Why Romans 13 Is Inapplicable to What Is Happening Now

In the Best Picture winning film from 1965, The Sound of Music, the von Trapp family lives in Austria when it is annexed by Germany during World War II.  The main conflict arises when the father, Captain von Trapp, is ordered to accept a commission in the German Navy.  Did he quietly comply because the powers that be gave him a command?  Should he have?  No!  He concocted a plan to disobey the rulers and flee the country.  What a different film it would have been if he had done what so many of our churches have done and obeyed his orders.

Ever since the California government terminated our liberty last year, I have been disappointed that so many churches quietly complied.  This past week I received an email from a local church, once again saying that they were going to keep their doors shut until we are endowed by our government with some liberty.  (That sounds wrong, doesn’t it?)  The reason given has been inappropriately used since the beginning of the lockdowns to justify compliance with tyrannical edicts… Romans 13: 1-7.  It says this:

1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. 5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.

Let me be clear.  I believe the Bible completely, from Genesis to Revelation, including Romans 13.  In fact, I talk about the importance of Romans 13 multiple times in my book, The God Bet.  There is, however, a big problem with hiding behind these verses to justify weakly complying during this fight between good and evil.  While we are not supposed to “resist the authority,” our government DOES NOT HAVE the authority to do what it is doing.  There are two main reasons for this.  The first is found in our founding documents.  The Declaration of Independence acknowledges that liberty is endowed not by the government, but by our Creator, and is unalienable.  That means that the government does not have the authority to take away our freedom on a whim. 

I know.  Some of you are saying, “Wait a minute.  The government does have the authority to take away our liberty in certain situations, like when they put a thief in prison.”  You are absolutely correct.  There are instances where the government can take away our freedom.  That leads us to the second reason this is not one of those instances.  Romans 13 not only tells us that we are subject to the governing authorities, but it also tells us what those authorities are authorized to do.  Verse 3 specifically tells us that “rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil.”  Verse 4 explains that “he (the ruler) is God’s minister to you for good.  But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.”  As you can clearly see, the rulers have the authority to punish you or take away your liberty if you do evil, but NOT for doing good works.  Stealing is evil; thus, the government is authorized to execute wrath on that thief.  Opening the doors of your church, on the other hand, is a good work.  If a church quietly closes its doors and cites the government as the reason, they are implying that a father who wants to take his family to church and sit inside is doing evil.  Any thinking person can see that the rulers who are putting these crazy dictates on churches are being a terror to good works and Romans 13 does not authorize them to do that. 

Why does it matter since California Governor Gavin Newsom is going to allow churches to open on the magical date of June 15?  It matters because these lockdowns and regulations were just the first major battle in the fight to remain a free country.  It was a test to see how many of us would stand up for each other’s liberty.  Unfortunately, the answer was, “not enough.” 

To those of you who are on the side of good, you may be tempted to write off the churches and Christians who sat on the sidelines during this battle and say, “you’re dead to us.”  I urge you not to do that.  We must be forgiving of churches or individuals who were complicit in our loss of rights when they realize what their complacency is leading to.  It is better that they are late to the party than miss it altogether.  Things will get worse and we need more churches to see the light and speak up before it is too late.  We need to pray for these churches to come around, and when they do, we need to welcome them to the fight with open arms.  They need to loudly declare that they will never again remain silent when the government acts as a terror against good works, which is against what Romans 13 says.  Never again will they close the doors of our churches, or limit who or how people can attend.  Our founding documents do not allow it, and the Bible does not allow it.  

Give Us the Same Courtesy That We Gave You

The first paragraph of this article is here for a very specific reason. To promote the article on social media I had to make sure that there was no political speech in the first couple of lines so that it wouldn’t be censored. The original started here:

Democrats now control the White House and both chambers of Congress.  They are calling for unity, but what they mean by that is, “Now everybody needs to agree with us.”  That is not going to happen.  I am not saying that in an obstinate way.  I’m just being realistic and honest.  People disagree and that is alright.  Republicans were in charge for the last four years and many people disagreed with them, and I expected that as well because that is how life works. 

This leads me to my one request to Democrats.  Now that you’re in charge please give us the same courtesy that we gave to you when we were.  That courtesy is this:  When people disagree with you, don’t force them to do what you want. 

This may surprise some of you after being told by the media for four years that President Trump was a fascist dictator, but I cannot think of anything that he forced us to do during his term.  If you disagreed with President Trump and the Republicans, they did not make you do anything against your will.  Republicans let people agree to disagree.  

If, for example, you disagreed with the tax cuts that were passed, Republicans did not force you to go along with it.  They implemented no penalties for people who wanted to keep paying the higher tax rates voluntarily.  Yes, you can do that.  Surprisingly, wealthy Democrats who complain that rich people don’t pay their fair share do not opt to pay more themselves when given that choice.  Alright, maybe not so surprisingly.

