By: Thomas Lee Abshier, ND
An effort to genetically create a Roundup-tolerant grass seed stalls because of market, scientific and regulatory dilemmas
Sunday, September 12, 2004
The following discussion thread took place between Thomas & Jonathan. The discussion began on the issue of genetically modified grass, but it covers a wide range of issues including ethics, power, and character.
Jonathan: Please read the article on genetically modified grass.
Thomas: I’ve heard about genetically modified food products, not grass. It’s a very scary thought to think that it could spread to other fields, and create a widespread mutation of plants. The result could be problems that we do not expect in the future. It’s great that people are standing up and saying no. Big industry has no long term conscience unless they are led by men of God who are willing to say no to efforts that will harm His creation. Sadly the champions are few.
Jonathan: Bush loves GM food. They’ve been trying to force it on Europe.
Thomas: I think that’s a mistake. I don’t support doing shortsighted policies that benefit special interest groups at the cost of the ecosystem and long-term health of people.
Jonathan: You can judge a man by his actions.
Thomas: Yes, you can judge a man by his actions, but one single action does not indicate the full character of character of a man. No man is monolithic in his philosophy. To the extent that he follows the ways of God, he is good and Godly, to the extent that he follows and bends to the pressures of the world, he is imperfect. In George W. Bush we see a man who is flawed in his Godliness, just as we are. He cannot be judged using a broad brush and say that he is an unGodly man because he supports GM food. Rather, on this issue he is less than perfectly Godly, mature, and strong in making decisions that both you and I would consider being wise. We are always disappointed and feel betrayed when we realize that our leaders are not perfect. But, we have always chosen flawed leaders, and we will probably always choose such men. We judge people as Godly or good by the priorities we hold, and how they stand on the issues we consider most dear. Our votes, our patterns of judgment of the societal good reflect our own sense of Godliness and our sense of priority in directing the movement of the public mind.
Jonathan: Yes, I can see how it’s more important to endorse a man that wants to pass a Constitutional Amendment to “protect marriage” (another awkward use of language) while destroying the world’s food supply. It’s all about priorities.
Thomas: Passing a Constitutional Amendment to protect marriage is an excellent stand for righteousness. Supporting the propagation of genetically modified plants is short sighted and a potentially disastrous intervention into the ecosystem. I don’t know what his motivation or reasoning was for supporting GM grass seed. My impression of the political process is that people get focused on issues that are important to them, and simply go along with their advisors on the rest of the issues. If spreading grass with genes that are resistant to roundup is one of his important issues, I would call that a wildly misdirected judgment on his part. I’m betting that his advisors have given him advice, and that the lobbyists bought them; that appears to be the norm in a capitalistic-representative democracy. That is how the system is perverted and distorted by money. When people rule in favor of policies because of money, then justice suffers, bad policies are implemented that direct the public effort, and the people suffer.
Jonathan: It would be more than a “misdirected passion”. It would be evil. To date:
● Over 27,000 U.S. soldiers wounded in Iraq in one year (half the number of soldiers killed in Vietnam over a nine year period).
● Over 1000 U.S. soldiers dead (all public photos of the coffins are banned).
● No WMDs.
● No 9/11 connection.
● Lots and lots of oil and a new civil war. SUPPORT OUR TROOPS!
Thomas: Genetically modified food technology was developed long before GW Bush came to office; the big promotion came in the 1990s when President Clinton was in power. The problem is not Bush, the problem is a nation without a proper level of knowledge, and a conscience that has been blunted by greed and Godless self-indulgence. We can choose to blame the one in power, and they do have some influence, but the rot goes much deeper. The society which lives out of an unthinking obedience to profit and short term gain that will reap the whirlwind. Of the two candidates, I believe that George Bush is far more conscious of Godly principles than Kerry. I would be happier if President Bush were to openly declare his belief that we should declare ourselves overtly to be a Christian Nation (as was done by Congressional Committees in the 1860’s, and the Supreme Court in 1892). The ACLU has hijacked our nation by appealing to the reflexive instincts of the unthinking masses. These leaders use arguments that sound rational, but their logic is short sighted as they place low priority virtues such as choice, privacy, equality, and tolerance above high priority virtues such as life and sexual purity. We will suffer to the degree that God and His ways are not honored.It is not possible to completely categorize anyone. We are all flawed and less than perfectly Godly. In our daily lives we make decisions that seem practical, and often the “perfect” way of acting seems impractical, given the extreme level of upset caused by being absolutely honest or suddenly invoking compliance with the Laws of God. When a social system (family, business, governmental, religious or international) is so far distorted from true righteousness, that it would be very disruptive to suddenly introduce right actions and speech into the requirements of law; efficiency would drop and egos would suffer. Nevertheless, an abrupt turn toward Godliness in all aspects of life will ultimately produce the most desirable outcome for the people. The unsuspecting leader who expects and enforces righteousness in his domain must be prepared to deal with the disturbance that such a policy will produce.
