Sister Wives are Socialist

By: Mormon Heretic
November 14, 2011

I know I’m behind the times.  I don’t watch television very often, and I don’t have cable or satellite tv.  But I recently got a Netflix subscription, and I discovered that Sister Wives was on.  Over the past few weeks, I’ve watched all 18 episodes of season 1 and season 2.  It really is entertaining.  Over and over, I kept asking myself, “how do they afford such a large family?”  Season 2, episode 3 answers the question.

Meri and Kody on their wedding day

Before I answer that question, let me give you a bit of info about the family for those of you who haven’t seen the show.  Kody Brown, 42 is the patriarch.  He served an LDS mission in the Texas San Antonio mission.  While he was on his mission, his parents decided to become fundamentalist Mormons who embraced polygamy.  (Season 2, episode 2 discusses their conversion.)  I will mention that the show is not focused on their theology at all, and only gives passing references to it.  Upon return from his mission, Kody decided to convert as well.  At age 22, he married his first wife Meri, who was raised in a fundamentalist lifestyle.  Meri and Kody have 1 daughter, Mariah.

early photo of Janelle and Kody

A few years later, Kody married Janelle, his 2nd wife.  Janelle also grew up LDS, but became a fundamentalist Mormon.  Now the story gets really interesting.  Janelle’s first marriage was to Meri’s brother.  It didn’t last very long, and I’m not sure why they divorced, but they did.  So, Kody essentially married his sister-in-law.  (This hasn’t been covered in the show yet.)  If you think that’s strange, it gets stranger.  Janelle’s mom Genielle decided to become a fundamentalist Mormon as well, and she married Kody’s father just 3 months before Kody and Janelle.  So Kody and Janelle are step-brother and sister.  (Yes, Season 2, episode 2 covers this as well, but doesn’t quite cover all the bases.)  Kody and Janelle had 6 children together in their 17 years of marriage.  (Incidentally, Janelle is a year older than Meri.)

Kody and Christine weddingThen a year later, Kody married Christine.  Christine was also raised as a fundamentalist.  At the start of season 1, Christine was pregnant with she and Kody’s 6th child Truely.  Season 1 Episode 4 shows the actual birth at the American Fork Hospital.

Season 1 details the courtship of a new wife Robyn, who was also raised as a fundamentalist.  Robyn was previously married to a man by the name of David Jessop.  Robyn and David had 3 children before they divorced in 2007.  The show chronicles the courtship, and I hear that Robyn gave birth to a honeymoon baby on Oct 27, but I haven’t seen the episode yet.  Among the 4 wives, they have a total of 17 children now.  This family tree is available on their Facebook page.

The show has already caused some problems.  Following their appearance on the Today Show (chronicled in Season 2 Episode 1), the Lehi Police Department opened up an investigation of bigamy.  The Browns decided to move to Nevada to avoid arrest and breakup of their family.   Meri announced that she lost her job in Season 2 episode 5.  Robyn quit her job in order to marry Kody, and has had trouble finding work.

Kody and Robyn at their wedding reception

So, how do they afford this lifestyle?  Kody said that’s the number one question he gets.  They have some nice cars: a Lexus, Suburban, convertible, and a van.  In Season 2, episode 3 they discuss finances, and Kody says

“I hate to say it’s communal, but it’s really very socialistic. We’re all working together for the same cause.  We all use our own talents, and everybody works together.”

Janelle and Kody both work full-time.  According to this website, Kody and Meri declared bankruptcy in 2005 in Wyoming.  Kody owned a firearms company, but now he is a salesman of some sort.  Janelle is also full-time, and seems to pull in a pretty good income.  Meri worked part-time at a mental health facility, but was fired after she came out publicly as a polygamist.  Christine is the stay-at-home mother.  Not only does she “rule the roost”, but she is an avid coupon clipper, buying in bulk.  As Robyn has come into the family, she has helped Christine with the many children as she has continued to look for work.  The first 3 wives shared 1 huge home, and Robyn had a house about a block away.  As I understand it, they have not been able to find a huge house in Las Vegas, so they have 4 separate houses now.

As they have pooled their resources, they have had to become a bit communal.  I’ve enjoyed Stephen M’s posts (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, and part 5—I hope I got them all) on the economics of utopias.  In the Browns case, I don’t see how they could live this lifestyle without being communal. In that sense, they seem very true to the vision that Joseph Smith had for consecrating all their possessions.  The wives share food and resources freely with each other (Christine was surprised to hear that they were out of sugar—Meri admits to using the last of it.)  It is this sense of communalism that seems quite in line with early Mormonism.  They genuinely seem to get along, and even my wife mentioned that she could see some nice benefits of not having to worry about babysitters and having a built in social support network of the sister wives.

Kody and his wives

I am reminded that early Mormons in Utah were out to create a new economic order: the United Order.  Capitalism was strongly denounced by Brigham Young as “profiteering”.  Brigham often set price controls for basic necessities.  Consecration tries to control the market, it doesn’t like free markets, because free markets often gouge individuals.  As I outlined in my post on Consecration vs United Order, the early polygamy persecutions were as much about forcing free markets onto the Mormons as it was about eradicating polygamy.  The Perpetual Emigration Fund and all church assets were targeted as an economic problem and driver of polygamy.  It could be argued that “gentiles” used the issue of polygamy as a cover to dump the economics of the United Order.  Gentiles really wanted to break into Mormon markets, and were prohibited from trading with Mormons by Brigham Young, John Taylor, and Wilford Woodruff.  The government used economics to kill polygamy.

Early Mormons preferred a more socialistic economy of the United Order.  (Please don’t confuse this with Marxist Socialism-that is not what I’m trying to say.)  I do wonder if some of the virulent free market Mormons of today have forgotten Brigham Young’s admonitions against the profiteering side of capitalism.  I wonder if this form of socialism the Browns are doing is more in line with early Mormon thought.  Free markets don’t always equate to fair markets, especially for individuals, and Brigham Young did everything he could to regulate the “economy of heaven.”  He was quite successful through his death, but later persecutions forced capitalism into Utah, and now some Mormons seem to think that unregulated markets are the “order of heaven.”

What do you think of early Mormon attempts to solve the problem of inequity by eliminating free markets and capitalism in Utah?  If p0lygamy becomes legal again via gay marriage, will the church embrace polygamy?

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199 Responses to Sister Wives are Socialist

  1. will on November 14, 2011 at 11:37 AM

    MH,

    The free market is embodied in the plan of salvation. First and foremost is based on free agency. Secondly, and more importantly, it distributes the souls of men based on merit. Those that can live a celestial law get celestial glory – those that can live a terrestrial law get terrestrial glory and so forth. It is not an altruist plan that ensures the highest glory for everyone. It short, it is more similar to capitalism that it is socialism.

    The law of consecration is a celestial law. It can only be successfully implemented with celestial beings – those that are willing to earn their way and receive from others with this goal in mind; and, those that are willing to give voluntarily of their own free will and choice. It was successfully implemented with the City of Enoch because they were celestial beings. It failed with Joseph and Brigham as those involved could not abide this higher law.

    As for Kody Brown and his little Klan, they are violating the laws of God. Their lifestyle is in direct conflict with the command issued by God in Jacob 2. By the way, Kody did work as a salesmen for a company headquartered in Salt Lake. I know his former boss (actually helped him get his job) and I know his former bosses boss really well. They are a great company and really did not want to get involved in this mess.

    As for socialism, the whole continent of Europe is about to implode due to its influence.

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  2. Stephen M (Ethesis) on November 14, 2011 at 11:39 AM

    Making socialism work, what I refer to as libertarian communism, is a difficult task. I appreciate this perspective.

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  3. me on November 14, 2011 at 11:55 AM

    im not sure there is a legal link between gay marriage and polygamy. i dont think the legalization of one will be tied in the legalization of another, but i could be wrong. any lawyers know?

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  4. Skyler Collins on November 14, 2011 at 12:11 PM

    “Capitalism” is merely the confluence of voluntary actions and mutual consent in a market economy. It’s completely compatible with the commandments of God. I would argue it’s the only market economy that’s compatible with the commandments of God. State regulations amount to the use of violence, and theft to pay for it. Yes, profiteering and taking advantage of people is morally wrong, but does not justify the use of violence by government to overcome. Only peaceful social remedies are justified, as per D&C 121:41. Check out http://www.everything-voluntary.com for a defense of the free market and voluntary human relations.

    Great article on this family. I didn’t know very much about their arrangement, and now I do. Thanks!

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  5. Mormon Heretic on November 14, 2011 at 1:09 PM

    some Mormons seem to think that unregulated markets are the “order of heaven.”

    Will, you fell right into that comment from the OP when you said “The free market is embodied in the plan of salvation.”

    It shouldn’t surprise you that I disagree with several of your characterizations. While I agree that “It failed with Joseph … as those involved could not abide this higher law”, I completely disagree the statement that it failed with Brigham. (You said it failed with “Joseph and Brigham”.)

    Under Brigham Young, the United Order was a spectacular success as Leonard Arrington outlines in Great Basin Kingdom. Frankly, I think the United Order would have succeeded indefinitely if it weren’t for the interference of the federal government. Please check my post in the OP about the difference between the United Order vs. Consecration for more detail, but Brigham Young’s comments fly in exact opposition to your statement in comment 1. Let me briefly quote:

    From page 323,

    This co-operative movement,” said Brigham Young in 1869, “is only a stepping stone to what is called the Order of Enoch, but which is in reality the order of Heaven.” [See Brigham Young sermons in JH, October 6, 1850, October 8, 1855] In 1869 and succeeding years, sermon after sermon played upon the theme to unify and the necessity of extending the principle of cooperation to every phase of life.

