

We live in a materialistic world, with temptations at every corner.  The world around you is constantly telling you to do things for yourselves; make yourself happy, you deserve it.  Any mention of the divine/metaphysical realm is met with constant mockery in today’s society.  I think it is safe to say that man has a very minuscule understanding of the way the universe works, any true scientist can attest to that, however, there are those among us that think far to highly of themselves.  They believe that what they can observe is the limit of knowledge, and scoff at the idea of exploring the intangible. The fact that Christian ideas and values are met with such overwhelming opposition only confirms that the constant battle of good and evil is ever present in our world.  I believe that this story was put into place for us to realize that putting our trust in the material world may seems reasonable and obvious, but in reality the truth only comes from above.  The world, however, will do everything in its power to convince you that this is a laughable notion and you are less than intelligent for believing such fantasies. Do not trust the world around you. Take a real close look at the world you live in.  You’ll likely find it less than ideal.  Perhaps man does not know what is best for man.

Eisenhower’s Farewell Address and the Military Industrial Complex

Farewell Address – Video

Farewell Address – Transcript

Overview

I recently watched former president Dwight D. Eisenhower’s farewell address for the first. In his address, he warns against several different issues that may arise due to the drastic industrial and military changes that were seen following World War II.  I found that most, if not all, of his warnings were accurate and relevant to what we are seeing today.  I wanted to take some time and really break down his farewell address and discuss the implications of his warnings.  For each section, I’ve chosen a quote to review and discuss.  I’ve linked the video, as well as the transcript of his speech for reference.

 

[“We now stand ten years past the midpoint of a century that has witnessed four major wars among great nations. Three of these involved our own country. Despite these holocausts America is today the strongest, the most influential and most productive nation in the world. Understandably proud of this pre-eminence, we yet realize that America’s leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment.”]

I’ve included this part of his speech in its entirety because I feel this part should be looked at as a whole.  This section really can be summed up with the expression “with great power, comes great responsibility.”  As a result of all these wars, America was forced to make drastic changes to its industries.  In order to keep up with the enemy, we had to produce military equipment and supplies at a much more rapid and efficient rate.  America also had to make technological advancement a top priority.  With these driving forces, America grew into a massive economic power with a intimidating military force. Eisenhower acknowledge this impressive change, but warned that we should only use this newfound power to work towards world peace and improve humanity as a whole.  Initially, I believe America had that mindset, but looking at the world today, we have failed to keep that a priority.  I could be completely off base with that assumption, but I think it’s something most would agree with.

[“Any failure traceable to arrogance, or our lack of comprehension or readiness to sacrifice would inflict upon us grievous hurt both at home and abroad.”]

Here, Eisenhower warns that if America were to assume it were invincible and act hastily or selfishly, the implications would be dire.  This warning was not heeded.  With wars like Korea and Vietnam, I feel that America over extended itself out of arrogance, and refused to withdraw despite fighting a losing battle.  The reasoning for entering these wars may have been for the right reasons; to help countries in need, but it also could have been motivated by the ever increasing threat of communism.  The wars following WWII have made it look like America is trying to play world police; to me that shows arrogance and even a lack of comprehension of the effects our actions will have on the world stage.

[“Crises there will continue to be. In meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great or small,there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties.”]

I would sum this up as Eisenhower warning us not to over complicate things.  The most impressive, complex solutions may not be the best answer.  We need to consider many options when tackling a crisis, and chose the most effective.  The effects a solution will have on the nation as a whole and the effect it will have on its citizens need to be balanced appropriately.

[“A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.”]

Eisenhower was not against being a premiere military force on the world stage.  He strongly urged the US to keeps its military force strong, not to conquer, but rather to prevent ‘potential aggressors’.  This follows the saying “it’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.”  Today I see a lot of resistance regarding military spending.  People need to realize that we need a strong military presence; not to use offensively, but to have available to defend any threats.  Military investments are to improve our security as a nation.

[” We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United State corporations..”]

This was as of 1961.  I’m willing to bet that gap has decreased significantly in recent years.  Investing in our nation’s security creates jobs and economic benefits of its own.  This fact should not be overlooked.

[“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”]

This is the first mention of the military-industrial complex.  With the need for a significant military force, we have created an industry that has a huge impact on the economy.  Eisenhower warns that if our government were to be influenced by this military-industrial complex, we could lose our liberty in the blink of an eye.  The military and industrial sectors make up such a huge portion of our economy, that those in control have all the power.  This is why it is imperative for us, as citizens, to ensure the integrity of elected officials.  If we elect to office, people influenced by this military-industrial complex, we could potentially be handing over our very freedom. [“We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes.”]

[“In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.”]

In this section of his speech Eisenhower points out that technological advancements have been streamlined by the federal government.  We no longer have individuals conducting research for the sole purpose of curiosity.  Everything now is to further the governments agenda.

[“Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity”]
[“The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.”]

The reason for this is because a government contract looks much more appealing than “doing it for fun.”

[“Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”]

This is a similar warning to the military-industrial complex warning.  With the government having such a large stake in technology/research, we need to ensure that our elected officials are in full support of our democratic processes and ultimate goal of a free society.

[“As we peer into society’s future, we-you and I, and our government-must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow.”]

This is Eisenhower’s warning against taking things for granted.  We have a duty to future generations to ensure that they can inherit and continue to grow our democratic society.  I believe we as a nation have started to take heed to this warning.  I’ve seen a lot of legislation passed in recent years to combat the destruction of our environment and future resources.  However, just like the previous warnings, since these are handled primarily by our government, we need to make sure we elect into office those that have our best interests in mind, without hidden agendas.

[“Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.”]
[“Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength.”]

These last two quoted hit home the hardest.  Eisenhower warns us against the struggles that will arise as a result of increasing diversity.  Reading through the news daily should remind us how miserably we are failing in this aspect.  Our country has never been more divided.  This is a ‘free’ country, everyone should be able to have their own set of opinions/beliefs/culture etc.  Given that these do not impose on anyone else’s rights, they should be able to openly express them as well without fear of persecution.  All peoples should have the same amount of say in how their nation conducts itself, regardless of social status, wealth, race, beliefs, etc.  That is why we choose democracy.

[“We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may experience its spiritual blessings; that those who have freedom will understand, also, its heavy responsibilities; that all who are insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity; that the scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance will be made to disappear from the earth, and that, in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love.”]

This is an absolutely amazing close to one of the best speeches I have heard.  This is a statement of what democracy stands for.  These are the goals every citizen should aspire to.  If we are not satisfied with the current state of our country, we should first reflect on our own actions.  In a democracy, a country is only as great as the sum of its parts.  This is why it is so important to exercise your right to vote.  It is the simplest way to contribute, and express what you want.  Every individual person in this country has a responsibility to make sure that they exercise their rights as a citizen, to ensure the integrity of those chosen to represent them.

In close

I encourage everyone to listen to his speech in full and interpret what he says for yourselves.  I have stated what I believe he was trying to say in his address, however I am by no means an expert.  It is important for everyone to review things themselves and not to be easily influenced by what someone else may say.  Be willing to stand your ground, but remain open minded as well.

-Jon