Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Armed Pastor?

I just read this interesting blog entry by fellow United Methodist pastor Donald Sensing on why he recently bought a small pistol to carry on walks:
"I am not really worried about a human attacker but I am legitimately concerned about the four-legged kind."
That seems right to me. I love to hike, but not in areas where I share the path with creatures capable of killing humans that I may not be able to avoid. Fortunately, that isn't an issue locally yet.

Sensing also makes interesting related points:
"1. I carry a pistol to defend myself and my loved ones, not to defend you. A carry permit does not make me the Fist of Justice. It does not give me police powers. If I face criminal danger in public, my number one choice will be to flee, not fight. Having no other choice, I will draw or use my pistol to save my children, my wife, myself. Not you. (Relevant: See my posts on why permit holders could not have saved the day in the movie theater murders in Aurora, Colo., last summer.)

2. I will not put my life at risk to protect property. Nothing I own is worth risking death for. Nor is it worth killing for. So I will not shoot someone just to protect property. But if someone attempts to rob me or invade my home, my default setting is that they also mean to do me and/or my family harm.

As an Illinois resident, where carrying a pistol by ordinary citizens is never allowed, I was particularly interested in this comment:
" If you are an adult, no one is more responsible for defending you than you. If you find yourself unarmed and needing defending, it is because you decided to be. Bluntly put, I am not going to put my life at risk to subsidize your stupid decision. I might be morally justified in defending you with lethal force, but I am not morally obligated to do so."
I've never owned a gun, other than a BB pistol once, but Sensing makes a good point. My only counter-argument is that perhaps he might consider also defending poor tourists from the only state stupid enough to still forbid carrying a pistol either openly or concealed. Oh, and he also might want to defend widows and orphans. God seems pretty cool with that throughout the Bible.

Sensing enjoys sport shooting, as do I. Taking an NRA class recently was great fun, as was another recent civilian police academy class. For now, I can rent guns when I visit a range, but the selection is limited enough that I'd prefer to just buy a .22 pistol (cheap to operate) and learn to use it well, as soon as I'm comfortable with getting it legally to and from the range, and have friends with whom to shoot often enough to maintain skills. (If that's you, let me know please.)

Fortunately, a U.S. appellate court decided yesterday that the Illinois total ban on concealed carry is unconstitutional, and gave the legislature six months to pass a more reasonable law. Here's hoping they do!

Update: I was delighted to meet a Catholic brother in vestments at the range yesterday. He mentioned serving in a tough neighborhood. There IS precedent - Peter carried a sword, at Jesus' request.

I was less happy to read a letter from fellow retired United Methodist pastors in Central Illinois in our conference newspaper yesterday, basically asking for lots of guns and stuff to be banned and for whatever isn't banned to be registered and regulated by the Federal government and the U.N.

Ironically, the very next page featured stories about churches being closed because folks are no longer giving as much to U.M. churches. If I'd read such a letter from the pulpit of any of the churches I served there, I'd have been lucky if anyone even showed up the next week, let alone put anything in the offering.

(I was once dumb enough to preach against eating too much meat, and had to let the head of the local Farm Bureau preach an opposing view the following week. Fortunately, that church saw breaking the rough edges off new pastors as part of their job.)

My advice to anyone sympathetic to the idea of any additional regulation of guns or ammo to first go spend an hour at a range. (If you know me, consider yourself invited.)

And fellow Methodists, before trying to ban anything else dearly loved by fellow adults, patriots and Christians, ponder deeply the consequences of your previous attempts to ban something millions of Americans didn't want banned (alcohol.)

Update#2: Rev. Sensing has posted another entry about specific four-legged pit bull attackers that have now inspired him to carry a 9mm pistol on his walks. Details here.

Update#3: The retired UM pastors whose views on gun control so bothered me above have apparently also gotten an earful from others, as they put a more sensible letter in this week's conference newspaper.
This time they note (correctly and relevantly) that "99 of the 102 counties are not reporting persons to the [National Criminal Background Check System] database, and out of 130,000 clinicians, only 83 of them make reports to the database."

They also correctly note that "There was a time in the 1970s and 1980s when Illinois had one of the finest mental health systems in the nation and then it began to be dismantled," though I find myself suspecting they were in favor of that at the time as a way of respecting the rights of mental patients.