Ultimately, this is the main thing that Republicans want:  to be left alone.  We want to control our own lives and let others control theirs.  Another example; we may understand that homosexuality is immoral, but we do not block people from the practice.  In fact, the Trump administration started a global effort to end the criminalization of homosexuality.  (In contrast, Democrats kowtow to countries like Iran who put homosexuals to death.)  Republicans also disagree with divisive groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter, yet do not want them prevented from speaking or kicked off of social media.  Another Republican belief is that God is central to the American way of life and necessary for our success, but we do not want to require church attendance.  In other words, Republicans would like everybody to act in particular ways but think that people should be free to choose for themselves.

This approach is not a new one.  It is actually one of the principles that our country was established on.  Our Founding Fathers were wise men who understood that people would not always agree as to what should be done.  They also knew that throughout history, when the powerful forced those who disagreed with them to conform to their will it sowed contempt, division and conflict.  Their solution was liberty.  If one group wants to do “A” and another group wants to do “B,” the answer is not to have the group in power force the other group to do what they command.  Instead, the first group can do “A” and the second group can do “B.”  They can try to use persuasion to win the other side over but they should not use coercion.

If Joe Biden really wants unity this is what he should do.  Refrain from taking away our liberty.  Allow people to have free will and do what they think is best for themselves.  He can disagree with our choices but he should not overrule them.  Here are ten great suggestions that the Democrats can do to respect the liberty of Americans:

  1. If you decide to raise taxes, make it optional to pay the old rate like the Republicans did for you. 
  2. If you want people to wear masks, make it optional like the Republicans did.
  3. Let scared restaurant owners who want to shut down do so, and let the ones who want to remain open choose to do that.  If patrons want to show up they can but if they are afraid they should also be free to stay home.
  4. Let churches decide whether to remain open or close down.  If congregants do not want to attend they should not be forced to, but those who do should be allowed in.
  5. President Trump stopped enforcement of the Johnson Amendment, which threatens to take away tax-exempt status from churches if the pastor endorses a political candidate.  Continue with that policy and allow pastors to decide for themselves what to say from the pulpit without threat of retaliation from the government.
  6. If somebody wants health insurance that covers pregnancy and drug rehabilitation they should be allowed to purchase it.  If another person wants less expensive insurance that does not cover those things they should be allowed to choose that.  If someone else prefers to pay out of pocket for medical care instead of buying insurance they should be able to do that.
  7. Do not force law abiding citizens to buy guns.  Likewise, do not prohibit them from buying guns.
  8. If someone wants to do a job for $8 per hour, do not prohibit them from doing so and force them out of a job.  Let people decide for themselves what wage to accept.
  9. Do not force people who are against murdering babies to pay for the murder of babies.  Do not use taxpayer money for Planned Parenthood.
  10. Refrain from banning or restricting us from using certain products like incandescent light bulbs, straws, grocery bags, soda, and shower heads with good water pressure.

These are all things that Democrats have tried to dictate in the past.  If they truly want unity this list would be a solid first step.  Instead of using tyrannical power to control those of us who disagree with them, try going back to our founding vision of liberty.  It’s the least they can do after Republicans did it for them the last four years. 

Is President Trump Our King Josiah?

As President Trump leaves the White House I have been contemplating his similarities with another great leader who challenged the status quo and “drained the swamp.”  The biblical king, Josiah, was the last good king of Israel’s southern kingdom of Judah before they were defeated by the Babylonians and taken into captivity. 

Both the United States and Judah had gone downhill quite a ways after some downright bad leaders who “did evil in the sight of the Lord.”  Don’t get me wrong, both nations also had some good leaders, except that they failed to roll back all of the evil policies of the bad rulers.  When reading through the books of Kings and Chronicles you begin to notice a pattern arise where the good kings usually had one fatal flaw mentioned.  It seemed to always be described like it was here with King Jotham:

And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord; he did according to all that his father Uzziah had done.  However the high places were not removed; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. – 2 Kings 15:34-35

These high places were generally set up in Israel by the bad kings and were used for pagan worship and idolatry.  Even the few kings who “did what was right in the sight of the Lord” failed to remove the high places, with two exceptions:  King Hezekiah and his great-grandson King Josiah. 

It made me wonder why the other good kings allowed the high places even though it was obviously wrong.  Then it struck me.  It’s for the same reason that our good presidents have not reversed the immoral policies of our bad presidents.  They knew that many people would not like it and they lacked the political courage to follow through.  There was probably a lot of political pressure by the people who worshipped and sacrificed at the high places, and even the good kings bowed to that pressure. 

