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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Comments Which Conservative Block From Their Blogs For July 27, 2016

July 20

To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost calling for an end to the alliance between the Presbyterian and Reformed denominations and the Republican Party especially when it comes to praying at the convention. This appeared in Heidelblog.

I agree with much of what is written here, but I have a question. Should we also do away with the alliance between religiously conservative Christianity, including those who are Reformed, and conservative political ideology? That idea certainly doesn't prohibit Reformed Christians from holding to politically conservative ideas. But the idea does say that Reformed Christians can also hold to non conservative ideas and ideologies as well.


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July 23

To Denny Burk and his blogpost on whether Trump is on the side of social conservatives. This appeared in Denny Burk’s blog.

I think what is worse than believing that Trump is Christian is to believe that Social Conservatism is Christian. Yes, it has Christian elements such as opposing abortion.  But it is also two-faced in that it portrays itself as being for religious liberty while opposing same-sex marriage and promoting school prayer.

In addition, it takes an unbalanced view on the 2nd Amendment and its interpretation of that amendment decontextualizes the right to bear arms. The emphasis on strong national defense ignores America's imperialism and becomes very presumptive of America's role in the world.

In addition, in the name of free markets, social conservatism has advocated for the cutting of social responsibilities for businesses.

What could be observed here is that for most issues, social conservatism aligns itself with business interests whether it is with the interests of weapons manufacturers and the military industrial complex to the reduction of welfare obligations and the denial of business's fault in the lack of economic opportunities available for certain people.

Yes, I understand why some religiously conservative Christians have bought into social conservatism. But what is both troubling and puzzling is the insistence by some that social conservatism is Christian and that those ideologies and groups to the left are anti-Christian.





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July 25

To Joe Carter and his blogpost that contains a video presentation on economics by South Korean Economist Ha-joon Chang. This appeared in the Acton blog.

The video here is a welcomed change from the usual presentations on economics. That the presenter stated we should look valid points in the nine major economic theories puts Economics into the science category in which it belongs. Economics is, after all, a behavioral science. And the problem some people have when listening to any other theory but their own is that they often speak and act as if economics is a natural science. And even in natural science, we have had changing approaches to studying the physical world.  In addition, the presenter talked about topics that some schools of economics includes and others do not such as personal identity, happiness, and democracy. We could add environmental impact as a topic that should be included in the study of economics but is most often not.

Finally, that this person invites people to form their own economic views and be willing to challenge the experts is partially taught by Marx with his proletariat dictatorship. Only because Marx viewed the proletariat as having a monopoly on truth and values while seeing the bourgeoisie having a monopoly on selfishness and sin, he was only partially correct. Neither the proletariat nor the bourgeoisie have a monopoly on either virtue or vice.


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To Kyle Hanby and his blogpost that describes protectionism as being harmful. This appeared on the Acton blog.

What this article seems to ignore is that the push for free trade on nations that are trying to develop their  economies or certain sectors of it is from nations that used protectionism to develop their own economies. Ha-Joon Chang, an economist whose video presentation on why anyone could have valid insights into economics which was the focal point of a Joe Carter blogpost on the Acton blog notes the following (see https://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/162/27898.html ):

They argue that free trade is how all developed countries have become rich, and criticise the developing countries for refusing to adopt this successful formula for economic development.

This is far from the truth. When they were developing countries, those countries now developed followed few of the policies they now recommend to others, and especially free trade. And nowhere is this discrepancy between historical reality and myth greater than in Britain and the United States, the two countries supposed to have reached the summit of the world economy through free markets and free trade.

He then goes on to list and describe areas in which both the Great Britain and the US used protectionism to build their economies. He mentions how Britain used protectionism to develop its wool manufacturing, for example, and also for corn. Other industries also benefited from protectionism. According to Chang, Britain exceeded its European neighbors in using protectionism. Likewise, he notes that the US employed one of the highest tariffs perhaps more than any other nation from 1830 to around 1945. In addition, the oceans themselves became natural tools of protectionism due to the cost of shipping. He mentions other parts of protectionism in the US which are quite interesting.

Today, the forcing of free trade on undeveloped nations by developing nations is really forced trade where fledgling industries and business from these nations are forced to compete with well established industries and businesses from developed nations. The result is that too many of the fledgling industries and businesses fail thus making nations with developing economies subservient to the demands of developed nations. But also, forcing free trade on developing nations robs the developing nations of the same mechanisms to develop used by many of today's established nations.

I'm afraid that the view of protectionism described above is that is both economically myopic and historically blind.

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July 26

To Bruce Frohnen and his blogpost about how college is a place full of liberal indoctrination of students. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative blog.

Having taught at state schools, my experiences do not match those of Frohnen. Conservatism was well represented on campus by the number of conservative faculty members. Free speech was respected provided that it was respectful. And though while I started my career as a political conservative and eventually turned out to be an actual political leftist, as opposed to a liberal, but with  conservative religious beliefs, I felt the scorn from both sides.

The conservative-non conservative faculty ratio was, in my teaching experience, highly affected by major in which a faculty member taught. Engineers and business teachers tend to be strongly conservative though there were some exceptions. The majors I taught in contained a mixed bag of conservatives and non conservatives.

Considering that Frohnen seems to be offended by the presence of liberals and leftists, whom he seems unable to distinguish, his portrayal of Zinn's claim of bias misses the point of the claim. The point of his claim is that in history, one cannot escape being biased and it does come out in the selection of material one thinks is important. Thus, Zinn's admission is one of occupational honesty rather than deliberateness and prejudice.

But the biggest objection to college by my former colleagues has not been touched on in this article. Our main objection is that college has merely become just another business who mission is to create more cogs for the system. Why college is a business bothered us is because students became customers and consumers rather than people who were in search of an education. And as customers and consumers, they also became merely numbers for the sake of the profitability of the school. And thus lower admission standards were needed to garner enough customers and thus we had too many kids who were unprepared for college in all sorts of ways and who blamed faculty for their own lack of preparation. Such is the biggest problem the schools I taught in were displaying.

 

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To Joe Carter and his blogpost video where John Norberg claims that when we buy goods from China, we are feeding ourselves because much of that money goes to workers who contributed to those good here. This appeared in the Acton blog.

No, contrary to the claims made in the video, trade with nations like China and Mexico where more money leave the nation than comes in is not feeding us. And no, it is not necessarily the nations with which we have trade deficits which are killing us, it is the corporations and their investors that are killing us. For much of the money that goes into buying products overseas just doesn't go to  the workers, some of whom are working in sweatshop conditions in other nations, it goes to investors. And it is investors, especially the more wealthy ones, around whom our nation's economy is revolving. In addition, the primary labor force for many of the products we buy as a result of trade are not workers from the US.

So while the video answers Trump's concerns, it neglects to mention the concerns of those on the Left. But the speaker makes one valid point, the trade does feed us. For Reaganomics tells us that when we enrich the rich, they feed us. However, what is not mentioned is that they feed us table scraps of both food and freedom.

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