I chuckled as I read of one of the writers saying "Pastorally, I do have to tell you that the level of your anger causes me to be concerned for your soul because anger will eventually destroy you."

Sadly, they also repeated such inaccuracies as that "30,000 Americans are killed each year by gun violence," either not knowing or not caring that most of those deaths are suicides, and most of the rest criminal-on-criminal violence using illegally-obtained guns.

Update #4: Another pastor, John Linneham, just supported the second amendment by wearing a Ruger 9mm as he preached:, saying “I don’t normally pack a gun. I don’t usually do it, but today I wanted to take a stand so there’s no misunderstanding as to where we stand.” Picture and more here.

Update #5:  An area church responded to the recent outrage of a boy suspended for chewing a Pop Tart into what he said was a mountain but a teacher thought looked like a gun, by having a Pop Tart gun-making contest in Sunday School as part of Second Amendment Sunday. What got my attention most was this:
"The reason this country is in this condition is not because sinners act like sinners, it’s because Christians don’t act at all.  And pastors?  They’re notorious cowards … anything that will come between a filled pew and a filled collection plate … the hirelings scamper away.  Having said that, I have been contacted by three other pastors each from a different state who want to know more and asked me to send them material.”  The pastor went on to say, “There will always be a remnant …"

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Snowbird checklist

As birds and neighbors depart for warmer climes, I've recently been working up a draft snowbird checklist of ways to worry less if I'm ever away from home more than a few hours in winter. Here's the list so far. Additions and corrections are welcome:

If leaving for up to a month:
Hold mail
Hold newspapers
Make arrangements for someone to remove flyers and free newspapers that might be left at your door, mailbox or driveway while you are away.
Put away loose objects from yard, along with patio furniture that doesn’t stay out all year.
Turn heat down to 55.
Turn off water for the whole house. Leave taps open.
Turn off the furnace humidifier and close its air damper to summer position. 
Turn water heater to Pilot only. (On returning, turn on water before restarting.)
Turn off power to central air conditioner (saves energy, and keeps mice from wintering in it.)
Turn off breakers for circuits that don’t need power while away.
Turn off ice cube maker in refrigerator
Throw away any food that won’t last until your return.
Leave your curtains set as usual. However, that should not let anyone see into your garage to see if your car is there, even when you are home. Similarly, don’t leave valuables in plain sight of open windows.
If you have jewelry, do NOT leave it in the bed or bath room. Consider packing it with ornaments in the attic, or some other non-obvious place. On the other hand, don’t leave it in anything you or an heir might ever accidentally donate to charity without first removing the valuables.
Turn some lights on via timers, even when home.
Turn on a fake TV.
Set a radio alarm to turn on music or talk for an hour daily at lunch.
Get a fake dog (bark sounds when motion detected.)
Get a temperature, water, etc. alarm that phones when triggered.
Set up cameras to record motion in or near the house.
Ensure smoke, CO and gas detectors are working and have fresh batteries, if not powered by AC.
Unplug everything that might be damaged by lightning or start a fire.
Unplug cable outlet from TV.
Let local police, trusted neighbors, alarm company (if any), and association office know when you’ll be away, and who if anyone will be going in. Give them contact info and tell how to get access.
Leave a key, ideally with someone who occasionally goes into the house to ensure all is well. Tell them your alarm disarm code, if any. If you don’t leave a key with anyone, hide one somewhere non-obvious (not under a mat) in case you have to authorize access via phone.
Pack and take with you medications, glasses prescription, important papers, checkbook, phone numbers and email addresses you may need, money, checks, credit cards, debit cards, car registration and car and health insurance cards. Take along important contact info for family members, friends, doctors, utilities and financial institutions.
Store other important papers in fireproof or bank safety deposit box.
Unless a safe contains valuables, consider leaving it open, lest a thief destroy it and walls trying to gain access.
Renew anything important that expires before your return, such as car registration, drivers license, credit cards, memberships, or prescriptions.
Autopay bills, and do online banking.
Leave ICE (In Case of Emergency) contact number in a conspicuous place inside your house, such as kitchen counter.
Leave garage door opener in same spot.
Make sure all doors and windows (including screen doors and windows) are locked, and can’t be pried open.
If you have houseplants, either loan them to someone to care for them while you are away, or arrange for someone to come and care for them. Don’t trust automatic watering systems unless you already use them while at home.
Do not announce (Facebook, email away message, voice mail, etc) that you are away (such as by posting photos from elsewhere while away.)
Make sure stove and oven are off.
Make sure toilet water isn’t running.
Empty all wastebaskets.
Dispose of final garbage.
Arm alarm, if any, as you leave.

