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This Month's Scripture Verse:
Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil -- I Timothy 6:9-10a



Friday, October 9, 2015

How Shall We Then Die?

There are not too many pro-life articles that combine both a compelling conviction and a personal warmth. However, Joe Carter (click here for a very brief bio) recently wrote a short article for the Gospel Coalition that fits both criteria (click here for the article). There is a catch. This pro-life article was not dealing with the life of the unborn child; it was concerning how we should and should not die.

I should point out that Carter is not one of my favorite writers. At the Acton blog, he has acted as if conservative Christianity cannot be separated form conservative politics. In addition, he approaches subjects with an authoritarian viewpoint which should not surprise anyone considering his military experience. But besides all that, and the fact that I will eventually have to partially disagree with the point of his article, how he wrote about death and how we should and should not die is very worthwhile reading.

Carter uses the death of his mother to convey his reactions to the new assisted suicide laws in Oregon and California. He is against them and that's despite the fact that these bills only apply to those who are terminally ill. And he tells a very touching story of how he helped provide his mother with as much comfort as possible in her last days. This will bring back necessary but painful memories to those who watched their parents or in-laws pass away. I was with my father as he died of lung cancer in the hospital. I was on his one side and a saint of a nurse was holding his hand on the other. I was determined to stay with him in his final moments.

Just recently, the wife and I were helping her sister's family take care of the wife's mom while she was in home hospice. This particular situation more resembled the experience Carter went through with his mother. It is a very sad time to see parents or in-laws pass away like that. The loss of one's parents can leave a permanent hole in one's life. I know that seeing my father pass away did that to me.

However, the subject is about how we should and should not pass away. And Carter is against any medical assistance to end life. This is the classic pro-life view. His concern, besides for those legitimate candidates for whom assisted suicide laws are designed, is for others who might become collateral damage of these laws. If we allow for assisted suicide, are we then lessening the value of human life in society? And again, Carter uses his mother's end of life experience as a reason to resist all assisted suicide laws.

Now before witnessing the passing away of my mother in-law, I would be inclined to agree with him.  However, having watched what she had to go through, though she was spared the horrible pain other cancer patients have had to endure, I've changed my mind. It isn't that I object to Carter's caution about where assisted suicide laws could lead us. I fully understand his concerns. But we need to ask whether having a one-size-fits-all end of life law is best for everyone who is terminally ill and near the end. And that one-size-fits-all is the kind of position that the current pro-life approach takes here. For what this position forgets is the input from the person who is most affected by a terminally ill disease.

Of course we would need very strict guidelines in assisted suicide laws so that they apply only to those who are at the very end of their physical live. We need such strict guidelines lest some use assisted suicide laws and sentiments to devalue human life. But here, we need to ask ourselves this question: Which approach most honors human life? Is it the one-size-fits-all approach where we force people to live to the very end of what could be a very painful and miserable end of life scenario, or is it the approach that says that we will let those who are terminally ill and near the end of their life decide how and when they will pass away?


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For October 7, 2015

Oct 1
To Trevin Wax and his blogpost stating that the war waged by our fleshly desires against our souls is  a more important battle than the current culture war. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition Website

In one sense, I agree with the article though not for the same reasons as the author did. The war on our souls is a more important battle than the culture war because, IMO, the current culture war is our fault. There would be no culture war if none of the sides involved sought to dominate the others. But that is exactly what we tried to do. To create a society in the image of the ideals of religiously conservative, American Christians, we sought a privileged position in in society in order to control the behaviors of others. The establishment of  privileged position has caused a pendulum swing and we are, perhaps, witnessing that swing going in the opposite direction.

But we should note that there is a dualism that I don't think is Biblical to magnify the internal and individual struggles we have with sin over the external and corporate struggles. We sin as individuals and in groups. The root cause for both is sin. But too many times, it is only the internal struggles against sin that  deemed as being worthy of our attention. Our complicity in the corporate sins of the society or the state are given a hall pass. And yet those sins include violating the commandments prohibiting murder and theft.


Oct 4

To R. Scott Clark and his Heidelblog quote on how the Law of Moses is an example of natural law. This appeared in the Heidelblog.

Such brings up a dilemma. On the one hand we declare that the Law's, which was the Law of Moses, first purpose is to show us our sin. On the other hand, some religiously Conservative Christians believe that the civil authorities have a responsibility for enforcing natural law. What the follows the conjunction of these two statements is the incarceration of all.


