Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It's Wednesday! Beatings for everyone!

Woke up this morning to the sound of beatings... then went back to sleep.

Kids were already in their classes at 6 a.m., that's right, an hour before the Sun came up, and apparently an entire class managed to irritate their teacher enough to earn a universal caning. In America the teacher would have been fired, brought up on criminal charges, and the school would have been sued. Here, it was a Wednesday. I'm not sure which is better... I'm not even sure which is more entertaining.

Incidentally the school administrator made a surprise early visit this morning to check on the teachers. Who got hammered? The teacher giving his arm a workout at the expense of a cane and a bunch of kids? Nope, the teachers whose classrooms were full of students waiting to learn, but didn't show up till 30-60 minutes after they were supposed to. They weren't caned, kinda funny if they were, they just had to work the rest of the day without pay.

The sort of freedom you find out here sucks sometimes, usually in the lack of accountability for those in charge. But at least it allows you to see the nature of those in charge. Sure the country is full of little "big men" who are busy building their own kingdoms and making lives miserable for all those around them. But at least they aren't disguised by "regulations", "systems", and "procedures", they're just small minded dicks flopping in the wind for everyone to see. This cultural system sucks because there is very little teaching and training that improves the quality of the leaders (there are a few notable exceptions), but it excels at revealing the nature of people - which I'm grateful for. It also enable some ingenuous compassionate, good people to come up with original and effective ways of loving people. Specifics are often hidden, but the fruit seems to be on the surface for all those interested in seeing.

Though probably an anarchist or libertarian in most of my political positions, I willingly admit government has an important role to play in society. I just think, given a good choice and two bad ones, most governments will find a much worse fourth option and cling to it like rats on a log. Give a bad king power and he will try to take more, give a good king power and he will do everything he can to give it away.
And therein lies the rub.

We all want a "good leader" to run our lives, make the tough decisions, and tell us exactly what to do. Problem is, a good leader knows, for all the real good his or her dictatorial proclamations and aggressive action can bring about, the greatest good may in fact be to protect people from lousy leaders in the future, this means limiting themselves as well.

The more I see, the less I'm interested in politics and the more I'm interested in people - this doesn't stop me from being an antisocial political zealot sometimes. I think God is the same way, I think we see it in the way He valued freedom right from the start. Giving humans free will wasn't a good business decision; it was an essential relational decision. Without freedom, none of us would know who we are; with freedom, we are allowed to inflict others with our Jackholedness. God chose the more interesting option. It seems we are often afraid to do the same. Successful, big, interesting people, who lead well, only reveal themselves when given the freedom to suck and fail. This is true for business, family, politics, and ministry.

Regulations and laws are often necessary but always limited in value, they don't create good people, they simply limit the reach and impact of the bad.* At some point we need to decide what we value more. Is our highest value the regulation of bad or the enablement and creation of good? Freedom isn't primarily a political issue it's an issue of personal value. Do we want to be free and deal with the fruit, or ruled and pass the burden off on others? This is NOT political rhetoric, but a question placed to every aspect of our lives.

*obviously, some laws protect those who cant protect themselves, creating a freedom of sorts; hence, the necessity of some. The point is, enforced laws don't make bad people good, governance just inhibits them. If we want more good people we need an option other than more laws.


  1. Emmet,
    You are an interesting man with interesting thoughts.

  2. How could my brother from a different mother be so much like me, but so different from me at the same time. Interesting stuff. Miss you, man. Be praying for my mom, she is in the hospital and the doctor is testing her for breast cancer. She had a scary night on Saturday night where blood clots in her lungs threatened her life. The clots are reduced, but is being have biopsies done today. God Bless. Scott

  3. Dude, sorry man. I'll be praying.

  4. Emmet, good thoughts... and it is good to see you are doing well. I caught your blog through facebook. Let's catch up via direct message etc.

    Jeff Moody