I, Pencil. A look at what can be done when government gets out of the way.

The following is an excellent essay on why Government is not the solution to our ills. If one was to take the time to read the story below, you may begin to understand, why the present course we on is doomed for failure. We live in Facebook world where the attention span cannot go past one sentence, but I challenge you to read and to understand what is at stake.

I, Pencil
My Family Tree as told to Leonard E. Read

RP.1

I am a lead pencil—the ordinary wooden pencil familiar to all boys and girls and adults who can read and write.*

RP.2

Writing is both my vocation and my avocation; that’s all I do.

RP.3

You may wonder why I should write a genealogy. Well, to begin with, my story is interesting. And, next, I am a mystery—more so than a tree or a sunset or even a flash of lightning. But, sadly, I am taken for granted by those who use me, as if I were a mere incident and without background. This supercilious attitude relegates me to the level of the commonplace. This is a species of the grievous error in which mankind cannot too long persist without peril. For, the wise G. K. Chesterton observed, “We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders.”

RP.4

I, Pencil, simple though I appear to be, merit your wonder and awe, a claim I shall attempt to prove. In fact, if you can understand me—no, that’s too much to ask of anyone—if you can become aware of the miraculousness which I symbolize, you can help save the freedom mankind is so unhappily losing. I have a profound lesson to teach. And I can teach this lesson better than can an automobile or an airplane or a mechanical dishwasher because—well, because I am seemingly so simple.

RP.5

Simple? Yet, not a single person on the face of this earth knows how to make me. This sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? Especially when it is realized that there are about one and one-half billion of my kind produced in the U.S.A. each year.

RP.6

Pick me up and look me over. What do you see? Not much meets the eye—there’s some wood, lacquer, the printed labeling, graphite lead, a bit of metal, and an eraser.

Innumerable Antecedents

RP.7

Just as you cannot trace your family tree back very far, so is it impossible for me to name and explain all my antecedents. But I would like to suggest enough of them to impress upon you the richness and complexity of my background.

RP.8

My family tree begins with what in fact is a tree, a cedar of straight grain that grows in Northern California and Oregon. Now contemplate all the saws and trucks and rope and the countless other gear used in harvesting and carting the cedar logs to the railroad siding. Think of all the persons and the numberless skills that went into their fabrication: the mining of ore, the making of steel and its refinement into saws, axes, motors; the growing of hemp and bringing it through all the stages to heavy and strong rope; the logging camps with their beds and mess halls, the cookery and the raising of all the foods. Why, untold thousands of persons had a hand in every cup of coffee the loggers drink!

RP.9

The logs are shipped to a mill in San Leandro, California. Can you imagine the individuals who make flat cars and rails and railroad engines and who construct and install the communication systems incidental thereto? These legions are among my antecedents.

RP.10

Consider the millwork in San Leandro. The cedar logs are cut into small, pencil-length slats less than one-fourth of an inch in thickness. These are kiln dried and then tinted for the same reason women put rouge on their faces. People prefer that I look pretty, not a pallid white. The slats are waxed and kiln dried again. How many skills went into the making of the tint and the kilns, into supplying the heat, the light and power, the belts, motors, and all the other things a mill requires? Sweepers in the mill among my ancestors? Yes, and included are the men who poured the concrete for the dam of a Pacific Gas & Electric Company hydroplant which supplies the mill’s power!

RP.11

Don’t overlook the ancestors present and distant who have a hand in transporting sixty carloads of slats across the nation.

RP.12

Once in the pencil factory—$4,000,000 in machinery and building, all capital accumulated by thrifty and saving parents of mine—each slat is given eight grooves by a complex machine, after which another machine lays leads in every other slat, applies glue, and places another slat atop—a lead sandwich, so to speak. Seven brothers and I are mechanically carved from this “wood-clinched” sandwich.