Oct 6

To Joe Carter and his comparison between "soviet-style" food banks vs a free market approach to running food banks. This appeared in the Acton blog.

A couple of problems exist in this article. First, the alleged soviet-style of food banks was never verified by being described. Second, what is described as a free market system is more of a lottery system than a free market system.

But perhaps the biggest problem with this article is that it doesn't address the subject of what kind of market produced the need for food banks in the first place.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

What Christians and Socialists Should Agree On, But Don't

In a Reuters' blogpost by John Lloyd (click here for the article), a number of world leaders including Russia's Vladimir Putin, China's President Xi, and India's Narendra Modi are said to have something in common with Donald Trump. If we put that assertion in conjunction with Noam Chomsky's contention that Trump is really not that different from the other Republican candidates (click here for his interview transcript), you get an idea of one of the world's major problems: Nationalism.  Here we should note that nationalism is just a form of tribalism only the loyalties are based on national identity. This blog has defined tribalism as a strong group loyalty that causes those afflicted by it to embrace moral relativism because group loyalty has trumped commitment to principles and morals.

In contrast to the world's leaders, Donald Trump, the rest of the Republican candidates, and we could even include the Democrats here, we have Socialists and Christians. Not that these two groups share many followers; but that in terms of their ideology or theology, they both preach there is a greater loyalty and commitment than national identity. For Marxists, the group that should supersede nationalism is an international based on economic class. For Christians, the most important tie should be one's faith in Christ and then in the fact that we are all children of Adam and thus we are all brothers and sisters in terms of creation. In either case, what is hoped for is that there are ties greater than the ties placed on us by national identity.

In a world where nationalism is running amuck, whether it is in uprisings such as in the Ukraine, or in Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, or even in the prequels to elections as is occurring here, this point of partial commonality between Socialists and Christians is refreshing. We are saying that there is a partial commonality because the reasons for not making nationalism or patriotism so important are different. It is still refreshing when it can be seen. However, it is not always seen with American Christians. Many conservative American Christians are still nationalists though the Scriptures teach us to be otherwise.

Instead of having greater ties than nationalism, many conservative American Christians have fallen after hearing nationalism's siren song. Those who sing that song tell us that nationalism is good because it is a commitment to something that is greater than oneself. As a friend of mine put it in an internet discussion, nationalism or patriotism is a familial love only where the members of one's family are those who share one's national identity. Thus, how could any decent person be opposed to nationalism?

The answer to that question can be found in what those leaders who espouse nationalism are willing to do in its name. For the sake of their nations, these leaders have more than willing to hurt both those who share the same national identity as well as those who don't. They are willing to do tremendous harm if the result of that harm is perceived to be a stronger nation. 

There is enough history of Putin's past crimes and mistreatment of others as well as his actions in Chechnya to confirm this. One only needs to look at the sacrifices many Chinese workers have had to make in order to increase China's  prosperity and power.  And what does Trump promise? Since he belongs to the other party than the one that is in power, he promises to make America great again. He will accomplish this by building a separation wall between Mexico and the United States for starters. But he also promises to rebuild the world's strongest military in order to make it stronger. Who among the vulnerable will lose out in terms of cut budget funds since Trump believes that the government should restrict itself to public works and providing safety? And what nations will be attacked since Trump promises a foreign policy without apologies.

The trouble with nationalism is twofold. First, to use Star Trek phraseology, the needs of the nation outweigh the rights of individuals or other nations. When the rights of individuals or other nations are not respected, there is little that can stop a leader from justifying any action as long as he/she can claim that it is for the good of the country. Obama's use of drones is a prime example of an action which a leader can justify for the sake of national security despite the number of civilian deaths and the intrusion on national sovereignty rights which comes with his use of drones.

But it isn't just in the use of weapons where nationalism causes problems. The quest for economic growth at the expense of the rights of others, the prosperity of other nations, as well as the environment threatens everyone's future.

The second problem with nationalism is that it denies the equality of others. Martin Luther King Jr. realized this in his speech against the Vietnam War when he said:
As if the weight of such a commitment to the life and health of America were not enough, another burden of responsibility was placed upon me in 1964; and I cannot forget that the Nobel Prize for Peace was also a commission -- a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for "the brotherhood of man." This is a calling that takes me beyond national allegiances, but even if it were not present I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ. To me the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I am speaking against the war. Could it be that they do not know that the good news was meant for all men -- for Communist and capitalist, for their children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative? Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the one who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them? What then can I say to the "Vietcong" or to Castro or to Mao as a faithful minister of this one? Can I threaten them with death or must I not share with them my life?

