Which Mormon Candidate for President?

By: Mormon Heretic
January 24, 2011

Huntsman or Romney?

Apparently it is not too early to start speculating on the 2012 election.  Ambassador (and returned missionary) to China, Jon Huntsman organized a visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao on Wednesday.  Even the Wall Street Journal is curious about Huntsman’s presidential aspirations.  Asked about Huntsman’s presidential aspirations,

“I’m sure that him having worked so well with me will be a great asset in any Republican primary,” said President Barack Obama, flashing a broad smile, as laughter broke out in the room. (Deseret News)

While Mitt definitely has more name recognition, there is speculation that Obama picked Huntsman as Chinese ambassador not only because he speaks fluent Chinese from having served as a  missionary, but also to dampen Huntsman’s chances for a presidential bid.  Mitt is known as a flip-flopper, but Huntsman has no such baggage and could be a more formidable opponent.  On January 1, Huntsman hinted at a presidential run.  Romney seems to be gearing up for a presidential run too.

Huntsman served as governor of Utah from 2005-2009.  Both men are wildly popular in Utah.  Romney won the Utah republican presidential primary in 2008 with 90% of the vote.  Huntsman had an 80% approval rating while serving as governor, despite the fact (or because of–depending on your point of view) that he loosened up Utah’s restrictive liquor laws.  A recent poll shows that Huntsman would easily beat Senator Orrin Hatch if he chose to run for Senate.  So if Huntsman runs for president, will he split the Mormon vote with Romney?  Who do you like?

Who is your favorite Mormon presidential candidate?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Tags: , , , ,

113 Responses to Which Mormon Candidate for President?

  1. Last Lemming on January 24, 2011 at 7:51 AM

    Huntsman is no threat to Romney either in Utah or anywhere else in 2012. He has no following in today’s Republican party. If he runs in 2012 (which I still doubt), his reasoning must go something like this.

    1. Republicans almost always nominate the heir apparent–somebody who can plausibly claim that he has paid his dues and now it is his turn. Only Romney, Huckabee, and Palin can make a plausible case for being the heir apparent.

    2. Nevertheless, 2012 would be a good opportunity to pay some dues without any risk of actually getting the nomination and being beaten by Obama (which will happen if the economy improves noticably).

    3. As a plausible heir apparent, 2012 is Romney’s year to claim it is “his turn.” If he isn’t elected president this time, it becomes somebody else’s turn. With Romney out of the way, Huntsman can make a play for the Mormon vote in 2016.

    4. If the Republicans nominate a Tea Party candidate in 2012, he or she will likely loose so badly in the general election that party leaders will be desperately seeking an anti-Tea Party candidate in 2016. Huntsman, having paid his dues in 2012, would fit the bill nicely. (He would also have a decent chance at winning the general election, unless Hillary changes her mind and runs.)

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  2. FireTag on January 24, 2011 at 7:58 AM

    Huntsman might be a formidable Senate candidate, but I doubt he has any prospects for the Presidency absent a previous more high profile office than Ambassador to China. (Obama appointed him to the Ambassadorship to take him out of circulation for lower offices than President.

    Romney won the New Hampshire straw poll for Republicans at a state shindig in New Hampshire last Saturday with a 35% total and beat the combined votes of the next seven finishers. Romney is the only serious contender for President in 2012.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  3. Mike S on January 24, 2011 at 9:43 AM

    Great points in #1. I agree with your logic and think that is what will happen.

    That being said, I don’t like Romney. While all politicians pander by definition, Romney seems worse than most. He will say anything at anytime to try to position himself.

    While I am terrified of Palin, at least you know where she stands. She has staked out her position, and you either love it or hate it. She’s not changing with the wind like Romney.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  4. Course Correction on January 24, 2011 at 10:06 AM

    Huntsman is popular with most Utahns, but not with the extreme right-wing which controls Republican nominations in the state. Huntsman would no doubt win Hatch’s senate seat if nominated, but might lose the nomination to someone like Jason Chaffetz– the gun-toting congressman–unless Orrin can keep his seat by convincing the Tea Party of his conversion to the far, far, far right.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  5. diane on January 24, 2011 at 10:12 AM

    Why should I or anyone else for that matter elect a President based on their religion?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 4

  6. Jon on January 24, 2011 at 11:02 AM

    Both of them are statists (AKA, neither believe in freedom and liberty). There’s no way I would vote for either.

    Also, Romney is an elitist, he believes that the Federal Reserve is good and that the government can tell you how to act, etc. Any one that believes that a central power can some how magically control the economy with some semblance of no how is an elitist. The Fed said they didn’t see the crash coming (don’t know if they really didn’t or not, if they didn’t then they are truly ignorant) so how can they suppose to control the economy? Nope, Romney is not for freedom. Don’t know why republicans love him. When I was in Utah I was part of the 10% of republicans that didn’t vote for him in the primaries.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  7. Dan on January 24, 2011 at 11:37 AM

    I’m curious why more sensible conservatives don’t deride this kind of thinking:

    Both of them are statists (AKA, neither believe in freedom and liberty).

    I mean, what a bunch of bullcrap. Hey, you sensible, responsible conservatives…whoever of you are left on the right, if you even exist, don’t let this kind of ridiculous thinking overwhelm true conservatism. Stand up for intelligence, please. I beg you guys.

    Controversial! What do you think? Thumb up 2

  8. MH on January 24, 2011 at 11:48 AM

    Diane,

    The American people overwhelmingly vote for a candidate based on religion. Have there been any atheist presidents (or Jewish or Muslim)? Americans don’t really trust Catholics either, with John Kennedy being the lone exception.

    I am a big Huntsman fan, but am a bit surprised that he’s skunking Romney in our poll so far.

    I am curious to see how the Tea Party turns out over the next 2 years. Will they be too extreme to be electable, and a moderate Republican win the nomination (like McCain, Romney, or Huntsman–none of these guys are tea party guys.)

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  9. Naismith on January 24, 2011 at 1:04 PM

    I squirm at the last line and the notion of a”mormon vote.”

    Like most of the saints where I live, who are registered Democrats, I won’t vote for either of them.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 3

  10. diane on January 24, 2011 at 1:31 PM

    MH

    While I don’t necessarily disagree with you per se, I think for people to make religion their reason to make a decision is wrong.

    I want someone in the position who knows what the heck there doing irrespective of what their religious belief system is.

    I really have a problem with candidates who invoke God in their life and then cry foul because they are judged on their belief system.(Romney did it)

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  11. hawkgrrrl on January 24, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    Romney would have loved to keep religion out of his campaign, IMO, but the “people” wouldn’t stand for it. In this case, the people = Huckabee, the GOP machine (which is designed to pick whichever candidate it thinks can beat the opposing candidate), and the media. After what happened in the last election, I have no hope that we will ever have a Mormon president.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  12. Paul on January 24, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    I see them washing out. And turning up in afew years as Mission Presidents. But only in high prestige places like the Switzerland Geneva mission. (Since no visas are available, needs to be ultra-rich men who will get visas) or maybe London or China. Followed by Xth Quorum of the Seventy if stll young enough, followed by time doing genealogy and watching tennis on TV. :)

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  13. Douglas Hunter on January 24, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    There is no such thing as “the Mormon vote”.

    Both of the candidates look like representatives of the plutocratic party to me.

    Of course these days its hard to find any other party represented in high office.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  14. salt h2o on January 24, 2011 at 4:06 PM

    I’m still holding my breath for the facebook ad: “I’m the Senate Majority Leader, and I’m a Mormon”

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  15. diane on January 24, 2011 at 4:19 PM

    I was living in DC about twenty years ago and forget what piece of legislation was put through but afterword an effigy if Orin Hatch was burning out on Wisconsin Ave. That’s a little drastic.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  16. Mike S on January 24, 2011 at 4:45 PM

    The biggest thing that both have in common that makes they potential candidates for the election isn’t their religion. It’s the fact that they are each worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  17. mh on January 24, 2011 at 4:50 PM

    I will bet that they were upset with orrin hatch’s flag burning ammendment.

    mike, name a viable politician for president that isn’t worth millions.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  18. Mike S on January 24, 2011 at 5:13 PM

    mh: Don’t really know any – that’s why I think they are potential candidates. I think having massive wealth is more of a factor than someone’s religion.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  19. jimbob on January 24, 2011 at 7:57 PM

    Which Mormon candidate would I vote for?

    Three words: Cleon Effing Skousen.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  20. MH on January 24, 2011 at 9:34 PM

    Mike, I think we’re looking at this in a similar way. You’ve got to have a lot of personal wealth to be considered a viable candidate for president. So then, the evangelicals are going to try to support someone. They’ll look closely at issues they deem important: is he protestant? abortion position? pro-family? Catholic/Mormon/Muslim? etc.

    So, after wealth gets you in the field, religion plays a part. If you’re from a minority religion such as Catholic/Mormon/Jew you’re going to have a hard time with Evangelicals (Joe Lieberman, anyone?) Kerry got bashed because he was Catholic, and supported abortion. So religion may not play a huge factor, but it clearly is a factor in many people’s minds. And lest we think that Mormons are the only ones picked on, we need to remember Kerry and Lieberman too. It’s going to be hard for an atheist to win, unless he is a closet atheist. He will probably have to feign a religious interest like Obama or Clinton.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  21. FireTag on January 24, 2011 at 9:35 PM

    Let me throw a cat among the canaries: if the question were rephrased as having “Mormon values” instead of “being Mormon”, how would the poll change?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  22. Thomas on January 24, 2011 at 10:37 PM

    Little-known fact: Dwight Eisenhower was raised a Jehovah’s Witness. He ceased to be active early on (about 1915) but never got around to formally joining another church until right after his inauguration, in 1953. (He chose the nice, safe Presbyterians.)

    And the Adams boys were Unitarians, meaning they were at least as non-Trinitarian as Romney. Which will probably go right over the heads of Huckabee’s boys, but oh well.

    Kerry got bashed because he was Catholic, and supported abortion.

    I read that as “Kerry got bashed because he waas a Catholic who supported abortion.” I don’t recall many (any?) people attacking his Catholicism per se (but then again, neither Jack Chick nor the McConkies are my neighbors). I do remember quite a few conservative Catholics noting that a Catholic isn’t supposed to support abortion.

    Considering that pretty much the whole Supreme Court is either Catholic or Jewish (I lost track — is there a single Protestant left there?), I don’t see Catholicism being a handicap anymore.

    Romney will be a serious candidate. Huntsman, I just don’t see it. Maybe if there’s some perfect storm clearing the field for a dark horse, but I just don’t see Huntsman as being positioned to tap into any of the themes of the day.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  23. Thomas on January 24, 2011 at 10:45 PM

    That being said, I don’t like Romney. While all politicians pander by definition, Romney seems worse than most. He will say anything at anytime to try to position himself.

    Paris is worth a mass.

    I wonder if the “Romney is a flip-flopper” charge is something that’s been overplayed. The base of each party values ideological purity; to them, you can’t go very far at all before they start shrieking “sellout!” Keep in mind that Romney was operating as a Republican governor of Massachusetts. You’re just not going to get the same package there as you might with the mayor of La Verkin.

    As for “gun-toting,” I figure if it was good enough for Martin Luther King, it’s good enough for the rest of us.

    Although (guilty admission here — please nobody run me out of conservatism) I am presently without personal artillery. And I only earned the Boy Scout Rifle & Shotgun merit badge pretty much by sheer random volume of fire sent down-range; ultimately enough shots landed reasonably near enough the target, consecutively, to let me squeak through qualification.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  24. Jon on January 24, 2011 at 11:36 PM

    @MH,

    I know there are some that would say the same about Bush. That he wasn’t really religious and just used it for the power. Of course, I have no idea.