RP.13

My “lead” itself—it contains no lead at all—is complex. The graphite is mined in Ceylon. Consider these miners and those who make their many tools and the makers of the paper sacks in which the graphite is shipped and those who make the string that ties the sacks and those who put them aboard ships and those who make the ships. Even the lighthouse keepers along the way assisted in my birth—and the harbor pilots.

RP.14

The graphite is mixed with clay from Mississippi in which ammonium hydroxide is used in the refining process. Then wetting agents are added such as sulfonated tallow—animal fats chemically reacted with sulfuric acid. After passing through numerous machines, the mixture finally appears as endless extrusions—as from a sausage grinder-cut to size, dried, and baked for several hours at 1,850 degrees Fahrenheit. To increase their strength and smoothness the leads are then treated with a hot mixture which includes candelilla wax from Mexico, paraffin wax, and hydrogenated natural fats.

RP.15

My cedar receives six coats of lacquer. Do you know all the ingredients of lacquer? Who would think that the growers of castor beans and the refiners of castor oil are a part of it? They are. Why, even the processes by which the lacquer is made a beautiful yellow involve the skills of more persons than one can enumerate!

RP.16

Observe the labeling. That’s a film formed by applying heat to carbon black mixed with resins. How do you make resins and what, pray, is carbon black?

RP.17

My bit of metal—the ferrule—is brass. Think of all the persons who mine zinc and copper and those who have the skills to make shiny sheet brass from these products of nature. Those black rings on my ferrule are black nickel. What is black nickel and how is it applied? The complete story of why the center of my ferrule has no black nickel on it would take pages to explain.

RP.18

Then there’s my crowning glory, inelegantly referred to in the trade as “the plug,” the part man uses to erase the errors he makes with me. An ingredient called “factice” is what does the erasing. It is a rubber-like product made by reacting rape-seed oil from the Dutch East Indies with sulfur chloride. Rubber, contrary to the common notion, is only for binding purposes. Then, too, there are numerous vulcanizing and accelerating agents. The pumice comes from Italy; and the pigment which gives “the plug” its color is cadmium sulfide.

No One Knows

RP.19

Does anyone wish to challenge my earlier assertion that no single person on the face of this earth knows how to make me?

RP.20

Actually, millions of human beings have had a hand in my creation, no one of whom even knows more than a very few of the others. Now, you may say that I go too far in relating the picker of a coffee berry in far off Brazil and food growers elsewhere to my creation; that this is an extreme position. I shall stand by my claim. There isn’t a single person in all these millions, including the president of the pencil company, who contributes more than a tiny, infinitesimal bit of know-how. From the standpoint of know-how the only difference between the miner of graphite in Ceylon and the logger in Oregon is in the type of know-how. Neither the miner nor the logger can be dispensed with, any more than can the chemist at the factory or the worker in the oil field—paraffin being a by-product of petroleum.

RP.21

Here is an astounding fact: Neither the worker in the oil field nor the chemist nor the digger of graphite or clay nor any who mans or makes the ships or trains or trucks nor the one who runs the machine that does the knurling on my bit of metal nor the president of the company performs his singular task because he wants me. Each one wants me less, perhaps, than does a child in the first grade. Indeed, there are some among this vast multitude who never saw a pencil nor would they know how to use one. Their motivation is other than me. Perhaps it is something like this: Each of these millions sees that he can thus exchange his tiny know-how for the goods and services he needs or wants. I may or may not be among these items.

No Master Mind

RP.22

There is a fact still more astounding: the absence of a master mind, of anyone dictating or forcibly directing these countless actions which bring me into being. No trace of such a person can be found. Instead, we find the Invisible Hand at work. This is the mystery to which I earlier referred.

RP.23

It has been said that “only God can make a tree.” Why do we agree with this? Isn’t it because we realize that we ourselves could not make one? Indeed, can we even describe a tree? We cannot, except in superficial terms. We can say, for instance, that a certain molecular configuration manifests itself as a tree. But what mind is there among men that could even record, let alone direct, the constant changes in molecules that transpire in the life span of a tree? Such a feat is utterly unthinkable!