If leaving for several months:
Forward mail. The U.S. Postal Service offers a premium mail forwarding service. The fee is $14.75 a week, plus a $15 enrollment fee. But you’ll get all your mail once a week (including magazines, catalogs, etc.) in a priority mail box. Your permanent address is not changed, and your temporary address is not provided to mailers.
Disconnect and put away hoses.
Clean and cover outdoor grill.
Make sure gutters are not full of leaves. Check roof for leaks.
Annually spray or spread pesticide around the outside of the house.
If leaving a car or gas mower, leave it with fresh oil, top off  its gas and treat with Stabilize. Put its battery on a trickle charger.
Flush toilets 3-4 times, then add cleaner, and cover bowl and tank with plastic wrap to minimize evaporation. Also seal sinks with covers and plastic wrap.
Also open outdoor faucets if turning off heat entirely. If turning off heat entirely, also turn off gas for the whole house, put RV antifreeze in plumbing elbows under sinks, toilets, tubs, showers, dishwasher, and disconnect and drain any refrigerator ice maker water line.
Run ice cubes through disposal. Then flush with baking soda and water, spray with WD40, and put stopper in place.
Clean out and turn off the refrigerator and freezer. Leave doors propped open with a towel, with a fresh box of baking soda in each.
Clean dishwasher, including door edge. Blot up residual water in bottom after last load. Prop door open.
Clean all appliances, including toaster and stove.
Make sure washer is fully drained.
Open cabinet doors under sinks to help keep pipes from freezing.
Remove batteries that might leak from devices that don’t have to stay on while you are away.
Pull furniture away from walls, and pull out loose cushions.
Open all closet doors and dresser drawers so air circulates. Leave no clothes on wire hangers or in garmet bags, unless unzipped.
Notify insurer if will be gone over 30 days.
Spray wastebaskets with disinfectant.
Empty vacuum cleaner.
Clean or replace furnace filter.
Ensure air conditioner condensate line is clear of dirt and algae
Replace water filter, if any.
Take along tax return info if you will be gone until April 15.
Pre-pay all current non-auto-pay bills that will be due before mail can be forwarded to you before leaving
Take a cell phone photo of, or email yourself a scanned copy of drivers licenses, passports, medical cards, etc.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Start with truth

A woman wrote to Bel Mooney in the Mail Online, upset that "My prudish husband has left me because I lied about my sex life."
"When I met my husband 40 years ago I knew he was 'the one.' He had firm opinions on sex before marriage (outdated even then) and was a virgin. ...I'd been having sex for four years. Madly in love and wanting him to marry me, I lied."

OK, I get it. You pretended to be something you weren't, and don't think lying about sex is any bigger a deal than Bill Clinton did in the '90s. You still, after 40 years of marriage, don't respect your husband's "prudish" and "outdated" views.

And as it turns out, neither does Bel Mooney, who responds
"'Unreasonable and stubborn, even stupid' is my opinion too.

Then Mooney begins to get a clue:
"I know no one who would discover that they had been lied to for 40 years, and think it didn't matter."

Sadly, it doesn't last long, as she ends her advice with
"Why not write to say you are trying to make up your mind whether you want him back at all?"

Speaking as a man who has been married 42 years, and was a virgin on his wedding night, as was (so far as I know) my wife, it would not be in any way amusing to suddenly overhear that I was not her first. It wouldn't upset me to the point of moving out, as it did this man, but I would definitely wonder what else wasn't true about our marriage.

I just finished reading Every Bush Is Burning. One of the main points it has a modern Jesus make to a man who cheated is that he must tell his wife the whole truth immediately, and then start over from scratch to show why she should ever again have anything to do with him, because after all, why should she trust him?

I would advise this woman to tell the whole truth to her husband, in person if possible, but not until she can do so without a shred of snark, sarcasm or criticism. She can then humbly ask for forgiveness and another chance, and begin again to both say and show love however long it takes.