    @Dan,

    You should know by now with all our conversations that I’m not a conservative. I ascribe closer to the classical liberal position with a heavy leaning towards anarcho-capatilism.

    @Firetag,

    I would vote for anyone with good morals, heck, even as much as I don’t like it I would vote for a Democrat as long as they were anti-war but you can’t find many candidates now days that don’t believe perpetual war is a bad thing.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  25. Douglas on January 25, 2011 at 1:15 AM

    I would say in jocular fashion that Mitt proved the old Klingon proverb about “never trust a man that smiles too much”.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  26. Dan on January 25, 2011 at 3:30 AM

    Jon,

    You should know by now with all our conversations that I’m not a conservative. I ascribe closer to the classical liberal position with a heavy leaning towards anarcho-capatilism.

    What you describe is not “the classical liberal position.” That would be insulting to the classical liberal. To claim someone like Romney or Huntsman are not for liberty or freedom is not something a classical liberal would say. That’s just utterly ridiculous. And this is coming from someone who doesn’t care at all about either Romney or Huntsman. I would never vote for them. But I would rather defend them from the utterly ridiculous charges of those who claim to stand for “classical liberalism” if only to actually, in the end, defend classical liberalism from those who would co-opt it into something utterly radical and useless.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  27. Dan on January 25, 2011 at 3:51 AM

    by the way, Jon, i see over at wikipedia, that the classical liberal position likes foreign interventions.

    ” Classical liberals extended protection of the country to protection of overseas markets through armed intervention.”

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  28. Jon on January 25, 2011 at 10:11 AM

    Classical liberalism:

    “Classical liberalism” is the term used to designate the ideology advocating private property, an unhampered market economy, the rule of law, constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion and of the press, and international peace based on free trade. Up until around 1900, this ideology was generally known simply as liberalism. The qualifying “classical” is now usually necessary, in English-speaking countries at least (but not, for instance, in France), because liberalism has come to be associated with wide-ranging interferences with private property and the market on behalf of egalitarian goals. This version of liberalism — if such it can still be called — is sometimes designated as “social,” or (erroneously) “modern” or the “new,” liberalism. Here we shall use liberalism to signify the classical variety.

    -Ralph Raico

    http://mises.org/daily/4596

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  29. Dan on January 25, 2011 at 10:19 AM

    Jon,

    That still doesn’t dismiss or justify your comments that someone like Mitt Romney or Jon Huntsman are against liberty and freedom. Shall I quote you again?

    Nope, Romney is not for freedom.

    I mean, how stupid could you be, Jon?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  30. mh on January 25, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    dan, please don’t be so caustic.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  31. Jon on January 25, 2011 at 10:30 PM

    John Locke on liberty:

    THE natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior
    power on earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of
    man, but to have only the law of nature for his rule. The liberty of
    man, in society, is to be under no other legislative power, but that
    established, by consent, in the commonwealth; nor under the dominion of
    any will, or restraint of any law, but what that legislative shall
    enact, according to the trust put in it.

    Richard Henry Lee on liberty:

    Liberty, in its genuine sense, is security to enjoy the effects of our honest industry and labors, in a free and mild government.

    Christ on freedom:

    And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

    Ludwig von Mises on freedom:

    Freedom enables a man not only to do the good things but also to do the wrong things. But no moral value can be ascribed to an action, however good, that has been performed under the pressure of an omnipotent government.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  32. DavidH on January 25, 2011 at 10:42 PM

    I would love to see Senator Tom Udall as president. He has been making a name for himself recently when he proposed some sensible adjustments to the filibuster rules, and I believe he is the one who originally promoted the idea of democrats and republicans sitting with each other at the state of the union. A sensible moderate liberal democrat from New Mexico. While he is LDS, I don’t think he has been as actively involved nor would he be as closely associated in the public mind with Mormonism as are Huntsman and Romney. Of course he would not carry the Mormon vote (he would lose in Utah, but so would Harry Reid or
    B.H. Roberts or Golden Kimball).

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  33. Dan on January 26, 2011 at 6:02 AM

    Jon,

    No matter how many dead guys you quote, it still doesn’t answer how exactly someone like Mitt Romney is not for freedom. That’s where the stupidity of your point lies, Jon. Mr. Romney would quote those very same quotes. A liberal would quote those very same quotes. You don’t own the rights to those quotes, or the interpretation thereof, Jon. You wrote that neither Huntsman nor Romney believe in freedom and liberty. You have yet to defend your charge. Quoting dead guys does not defend your charge against Romney and Huntsman.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  34. mh on January 26, 2011 at 7:15 AM

    though dan could be a bit less controntational, he does make a good point jon. your quotes didn’t specifically address how mitt or huntsman are against freedom. which politician is for freedom jon? are you an extreme libertarian or anarchist?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  35. Jon on January 26, 2011 at 10:21 AM

    Well, there’s nothing I can write that would make Dan see any differently. I thought I would write what some other people wrote so he could see that I’m not the only one to think like this. Well, there’s nothing anybody could write that would make Dan think any differently. But if you, MH, would like me to write something to make the quotes seem more understandable I will. I will concentrate on Romney. I’ve forgotten exactly what I didn’t like about Huntsman but I believe his beliefs are pretty similar to Romney’s beliefs.

    Here’s the glaringly obvious one that goes along with the quotes above.

    The health care mandate Romney imposed on the residents of Massachusetts.

    See http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2010/03/22/mitt_romney_health_care_hypocrisy

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  36. Jon on January 26, 2011 at 10:27 AM

    What about other freedoms that a civilization likes?

    Here’s Mosiah:

    And even I myself have labored with all the power and faculties which I have possessed, to teach you the commandments of God, and to establish peace throughout the land, that there should be no wars nor contentions, no stealing, nor plundering, nor murdering, nor any manner of iniquity…

    Here’s a revelation given to Joseph Smith:

    Therefore, renounce war and proclaim peace, and seek diligently to turn the hearts of the children to their fathers, and the hearts of the fathers to the children…

    Here’s Romney (remember that economic sanctions against another country is war):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3BbIPbLSRw

    Romney is not a man that believes in freedom when you monger for war.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  37. Jon on January 26, 2011 at 10:32 AM

    @MH,

    I’m a classical liberal with heavy leanings towards anarcho-capitalism. Although I would be happy minarchy. It’s hard to find a politician that doesn’t believe they can exercise unrighteous dominion over others. I do think that some come close, like Jeff Flake here in AZ, although he has some flaws too. We don’t need perfect leaders but we definitely need much better ones than the caliber of politicians we have now days. Unfortunately the people of the United States don’t want or don’t understand what freedom and liberty is. Until then we will not get freedom and liberty. We live in a dystopia similar to “Brave New World” and becoming more like “Nineteen Eighty-Four”.

    See: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/2011_a_brave_new_dystopia_20101227/

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  38. mh on January 26, 2011 at 11:10 AM

    I have to tell you that anarcho-capitalism seems like a really bad idea. was teddy roosevelt’s trust busting in the early 20th century a good or bad idea?

    it seems to me that capitalism needs to have restraints or we end up with unhealthy monopolies like we did in the trust busting days of teddy.

    I am curious. do you support joseph smith and brigham young’s theocracy, or is that an affront to freedom and liberty?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  39. Dan on January 26, 2011 at 1:00 PM

    Jon,

    Well, there’s nothing I can write that would make Dan see any differently. I thought I would write what some other people wrote so he could see that I’m not the only one to think like this.

    Really, those dead guys thought Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman were against liberty and freedom?

    Jon, the other quotes, I can use too to defend liberal positions. But you finally got to the evidence you have that both Romney and Huntsman are dastardly evil types who wish to destroy freedom and liberty foreverrrrrrrr!!! uh, or something.

    Actually your points don’t reach that conclusion. But you come from such an extremist position that EVERYTHING not of your own opinion ends up being destructive to freedom and liberty…whatever those mean. Let me ask you something, Jon. If I am not free, why can I call you stupid?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  40. Jon on January 26, 2011 at 1:27 PM

    I’m not a historian but I read a little on it. I know the principles and many times when it looks like it’s the businesses that are bad it is actually the government regulations that caused or causes the bad outcomes. Many of the monopolies in the past were actually good since they produced goods for cheaper than they would otherwise have been.

    Now there’s two different types of monopolies. Monopolies created by the free market and monopolies created by government (or the state, since there’s a difference between government and the state – government is the natural order of things, i.e., natural law and the governance thereof – which is not necessarily some central figure it can be the free market that regulates natural law – and the state is the entity that creates oppressiveness over the people I believe Smedley Butler talked about the difference some here http://www.wanttoknow.info/warisaracket).

    Government monopolies are bad since they typically use violence to create the monopolies. A true free market, natural law, monopoly doesn’t use the threat of violence and typically produces higher quality for lower prices than government monopolies.

    We can see the affects of government monopolies and government protected industries through many examples, like health care (the government has been interfering with it more and more over 100 years and now we see an unnatural rise in prices for it), like the houses bust recently, like the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico recently, like the US Post Office (as Obama mentioned), corporations are created by the government giving them unnatural incentives, the regulation of airline security created a dangerous environment and improper incentives for airline security (and now we’re seeing the affects of a complete government take over of the security of airlines), etc.

    I’ve read that the oil monopolies or trusts actually produced much cheaper oil for the masses but the government broke them up anyways. The unfettered free market can create competition when it is needed.

    Would an anarcho-capatilist society be perfect? No, but it would be better than heavy regulations. We can see from the example of Somalia how they have become more anarchic but are faring much better than their neighbors (of course, they would probably be doing even better if the US government didn’t provide arms, etc to hamper Somalia’s progress).

    Do I support JS and BY’s theocracy? I really don’t know the history well enough to say but as long as the people involved in it are not their by force than it is fine. In a true anarcho-capitalist society people would be able to give up some freedoms and liberties if they wanted to form a private government of their own (which already happens today to some extent, e.g., body guards, panarchy, etc).

    Yes, anarcho-capatilism takes the most righteous of a people over any other form of governance but it also helps create a more righteous people since they are not shielded from the effects of their sins as the people of Mosiah rejoice “that every man should have an equal chance throughout all the land; yea, and every man expressed a willingness to answer for his own sins.”

    Only a wicked people need a hard master.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  41. Jon on January 26, 2011 at 1:31 PM

    @Dan,

    Read “Brave New World” and you will see. And if you don’t understand then there is nothing I can say or write that would help you.

    There is nothing wrong with wanting freedom and liberty.

    Barry Goldwater -

    I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/daily/may98/goldwaterspeech.htm

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  42. Dan on January 26, 2011 at 1:48 PM

    Jon,

    Read “Brave New World” and you will see. And if you don’t understand then there is nothing I can say or write that would help you.

    I’ve read Brave New World. Not sure what you want me to see in it.

    I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.

    Ah, that worked so well for Barry Goldwater. Only the loonies think much positive of him. Then I forget that you have said you’re from Arizona. He’s your homeboy loony. There is a reason all of America rejected him, Jon. Why don’t you look that up.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  43. Dan on January 26, 2011 at 2:03 PM

    Jon,

    I know the principles and many times when it looks like it’s the businesses that are bad it is actually the government regulations that caused or causes the bad outcomes.

