Love vs Trust  

Posted by Brock Booher

I got hustled at a convenience store the other day. A middle-aged man hit me up for gas money with a sob story about trying to get his painting business off the ground. He told me how much he loved God and how he was a hard worker, he even flattered me with a compliment. Awkward. I didn’t believe his story, his compliment, or even his commitment to God, but I gave him some gas money and sent him on his way. When I paid for the gas, he hurried out to the pump without so much as a thank you.

I shook my head and laughed. It felt good to help someone in need, even when they probably didn’t deserve it and didn’t appear to be grateful for it.

Scottish author and Christian minister George MacDonald said, “To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved.” How true! I didn’t trust the man in need, but I loved him enough to give him gas money. I didn’t believe his story, but I loved him enough to offer up a small token of my charity. Love is very different than trust. Love, or charity, will conquer all, eventually. But in the meantime, I must be careful with my trust. Love I must offer freely. Trust I must value more than gold.

We are facing a similar crisis of trust, or question of confidence. Do we follow our Judeo-Christian values to help our fellow man and allow Syrian refugees into our country and communities, or do we listen to the centuries-old intuition of self-preservation and keep them at a distance? Which counsel do we trust? The fate of our entire Western Civilization may very well be determined by how we answer this internal question.

One must take risks to win wars. Generals and Sergeants do not become famous without bold action laden with great risk. Risk is inherent in conflict, and to win a conflict, one must be willing to risk it all, both individually, and as group. We will not win the war against Al Queda, ISIS, or radical Islam without risk.

One must lead, or be led, to win battles, and wars. The greatest army in the world will sit inert and ineffective without competent leadership. Victory in conflict is impossible without leadership. We will not defeat radical Islamists without leadership.

Like almost every war, this war is a war of ideologies. It is a war for the hearts and minds of people. It is a war of thought, speech, and belief more than a war of tanks, airplanes, and bullets. Because we value the freedom of thought, speech, and belief, it feels strange having to fight an enemy that wants to restrict thought, speech, and belief. We deem the entire conflict to be unnecessary because those freedoms are so entrenched in our law and society that we cannot fathom someone trying to eliminate them. We trust, like our founding fathers, that these truths are “self evident” and are baffled that we must defend them or protect them. But defend and protect them we must, or we will soon find that they are no longer ours.

The Syrian refugee question has provided us with an opportunity to make a bold move in the field of battle. We have an opportunity to see thousands of potential combatants in this ideological fight converted to our way of thinking, but like most opportunities, it is fraught with enormous risk. If we choose to bring the refugees into our borders we have tremendous power to change the hearts and minds of thousands of potential, and perhaps actual, combatants. We also run the risk of bringing terrorists, who will flatly refuse to be converted to our way of thinking no matter how well we treat them, into our communities.

If we choose not to give haven to the refugees we may be playing into the ideology of the jihadists. The radical Islamists can then use our lack of willingness to help those in need against us. In the name of self-preservation we may be creating the next generation of enemy combatants that once radicalized will stop at nothing to see us, and our way of thinking, conquered.

We are damned if we do, and damned if we don’t.

What makes the decision more difficult is the lack of leadership in the White House and the political hypocrisy in the media. The same people urging, practically insisting, that we bring the refugees into our borders in the name of Christian values, are the very same people that make fun of us for clinging to God and guns. The same shills that try to shame us into opening our hearts to the refugees in the name of human decency demand that we ignore the human indecency of abortion. The voices that clamor for charity and tolerance for the refugees, offer neither to believers who wish to express their faith in the public square. Like the panhandler in the convenience store, I love but I don’t trust.

How can we trust a leader who already ignores our immigration laws to handle the influx of thousands of potentially dangerous refugees? How can we trust a president that scolds us like little children when we disagree or question his judgment? Can we trust a leader who mocks opposing views and ignores anything that doesn’t agree with his narrow view of the world? We don’t trust leaders who don’t listen. We don’t trust leaders that ignore the rule of law and even try to subvert it. We don’t trust leaders that won’t take bold action in the name of safety, freedom, or even order, to keep us safe.

So where does that leave us? Sitting in our ideological foxhole waiting for someone to give us marching orders? Waiting for the next attack to be broadcast across the twenty-four hour news cycle? Hunkering down in fear and ignorance?

We are at war. We will not win without risk. We may not have leadership we trust, but we can trust in the principles of charity, kindness, and self-preservation at the same time. We must figure out a way to aid this wave of refugees, even though we know it is fraught with risk, or our children will be fighting their children for generations to come. We must trust that the principle of freedom will change the hearts and minds (of some) of our current enemies, and that the actions of self-preservation and self-defense will eliminate those who refuse to change.