Kings Hezekiah and Josiah did not.  They both had the backbone to stand up for what was right and removed the high places from the land.  In the United States, conservatives have been frustrated because even when we elect good leaders they have lacked the courage to do what is right.  Like Hezekiah and Josiah, President Trump has not.  Here are some of his landmark accomplishments:

  • The first wicked king of Judah was Solomon’s son Reheboam.  When he became king the people came to him and said, “Your father made our yoke heavy; now therefore, lighten the burdensome service of your father and his heavy yoke which he put on us, and we will serve you.” (1 Kings 12:4)  In other words, regulations.  The government was forcing them to do too much and interfering with their lives.  Reheboam took the bad advice of his friends and responded, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scourges!” (1 Kings 12:14)  Our bad presidents have greatly increased the bone crushing regulatory burden on the people.  Our good presidents, like George W. Bush and his father, said they were for smaller government but did not actually lessen regulations.  President Trump did.  He made a guideline that for every new regulation, two had to be removed.  This led to a booming economy and record low unemployment.
  • Both good and bad presidents have said that we should recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move our embassy there.  None of them had the guts to actually do it.  President Trump did.
  • Speaking of Israel, President Obama greatly damaged our relationship with God’s chosen people and our greatest ally.  He treated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with contempt.  His administration chastised Israel for defending themselves.  He backstabbed them and allowed them to be attacked in the United Nations.  Most notably, he put Israel in grave danger by appeasing Iran and making a deal to remove sanctions against them and give them billions of dollars without even forcing them to end their nuclear program.  President Trump was the most pro-Israel president of my lifetime and maybe ever.  He defended Israel in the United Nations, acknowledged their sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and ended the appeasement of Iran by pulling out of the dangerous Iran Nuclear Deal.  He was even able to broker peace deals between Israel and Bahrain, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates.
  • About ten years ago my health insurance started to rise precipitously in price.  President Obama had forced through the government monstrosity now known as Obamacare, which also took away our freedom with regards to our healthcare decisions.  President Trump eliminated the individual mandate, taking the teeth out of Obamacare and giving individuals back more control of their healthcare.
  • After years of weak defense of our nation’s borders, President Trump was able to get over 400 miles of wall built.
  • There is one rule that is repeated in each of the first five books of the Bible; that murderers should be put to death.  The federal government has failed in this responsibility, as only 3 murderers had been executed between 1963 and 2020.  President Trump has enforced the death penalty for murderers again, with 13 federal executions being carried out in the last year.
  • Good presidents and candidates have been lied about and vilified by our biased and corrupt media for decades, frustrating millions of Americans because previous presidents just took the abuse.  President Trump fought back and constantly called out the media for their unfairness and propaganda.
  • One of the great reforms of King Josiah is found in 2 Kings 23:10.  “And he defiled Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or daughter pass through the fire to Molech.”  To make your child pass through the fire meant to sacrifice them to the Moabite god Molech.  This evil practice was not only allowed to happen in Israel by the wicked kings, but kings Ahaz and Manasseh actually sacrificed their own sons.  The United States has a similar practice that is protected by the wicked presidents:  abortion.  Unfortunately, even our good presidents have been inept at curtailing this evil act.  President Trump has stepped up to the plate and defended babies.  He was the first president to attend the March for Life.  He has found a way to block funding for Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the country.  Most importantly, he has appointed three pro-life Supreme Court Justices.

You may be wondering why I chose Josiah to compare President Trump to instead of Hezekiah since they both stood up against the status quo and removed the high places, and I have two reasons.  First, Hezekiah came earlier and that leads me to compare him to another great president who upset the apple cart, President Reagan.  Second, Josiah was only 8 years old when he became king, and President Trump does tend to speak without much tact like a kid might.  It is disappointing that too many people couldn’t get past that lack of tact, because like King Josiah, he may be the last great president we ever have.  Thank you, President Trump, for making us great again.

Free Market Solutions to Big Government Bullies

Big government is bad whether my side is in charge or the other guys are. 

We as conservatives should try not to use the government as a sledgehammer to force people to do what we want like Democrats do.  They want us to stay home and close our restaurants; they use the government, and threats to take away liquor licenses to strong arm those restaurants.  They want a baker or a florist to participate in a same-sex wedding; they use government threats and fines to force them to go against their religious beliefs.  They want “free” healthcare, college, or whatever else they think they can promise for votes; they use the government to confiscate money from people to pay for it.

Conservatives should not become authoritarian tyrants like those on the left.  We should be true to our principles and keep the government out of people’s lives as much as possible.  Instead of wielding government power to get our way, I suggest we use imaginative free market ways to fight for our side when we can.  I have a few suggestions.

1. This is an idea for Christians who still want to work in the wedding industry.  Bakers, florists and musicians have been targeted by bullies who cannot tolerate anyone who does not agree with them or does not do exactly what they want.  The most publicized of these instances was Jack Phillips, the baker in Colorado who politely declined to make a cake for a same-sex wedding because of religious convictions.  In true leftist fashion, the couple ran to the government to compel Phillips to bake cakes for same-sex weddings.  He had to fight the government all the way up to the Supreme Court where, fortunately, he prevailed. 

There are certainly times to fight in court and I am thrilled that Jack Phillips was victorious, but my solution would keep the government out of it and instead use the freedom to choose.  I suggest simply putting in place a policy that says this:

“A percentage of the profits from all same-sex weddings will be donated in the name of the couple to charity.  They may choose between Alliance Defending Freedom, Family Research Council, or Focus on the Family.”

2. The loss of liberty we have experienced in 2020 is unprecedented in the United States.  The government has locked us in our homes, taken our jobs, closed our businesses, cancelled our sports and entertainment, and even stopped us from seeing a friendly smile to brighten our day. 