    Never does a business do wrong. See, it wasn’t BP’s fault for the oil spill in the Gulf last year. It was the government’s fault for letting BP get away with not adhering to proper safety regulations and policies. It wasn’t Lehman Brothers’ fault for nearly destroying the entire economy. It was the government’s fault for not….well, not sure exactly how the government really had a hand in the whole collapse of the housing market…oh wait, yeah, they loosened regulations and suddenly businesses took advantage of that and ran away with it. You are correct about one thing, Jon, the wicked need a hard master. There are none more wicked than the greedy bastards on Wall Street. Surely you see the need to be a “hard master” to such wicked and perverse people….

    Government monopolies are bad since they typically use violence to create the monopolies.

    Ah, there’s so much bliss in ignorance….the innocence…Jon must have never, ever, read any actual history of actual reality and seen just how often private monopolies used violence to get their way. Hey Jon, read up Standard Oil when you get a chance. Or wait, I get it, Standard Oil was somehow a government created monopoly. There are no bad privately created monopolies.

    A true free market, natural law, monopoly doesn’t use the threat of violence and typically produces higher quality for lower prices than government monopolies.

    yes, oh yes it does. and it typically produces lower quality for higher prices. Seriously Jon, where the hell did you learn your economics!

    I’ve read that the oil monopolies or trusts actually produced much cheaper oil for the masses but the government broke them up anyways. The unfettered free market can create competition when it is needed.

    That statement alone probably best describes how little Jon actually knows of the history of oil in this country. Do you know why Standard Oil sold oil for so cheap, Jon? It’s because they cheated by teaming up with freight monopolies to stifle competition. The reason Standard Oil was broken up was because it stifled private competition. That’s what private monopolies do, Jon. They are savage beasts, because that’s what they feel they need to do in order to survive. Microsoft is a private corporation that used to be a monopoly. It was savage to anyone who dared to compete with it. The unfettered free market is no match for a private monopoly. Because of one simple reason. There is no one who has power over that monopoly. We’re lucky in this country to have only experienced one true super powerful private monopoly: Standard Oil. We’re lucky that we were able to break it up. Ironically, by breaking it up into today’s American oil companies, we were able to produce a far better service than if we had left Standard Oil to its own work.

    Would an anarcho-capatilist society be perfect? No, but it would be better than heavy regulations.

    No they wouldn’t, because the sharks in the water would eat the rest of the fish until no one was left.

    We can see from the example of Somalia how they have become more anarchic but are faring much better than their neighbors (of course, they would probably be doing even better if the US government didn’t provide arms, etc to hamper Somalia’s progress).

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Your best example of the kind of world you want to see is Somalia? HAHAHA! No thanks. I’ll take Huxley’s dystopian future over Somalia’s reality any day of the week. Give me tyranny over Somalia’s anarchy any day of the week. How utterly ridiculous.

    Oh, and NO Somalia is NOT faring much better than their neighbors. Do you even know anything about the world around you, Jon?

    Yes, anarcho-capatilism takes the most righteous of a people over any other form of governance but it also helps create a more righteous people

    Wait, you just said that Somalia represents the typical anarcho-capitalist society. How are they a righteous people? Don’t you see that Somalia thrives in the business of private pirateering? i.e. they steal from others!

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  44. mh on January 26, 2011 at 2:43 PM

    ok, after that tangent, perhaps we can get back to romney or huntsman?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  45. Thomas on January 26, 2011 at 4:40 PM

    remember that economic sanctions against another country is war

    Now that’s just silly.

    Let’s say you and Dan are a couple of merchants — a wholesaler and a retailer. You have a falling out with Dan, and decide not to do business with him anymore.

    If that’s “war,” then I’m a ham sandwich.

    And that’s just what economic sanctions are: One country decides not to do business with another. That’s freedom (assuming the country makes its decisions by something reasonably resembling the free consent of the governed). That even holds true, when the sanctioning country persuades its friends to join in the sanctions.

    “War” is a loud nasty thing involving explosives and flying metal, in which people are prone to getting actually killed. Once you start using that word “war” out of its actual, precise meaning, then the exact thing happens that Orwell warned about when we start getting fuzzy with language: People start using words deceptively, and pretty soon you have wars on drugs and wars on poverty, where the language of “war” tends to persuade people to forego the restraints on government that ought properly to apply in those less deadly contexts.

    Call war war; call something else, the appropriate something else. Similarly, I’ll agree with Dan that unless you’re actually physically goose-stepping around with a red armband on your sleeve, you’re not a Nazi. Though I would note that in my considerable experience, the traffic in Godwin’s Law violations going from left to right has exceeded the traffic going the other way by about the ratio of westbound traffic through the Santa Ana Canyon to eastbound at eight in the morning. It’s not even close.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  46. Thomas on January 26, 2011 at 4:49 PM

    Do you know why Standard Oil sold oil for so cheap, Jon? It’s because they cheated by teaming up with freight monopolies to stifle competition.

    And why on earth should I give a fig about that?

    I buy oil products. I want to buy them as cheaply as possible. If that means buying from a large company instead of a bunch of small companies, that’s fine with me. The supposed evil of monopoly is not that competitors like Ida Tarbell’s father get run out of business; the problem arises when monopoly power is abused in restraint of trade, allowing the monopolist to charge a monopoly premium and making things more expensive.

    What happened with Standard Oil, is that the daughter of a bitter small-time refiner wrote a not-particularly-accurate book, which led to laws being enacted on not-particularly-accurate assumptions, which have over the years led to not-particularly-efficient economic outcomes.

    Dan, you really ought to read some of the updated scholarship on Standard Oil. I would, in fact, encourage you to read from a broader ideological spectrum across the board. There’s little downside to learning the other side of the argument; if nothing else, if you consider it and still find it wanting, you can laugh at your opponents that much more confidently.

    Although it may well be true that there is never someone so confident as the man who has never read enough of the other side to entertain any doubt.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  47. Jon on January 26, 2011 at 4:59 PM

    Romney’s a warmonger if he wants to implement sanctions. The other country has every right to fight for free trade if some other country does economic sanctions on it. Sanctions are the same thing as a blockade, it’s war.

    http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/27c/096.html

    Make no mistake about it: Economic sanctions are acts of aggression. Sanctions increase poverty and misery among the very poorest inhabitants of targeted nations, and they breed tremendous resentment against those imposing them. But they rarely hurt the political and economic elites responsible for angering American leaders in the first place.

    -Ron Paul

    Economic sanctions used to be considered acts of war because by design they kill civilians. Yet today countries routinely impose economic sanctions with no protest from their citizens, Christian or otherwise. Economic sanctions by the United States against Iraq by the previous administration, not to mention the war itself by the current administration, is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians. For the most part, organized religion does not only meekly acquiesce in the killing; some Christian denominations cheer the killing of pagan men, women, and children in foreign countries because they believe it will hasten the second coming of Christ.

    -Stan Warford

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  48. Jon on January 26, 2011 at 5:03 PM

    @Thomas,
    That doesn’t seem like cheating, it seems more like getting a bulk rate from another company. At my first professional job the company would do that all the time, sell for cheaper to companies that had better credit and bought bulk product.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  49. Dan on January 26, 2011 at 10:04 PM

    Thomas,

    Dan, you really ought to read some of the updated scholarship on Standard Oil.

    Dude, you completely misread my comment. I read, not long ago, Ron Chernow’s fantastic biography of John Rockefeller. He went into very good detail of what occurred. My comment was simply to rebut the silly argument made by Jon that a private monopoly somehow didn’t do evil stuff. In the case of Standard Oil, it destroyed its competition through unfair deceptive practices with the rail companies. So don’t get me wrong on this. My feelings toward John Rockefeller and Standard Oil are mixed. I don’t like that he stifled competition, and essentially cheated, but I love that he brought quite a lot of order to a very chaotic economy. I don’t feel bad at all that his company got trust-busted. I generally hold little sympathy when the rich get slapped around a little. And in any case, as Chernow notes, the new smaller companies in the wake of Standard Oil have done quite well for themselves (they are of course today’s American oil companies).

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  50. Dan on January 26, 2011 at 10:11 PM

    Jon,

    That doesn’t seem like cheating, it seems more like getting a bulk rate from another company.

    You don’t even know the game. Standard Oil would secretly meet with Pennsylvania Railroad or some other rail company and promise them a certain amount of shipment if they charged a massively low delivery charge, a charge so low that no other oil company could possibly match. This discounting essentially forced the other oil companies to sell their companies to Standard Oil. When other companies would try to go around Standard Oil by creating their own pipelines, rail companies would deny them access through lands they owned at Standard Oil’s instructions.

    It’s ironic, Jon, because you would just love the Rust Belt of the 1870s. It fits right in with your anarcho-capitalist highly chaotic world view. Standard Oil destroyed that. They brought corporatist order to your utopia.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  51. Thomas on January 26, 2011 at 10:20 PM

    I generally hold little sympathy when the rich get slapped around a little.

    And that’s where we probably have our greatest difference.

    I don’t care how rich someone is — if he hasn’t done something that violates a just, duly constituted law, he ought not be slapped, any more than anyone else should. Maybe I just don’t like slapping.

    Being rich certainly has its share of moral traps — but not every rich person falls into them, any more than every [fill in name of violence-prone social group here] person falls into the moral traps that he’s exposed to. Anatole France had that cute sarcastic line about how the law, in its magnificent equality, forbids the rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges and beg for bread. Funny, but I want the law to have that magnificent equality. I don’t want the rules to stop applying depending on who you are. Because then the guy in charge of deciding when the rules do and don’t apply, can do anything he wants — something much more morally and physically dangerous, to him and the rest of us, then just being rich.

    Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.

    Good counsel. Leviticus isn’t all toasted sheep and don’t-kiss-your-aunt.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  52. Thomas on January 26, 2011 at 10:36 PM

    Dan, I never had any problem with the railroad rebate “problem,” any more than I have an objection to the fact that I have to pay more for one bag of Swedish Fish than a wholesaler pays for a crate of them.

    On the other hand, to the extent that Standard Oil actually colluded with others to stifle competition, there’s nothing efficient about that, and they deserved to be knocked on the head.

    I think single-party antitrust ought to be almost completely abolished — the one exception being where a monopoly is actually exercising monopoly power, to charge more for a commodity than the price would be in a competitive market.

    Thankfully — with oceans of capital sloshing around the world, and technology making start-up ventures more quickly startable — the cost barriers to entry onto a would-be monopolist’s territory are fewer than they may once have been. (Still not convinced that the early Progressives got the right diagnosis that “monopoly,” as opposed to learning-curve monetary policy, was the problem.) A monopolist is kept from charging monopoly prices not by actual competition, but by latent competition — by the knowledge that if he charges too much, there’s a guy down the street who can make a perfectly decent profit charging a market price. And if that guy can present a rational business plan, there’s any number of investors ready to get him going — and there’s just not any one single big player with enough dominance to possibly scare them all away.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  53. Dan on January 26, 2011 at 10:43 PM

    Thomas,

    You don’t seem to get it. The rich don’t get rich through righteous means. At some point in their lives, in order to attain those worldly riches, they had to do something they ought not to have done. In the case of John Rockefeller, he cheated. That he then gets a slap on the wrist for it, I’ll take (though he deserved far worse). To get ahead of someone else in a cutthroat environment, you have to do something bad. You think Mark Zuckerberg was an angel as he set up Facebook?

    By the way, do you watch Undercover Boss on Fox? Do you notice how much these CEOs are bumbling idiots in their own freaking companies? And somehow they are worth more than those employees they highlight? I have little if any sympathy for the plight of someone getting paid a million dollars a year or more.

    In any case, that’s all I’ll say on this tangent. I apologize to Mormon Heretic for taking far too much time away from the real topic here….the lives of millionaires wanting to rule our world… :)

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  54. Thomas on January 26, 2011 at 10:45 PM

    Sanctions are the same thing as a blockade, it’s war.