As for Mooney's final advice, threats, along with insults, might only confirm he's better off alone.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Information Wants to be Free

I thought immediately of Whole Earth Catalog creator Stewart Brand's famous quote "Information wants to be free" on seeing this blog entry (via Instapundit):
  • "We can promise the have-nots ALL the movies for FREE. 
  •  We can promise them ALL the video games for FREE. 
  • We can promise them a copy of EVERY song for FREE. 
  • We can promise them a copy of EVERY single college course taught at an Ivy League school for FREE"
Why? "...when things go digital, SCARCITY goes out the window."

Sounds popular, and easier to implement than Instapundit's proposal to repeal Hollywood tax cuts.
I might feel differently if any of my books were still in print, but I never have understood why Republicans in Congress support ever-increasing intellectual property rights, when those who benefit the most hate Republicans.

Can you EVER imagine a time when it will be OK with the Disney corporation for the copyright on the first Mickey Mouse cartoons to expire? Of course not. But why should that still matter to anyone else?

Oh yeah. I just retook the original World's Smallest Political Quiz that started this blog, and it no longer scores me in the middle, but rather as a Libertarian on all but one question.

Update: Turns out I've already similarly blogged here Free Mickey Mouse indeed!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Lacking confidence in their convictions

In reading "Coming Apart", by Charles Murray, I finally made sense of something that has long bothered me: Why don't those who constantly preach tolerance here seem to notice or care  about intolerance elsewhere?

Murray thinks it goes back to an idea of Arnold J. Toynbee:
"The growth phase of a civilization is led by a creative minority with a strong, self-confident sense of style, virtue, and purpose. The uncreative majority follows along. Then, at some point in every civilization's journey, the creative minority degenerates into a dominant minority. Its members still run the show, but they are no longer confident and no longer set the example. Among other reactions are a 'lapse into truancy'--a rejection of the obligations of citizenship--and 'surrender to a sense of promiscuity'--vulgarization of manners, the arts, and language--that 'are apt to appear first in the ranks of the proletariat and to spread from there to the ranks of the dominant minority, which usually succumbs to the sickness of 'proletarianization'" (p 286)

Murrray applies the idea as follows:
"The code of the American gentleman has collapsed, just as the parallel code of the American lady has collapsed.

In today's new upper class--what Toynbee would surely see as a dominant minority--the code that has taken its place is a set of mushy injunctions to be nice. Call it the code of ecumenical niceness. Children are supposed to share their toys, not hit one another, take turns . . . to be nice. And, by and large, the children of the new upper class grow up to be nice. But they are also taught that they should respect everyone else's way of doing things, regardless of gender, race, sexual preference, cultural practices, or national origin, which leads to the crucial flaw in ecumenical niceness. The code of the dominant minority is supposed to set the standard for the society, but ecumenical niceness has a hold only on people whom the dominant minority is willing to judge--namely, one another.
Nonjudgmentalism ceases to be baffling if you think of it as a symptom of Toynbee's loss of self-confidence among the dominant minority." (pp 289-90)

In other words, it indicates our civilization is in decline.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Men not wanted

As if I needed another reason to prefer books on Kindle:

Fox News story:
"Barnes & Noble has apologized after a senior citizen said staff at one of the retail giant's Arizona stores ejected him because he was on his own in the children's area.
Omar Amin claimed a store worker told him a female shopper had complained he was in the children's area in the store in Scottsdale, The Arizona Republic reported.
The 73-year-old, who was alone at the time, said he was in the store to buy books for his two grandchildren, who live in Wisconsin.
He told the newspaper, 'Men alone cannot be by themselves in the children's area.'
Mark Bottini, Barnes & Noble vice president and director of stores, issued a statement Monday apologizing to Amin."
Here's the link.
Kudos to B&N for the apology, but I wonder if I'll ever again feel comfortable buying a book for a child in a local bookstore, when I can avoid even the possibility of a fuss by ordering from Amazon instead?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I Get So Confused

Is breastfeeding a sacred right or controversial this week? A Drudge headline today says this unreleased Korean Oreo ad is controversial, but if so, is it because the baby is nursing, or because it is looking at an Oreo cookie while doing so? There's also an NSFW version, but I'm pretty sure La Leche League would only be offended by the product placement in either version, if at all.

As a photographer, I'm pretty impressed by the overall composition. How on Earth do you even get a baby to do that (hold and view a cookie while nursing), let alone get the name of the cookie in sharp focus while keeping the infant's hair and rest of the photo in just slightly soft focus?