RP.24

I, Pencil, am a complex combination of miracles: a tree, zinc, copper, graphite, and so on. But to these miracles which manifest themselves in Nature an even more extraordinary miracle has been added: the configuration of creative human energies—millions of tiny know-hows configurating naturally and spontaneously in response to human necessity and desire and in the absence of any human master-minding! Since only God can make a tree, I insist that only God could make me. Man can no more direct these millions of know-hows to bring me into being than he can put molecules together to create a tree.

RP.25

The above is what I meant when writing, “If you can become aware of the miraculousness which I symbolize, you can help save the freedom mankind is so unhappily losing.” For, if one is aware that these know-hows will naturally, yes, automatically, arrange themselves into creative and productive patterns in response to human necessity and demand—that is, in the absence of governmental or any other coercive masterminding—then one will possess an absolutely essential ingredient for freedom: a faith in free people. Freedom is impossible without this faith.

RP.26

Once government has had a monopoly of a creative activity such, for instance, as the delivery of the mails, most individuals will believe that the mails could not be efficiently delivered by men acting freely. And here is the reason: Each one acknowledges that he himself doesn’t know how to do all the things incident to mail delivery. He also recognizes that no other individual could do it. These assumptions are correct. No individual possesses enough know-how to perform a nation’s mail delivery any more than any individual possesses enough know-how to make a pencil. Now, in the absence of faith in free people—in the unawareness that millions of tiny know-hows would naturally and miraculously form and cooperate to satisfy this necessity—the individual cannot help but reach the erroneous conclusion that mail can be delivered only by governmental “master-minding.”

Testimony Galore

RP.27

If I, Pencil, were the only item that could offer testimony on what men and women can accomplish when free to try, then those with little faith would have a fair case. However, there is testimony galore; it’s all about us and on every hand. Mail delivery is exceedingly simple when compared, for instance, to the making of an automobile or a calculating machine or a grain combine or a milling machine or to tens of thousands of other things. Delivery? Why, in this area where men have been left free to try, they deliver the human voice around the world in less than one second; they deliver an event visually and in motion to any person’s home when it is happening; they deliver 150 passengers from Seattle to Baltimore in less than four hours; they deliver gas from Texas to one’s range or furnace in New York at unbelievably low rates and without subsidy; they deliver each four pounds of oil from the Persian Gulf to our Eastern Seaboard—halfway around the world—for less money than the government charges for delivering a one-ounce letter across the street!

RP.28

The lesson I have to teach is this: Leave all creative energies uninhibited. Merely organize society to act in harmony with this lesson. Let society’s legal apparatus remove all obstacles the best it can. Permit these creative know-hows freely to flow. Have faith that free men and women will respond to the Invisible Hand. This faith will be confirmed. I, Pencil, seemingly simple though I am, offer the miracle of my creation as testimony that this is a practical faith, as practical as the sun, the rain, a cedar tree, the good earth.

RP.29

 

Leonard E. Read (1898-1983) founded FEE in 1946 and served as its president until his death.

“I, Pencil,” his most famous essay, was first published in the December 1958 issue of The Freeman. Although a few of the manufacturing details and place names have changed over the past forty years, the principles are unchanged.

George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation

 

Thanksgiving Proclamation

Issued by President George Washington, at the request of Congress, on October 3, 1789

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go. Washington

Keeping Christ out of Focus

Christianity is the only world religion that has its major doctrines obscured by imaginary creatures.  At His birth we are given a magical elf and toys. We spend our time running to stores to get photos taken with this gentleman  and then tell our kids he know when they are good and bad, and that he has power to circle the globe in a 24 hr period. A child dreams at night of all the toys he will receive and listens for the sound of hoofs on the roof. But then we are sure to sprinkle just enough Jesus in there so we dont forget the reason for the season. But with all of this we blur the reality of the virgin birth and its necessity.

At the resurrection we are given a rabbit, chocolate and dyed eggs. What these have all in common has never been properly explained to me. But this is the focus of our celebration and to make matters worse we attache a pagan name to it and call it Easter. Again the reality of a living Saviour who rose from the grave is obscured.