    Horsefeathers. A blockade is big gray ships parked off your harbor, pointing guns at people who want to come in. Economic sanctions consist of some guy freely deciding he’s not going to deal with you.

    The Castro regime, incidentally, always refers to the American trade embargo as a “blockade.” Which is funny, because pretty much half the regime’s ideology consists of complaining about how much Uncle Sam always takes advantage of you in your relations.

    “Fine,” says Uncle Sam. “You don’t like dealing with me, so don’t deal with me. Buy Ladas instead of Chevys. See if I care.”

    The Cuban communists complaining about a “blockade,” while simultaneously damning Yankee “exploitation,” always makes me think of someone saying “Please, please come over here and oppress me.”

    Sanctions increase poverty and misery among the very poorest inhabitants of targeted nations

    It’s not my job to maintain the good people of Lower BeeEffistan. If I decide I want to trade with them, wonderful; maybe we’ll both be better off. But if I decide not to, they have no right to demand that I do so, any more than I have a moral right to demand that you hire me.

    (I’ll have you know, Jon, that by refusing to hire me, you’re starving my kids. How do you sleep at night?)

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  55. Dan on January 26, 2011 at 10:46 PM

    Thomas,

    A monopolist is kept from charging monopoly prices not by actual competition, but by latent competition — by the knowledge that if he charges too much, there’s a guy down the street who can make a perfectly decent profit charging a market price.

    Not if you rush in there to buy him out. That was common practice by Standard Oil, and well, the rail companies too. Did you see There Will Be Blood? That focused on this topic quite well, as well. If you’re a monopoly and you’re scared the local guy can do better than you in that emerging market, you’re just going to go in there and threaten him until he finally caves and sells you his company. That’s what an effective monopoly does. Only when the government finally gets representatives who will break up the monopoly will that monopoly finally lose its power.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  56. Thomas on January 26, 2011 at 10:54 PM

    The rich don’t get rich through righteous means. At some point in their lives, in order to attain those worldly riches, they had to do something they ought not to have done.

    “Behind every great fortune is a great crime,” Only a Frenchman would say that. We descendants of that “nation of shopkeepers” the French loved to hate, charmingly hold to the idea that sometimes when you do nothing but spot a need and fill it, the world beats a path to your door.

    “The rich” aren’t universally evil, any more than any other group universally deserves stereotypes that get stuck to it. No matter how broadly the generalization applies, it never applies to every man in the group, and it’s unwise and ugly to pretend it does.

    Now, we may well now live in a world where getting rich via the Dark Side is disproportionately advantaged…where it’s less “see a need, fill a need” than “get the Aristocracy of Pull behind you, rig the rules in your favor, line up a bailout in case things go south, and watch the funny money pour in.” So fix that. Don’t throw the good guys — there really are some, as much as rich people generally do tend to disproportionately suck — out with the bathwater.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  57. Thomas on January 26, 2011 at 11:01 PM

    Only when the government finally gets representatives who will break up the monopoly will that monopoly finally lose its power.

    Because public officials can always be trusted to be completely even-handed and public-spirited in deciding who to make examples of.

    To whatever extent J.D. Rockefeller could have exercised monopoly power in Edwardian times, there’s simply nobody remotely rich enough, relative to the size of the available (globalized!) economy, to throw that much weight around. If the upstart really does have a viable business plan, and really can undercut a would-be monopolist, John D. Rockefeller IX is going to walk up to the guy’s door with his buyout money — and find himself waiting behind a fair-sized queue of American, Chinese, Indian, Saudi, Russian, and British venture capitalists, ready to outbid him right up to the point where the buyout stops making economic sense.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  58. Thomas on January 26, 2011 at 11:02 PM

    By the way, do you watch Undercover Boss on Fox? Do you notice how much these CEOs are bumbling idiots in their own freaking companies?

    Can’t legislate away stupid, unfortunately. And that’s one commodity the modern economy seems to definitely overproduce.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  59. Jon on January 26, 2011 at 11:06 PM

    @Thomas,

    It is the same as a blockade. Just because they do it with a velvet glove there is still an iron fist under that glove and it will crush you if you decide to trade with others in that country. This is the same concept found in the book that I keep referring to “Brave New World” (can you tell I just finished reading it?), that just because things appear to be free doesn’t mean that they are.

    @MH,

    I should have given you the short answer since on blogs there’s not enough space to go into the great analysis needed. So here’s the short answer.

    I don’t believe it is right to use violence or the threat thereof to provide services to others. This includes fire service, medical service, road service, police service, military service, etc. Would it work? I don’t know, but from the examples I’ve seen and from the theory I really like it. The other part is that the anarcho-capitalists are the only group that are true to principles. All other political groups don’t stay to any principle. Like the first sentence of this paragraph is just the principle that Christ taught us in the second great commandment, love your neighbor as yourself. How can you steal from or threaten your neighbors so that you can become enriched from them? I don’t see how one can.

    Regardless if anarcho-capitalism would work or not it is important to understand what the principles are and know if you are deviating from them. That’s why I have respect for minarchists, because they know the principles but then say they just don’t believe it is possible and only deviate slightly from the principles (of course, not all are like that).

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  60. Dan on January 27, 2011 at 4:23 AM

    Thomas,

    Only a Frenchman would say that. We descendants of that “nation of shopkeepers” the French loved to hate,

    You mean, “the French we love to hate.” :) Dude, staying on topic, Mitt Romney went to France on his mission. He apparently hated it. Came back to America and dissed on the French…or maybe he was just pandering to guys like you who, for some odd reason, keep up the hating the French thing even though they do Capitalism quite well, and were the true founders of our freedom, both philosophically and physically (without their help, we never would have defeated the British).

    “The rich” aren’t universally evil, any more than any other group universally deserves stereotypes that get stuck to it.

    Um, don’t create a straw man, Thomas. I never called the “rich universally evil.

    find himself waiting behind a fair-sized queue of American, Chinese, Indian, Saudi, Russian, and British venture capitalists, ready to outbid him right up to the point where the buyout stops making economic sense.

    Yeah, on this you make a good point. Rockefeller was never able to extend his monopoly beyond America’s borders because the Russians and the Europeans of the time already had their own state-owned oil monopolies that stopped his efforts.

    Can’t legislate away stupid, unfortunately. And that’s one commodity the modern economy seems to definitely overproduce.

    You can increase their taxes.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  61. Dan on January 27, 2011 at 4:28 AM

    Jon,

    Would it work? I don’t know, but from the examples I’ve seen and from the theory I really like it.

    you mean like Somalia?

    The other part is that the anarcho-capitalists are the only group that are true to principles.

    I’m true to principles and I’m no anarcho-capitalist idiot. I’m true to the principle that anarcho-capitalism is among the dumbest ideas ever thought up by man.

    Regardless if anarcho-capitalism would work or not

    if your example is Somalia, then, no, it doesn’t work.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  62. Stephen M (Ethesis) on January 27, 2011 at 5:16 AM

    Dan, what about Albania? Isn’t that a better example of anarcho-capitalism (post the multilevel marketing scam that collapsed the government, of course).

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  63. Thomas on January 27, 2011 at 1:39 PM

    Um, don’t create a straw man, Thomas. I never called the “rich universally evil.

    Run tape:

    The rich don’t get rich through righteous means. At some point in their lives, in order to attain those worldly riches, they had to do something they ought not to have done.

    I don’t see any qualifier in there.

    You can increase their taxes.

    1. And this will accomplish — what?

    Even Paul Krugman acknowledges (grudgingly) that the vast majority in the increase in economic inequality over the past several decades has been in pre-tax income, not after-tax income. In other words, the rich have not gotten richer primarily because of “tax cuts for the rich” or some such. (In fact, the overall tax burden has remained fairly constant over that time, and the share paid by the rich has actually increased.)

    If you’re saying that taxing the rich more will mitigate the effects of stupidity on the part of rich people — sorry, don’t see it. All you do is move the stupid from the private side of the economy to the public side. I’m inclined to think stupid gets punished more, and faster, on the private side (or at least it used to, before the Age of Bailouts). Stupid business decisions can drive a company into bankruptcy. Stupid governmental decisions create their own constituencies, who will inevitably say the reason a stupid government initiative hasn’t succeeded, is that we just haven’t spent enough money on it. And so instead of getting put out of their misery like stupid business initiatives, stupid public initiatives wind up absorbing even more capital to waste.

    Anyway, I think government by the consent of the governed is a good enough idea that I don’t like the whole notion of increasing “their” taxes. If we decide we need more money to fund the general welfare, we can tax ourselves. It may be fair, and even consistent with consensual government, to require that a tax increase be borne most heavily by those most able to pay — but when it boils down to a naked “I want more government services. You pay for it all,” then — if the proposed taxpayer doesn’t freely get on board — you are getting perilously far from governing with your target’s consent.

    And consensual government isn’t just a moral issue — it’s a practical one. When politics gets too adversarial — which is the very essence of traditional leftism, dividing world between the People and their enemies, who are to be expropriated with or without their consent — then funny thing, you tend to lose the voluntary cooperation of the targeted class. And it’s grossly inefficient to try to govern without extensive voluntary cooperation.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  64. Dan on January 27, 2011 at 2:48 PM

    Thomas,

    Doing something you shouldn’t do does not make you evil.

    If you’re saying that taxing the rich more will mitigate the effects of stupidity on the part of rich people — sorry, don’t see it.

    That’s not what I am saying. There will always be stupid CEOs. Cut the value of their income. If the market won’t do it, the government should.

    Anyway, I think government by the consent of the governed is a good enough idea that I don’t like the whole notion of increasing “their” taxes. If we decide we need more money to fund the general welfare, we can tax ourselves.

    Did you support the war in Iraq?

    When politics gets too adversarial — which is the very essence of traditional leftism, dividing world between the People and their enemies,

    You know how easy it is to smell bullcrap? When you blame the left for the very things the right does. Adversarial politics? Have you seen Fox News?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  65. Thomas on January 27, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    By “adversarial politics,” I’m not referring to strongly-worded or even nasty personal argument.

    I’m talking about the fundamental view of government’s purpose. I believe it’s to provide public goods, and that’s pretty much it. The traditional leftist position also includes forcibly “spreading the wealth around,” taking from one to give to another. With a healthy dollop (in practice) going to the nomenklatura, of course.

    As spicy as Fox News may be (and it’s far less so than the leftist conventional wisdom would have it — or than the failed radio hosts over on MSNBC), I do not see the commentators calling for people to forcibly take anything from anyone else. Their argument is essentially for government to act as referee and provide public goods, leaving people to interact and prosper as well they can. That is fundamentally different from a worldview that aims for power for the specific purpose of seizing wealth from a targeted class. The former has a plausible claim on governing as the legitimate representative of the whole country. The latter does not.

    Now, you may take the position that leaving people to interact independently will lead to intolerable results — to unacceptable inequalities — and that all things considered, it is ultimately better to have government step in explicitly on the side of one tribe of the people against another. Fair enough. But understand that that kind of government is inherently adversarial, and has no legitimate claim on the obedience of the people government is expressly employed against.

    So yes, conservatives’ tactics and argument can be adversarial confrontational. (Pretty much all argument is, no?) But the underlying position is not adversarial, except in defense against coercion.

    There will always be stupid CEOs. Cut the value of their income. If the market won’t do it, the government should.

    Why?

    Seriously, why? Whether a CEO is overpaid, is ultimately the business of the shareholders. It’s their money that’s being wasted.