This equality of those not belonging to our nation is partially acknowledged in the Marxist emphasis on the International. Here, Marxists are still promote tribalism in that they divide people by economic class. But at least they recognize the equality of those who do not share their national identity. 

Christianity, however, should fully acknowledged such equality. It doesn't always for numerous reasons, but it should.

It is the seeing of a greater allegiance than what nationalism demands which is what both Christians and Socialists have in common. Yes, their relegating nationalism to a lower ranking are for different reasons. But in today's world,  what Christians and Socialists have in common is much more important than where they differ.

Monday, October 5, 2015

ONIM For October 5, 2015

Christian News
World News

Pick(s) Of The Litter


Friday, October 2, 2015

Finding Places Between God And Caesar For The Sake Of The Gospel

One of the things that most hinders evangelism today is the Church's credibility. And on the thorns in the side of that credibility is how the Church, especially the Conservative Church,  reacts to the world in what it insists on and what it lets go.

Kim Davis' refusal to issue marriage licenses in the light of the SCOTUS decision on same-sex marriag serves as an example of when the Conservative Church's demands on society gives reasons for others not to listen to the preaching of the Gospel. For what Davis did was to use her religious convictions, as sincere as they are, as a reason for denying legal rights to a group of people. And the issue of the denial of legal rights is sexual freedom.

But as Joe Paterno once asked how did Nixon know enough to vote Texas #1 in football in 1969 over his undefeated Nittany Lions while he knew nothing about Watergate, unbelievers are asking conservative Christians how come they know so much about dangers of sex while knowing so little about the precarious situation that an exploitive economic system, destruction to the internet, and war and militarism puts most of the world's people in.

See, according to many unbelievers, the Conservative Church in America doesn't know when to talk and when to shut up. For it wishes to speak to those who sin by individuals practicing sexual immorality, but it is complicit in its silence when our economic system sins or when we rely too much on war and militarism. And that doesn't mention our apathy to how our way of life is destroying the environment.

So how is the Christian suppose to intervene here so that he/she both brings honor to the Gospel in the eyes of others while keeping God's Word? The Heidelcast interview conducted by R. Scott Clark on Daryl Hart (click here for page containing Hart's bio) is meant to give some general guidelines that would teach us how (click here for the Heidelblog page containing the link to the interview). But here, we should note that such isn't the setup for the interview. 

How should Evangelicals participate in the political system? On the one hand, Hart rightfully notes that we are different from Israel where God gave specific laws for the people of Israel to follow as His own. Today, no nations have replaced Israel which would call for the Church to not identify with the state in a sense. In addition, we want to follow Jesus' teaching on how to give Caesar what is his and  God what is His--there is a difference between God and Caesar which would come as a great surprise to some world leaders. Neither do we want to attempt to create any New Testament version of Israel as was at least partially done in Constantinianism when Christianity became the state religion which occurred some time after the death of Constantine. Such was a mistake according to Hart. An equal mistake was for the government to claim the right to oversee the Church and pick an official denomination.

According to Hart, America has done a good job at avoiding the mistakes of the past when it comes to practices that violate the separation of Church and state. Hart correctly notes about America that though its population was predominantly Christian, it did not become a Christian nation. It allowed for pluralism though the degree of that pluralism is certainly greater today than ever anticipated by our Founding Fathers.

The distinction in what we owe Caesar and what we owe God constitutes a dualism according to Hart. A dualism that exists between the things eternal and the things temporal, the things unseen and the things seen. the concerns of God and the concerns of man. And thus, Caesar and God give us different sets of rules by which we should live, that is for the most part. And for Christians to expect Caesar to, in any sense, enforce Church laws and regulations would be a mistake. Hart correctly points out that there is no 'blueprint' for a Christian nation in the New Testament. So what Hart does adequately in the interview is to tell the Conservative Church how it should let go of a lot of things it wants to force on society  even though those things are condemned by the Scriptures.