This is a very urgent fight right now, and it has to be done through the free market in places like California because big government Democrats control every part of the government.  The method of attack is pretty clear.  Businesses have to fight the government every step of the way and we, the customers, have to support them by frequenting the places that are fighting.  In fact, in May I started a fundraiser through my blog for people to donate to businesses that opened up against the lockdown orders.  Last week my friends and I went down and presented a check to Jeff Gourley, the owner of Nomads Canteen, which was the first restaurant in Orange County to open up back in May.  If you want to donate, click here and we will give it to another deserving business who is standing up for our freedom. 

3. When Colin Kaepernick started slandering our police as racists who go to work looking for black people to murder and NFL players all around the league jumped on board with that lie I anticipated a problem.  How was I going to show my disapproval?  The obvious answer was to stop watching NFL games, but I dismissed that solution because I could see it leading to quite a moral dilemma for me down the road.  You see, consistency is very important to me.  I could handle boycotting the NFL because football is not one of my top priorities, but baseball is my life, and what would I do when some brain-dead baseball player decided to kneel during the national anthem? 

Then it came to me.  It was such a brilliant alternative that I think we should try to make it a movement.  These kneeling players wanted to make a difference, so I thought of a way to let them know that they did.  I vowed on social media that for every cop hating player who kneels for the anthem I will donate $1 in their name to President Trump’s re-election campaign fund.  Today I am fulfilling that promise by donating $212 to President Trump’s campaign.   It took some research but the best lists I found showed 211 NFL players who joined in on the anthem protests.  I intend to tweet every player that I can find to let them know about their contribution. 

Oh yeah.  You might be wondering about that extra dollar.  It is for Bruce Maxwell, the only Major League Baseball player who knelt during the national anthem.  He is no longer in the league, not because of his protest, but because he might have trouble hitting off of some of the Little Leaguers I train.

 

 

Following Up

This is a quick update to my previous article, “This is Tyranny but What Can We Do?” In it, we started a GoFundMe for businesses that were willing to open up and fight for our freedom. This Thursday we went down to Nomads Canteen in San Clemente, the first Orange County restaurant that opened up back in May, and presented the money we raised to owner Jeff Gourley. This is a picture of me with Jeff after giving him the check. The food is great, too, so go check it out!

The fundraiser is still up and there are other businesses who fought and are still fighting, so if you would like to help them you can donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/bt6qz-reopen-america

Father’s Day in California

Have you ever had the feeling you were on some kind of a hidden camera show?  One of those times where everything around you seems so ridiculous that you think somebody is just messing with you for laughs?  This Sunday was one of those days for me. 

My day started out normal.  Well, not normal.  A normal Sunday would begin with me going to church.  Since apparently they had it wrong in 1776 that liberty is endowed by our creator and we no longer have the freedom to attend church without a mask, I watched the service on my computer.  It was after church that things started to get weird. 

Sunday was Father’s Day and my dad picked his favorite pizza place for lunch, so I said I would drive up and meet them there.  I parked my car and saw theirs so I knew they were already inside the restaurant.  When I walked in an employee rushed over and stopped me. 

“They’re already seated,” I said as I walked towards the tables. 

“You need to put on a mask,” he replied. 

“I don’t have one,” I said. 

He persisted, “You have to have one on until you get to the table.  Here, we have some for you to use,” as he grabbed a box on the counter. 

Two thoughts crossed my mind in the next couple of seconds.  First, I thought about how completely gullible and illogical so many people are to go along with this.  Apparently, if I walk 20 feet to a table without wearing a mask, everybody in the restaurant will be dead.  Yet, if I get to the table, remove the mask, and eat for an hour, then everything will be fine.  Insanity.  The other thought was that my family is going to make fun of me but I have to do the right thing.  We can’t let the bad guys win.  “Never mind,” I said, and I turned around and walked out.

I think my dad was annoyed, amused, and proud at the same time.  When he came out to walk down to the bakery to get dessert I was sitting on a bench outside.  I walked with him. 

“We missed you at lunch,” he said. 

“Yeah, me too,” I answered.  “You know why I’m like this?  Why I stand up for what I believe like that?”

“McDonald’s?” Dad asked.

“Yep,” I said, and he busted out laughing.

You see, when I was a kid my mom would occasionally take us to McDonald’s because they were the first fast food place to put in a playground.  In August of 1987 Joan Kroc, widow of Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s, made a $1 million contribution to the Democratic National Committee.  At the time it was the largest single contribution to the party ever.  Dad heard about Kroc’s donation and banned us from going to McDonald’s until George Bush defeated Michael Dukakis a year later.  We gave my dad a hard time about that for years.  Now look at me, Dad!

Side note:  As a general rule, I don’t like to boycott businesses for disagreeing with me politically except under certain circumstances.  I think it’s a bad precedent to set to make everything about politics.  For example, I still eat Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.  I like it.  Plus I get a kick out of the fact that two Vermont leftists got rich because of free market capitalism.