    What you’re saying, is that either the shareholders are too stupid to do anything about having their money wasted, or (and there’s actually something to this) there are structural features of the corporate form that make it difficult for shareholders to effectively set executive compensation at market prices. But the “solution” you propose — having a third party, government, come in and tax the overpaid CEO — doesn’t help the shareholders. They don’t get the money. The government does. How does that solve the problem of shareholders getting hosed by their CEOs? The hoseage just gets diverted from one undeserving party to another.

    Did you support the war in Iraq?

    Tell me where you’re going with that, if it has to do the matter at hand.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  66. Jon on January 27, 2011 at 4:10 PM

    @Thomas,

    In a free market people would have closer incomes compared to one another, it’s the interference of the market that creates drastic income differences.

    See John Stossel’s Show – I think it was this one:
    http://www.hulu.com/watch/188839/stossel-thu-oct-14-2010#s-p3-so-i0

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  67. Dan on January 27, 2011 at 5:03 PM

    Thomas,

    The traditional leftist position also includes forcibly “spreading the wealth around,” taking from one to give to another.

    No, the traditional conservative view of the leftist position also includes forcibly spreading the wealth around, taking from one to give to another. It’s still not actual reality. No matter how often you say it, Thomas.

    I’m talking about the fundamental view of government’s purpose. I believe it’s to provide public goods, and that’s pretty much it.

    So do liberals, Thomas. Kinda hurts your argument when you’re arguing against straw men. The difference is in what is considered a public good.

    I do not see the commentators calling for people to forcibly take anything from anyone else.

    Straw man. No liberal argues for that.

    Their argument is essentially for government to act as referee and provide public goods, leaving people to interact and prosper as well they can.

    Same as the liberal position. The difference, once again, is in what are public goods.

    That is fundamentally different from a worldview that aims for power for the specific purpose of seizing wealth from a targeted class.

    Straw man. No liberal argues for that.

    Now, you may take the position that leaving people to interact independently will lead to intolerable results — to unacceptable inequalities — and that all things considered, it is ultimately better to have government step in explicitly on the side of one tribe of the people against another.

    Nope, that would be a misrepresentation and misinterpretation of what I would like to see happen.

    But the underlying position is not adversarial, except in defense against coercion.

    You mean like forcing people to not be able to declare bankruptcies, like coercing people’s activities in their own bedrooms. Riiiiight, Thomas, that’s not the conservative position.

    Seriously, why? Whether a CEO is overpaid, is ultimately the business of the shareholders. It’s their money that’s being wasted.

    No, Thomas, it is the business of the employees on whose backs the CEO is paid far beyond what he is actually worth. The system is gamed by the rich so that they actually forcibly take money from the poor and redistribute it amongst themselves at the top. If the typical American worker works harder now for more hours than what he has worked in the past, then why is he getting paid less when accounting for inflation than what he got paid before Ronald Reagan came to office? Since Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts for the rich (under the silly economic myth of “trickle down economics”), the wealthy of this country have massively increased their wealth while forcing the workers underneath them to work longer hours and harder labor. Something is wrong with that picture. Capitalism, in and of itself, is not a very good system for the whole of society. It works very well for the top 1%. It works poorly for everyone else.

    What you’re saying, is that either the shareholders are too stupid to do anything about having their money wasted, or (and there’s actually something to this) there are structural features of the corporate form that make it difficult for shareholders to effectively set executive compensation at market prices.

    the latter.

    But the “solution” you propose — having a third party, government, come in and tax the overpaid CEO — doesn’t help the shareholders.

    Screw the shareholders, Thomas. I’m talking about the workers. I don’t give a damn what the shareholders make. They are part of the unfair system; they make money they didn’t earn.

    Did you support the war in Iraq?

    Tell me where you’re going with that, if it has to do the matter at hand.

    Well you noted:

    If we decide we need more money to fund the general welfare, we can tax ourselves.

    So I was curious if you supported the war in Iraq, and whether or not you demanded that the government tax you so that you wouldn’t shift the burden of that expense to someone else who may not even have a say in that decision. If you supported the war in Iraq and did not demand Bush increase your own taxes, then you would be taking a hypocritical position vis a vis the issue of taxing ourselves rather than “taking from others.”

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  68. Dan on January 27, 2011 at 5:04 PM

    Jon,

    In a free market people would have closer incomes compared to one another, it’s the interference of the market that creates drastic income differences.

    Show me an example in actual reality of a “free market people” who had income close together.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  69. Thomas on January 27, 2011 at 5:15 PM

    So I was curious if you supported the war in Iraq, and whether or not you demanded that the government tax you so that you wouldn’t shift the burden of that expense to someone else who may not even have a say in that decision. If you supported the war in Iraq and did not demand Bush increase your own taxes, then you would be taking a hypocritical position vis a vis the issue of taxing ourselves rather than “taking from others.”

    Wars are public goods, silly.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  70. Thomas on January 27, 2011 at 5:51 PM

    Dan, denying that redistributionism is a significant force in left-liberal thought, while pretending that restricting private bedroom conduct has any significant constituency in modern conservatism, really does not increase your credibility.

    I would fall back to some more defensible ground, and continue the fight from there.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  71. Dan on January 27, 2011 at 7:34 PM

    Thomas,

    Wars are public goods, silly.

    So is health care. So are unemployment benefits. So are food stamps.

    Dan, denying that redistributionism is a significant force in left-liberal thought, while pretending that restricting private bedroom conduct has any significant constituency in modern conservatism, really does not increase your credibility.

    if there is any actual truth to “redistributionism” then you would have a point. But alas, it is a straw man. A nice catch phrase but not one based in actual reality. The literal interpretation of redistribution of wealth, or as you also refer to it as taking money from someone and giving it to another, literally implies exactly that, the Robin Hood effect. Actually taking money from the rich and actually giving it to someone else. Liberalism does not argue for that. Liberalism argues that in the best interest of the whole of society, not just the wealthy, food stamps are a public good just like roads are. Those who literally cannot buy food can now buy food. Liberalism argues that in the best interest of the whole of society, not just the wealthy, that unemployment benefits are provided for those who lose their jobs, not so they sit at home fat and lazy, but so that they aren’t actually thrown out of their home because they can no longer pay; that they don’t starve because their one source of income has now dissipated. Liberalism argues that for the benefit of the whole society, not just the wealthy, medical help is provided for those who cannot pay for it themselves. We would not be a just, nor a merciful, nor a Christian society if any of our citizens die of starvation, or if they die because they could not get medical help. And spare me the extreme examples. We’re talking about real examples of people dying of pneumonia when a visit to the doctor would have saved their lives. There are real examples of Americans like this, and frankly, I don’t see the rich doing as much to save those kinds of people as would the ability of the government itself, whether at the local level or at the federal level. Before Social Security, exactly how well did the rich do at providing some kind of charitable safety net for all seniors? Not just their own rich grandparents.

    Frankly I don’t know why conservatives give such deference to the rich and the wealthy. You guys do realize that when they die, they can’t take their wealth with them, right?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  72. Thomas on January 27, 2011 at 8:02 PM

    Definition of a “public good”:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_good

    “Public good” is a particular economic term of art, referring to goods which are is nonrival and non-excludable. “Non-rivalry means that consumption of the good by one individual does not reduce availability of the good for consumption by others; and non-excludability that no one can be effectively excluded from using the good.”

    A “public good” is not the same thing as “something that’s good for the public.” We choose to have government provide “public goods” — roads, lighthouses, clean air, police, fire departments, national defense — because we calculate that the private sector would underproduce those goods, leaving us all worse off. The private sector is motivated by profit, and when you can’t exclude free-riding, non-paying users, you obviously don’t make any profit — and so you never construct the public good. So government does, the costs are spread across the whole society, and everybody’s better off.

    Frankly I don’t know why conservatives give such deference to the rich and the wealthy.

    Frankly, I don’t know why liberals give such deference to criminals and terrorists.

    See how lame that argument is? You (I presume) favor things like the exclusionary rule and due process, because you believe that no matter how nasty criminals and terrorists are, justice requires that even bad people be treated in a certain way. Likewise the rich. If it’s wrong for me to take what you have because I think I’m more deserving, it’s no less wrong for lots of us to do the same thing under color of authority.

    Straw men (as long as we’re talking about those) aside, you will not find many conservatives talking about abolishing the entire social safety net (which in some ways could be seen as a public good).

    The problem is that liberalism typically extrapolates from the basic desirability of a basic social safety net, to a rationale for literally limitless government growth. Really, what is the upper limiting factor of liberalism? Is there any principle in liberalism that would limit the growth of government’s involvement in society, in levels of taxation, and so forth? There doesn’t seem to be. The ratchet only seems to work in one direction.

    And then there are the more direct varieties of leftism, which absolutely do talk about class struggle and just taking stuff from the rich. If that’s not you, wonderful. But they’re not just figments of the imagination. And more than a few times, I see “mainstream” liberals borrowing their rhetoric, which naturally leads me to believe they’re not entirely opposed to their basic assumptions — namely, that certain classes of people aren’t entitled to equal treatment before the law.

    Finally, regarding that bit about people starving to death, I remember an episode from either the 2004 or 2008 election season. John Edwards (before the fall) was waxing poetic about how somewhere out where the dark fields of the republic roll on under the night, there’s a girl praying it’s not cold tomorrow, because she doesn’t have a warm coat.

    And of course my reaction was “dude, you can get one at a thrift store for like five bucks. Heck, my wife got a coat at Walmart for eight bucks (thank you, Chinese slave laborers!) that I could have tramped around Iceland in. Mr. Edwards, Sir, you could sell just one of your vacation homes, and buy that girl and every girl like her a warm coat.”

    “But you don’t. Because The Poor are valuable to you not as individuals, whom you would help, but as rhetorical-flourish fodder.”

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  73. Dan on January 27, 2011 at 10:31 PM

    Thomas,

    because we calculate that the private sector would underproduce those goods, leaving us all worse off.

    What a beautiful description of private health care. See, Thomas, capitalism does a wonderful job at taking care of those who can pay, but it’s one crappy system for those who cannot. We as a society have decided to call fire service a “public good” because of this very reason you highlight here. But just think about it, Thomas. What’s the real difference, for a society, between fire service and health service? And I’m talking about non-elective health service (in other words, no plastic surgery, laser treatment, or any of the more optional services). What’s the difference between rushing someone to a hospital to save them from pneumonia and having a fire truck rush to stop your home from burning down? There’s no difference, Thomas. And you stated so beautifully and so more articulate than I could that the private sector underproduces on certain goods that leaves us worse off. This is spot on when describing the very social justice things liberals push for. The betterment of society that would never have the opportunity to better themselves under the unfair capitalistic system that is gamed for the rich.

    So government does, the costs are spread across the whole society, and everybody’s better off.

    Well said, good sir. Redistribute the wealth. Just using your own ridiculous catch phrases.

    Frankly, I don’t know why liberals give such deference to criminals and terrorists.

    WTF does that have to do with the price of tea in China, dude? It’s got nothing. You’ve got nothing. You’ve got another straw man. He’s empty, dude. He’s full of straw!

    Straw men (as long as we’re talking about those) aside, you will not find many conservatives talking about abolishing the entire social safety net (which in some ways could be seen as a public good).

    Are you freaking kidding me? Have you forgotten 2005? Do you know who represents conservatism today? Do you know the Republican Senators who are pining for the opportunity to defund Social Security? I don’t use straw men, Thomas. I don’t need to. I get plenty of fodder from conservative leaders.

    The problem is that liberalism typically extrapolates from the basic desirability of a basic social safety net, to a rationale for literally limitless government growth.

    Straw man. No liberal desires a limitless government growth. That’s just your boogeyman.