    From page 324,

    The resources of ward members were pooled, and an attempt was made under the aura of religious sanction, to root out individualistic profit-seeking and trade and achieve the blessed state of opulent self-sufficiency and equality. This new order, recognized to be somewhat different from the law of consecration and stewardship, was called “The United Order of Enoch.” [This idea is taken from the city of Zion in the Pearl of Great Price.]

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  6. Mormon Heretic on November 14, 2011 at 1:21 PM

    Steve, I agree that these utopian societies are very difficult, and I don’t think it’s a bowl of cherries. In 4 Nephi, there were no rich or poor, and there were no -ites. I think some object to the idea of no rich among them much more than no poor among them. When we look in the Bible, Jesus paid some workers the same wage whether they worked 1 hour or all day. This does not seem to endorse a capitalistic ideal.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-capitalism, but unregulated capitalism is not godly or fair, and I don’t think that our economy will be the economy of heaven. We have lots of poor among us, and I don’t expect to see that in heaven. We blame the poor for being lazy, which is exactly what the Book of Mormon condemns.

    Capitalism that does not take advantage of the poor can be godly, but I don’t see our current economy as “no poor among us”. It seems tilted in favor of the rich.

    There’s a great article at Times and Season quoting President Kimball. See http://timesandseasons.org/index.php/2011/11/a-prophet-occupies-wall-street/

    Compromise money is filthy, graft money is unclean, profits and commissions derived from the sale of worthless stocks are contaminated as is the money derived from other deceptions, excessive charges, oppression to the poor and compensation which is not fully earned. I feel strongly that men who accept wages or salary and do not give commensurate time, energy, devotion, and service are receiving money that is not clean. Certainly those who deal in the forbidden are recipients of filthy lucre. . . . I am sure that money is unclean when it is obtained through oppression, fraud[,] bribery, or through misrepresentations. . . . He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want (Prov. 22:16). Much is said about the hirer and the hired in the scriptures, and about the employer and the employee:

    Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth ( James 5:1-4). . . .

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  7. Mormon Heretic on November 14, 2011 at 1:33 PM

    me, there have been several congressman that have stated that if gay marriage becomes the law of the land, there will be no reason to ban polygamy. Additionally, at the MHA meetings last year, there was a panel of Mormon lawyers and FBI agents that felt that the current Supreme Court would rule in favor of religious freedom and strike down polygamy laws.

    Only Texas and Utah have tried to prosecute polygamists, and in both cases they have avoided polygamy statutes and used other means (child abuse, rape) to avoid tackling the question of religious freedom. I do think that if gay marriage is legalized, there will be no reason to stop consenting adults from marrying (which is why hardly anyone is prosecuted for bigamy.)

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  8. jks on November 14, 2011 at 1:46 PM

    Regular wives are also socialist in their families with their husbands and children. That’s what families usually do.

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  9. hm on November 14, 2011 at 1:54 PM

    the last one he married, the brunette from st. george, is the best looking.

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  10. Cowboy on November 14, 2011 at 2:14 PM

    Whether socialism or capitalism “work” is probably a discussion all on its own. Most importantly we would have to argue what the standards of measurement are, but generally I think we can make a good argument that American capitalism seems to have been a success so far.

    As for the theology of Mormon economics, that’s another matter. I find Will’s argument rather interesting, particularly in the current climate of Mormons insisting they be recognized as a Christian faith – because the grace of Christ is just what he missed in his view of the economics of salvation. Wouldn’t the grace of Christ be seen as some sort of wealth redistribution from the “State”? Granted, Christ does not exactly accumulate surplus virtue from the masses to disseminate according to needs, but heck, this is just a metaphor. Overall, the idea is that we are all indebted to the State that paternalistically provides for excess capacity of our needs. Even among socialist states, members of society do have “some” responsibility to meet a level of their needs – the State just accounts for the difference. How is this different from Christ?

    Mathmatically the comparisons fail to some extent, but I think the principles are there. In economics, we assume that each household has defined needs. Some are able to produce to the satisfaction of these needs plus a surplus, whereas others produce below those needs. In priniple, the idea is if we take all of the surplus, actuarially we can redistribute it among those running a deficit, and come out with everyone having those basic needs met. In Salvation it is impossible for anyone other than Christ to produce a surplus, so the notion redistributing our collective salvivific wealth doesn’t fit. Still, we each must pay a tax of obedience to the Law’s and Ordinances of the Gospel, under the threat of less glory, so I am not sure how capitalistic the Mormon plan of Salvation is. At least not in doctrine.

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  11. jmb275 on November 14, 2011 at 3:11 PM

    Well, I just don’t get it.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-capitalism, but unregulated capitalism is not godly or fair, and I don’t think that our economy will be the economy of heaven.

    Of course it won’t be. Our economy isn’t unregulated capitalism. Are you under some weird impression that it is?

    MH, if I may be slightly critical, with no offense intended. Could you define fair, or godly? Could you come up with a definition of fair that doesn’t reek of bias toward what YOU consider to be moral. It can’t be done, because what is “fair” is in the eyes of the beholder. And that, my friend, is the problem. The only “fair” thing to do is to let people define what THEY think is fair and act accordingly (with exceptions when aggression toward another person or their property takes place).

    The reason BY’s united order “worked” (and I say that loosely because we’ve had posts at W&T about individuals for whom it was clear that the UO did NOT work) is that everyone agreed upon what was fair and everyone pulled their weight. As long as everyone agrees with the rules, and everyone feels everyone else is giving an approximately equal effort, everyone can win. But what if someone doesn’t agree with your definition of “fair”? Then is it fair to be forced, or even coerced, or even pressured to do something you don’t want to do? If so, how is that more fair than the “unfairness” you allude to that some experience in your idea of capitalism? Would you rather be punched in the lung or in the kidney?

    I just don’t see it. I feel like you’re looking at the ideal situation (everyone agrees, everyone pulls their weight) and saying “look it works”! Then you look at America and say “look capitalism doesn’t work” without examining the real causes of why the poor are poor in this country. How would you propose to solve the “free-rider” problem in socialism? Or do you ignore that reality since there would be “no poor among them” in the ideal communal group? What if half the participants were free-riders? Then what? In the communal group UO setting, Joseph and BY completely sidelined this reality (more accurately the solution was to just kick you out of the club which is precisely what the Mormon fundies in Colorado City do. Yeah, that’s fair). You can pick your poison, you either battle with the human desire to be selfishly lazy and benefit from the hard work of others, or you battle the human desire to keep what one earns and not share with the downtrodden. Clearly you pick the former, I pick the latter. Either way we will have undesirable consequences and it won’t be “fair.”

    I do agree with you that this is what early Mormonism, particularly Joseph Smith had in mind. And no, I don’t think it works, nor do I think it was as successful as Arrington makes it out to be. And I definitely don’t think this is what God has in mind. I think God has in mind a utopia in which everyone chooses to be charitable. You don’t guarantee that with either a free-market or socialism. But at least with a free-market you let people choose whether or not they want to be bastards.

    Capitalism that does not take advantage of the poor can be godly, but I don’t see our current economy as “no poor among us”. It seems tilted in favor of the rich.

    Exactly. That’s because it is. But I don’t know why you equate America’s situation with capitalism and free-markets. America is not capitalistic or free-market based!! It is corporatism!! America is ruled by corporations and by the rich.

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  12. FireTag on November 14, 2011 at 3:30 PM

    MH:

    I certainly understand why you think that unregulated capitalism is corrupt. But I don’t understand why there is ANY reason to think that regulation by a political state that is just as corrupt is a solution.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/crony-capitalism-exposed/2011/11/14/gIQACiK4KN_story.html

    is a link discussing a CBS Sixty Minutes Report last night in advance of a more detailed book tomorrow that shows how Congressional leaders took advantage of briefings given to them before the 2008 crash to immediately dump stocks in advance of public knowledge. They behaved EXACTLY like the Enron execs and the Solyndra execs. They protected themselves, and their access to future political power, while letting the public as a whole go down with the ship.

    In some ways, I think that’s worse than the capitalists. The capitalists didn’t pretend to anyone any more than that they WERE going to TRY TO make money. The government officials that ran on policies of protecting the people from the greedy capitalists added the sin of hypocrisy to the sin of greed.

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  13. Will on November 14, 2011 at 4:47 PM

    MH,

    You totally missed my point if that is your conclusion of my comment. The free market has nothing to do with the Celestial Kingdom; but, it will include the survival of the spiritually fittest through a free agency probationary period – a probationary period that results in winners and losers.

    Make no mistake; the Celestial law of consecration will be practiced by those that make it to this kingdom. The problem is trying to implement a celestial law into a telestial world. I have cited a few examples where it worked; and, it worked because of the nature of the people living it. It doesn’t work in so much in our society as so many in the world are lazy, corrupt, greedy, dishonest cheaters and have an attitude that someone else should take care of them, like the occupy wall street crowd. I loved an article recently by Thomas Sowell it is awesome and illustrates why socialism will NEVER work in the US—

    The current Occupy Wall Street movement is the best illustration to date of what President Barack Obama’s America looks like. It is an America where the lawless, unaccomplished, ignorant and incompetent rule. It is an America where those who have sacrificed nothing pillage and destroy the lives of those who have sacrificed greatly.