Like my interaction with the man in the convenience store, whose story I didn’t believe, we must find a way to help, not because political shills demand it, but because we love our fellow man. At the same time, we must protect ourselves from wolves in sheep’s clothing. We must love, but we do not have to trust.

Love, or charity, will conquer all, eventually. But in the meantime, I must be careful with my trust.

Definition of a Man  

Posted by Brock Booher

Recent headline —Houston transgender bathroom bill debate centers on differing definitions of ‘men’

It used to be a simple question. When the doctor delivered a newborn baby everyone asked, “Is it a boy or a girl?” There typically wasn’t a lot of arguing about it and the answer was obvious almost all of the time. (Gender ambiguity only occurs in 1 out of 4500 births. Biology hasn’t changed over the years, and with today’s science and DNA tests, the sex of the baby can be determined, even in the rare cases of gender ambiguity. What has changed is how people identify themselves. The definition of a ‘man’ has certainly changed, but I would argue that behavior does more to define manhood than DNA.

When I was kid you could identify a man by the way he carried himself. A man walked a certain way, talked a certain way, and had an air about him that let you know he was a man. A man walked into a room with confidence, even if he wasn’t the smartest or most qualified person in the room. He held his head high, looked people in the eye, and gave a firm handshake. If you had to tell someone you were a man it was a sure sign that you weren’t. Real men carried themselves like men.

You could tell a man by the way he talked. A man used words like, “Ma’am” and “Sir.” A man watched his language in polite company and avoided vulgarity. A man’s word was his bond and he would rather die before dishonoring his good name with a lie. A man didn’t waste time whining or complaining unless he also offered a solution to the problem. A man avoided talking behind someone’s back and preferred to tell you his opinion to your face where it could be disputed in manly style. Real men talked like men.

You could tell a man by the way he dealt with pain. A man kept his pain to himself. If he was hurt, sick, or injured he didn’t complain about it or announce it to the world. He understood that when you complain half of the people don’t care about your problems, and the other half are glad you’ve got them. A man stoically pressed forward enduring the pain until it subsided, or maybe killed him. Real men dealt with pain quietly and without fanfare.

You could tell a man by the way he shouldered responsibility. A man didn’t ask for quarter, he asked for opportunity. When a man made a mistake, he fessed up and made it right. He didn’t avoid the difficult task, but rolled up his sleeves and got busy. He didn’t look for the government, his neighbor, or heaven forbid his wife, to do his work for him. If a man had a job to do, he did it. Real men squared their shoulders and bore responsibility with pride.

You could tell a man by the way he treated duty. A man viewed his duty as an obligation that he must fulfill. A man didn’t look for loopholes or excuses to shirk his duty. When duty called, such as serving your country, taking care of your neighbor, speaking out against injustice, he answered that call without fanfare and did what duty required. Real men treated duty as an obligation of manhood.

You could tell a man by the way he behaved around women, and children. A man opened doors for women, or offered a woman his seat on a crowded bus. A man deferred to a woman in a crowd and allowed her to go first. He offered up his coat, umbrella, or whatever else he could offer to ease a woman’s burden or make her more comfortable. He protected children from harm, bounced them on his knee, and told them stories. A man provided for his children and loathed a handout, considering it an insult to his manhood. Real men took care of women and children.

Have real men become so rare that we need a committee to define manhood nowadays? Men have we done such a poor job of being real men that even the very definition of a man is under debate? I’m not talking about ego-driven, chest-thumping, juvenile behavior. I’m referring to the all the strengths that ennoble man and make him worthy of emulation. If manhood has become so rare that it needs a council of politicians to define it, then maybe it’s time we put down the bite-size quiche and started being men again.

Yes, politicians and society may debate about the differing definitions of men, but a real man is still easy to pick out of the crowd. He’s the one behaving like a man.

Candy For a Funeral  

Posted by Brock Booher

I arrived at Sweeties, a candy store, dressed for a funeral. Most people bring flowers to a funeral. I was bringing candy.

My friend Dave had died.

Dave and I met years ago. He was intelligent, caring, and intensely curious about the world. We began a friendship, but not the casual friendship. He was not the type of friend that discussed casual things. He moved past superficial conversation like a supersonic aircraft. We talked about politics, religion, and economics. We didn’t always agree, but the conversation was never dull.

As a lawyer, Dave practiced the ugliest and most contentious kind of law—family law. He was always embroiled in some divorce, custody dispute, or visitation battle. He would often see people at their worst, but he never lost faith in humanity. He never complained about the bitterness and heartache he witnessed every day. Somehow he managed to keep his faith in humanity even when he could see that humanity didn’t merit any faith.