But what is not mentioned in the interview is some of the context for Hart's views here. Hart is a Reformed Theologian who is both an adherent of Two Kingdom Theology (2KT), the Reformed version that is, and a believer in small government--the latter becomes apparent when he briefly mentions how immigration had been handled in the past. What is important about this context is the fact that 2KT basically prohibits the Church to speak as the Church against sins committed by groups, in particular, groups like the state because, at least with Hart, it doesn't acknowledge that groups, like nations or society, commit sins. So while Hart does an adequate job in giving a framework that could help us religiously conservative Christians from imposing our religious views on society so as to make people too mad to listen to us, he does not help us to avoid the problem of Church's complicity with sin by remaining silent in the face of certain sins. And a large part of the reasoning that allows for that comes from Hart's, and Clark's too, notion of an acceptable dualism.

There must be a dualism to accommodate pluralism in society seeing that society is not meant to be the Church. But there is an inconsistency when examining Hart's version of dualism. For when he and others talk about the eternal vs the temporal and the seen vs the unseen, certain temporal states of affairs as they relate to individuals can prevent individuals from enjoying the eternal. Sexual sins or other violations of the Ten Commandments such as theft and murder can affect our eternal state. Now if that is the case for individuals and their sin, how is it any different for individuals  if the are either silent or even participating in what Caesar does as Caesar robs from and kills both our fellow citizens and foreigners through government policies? Aren't killing and robbing when performed by individuals sin? Then how is it any different when the groups we belong to do the same even when the groups we belong include our own nation?

Yes, Hart is more than right in saying that there is no New Testament blueprint that defines a Christian nation or society. But if we leave it at that, we fail to avoid our other problem of the Church when it fails to preach against certain sins. For example, during the time when our nation embraced slavery, several denominations failed to preach and act against it. Likewise, not many Protestant denominations opposed Jim Crow. And not many denominations, especially conservative ones, preached against the Vietnam War.

So today, though there is a growing awareness of the horrors of racism in the Conservative Church, it remains silent about economic classism, the destruction of our environment, and war and militarism. That silence translates into what Jesus called 'stumbling blocks' for unbelievers which prevents them from listening to the Gospel when we preach it. Though not in the interview, Hart has, in his blog (click here) equated calling for the Church to speak out on today's issues as the OT prophets did with wanting to return to Israel's previous covenant status. But here, Hart fails to notice that the Old Testament prophets sometimes preached repentance to other nations besides Israel. This contradicts his reasoning.

Yes, Clark's interview with Hart is helpful and informative. It could help many of us to decide how we can avoid unnecessarily offending unbelievers by trying to create a Christian society or seek a privileged status for Christians in society. But our troubles with protecting the honor of the Gospel has two sides. One side is addressed by what Hart says here and elsewhere, while the other side of remaining silent in the face of corporate sin as the Church did in the past over slavery and Jim Crow remains untouched.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For September 30, 2015

Sept 23

Repeated attempts to submit the comment below resulted only in errors. So this comment was more prevented from being posted than blocked by those who run the blog.

To The Michael Horton and his interview with Jean Twenge, a Psychology professor, about the millennial generation and narcissism. This appeared in the White Horse Inn blog.

I think we need to be careful about how we associate the problem of narcissism with the millennial generation. After all, weren't they raised hearing about how the nation they grew up in was the greatest nation in the history of mankind? Didn't they read about our history of acting entitled to the land once owned by Native Americans? Haven't they read or seen how our nation feels entitled to invade any other nation on earth, if feasible,  because we are the leaders of the free world? And hasn't our nation produced the greatest prosperity in the history of the world and we, as parents, have freely shared that with them.? And haven't people my age raised these kids? And as far as happiness is concerned, doesn't the Declaration of Independence talk about the 'right to the pursuit of happiness.'

Narcissism can be a problem for both groups and individuals. And so if our nation suffers from a group narcissism, how can individuals, regardless of their generational identity, possibly be unaffected?

BTW, the belief that all, regardless of group belonging, have rights does not lend itself to narcissism. The belief that I or my group are the only ones who have certain sets of rights does lend itself to narcissism.

Just perhaps what was observed, such as what the millennial generation was taught or said about themselves are not a causes of narcissism, but the results of it.


Sept 25

To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost citing an an article where a pedophile wanted his sexual orientation to be regarded as normal because he was born that way. Clark called this the bottom of the slippery slope. This appeared in Heidelblog.