    It is an America where history is rewritten to honor dictators, murderers and thieves. It is an America where violence, racism, hatred, class warfare and murder are all promoted as acceptable means of overturning the American civil society.

    It is an America where humans have been degraded to the level of animals: defecating in public, having sex in public, devoid of basic hygiene. It is an America where the basic tenets of a civil society, including faith, family, a free press and individual rights, have been rejected. It is an America where our founding documents have been shredded and, with them, every person’s guaranteed liberties.

    It is an America where, ultimately, great suffering will come to the American people, but the rulers like Obama, Michelle Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, liberal college professors, union bosses and other loyal liberal/Communist Party members will live in opulent splendor.

    It is the America that Obama and the Democratic Party have created with the willing assistance of the American media, Hollywood , unions, universities, the Communist Party of America, the Black Panthers and numerous anti-American
    foreign entities.

    Barack Obama has brought more destruction upon this country in four years than any other event in the history of our nation, but it is just the beginning of what he
    and his comrades are capable of.

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  14. Will on November 14, 2011 at 5:45 PM

    Oh, and one final note about Kody Brown, the current TV deals and photo sales are pure capitalism. He is exploiting his religion for gain.

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  15. James on November 14, 2011 at 6:29 PM

    “Barack Obama has brought more destruction upon this country in four years than any other event in the history of our nation”

    Will, would you mind substantiating that claim?

    Thanks

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  16. Will on November 14, 2011 at 7:32 PM

    James,

    Let’s start with the Debt. In the three years he has submitted budgets (or just let the current spending carry over) he has added over 5.1 Trillion to the national debt. If his 2013 Budget (or carry over) is similar, which it is expected to be, it will be almost 7 Trillion in Debt. This is 3 Trillion shy of all of the other 42 presidents combined. To put it in perspective, if the average house in the US is $164,000, you could buy 42,682,926 homes with 7 Trillion.

    Under his administration, we have lost our AAA rating, unemployment is at or near depression levels, job growth is stymied, home prices are declining and he has added the largest entitlement program since LBJ (like we need more spending). He has been an absolute train wreck to this economy. In my judgment he has put us in a position that we won’t be able to recover unless drastic measures are taken. Four more years of him, and our nation as we know it will no longer exist.

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  17. prometheus on November 14, 2011 at 8:02 PM

    Will:

    “It is an America where the lawless, unaccomplished, ignorant and incompetent rule. It is an America where those who have sacrificed nothing pillage and destroy the lives of those who have sacrificed greatly.”

    I agree, those in power are *often* lawless and incompetent, and have sacrificed nothing to save what they are pillaging.

    However.

    I lump in corporate and banking executives with the politicians. The accusations cut just as truly and just as deep against the people with economic power as with political power, and against corrupt conservatives as against corrupt liberals. Corruption and greed are the province of all humanity, not one ideology or another.

    Not all executives are like that, neither are all politicians, but enough of them are that it is a huge problem.

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  18. Stephen M (Ethesis) on November 14, 2011 at 8:07 PM

    There’s a great article at Times and Season quoting President Kimball. See http://timesandseasons.org/index.php/2011/11/a-prophet-occupies-wall-street/

    As I mentioned there, that is the take away message I got from Miracle of Forgiveness.

    Glad to see it getting more appreciation as a book these days.

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  19. Jon on November 14, 2011 at 8:54 PM

    MH,

    Other prophets have said the exact opposite of what BY said. Which one do we believe?

    The United Order Law of Consecration, it was an attempt at it but they are not the same. According to J. Reuben Clark, the scriptures on the United Order said that it wasn’t communistic/socialistic in nature. So who do we believe? Maybe that is something that BY really messed up? We don’t accept many of his teachings today, why would we accept that teaching (United Order) the way he performed it?

    Regardless, that is why we have to look towards the principles, because, looking at history we will never discover the truth because there are so many contradictions.

    One last point. The mormons in the United Order lived in a voluntary society, they chose to live in the society and could exit from said society whenever they wished, without any force or violence put upon them.

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  20. Jon on November 14, 2011 at 8:58 PM

    Capitalism that does not take advantage of the poor can be godly, but I don’t see our current economy as “no poor among us”. It seems tilted in favor of the rich.

    Why do progressives always assume we live in a capatilistic society? We live in a fascist/socialist/mercantilist/crony capitalist society, not a free market, not a capitalist society, and by no means, a voluntary society (at least less and less every day).

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  21. Jon on November 14, 2011 at 9:05 PM

    Yes, families do active differently than society at large, so do small communities vs states and federal governments. What families do doesn’t scale to the larger society, hence the reason we don’t just hand over our children to the state.

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  22. Jon on November 14, 2011 at 9:16 PM

    James,

    Will, would you mind substantiating that claim?

    Personally I would think Licoln was worse, but FWIW:

    Obama worse than Bush II on civil liberties:
    http://www.cato.org/multimedia/daily-podcast/obama-civil-liberties-1

    Obama the Jury, Judge, and Executioner:
    http://www.salon.com/2011/10/20/the_killing_of_awlakis_16_year_old_son/singleton

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  23. MH on November 14, 2011 at 9:18 PM

    Cowboy, excellent comment.

    JMB, you asked for a definition of godly and fair. Let’s try a definition they use in the temple. Temple workers often note that everyone is dressed exactly the same. You can’t tell a rich person from a poor one. In fact, we are all equal in the eyes of God. I doubt highly that we will be carrying any currency in heaven.

    Now, I guess the devil is in the details. America is such a highly individualistic (some would say selfish) society, that things like school uniforms just don’t fly. We are selfish. We want to be rewarded for our hard work, and we like nice clothes, houses, cars, vacation homes, cruises to Europe, $5000/night hotels, etc. But if we could all be satisfied with the same thing, instead of constantly accumulating personal wealth at the expense of others, I’d say that would be godly. Hows that for a definition? (And for the record, I’m selfish too, and I don’t want to dress the same as everyone else all the time either.)

    FireTag, I think the deregulation of the economy since the 1970′s has caused a huge disparity between rich and poor. The chasm between rich and poor is a large now as it was during the Great Depression. Can government fix the problem? Not if all our congressmen are guilty of insider trading. I think it would be good to have stricter rules on lobbyists like Jack Abramoff. He was on 60 minutes recently too, and it’s corruption as usual in DC. We can’t fix this economy if the crooks are all running the government. No regulation is foolproof if everyone is trying to find ways to get around the law. But I think regulation and ethics reform is a good start.

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  24. Jon on November 14, 2011 at 9:23 PM

    Current wars Obama has us in (well known, there are much more):
    Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya

    See antiwar.com

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  25. MH on November 14, 2011 at 9:28 PM

    Will, I keep asking you to look at historical Mormonism, but you’re stuck in 2011. Can you compare back to Mormonism in BY’s day?

    I know that Obama is your whipping boy, but please include all the presidents responsible for the deficit. Bush turned Clinton’s surpluses into deficits. You can’t honestly blame the entire debt on Obama because he inherited Bush’s ridiculous tax cuts, and Congress voted to keep them going. Reagan did quite a bit to increase deficits as well. But republicans can do no wrong, can they?

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  26. Jon on November 14, 2011 at 9:28 PM

    But if we could all be satisfied with the same thing, instead of constantly accumulating personal wealth at the expense of others, I’d say that would be godly.

    But, MH, I don’t want a boat. I’m happy with other people owning boats and enjoy going out with them occasionally. I don’t want a big house, too much to take care of. But I’m OK with others owning large homes if that is what makes them feel good (but not greedy). We all have different desires and that is a good thing, otherwise nothing would get accomplished.

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  27. Jon on November 14, 2011 at 9:35 PM

    We can’t fix this economy if the crooks are all running the government. No regulation is foolproof if everyone is trying to find ways to get around the law. But I think regulation and ethics reform is a good start.

    So, in other words, if everyone were good we could just regulate everyone, but if everyone were good they wouldn’t need regulation?

    The more money you extract from people/corporations with wealth, the more they will get involved int he government to make it work for them instead of against them, the less government is involved the less they would get involved with the government, it is standard human nature. That is why the governments job is to create rule of law, not lawlessness, rule of law dictates that everyone is treated fairly and equally before the law, which means regulations could not exist since they are not equal to everyone but single out certain industries, so in other words, you seek chaos.

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  28. MH on November 14, 2011 at 9:35 PM

    Jon, I knew you would happen along this. J Reuben Clark was talking about Socialism of Europe, not Socialism of Utah. There is a difference. FWIW, as I’ve been thinking about this topic, I think there are some anarchic elements that you be in agreement with. As we look at the United Order in Utah with Brigham Young’s day, wards were small governmental units. Bishops courts were literally judicial courts open to gentiles, and covered things like property disputes. Of course, the gentiles didn’t want to be subject to a mormon Bishop’s court, so for them it wasn’t voluntary, but for the Mormons, it was mostly voluntary. I would think you would like that, and that it might fit your idea of an anarchic utopia somewhat, though Brigham was ultimately in charge. I’m not sure how you feel about that. But I guess as I’ve studied the United Order, I think I can see some anarchic elements that you might embrace. However, I think it would be hard for me (a selfish person) to totally embrace the United Order.

    prometheus in 17–well said!

