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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For September 2, 2015

 The presence of only two comments here is the result of fewer blogs blocking my comments. This is a good thing though it can reduce the content for this blogpost series.

August 26

To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost quote of Robert George stating that because of the recent Supreme court decision on marriage, we should expect multiple partner marriages in the future. This appeared on Heidelblog.

The problem with the above assessment is that it reduces marriage, heterosexual or same-sex, to just one facet. Marriage as recognized by the State involves much more. For it involves the complete union of two people including in terms of physical, legal, and property. In addition, marriage between two people involves equality since it is the complete union, not just physical, of what two people have and are. Polygamy and polyamory do not include that kind of union. In fact, laws would have to be rewritten to address the complexity of property ownership and division as well as parental and legal responsibilities.

Now because no complete union by both parties can be undertaken in any kind of multiple partner marriage, the state's legitimate concern with equality comes into play. This concern for equality and the protection of those who would be treated less than equal implies that same-sex marriage has much more in common with heterosexual marriage than multiple partner marriages do.

When marriage is reduced to just its reproductive aspects, then we must ask if the state has the right to regulate any couple's decision to have children? Or should the state prohibit the marriages of those who cannot have children together? Note that with the latter question, both heterosexual and same-sex couples are affected. For example, I cannot reproduce because of cancer surgery. Now suppose I become a widower and then take another wife. If marriage is reduced to its reproductive aspects, should the state have the right to prohibit me from being married? Or if marriage is reduced to its reproductive aspects, then does the state have the right to force me to marry so that I may provide children for society?

Unfortunately,  the above blogpost is simply a slippery slope argument that works only with an oversimplified view of marriage. And the purpose of the oversimplification is to make it appear that same-sex marriages have more in common with marriages involving multiple partners than they do with heterosexual marriages. And, again, that case can only be made when marriage is oversimplified to the sexual-romantic relationship while ignoring the union of a couple in other spheres of life including those which the state must address. Marriage to the state involves much more than the sexual-romantic fulfillment of the couple involved. And proof of that can be seen in its laws that involve marriage.

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Sept 1

To Marc Vander Maas and his blogpost consisting of a video that introduces a book that describes how poverty of the nations can be solved. The comment below addresses the talk given by Wayne Grudem in this video. This appeared in the Acton Blog.

Having read Grudem's book on politics, it is unfortunate that his comments here do not disappoint. That is because just as Grudem did not display any kind of adequate knowledge of the Left in that book. This might be because his book was designed to provide an apologetic for why Christians could continue to be political conservatives. Likewise here, he reduces the Left, without naming them, to that of charitable giving to nations in need as its solution to poverty, but who produce dependency instead. In reality, the Left believes that one of the means by which we can end poverty is found in the redistribution of power, not just wealth.

Now while Grudem warns us not reduce economics to per capita income, something all should agree on, but he virtually performs that reductionism on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as he states that that is the key to bringing nations out of poverty.

In addition, Grudem states that complaining about how exploitation has held a nation back is like crying over spilled milk. One must forget that and move on to focusing on increasing the nations's GDP. But here is a question for Grudem: What if the exploitation is continuing? Should we still regard complaining about it as crying over spilled milk? We could also ask if we should complain if past exploitation has produced such crippling effects that present economic growth is still impossible.

Grudem's reductionism continues as he talks about the haves and have nots of countries. The haves are focusing on increasing their GDP.  He failed to mention how such a focus worked in China. For such a focus has led to sweatshop labor and horrific environmental problems.  See, just focusing on increasing one's GDP without regard to how it is achieved, especially when GDP relies on exploitation, can be misleading. We should note that our economy got its start by relying on exploitation too as we took land from the Indians and then enslaved Blacks both before and after the Civil War. The enslavement after the war occurred during Jim Crow when many Blacks were jailed and their labor in prison was used to increase our nation's GDP.

As Grudem shows a map of the nations that are doing well, his disregard for crying over the spilled milk of history continues as he forgets to mention that many of today's prosperous nations were, and few are still, empires. And that includes the United States. He forgets to mention China's controlled economy when celebrating its economic growth. He mentions India as a positive example, but fails to mention the suicides committed by  hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers. He mentions Chile, but fails to mention how Chile got its start in the Free Market. It did so by the US supporting and enabling a military coup which led to the rule of Pinochet who was a murderous tyrant and was indicted for crimes against humanity. And while he rules out economies that redistribute wealth, such redistribution actually helped Norway become a prosperous nation. He also fails to mention that South Korea used protectionism, which is against Free Market principles, a practice used by many wealthy nations, to enable its industrialization.

At the same time, Grudem briefly describes the plight of poorer nations like many African nations and also Haiti. He states that foreign aid to these nations usually increases governmental corruption. This is true, But he neglects to mention how other nations also increase governmental corruption and even civil wars in Africa by how they are exploited for their natural resources ( BBC on Exploitation and Video Interview on Film About Colonialism  ). Again, what do you say about exploitation when it continues, when it is not just in the past?

And one only needs to read about the history of Haiti to realize that foreign intervention is the real reason why Haiti is so poor today.

As a theologian, Grudem fails because he only sees giving aid to the poor as an act of charity. In reality, giving aid to the poor is both an act of charity and of justice. This is why the Israelites were instructed on how to harvest their crops so that there were left overs for those in need. This says something to us today about what we owe those in need.

Here is the short of it. Grudem's presentation relies heavily on selectivity. That is true of the economies of  poor nations he uses as negative examples as well as the economies of nations he uses as positive examples. Now to be fair, this presentation was to introduce a book he co-authored with Barry Asmus and there might be places in that book that addresses some of the short comings mentioned here. All that can be mentioned here is the presentation. And considering the history of Free Market Fundamentalism and Neoliberal Capitalism, there is something not up front about Grudem's presentation.

 

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