Those who do not wish to deal with the consequences of imposing righteousness will find that they will be eventually overwhelmed with the weeds, viruses, mold, and vermin of life. There are consequences to appeasement and delay. The alternative to passive acceptance is a bold stand for Truth, goodness, and Godliness. Given the state of corruption of the world, the masses of people and the leadership have little resonance with Godly principle, and people who wish to simply pass laws that clearly require behavior that meets Godly standards. For leaders seeking to influence the state of society, compromise ends up being the way of life they must follow rather than standing for the perfect principle. I would like to believe that such a bold stand for Truth and overt stand for right would be rewarded with leadership, but in general it does not. Usually the politician seeking to be elected, or reach a leadership position, must sell out, or at least present himself in a low profile manner through his career to reach the top. Occasionally the man of real principle reaches the top, but it is seldom, possibly because there are few who can resist the temptation to sell out or appear acceptable.
Actually, I think a life lived with integrity and boldness for Truth would be irresistible, but few know the way of Truth to even live it, so we get people who have been blended and homogenized to be like the rest of us. We get leaders who are a reflection of our own pathetic passion for mediocrity and compromise — leaders in general are followers, especially in a nation compromised by its own moral errors
.Jonathan: Kerry has a long senate history of investigating corruption (BCCI, Iran contra, CIA drug money laundering). Bush has a long career of creating corruption. THERE IS NO CONTEST.
Thomas: If Bush actually was corrupt as evidenced by all these accusations of association, and Kerry were actually a man of excellent character, then it would be clear who to vote for. But, you and I draw different conclusions about these men’s character based on different data points. I think there is significant evidence of Kerry’s character in the way that he apparently manipulated his injuries and medals in the Swiftboat service. His stands on abortion and homosexual marriage are antithetical to God’s standards. I do not know the level of involvement and commitment that President Bush had with these various scandals and corruption that you cite as evidence of his poor character. I view him as weak in his willingness to expect Godly righteousness from everyone in his entire administration.
We all sift through the various pieces of data to parallax on that which we believe is the best possible solution for any given set of opportunities. Priorities, values, history, passion, and data all go into making a decision. It’s different for everyone. Hopefully, we all are actually committed to goodness. To the extent we are actually going in the direction of Truth, we get that level of goodness manifesting in our lives, and to the extent that we are deceived, we get that manifestation of our error. Our decisions are mixed in terms of the good and evil they manifest depending on the underlying character that influences our choices. As President, the public sees only the issues he supports, decisions he makes, and the people he appoints to administer the various public agencies. We judge people’s souls, Godliness, and character indirectly.
Jonathan: I’m not sure how else to measure character or intelligence. I never anointed myself to see into men’s souls and I never learned how to use my “God meter” to test the level of godliness in someone. 🙂
Thomas: You are right, that is a hard vision to develop. Nevertheless, an important sight to practice developing.
Jonathan: No mortal can see into another man’s heart. If you believe in God, the thought of such a thing is blasphemous. It cannot be developed. Don’t you know that?
Thomas: The Holy Spirit gives us insight into the heart of another. Not that we judge another person to hell for what we see, that is God’s job, but we must judge another man for the spirit that we see in him. We all do it. It is just a matter of which spirit we use to listen and inform our judgment. Actually, the distinctions in the realm of evil are manifold and of great interest. Evil can arise as a result of ignorance, but it still furthers the mission of evil. The challenge is to take the evil once it has arisen and turn its direction into an ultimate good. Usually such a process is done by recognizing how to resist, barricade, or prevent such a process from perpetuating in other circumstances, and realizing that this is God’s world, and His will is sovereign, and it is His will to work all things to the good, even though all things are not good. Evil plays a very important role in the creation. It would be a very different world if only good things could happen.