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  29. Jon on November 14, 2011 at 9:44 PM

    MH, #28,

    Yeah, I mentioned that in one of my posts, that it was voluntaristic. Just because you have an order or structure of things doesn’t mean that it is not anarchy any more. The difference between the state and ordered anarchy is the state uses violence to force people to be moral, and ordered anarchy it isn’t used unless the axiom of NAP isn’t broken.

    J Reuben Clark was comparing the BYs United Order to what the United Order was in the scriptures and Europe’s socialism. If BY did UO correctly then there would have been more of a free market, IMO. I still haven’t studied this closely though. But in the BOM it points to trade being a good thing that brings people together as a natural side effect of righteousness.

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  30. Will on November 14, 2011 at 10:16 PM

    MH,

    Bush was horrible when it came to debt. Horrible. Obama, however, is far worse.

    As for Brigham Young, his was a prophet/governor, which illustrates his constituents. It is reasonable for a prophet with an isolated and captive audience to try and implement celestial laws. To try and implement church doctrine in political matters, much like Enoch.

    It is not reasonable to try and implement eternal laws among those that simply can’t, or don’t want to live them. Again, the law of concecration is a celestial law.

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  31. MH on November 14, 2011 at 10:31 PM

    So Will, shouldn’t we try to incorporate these celestial principles in our telestial world? Shouldn’t we throw the crooks in DC out of office, and the insider traders on Wall Street in jail for abusing the laws of our country for their own benefit, as well as the moral laws of God?

    I think there is much we could do to create better economic equality. Using the Browns as an example, they are sharing their income (Kody, Janelle) among the non-working wives (Robyn, Christine) and the children. It is a communal family amidst a capitalist society. Somehow, I don’t see Bill Gates or Bernie Madoff living as communal families. Yet these are the people we are supposed to emulate as grand masters of business (well, until we discovered the truth about Madoff….)

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  32. Cowboy on November 14, 2011 at 10:38 PM

    Will:

    Did God fail to mention that consecration is a Celestial Law, to Joseph Smith? It would have saved a lot of trouble methinks, if the almighty hadn’t let that one slip his mind. Also, how do you reconcile that assertion with section 42? Presumably if consecration were only intended for a Celestial people then there would be no need to issue warning’s against the “idler”, or discuss what happens to the property of the excommunicated. Who is idle, or gets excommunicated in the city of Enoch?

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  33. Will on November 14, 2011 at 10:42 PM

    Mh,

    No, we shouldn’t. Just like we shouldn’t try and implement capitalism it in a celestial sphere. We need to implement the plan that results in the best overall good. And, when our country implements these free market principles it results in the best overall good.

    Take Bill Gates and Steve Jobs for instance. Look how much good they have done. Look how many jobs these two created. Look how much these two have done for the economy. There impact was, and still is, enormous.

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  34. FireTag on November 14, 2011 at 11:17 PM

    MH:

    “We can’t fix this economy if the crooks are all running the government. No regulation is foolproof if everyone is trying to find ways to get around the law. But I think regulation and ethics reform is a good start.”

    But crooks are running the government in practice. That’s the point. So who is sufficiently uncorrupted by the processes that have resulted in our current government to write the new regulations or to enforce the ethics codes? (Remember that Maxine Waters was supposed to be tried on ethics charges by the Democratic House BEFORE the 2010 election, but it was put off until afterward so that the election would not be influenced adversely for Democrats. After the 2010 elections, the Republicans had no interest in pursuing a powerful African-American, so Waters has NEVER had to face the charges filed by her own Democratic colleagues.)

    So why is regulation a good place to start? We’re going to have to wait a generation, just like the Israelites fleeing Egypt did, for a righteous generation to rise. The corruption, after all, isn’t just at the Federal level, but extends down to the state and local governments from which we’d draw most experienced replacements for Federal incumbents.

    I must also take issue with your notion that we are currently less regulated than in the 70′s. In the 70′s, the Feds mailed out daily issues of the Federal Register; my jobs then required me to skim through every daily issue and read in detail every regulatory announcement affecting our work. I can assure you that the daily issues were usually as thin as a sixteen-page comic book of the 1960′s (although the font was obviously small). Today, the government could physically not print the material coming out each day in time to have a daily issue unless the entire process were internet based.

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  35. jmb275 on November 15, 2011 at 7:30 AM

    Re MH-

    Let’s try a definition they use in the temple. Temple workers often note that everyone is dressed exactly the same. You can’t tell a rich person from a poor one. In fact, we are all equal in the eyes of God. I doubt highly that we will be carrying any currency in heaven.

    Well, okay, however, I asked for a definition that didn’t have your bias of what is fair. Not being able to tell a rich one from a poor one is something YOU think is important, what YOU think is fair (and admittedly many other people). Nevertheless, you seek to impose YOUR view of what is right on everyone else.

    We are selfish. We want to be rewarded for our hard work, and we like nice clothes, houses, cars, vacation homes, cruises to Europe, $5000/night hotels, etc. But if we could all be satisfied with the same thing, instead of constantly accumulating personal wealth at the expense of others, I’d say that would be godly. Hows that for a definition?

    This sounds like a GA conference talk characterizing “the world.” You’re pointing at a VERY small faction of the U.S. population and generalizing grossly. Honestly, MH, how many people do you know staying in $5000/night hotels? In 2010 a survey was conducted measuring citizens willingness to contribute to charity (see here). The U.S. was tied for 5th place. Guess where China was? Last place.

    You make it seem like it’s bad to want to be rewarded for our hard work. Please tell me you don’t really believe this? Take just a few minutes and try to imagine the problems associated with everyone getting the same substance regardless of their effort. Surely you can see the merit in being rewarded commensurate with the effort? Again, MH, how would you propose to solve the free-rider problem? And “constantly accumulating personal wealth at the expense of others”? What does that even mean? Who are we talking about here? Is that what you do? I don’t. I’ll bet no one in this comment thread does. So because there are a few (relative to the entire U.S. population) who swindle people and lie and cheat your claim is that “we are selfish”? And how do you imagine that a socialist scenario would prevent people from lying, cheating, and swindling? Have you ever been to Russia? The only difference is that the lying, cheating, and swindling is institutionalized at the gov’t level rather than the corporate level.

    The thing is, this discussion is having a hard time getting anywhere. In your post you limited your discussion to a small group. I’m totally cool with a small group practicing communal socialism. But somewhere in the comments people started extrapolating to systems of gov’t and comparisons to the U.S. Enforcing socialism or anarchism at the level of the federal gov’t is an entirely different beast with an entirely different set of problems.

    And that’s my biggest complaint about your view on it. Like I said, you compare the ideal working case (without taking a good look at the unintended consequences), with what is clearly a corrupt rich ruled corporatist U.S. economy. Will, OTOH, compares the ideal free-market case with Occupy Wall Street in the reverse (and you claim how ridiculous he is when he does).

    Somehow, I don’t see Bill Gates or Bernie Madoff living as communal families. Yet these are the people we are supposed to emulate as grand masters of business.

    Wait, are you somehow mocking Bill Gates and putting him in the same category as Bernie Madoff? If each of us were half of what Bill Gates is the world would be a better place. Do you have any idea how much money he gives to people? If his foundation gives just the minimum amount each year to remain classified as a “charity” he is giving over $1.5 billion per year. I can’t believe you’re denigrating one of the most generous people the world has ever seen.

    Sorry for the long comment.

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  36. mh on November 15, 2011 at 9:49 AM

    jmb, wow you are a bit cantankerous, and seem to be mischaracterizing me as well.

    are you saying microsoft put netscape out of business with altruistic motives? word perfect? novell? real networks? microsoft makes some good products (some say steals ideas from apple), but they are not without guilt for forcing computer manufacturers to use windows only. some of their business practices are very anti-competitive, so bill gates isn’t the saint you portray him to be. abramoff donated 80% of his assets to charity. does that make him blameless for corrupting congress?

    yes, I love many microsoft products, but I think some of their business practices are not godly.

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  37. MH on November 15, 2011 at 10:14 AM

    JMB, No, I’m not against merit pay, but when million dollar bonuses are given to executives for driving the economy into the ground through bad banking practices, then I don’t think that banker merits the bonus. That’s my problem. Where is the merit pay cut?

    I’ve said before that I couldn’t live the Law of Consecration. I’m not trying to be a hypocrite here, but I do think that there are some systemic problems with the rich that are destroying our economy. Bankers and congress don’t merit the bonuses for all the insider trading. I guess FireTag is right–we’ll have to wander 40 years through an economic desert until we can get a new government and corporate leaders that aren’t corrupt.

    The devil is in the details–I like the idea of equality, and I think we can do better, but it’s going to mean that we can’t keep allowing corrupt politicians and insider traders to run the place. If regulations are not the answer, what is the answer JMB? I’m not claiming to have all the answers here, but there are some systemic problems of greed that have permeated throughout the economy? Should we start sending President Monson to Bill Gates, Nancy Pelosi, and Bernie Madoff to talk about godly business and government practices? Is that better than regulation?

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  38. Jon on November 15, 2011 at 10:23 AM

    If regulations are not the answer, what is the answer JMB?

    The free market, or, in BOM terminology, liberty, i.e., let every man pay for his own sins (Mosiah 29). Then people would actually have incentives to be good, if you are not honest people won’t do business with you. You break a contract or commit fraud you will be punished under God’s law, not man’s law, so, consequently, there will be rule of law, not chaos that is prevalent now and under regulations.

