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This Month's Scripture Verse:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
2 Timothy 3:1-5


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For February 15, 2017

Feb 8

To Joe Carter and his blogpost supporting the striking down of the law that prohibits political speech in churches. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.

A perspective that is missing here is that from Russia. The Russian Orthodox Church has supported Putin. So now Russia maintains laws that put strict limits on those from the LGBT community in terms of what they can say about their sexual orientation and Russia has passed a law that prohibits evangelism by other churches than the Orthodox Church outside of the walls of one's own Church. Can supporting politicians bring privilege to the Church? And if the Church has privileges, then is the separation of Church and State gone?

History tells us that one of the flaws of the Church is that it often supports wealth and power. It tells us this through the examples of the predominant Churches in France, Russia, and Spain prior to their revolutions. This led to the Church siding with tyranny. It tells us this with other examples, such as Chile and Guatemala, where the Church sided with wealth in Socialist nations whose governments were democratically elected with the result of the Church siding with tyranny of those governments were overthrown.

Striking down this law may explain why some evangelical leaders supported Trump in the first place. Now one only needs to see how these leaders and the evangelical movement benefits afterwards.


Feb 9

To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost citing J. Gresham Machen’s opposition to the creation of a federal department of education. This appeared in the Heidelblog.

Why it is important that it was Machen who said what is recorded above is a mystery. For what we see is just a libertarian expressing his views regarding federal standardization and aid. We should note that Machen opposed a child-labor amendment and federal aid for roads. We should note that without the latter, we would have no interstate system and the ability for states and even regions to maintain infrastructure would depend solely on the resources of that region and state even though the stakeholders of such resources include many who do not live in the state or region.

Certainly, Machen is speaking as a libertarian. But I wouldn't want to blame everything he said on his libertarianism. I would also add that perhaps Machen's personal history in the Presbyterian Church influenced his opposition to all standardization in education especially regarding the teaching of morality. But a question I would have for Machen is this: Would today's educational standardization of morals which include racial equality be objectionable to him? Would he object to the teaching that we are all equal regardless of our race? The issue at hand is not racism per se, and such is not a minimizing of the importance of the subject, but on whether Machen's thinking at least sometimes unnecessarily followed all-or-nothing patterns. That to accept a part would be no different than to accept the whole. His rejection of liberalism seems to lean that way.

One final comment is due. Certainly, Libertarians would no doubt agree with Machen's position expressed above. But the problem becomes whether Libertarianism's rejection of Federal involvement in so many areas of life involves a denial of the differing degrees of interdependency that existed in society during the writing of The Constitution and Machen's time as well as with what exists during our time.


Feb 11

To Rev Ben Johnson and his blogpost review of the healthcare debate between Cruz and Sanders where Johnson states that Cruz highlighted the weakness of government run healthcare. This appeared in the Acton blog.

There are two problems with the article above. First, while wait times in Europe and Canada or determined by the provider, wait times in America are forced on people by their personal financial abilities. It is funny that that argument, which is a point Sanders brought up, was not mentioned above. The second problem is that the wait times are unfairly attributed to the government. It is unfair because the wait times are not due to inefficiency since single payer systems are more efficient than the health care system we have now because administration is simplified by single payer systems. Increasing competition by allowing people to cross state borders to purchase healthcare insurance, as suggested by Cruz, only increases the administrative part of providing healthcare because it adds to the mix of providers. And it is the number of providers that complicates the administration part of healthcare because each provider has its own system and rules.

In reality, the wait times in both capitalist and government systems are more due to the matchup between demand and available resources. When demand exceeds available resources, then wait times are longer. And so the European and Canadian healthcare systems have two options in alleviating wait times for medical procedures. First, they can invest more money into their healthcare systems. Second, they can reduce the number of people their systems serve. In America, the second option occurs naturally when  people who feel financially constrained put off obtaining healthcare services til a later time. And to show that point more vividly, we should note that before Obamacare, the number one reason for personal bankruptcies in America were due to healthcare costs.