I often felt humbled by my friend’s praise. Dave would gush with effervescent praise about his family and his friends, but not in front of everyone. He did it in private so that you knew he was sincere about his feelings. He wasn’t looking to butter you up with flattery so he could ask for a favor later. He genuinely expressed himself. Sometimes I felt awkward because I didn’t feel I deserved his praise, but I also knew he wasn’t one to offer feigned compliments.

I loved the way Dave defended the underdog and fought for justice, even at his own expense sometimes. If he felt a wrong had been committed, he would use his communication skills like a battering ram in an effort to break down the door of injustice and take the castle by storm.

Then a few years ago, we all noticed a change in Dave. His conversations became a bit more pointed. His demeanor became slightly more caustic. He withdrew from social interaction more than usual as his mood darkened. Being his friend became more difficult. We all wondered what had caused the change in his personality.

I didn’t know exactly what to do, but I tried not to let this shift in personality change our friendship. I didn’t see him as much, but when we did have interaction, I tried to make him feel like a friend. In spite of the changes he had experienced, he never stopped being my friend.

A few months ago, doctors discovered a tumor in Dave’s brain.

Now it all made sense. The tumor had affected him in invisible ways that were then manifested in his behavior. He was literally dealing with a demon in his brain, but didn’t know about it. Unfortunately that demon could not be exorcised and eventually it took Dave’s life.

I’m glad I gave my friend the benefit of the doubt when his behavior changed. I’m glad I didn’t judge him too harshly when he withdrew from social interaction. I’m glad I continued to treat him as a friend, even though we didn’t interact as much as before. I tried to accept him where he was and be his friend.

We never know what demons are battling in the minds and souls of the people we meet. We often cannot see or understand the internal conflict that is raging in the hearts of those around us. It’s okay to set up boundaries when dealing with difficult people, but we must exercise kindness, tolerance, and patience if we hope for others to proffer us the same virtues when our inner demons have taken us captive and are wreaking havoc with our emotional world.

Like most of you, I know something about battling an inner demon. Perhaps that is why I am most grateful to those who showed me courtesy when I deserved no courtesy; who tolerated my bad behavior when I deserved no tolerance; who showed me mercy when in reality, I deserved swift justice.

I went to see Dave in hospice before he died. We talked for a while, and the conversation was anything but casual. After a while his eyelids drooped and he told me he needed to take a nap. I asked if I could bring him any special food, and at first he declined, but then he asked for this special candy—a gummy candy that looked like a raspberry. He explained that I could only find it at Sweeties. I went and bought him five pounds of that candy. A dying man shouldn’t have to worry about his diet. He ate some of that candy every day until he finally passed.

I took candy to the funeral of a friend. It was sweet sorrow.

A (Modern) Modest Proposal  

Posted by Brock Booher

Please apply the following definition to the blogpost that follows the definition.

satire |ˈsaˌtīrnounthe use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.• a play, novel, film, or other work that uses satire: a stinging satire onAmerican politics.• a genre of literature characterized by the use of satire.• (in Latin literature) a literary miscellany, especially a poem ridiculing prevalent vices or follies.

A Modest Proposal
A modern homage to Jonathan Swift’s original satire

It is lamentable that we live in a time of so much prosperity and yet we as a nation cannot seem to control our debt. It is estimated that by the end of 2015 the national debt will have surpassed eighteen trillion dollars, a staggering sum that seems almost impossible to pay back.

I have often found myself pondering upon a solution for eliminating this onerous burden from the current generation, and from future generations, if at all possible. After much consideration and inward deliberation, I have a proposal to combat the tide of red ink and save future generations from this overwhelming financial burden.

I propose that we legalize murder.

Now I don’t mean that we should legalize the brutal crime of passion or even the premeditated form of eliminating an enemy without warning. We are an advanced society that is capable of a much more sophisticated approach. I propose that we legalize murder in a fashion that fills the public coffers, and provides ample governmental control and regulation to ensure proper decorum and fair treatment of all.

Allow me use an example to explain how we can capitalize on legalized murder.

Let’s say that your boss is making your life miserable and you feel like you would be doing the world a favor by dispatching him or her from this life to the next. First, you must file a motion with the government-run exchange advertising your intent to murder your boss. This of course would require a filing fee set by the legislature and adjusted for inflation from time to time. Once the motion to murder is filed, the potential murder victim will be properly notified of the motion. They in turn have twenty-four hours to file a counter motion, provided they have sufficient funds to pay the appropriate fees. The government-sanctioned motion and counter motion will start the clock towards an amicable murder.