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  39. Glass Ceiling on November 15, 2011 at 12:00 PM

    I agree with MH. Regulation is a good thing. To argue otherwise is like saying that we need no laws at all in society because it frustrates free agency.

    On that note, I am really tired of people arguing free-market capitalism and deregulation with scripture. It is both ignorant and condescending. Socialism can be argued with scripture too…but it would also be silly. The comparirively small governments in the BOM are apples and oranges to our mega-nation.

    And besides, if you really want to use scripture as a model for goverment and lifestyle, I guess that means that we need to shrink our military and world presence by about 99%, and we need to shrink the average size of a home to roughly one or two rooms (maybe a tent even), go back to horse-travel, and grow our own food. Forget international trade, or travel.

    The BOM discusses freedom vs. dictatorship and tyranny. But it does not discuss details of any aspect of government. Some of you may feel really powerful inside making sweeping tie-ins with righteous governments in the BOM and ultra-right conservatism, but you are not saying anything.

    Until America has its States’ rights again, we will be dealing with great potential for federal government corruption…so we had best deal with it instead of waiting for that “righteous generation” to rescue us…all in the name of freedom. If we vote or picket in regulation, that is also freedom.

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  40. Douglas on November 15, 2011 at 12:25 PM

    =[3f4

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  41. Jon on November 15, 2011 at 12:31 PM

    GC,

    I agree with MH. Regulation is a good thing. To argue otherwise is like saying that we need no laws at all in society because it frustrates free agency.

    Obviously you haven’t read anything I wrote, if you want to argue against then give good reasons with a logical debate. You are using illogical and fallacious claims, like the “false alternative” fallacy where you say like saying that we need no laws at all in society, that is not what I said nor implied and you write as if that would be the alternative to no regulation, the alternative to no regulation is what is called rule of law.

    Socialism cannot be argued with scripture since it relies on false premises to get there. Is that why you don’t like scripture, because it doesn’t side with your personal beliefs? Satan is the source of saying we shouldn’t use scripture to find truth. I agree that we should look towards the principles and base governance off of that but when doing so socialism is definitely not in God’s plans.

    But it does not discuss details of any aspect of government.

    Oh really, like kings are bad? The scriptures do give clues and tell us very directly what kind of governments are bad or good. It does so in the BOM, bible, D&C.

    so we had best deal with it instead of waiting for that “righteous generation” to rescue us…all in the name of freedom. If we vote or picket in regulation, that is also freedom.

    If you read the BOM you would find that it wasn’t until the people turned to Christ that they were set free from tyranny. Yes, it all starts with the individual, it is not until the individual discovers what freedom and liberty are will the people be free. It is true you need a certain percentage of these individuals to come to Christ before it happens. And, no, I don’t suggest people sit idly by but preach Christ and His gospel, then we will gain freedom and liberty.

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  42. Will on November 15, 2011 at 12:51 PM

    Glass,

    Again, this is politically charged religious site. The OP, the title of the OP and the title of the overall site are religious politics. If that is not your cup of tea, then find a new harbor. As for your comment about the Book of Mormon, that too is just plain wrong. It is religion intermingled with politics –please read 1 Nephi 14 (I could cite numerous others). So, you probably need to through this out as well. The Pearl of Great Price with the articles of faith and ties to politics should be tossed too. Oh, and finally the 98th section of the D&C, with my favorite political religious scripture should be thrown out with your argument as well:

    “And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of FREEDOM in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.

    Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land;

    And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.
    I, the Lord God, make you FREE, therefore ye are FREE indeed; and the law also maketh you FREE.

    Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn.

    Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil.”

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  43. Glass Ceiling on November 15, 2011 at 12:51 PM

    Jon,

    It cannot be proven that Jesus is a capitalist. Or a socialist.

    Btw, just because I disagree with you in this argument does not make me a socialist. I just think thar regulation is our only option short if revolution at this juncture

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  44. will on November 15, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    Sorry that is 1 Nephi 13

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  45. Jeff Spector on November 15, 2011 at 1:07 PM

    I started to, but than I said, nay, what the use….

    I loved the OP, MH! I’ve watched the show a number of times and have been amazed at the lack of religion, even though Mormon would detect telltale things that most people would not. We are not even sure of the sect they belong to. I think it is the Apostolic Brethren or soemthing like that. Clearly not the FLDS.

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  46. MH on November 15, 2011 at 1:22 PM

    Jon, when the Gadianton Robbers overtake the liberty of the free market, what is the solution?

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  47. MH on November 15, 2011 at 1:24 PM

    Jeff, thanks! You’re right-they are Apostolic United Brethren. They sure don’t seem nearly as weird as the FLDS.

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  48. Jon on November 15, 2011 at 1:28 PM

    Rule of law. You can hire someone to protect you, you can hire someone to arbitrate differences, you can pick up your own weapons and fight for freedom as long as you adhere to D&C 98, etc.

    Just because a free society is free doesn’t mean that they don’t have laws (natural law, or as said in the scriptures, the constitutional law, which is God’s law). Just because a society is free doesn’t mean that they don’t have systems in place to deal with those that don’t adhere to the Golden Rule, 2nd great commandment, or non-aggression principle.

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  49. MH on November 15, 2011 at 1:31 PM

    Jon, I don’t understand. Is a society free under the Gadianton robbers? Whom do we hire to fight for freedom if Gadianton is in charge?

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  50. Jon on November 15, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    MH,

    I see what you are saying now. Given the current Gadianton Robbers in office now, how to get rid of them?

    1. Educate the populace on freedom and liberty and teach the gospel of Christ (freedom and liberty are included in gospel of Christ).

    2. Opt out of programs that are contrary to the principles of freedom, i.e., achieve individual liberty and freedom as much as possible (it’s not entirely). For example, don’t join the military or get out, don’t participate in SS, medicare, medicaid, keep yourself as healthy as possible, etc. I know not all that is possible in the current system but do as much as possible.

    3. Civil disobedience (but not violent), take examples from the blacks civil rights movement and women’s liberation movements back in history (both succeeded without the right to vote).

    4. If those don’t work, vote with your feet and leave (as many Germans did when Hilter was coming into power).

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  51. jmb275 on November 15, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    Re MH

    jmb, wow you are a bit cantankerous, and seem to be mischaracterizing me as well…are you saying microsoft put netscape out of business with altruistic motives?

    Well, it seems to be going both ways now since I didn’t say ANYTHING about Microsoft. Nevertheless, I apologize for being a bit snippy. I’m gonna claim it’s not entirely fair to characterize Bill Gates by what Microsoft did/does. I don’t like Microsoft at all, and abhor their anticompetitive practices. Yes, their practices were grossly unfair and they were undoubtedly a monopoly. Bill Gates was certainly a part of that. Nevertheless, post-Microsoft the man has given and continues to give BILLIONS of dollars to people while MS continues to screw people. For some reason a few misdeeds are enough to condemn a man, but it apparently takes more than a mountain of charity to redeem him. Something’s not quite godly about that.

    JMB, No, I’m not against merit pay, but when million dollar bonuses are given to executives for driving the economy into the ground through bad banking practices, then I don’t think that banker merits the bonus. That’s my problem. Where is the merit pay cut?

    But no one disagrees with you! I agree with you completely (though it’s not clear to me how to equitably judge what one’s contributions are worth). But you seem to then draw this conclusion from your distaste for thievery by the wealthy:

    We are selfish. We want to be rewarded for our hard work, and we like nice clothes, houses, cars, vacation homes, cruises to Europe, $5000/night hotels, etc. But if we could all be satisfied with the same thing, instead of constantly accumulating personal wealth at the expense of others, I’d say that would be godly.

    Where is the nuance? If you’re not against merit pay, merely against the greed and extortion by big business then say that and push against what makes that occur. You’re claiming I’m mischaracterizing you, but this is what you said. You used words like “we could all” and “we want to be rewarded.” You’re making gross generalizations then nailing me when I parse it as it reads. And that’s my problem, that’s what I’m pushing against. I’m not disagreeing that we ought to be more charitable. I’m pushing against the characterization of an economic theory and all its participants based on the actions of a few people you despise.

    …but I do think that there are some systemic problems with the rich that are destroying our economy. Bankers and congress don’t merit the bonuses for all the insider trading.

    Again, I do not disagree with you, though I do not think the rich should be the target of our animosity simply by virtue of being rich. We’re players in the system, responding to the myriad incentives laid before us. MOST of those incentives are created by the very system we trust to make things “fair.” That, IMHO, is what most people do not realize.

    If regulations are not the answer, what is the answer JMB? I’m not claiming to have all the answers here, but there are some systemic problems of greed that have permeated throughout the economy? Should we start sending President Monson to Bill Gates, Nancy Pelosi, and Bernie Madoff to talk about godly business and government practices? Is that better than regulation?

    I don’t know the answer. I don’t think anyone does. Hell, we can’t even agree on the goal, how on earth could we possibly construct a path to achieving it? There certainly is a greed problem. My conjecture would be that greed has and always will be a problem. There IS NO system that can fix that (hint: communal socialism doesn’t either unless everyone agrees and pulls their own weight). People, as individuals have to fix that. All we can do is hope to mitigate it. In a word, yes, we should preach to the folks you listed. We should encourage them to do the “right” thing. BTW, I do NOT and have never stated that we should end all regulation. I don’t believe that (and you know that). I think the solution lies somewhere in a reasonable compromise between regulation and free-market forces. And when the free-market tries to work (i.e. banks should fail) we should let them. More people should take more responsibility for the services and products they buy and the seller they buy from. If it appears Bank of America is making faulty loans, we should care enough to learn this, and people should put their money elsewhere. Incidentally, there WERE people warning of the impending failure of banks long before it occurred. But no one listened! That’s not the fault of capitalism, or the market. It’s the fault of people expecting someone else to protect us from stupidity!

    Again, sorry for the long comment, and sorry to be cantankerous. I’ll stop harassing you now.

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  52. Glass Ceiling on November 15, 2011 at 1:47 PM

    Will,

    Thanks for trying to kick me out of the discussuon. Great debate tactic.

    Tell me, how do you and Jon attest to left-leanining GAs?

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  53. Glass Ceiling on November 15, 2011 at 1:58 PM

    Will and Jon,

    I believe in scripture as much as anyone. I just don’t choose on aspect of certain scripture and repeatedly throw them around as if those few scriptures are all that can be said scripturally.

    I really doubt, for instance, that the party of GW Bush was quite what Moroni meant by freedom.

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  54. Will on November 15, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    Glass,

    I am not trying to kick you out; I am simply saying this is a site that mingles religion with politics, which is what you are complaining about. Almost every commenter in this post, including you, references some religious context when trying to make their case. If you don’t like this form, then don’t engage in the conversation. If, on the other hand, you want to be involved in the discussions then expect scriptural references.

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  55. Jon on November 15, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    GC,

    52. I don’t believe in the infallibility of the prophets.

    53. I’m not a conservative. I fit more in the classical liberal category.

    Yes, all scripture must be taken together, but there are certain instances where it is made very clear what the Lord’s view on things are. Those are the ones I “throw” around. Yes, it is better to approach the principles of the matter so we can ascertain truth.

    GW along with Obama should be tried for war crimes. And both do not represent freedom.

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  56. MH on November 15, 2011 at 2:05 PM

    I think the solution lies somewhere in a reasonable compromise between regulation and free-market forces.

    That’s what I’ve been trying to say all along JMB. I don’t think we’re near the compromise, and I think we’ve tipped too far in the unregulation. You probably disagree.

    Perhaps we conflate the term “rich” with “corrupt.” Not all rich are corrupt. But then again, what did Jesus say about a rich man and the eye of the needle?

    As for Bill Gates, sure his philanthropy is nice now, but he was in charge when Netscape went out of business, and he is still involved with Microsoft even if he isn’t President anymore. The Carnegies and Rockefellers did the same thing–gouge the masses and then start charities.

    Jon, I was kind of with you until you said, “vote with your feet and leave (as many Germans did when Hilter was coming into power).”

    This led to the extermination of millions of Jews. Voting with your feet was a success in Hitler’s Germany???

    Evil triumphs when good men do nothing. Voting with your feet seems a recipe for a greater disaster in Hitler’s Germany. I don’t see how you can argue otherwise.

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  57. Will on November 15, 2011 at 2:07 PM

    Glass,

    By the way, Jon and I have differing views. Way different.

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  58. Glass Ceiling on November 15, 2011 at 2:08 PM

    But I’ll bet you both defended Bush with scripture until it was no longer sensible or fashionable. Then again, maybe you still do.

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  59. MH on November 15, 2011 at 2:11 PM

    One other thing Jon. So are you going to opt out of Social Security and Medicare when you are seriously injured and can’t support yourself (due to horrific accident or cancer) and can’t work?

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  60. Will on November 15, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    Glass,

    Wrong again. Bush is not a conservative, not even close. I have never supported his out-of-control spending. Never. He was horrible, but was way better than Obama.

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  61. Cowboy on November 15, 2011 at 2:29 PM

    Jon & Will:

    A very simple question. Part of what confuses me about these conversations, and by the way I hold two degrees in economics, is the mormon semantics associated with terms like “socialism”, “capitalism”, “consecration”, etc. In the most basic description, socialism is simply central planning. In other words, in most instances we are talking about governments that own and/or control the means of production. So, the question you need to ask is whether the scriptures advocate central planning anywhere.

    When I read section 42 I pay close attention to the notion of “stewards” over property rather than “owners” of property. Still, even more to the point – how do you have an effective capitalist system of state managed redistribution that is based on the inefficiencies of capitalism (by the way, I am a capitalist, so that’s not a criticism of capitalism – it’s a reality)? As I mentioned in another post, even Milton Friedman was very cautious about the terms he used. Rather than advocating “free” market capitalism, he coined the term “competitive capitalism”, because the idea is not to promote winner take all competition, but thriving competitive markets. A necessity of a healthy competitive market is investment. Where does investment come from??? That is the million dollar question guys! It comes from the surpluses that section 42 would say are collected into the storehouses. If there is no investment, how do companies compete? If there is no competition, then who decides what industries/businesses/services are available in an economy????

    In sum, the term “stewards” seems to suggest that we would all just be agents over the Lord’s resources, including business. That is central planning, because…why would the Lord compete against himself? Also, even if we throw out the term “steward”, this notion of Celestial self-interest pursuing philanthropism is too impractical to make any sense. Lastly, there is explicit redistribution in the system which is generally what Americans think of when we refer to “socialism”.

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  62. Ray on November 15, 2011 at 2:33 PM

    Great post, MH. That’s all, since I have nothing to add to the thread.

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  63. Glass Ceiling on November 15, 2011 at 2:34 PM

    Jon and Will,

    Use scripture for your argument, but please understand that others can do the same by way of counter-argument. And we all know the arguments on both sides, right? After a while it just becomes noncommunication and nothing gets said or revealed.

    Here is a question: There is a certain brand of Mormon political stance that dictates that the charity aspects of the law of consecration make for a perfect government. Yet, any sort pf similar entitlement in the current world is purely evil. Can it really be this simple?

    And regarding the regulation of government, that was one of the big reasons for states’ rights in the Constitution. Well, now that we are clearly run by the Federal government, why should we not try to retain/achieve any rights that we can get, first and foremost regulation?

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  64. Glass Ceiling on November 15, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    ..regulation of government and Wall Street….

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  65. jmb275 on November 15, 2011 at 4:31 PM

    Re MH-

    That’s what I’ve been trying to say all along JMB. I don’t think we’re near the compromise, and I think we’ve tipped too far in the unregulation.

    I realize this. And just so we’re clear, as I said in my last comment, my issue is the way in which you characterize the “system,” mislabel it as “capitalist” and “free-market” and claim we’re all selfish and leverage others to get gain. I hope you can see that I’m pushing against your word usage and generalizations not so much against your claim that the system is broken. “We” are not all selfish, and “we” (including you I’m guessing) don’t try to get gain at the expense of grinding others into the dirt. So we should try to be more clear and find the real reasons we’re in the situation we’re in. And to blame it all on capitalism, greed, and selfishness is a cheap and lazy characterization of our problems and situation.

    You probably disagree.

    I don’t disagree we need regulation, but I disagree that the current system in place can create appropriate regulation to achieve its goals. If you can correctly identify which pieces of regulation should be passed, analyzing and demonstrating that ALL or even MOST consequences are tolerable when compared with the good achieved by the regulation, then I think it should pass. But this is too often not the case. And the problem is, the economy, in general is too complicated for such an analysis to really be effective. This is why unintended consequences are such a big deal. It’s easy, very easy, to sit back as an armchair economist and say “we need more regulation to curb greed and dishonesty.” But to dig into the details, and really discover the nature of such regulation, draft it appropriately, and then enforce it is exceedingly difficult. Perhaps Cowboy could correct me if I’m wrong.

    Perhaps we conflate the term “rich” with “corrupt.” Not all rich are corrupt. But then again, what did Jesus say about a rich man and the eye of the needle?

    To be clear, no I don’t conflate the term “rich” with “corrupt” which is part of my pushback. Jesus also said to sell all you have, give it to the poor, pick up your cross and follow him. But I doubt you’re doing that, and neither am I.

    As for Bill Gates, sure his philanthropy is nice now, but he was in charge when Netscape went out of business, and he is still involved with Microsoft even if he isn’t President anymore. The Carnegies and Rockefellers did the same thing–gouge the masses and then start charities.

    Hence my comment from “Pirates of the Carribean.” A bad deed seems to be enough to condemn a man, but a good deed doesn’t seem to be enough to redeem him. So no matter how many billions Gates gives away, no matter how many millions of people he helps and lives he saves you will always have him pegged as the guy who ousted Netscape unethically?

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  66. Will on November 15, 2011 at 5:24 PM

    “There is a certain brand of Mormon political stance that dictates that the charity aspects of the law of consecration make for a perfect government.”

    I agree the law of consecration is a perfect form of Government as I have illustrated above.

    “Yet, any sort pf similar entitlement in the current world is purely evil. Can it really be this simple?”

    I think a better understanding of the law of consecration would help as would a proper description of entitlements.

    In simple terms, the law of consecration requires everyone to consecrate their time, talents and resources for the common good. If everyone could, and would, live this law with a full purpose of heart it truly would be the best form of government. It the Gods’way. In this law, all are uplifted and edified.

    Entitlements, on the other hand, do not stem from everyone consecrating their time, talents and resources for the common good. It is comprised of the makers and the takers. There are those in society that make the goods, make the money, make the shelter, and make the food; and, there are those that take these resources and do not contribute to the whole. This creates an entitlement attitude in the takers and resentment attitude in the makers; thus, creating a lose-lose situation.

    I’m trying to follow what you are saying on the rest, but I’m a little confused? What do you mean by regulation? It sounds like you are saying the States should have the right to regulate the Federal Government? Please clarify?

    As for Wall Street, they are heavily regulated, so I’m not sure what you are getting at with this comment.

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  67. Glass Ceiling on November 15, 2011 at 6:14 PM

    Will,

    The Federal government should shrink, and the States should be empowered. Until then, regulate Wall St and the Federal government a bit more than currently.

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  68. MH on November 15, 2011 at 9:11 PM

    Will, Wall Street is not regulated enough if we continue to churn out Bernie Madoffs and Michael Milkens. I think there are plenty of other insider crooks (and I’m not talking only Martha Stewart.)

    Bring back Glass-Steagall and perhaps we won’t experience the churns in Wall Street that we see in the past decade. Banks and Insurance were separated for a reason in the Great Depression. It’s too bad we can’t seem to learn from history. It may take another depression to learn this lesson again I’m afraid.

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  69. Glass Ceiling on November 15, 2011 at 10:13 PM

    I am afraid as well.

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  70. Douglas on November 15, 2011 at 11:55 PM

    #35 – SPOT ON! The Brown “mega-family” practices Communalism in it’s simplest format, or perhaps tribalism. That’s all that tribes really were: one big ‘fammed-damily’. The high degree of in-breeding probably accounts for the maniacal behavior of the so-called “Barbarians” (Franks, Vandals, Goths, Alans, Macromanni, Huns, Lombards,etc…). To compare the social dynamics of a group like the Browns and extrapolate that into the USA is to greatly insult common sense. This country is a big conglomeration of states, regions, races, ethnic groups, and religions, with a huge jumbling up of all categories. We don’t have a “black” state or a “Mormon” state (active LDS have been a minority in UT for quite some time and soon the actual LDS ratio (active or otherwise) will be under 50%. The American people are fluid and mobile to an extent never seen in human history. So trying to apply any socialist policy on the grounds of us being a “big happy family” is nothing less than asinine. It our disunity and individualism that makes us Americans. This is what Hitler, Tojo, and the rest did not comprehend in “Dubya-dubya Two, da big one”. We’re a big pack of mongrels..our noses are cold (“Stripes”). The big American mass of dog faces, unshaven, unmilitary, and ever-griping, may have given Patton fits to command, but we whipped our opponents fair and square. We have those same qualities today, but their borne out of individualism, NOT collectivism.

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  71. Jon on November 16, 2011 at 6:40 AM

    Glass,

    Lot’s of assumptions. No, I was against Bush long before it was popular (among the republicans), I did vote for him though, but soon after realized my mistake. How many people that voted for Obama have realized their mistake yet? I know progressives who are still for him even though he is turning out to be very similar to Bush, just worse on all the issues the progressives hated Bush for.

    It always amazes me how the blinders come on when one is routing for their own team.

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  72. Jon on November 16, 2011 at 6:48 AM

    MH,

    Here is where you loyalties lie. First to God. Second to your family. Third to your fellow saints. Fourth to your fellow countrymen.

    By the time the Jews were being killed it was long past the time all of them should have voted with their feet and left. They should have tried things before then, but their reaches a certain point where it becomes to late. When is it time? It’s hard to know, if I were a Jew back then living there, I might have left to late also.

    This psychology of believing all is well until it is to late is evident in all of us. Hence the reason you get people that are OK with Obama acting as jury, judge and executioner. Hence the reason you get people being OK with Bush (and Obama for that matter) starting to unjust wars. Hence the reason you get people being OK with the militarization of the police and people being OK with national checkpoints appearing in the airports and roads and subways and bus stations. One day we will wake up like the German’s and realize our folly and it will be to late to repent.

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  73. Jon on November 16, 2011 at 6:52 AM

    MH,

    As for SS and medicare and the sick. The principle is the same, it is not OK to steal, as you yourself admit when you say that companies shouldn’t get corporate welfare, it’s the same principle. So these people should not look to the government for their salvation but their fellow travelers in life, voluntarily contributing to their welfare. Would I fault someone that did that truly does need the help? No, but the principle still remains true and we would all be better off if we all opted out.

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  74. Jon on November 16, 2011 at 6:59 AM

    Glass,

    Here is a question: There is a certain brand of Mormon political stance that dictates that the charity aspects of the law of consecration make for a perfect government. Yet, any sort of similar entitlement in the current world is purely evil. Can it really be this simple?

    It is no longer charity if one is forced to contribute. One is redistribution, one is charity. Charity is necessary, redistribution is not. Agency must be respected unless one does not adhere to the 2nd great commandment.
    —–
    States rights was to regulate the power of the state, not companies.

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  75. Jon on November 16, 2011 at 7:12 AM

    Cowboy,

    Don’t know if I know the scriptures well enough to answer all your questions. But who is to say that you can’t invest in companies and then give beyond that as surplus? There is a principle of self-reliance that needs to be considered also.

    There is nothing wrong with redistribution when done on a voluntary basis, this is called charity and trade.

    We are stewards of the earth, it is true, but usually, our main stewardship is the property we own.

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  76. jmb275 on November 16, 2011 at 7:13 AM

    BTW, it seems weird to me on this thread that Jon and GlassCeiling are going at each other like this. As near as I can tell, both of you are in favor of States’ rights and shrinking the power of the federal gov’t. But you both act like the other is on the extreme side of the opposite spectrum.

    Just sayin’

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  77. Jon on November 16, 2011 at 7:32 AM

    jmb,

    I think our main difference is the amount of government influence on the economy and people’s lives.

    It is very difficult to understand each others’ positions on a blog and trying to recall past conversations. Yes, it would be nice to have these conversations in real life, but then again, in real life they tend to get heated, unfortunately. Pros and cons.

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  78. Will on November 16, 2011 at 8:13 AM

    MH,

    A few scoundrels are not the problem; it is the systemic problems stemming from government policies that created the financial mess we are currently facing. More specifically, the community reinvestment act of 1977 (thank you Jimmy Carter) that aimed to help low income people get into homes. This FORCED banks to lend to those with no real credit and no real hope of paying it back. And, thanks to the ‘equal protection’ under the law clause, banks provided 100 to 125 LTV loans to anyone with a finger print and a pulse all backed by Fannie and Freddie. We know the rest of the story.

    But what’s worse are the politicians that have racked up 15 Trillion in Debt and an estimated 40 Trillion in unfunded retirement benefits. If you think the housing bubble was bad, wait until this ticking time bomb hits.

    Glass,

    Why have the states regulate the Fed? Why not just dismantle the Fed’s power and transfer most services to the states?

    What JMB said…

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  79. Ray on November 16, 2011 at 8:19 AM

    #72 – Jon, fwiw, I believe if you separate God from family (wife and children), you’ve missed the heart of the Gospel. The account in the Gospels that is used to justify that separation is misinterpreted badly – taking something that was said to disciples / apostles called on specific “missions” and extrapolating it to everyone.

    There’s a lot more I could say about that, but I believe the idea that God is more important than wife and kids is a pernicious misconception.

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  80. hawkgrrrl on November 16, 2011 at 8:28 AM

    Two comments:
    1 – Sister Wives are socialist in the exact same way all families are socialist. Families pool their resources and money, and make decisions as a group that benefit the group and its individuals. The problems come in when the group gets too big because 2 things begin to happen: 1) people’s individual needs are not as easily known or addressed in a unique way, so instead we try to maintain equality (which isn’t really what families do), and 2) people can begin to slack off or game the system because it becomes too big to regulate. Hmmm. Sounds a lot like the overall discussion we are having.
    2) Regulation. We have regulation. We need regulation. We just need better regulation that isn’t written by dumbasses with no private sector experience so that it’s got loopholes you can drive a Mac truck through. Seriously, there are people of integrity with corporate experience who truly could write the right kinds of regulation. But instead gov’t is run by career politicians.

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  81. Jeff Spector on November 16, 2011 at 8:46 AM

    The vast majority of the tax code are the loopholes written by our money grubbing politicans to favor their donors. While companies cannot be specfically called out in the taxcode, they are written in such a way as to only apply to a specific company.

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  82. Jon on November 16, 2011 at 9:14 AM

    Ray,

    Tell that to Abraham.

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  83. Jon on November 16, 2011 at 9:18 AM

    Jeff, 81,

    This is the history of the state. Read Murray Rothbard’s “Conceived in Liberty” and you’ll see how this has always been a problem in the United States since Columbus sailed the Ocean Blue. Of course, back then the King was much more explicit in his favoritism.

    This is what regulations create, a favored class. That is why rule of law is more important then regulations because everyone is treated the same under rule of law so there is no way to seek and get favoritism.