Some of the realms of evil include: the realm of compromise for expediency, which is seen in trading an evil now for a good later, or possibly a lesser of two evils since one is all that is available. I find this realm to be the most difficult to process because I don’t have time to fight all the evil in the world, I have to choose my battles, and so by my simple avoidance of confronting something that I could have possibly fought, I am party by omission to the perpetuating of an evil that I could have fought. Since the amount of evil is so great in this world, and my resources are so small, I have allowed myself to simply choose that which I will confront, and have that be satisfying to my own sense of self-righteousness. The question really comes down to, “Which battles do I fight?” I believe this choice is made in the realm of guidance from the Holy Spirit, which is the voice, feeling, sense of purpose, destiny, or guidance that pulls us toward a cause. Even as President, one is limited in the directions one can clean up. The biggest problem is when one pursues wrong directions, either out of choice and intent, knowing full well that it is wrong. The lesser problem is acquiescing to pressure, and even less is simply bumbling along, not realizing that God’s plan has been violated by my unwitting participation in opposing His plan. Ultimately all error must be confronted or it will mature into a similar scenario of ultimate destruction. Without intent, things usually do not go downhill as fast or as pervasively as when human intent guides action strongly in the direction of disorder. Human action without intent has an outcome, but it is small compared to organized will toward a goal. Either way, the path must be reversed or we will go where we are going.
Jonathan: There is a documentary on the war of 1812 tonight on the History Channel.
Thomas: Sounds like a good documentary. From the way it all played out, it looks like we had enough righteousness as a country in 1812 to have God’s blessing as a country continue, even though we were a backward 3rd world country of hooligans etc. To assume that we must be totally righteous to be blessed is simplistic. I think God blesses a country that has the willingness to purge itself of the evil within. I think the foundation of our Country was so strongly seeded with the principles of Christianity that we were blessed with His grace far beyond what we had a right to expect given the lack of real perfection in Godliness lived out by many/most of the people. I think we are God’s best plan and hope for the world, but our imperfection is still great. To the extent that there are factions in the leadership that are trying to bring us into a Godless New World Order, a globalist submission to a central World Government, this is a serious problem. To the extent that there are those in leadership who fall prey to the temptation of being manipulated by trading money for votes to give favorable policies and advantage to Big Industry, we sacrifice the goodness of an economy in harmony with nature for the metaphorical bowl of soup today as the trade for our inheritance of heaven on this earth. There is a brilliant potential that we could have if we live in that state of harmony with nature and each other. But, that requires acurately judging those who are unrighteous.
It is impossible for the government to properly/appropriately direct all the transactions and directions of an economy. Such is the trap/flaw/commonality of all socialist/communist/fascist economies. All such systems are based upon a totalitarian direction of production and compensation, with a small private sector/black market of private trade. The alternatives to totalitarian control are zero government regulation and minimal government control of the economy.
The Libertarian system of anarch-capitalism exercises no governmental direction of the economy and relies on market forces to supply all public and private services. The Constitutional Republic, provides services by a mixture of both public and private suppliers, blending regulation, legislation, and taxation, and a largely private marketplace to provide the economy its direction through the mechanisms of pricing.
But, when we have bureaucrats/executors, judges, and legislators involved in directing the economy in any way, then the quality of the system depends upon the facilitation of good and Godly men making fair and wise policies, judgments, and executions. Expecting any government agency, legislature, or judiciary to have all the knowledge to intervene and guide the economy through the myriad of research projects requires more data and forecasting than any bureaucratic office can assemble and execute. But, this is the system we have, and to function well, the men who staff the bureaucracies, those who sit in judgment at law, and those who legislate, must be able to see integrate data about the multivariate system of public policy that affects the entirety of the human experience of relationship, work, defense, etc. Such information gathering and subsequent correct/fair judgment is not human.