After lunch we went to my parent’s house and watched Hondo, the John Wayne western.  Then dinner was even more entertaining than lunch.  My parents, my sister’s family, and I went to a Mexican restaurant.  My parents and I arrived first and I ordered a margarita.  When my drink came out I was disappointed to find one of those awful paper straws in it.  You know the ones.  They make whatever you’re drinking taste like cardboard and then they get soggy and mushy.  So far not funny, just annoying.  Then I noticed my mom’s iced tea had a real, plastic straw in it.  I asked the waitress, “Can I please get a real straw like hers?”  I couldn’t tell if she had a look of confusion on her face because, well, she was wearing a mask, but she walked off for my straw.  A minute later she returned to our table with two straws.  Two more PAPER straws!  I was not wearing a mask so I’m sure everyone could see the perplexed look on my face.  Was she messing with me?  Did she not understand me?  Was Ashton Kutcher hiding around the corner? 

“No.  I meant a real straw.  Like that one,” I said as I pointed at my mom’s tea. 

She looked at me blankly, followed by some unintelligible mumbling from beneath her mask about not having any.  I asked if that was the last one in my mom’s drink.  She mumbled again, nodded, and walked away.  My family laughed hysterically because I was so confused.  I glanced around again for Ashton Kutcher.  Nowhere.  Oh well.  I guess Mom had gotten the last real straw. 

A minute later the waitress brought my nephew his water because he had gotten there a little later.  My Dad said, “Hey Steve, look at his straw.”  Sure enough, in my nephew’s glass was a real, plastic straw.  Laughter ensued.  Ashton Kutcher never popped out.

This is Tyranny but What Can We Do?

In the 1995 Best Picture winner Braveheart, William Wallace rallies his troops with a speech that seems very fit for the time we live in right now.  Early in the film William knows that the English are bad, but when they murder his young wife he knows he has to do something.  He has to fight.  We in America, and especially in the blue states like where I am in California, are at that point now.  Our jobs and businesses have been taken by the government.  Our ability to meet freely with people has been taken by the government.  Our sports and entertainment have been taken by the government.  If we want our freedom back we have to stand up and fight back.  The big question I have been asked is, “How? What can we do?”  Fortunately, I have come up with multiple, specific actions you can take to help us regain our freedom, and they are much easier actions than the Scots had to take against the English.

  1. Vote for candidates who promote small government.  The lesson to be learned from this should not be to trust one party’s politicians to control our lives.  The lesson should be that we should not trust the government to control our lives no matter who is in power.  Our country was set up to restrain the government, not to restrain the people.  The people themselves will disagree on things.  The question to ask is, “what do you think should happen when someone disagrees with you?”  If the answer is, “use the government to force them to do what I want,” then that is a problem.  The answer should be, “let them disagree with me and live how they want.”  Our goal should not be to force people to do what we want.  Our goal should be freedom.
  2. Go to church.  People need God, and people need community.
  3. Open your business.  If you are a business owner you have the most at stake.  You have worked hard all of your lives to open a restaurant or store and should be allowed to succeed if people like your product or service.  Take Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s example.  He just opened up his factory in Fremont, California, tweeting, “I will be on the line with everyone else.  If anyone is arrested I ask that it only be me.”
  4. Support businesses that open up!  This is where the rest of us can help, and I promise you it can be fun.  You don’t even have to be able to afford a Tesla, although if you can, go for it!  I have been to Nomad’s Canteen in San Clemente three times since owner Jeff Gourley reopened last week against government orders.  Gourley is a friendly guy who told us about how he got his chicken recipe from a local while he was living in Belize.  The food is fantastic and the people are even better!  This is the most important thing to do right now.  It will make a difference and here’s why.  The line to get into Nomad’s was all the way out to the street.  The first weekend they were open there were so many customers that they sold out of almost everything on the menu and had to close again for a few days.  When other businesses see lines of people eager to spend money they will want in on the action.  More and more places will open.  When people see that all of us are out and surviving, the floodgates will open and we the people will win. 
  5. The first restaurant that I heard about that opened up against government orders was Café El Dorado near Sacramento, California.  I considered driving up there to show my support but it would be about 16 hours round trip.  That gave me my next idea.  For those of you who cannot make it to San Clemente or Sacramento, CA, or Castle Rock, Colorado to eat, or to Auburn, CA or Owosso, Michigan to get your hair cut, but want to show your support for the brave business owners and their employees who are trying to bring freedom back to our land, I have started a GoFundMe so that you can make a donation that will be given to those establishments that stand up against tyranny and open up.  Not a penny will go into my pocket and I will post receipts on this blog so that you can see exactly where the donations are going.  Also, if you donate and know of a business that has opened up, let me know in the comments or send me a message.  The more money that is donated, the more people we can support! 
  6. If you are scared, stay home.  In fact, you should stay home forever because there are a lot of things outside that can kill you.  As of this writing, 1 out of every 3,865 people in America have died of coronavirus.  I don’t want to scare you panicky people, but according to numbers from the National Safety Council, 1 out of 106 people will die in a car accident.  1 in 111 will die in a fall.  You can be killed in a gun assault; 1 in 298.  Or getting hit by a car as a pedestrian; 1 in 541.  You may drown; 1 in 1,121.  You don’t even have to leave your house to choke on food; 1 in 2,618, so you should certainly switch to a liquid diet just to be on the safe side.  There’s even a 1 in 118,776 chance you will be killed by a dog.  It’s a dangerous world out there.  Stay home!  Besides, I like that there’s no traffic.