We should note one more point about Cruz's position. He wants the private sector to solve the problem of people being able to access sufficient healthcare in a timely fashion. Thus, he wants to expand competition to force the healthcare insurance industry into offering better deals. But such a dynamic doesn't always work with publicly owned companies that are operated for the sake of shareholders who are more and more becoming the business owners' equivalent of absentee landlords. Do we really think that shareholders, who have become the only significant group of stakeholders recognized in today's publicly owned companies, will continue to invest adequately into health insurance companies as competition reduces the ROI?


Feb 13
To Pat Buchanan and his blogpost criticizing the courts for stopping Trump’s immigration ban and urging President Trump to ignore the courts and their power. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative blog.

Buchanan exhibits the worst traits of authoritarianism and tribalism in this article. For the validity of Trump's executive order banning refugees from 7 Muslim nations, according to Buchanan, rests in the authoritative position of the people commenting on it. Thus, Buchanan seems to say that Trump's executive order is correct because he is making a wartime decision as President while the decisions of the justices who have ruled on it are wrong because they are merely justices. In addition, Buchanan gives personal attacks on those who disagree. He did the same by unnecessarily attacking Elizabeth Warren who challenged the nomination of Jeff Sessions.

There is nothing in Buchanan's article that discusses the concerns of either side let alone that of the justices. And there is nothing in Buchanan's article that even mentions that there already exists a vetting process for refugees let alone mentions how effective that process is. Rather, Buchanan believes that it is time to reduce the power of our courts who use The Constitution to review our laws. And he promotes this position so that the power of the President can be increased and he has fewer people to be accountable to.

Certainly, if Buchanan was consistent, then he would have written similar articles defending President Obama's executive order on immigration during wartime when it was reviewed by the Supreme Court. But he didn't. Instead, he attacked him. And when he criticized Obama, he resorted to something he didn't use when he defended Trump's executive order on immigration, he mentioned the details on immigration to bolster his argument (see http://buchanan.org/blog/rogue-president-7159 ).

If we learned anything from Star Wars it is this, that those who have an insatiable desire for power use war or conflict as a camouflage for obtaining more and more power. Now that one of Buchanan's own is in the White House, he is arguing for his President to assume and exercise more power. Again, Buchanan has, in this article exhibited the worst traits of authoritarianism and tribalism.


Feb 14

To Joseph Pearce and his blogpost praising Trump’s protectionism as providing a hedge of protection for American economic sovereignty from foreign economic elites. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative blog.

Just for clarification, only a small group uses violence on a consistent basis to demonstrate for the nonconservatives. That group is Black Bloc. Most of the other nonconservatives are peaceful protesters. As for why nonconservatives didn't protest Obama's inauguration?  If the left didn't protest his inauguration, they did oppose his globalization. It is the Democrats who refrained from criticizing their own.

There are things to agree with here. Protectionism is a viable option for America to take provided that it allows other nations to do the same. That has not always occurred. But we should note this, while protectionism provides an economic wall that could possibly partially block the immigration of the influence exercised by foreign economic elites, Trump will not provide sufficient protection for America from being controlled by economic elites in general. This was made clear by Trump's promise to corporate leaders that he will cut taxes and regulations by over 70%. The problem here is that in so doing, Trump is removing a layer of protection from economic, workplace, and environmental exploitation for many Americans. The more one cuts corporate taxes to the extent Trump is promising, the more the tax burden is shifted to workers and the federal deficit is increased. The more one cuts regulations, because regulations primarily deal with pay, working conditions, and protecting the environment, the more that workers and workplace communities are placed at risk for abuse. And though Trump's protectionism might act as a wall that restricts the flow of control foreign investors might have over our nation, his promise to cut taxes and regulations by such a significant amount allows foreigners who invest in American businesses to benefit at the expense of all other stakeholders besides shareholders.

When we look at Trump's team of the "best" people, we are quick to discover that those with wealth will hold on to their power since they are well represented. All others, especially workers, are left unrepresented. This is perhaps why Trump stated that he had heard no complaints about DAPL.

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