I am trying to figure out the slippery slope being referred to. Is it the one some conservatives insisted that existed with the legalization of same-sex marriage? It is the one that says that anything goes if same-sex marriage is allowed? Because such does not sound like a slippery as much as it sounds like falling off a cliff. And the problem there is that my fellow religious conservative Christians really took no time in comparing same sex marriage with heterosexual marriage to see the continuities that exist. Such a search would frighten some of these conservative Christians.

As for the pedophile who wants his sexual orientation to be respected as normal, we should point out to him that the sexual preferences of his targets are protected by law from both heterosexual and homosexual predators and that preferences of his targets should be both respected as well. We should also point out to this person that coerced sex is more about power than sex and that perhaps he is dealing with a power orientation than a sexual one.


To Allen Brownfield and his blogpost citing The Black Book Of Communism in reporting the death toll caused by Communist leaders of the past. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative blog.

We could say that this article itself presents a myth that Lenin, and thus others that followed his example, acted as Marxist. That myth was challenged Lenin's contemporaries like Luxemburg, Kautsky, and Pannekoek. That the Black Book on Communism attributed how many deaths to those in the West who ignored the Geneva Accords regarding Vietnam? For how many deaths in Vietnam did that book attribute to our military actions? And did that Black Book acknowledge how are military actions in Cambodia destabilized the country? Or would we rather paint Marxism and Communism with a single color?

Likewise, did that book acknowledge our role in instigating the Chinese involvement in the Korean war by invading North Korea or the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan by funding terrorists like Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan?

In the meantime, along with how many deaths our nation caused in Vietnam, we might ask how many Native Americans and Blacks died because our ethnic cleansing of our land and our embracing of slavery respectively? And though their numbers weren't in the millions, how about those who died in Iran, Guatemala, Chile, and Central America because of our policies and actions?

Perhaps it is our western sense of humility that is causing to give credit for the results of our actions to others. But we can't  deny the pharisee in us to note how we can so easily point to the sins of others while failing to acknowledge our own.


The comment below was blocked by the Imaginative Conservative blog. The same blog did publish another attempt to respond to the comment mentioned below.

Sept 27

To Eric and his Sept 27th comment to Anthony Francois' blogpost on the Pope and the environment. Eric' post does nothing more than accuse environmentalists of hypocrisy in order to discredit their concerns. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative blog

There are a couple of problems with what you are saying. First, not all leaders in the 'Warmist' movement fly around in their own jets being chauffeured in limousines. Second, validity of global climate change theory advanced by those who are convinced by the evidence is not affected by any hypocrisy of its leaders. Those in the Roman Church should be well aware of that fact.

The real issue regarding global climate change is what changes must we make to both society and the economic system to account for both man's contribution to the changing climate and the need to lift others out of poverty. This is the real issue because our objectivity in examining the evidence and arguments depends on that willingness to change.

Those who enjoy the status quo will appeal to both authoritarianism and utilitarianism in their opposition to changes necessitated by changes in the climate . In the immediate end, those who oppose those necessary changes will seem justified because the biggest changes will come in the next few generations. The losers will be those who live here a generation or two after we have passed away.


Sept 29

To Joseph Sunde and his blogpost about Capitalism's superiority over the NEA. This appeared in the Acton blog.

The argument for Capitalism revolves around mass production and distribution. The arguments against Capitalism have to do with the outcomes that some of its stakeholders experience. With the growing online availability of music and films comes pirating and the predictable lost income for artists. In fact, can be used to pirate artists' works, it can be a way by which films and music can be pirated as well.

In addition, when the availability of music and films depends on advertising, then that music and those films, in order to satisfy their sponsors, will generally be confined to what serves the goals of advertising. So, in essence, the customer becomes manipulated via volume and the emphasis made by entrepreneurs.

So the question becomes regarding new technologies such as streaming, is it supporting Capitalism's case or does it show Capitalism's weaknesses?


 To Joe Carter and his short blogpost on how the Pope said that even government officials have the right to conscientiously object. This appeared in the Acton blog.

 The trouble with applying the conscientious objection label to the actions of people like Kim Davis is that she is using use her conscience and religious convictions as  a reason to discriminate against those who are taking part in a legal action.  This makes her actions similar to some of the discriminatory actions of those who practiced or following Jim Crow discrimination. Is such acts of conscientious objection good?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Are We Playing The Dating Game Over Tax Cuts?