Once the motions are properly filed and annotated with government regulators, a scrip is created in the murder marketplace (similar to crowd sourcing sites) and capitalism takes over from there. You use your influence among family, friends, and coworkers and advise them of your intent to murder your boss. They in turn participate in the exchange by buying shares of your scrip for this legal, and civilized, murder. On the opposite end, your boss likewise solicits support from people within his or her sphere of influence and they in turn buy shares of the scrip supporting the counter motion. The scrip and counter scrip will remain in play for a specified time prescribed by government regulators (appointed of course by honestly elected officials).

At the end of the prescribed time the scrip worth the most money in the exchange wins. If you have solicited more monetary support in the marketplace than your boss, then you have seventy-two hours to carry out the legal and amicable murder of your boss. If your boss manages to rally more monetary support for his or her scrip, then he or she is protected by law, and you cannot legally carry out the murder.

Of course, a person sentenced to murder by the exchange does not have to willfully submit to the event. He or she has the right to evade the exchange-endorsed murder, if he or she can successfully keep from getting murdered during the legally-dictated window of opportunity. No matter what the outcome, all monies remain in the public coffers to pay off the national debt.

Imagine the possibilities and benefits of such a program! First and foremost it would most likely bring in millions of dollars each year that could be used to eliminate the national debt. Over ten thousand people are murdered illegally in the US each year. Under my proposal the exchange would most likely raise an average of one hundred thousand dollars per murder. (I admit that I have no concrete evidence for this number but my presumption is that most people know at least one hundred people that would pay one thousand dollars to keep them alive.) Likewise, since most people want to continue living and avoid being murdered, another hundred thousand could presumably be raised by those opposing the murder.

If my math is correct, that would raise approximately two billion dollars per year to eliminate the national debt! Of course I envision that once the exchange begins the number of legal murders would outpace the current number of illegal murders at least ten to one. Again I have no empirical evidence to support this except for the current number of legal abortions in the US (over one million per year) and my personal experience with raging drivers in rush hour traffic, but I think my calculations are not an over exaggeration.

Second, this would also allow us to unburden society with those too weak to contribute to it. Imagine the resources that could be reallocated if families were allowed to amicably murder disabled children, comatose adults, parents with dementia, family members with chronic addiction, etc. Since these weaker members of society would most likely not be able raise any money for an opposing scrip in the murder marketplace, they could be dispatched with even the most limited of funds by family members seeking personal freedom from the overtasking and heavy burden of caring for someone that can never contribute to the productivity of society. Likewise, government resources currently allocated to care for this burdensome segment of society could then be freed and applied to reducing the national debt. It would be a win-win.

Third, it would provide voters relief from corrupt and inefficient politicians without waiting for the next election cycle. If a politician is not properly performing his or her duties, a concerned voter, preferably trained in the art of murder, can go to the exchange and file a motion to murder said politician on behalf of the constituency. The process could play out as it would for any other citizen, except that politicians are often very good at raising money, particularly when it involves their own safety and well being. This skill at raising money would bring billions into the public coffers and keep the politicians more beholden to their voters, especially those voters with means, motive, and opportunity.

Lastly, a beneficial program of legalized murder would reduce the need for so many homicide detectives and policemen. Granted, some of them would have to be retrained to handle the paperwork, but that clerical job would require much less skill and intelligence than the job of a skilled detective and would not require the same compensation. No doubt many of the former detectives could become freelance advisors helping those who win a bid for murder see it through to a successful end. The overall cost for law enforcement would be greatly reduced.

One other possibility that I am cautious about mentioning because of my limited knowledge with parimutuel gambling, is the revenue that might also be captured by allowing people to bet on winners and losers in the murder marketplace. I think it also has the potential of dramatically increasing revenue, but I leave that subject to someone more versed in the field of gambling and keep my suggestions strictly to those surrounding legalized murder.

So you can clearly see the benefits of legal murder for our society. Imagine the revenue we could bring in to eliminate the national debt! Imagine the Darwin-like effect of trimming our society of those not fit to survive! Imagine the lawlessness it could eliminate from our everyday lives!

You may say that my proposal is preposterous and has no legal precedent since we have never allowed for legal murder, but in the eyes of the law, multiple precedents are available for legalizing murder. The government has a history of legalizing things previously illegal, provided that said government gains control of the activity and benefits monetarily from all future activity in the process. I would refer the reader to previous illegal (or at least controlled) items such as abortion, gambling, lotteries, prostitution, alcohol, and marijuana. These have all become mainstays of governmental involvement and have provided a great deal of revenue for the local, state, and the federal governments directly, not to mention the indirect gains for enterprising politicians or private contractors. My proposal only strives to follow this same precedent and make murder another form of revenue and control for our burgeoning federal government.

When you consider the logic we have used to legalize a number of other behaviors that were previously illegal all in the name of revenue, it is easy to make the same argument for legalizing murder.

For the sake of future generations, it’s time to legalize murder.

For more information about the original work of Jonathan Swift visit  -