    Is there any principle in liberalism that would limit the growth of government’s involvement in society, in levels of taxation, and so forth?

    yeah, cut back on military spending. Clinton did that. Obama doesn’t have the political capital or support to do that, but I’ll take whatever Robert Gates can give us.

    As for John Edwards, I smelled right through his BS rhetoric in 2004. Never liked the guy. I voted for him as VP, but only because Dick Cheney is Darth Vader, and I am inexorably opposed to Sith Lords.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  74. FireTag on January 27, 2011 at 10:39 PM

    “Frankly I don’t know why conservatives give such deference to the rich and the wealthy.”

    Frankly, Dan, I don’t know why liberals give such deference to Federal politicians, since such politicians most always ARE the rich and wealthy. :D

    In fact, didn’t you say earlier in this or the “Weak Links” post discussion something to the effect that it was impossible to become rich without doing some pretty corrupt things?

    I’m not sure how we improve things by taking corrupt people who have lawyers and marketeers and giving them access to soldiers.

    Seems like there is a contradiction in the practicality of your means of achieving justice and equality if you believe the rich are inherently already corrupted.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  75. Dan on January 27, 2011 at 10:39 PM

    I just have to say, I was a bit disappointed in reading the wikipedia on public goods. It noted the example of a doctor, by saying this:

    For example, if one individual visits a doctor there is one less doctor’s visit for everyone else, and it is possible to exclude others from visiting the doctor. This makes doctor visits a rivaled and excludable private good.

    Once again, let’s compare with a fireman, who is also a limited resource. If there are 2 firemen in one town and there are three fires, it sure seems like one fire will not have a fireman. Doesn’t that make either the fireman an “excludable private good” or the whole argument about what defines a public good wrong?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  76. Dan on January 27, 2011 at 10:47 PM

    Firetag,

    Frankly, Dan, I don’t know why liberals give such deference to Federal politicians, since such politicians most always ARE the rich and wealthy.

    Wha…sorry I must have had a brain fart or something. Which liberals show deference to federal politicians?

    In fact, didn’t you say earlier in this or the “Weak Links” post discussion something to the effect that it was impossible to become rich without doing some pretty corrupt things?

    I think it was earlier here, and no, I didn’t say it was impossible to become rich without doing some pretty corrupt things. I said:

    The rich don’t get rich through righteous means. At some point in their lives, in order to attain those worldly riches, they had to do something they ought not to have done.

    That could mean any number of things. For Mark Zuckerberg it meant taking the idea for Facebook from someone else and making it his own. For John Rockefeller it meant cheating with the rail companies. For the Mormon guy it could mean working on Sundays. Who knows.

    Seems like there is a contradiction in the practicality of your means of achieving justice and equality if you believe the rich are inherently already corrupted.

    It ain’t perfect. It’s the best we got.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  77. Jon on January 27, 2011 at 11:18 PM

    @FireTag,

    I think this is what you were trying to say (Friedman had a good way with words):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWsx1X8PV_A&feature=related

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  78. Dan on January 27, 2011 at 11:29 PM

    Just one quibble with Mr. Friedman on Einstein. When he formed his theories of relativity, he was actually employed by a government. And, of course, after he moved to the United States, it wasn’t the private sector that funded his research, but the government. Just one quibble. Otherwise, Friedman was correct that greed drives practically all of us.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  79. Jon on January 27, 2011 at 11:56 PM

    @Dan,

    And the government does what it does best, took a smart fellow and had him create a destructive force that ended up being responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands and then gave another generation of people a fear of nukes coming down on them. Of course, you won’t disagree with that, you’re anti-war, that’s what I like about you.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  80. Dan on January 28, 2011 at 9:28 AM

    Jon,

    I don’t hold Einstein responsible for the actions of those who exploited the knowledge he gave us. That’s like holding God responsible for our actions too. If only He didn’t create us….

    As to the use of the nukes on Japan, you have no argument from me.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  81. Thomas on January 28, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    Do you know the Republican Senators who are pining for the opportunity to defund Social Security? I don’t use straw men, Thomas. I don’t need to. I get plenty of fodder from conservative leaders.

    I seem to recall those senators proposing to replace Social Security with something that isn’t a Ponzi scheme, not to abolish social insurance entirely. But for some reason I didn’t see that in your post. I know you wouldn’t intentionally omit a relevant fact, so there must have been a typo in posting.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  82. Thomas on January 28, 2011 at 12:04 PM

    WTF does that have to do with the price of tea in China, dude?

    It’s a comparison. Read the exchange very carefully.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  83. Thomas on January 28, 2011 at 12:19 PM

    What’s the real difference, for a society, between fire service and health service?

    Fire in a city is a common hazard: If your house catches on fire, it’s not just you that is in danger; the fire could spread and burn down the whole city.

    A private person’s incentives with regard to firefighting may not match up with the city’s as a whole. You could pay for a private fire company to agree that if your house catches fire, they’ll come put it out. (Private fire companies were common in the past, and worked pretty well; “The Gangs of New York” isn’t a documentary.) However, you only have the incentive to pay for the hazard to your own house — not to the potential danger to your neighbors. You might discover that it costs less just to pay for fire insurance (to get reimbursed for damage if your house burns down) than for private fire protection. And so private arrangements would underproduce the public good of protection of the city — as opposed to an individual building — against fire.

    Health care has only some similarity to this. The main public good involved in health care would be preventing the spread of infectious disease. So it might make sense to have public provision made for identifying, quarantining, and treating cases of infectious disease.

    But infectious disease accounts for a tiny fraction of health care costs. The vast, vast majority of health care spending, is on old people in the last years of their lives — typically, on treatment of chronic, non-infectious conditions, and typically with treatments that weren’t even around a few decades ago.

    (Treatment for heart disease used to be basically “take some nitroglycerin and wait for your widowmaker.” Bypass surgery, stents, etc., are a bit more expensive. There is solid information that the majority of increased health care costs have less to do with insurance company “greed,” and more simply with the increased standard of innovative, expensive treatments.)

    The point is that it’s hard to see how public provision of heroic treatment for non-infectious conditions, is a public good. It benefits the specific people treated, but there’s little direct, tangible benefit to society as a whole. (Whether more intangible benefits, like “allowing us to feel morally sound” are properly classed as public goods, is another discussion.)

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  84. FireTag on January 28, 2011 at 2:40 PM

    Dan: Party of government. Brain fart explained. :D

    You didn’t respond to why rich people with soldiers are better than rich people without soldiers. And until you answer that, your logic is flawed.

    If you want to solve social problems, the Mormon response, like that of Christianity in large part, is to start by changing people’s hearts, not by giving more power to Caesar.

    And, no, I don’t expect you’ll be convinced by that.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  85. FireTag on January 28, 2011 at 3:03 PM

    Dan:

    AFTER a long academic career that led to no offers of a teaching position, he spent some time as a government worker evaluating patent applications for devices that actually had potential immediate value. I suppose that may say something about how useless theoretical physicists are in general, or merely how bad governments are at picking which scientists or engineers to back. :D

    His government employment had zippo to do with his scientific contributions.

    Einstein did not come to the United States until 1939, and he was supported by the government for A-bomb work. I will gladly concede that I don’t want the private sector engaging in entrepreneurial A-bomb research.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  86. Thomas on January 28, 2011 at 3:56 PM

    I will gladly concede that I don’t want the private sector engaging in entrepreneurial A-bomb research.

    Statist squish!

    You’ll never be mayor of La Verkin.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  87. Dan on January 28, 2011 at 6:06 PM

    Thomas,

    I seem to recall those senators proposing to replace Social Security with something that isn’t a Ponzi scheme, not to abolish social insurance entirely.

    It seems you are distracted by their bells and whistles, because for them to replace Social Security without defunding current beneficiaries, they’re going to have to get $2 trillion or so from somewhere else to start the funding of the new, privatized plan. I mean, com’on dude, you’re calling it a ponzi scheme. Exactly how do you switch from a ponzi scheme to something else uninterrupted? You infuse your new plan with new money. They have no plan, Thomas. It’s all bells and whistles. You’re smarter than this.

    It’s a comparison. Read the exchange very carefully.

    It’s a comparison of a real man and a straw man. One is real, the other is not. So again, what does it have to do with the price of tea in China? Absolutely nothing.

    Fire in a city is a common hazard: If your house catches on fire, it’s not just you that is in danger; the fire could spread and burn down the whole city.

    The flu in a city is a common hazard: If you have it, it’s not just you that is in danger; the flu could spread and infect the whole city.

    Too easy, Thomas.

    Health care has only some similarity to this. The main public good involved in health care would be preventing the spread of infectious disease. So it might make sense to have public provision made for identifying, quarantining, and treating cases of infectious disease.

    Thank you! As to the rest regarding health care, I have no problem with how you phrase it. I seek a universal coverage for basic health needs, just like fire protection. Fire protection is just simply there to protect you and your neighbors from the danger of a fire. A basic standard ought to be had for all Americans for some level of health care services. A yearly check up. Flu care. Pneumonia. Vaccinations. Those kinds of things. I have no problem increasing the costs to include some aspects of taking care of the elderly. The things that are not essential to the survival of life should not be costs incurred by the whole of society, but by the individual himself.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  88. Dan on January 28, 2011 at 6:11 PM

    Firetag,

    Dan: Party of government. Brain fart explained.

    That would be the conservative interpretation. I’ve come to understand that whatever a conservative says, the truth is almost always the opposite. It would be the case in this matter as well.

    You didn’t respond to why rich people with soldiers are better than rich people without soldiers. And until you answer that, your logic is flawed.

    My logic is not flawed. The rich people with soldiers, in the case of America, are beholden to the voters. The problem America has is that its voters tend not to be all that smart and are driven by fear more than anything else. It’s a sad fact of life, but we do with what we got.

    If you want to solve social problems, the Mormon response, like that of Christianity in large part, is to start by changing people’s hearts, not by giving more power to Caesar.

    If we were living under a dictator, this would be accurate. As we are not, and the government is our employee, and our tool, this point is flawed as well.

    And, no, I don’t expect you’ll be convinced by that.

    That’s because it doesn’t reflect actual reality. You’re using contextless quotes to back up a flawed assertion, Firetag. We’re not under a dictator. The government is not our enemy. The government is our tool to use as we wish.

    His government employment had zippo to do with his scientific contributions.

    I know that. I was making a funny. :)

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  89. FireTag on January 28, 2011 at 6:56 PM

    “That would be the conservative interpretation. I’ve come to understand that whatever a conservative says, the truth is almost always the opposite. It would be the case in this matter as well.”

    Which demonstrates more than anything I can say why no conservative can trust a “Good Democrat” with power. It’s why the tool of government we would rather see be put back in its carrying case. You’re welcome to think I’m stupid, but you shouldn’t make the mistake of assuming I’m also suicidal.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  90. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on January 28, 2011 at 6:59 PM

    “The government is not our enemy. The government is our tool to use as we wish.”

    Only a moron would wholeheartedly trust and believe in a statement like that and i’m pretty sure you do, Dan.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  91. Dan on January 28, 2011 at 7:19 PM

    Firetag,

    Which demonstrates more than anything I can say why no conservative can trust a “Good Democrat” with power.

    no, it demonstrates that conservatives tend not to judge liberals by what liberals actually believe, but by the boogeymen conservatives keep having nightmares about. They don’t actually exist in actual reality, but they’re so afraid of them, they have to create that straw man to pummel just so they can feel better about themselves.

    I mean, consider the simpleton phrase: Democrats = party of government.

