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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For February 11, 2015


Feb 8

To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost quip stating that the Crusades have no influence on today's Muslim attitudes toward the West. This appeared in the Heidelblog.

Perhaps, when looking at the Crusades, one must at least look at the behavior of the Crusaders toward the indigenous population as well as the racist pronouncements and spiritual incentives given by Pope Urban II. It is simply out of tribalism that one does not condemn the crusades.

Yes, there were political reasons for the crusades back then, not just religious ones. But modern Western imperialism was motivated by access to and control of Middle East natural resources. And so, regardless of the name or motivation, you still have the results of Western invasions in the Middle East today by countries with a Christian heritage into countries that have more of an Islamic heritage. And with Islam being a political religion as well as a spiritual one, we can start to see what prompted attacks on the West.  

Finally, the article from which the above quote was take discusses 9-11 in reference to the crusades. And it is correct to say that the crusades had no bearing on that attack. It is what the West did during the 20 century that provoked the kind of anger we saw in the terrorist attacks of 9-11. Their attacks were unjustified but their anger is at least understandable.

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Feb 10

To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost quote describing the infidelity in same-sex marriage. This appeared in the Heidelblog.

The lack of precision in the statements made as well as data collection methods as well as the amount of data collected leaves the quote used in this post unsubstantiated. And conclusions drawn from this snapshot are rather dubious since there is no discussion of history or trends. 

We should note from an article with inadequate data collection is that about 70% of married (that is heterosexual marriage) men cheat on their wives (note the source: http://magazine.foxnews.com/love/cheating-statistics-do-men-cheat-more-women  ). Meanwhile, another article gives different info both in terms of percentages and direction ( http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/wellness/marriage/story/2011-09-05/Gay-straight-couples-more-monogamous-than-in-the-past/50267258/1 ). It is what Andrew Sullivan said that the data is 'all over the map' (see http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2013/07/02/monogamy-gay-men-lesbians-and-straights/  ).

BTW, my own collection consisting of personal friends show no instances of cheating in either heterosexual or same-sex marriages.

So it seems that only those who are eager to jump to conclusions will do so.

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To Joseph Sunde and the list of 5 reasons why Christians should be understand and be concerned about economics. This appeared in the Acton blog.

What's missing in these reasons for caring about economics is any serious reflection on our current economic system and how fair and unfair it is to the stakeholders of our economy. So what seems to be endorsed here is a synthesis between a prosperity gospel based on individual responsibility with a stewardship of the world. 

By appearances, that sounds good. But what is missing is how some of the greatest wealth being garnered is accomplished by exploiting the work of others whether that exploitation involves abusing workers, underpaying them--which sometimes occurs because of supply and demand--and/or making workers, and thus their communities, disposable. See, the greatest wealth being garnered is gained through investments. And those investments often give the investors a greater voice in a company than years of service provided by workers. And in many cases, if the current labor that provides the wealth for a company can be procured at a lower pay scale, then those who are providing that labor can be sacrificed in order to maximize profits. 

Funny how the exploitation of workers was not mentioned but hard work was. Perhaps that was done purposely so that we don't fully explore the theological implications of politics. And perhaps it was also purposely done so that only workers become aware of their responsibilities in the public square.

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To Elise Hilton and her blogpost reviews an article by Jonathan Witt that associates the quality of water with the degree of economic freedom in a nation. This appeared in the Acton Blog.

Besides the fact that Witt's data sample is not only small, but contains mixed results based on the size of the sample, the title is misleading--though he makes one or two good points off this title. For many people, the fewer regulations that exist, the more economic freedom there is for the individual. But Witt writes favorably about those nations where there is a moderate or reasonable approach to regulations. BTW, his use of the word 'anarchy,' to represent a system with no regulations and what some would call the situation with the greatest economic freedom, shows an inadequate understanding of the word. For anarchy refers more to the number of dominant leaders than to the number of laws and regulations. And the number of dominant leaders sought by anarchists is 0.

In addition, his reduction of the reasons why clean water exists or not down to freest economies seems to miss the correlation between population density and clean water. For some of the dirtiest bodies of water he listed occurs in countries that have areas of highly dense populations such as in Indonesia, India, and China. Besides, calling England one of the freest nations, singled out because of the quality of the Thames River running through London, when it is one of the nations that is under such great surveillance makes one wonder about the criteria for determining the freest nations.

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To Marc Vander Maas and his blogpost containing an audio of an Acton Institute colleague Jordan Ballor has Ballor talks about current efforts to access more fossil fuels. This appeared on the Acton Blog.

Besides the strawman Ballor creates about those who oppose projects like the Keystone XL Pipeline, Ballor seems to avoid mentioning the specifics about man-spurred climate change. And in so doing, he doesn't do justice to the urgency needed for us to switch from our reliance on fossil fuels to non-fossil fuel sources. In addition, though he advocates our responsibility in terms of how we extract fossil fuel resources, he also seems to ignore how some sources of fossil fuels could make it impossible for us to extract from responsibly in terms of not significantly damaging the surrounding ecosystems. 

Finally, there is a way of helping those who are poor besides increasing the amount of fossil fuels we extract and make available on the market. That way is to find better ways to share what we already have and are using.


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