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This Month's Scripture Verse:

Whoever loves money never has enough;
whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.
This too is meaningless -- Ecclesiastes 5:10


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For October 14, 2015

Oct 9

To Bethany Jenkins and her blogpost about how GM turned into a company that did not put safety first. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.

If we were to turn back the clock, we'd have to travel way back to at least before the Corvair was designed in created  The Corvair was first produced in 1960 and was one focuses of Ralph Nader's book, Unsafe At Any Speed.

Though this article is informative, we should note that GM didn't make the decision to relegate safety to a lower priority in a vacuum; it did so in a context, GM operates within a certain economic system. And this the problem with the article, it reduces GM's responsibility to GM alone rather than including the context, the economic system, in which GM made its decision. I am not trying to minimize GM's responsibility here, I am just saying that the economic system in which GM operates could have contributed to GM falling. And though GM is no child, what does Jesus say about stumbling blocks?


Approximately between Oct 8 to Oct 10
To Joseph Pearce and his blogpost on the choice between globalism and freedom. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative blog.

There are multiple problems with saying that the Roman Church has the answers to the problems alluded to above.

1.    The Roman Church still has problems of its own

2.    The claim that the Roman Church has the answers to these problems is shifting the solution from big government to big Church

3.    The claim that the Roman Church has the answers to these problems keeps democracy at arms' length, the same is said about globalization. This claim about the Roman Church moves us toward authoritarianism rather than toward democracy.

4.    The claim that the Roman Church has the answers to the above mentioned problems is a hypothesis at best. Being below best there appears to be varying levels of delusional thinking that is still only a hypothesis.

There are positive aspects to the above post. There needs to be an alarm sound over globalism. But here, we must be precise because globalism hits many areas of life differently. But reducing our problems to the issue of size oversimplifies our problems. First, we do need some bigness in what we do because we have a lot of people. Some needs can only be met by big while other can be met by small. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to our problems

But lest people point to #2 in my answer, I would say that the problem isn't size as much as it is participation. We don't have a full-fledged participatory democratic society and political system. Instead, we have a laissez-faire minimalist society and political system. Since the working definition of democracy is voting every x number of years for what I would hazard to guess is the majority of the population, we are far too sidetracked to have a society and system that is any different. And relying on authoritarian approaches, such as relying on the Roman Church's solution, minimizes participation to that of reading and following the instructions of the Church. That is just as undemocratic as the current globalism.


Oct 13

To Joe Carter and his blogpost about changes in extreme poverty. This appeared on the Acton blog.

Unfortunately, what the above post does not share is where the bulk of that improvement has occurred. Since 1981, about 78% of the improvement in extreme poverty has come from East Asia with almost all of that improvement coming from China. Remember what kind of economy China current employs (my stats come from the World Bank website: http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/poverty/overview   ).

But with that improvement has come environmental problems as well as work condition problems. The work condition problems includes the use of sweatshop labor. In addition, the statistics cited above do not tell us how much improved are people's economic states above absolute poverty. Nor do they tell us the increase of wealth by those who benefit from the labor in countries like China. And with the improvement of other regions of the world is silence about the side effects such improvement brings.

What the statistics also do not show is whether there is an increase/decrease in the number of people approaching absolute poverty. So while much can be inferred by the simple statistics shown above, no real information is gained by them.


To Joe Carter and his blogpost criticizing Donald Trumps's view of property rights. This appeared on the Acton blog.

Just perhaps both people are wrong concerning property rights. While I will leave it to Mr. Carter to show how Trump's view of property rights are wrong, Carter has reduced what the Scriptures say about property rights to the single command: Thou shalt not steal.

But the Scriptures say other things about property rights besides stealing. For example, Leviticus 19:9-10 tells farmers to neither harvest their crops to the edges of their fields nor to glean twice because the food that are on the edges of the fields and leftover from the first gleaning belong to the poor. Note that this is a command of God, not a suggestion. And one of the subjects it is address is property rights. But is also addressing poverty.

In addition, Deuteronomy 24:19-22 not only reiterates what was said in Leviticus, it adds another stipulation. If an area of a field was overlooked in harvest, that area should be left to provide food for the the poor.

Finally, we should also note that the tithes, which were mandatory gifts from one's private property, was, in part, used to help feed the poor.

So there is a problem with reducing a description of property rights to a single scripture verse. For not only are there philosophical and psychological problems that come with such a reduction, there are scriptural problems as well. And the latter problems are because the Scriptures deal with other just as important subjects besides property rights. Thus, while Carter might be more than correct in identifying Trump's errors and wrongdoings, something which we should thank Carter for, Carter's view of property rights is also problematic.


To Joe Carter and his blogpost supporting the TPP. This appeared in the Acton blog.

We should also note the following about the TPP. It authors did not include personal representatives from either labor organizations or environmental groups. And though it is claimed that international labor standards will be followed along with environmental standards, past trade agreements show that such standards have not been enforced.

In addition, the arbitration method used to resolve disputes seem to recognize a one-way direction in terms of complaints. The method relies on ISDS who will recognize complaints from corporations and investors against governments, but not vice-versa. There is also an expressed fear that the ISDS decisions will have precedence over court decisions from other nations including our own.
And we should how past arbitration and trade deals have affected other nations. For example, the province of Ontario Canada was prevented from using local suppliers in the building of solar electric facilities by the WTO. A Canadian mining company has used a trade agreement to sue Costa Rico because it has denied that company rights to mining gold because of the expected environmental impact. Do treaties like the TPP surrender national sovereignty of nations to investors?

We might also want to revisit the past promises of financial pie in the sky for everyone. NAFTA, for example, was marketed that way, but it has primarily benefited corporations while hurting Mexicans who work in certain economic sectors such as agrigculture.

So why support the TPP especially when its text is not fully available to even all of the Congressmen and Senators who are voting on it? Where is our right to informed consent here?

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