The best we can do is elect and install men who have worked to perfect themselves in God’s will, and who are striving to develop their character in the ways of Godliness. A man who denies God, who tries to use the standards of the public good which are false (e.g., elective abortion due to the elevation of the principle of “choice”, homosexual marriage because he believes in the principle of “tolerance”, and equal outcomes to all people due to elevation of the principle of “equality/fairness”) will contribute to the degradation of the public sphere. These are false gods, and a man who uses these standards to judge public policy will be subject to financial corruption, support of Industrial monopoly, and poor ecological decisions. This is the type of error that can turn the face of God against an entire nation. Greed is one thing, lust for power is one thing, but rebellion against the Almighty is an entirely different thing.
To sanction homosexual marriage as a nation is a symbolic gesture that reflects the depravity of the human soul on a level that can only be judged as a rebellion against God. On its surface, homosexual marriage is a victimless crime. There is only the degradation of the participants before the throne of God, and they will be judged according to His standards and righteousness. But, if in fact such symbols and actions are Truly Wrong, and if the Nation endorses such Wrong as Right, then the nation has taken a posture against God in a way which can only be interpreted as extreme ignorance of the natural order, or choosing to rebel against God. The rebel will get a great deal more punishment and needs more punishment to turn him around, than the ignorant oaf who stumbled into error.
Jonathan: You can only judge by the results of a man’s actions:
In one year:1000 U.S. soldiers dead; 27,000 U.S. soldiers injured; 20,000 Iraqi civilians dead; All the stated reasons for war untrue; no accountability for 3000 dead on 9/11, just excuses; Totally ignored Aug 6th PDB; “Bin Laden determined to attack inside U.S,” which included the WTC as a target.
Thomas: You know the old phrase, figures don’t lie, but liars figure. In other words, results framed in one way appear to be convincing of a particular perspective. When framed in another way, the perspective is different. You have made your perspective clear. You have buttressed your position with figures that appear to conclusively validate your position, and you have applied a philosophy of life (that results tell it all), to validate that perspective.
Perspective and meaning is ultimately judged by the complete context, but this perspective is unavailable to us. Distorted or propagandistic context gives us a meaning that may be felt strongly, but is still false. Everyone is a potential victim of a limited perspective. If minimizing the number of dead Americans and Iraqis were the only goal, then the perspective you present is true. I will leave it to other apologists to justify the perspective that made it all worthwhile. To state that you can ONLY judge the results of a man’s actions is to look at only a thin slice of life, especially when a portion of the data is used to judge the results. While Al Jazeera may have an interesting perspective, that perspective does not lead to the full Truth. Possibly you might want to include the perspective of a person who looked favorably on our efforts in the war and the reconstruction as presented in the book, “Dawn over Baghdad”. It was on Book TV last night, a reporter who showed all the good we are doing, and gave an entirely different framing and perspective one my come to by looking at found-WMDs, dead Americans/Iraqis, and the ongoing melee.The most important thing we can do as a nation to stop the violence in Iraq is to present a united front as a nation. Rather than retreating into a self-righteous and self-flagellating position of sorrow over no WMDs, we should focus on the larger problem of Militant Islam, recognize that it is a mortal war to the finish, and it will not be won on any other turf than the battle for men’s souls. We as a Christian nation must show that we have something better, something more valuable, worthy, and of more eternal significance than a world in conquest under Allah. To do this we have to really Live It as a Christian nation. Our actions have to speak loud, our service and intent has to be pure, and we should be criticized when we fall short. Such criticism should purify us and cause us to look inside to see if in fact we are in error. And yes, there is a long way to go before we are actually acting like Yeshua would have acted. But to hear the story of Dawn over Baghdad, there is a lot of really amazing service and sacrifice going on over there that we don’t hear about in the media.
Jonathan: Good intentions don’t count; it’s results that matter.
Thomas: True, to an extent. But, as an absolute judge of the entirety of the case results are not the only factor. Manslaughter vs. murder is the most obvious case. Running over a child that ran in front of a car is different than stalking the child and stabbing her. Intentions mitigate results. The long-term effects on levels that are unseen operate differently depending on intent. The results may still be less than optimal, but intent is important too. Larger forces are in play than just the physical. If there were no other causes in effect than the physical F=ma forces, then only the results would matter. But, to quote Madonna, “we are spirits living in a material world”. (Actually, we are spirits living in a spiritual world, which we think is material). The forces we face are not only flesh; in fact those forces we do not see are more important than the ones we do see. Without eyes that see the fullness of the spectrum of forces, and correctly evaluate and judge those forces, we will continue to make grievous errors. And yes, they will probably leak through into the physical realm, but even then, bad things happening don’t necessarily mean bad intention, and wrong judgment. Bad things happen even to good people, for development of character, as a result of the free will of man, as a result of the random forces of nature, and yes as a delayed action for other causes set in motion by ourselves, our families, community, nation, and humanity.
