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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For April 15, 2015


April 7

To R. Scott Clark and his April 1 response to my comment. He stated that Same-sex marriage and our past practice of slavery are not comparable. This was part of the discussion with the blogpost on Jefferson and the protection of conscience. This appeared in the Heidelblog.

R. Scott Clark,
So it is ok to deny the humanity of those from the LGBT community?

First, you seemed to have skip over the point, that wrong treatment of others is often justified using religion. And though we may not be able to compare the practice of slavery with businesses denying goods and services to those in the LGBT community whether as a people or for a wedding function, such can be compared with parts of Jim Crow and how it allowed some businesses to treat Blacks differently than Whites. This is especially true in our capitalist economy.

So while we both agree that same-sex marriage is sin, what we disagree with is how we should regard it society. If we Christians force our definition of marriage on society, are we not seeking privileged place in society with the result that those who disagree with be marginalized?

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April 14

To Joe Carter and his blogpost on School choice as a social justice issue. This appears in the Acton blog.

There is more than 1 sphere of society which needs restoration. Education is one such sphere, but it is important to know why education is suffering so much. In suburbs, we can easily say that parents and students are as much of the problem as teachers and administration. But can the same be said of inner city schools?

Having spoken to one teacher who has taught students from the inner city, the economical environment in which the students live play as big a role in the education of the students as any other factor. That is because the economics affect the stability of the home environment. And the stability of the home environment plays a big role in education of the child. 

That is not to say that a better school, public or private, does not have an effect on students coming from the inner city. It is to say that one cannot find the solutions to the education problems we have here by looking to what can only be offered to a small percentage of students. And cutting our investments in the public schools does not allow for us to compare different kinds of schools. 

What would help education? That depends on which schools one is talking about. Cutting public school funds does not help the majority of students. Offering no real economic help to the areas in which bad public schools exist maintains family instability. Remember that in many inner city school neighborhoods, success is measured by how one escapes the neighborhood rather than establishes oneself in the neighborhood.

Finally, we should note that a possible motive for emphasizing other schools than public schools is to reduce education as a tax-based expenditure. And the reason for doing so is that the private sector can benefit from selling education services and by reducing its social obligations in the form of taxes. 

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To Joe Carter and his blogpost on religious freedom. This appeared in the Acton blog.

For the past few months, not only have we dealt with the apparently conflicting interests of 2 or more freedoms, we have dealt  with the conflicting interests of 2 religious beliefs as they apply to practice. 

In the conflicting interests, what we have observed is a myopia. Both sides have narrowed their focus on the "religious freedoms" as expressed in a business' right to refuse to provide goods and services to same-sex marriages. Some Christian business owners either cannot or refuse to see how a such a refusal to provide goods and services can affect those in the LGBT community. These Christian business owners either cannot or refuse to see how such a refusal replicates a practice that occurred during Jim Crow. In addition, some Christian business owners either cannot or refuse to see how those wanting to marry same-sex partners have their own religious beliefs. And if a business has the right to refuse to provide goods and services to these people, then those who want to marry same-sex partners are being punished for their beliefs. 

On the other hand, some from the LGBT community seem either unable or unwilling to acknowledge the personal conflict some Christian business owners have in providing goods and services to same-sex weddings. Thus, those from the LGBT community who go out of their way to out these Christian business owners and set them up for legal proceedings or anonymous threats are showing how animosity can accompany the search for equality.

Our problem with religious freedom and how it applies to businesses refusing to provide services to same-sex weddings is myopia. And unlike the eye condition, this form of myopia is deliberately self-inflicted.

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To Joe Carter and the Video on the negative myths about free enterprise he posted in a blogpost. This appeared on the Acton blog.

Perhaps we should look at the details of how the myths were exploded. 

Myth #1: free enterprise does hurt the poor. Taking one measurement, the tenuous one of how many people are living and $1/day or more, does not give a good picture of how free enterprise affects the poor. This is especially true when one uses China as an example. First, what China has may not necessarily be called free enterprise. Yes, China isn't the state-controlled bastion that it once was. On the other hand, there is still has a lot of state control. In addition, there are sweatshop labor conditions. And the economic improvement seen in China has caused massive environmental problems. 

In addition, take a look at where the jobs came from before entering China. What about the poverty caused by the loss of jobs elsewhere? And why is $1/day the measurement for escaping poverty especially when it dates back to 1970, or 1981 for China?

Myth #2: why are we reducing our measurement of free enterprise simply to small business entrepreneurs? Why aren't we comparing salaries of government managers to the salaries of those who work big businesses? Doesn't free enterprise include big businesses as well? 

Myth #3: What Americans attribute to success isn't necessarily how success has come. Many of our financial elite are there because of investments. Theses investments allow them to live off the hard work of others. And, from my conversations, some believe that these investors deserve the return they are getting because they are risk takers, not workers. In other words, some believe that risk taking is more important that work. And another word for risk taking is gambling. 

Certainly we should value the kind of risk taking entrepreneurs do take. But we should value the hard work that laborers put in to make that risk pay off. And, btw, with income stagnation for most of the population along with job insecurity, we need to realize that we have our own share of 'envy, resentment, and often unrest.'

Myth #4: since the great recession was caused by fraud, the lack of regulations (i.e., Glass-Steagall was revoked) or their enforcement, and greed by many in the financial sector, one has to show how statism and corporate cronyism were solely to blame. This is especially true since many of America's big businesses have been enjoying state capitalism for decades before the recession mentioned here. 

In addition, some of our industries have lost to foreign competition because that competition was aided by their respective states. The steel industry is a prime example of this. And a prime example of where statism maintains business success here are in the energy and agribusiness sectors.

Myth #5: free enterprise seeks to cut the cords of social responsibilities to businesses. These cords include legal as well as financial ties. The financial ties imply the interdependencies that exist between participants in the free enterprise system and society. That no business operating here succeeds by itself. It relies on various kinds of infrastructures provided by our society. The more these ties are cut, the more free enterprise is getting a free lunch.

See, one can't really explain free enterprise by a few minute video where the data used to prove points are few and carefully selected. And, as usual, those trumpeting free enterprise want to prove that it represents the people. And so those who strayed from the straight and narrow in reaching their financial goals are examples of something other than free enterprise. But when that straying comes from the elimination of legal and social obligations, then how isn't that an example of Free Enterprise too?


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