    That’s such a ridiculous statement. It implies that Republicans = party of no government. Unless of course you qualify what you mean. Surely Republicans/conservatives, as you guys have noted over and over, are the party of limited government. Under the simpleton phrase “party of government” the Republican position would also fit under it. Whether limited or full, it matters not under the simpleton phrase “party of government.” That phrase in its utter simplicity implies that 1% is equal to 100%. If you are for 1% party of government, you are therefore a party of government.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  92. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on January 28, 2011 at 8:58 PM

    I predict the phrase “straw man” will soon be over used to the point of meaninglessness.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  93. annegb on January 29, 2011 at 8:33 AM

    John Huntsman is a doofus. I’ve never voted for him and I never will. Romney, boy I wish he were president today.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  94. FireTag on January 29, 2011 at 10:31 AM

    Dan:

    I had thought you and I had talked enough on multiple blogs and threads since — what– late 2009, that I could use shorthand. As I have noted repeatedly throughout those discussions, I think the Republican vs. Democrats, politicians versus Wall Street, act is a shell game.

    The real emerging dynamic in my opinion is NOT between the left and right, but between a political class and a commoner class. Although I have not used the term before, but I fear what is emerging is a modern analogy of the king men.

    The king men, like the Pharisees in Judea, probably started out with the best of intention. (In the Mormon version of Genesis, it’s possible that even Lucifer started out to save people by imposing his view of the right over the agency of clearly “inferior” beings.) But men are so easily corrupted by pride and power.

    The people clearly saw a lot of liberals as something other than selfless. They judged the democratic party, and a surprisingly high number of Republicans as well, on doing harm, whatever the politicians professed to believe. Deep in the bunkers of NYC, you may have been able to rationalize that as a strange national stupidity — I used to live and work in isolated Manhattan, too, remember. But it might be better to come out and learn something from your political opponents.

    I’ve expressed my views most fully on this subject, here:

    http://thefirestillburning.wordpress.com/2010/08/28/pyramids-r-us/

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  95. Dan on January 29, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    Firetag,

    The people clearly saw a lot of liberals as something other than selfless. They judged the democratic party, and a surprisingly high number of Republicans as well, on doing harm, whatever the politicians professed to believe.

    Because the tea party represents “the people?” Frankly I didn’t think the Democratic party ran on a platform of selflessness. Care to point to me where they have? What kind of harm do you think they judged Democrats and Republicans for doing? And what was so different from 2008 to 2010? Take into account that the Republican party had had terrible approval numbers for the last six or so years. Why would the American people judge the Republicans so harshly in 2006 and 2008? What made the American people change their opinion so quickly in 2010? Was it really because Democrats overplayed their hand? Or maybe, just maybe, enough liberals were so pissed off at the weakness of Congressional Democrats for constantly caving in to Republicans that they said, “the hell with it, we’re staying home in November.” Mid-term elections tend to have fewer voters, and in this case in 2010, there were far fewer of the voters who voted for Obama in 2008 (and those who coattailed behind Obama on the Democratic party). Maybe if Obama were running in 2010, vote count would have been higher and a different result would have happened. Certainly in 2012, there will be more voters, and more Democratic voters going to the polls. In 2012, Democrats will either regain some seats or lose only a few of them.

    The narrative you’re running under is not reflective of reality, Firetag. The “kingmen” do not exist in today’s times. Frankly, I’m not too sure exactly what defined the kingmen of the Book of Mormon. I mean, here is basically all we have of who they were, from Alma 51:

    5And it came to pass that those who were desirous that Pahoran should be dethroned from the judgment-seat were called king-men, for they were desirous that the law should be altered in a manner to overthrow the free government and to establish a king over the land.

    I know of nobody in America who wishes to overthrow the free government and to establish a king over the land. Not even the most insanely crazy right winger. To accuse Democrats and liberals of being equal or frankly anywhere close to the kingmen of the Book of Mormon is just ridiculous, Firetag. Why would you make such a comparison when the facts just not even don’t match, but are not even in the same ballpark? Hell, they’re not even in the same city! Why would you do it, FIretag? Why make a comparison that doesn’t match? I will tell you why. Because you want to discredit liberalism. You want to associate the liberal position with that of those who want to remove a free government toward those who prefer kings. And in American society, who wants kings? Only the old redcoats of days long gone.

    The king men, like the Pharisees in Judea, probably started out with the best of intention.

    Do you see how you corrupt the scripture you yourself use as backup? There’s no indication from the scripture that the kingmen started out with either the best intention or the worst intention. We have no evidence to their reasoning, or their motives. Mormon does not provide it in his analysis. Why change the interpretation of the scripture to something that doesn’t exist?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  96. FireTag on January 29, 2011 at 4:19 PM

    You go ahead and keep thinking, Dan, that there are so many very liberal people in the United States that their disaffection from the Democrats accounts for the loss of 63 house seats and the loss of several HUNDRED state legislative seats, and several governorships. Keep believing that right up until the 2012 elections when the Dems have to defend 13 more Senate seats than the Republicans do.

    “I know of nobody in America who wishes to overthrow the free government and to establish a king over the land. Not even the most insanely crazy right winger.”

    No, extreme right wingers in the West today tend to be anarchist in nature, and anarchists aren’t very good at organizing power coups, are they? No, the insanely crazy left-wingers, from Lenin on down tend to be the ones in the West who develop revolutionary theory to the point of power consolidation. (Doesn’t apply in non-Western societies, of course, in which power grabbing extremism can come in multiple flavors.)

    If you wish to assume that the King men started out with impure motives, feel free; I was already giving them the benefit of any doubt. They were the aristocracy of their society, not the commoners, and they wanted to change the laws to give more power to themselves. We know they were not the majority of the people (which is why the majority are “common”, not rare or elite) because if they had been common they would have already had the power to remove Pehoran as judge without changing the laws.

    I think you’re being deliberately obtuse about kings though. You’ve already said it would be better not to have to put up with stupid voters in 88, specifically:

    “The problem America has is that its voters tend not to be all that smart and are driven by fear more than anything else. It’s a sad fact of life, but we do with what we got.”

    Pardon me if I don’t trust what your associates might do if you could figure out a way that wasn’t a “fact of life”.

    Whether you call the new leader President, Consul, Emperor, Chairman, or Supreme Cheese, when the man at the top starts chafing at the checks and balances imposed on him by the people, he’s set himself against the very concept of free men, because he’s decided he can manage life so much better than their collective judgment. One man, one vote, one time just doesn’t cut it.

    I wonder how come all of our experts in government didn’t see — even a month ago — the political earthquake now occurring in the Middle East? Perhaps that’s because our experts really are living in an echo chamber of conventional wisdom masking itself as intellectual superiority.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  97. Dan on January 29, 2011 at 7:39 PM

    Firetag,

    You go ahead and keep thinking, Dan, that there are so many very liberal people in the United States that their disaffection from the Democrats accounts for the loss of 63 house seats and the loss of several HUNDRED state legislative seats, and several governorships. Keep believing that right up until the 2012 elections when the Dems have to defend 13 more Senate seats than the Republicans do.

    No doubt Democrats were going to lose seats in 2010. It is the natural course of mid-term elections after a wave in one direction (2006 and 2008 were toward Democrats). There were not many more battleground Congressional seats available for pickup after 2008. The rest were well protected, gerrymandered seats. It was inevitable that Democrats were going to lose seats in 2010. No one is arguing that. The argument comes as to the size. It was not, however, a question over whether Democrats were kingmen or something ridiculous like that.

    No, extreme right wingers in the West today tend to be anarchist in nature, and anarchists aren’t very good at organizing power coups, are they?

    That depends on what is an extreme right winger. Is Sarah Palin an extreme right winger? She’s not moderate, I’ll tell you that.

    They were the aristocracy of their society, not the commoners, and they wanted to change the laws to give more power to themselves.

    So in your silly analogy there must not be any rich among the conservatives of today. David Koch must be a left-winger. Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes are not conservative, right? Because you are perfectly describing these individuals.

    Pardon me if I don’t trust what your associates might do if you could figure out a way that wasn’t a “fact of life”.

    Are you actually reading a threat to violence and revolution from such a mild comment? Really? Dude, you’re that paranoid in real life?

    You’ve already said it would be better not to have to put up with stupid voters in 88, specifically:

    And no, that is NOT what I said at all. Way to misread me, Firetag. I described actual reality without analyzing what could be done about it. You can’t change the fact that people are stupid, whether you have an authoritarian system or a fully open democratic system. There will always be stupid people who prefer to be ruled by fear. You’re a great example of that. You read something in my comment that did not actually exist there. You’re afraid. You let fear rule you.

    Whether you call the new leader President, Consul, Emperor, Chairman, or Supreme Cheese, when the man at the top starts chafing at the checks and balances imposed on him by the people, he’s set himself against the very concept of free men, because he’s decided he can manage life so much better than their collective judgment. One man, one vote, one time just doesn’t cut it.

    That’s bullcrap baloney. The only time you ought to be concerned about something like this is if that person you are talking about tries to continue ruling beyond his proscribed allotted time. No president of this country has dared even come close to that sacrilegious, treasonous moment. Every four years we get to decide who runs the country for those four years. If we don’t like that system, then we ought to have a Constitutional Referendum to change it. Good luck changing it.

    I wonder how come all of our experts in government didn’t see — even a month ago — the political earthquake now occurring in the Middle East?

    I don’t know about you, but I was waiting for something like this to happen, and I’m going to guess that few actual political theorists were surprised by these events. But then again, I studied international politics, particularly the issues of revolutions and nationalism. I’ve always wondered at what point Arabs would revolt against American supported oppressive regimes. After the inception of Al-Jazeera, I knew the moment wouldn’t be too far into the future. So speak only for yourself dude. Not everyone is a conservative hermit who has little clue as to what’s going on around the world around them.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  98. Dan on January 29, 2011 at 7:40 PM

    or let me put it another way, even Richard Nixon resigned…

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  99. Jon on January 29, 2011 at 8:28 PM

    @Firetag,

    We aren’t going to change Dan. He’s pretty hard core left and “He ought to be ridiculed. He ought not to be taken seriously.” (That came from Dan).

    He’s read my last post on how are government is becoming more authoritarian but nothing will change what he believes. He believes the government is inherently good and cannot do any wrong (at least when the democrats are in power, never mind now that they are they muffle the anti-war protesters). I repeat the post here.

    Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. . . . [There is also an] inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and . . . degeneracy of manners and of morals. . . . No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. . . .

    [It should be well understood] that the powers proposed to be surrendered [by the Third Congress] to the Executive were those which the Constitution has most jealously appropriated to the Legislature. . . .