Now you have no excuses.  The challenge is out there and you know what you can do.  Here is the link to the “Reopen America” GoFundMe page: www.gofundme.com/bt6qz-reopen-america    

And remember…  “They may take our lives, but they will never take our freedom!”

Update: Gavin Newsom has ordered ABC to start revoking liquor licenses of businesses who open up. Nomad’s is closed while they pursue legal action against King Newsom. We need to fight more than ever!

The Four Types of People

I have observed four different types of people when it comes to the coronavirus quarantine.  Type 1’s are people who are genuinely scared.  They think that we need to hide in our houses because otherwise they, or many of their friends and family members are all going to die of coronavirus.  I mostly feel bad for these people because, as I discussed before, their fears are completely irrational if you look at the odds.  Unfortunately, type 1’s sometimes overlap with the worst group, type 2.

Type 2’s are the people who are spreading the fear.  They consist of those overlapping type 1’s, politicians, and the media.  The driving force of this whole debacle is, by far, the media.  They have a couple of reasons to blow things out of proportion and scare people.  The first is attention and power.  Bad news equals ratings.  When they scare people, those people keep listening to them.  Members of the media love to feel important and affect our lives.  If the media scares enough people the politicians jump on board because they are scared by scared voters.  Plus they also love power over people’s lives.  Second, the media sees it as a chance to take down a president that they have been trying unsuccessfully to destroy since before he took office.  It very well may work.  Every person who dies, every business that closes down, and every person who loses their job is a good thing for Democrats come November.

Some of the many tactics that type 2’s use are: 

  1.  They give seemingly large numbers without providing any perspective.  The new estimate of 60,000 deaths may seem big, but the media doesn’t tell us that about that many people die every 8 days in the United States.
  2. They use models to predict future outcomes.  Later, when the actual numbers don’t match their predictions they simply update the model to reflect the new data.  They expect us to accept their models as truth even though we have seen them be incorrect time and time again.
  3. They tell us about celebrities who test positive for coronavirus.  They have to put a face to the disease and they realize that since almost none of us will personally know anybody who dies of the virus, they have to tell us about Tom Hanks, Kevin Durant and Idris Elba catching it to scare us into compliance.  The thing is, celebrities have always gotten sick.  It just normally is not reported.
  4. They lie about the death rate being much higher than the flu.  Considering the current reported numbers, combined with the fact that for every reported case there are likely 50 to 85 unreported cases, the death rate for coronavirus is hovering in the 0.066% to 0.1% range.  In other words, right around the same as the flu.

Type 2’s are also the people who feel the need to attack and shame anybody who dares to question the wisdom of giving up our liberty or, God forbid, doesn’t socially distance.  You see them on social media posting grim stories about how everybody is going to die, or complaining about people who aren’t wearing masks, or are playing tennis in the park, or want to attend church services.  They mock people as morons or say they have a death wish if they are seen with other people.  Unfortunately, type 2’s are the people you hear the most from.

Type 3’s are the people like me who think that the fear of coronavirus is irrational because the numbers do not justify it.  That does not mean that they think it isn’t real.  It certainly is, and the sick and elderly should stay at home.  Young, healthy people should be allowed to choose for themselves if they want to quarantine or not.  It should be up to that individual instead of the government.  Type 3’s still value individual liberty.  Some ignore social distancing rules, yet stay alive at a massively high rate.  The reason has nothing to do with them.  It is simply because the survival rate is massively high in general.  Type 3’s realize that it is dishonest when people are led to believe that there is a binary choice between quantity and quality of life.  The real choice is between a long, lower quality life and a long, higher quality life.  They choose the latter.  Unfortunately, type 1’s and 2’s are probably lost causes, and they outnumber type 3’s and control public policy right now.

This leads us to our last group, and possibly our last hope.  Right now public opinion is solidly in favor of the quarantine.  I know I’m in the minority, and the type 1’s and 2’s are not going to change their minds because the odds don’t matter to them and liberty is a disposable value to them.  Their numbers are relatively small, though.  The reason the polls still favor the quarantine is because of the type 4’s.

