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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For January 18, 2017

Jan 3

To Joseph Pearce and his blogpost on some of what Queen Elizabeth said. The part focused on here is where Pearce states that Queen Elizabeth is advocating subsidiarity. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative Blog.

The writer of this article grossly misinterprets the Queen in a certain area. For the Queen said:

But even with the inspiration of others, it’s understandable that we sometimes think the world’s problems are so big that we can do little to help. On our own, we cannot end wars or wipe out injustice, but the cumulative impact of thousands of small acts of goodness can be bigger than we imagine.

Pearce interprets her as saying the following:

Can we really believe that the head of state of one of the most powerful countries in the world is extolling the principle of subsidiarity—the principle that individuals, families, local communities, charities and churches can change society for the better whereas big and burdensome governments tend to make the big problems even bigger?

What Pearce's interpretation misses is the key phrase 'On our own.' Because of that phrase, Pearce's exclusive-or interpretation of saying that either big gov't saves the vulnerable or local groups of people help the vulnerable but not both presents a false dichotomy. In addition, to exclude gov't from helping people is to say that gov't can only represent those people who can help themselves. And such leaves the vulnerable wholly dependent on the benevolence and access to resources that those around them have.
 

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To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost quote of Carl Trueman who complained that we are intolerant of the wrong things. This appeared in the Heidelblog.

Intolerance should not just be determined by the tenets and behaviors we are objecting to, but by the context in which these beliefs and behaviors exist as well. It is one thing to be intolerant of heresy or immoral sexual behavior in the Church, but should we be intolerant of it in society as well?

Right now we have battle lines being drawn between post Modernists and authoritarian traditionalists with both have something significant contribute to the other, but with neither one of them listening because they they think know enough already. It is wrong for either of these groups to be intolerant of others in society. Why? Because society is not the Church, it includes both those who belong to the Church and those who don't. And while some in the Church are upset because they feel that they are being marginalized by society's acceptance of different sexual orientations and identities, the truth is that the Church, for centuries, has had society marginalize those who practice certain sexual sins and it has done so with all of the personal traits of the pharisee from the parable of the two men praying.

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Jan 4

To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost quote of Paul Helm that questions whether there is a right side of history? This appeared in the Heidelblog.

Let's approach this subject on a case by case basis. Were those who opposed slavery in America on the right side of history or if there is no right side of history, are they to be placed next to those who supported slavery as if there is no difference between them?

Seems to me that the right side of history is the side that does not invoke shame for one's position. And it also seems that we should not let the fact that the right side can be wrongly identified be used to deny the existence of the right side of history.

As for comparing the Enlightenment with Medieval times, there is no reason why we can't compare those two times on a trait by trait basis so that both get a mixed report even though side might be more preferable to the other. Otherwise, we have only shown ourselves to have a fear of having a preferred time period being examined more closely.

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Jan 17

To Joseph Pearce and his blogpost asking whether Trump will be a nationalist or an imperialist. The article describes in binary terms nationalism on one hand and imperialism/internationalism/globalism on the other hand. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative blog.

The use of terms 'nationalism' and 'imperialism' is understandable but inadequate. For while one dictionary definition of nationalism allows a nation to pursue imperialism while the other definition merely advocates for self-rule. Likewise, internationalism or globalism is not the same as imperialism. Internationalism or globalism can refer to collaborative efforts between nations in some sphere whereas  imperialism involves controlling or conquering rather than collaboration. In addition, we need to recognize that in both nationalism and globalism, we can have either democratic rule or elite-centered rule.

Thus, we need to be clear about the terms we are using. Each nation should respect the right of the people from all other nations to exercise self-rule. But such does not eliminate internationalism. Because some of what a nation does can impact other nations, there is an international accountability. In addition, certain moral values must not be violated in how a nation treats subsets of its population or there must be international accountability.

But something else must be said about either self-rule and collaborative efforts. They can be based on democratic principles where all people are involved in the decision making processes or they can be elite-centered. For example, the US is now considered by some to be an oligarchy (see  http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-27074746  ). Thus, regardless of the national interests Trump pursues, because we are a nation that suffers from elite-centered rule, his pursuits will not result in self-rule.