Jonathan: WMD, 9/11, etc. were excuses to go to war to steal land, water, cheap labor, oil, gas, gold, etc. The threat of Militant Islam is an excuse. The United States officially and unofficially supports Islamic states and terrorist organizations. I am not a Christian so if you want to start a Christian war, please do it somewhere else. I’ll personally buy you a ticket to your favorite country of sinners. 🙂
Thomas: No, I don’t want to start a Christian war. War is a blunt instrument; it doesn’t change the hearts. Even after defeat the real work of winning the hearts and minds of the conquered must be engaged. But, sometimes war is necessary. A stiff necked and rebellious people who will attack you surreptitiously cannot be trusted to be a good neighbor and simply stay on their side of the fence. If war is necessary, then engage it fully, to win. After a crushing defeat it may be easier to mold the minds of a demoralized and defeated people.
The best way to wage war is without firing a shot. As soldiers for the army of God, our banner is the Truth of God’s goodness and His way. As Christians seeking to protect our country and advance the Kingdom of God we must defend against those who would subjugate us under their system of belief or
The Militant Islam/WMD/911 threat may have been something that was used as an excuse to take oil, gold, labor, land by our leaders… but regardless of the accusations of low motive or conspiracy, I believe the threat of Militant Islam is real and must be confronted. The motivation for the War in Iraq and the specifics of its execution are not my issues. We have a very real battle of cultures and worldviews facing us. The acts of terrorism are acts of war, but they will not bring us down. The real threat is the infiltration of our culture by theirs and overtaking us at the ballot box. They are committed to bringing us down, no matter how many centuries it takes.
This is not a war with an identifiable enemy to shoot and kill. We are engaged in a long term battle that is living in the center of each person’s soul. Everyone is a potential target, for conversion or elimination. Until we have a moral center that allows us to confront the fact that there is another people who want to dominate us, we will be at risk of overlooking that threat. The national consciousness now pays little attention to the subtle force seeping into our national psyche from this ancient threat. Our media has been neutralized by their worship of the false gods of non-discrimination, non-profiling, tolerance, and Separation of Church and State. The media is the watchman on the wall for the culture, but as a vast block of conscience and consciousness, they have not sounded the alarm against Militant Islam. The politically correct worship of non-discrimination above all other principles has muted their voice. It is through this mechanism of gagging the watchman that they will install the Trojan horse of training camps for terror in the guise of houses of worship. In this threat we will be challenged in ways we have never been challenged. I hope we wake up before this threat overtakes us. We probably won’t.Jonathan: The RNC had their convention in NYC. There are 500,000 protesters marching.
Thomas: I suppose you take what you want and pay for it. Hopefully they are big boys and can stand the heat.
Jonathan: What did you mean by that?
Thomas: The phrase, “Take what you want and pay for it” is a phrase used by one of my teachers. It was a restatement of a phrase used by the famous Satanist Alistair Crowley whose maxim of life was, “Do what thou wilt is all of the law.” My teacher felt that the “Do what thou wilt” view of life was not compassionate. There is always an effect created for every action, and those who act in a self-serving manner should know that the price might be high for their actions.
Jonathan: CAUSE AND EFFECT IS A NICE IDEA THAN RAN AMUCK, ALONG WITH REDUCTIONISM, AS A RESULT OF THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION AND CAPITALISM. IT’S LIMITED.
Thomas: Embedded in the concept of “paying for it” is the inherent concept of law (cause and enforced effect) acting in human history and individual action. In the case of selfish actions the individual reaps the consequences. In the case of corporate action the laws and group spirit will produce an effect.In the case of the Republicans choosing NYC as the place to hold their convention, there is a cause and an effect that they were choosing. If you go into a turf where people dislike you, then you will probably suffer the consequences of expressed opposition.