Type 4’s are the largest group.  At this point, they are in favor of the quarantine.  They are simply being cautious.  Their motto is, “better safe than sorry.”  While they are very averse to risk, they are also logical people who look around and don’t see the scary results that the type 2’s keep touting.  I have heard, more times than I can count, things like, “this doesn’t seem that bad, but let’s play it safe and see what happens.”  They observantly notice that nobody that they know is dying.  They also see that the few people they hear about who do catch coronavirus are surviving.  They see the numbers, and the fact that they just don’t match the gloom and doom predictions they heard from the media.  Most importantly, they do see the damage that the quarantine is doing.  They see a third of the country out of work.  They see kids missing out on proms and graduations.  They see people becoming depressed because they are lonely and barred from doing the things they love.  They will start to miss restaurants, sports, and live music.  The reason that they are our last hope is because at a certain point reality will start to become clear and they will begin to feel safe enough to want freedom again.  As type 4’s get more courageous, things will get better. 

As we move forward we will see that type 3’s were right all along.  There will be deaths, but not in the numbers we were warned about.  Frustratingly, the type 2’s will claim that it is because the quarantine worked and stopped people from catching coronavirus.  In fact, it’s likely that more people actually get it, or already had it, but it’s just much milder than how it was portrayed.

What type are you?

Baseball In A Pandemic

“There are three things in my life which I really love:  God, my family, and baseball.  The only problem – once baseball season starts I change the order around a bit.”  – Al Gallagher

I miss baseball.  I’ve always loved and defended my country as the greatest, freest nation on earth.  I realize that some of those liberties have been under attack for a quite a while now.  Since a large portion of our country is now hostile to God and capitalism, the rights I have always feared being taken away were those having to do with religious and economic liberty.  I never thought I’d have to worry about my right to play baseball being taken away.  Heck, even Cuba loves baseball.  But alas, here I am, a modern day “Shoeless Joe” Jackson, banned from playing ball. (More on “Shoeless Joe” later.)

In my depressed state I started thinking about a comparison that I keep hearing about, the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic.  The only year I can think of where there was no World Series was the strike year in 1994, so how did baseball handle the Spanish Flu and how does it compare to the coronavirus?  I learned a lot of interesting facts about both.  Here are six of them.

  1. The 1918 season actually was shortened, but not because of the pandemic.  The World Series was moved up to the beginning of September so that players could go off to fight in World War 1.
  2. During the first wave of the pandemic Babe Ruth caught the flu and almost died.  It’s crazy to think how different baseball history would have been had Ruth died and never become a Yankee.  Instead, he recovered and this was the first year that the Babe, still primarily a pitcher, got to play the field and hit on some of the days he wasn’t pitching.  In that part-time role, he led the league in home runs.
  3. Ruth’s Red Sox won the 1918 World Series.  The next year they would trade him to the Yankees and not win another title for 86 years. 
  4. The Spanish flu, for obvious hygienic reasons, was one of the major factors in baseball banning the spit ball.
  5. This brings us back to “Shoeless Joe.”  There are now rumors, that the 1919 “Black Sox” were not the first team to throw the World Series.  The 1918 Cubs had the best record in baseball and there is talk that they threw that year’s World Series. 
  6. The biggest lesson I learned with regards to comparing the Spanish Flu to coronavirus is that the comparison isn’t even fair.  The Spanish Flu was far worse.  It killed young, healthy people at a high rate.  Two big league players died from the Spanish Flu, Larry Chappell and Harry Glenn.  The NHL actually did have to end the Stanley Cup Finals in a 2-2 tie because so many of the Montreal Canadiens got sick they didn’t have enough players to play.  NHL Hall of Famer Joe Hall died.  675,000 Americans died when the population was only 103 million.  In fact, in the entire history of our country, 1918 is the only year where our population declined.  Right now we’re at around 328 million and steadily growing.  The coronavirus is barely a blip on the radar. 

This whole thing has only cemented my opinion that we are overreacting.  When the media started throwing out names of athletes with coronavirus to scare people, I said that athletes get sick all the time.  Hysterical people told me, “But this is different.”  I said, “Fine.  If Kevin Durant dies, I’ll take your side.”  I’m pleased to say the NBA star survived.

As I pointed out in my last post, the odds of dying from coronavirus are slim to none.  We should not be cowering in our homes over something that is likely about 1/25th as dangerous as the Spanish Flu.  We should be booing the Houston Astros right now.  In fact, those cheaters should be forced to play without masks, closer than six feet apart from each other, next to the dirty trashcans that they used to bang on.

One final thought.  Game 1 of the 1918 World Series was the first time the Star Spangled Banner was played before a game.  It made me consider, could Colin Kaepernick have been right?  After all, how can I keep a straight face when I hear “the land of the free and the home of the brave” when we are certainly neither anymore?  My conclusion?  Of course not.  Kaepernick is just as wrong as ever.  I still respect our history.  When I hear that line I’ll be frustrated that it’s a thing of the past, but I’ll still honor those values and the men who fought for them.  Our founding fathers risked everything to set up a government that recognizes that our rights aren’t given by them, but are endowed by our creator.  They chose to fight for liberty even though it meant almost certain death if the British won.  Now we voluntarily give up our liberty over something that has almost no chance of killing us.  It is disappointing, but there is still a small remnant of Americans who value liberty which, at least for me, has to include baseball.   Play ball!

A Cure Worse Than The Disease?