These two creatures are designed to help keep the eyes off the glory and salvation that is found in Christ. he walks hand in hand with these mythical beings and we wrap it up in a package and call it the magic of childhood. Is is no wonder that most children will not serve a living God when they reach the teen years. Especially when lied to about magical creatures. But why is it that no other religion has such foolishness? Why is there no such beings in any Jewish holiday? Why no eggs or elf’s in the Muslim celebrations? Why do the Hindus not have a side show to their main event?

The reality is there is an enemy hard at work to keep the focus on make believe than on what is most important. Men need to believe in a Virgin Born Saviour for without it the resurrection is of little value. Then just as we have the Virgin Birth down we must have a risen Saviour. Or else he is nothing more than a martyr. When it comes to the other faiths he has no worries because they dont provide eternal life, and they are keeping men blinded to the truth that is in Christ.  Christian parents have bought into the lie that this is part of childhood and we dont want them to miss this time in their life. After all they will grow up soon and never have the chance to believe such marvelous tales again. trust me they will be fine in fact their focus will have been where the Lord wanted it in the first place, on Him. Yes Virginia there is a Satan and he wants to keep you blinded to a real and living God.

pastormattnj:

I have always been encouraged by this story so I will repost it again.

Originally posted on pastormattnj:

The Following story is not mine but borrowed. The author is unknown, and I trust it will help encourage your heart as it has done mine.

I remember a day one winter that stands out like a boulder in my life. The weather was unusually cold, our salary had not been regularly paid, and it did not most our needs when it was.

My husband was away much or the time, traveling from one district to another. Our boys were well, but my little Ruth was ailing, and at last none of us were decently clothed. I patched and re-patched, with spirits sinking to the lowest ebb. The water gave out in the well and the wind blew through the cracks in the floor.

The people in the parish were kind and generous too; but the settlement was new, and each family was struggling for itself. Little by little, at…

View original 1,477 more words

Tolerance or Surrender

I recently came across this in my reading time

The only thing recognized in matters of morals, the only standard for the definition and measure of God and things divine will be personal experience. Those who attempt to bind the conscience, direct the soul, and set before it a definite concept of God and a fixed line of conduct in respect to Him and to one another will be looked upon, not only as narrow bigots, but as intolerable tyrants, as criminal hinderers to all true knowledge. The new generation is intoxicated with the rallying cry of ‘self-expression.’

The new generation is letting itself go. If it has any standard, it is the standard of exalted personalism and self-pleasing at any cost to old law and old custom, or old manners . . . With the weakening down of law and self-restraint, there is the over-leaping race for material pleasures.

This is the inspiration of the ‘get rich quick’ movement; get money that may be spent on pleasure and more pleasure . . . No one has time; all are pressed, life is too short to stop and think . . . ‘On with the song’ and ‘on with the dance,’ these are the cries, and the music goes faster and more furiously. The very sounds of the music are barbaric, appealing to the animal, to the brute sense within, stirring the blood, adding fuel to the fire till passion is at white heat . . .

‘The life that now is’ forms the horizon of the vast army of young men and women coming out of school and college. All their instruction, all their equipment is for this world . . . Let modernism continue its work of near pantheism, its agnostic attitude concerning the soul and the other side of death, and in a few hurrying years the moral and spiritual ruin of the coming generation cannot be imagined.

To raise a cry against this as ‘divisive,’, to appeal to compromise for the sake of ‘brotherhood’ and ‘Christian charity’ and to talk about love being more important in the church than correctness of doctrine, is emotional weakness and fallacious folly . . .

The word ‘toleration’ must be cut out of the church vocabulary. You cannot find it in the Bible. It is not a nice word. It is not to be found in good company. It is a word much used by middle-of-the-road men. It has in it, no matter how much dissimulated, the crawling, creeping movement of surrender . . . Why should the Church tolerate men who no longer tolerate the Bible as God gave it to us?”

This is a quote from I. M. Haldeman, in “Why I Am Opposed To Modernism”, 1929 

Sad to say its is true today just as is was back then. The only difference is back then the church yelled Amen today they holler a cry phrases like “you have no compassion”  “you are not Christ like” “you are divisive” and on and on they go. True biblical Christianity is one of no compromise and one of proclaiming Gods Word. The Apostle Paul did not concern himself with what others thought of him or the message he gave. Yet the church today is very concerned about what impression it leaves upon a blind and lost world. This is not to say we should act ignorant or unkind but the preacher has a divine obligation. It is his sacred duty to stand between the living and the dead and warn of judgment to come. Where in scripture is said they we must concern ourselves with how men feel? I do not find Jeremiah absorbed in the politically correct culture of his day. I do not see Ezekiel worried that some Israelite will get offended if he says the truth. These men and may others like them concerned themselves with one thing, and that was what was God feeling. Truth must be explained and it can be done in a variety of ways all without compromise. When the church surrenders and begins to give the world the message it wants instead of what it needs there will be serious consequences. We as Christian look at the world and we see it all upside down. What was once wrong is now right and if a man speaks out he is shouted down. The phrase today is “Hate speech” we have freedom of speech as long as its not hate speech. Is this insane and who is it that determines hate speech? Remember it is usually the multitude that determines this and history has proven that the results are dangerous. I think of the crowd at Ephesus who shouted for hours and we not tolerate an opposing opinion. Today it is found most notably in the Muslim culture where they burn and kill and will not allow a dissenting opinion. With all of this the Born Again Christian must not compromise but continue in the path that has been laid. This path is one of blood the blood of martyrs. Do we think ourselves better that those who paid the price before us? Do we think that somehow its a glorious thing for others to lay down their life, but us……well the cost to high?

These are exciting times to serve the living God and we must not waver. Hebrews says we are surrounded with a great cloud of witnesses, and if that’s the case then lets press on. Press on and fight the fight that has been waged for centuries, and let us not lower the blood stained banner but exalt the truth.

The Devil

Here is a poem I read many years ago its simply called “The Devil” I have read it from time to time as  I would preach on this subject.  The author is unknown but I feel it has hit the nail on the head.

 

Men don’t believe in a devil now, as their fathers used to do.
They’ve opened the door to the broadest creed to let his majesty thru.
There isn’t a print of his cloven feet or a fiery dart from his bow
To be found on earth or anywhere, for the world has voted it so.
But who is mixing the fatal draught that kills both heart and brain,
And loads the earth each passing year with ten hundred thousand slain?
Who blights the bloom of the land today with the fiery breath of hell?
If the devil isn’t or never was—won’t somebody please rise and tell?
Who dogs the steps of the toiling saint and digs the pits for his feet?
Who sows the tares in the field of time when God is sowing pure wheat.
But the devil is voted just not to be—and of course the thing is true—
But who is doing the kind of work the devil is supposed to do?
Won’t somebody step to the front right now—and immediately begin to show—
How the frauds and the crimes of the day spring up—for surely we want to know!
The devil was fairly voted out—and of course the devil’s gone—
But simply fold would like to know, who carries his business on?

The man who says there is no Devil is a man who never tried to live right

A Lost World is Watching

 

 

 

 

In the summer of 1805, a number of Indian chiefs and warriors met in council at Buffalo Creek, New York to hear a presentation of the Christian message by a Mr. Cram from the Boston Missionary Society. After the sermon, a response was given by Red Jacket, one of the leading chiefs. Among other things, the chief said:

“Brother, you say that there is but one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit. If there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so much about it? Why not all agree, as you can all read the Book?

“Brother, we are told that you have been preaching to the white people in this place. These people are our neighbors. We are acquainted with them. We will wait a little while and see what effect your preaching has upon them. If we find it does them good, makes them honest and less disposed to cheat Indians, we will then consider again of what you have said.”
Red Jacket never became a Christian.