Though Donald Trump has started it, we can be sure that others will follow. What did he start? He started the normal campaign process of asking America out so he could be its President. And he started, like most men who ask women out, with false promises and flattery.

His promises include an apartheid wall separating Mexico from the United States, a first rate military, a preservation of Social Security and Medicare, and tax reform that would eliminate corporate taxes so corporations could hire more people--as if that is what corporations want to do with their tax cuts.

Of course, corporations were not the only ones who would see reduced taxes, so would lower income and middle class citizens (click here). And certainly, most other candidates will eventually follow suit to varying degrees. Why? It is because many of us have been taught to see ourselves as the land of the taxed and home of the overburdened. And thus we all scapegoat whom we see as the primary beneficiaries of our taxes for our problems. For conservatives, it is the poor who are to be blamed for us having less. For nonconservatives, it is corporations, especially those in certain sectors of the economy, like the military industrial complex, who are causing our problems.

In any case, we see taxes pursuing us like the plagues which Moses pronounced on Egypt. Instead of seeing them as at the most a necessary evil, we see them as just evil having no purpose than to suck our hard earned wealth from us to give to someone else.

And so when it comes to political candidates who promise to give everyone tax cuts, we become like a high school kid who all too eagerly promises to go out with anyone who will do their homework for them. So unless a political candidate promises to cut our taxes, we won't consider voting for them.

Such an anti-tax mindset forgets that there are many supporting pieces in society and America's economy to any success we have and taxes pay for these pieces. In addition, some taxes are used to help those in need. Then again, that is a sore-spot for conservatives who give the individual too much credit for their success or failure and thus too few reasons for helping those in need. Too many of us are too individual-oriented and we live in too much of a thing-oriented society to care enough about others than ourselves and the things we can buy. Thus, we are forever finding fault with tax-funded programs that help others besides ourselves because we want to buy more things.

Two voices that greatly contrast with many Americans here on taxes come from comedian Lewis Black and activist-scholar Noam Chomsky. In an interview with Anderson Cooper, Lewis Black talked about how he was poor for so long that he was happy to have finally made enough money to pay taxes (click here). In addition, he stated that taxes are necessary to pay for stuff such as for the protection we have in this country.  In fact, Black stated that he doesn't pay enough in taxes.

On the hand, Chomsky takes a broader view of taxes (click here). He states that our attitude toward taxes reveals our understanding of democracy. That instead of the government, which we elected, being an 'alien entity,' the government should be viewed as our representatives who have forged policies that represent us the voters. Thus we should be more happy to pay taxes than resentful because they will pay for the programs which the people have decided on together, through their representatives, to support.

In either case, both Black and Chomsky reflect a wider view of the world than the myopic view that bitterly complains how this almost foreign entity is stealing from us rather than engaging in joint projects with us. The anti-tax view, which we require all candidates to have if we are to consider dating them, is myopic. Sometimes the myopia is the result of disillusionment, but at other times it is the result of being so self-absorbed, we become small minded.

Suffice it to say that if either Black or Chomsky were campaigning to be nominated by either political party to run for the presidency, they would be a shoe-in to lose. And such reflects our shortsightedness.

Of course, cutting taxes is not free. We should note that the two presidents who are best known for their tax cuts, significantly increased the national debt. And by significantly increasing the debt, they have contributed to the current vulnerability our economic system is now facing. These two presidents, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, not only implemented tax cuts that primarily benefited the wealthy, they increased military spending through buildups or wars and interventions that furthered the effect tax cuts had on the economy. And in addition to weaken our economy by increasing the national debt, federal tax cuts eventually resulted in cuts in federal assistance and programs that filtered down through the states to the local governments. The result was increased local taxes and/or cuts in services.

Promises to cut taxes to too many Americans work like flattery and false promises to kids who start dating. They impress. They make the dates feel good. But in the long run, relationships that revolve primarily around flattery and false promises always have ways of catching up with those who fell for them. And that is why we should not be impressed when candidates, like Donald Trump, offer yet another around of promised taxes cuts and reforms oriented around appealing to us. If we are intelligent, we will see through the charade and think in terms of the long run. We could describe the desired en result adapting a saying from the movie Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, 'we chose wisely.' Certainly choosing wisely may not lead to the most fun dates, but they will lead to those kinds of dates that have the fewest regrets.