I feel alone.  Not just because the coronavirus quarantine is shutting down the country and forcing us to stay in our homes, but because it seems like such a large majority of the country is willing to just accept it and go along with it.  Then when somebody disagrees, or God forbid, goes outside for something deemed “non-essential,” they are vilified as a horrible, selfish person who doesn’t care about people dying. 

One instinct that I have is to simply turn it around on those people and vilify them as horrible, selfish people who don’t care about millions of people being put out of work, retirement accounts being wiped out, and people becoming more lonely and depressed.  The thing is, I don’t think that’s true.  I think the people in favor of the shutdown do care about the economic and emotional impact of the quarantine but they don’t know how to weigh it against the fear that has been instilled in them about the coronavirus.  Instead of arguing or accusing, I decided it would work best just to clarify my rationale and hope that people can see that it is neither selfish nor illogical.

First, let me clarify my position.  I do believe that coronavirus is real and will kill people.  I think that there are reasonable responses for us to take to combat the virus.  I think that everyone should practice good hygiene. I think that it is reasonable for the elderly and people with medical conditions that make this virus especially dangerous to them to stay at home.  I think that we should lock down nursing homes, and that we should put money and resources into our medical response to the virus.  I just think that shutting down the whole country is not reasonable, rational, or consistent, and will hurt more than it helps. 

We first have to be rational and agree that people have always died, and will continue to die in the future.  This is nothing new.  There is obviously a certain level of risk that we deem reasonable to keeping the country running.  Otherwise, to save around 40,000 lives per year we would lower the speed limit to 10 mph.  We have to decide what level of death is reasonable to us, and what level justifies the effects of shutting down our society. 

As a baseball guy and a poker player I know a lot about probability and odds.  I think a lot about how likely things are to happen.  Considering that 98% of the people who are dying of coronavirus have underlying medical conditions and half of them have at least three, the odds of a young healthy person dying are pretty astronomical.  But what are the chances that I will even know anybody who dies of the virus?  The estimates on the number of deaths vary pretty widely.  Nobody actually knows the real death rate because most of the people who have coronavirus don’t count in the numbers because they can’t even tell they have it.  What is for sure is that it is much lower than the number that gets reported.  As of this moment the reported number comes out to about 1.7%.  As this report says (https://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2020/03/24/science.abb3221), it is likely that for every reported case of coronavirus there are 10 other cases.  That would, of course, move the decimal point one spot to the left for a death rate of about 0.17%, or very slightly higher than the 0.1% death rate of the flu.  Ask yourself, how many people do you know who died of the flu this year?  In fact, if we use Dr. Fauci’s doomsday guess that we could have “between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths,” and even if we go with the higher figure, we have lost 200,000 to the flu in the last 6 years.  (https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/index.html)  How many people do you know who have died of the flu in the last 6 years?  I would guess for most people the answer would be the same as mine, zero. 

The point is, the numbers we are hearing are likely far worse than the actual numbers.  They may sound big, but we need to have some perspective.  This is where comparing numbers with other situations is actually useful.  The Black Plague famously killed half of the population of Europe and it took about 200 years to get back to the population level it was at before.  I wondered, “what percentage of the United States will this kill and how long will it take us to get back to our current population level?”  So, I looked it up.  The United States population is 327,200,000.  200,000 deaths would be 0.06% of the population.  Then to find out how long it would take for us to recover and get back to our current population level I had to look up how many people normally die each day.  7,452. If we then average out the coronavirus deaths over a year, it would add 548 a day, making it an even 8,000 deaths per day.  Next, we have to look at how many people are born each day to see how long it will take to replace those 8,000 people a day.  There are, on average, 10,388 births per day in our country.  So the answer to my question?  Zero days.  In fact, not only is coronavirus not decimating our population as badly as it is being made out to be, but our population is growing by around 2,388 each day.

This is certainly lower than the threshold of a reasonable level of death to shut down our country that we were looking for, especially considering the damage the quarantine is causing economically and emotionally.  While we have already established that you probably won’t know anybody who dies of coronavirus, you almost certainly do know somebody who has lost their job.  I know several.  You definitely know people who have seen their retirement accounts plummet.  The high school seniors that I coach at baseball have worked hard for four years and will likely never get to play again.  Addicts are unable to attend meetings and many are relapsing.  People who have issues with anxiety or depression are struggling more than ever.  Many businesses and restaurants will go out of business.  There is less joy in the world because sports and concerts are shut down.  Maybe the biggest loss will be the loss of our liberty.  What ever happened to “give me liberty or give me death?”  Yes.  There was a time when Americans valued their freedom even more than their lives.  I fear that I am alone in still believing that.

Let me finish with another comparison.  If we figure out the odds of any random person dying of coronavirus based on the numbers above we get 1 in 1,636.  To put that in perspective, that’s about the same as the odds of dying from falling down the stairs (1 in 1,662) (https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-mortality-risk).  In other words, it does happen, but it’s very, very unlikely.  I suggest we treat coronavirus the same way as we treat stairs.  We have Grandma take the elevator but let everyone else keep climbing.