    The Constitution expressly and exclusively vests in the Legislature the power of declaring a state of war . . . the power of raising armies . . . the power of creating offices. – James Madison

    “The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home.” ~James Madison

    “If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.” ~James Madison

    “It is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad.” ~James Madison

    “The executive has no right, in any case, to decide the question, whether there is or is not cause for declaring war.” ~James Madison

    “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (See They Thought They Were Free: The Germans 1933-45
    by Milton Sanford Mayer)

    “This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.” ~Plato

    “A highwayman is as much a robber when he plunders in a gang as when single; and a nation that makes an unjust war is only a great gang.” ~Benjamin Franklin

    “Preventive war was an invention of Hitler. Frankly, I would not even listen to anyone seriously that came and talked about such a thing.” ~Dwight D. Eisenhower

    “The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.” ~George Orwell

    “The constitution vests the power of declaring war in Congress; therefore no offensive expedition of importance can be undertaken until after they shall have deliberated upon the subject and authorized such a measure.” ~George Washington

    “We’re not leaving Afghanistan prematurely. In fact, we’re not ever leaving at all.” – Robert Gates

    “You have to recognize that I don’t think you win this war. I think you keep fighting. You have to stay after it. This is the kind of fight we’re in for the rest of our lives and probably our kids’ lives.” – David Petraeus

    (See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/29/bob-woodward-robert-gates_n_743409.html)

    Obama has the power to assassinate Americans without due process:

    Instead, in Barack Obama’s America, the way guilt is determined for American citizens — and a death penalty imposed — is that the President, like the King he thinks he is, secretly decrees someone’s guilt as a Terrorist….And the punishment is thus decreed: this American citizen will now be murdered by the CIA because Barack Obama has ordered that it be done. What kind of person could possibly justify this or think that this is a legitimate government power?…Just to get a sense for how extreme this behavior is, consider — as the NYT reported — that not even George Bush targeted American citizens for this type of extra-judicial killing… Even more strikingly, Antonin Scalia, in the 2004 case of Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, wrote an Opinion (joined by Justice Stevens) arguing that it was unconstitutional for the U.S. Government merely to imprison (let alone kill) American citizens as “enemy combatants”; instead, they argued, the Constitution required that Americans be charged with crimes (such as treason) and be given a trial before being punished….Yet now, Barack Obama is claiming the right not merely to imprison, but to assassinate far from any battlefield, American citizens with no due process of any kind….And what about all the progressives who screamed for years about the Bush administration’s tyrannical treatment of Jose Padilla? Bush merely imprisoned Padilla for years without a trial. If that’s a vicious, tyrannical assault on the Constitution — and it was — what should they be saying about the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s assassination of American citizens without any due process? – Glenn Greenwald

    5. Does the Constitution permit a president to detain US citizens without charges as unlawful enemy combatants?

    No. I reject the Bush Administration’s claim that the President has plenary authority under the Constitution to detain U.S. citizens without charges as unlawful enemy combatants. – Barack Obama

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  100. Jon on January 29, 2011 at 8:28 PM
  101. Dan on January 29, 2011 at 8:54 PM

    Jon,

    We aren’t going to change Dan. He’s pretty hard core left and “He ought to be ridiculed. He ought not to be taken seriously.” (That came from Dan).

    If being moderate is the new hard core left, then yeah, I’m there.

    He believes the government is inherently good and cannot do any wrong

    Show me where I convey that belief.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  102. Dan on January 29, 2011 at 9:02 PM

    Let me see if I can put this in a graph

    Left – - – - – - – - – - Moderate – - – - – - – - – - Right
    10 -9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1-0-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10

    That’s a traditional view. This is how it looks today.

    Left – - – - – - – - – -Moderate – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -Right
    10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1-0-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14-15

    People want to assume that because the right has shifted hard to the right that the Moderate position ought to be like this:

    Left – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -Moderate – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -Right
    12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1-0-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12

    But that would indicate that the moderate position is now what was traditionally about 4 steps (or roughly halfway) into the Right. But i think that what the Right actually views is this:

    Left – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – Right
    24-23-22-21-20-19-18-17-16-15-14-13-12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1-0

    Where Right is where the actual middle of American politics ought to be. Gotta love the arrogance

    (hopefully that came out right)

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  103. FireTag on January 29, 2011 at 9:47 PM

    Jon:

    Actually, Dan cut and pasted his explanation for the Dem defeat from an earlier response in another blog (I believe it was Mormon Heretic’s) closer to the election. I would prefer he genuinely moderate his opinions of others, but if he and his compatriots fail to understand their own extremism compared to the American electorate, it just makes it harder for the left to win the next election.

    Of course, being a fearful sort of guy, I suspect the damage may already be done. In fact, this week I’m not all that certain we’re going to get through the damage done in the Mid East during the Carter administration. :D

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  104. Dan on January 29, 2011 at 10:00 PM

    Firetag,

    One final quibble. You’d prefer I moderate my opinions of others, and that’s fine. As long as it is noted that my actual philosophy and political ideology is center-left. I’m not extremist in my view of the world. I am an extremist in my distaste for right-wing extremism which hopes it is accepted as the moderate position. As I am sitting fairly close to the actual moderate position, I take offense that right-wingers are anywhere close to the “moderate” position. They are not. They are extreme. Thus they always were. Thus they always will be.

    In fact, this week I’m not all that certain we’re going to get through the damage done in the Mid East during the Carter administration.

    See, and I was thinking it was the War in Iraq…but hey if you wish to blame the explosion of freedom in the Middle East on Carter, sounds good to me. :)

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  105. FireTag on January 29, 2011 at 10:04 PM

    Dan:

    I just saw the movie “Joshua”, which reminded me of the responsibility I have to be kind to my opponents, even when I believe they are completely wrong. I apologize for my harsh tone towards you.

    I want you to stop calling conservatives stupid, but I will not speak to you directly about it again. I will not, however, in any way stop speaking out in defense of those you do call stupid.

    So I’ll start by defending Sarah Palin by letting the extremism of the left toward her speak for itself. Michelle Malkin collected a sampler here of the left’s orchestrated attacks toward her (and her children). I invite any reader to look at it and decide who is the extremist, Governor Palin or her detractors.

    http://michellemalkin.com/2011/01/10/the-progressive-climate-of-hate-an-illustrated-primer-2000-2010/

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  106. Dan on January 29, 2011 at 10:22 PM

    Firetag,

    That Michelle Malkin link has been around, but there’s something wrong with it. The examples Ms. Malkin highlights come from regular Joe Liberal Shmoes. Frankly I don’t know if you really want to see what Joe Conservative Shmoes have been saying about liberals during the exact same time period, now do you? The difference, which of course a blind fool like Ms. Malkin will not tell you, Firetag, is that I can also find conservative political leaders who use such foul, disgusting language, while you will be hard pressed to find equal language from liberal political leaders. That’s not to say you won’t find any, but you will not find it at the same intensity, same frequency or same degeneracy as you will from conservative political leaders. Then there is also this for which there is easily nothing comparable from the left. Y’all on the right are just plain crazy, Firetag! ;)

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  107. FireTag on January 29, 2011 at 11:55 PM

    There are enough Mormon feminists (not to mention liberal Mormon priesthood holders)who read this site who have never been exposed to the examples Michelle Malkin has collected to make the exercise worthwhile. They would never think of associating themselves with this, or excuse bad behavior on the left by citing bad behavior on the right, and so I presume they are unaware of its existence.

    Hate speech is hate speech, and people like those on Journolist, let alone Congressmen (or, fortunately, ex-Congressmen) like Grayson, or people who are on conference calls with the White House like heads of labor unions can fairly be called opinion leaders, not Joe Shmoes. Palin was hated because she threatened liberal power bases, not because of any extremism on her part. And certainly not because of her intellect — the hate started BEFORE anyone had time to form an opinion about her intellect.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  108. Jon on January 30, 2011 at 12:42 AM

    @FireTag,

    I just don’t see much of the point. It reminds me of my mission. You can’t convince people that the gospel is true unless their heart and mind is opened to it. Just like the quotes that I wrote which show to me that we do live in an authoritarian government, sure it may not be all the way since our ruler changes every 4 to 8 years but it doesn’t change the fact that they can kill us at will. Just because it is unlikely to happen since none of us have that great of an affect on others for this kind of stuff.

    It’s like when a cop pulls you over and asks if you have a gun or drugs on you. It’s none of their business but what is our answer? It’s, no sir, I don’t have any of those things. But until we try and exercise our rights we don’t know what our freedom truly is. Take Pastor Anderson that was driving from Yuma to Tucson in AZ. He got stopped by US governmental officials, he tried to exercise his 4th amendment rights and he was beat up and tortured because of it.

    So I don’t really even see any difference between the two parties. Neither one cares about civil liberties. Neither one cares about principles. Even the “great” Reagan couldn’t stop the machine but expanded government massively. It’s a machine that will not stop. And trying to convince people that aren’t open to the ideas of freedom only entrenches them more. I’ve tried, others have tried. I’ve pointed out that we have a president that can assassinate his own “citizens.” It makes no difference. It’s not hard for us to become like Venezuela with a king but in name only like you say. It only takes a “crisis” or two.

    That’s why I think it’s so important to focus on the principles of the gospel and ask ourselves, do these principles apply to government officials too? I believe they do. Is it OK to use violence, or the threat thereof in order to provide services for others? I just can’t believe that is what Christ would have us do. I believe in the millennial years we will see that this is not the way to govern men, but to teach them correct principles and let them lead their own lives, then, Christ will be our King, in our hearts and we will treat each other, being no respecter of persons, with kindness and forgiveness. Violence only creates hypocrites of us all. We can’t force anyone to do anything, we can’t steal their money, we can’t storm their houses and tell them to get rid of their drugs, we can’t tell them they have to contribute to the firemen or we’ll take their home from them and if they decide to defend their property that we’ll throw them in jail or kill them. It doesn’t seem right. Sure we may not be able to get their today, but it’s important to know what the goal is and today we can let Christ be our King in our hearts, while others may not accept Him we can, and we can share His truth with others that are willing to receive. That’s what I believe it all comes down to.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  109. Dan on January 30, 2011 at 4:48 AM

    Firetag,

    And certainly not because of her intellect — the hate started BEFORE anyone had time to form an opinion about her intellect.

    Ah, historical revisionism. You think I didn’t pay attention to August and September 2008? No one spoke ill of her until she opened her mouth. She herself put herself in the position to be ridiculed by saying the most stupid things imaginable by a vice president nominee. Dude, just accept that she is utterly awful. That’s real life, Firetag.

    Palin was hated because she threatened liberal power bases, not because of any extremism on her part.

    You think she threatens liberals? Haha! Don’t you get it? Liberals want Sarah Palin to run! They beg her to run. She’s NO THREAT to liberalism. She’s a threat to real conservatism, because she’s that extreme.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  110. Dan on January 30, 2011 at 4:56 AM

    Jon,

    You can’t convince people that the gospel is true unless their heart and mind is opened to it.

    Heh, because American political conservatism is like the Gospel. It’s true and everything else is false, if only our hearts and minds are opened to it.

    Neither one cares about civil liberties. Neither one cares about principles.

    Baloney bullcrap. I care about liberties and principles, just not YOURS. You’re not the center of the world dude. Get over yourself.

    Is it OK to use violence, or the threat thereof in order to provide services for others?

    hey, when you get to heaven why don’t you ask President Hinckley why he supported the war in Iraq.

    Christ will be our King

    ah, the irony. Can Christ kill us at his own whim? Can we say no to him? Can we chart our own path aside from his? I love the irony of those that criticize others who they view as being “kingmen” but who turn around and pine for the days when they will be ruled by a King. “My king will rule correctly.” Forget about civil liberties though and true freedom. Under Christ’s rule, as Jon would see it, there will be no homosexuals. There will be no smoking. There will be no pornography. There will be no rape. There will be no murder. There will be no “socialism”. There will be no [pick your favorite bad thing] because Christ will not allow that to happen under His rule.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  111. FireTag on January 30, 2011 at 11:48 AM

    Jon:

    I’m no longer writing to convince Dan. I will let others judge for themselves whether Sarah Palin’s intellect warrants the treatment she receives or why that would be carried to such extremes toward her children. Some people don’t understand that heaven comes when people see no need to rule others because they are in such harmony with God that His will IS theirs.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  112. Dan on January 30, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    Firetag,

    Some people don’t understand that heaven comes when people see no need to rule others because they are in such harmony with God that His will IS theirs.

    Who doesn’t understand this?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  113. FireTag on January 31, 2011 at 1:18 PM

    Crossing the wires today: Huntsman to Resign as Ambassador for Possible Prez Run

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

Leave a Reply

Subscribe without commenting

Archives

%d bloggers like this: