Richard Elfers

Freedom without order is chaos | Rich Elfers

Freedom! What a wonderful power—or is it? I considered that paradox after speaking with one of my Chinese students from Shanghai. I had asked him what had struck him most about being in America. His answer was, "all the freedom we enjoy in this country." It was such a contrast to his country's control under "socialist capitalism".

Campaigns are not for faint of heart | Rich Elfers

‘Tis the season for charge and countercharge, smear for smear, for endorsing candidates through letters to the editor, for articles from pundits like me, pointing all this out. Usually, the tactics of character assassination and ethics violations are used at the state and national level, but this year’s local contests are following the higher levels of government at least in their viciousness.

On both sides, moderates will emerge | Rich Elfers

There are two key assumptions about human nature that help me predict who the next U.S. presidential candidates will be. Putting these two assumptions together will help determine who the candidates will be in 2016.

Voters pick honesty over personality | Rich Elfers

Americans are having a debate over what makes someone a good leader, according to George Friedman in a recent Stratfor article entitled, “The Crisis of the Well-Crafted Candidate”. The current debate over whether business experience matters much in politics was reinforced in A Christian Science Monitor article by Pieter Grier called, “Does Carly Fiorina’s Business Experience at HP Matter?” The current pool of presidential candidates demonstrates there is change in voter attitudes about what makes a good president.

Federalists and Anti-Federalists, past and present | Rich Elfers

Do you know that attitudes created in the 1787-88 ratification of the Constitution are still with us today in our two major parties? Back then they were called Federalists and Anti-Federalists. Today these two perspectives are alive and well within the Republican and Democratic parties.

A tale of two presidential libraries | Rich Elfers

It caught my attention when the second Republican presidential debate took place Sept. 15 at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. I, as part of a group of teachers, visited the library on a weekend break during the National Academy on Civics and Government in July.

Why do we need government anyway? | Rich Elfers

Why do we need government anyway? It seems we argue about how government should be – smaller if Republican, bigger for Democrats – but we seem to ignore the greater question about the need for government in the first place. History and philosophy provide some of the answers.

Old ideas a part of our national DNA | Rich Elfers

Can you fill in the blanks? “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created ______, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are _______, ________, and the __________ of_______________.”

Focus on flaws harmful human nature | Rich Elfers

It is always easy to point out flaws. To prove this, just look at whatever is hot in the news media right now: the police and race, terrorism, the job rating of the president or Congress, the Republican primary process, the Iran vote – the list can be nearly endless.

Personal views shape future of church | Rich Elfers

I first heard the phrase “Post-modern World” from my daughter Betsy after she graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in international affairs/development more than a decade ago.

China making push in world economy | Rich Elfers

Centuries ago, China was the major world power. China and Europe were linked by what became known as the “Silk Road.” China’s silks, porcelain and technologies like printing, chess, the compass and gunpowder traveled west along this road to change the West and the world.

To the top: A journey up Mount Si | Life Outdoors

Not everyone’s idea of a perfect day off is waking up at 5 a.m. and hiking for six hours. Usually it involves shutting off all alarms, sleeping in, enjoying a nice cup of coffee at your leisure and planning out the rest of your day. But, when you want to do a hike and avoid heat and crowds, waking up at 5 a.m. on your day off is really the only way to get the job done. Mount Si is known in this area for the spectacular view at the top and possibly one of the longest day hikes.

U.S. fares best against a ‘stateless’ foe | Rich Elfers

What do we know about the Islamic State? We know that I.S. came from al-Qaida and then broke off to form its own jihadi organization. How do the strategies of these two Islamic organizations differ? Are the differences important?

Big government is bad; big business is worse | Rich Elfers

It’s wrong to blame Big Business for the nation’s economic ills. Big Government invasively meddles into the lives of Americans with too many rules and regulations limiting people’s freedom. The 2008 Great Recession was caused by the government, not Wall Street. The above statements are the gist of what I have been hearing from some members of the community. According to them, I give government a pass on accountability and unjustifiably blame business for the ills of society.

History affects the present; the rise of I.S. | In Politics

Did you know the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the victory of Muslim holy warriors in Afghanistan helped to bring about the rise of the Islamic State? It put the secular Arab governments in the Middle East under great pressure, according to Stratfor’s George Friedman in a June 9, 2015, article called, “A Net Assessment of the Middle East.”

Pick the best from both political worlds | Rich Elfers

“As all conservatives know, liberals are a bunch of sandal-wearing, tree-hugging, whale-saving, hybrid-driving, trash-recycling, peaceniks, flip-floppers and bed-wetters.” This quotation comes from psychologist, author and publisher Michael Shermer in a comment about an article entitled, “What Makes People vote Republican?” by Jonathan Haidt.

Tough to realize what big egos we have | Rich Elfers

Confucius said, “Don’t do unto others what you would not want others to do unto you.” That’s a little twist to the old familiar saying, but I am trying to make a point that should become clear as you read along.

Corporations should put health, morals first | Rich Elfers

Vision, creativity, hard work, strong focus, risk-taking, long-term thinking, self-reflection, giving the customer what he/she wants – these are the qualities that have made Jeff Bezos a household name along with the multi-billion dollar company he created: Amazon.com.

Both risk lives, one gets all the glory | Rich Elfers

Why are law enforcement officers currently under the gun of criticism while firefighters are viewed as heroes? Both police and firefighters’ jobs are to protect and save lives and property. Both risk their lives as part of their jobs. What’s the difference in the public’s perception between the two?

Few incumbents are being challenged | Rich Elfers

In Sumner, four candidates are running unopposed for the City Council. In Bonney Lake, there are four council positions with no opposition. The Enumclaw School Board has three unopposed seats. Fire District 28 has only one position and it, too, is unopposed. In Black Diamond, two of the four council positions have two candidates competing; my guess is that the issue of the housing developments is still partly the cause.