An example of elite-centered rule from an internationalist perspective could be seen in Obama's efforts to fast-track the TPP. His efforts simply removed democratic principles from the decision making process. In addition, the result of the TPP would be to give foreign investors power and control over each member nation in that corporations could sue governments over laws that were democratically passed if such laws cost the corporations profits while these same corporations were not accountable to the governments. But when talking about internationalism, are we going classify the ICC or the UN with their internationalism in the same category as trade agreements such as the TPP or the EU?

The problem we have in describing the world around us is that we tend to use binary thinking. During the Cold War, we had the Free World vs Communism. However, there were many things practiced by some in the Free World that resembled the pejorative stereotype we assigned to Communism. And there were democratic efforts made by Socialists that were not duly recognized and thus distinguished from Lenin-Stalin Communism by the Free World. So we should see that this model of nationalism vs imperialism where the former neglects to distinguish between democratic rule and elite-centered rule while the latter fails to distinguish imperialism from internationalism and the different types of globalism is flawed.

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To Art Carden and his blogpost about Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand. In that article, Carden describes the conflict as being the invisible hand o the market vs fist of the state. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative blog.

There are two problems with this article. First, the binary understanding of the conflict that exists regarding markets. That conflict being the invisible hand of the market vs the fist of the state. The second problem is tendency for some to misunderstand what Smith said.

According to this article, it seems that the invisible hand of the market represents the freedom of all people while the fist of the state represents alien tyrants. The history of labor struggles in the US strongly contradicts that perception. For we should note that representation in the free market is not based by the individual but by the dollar or whatever currency is involved. Those with the most dollars have the most say while those with the least wealth are barely heard. And in a society where things are valued more than people, the public interest is not necessarily served by those who have the greatest say over what happens in the market. Again, the history of American labor struggles bares this out. We might also want include the history of offshoring jobs as well.
interest.

In addition, what if the state is working democracy, how can its decisions that limit the free market be described as the fist of an alien tyrant? Rather such a government is putting limits on a market that is anything but democratic.

Second, Smith did not speak of the invisible hand of the market by observation alone, but by some speculation. His description of the invisible hand came from arguing against mercantilism and the influence that those with wealth had over government officials. So did eliminating mercantilism also eliminate the influence that those with wealth have over government officials.

In addition, the line from the article that says:


This is where the invisible hand of the market comes in. Voluntary market exchange reveals the patterns of specialization, division of labor, and production most consistent with consumers’ preferences. Others’ talents, tastes, values, and knowledge constitute the invisible hand. I convey information about my own talents, tastes, values, and knowledge with offers to buy or sell. Others convey their knowledge by their willingness to accept my bids and offers. I am being led by the invisible hand of others’ knowledge toward patterns of specialization and production that leave us most satisfied, given that we are all free to accept or reject any offer.

does not entirely represent Smith's sentiments. The following is what Smith also wrote about the division of labor (see http://www.gradesaver.com/the-wealth-of-nations/study-guide/quotes as it quotes Smith):

In the progress of the division of labor, the employment of the far greater part of those who live by labor, that is, of the great body of the people, comes to be confined to a few very simple operations; frequently to one or two. But the understandings of the greater part of men are necessarily formed by their ordinary employments. The man whose whole life is spent in performing a few simple operations, of which the effects, too, are perhaps always the same, or very nearly the same, has no occasion to exert his understanding, or to exercise his invention, in finding out expedients for removing difficulties which never occur. He naturally loses, therefore, the habit of such exertion, and generally becomes as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to become. The torpor of his mind renders him not only incapable of relishing or bearing a part in any rational conversation, but of conceiving any generous, noble, or tender sentiment, and consequently of forming any just judgment concerning many even of the ordinary duties of private life.

It seems that those who use Smith to promote free markets, do so selectively.


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To Joe Carter and his blogpost on 5 facts about Martin Luther King Jr. This appeared in the Acton blog.

But there is one other fact about Martin Luther King if we are to truly honor him. That fact was that opposing racism was not his only core concern. He also opposed materialism and economic exploitation as well as war and militarism. In fact, he saw the three of them, that is racism, materialism/economic exploitation, and war/militarism as being inseparable and incapable of being defeated for as long as our society cared about gadgets, profits, and property rights more than it was concerned about people (see http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article2564.htm as just one of several references that support what was just written about King).







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