As per your NYT article, the Kerry supporters are “paragraph” people who think in terms of poetic license, not “spreadsheet” people that support President Bush who think in terms of the balance of equations and law.
Jonathan: ONCE AGAIN YOU ARE MISINTERPRETING THE ARTICLE. THE SPREADSHEET PEOPLE ARE POORLY INFORMED HEARTLESS, GREEDY, AND HAVE A VERY MYOPIC VIEW OF LIFE. THE PARAGRAPH PEOPLE ARE THE BEST INFORMED, EXTREMELY LITERATE AND ARE ABLE TO THINK AND FEEL ON A HIGHER LEVEL.
Thomas: I am assuming that the RNC knew that they would be faced with thousands of people who were living inside of visceral reactions to their agendas of being homosexual (e.g. homosexual marriage), free from having to defend our selves from anyone (e.g. leave Iraq), free to be promiscuous or sexual without accountability (i.e. abortion on demand), and taxing someone to pay for someone else (entitlement programs). And given that people who take this position are often overcome by their passion, it wasn’t surprising that there were 2000 arrests including acts of violence.
Jonathan: 1. THERE WERE OVER 500,000 PEOPLE WHO MARCHED. DO YOU REALLY THINK THEY ALL HAD THE SAME AGENDA? WERE THEY ALL GAY? WERE THEY ALL COWARDS? WERE THEY FIGHTING FOR SEXUAL PROMISCUITY? THEY WANT ACCOUNTABILITY FROM AN ADMINISTRATION THAT LIED ABOUT EVERYTHING AND HIJACKED OUR NATION.2. MOST OF THE ARRESTS WERE ILLEGAL. THEY WERE BEING HELD IN FILTHY, TOXIC ENVIRONMENTS. THERE WAS HARDLY ANY VIOLENCE (WHICH WAS THE EXCUSE THE MEDIA USED TO AVOID COVERING THE EVENT).3. PLEASE NOTE: THESE ARE THE PEOPLE THAT WERE ACTUALLY ATTACKED ON 9/11!!!!!! SO, DON’T GO TELLING ME THEY DON’T WANT TO DEFEND THEIR COUNTRY. CHENEY JUST THREATENED THAT A VOTE FOR KERRY IS A VOTE FOR ANOTHER ATTACK.4. YOU REALLY SHOULD JOIN THE MILITARY. YOU ARE AN IDEALOGUE.
Thomas: This doesn’t mean that the RNC type people are all righteous — there are Log Cabin Republicans who think that homosexuality is the most important issue in America to legislate onto America. Nevertheless, I would hope that people who call themselves Christians would have it inside themselves to behave well.
Jonathan: THE BEST AND MOST COURAGEOUS BEHAVIOR IS TO PROTEST.
Thomas: Granted there is a time to protest, especially when there is tyranny at the door. No doubt the DNC type people think we are already there or such a regime is imminent. Time will tell. If we do have anarchy/tyranny close at hand, I believe it will be because we have chosen license over lawfulness. I believe the True Christian ethic is lawful and honors trees, canyons, seeds, environment, and life; it uses Big Industry as a tool to organize human labor in the direction of accomplishment of large projects and mechanizing the process of meeting man’s needs for survival and does so in a sustainable manner. We don’t know when the Lord will return, and there is no excuse to live for today because we believe He is coming soon. Power and influence should be used to rally the public opinion in the service of Godly direction. Until the nation is Truly Christian in its actions and intent, we will continue to degrade, and those who rebel against God will blame those who are pushing for Godliness for the disasters that beset us.
Jonathan: I THINK IT WOULD BE A GREAT WORLD IF WE LIVED BY CHRISTIAN VALUES. TOO BAD THE CHRISTIANS HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THOSE ARE. I THINK THE HURRICANE IN FLORIDA WAS A WARNING BY GOD TO THE REPUBLICANS NOT TO FIX THE ELECTION AGAIN 🙂
Thomas: Wrong and unGodly action will produce a disaster regardless of who promotes it. A Christian doing wrong is as effective in promoting the Kingdom of Evil as a Satanist, possibly more because he brings dishonor to the name of God by his action. Take what you want and pay for it. Know what you are getting into when you make a stand for righteousness in a den of evil. If you can do it well you will stand out like a light on a hill in comparison to the darkness below.