Update: Time Magazine is on board the controversial sacred right idea this week with its cover photo of a 3 year old boy being nursed while standing on a chair to reach also-standing mom. Per the associated article, extended nursing is part of "attachment parenting", along with co-sleeping (having a child share a parental bed), and baby-wearing (carrying a baby around in a front or back pack or sling.)

Personally, I find the Time photo more questionable than the Oreo one, in that the 3 year old boy involved may face peer pressure from weaned classmates, and the possibility of a helicopter parent.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Why Academia is so Partisan

Interesting article here.
"Haidt (a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, and a former liberal who became a centrist in the process of conducting this research) finds that liberals and conservatives alike form their political beliefs according to three values: caring for the weak, fairness, and liberty. Yet conservatives also hold to three other values: loyalty, respect for authority, and sanctity. This accounts in part for the liberal failure to understand conservative viewpoints.
When you look at the three values that conservatives (according to Haidt) honor but liberals do not — loyalty, respect for authority, and sanctity — these are precisely the values that are flouted in the precincts of American academe. The result is a more impoverished moral imagination amongst students, a stubborn inability to understand the beliefs and the motives of conservatives, and thus the imputation of nefarious motives to those irrational conservatives who do not see things in the ways the illuminati do. If you don’t believe that this has contributed to the partisanship we’ve observed in recent years — particularly the exceedingly nasty way in which liberals in general have responded to the Tea Party movement, to social conservatives and generally to anyone who refers too much to moral sanctity and loyalty to American traditions and institutions, then I think you’re wearing exactly the kind of blinders Haidt talks about."
Hat tip: Instapundit.

The same research is mentioned today in the Volokh Conspiracy, regarding how legal elites underestimated the case against the health care individual mandate.
"I’ve heard Paul Clement (among others) explain, you can’t effectively advocate your own position until you truly understand the other side."

See also Peter Suderman in Reason
"Moderates and conservatives were the most able to think like their liberal political opponents. 'Liberals,' he reports, 'were the least accurate, especially those who describe themselves as "very liberal.”'

Liberals, on the other hand, have a different theory. The Court is just a bunch of partisan hacks"

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Great Quote

"Any power that government has to do something you like will invariably be used for something you abhor. ... Reduce the scope of government, and we reduce the culture war, while promoting true tolerance of divergent viewpoints."
-Matt Welch in Reason (May, 2012)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Stuff mom and dad said

Nine years ago, in the original version of this blog, I posted some sayings of my Dad. Today I found myself remembering two from Mom:

"You'll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."


"If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

Update: Mom also said

"Ask me no questions, and I'll tell you no lies."


"Of all the things I've loved and lost, I miss my mind the most." 


"November too has its beauties."


'Faults are thick when love is thin."

Here again are the ones from Dad:

"Another good story spoiled by an eyewitness."

"Never let the facts interfere with a good story."

"It's no harder to arrive on time than to arrive late."

"It costs no more to keep the gas tank full than it does to keep it empty."

"You can want what you want, but your get what you get."

"Never borrow except for your first car and first home."

"Graft, inefficiency and corruption run rife."

"Neither a borrower nor a lender be."

"If wishes were horses, beggars would ride."

"...and if I had wings, I could fly."

"Experience keeps a dear school, where only fools need learn.
And yet the lessons taught there are taught exceedingly well."

"Never lend any more money to friends or relatives than you would be willing to give them as a gift."

"Well ain't that a fine kettle of fish?"

"That's a lazy man's load."

"Fish and guests spoil after three days."

"Just one more thing to go wrong."

"If it had been a snake, it would have bit you."

"A difference of opinion is what makes a horse race."

"A place for everything, and everything in its place."

"Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick."

"He who pays the piper calls the tune."

Said OF Dad, rather than by him:

"Often wrong, but never in doubt."

(Hat tip to Ben Franklin for at least two of these.)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Narrowing the Class Divide

Charles Murray's new book "Coming Apart" discusses class divides in America, but doesn't propose how to lessen them. To rectify that, Murray offers ideas on how to lessen class divides here in a New York Times Opinion column.

Of Murray's suggestions, the one that seems most obviously needed is to change affirmative action from being ethnic-based to socioeconomic class-based. As Murray puts it "It is absurd, in 2012, to give the son of a black lawyer an advantage in college admissions but not do the same for the son of a white plumber." (I'm not sure about the plumber part -- those seem to do pretty well around here, but his point remains.)

