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This Month's Scripture Verse:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
2 Timothy 3:1-5


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For September 24, 2014

Sept 19

To R.Scott Clark and his blogpost celebrating Constitution Day. This appeared on Heidelblog.

We are often told about the Constitution from idyllic perspectives. But if we want a fuller perspective of what the Constitution is about, we need to read the historical documents that provide some of the context for the Constitution. Those documents include Henry Knox's Letter to George Washington, the Constitutional Debates, and Federalist Paper #10. There are others as well as there are events that also help provide context for the Constitution such as Shays Rebellion.


Sept 23

Please note that at the time of the posting of this blogpost, the comment below was still unpublished. The comment below will be deleted from this post should it be published in the imaginative conservative blogpost to which it was posted.

To Patrick Deneen and his blogpost associating democracy with materialism and other enemies of democracy. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative.

Where should one start with this? Attributing to democracy materialism and privatism seems the opposite of what we observe in history. And it isn't that we can't have materialism in democracy, but such really rests with our economic system rather than political system.

What democracy does is to redistribute power so that the more democratic a society is, the more that power is shared equally amongst the people. The less democratic society is, the society leans toward elite-centered rule and thus the more likely that society will be ruled by tyrants. 

But democracy alone does not determine the degree of materialism that will exist or whether individualism will reign too strongly. Economic systems that emphasize a variable level of collective ownership would limit the individualism that exists in society while economic systems that emphasize individual rights and ownership regardless of the interdependencies that exist in the system.

Democratic socialism leans toward recognizes a variable standard of collective ownership while it expands democracy. Whatever materialism it produces will be a shared rather than a hoarded materialism. There is a certain solidarity with those in need that is present in democratic socialism.

Neoliberal Capitalism denies collectivism and emphasizes profit. Thus, we should expect to see a great deal of individualism exercised by the financial elites in this form of capitalism as well as hoarding kind of materialism. After all, don't American capitalists try to prove American capitalism by saying that it has produced the greatest level of prosperity in history? How can one get more materialistic than that? We should also note here that that is the claim of every greatest empire of its time. And the push of advocates of neoliberal capitalism is to loosen the chains of social responsibilities so one can keep more for themselves. Again, here is more materialism and individualism.

One more point, should we really read de Tocqueville and his comments about America uncritically? After all, America at that time was a highly racist country that ethnically cleansed the land of its indigenous people and either enslaved or treated as second class citizens African-Americans. de Tocqueville used British society as the measure of the highest society on earth despite the abuses that came with running an empire. To not read him critically would be to submit to some form of authoritarianism. And we should note that authoritarianism goes hand in hand with elite-centered rule, not democracy. And we should finally note that those who wrote the Constitution opposed what was referred to as "democracy" back then. Rather, they favored a lite elite-centered rule seeing that the Constitution was written in response to widespread dissent and Shays Rebellion rather than as an afterthought to the American Revolution. And the writers of of our Constitution were very economically class minded.


To Joe Carter and his blogpost on the survey that showed that more Americans want religion to have an influence on politics. This appeared in the Acton Blog.

I don't think that the importance of religion in politics has really waned as much as the kind of religious influence that has been influencing politics. We've seen a push back against religious influence on politics in personal morality issues such as same-sex marriage. On the other hand, Martin Luther King Jr. demonstrated that religious influence on politics could not only be accepted, it could be embraced. So we need to distinguish between religion's influence on politics in personal moral issues from its influence in social justice issues.

In addition, we need to distinguish religion having influence on politics from certain religions having a privileged position in society. This is a distinction that has been lost on some evangelicals who feel pain from their religion's loss of a privileged position.

Finally, it seems that what Americans in the study are most alarmed by is change rather than  religion losing its place.


To Bruce Edward Walker and his blogpost on how religious groups are attacking fossil fuel and energy companies. This appeared in the Acton Blog

If groups are not concerned enough for shareholder value for the taste expressed in the post, realize that turnabout is also true. Shareholder interest in the environmental impact that fossil fuels have is not sufficient enough to spur trust by those in environmental groups in oil giants like Exxon. It also seems that when profits blind shareholders to the science of climate change, shareholders are simply being post modern in that their desired results determine what is truth to them.


To Joe Carter and his blogpost on what it means to be a free person in a free society. This appeared in the Acton blog.

Did we ever consider that it is the market place that is causing us to destroy ourselves? The pursuit of individual riches and the avoidance of social responsibilities might make some wealthy but are unjustly hurting others.

In addition, there are two kinds of freedoms. There are individual freedoms and group freedoms and they sometimes oppose each other. We see group freedom when we see a properly function democracy where the group, or society, freely determines how those in the group will live with each other and how the group will interact with other groups. And thus group freedom and can infringe on individual freedom.  The converse is also true. In fact, when individual freedom is the only freedom, then we have ellite-centered rule by either those in the private sector or those in the public sector.

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