I'm less convinced by Murray's other ideas:
1. Get rid of unpaid internships. OK, but as Murray notes, children of the rich can still better afford to work for minimum wage than the children of the poor and middle classes.
2. Replace aptitude (SAT and ACT) tests with achievement (advanced placement) tests. Again, as Murray notes, it won't work, as the same kids whose life experiences and special classes prepare them for the one can just as well prepare them for the other.
3. Drop the B.A. degree as a requirement for jobs. I have several friends who are ABD (all but degree) who would love this change, as it would let them more easily be considered for jobs for which they consider themselves very well qualified. However, speaking as a former hiring team lead, finishing a college degree rather than almost doing so does still show one important characteristic in a job seeker: ability to complete a difficult assigned task, on time and without supervision.

Murray also mentions, but rejects the idea of Universal Service, a year or two of military or peacetime service for everyone at a certain age. Murray feels it would just teach people to game the system, and build resentment rather than rapport. I'm not so sure. Seems to me it could be really good for our country, as it has been in other countries, so long as no one could get out of serving. Robert Heinlein's SciFi classic "Starship Troopers" suggested only those who serve be allowed to vote, which makes sense. To vote well, voters need some skin in the game. I'm reminded of our emergency dispatcher in Pawnee, IL decades ago, who was quadriplegic, but still very effective.

My own favorite idea for reducing class differences would be to make estate taxes completely unavoidable for net worths beyond the value of a small farm or business. That would help start each new generation on a more level playing field.

Overall, I agree with Murray that class is now the social barrier we need to reduce for the future good of our country. Economic mobility, both up and down, is essential to what differentiates America from both first and third world economies. Having a permanent nobility or aristocracy here would destroy most of what I love about America, but seems well underway when people suggest (for example) that only people named Bush, Clinton or Kennedy are qualified to run for high office.

Hat tip to Instapundit for the link.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Lake Wobegon's government

"Many forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."
Winston Churchill in the House of Commons on November 11, 1947

We may do well to keep that thought in mind, as science tests just how imperfect democracy may be.

Yahoo reports here about recent research led by David Dunning of Cornell University:
" incompetent people are inherently unable to judge the competence of other people, or the quality of those people's ideas."

Along with colleague Justin Kruger, Dunning concludes:
"...people always assess their own performance as 'above average' — even people who, when tested, actually perform at the very bottom of the pile."

Garrison Keillor used to put it this way on the Prairie Home Companion radio show:
"Lake Wobegon ... where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average."

Mato Nagel, a sociologist in Germany, recently implemented Dunning and Kruger's theories by computer-simulating a democratic election, and found:
"...candidates whose leadership skills were only slightly better than average always won.

Nagel concluded that democracies rarely or never elect the best leaders. Their advantage over dictatorships or other forms of government is merely that they "effectively prevent lower-than-average candidates from becoming leaders."

Reacting to a link to the same story from Instapundit, reader Reader Barbara Skolaut objects:
"Didn’t work in our last election, did it?"
a sentiment Democrats may share regarding the prior two elections.

Personally, I agree with Glenn Reynolds that the greatest value of democracy may be the way unpredictably alternating power among multiple parties inhibits parasites.

I'm also comforted to learn choosing among imperfect candidates is normal for democracy.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Intelligence minus judgment equals intellect

Dr. Helen Smith explains here why it's unwise to claim the spiritual gift of wisdom. Quoting Thomas Sowell:
"Wisdom is the rarest quality of all–the ability to combine intellect, knowledge, experience, and judgment in a way to produce a coherent understanding…Wisdom requires self-discipline and an understanding of the realities of the world, including the limitations of one’s own experience and of reason itself. The opposite ... of wisdom is foolishness"
Smith adds
"One of the interesting things that Sowell discusses is the tendency for intellectuals to think that because they are brilliant in one area, that they are brilliant in all areas."

I've always enjoyed watching as two or more people interact - each sure of being the smartest person in the room.

I've also noted that sometimes genius IQs lack EQ and/or common sense.

In that fix, something once said of my father (and also about me) applies:
"Often wrong, but never in doubt."

I count it a blessing that throughout my growing years my best friend was smarter than me, and that I was forced to spend my days among people with ample common sense.

Like discernment, wisdom is a spiritual gift best confirmed by others.