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  84. Cowboy on November 16, 2011 at 9:57 AM

    #80 – Hawkgrrrl:

    Here is the kicker…Corporations and business are generally structured similar to socialism as well. You have central planning, a community health insurance pool, wealth redistribution (particularly to the non-sales and non-production divisions – HR for example). Job duties are dictated to you, you often have a company dress code, no effective voting power (except in Unions ironically), and if you don’t like it the best you can do is expatriate yourself to another company that hopefully offers a more favorable contract.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGPa5Ob-5Ps

    This is a youtube clip from Jeffrey Miron with Harvard economics. I particularly enjoyed his clear take on what has been apparent to me for a long time, namely that many business are truly “pro-capitalism”. I think his use of the term capitalism may be slightly out of place, I would have said “competition”, but that is largely splitting hairs. The point is, business’s would prefer to operate in a market devoid of their competitors. Competition makes business hard and inefficient.

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  85. Cowboy on November 16, 2011 at 10:01 AM

    Should be:

    “many businesses AREN’T pro-capitalism”.

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  86. Cowboy on November 16, 2011 at 10:06 AM

    Jon:

    I guess if we wanted to go further then you would have to read section 42.

    In short answer, the question revolves around who determines how much is surplus. Since you are to consecrate all your properties are to be brought before the Bishop or his counsellors, it would seem that they would determine how much you take home for your needs. If they determine how much of that were for investment, as per your hypothetical, then who is determining investment and directing growth? It’s not the market. It is the Bishop and his counsellors. In other words, it is a centrally planned economy even still – and that is socialism!

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  87. Jon on November 16, 2011 at 10:10 AM

    Cowboy, 85,

    I guess the main difference is that a business works on a voluntary basis where government works on a non-voluntary basis. And we see the same result when both of those don’t have competition, they both result in bigger and bigger bureaucracies and products that are less and less quality/valuable, i.e., the input of money in vs the output isn’t worth it anymore.

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  88. Jon on November 16, 2011 at 10:12 AM

    Cowboy,

    I’ll read it tomorrow. From my understanding each person makes the decision of what is surplus and what isn’t. I’ll have to read J Reuben Clark’s talk on the subject too, from 1942 I believe. He claimed that the UO wasn’t socialism.

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  89. Cowboy on November 16, 2011 at 10:21 AM

    I’m not intending to come across as anti-business are anti-capitalist, I just think we need to try and understand clearly what we mean. The business sector is not socialist at all, but internally businesses operate as a centrally planned dictatorship without a military. So, to say that they are run like North Korea is incorrect, but to say they are bastians of liberty (internal cultures) is false. Few businesses allow for entrepreneurial endeavors internally – “I think I’ll run the forklift today” – and you can’t publicly speak ill of your employer and expect to keep your job.

    As for J Reuben Clark, I hope he can do more than just “say” that the UO wasn’t socialism, but that he can demonstrate it.

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  90. Jon on November 16, 2011 at 10:27 AM

    89,

    I guess he was saying from his research of the scriptures that UO isn’t socialism, not that what BY practiced wasn’t socialism. I’ll have to read it again. He also gave a full list of scriptures to read on the subject.

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  91. Chad on November 16, 2011 at 12:39 PM

    OK, you all are focusing on the boring part of this show and how they survive financially!! Hello!! This show is a train wreck that I can’t turn away from on Sunday night and not watch. It is the show I hate to love watching.

    Angel with a sword or not, I could never practice polygamy. I don’t like spending that much time in the dog house. My ex wife already causes enough drama.

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  92. Glass Ceiling on November 16, 2011 at 12:50 PM

    I agree with all that Hawk just said.

    We have valued entitlements for many years with little to no complaint. But now they are evil. FINE. So are the wars we are in. So, then, is foreign aid. I say, as long as the federal government is in charge and we are in a budget crunch, get rid of programs that do not draw and quarter the American people before getting rid of programs that do.

    I’d love States’ rights and to cancelling the Federal Reserve and income tax, but that will not happen without civil war. Why don’t we get real and try to get a few more parties in? Better yet, why not march on Washington for campaign finance reform.

    But let’s stop this libertarian fantasy of zero entitlements. People get to feel righteous and didactic with that rhetoric, but we all know that every living soul whi breaks their back and can’t work would appreciate help from the government. Steady, reliable help that does not make you beg, and does not judge you. I believe the likes of Will and Jon would appreciate such help if such dire circumstances existed for them, heaven forbid.

    Furthermore, the disenfranchised elderly are in a bad position because their SS is on the chopping block, and people don’t like to hire the elderly.

    OTOH,cuts need to be made everywhere. FINE. But let’s be real, and not thow ourselves into the Dark Ages. I like some of Ron Paul’s ideas very, very much. Others of his are pants-on-head stupid. That’s ok though. He is virtually unelectable. And besides, there is only one party in Washington anyway. And he ain’t in it. Right?

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  93. Jon on November 16, 2011 at 1:12 PM

    Whose been OK with entitlements for so many years? Who says the wars are OK? Who says foreign aid is OK?

    But let’s stop this libertarian fantasy of zero entitlements. People get to feel righteous and didactic with that rhetoric, but we all know that every living soul whi breaks their back and can’t work would appreciate help from the government. Steady, reliable help that does not make you beg, and does not judge you. I believe the likes of Will and Jon would appreciate such help if such dire circumstances existed for them, heaven forbid.

    Let’s stop this libertarian fantasy where companies and the government don’t collude anymore and get special favors, all companies will one day come to the point where they aren’t useful anymore and in order people to keep their jobs, the government must bail them out, there is no other way. You would appreciate it too, if your company were going out of business, heaven forbid.

    I’ll keep hoping.

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  94. Glass Ceiling on November 16, 2011 at 1:32 PM

    Jon,

    Who appreciated entitlements? Probably your parents and grandparents, and maybe even your great-grandparents. Probably you as a child appreciated it that your parents were not taking care of and paying for their parents. That surplus in your family if origin may well have made those family trips to Disney World and London possible. Say nothing of your mission college, and that cash you got for your honeymoon.

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  95. Ray on November 16, 2011 at 2:25 PM

    #82 – Why? If “as far as it is translated correctly means anything”, there are other ways to read that story. I personally choose to read it differently than the traditional meaning, while still seeing it as a Christ-type – and my reading supports what I’ve said here, frankly.

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  96. Ray on November 16, 2011 at 2:27 PM

    #91 – Yeah, that’s my response, as well. Interesting show, but only because it isn’t focused on what’s being discussed here. :)

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  97. Jon on November 16, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    Ray,

    Please expound the scriptures for me. I would be interested in your version of why God and family go together. I don’t read them that way but if you don’t expound what you are trying to say then you have no case, or, at least there is no point in the discussion.

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  98. Jon on November 16, 2011 at 3:03 PM

    Glass,

    Yeah, I didn’t get all those things paid for by parents, but I understand the sentiment.

    Regardless, we learn that all taxes have a drag on the economy, so the net effect is lower incomes for parents and miss allocated monies which also puts a drag on the economy. A good economist will see the unseen as well as the seen. You are only looking at the “seen” which turns out to be incorrect most times when looked at in isolation.

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  99. Glass Ceiling on November 16, 2011 at 4:21 PM

    Jon,

    Thank you for seeing my sentiment. Seriously. I didn’t have those things either. I do, however, have a $60K student loan tab. I am also a disabled veteran who is trying to get disability as we speak. If the government takes away disability from its citizens, they would be kinder to take all of us out and shoot us than to charity. That was Hitler’s solution after all. Disabled Germans were the first to die ….and yet everyone let him.

    Your economist might also agree that our Middle East honky-tonks could be affecting our situation. Those and foreign aid. We do not have a responsibility to be everywhere in the world with our “lawyers, guns, and money. ” We do have a responsibility for our own though, to be sure . Or is that no longer part of the job of our government?

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  100. Glass Ceiling on November 16, 2011 at 4:23 PM

    …shoot us, than to leave us to charity.

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  101. Will on November 16, 2011 at 6:44 PM

    “We have valued entitlements for many years with little to no complaint. ”

    I really liked Perry’s idea (although he will never get my support) about setting all federal aid to zero, then all countries wanting support need to demonstrate why they should get it. I personally would cut it off for everyone but isreal.

    I would do the same thing with ALL government spending. Demonstrate why you need SOME money with the following conditions 1) you will not get more than the percentage you received last year applied to this years revenue, on average this will be 40% less than last year. From here on out, it will hopefully go up next year. 2) you better have a damn good reason why you need the money. 3) closely tied to #1, the budget will be balanced. If you ask for more than the % you received last year, you will get nothing.

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  102. Jon on November 16, 2011 at 7:57 PM

    Glass,

    If the government takes away disability from its citizens, they would be kinder to take all of us out and shoot us than to charity.

    You underestimate the charity of others given freely. It was common for charity to be given before but government has monopolized it to the point where people can’t imagine what it would be like without the new god (no disrespect to you when I say that though). It was also common for the people who were giving the charity and running the organizations to have come from the same situation so they could actually empathize with the people they were helping.

    We do have a responsibility for our own though, to be sure . Or is that no longer part of the job of our government?

    The responsibility of government is to protect people from aggressive foreign countries, to be peace makers among the citizenry (like policemen, more to prosecute those who caused harm, prevention is more for each individual to do, to a certain extent). Government is to arbitrate between disputing parties. That’s about it when it comes to government.

    BTW, I will read and comment on your last post, I just started getting into this one and haven’t had a chance to look at it.

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  103. Jon on November 16, 2011 at 7:58 PM

    I personally would cut it off for everyone but isreal.

    I personally would cut it off for everyone, especially Israel.

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  104. Glass Ceiling on November 16, 2011 at 9:02 PM

    The thing is, gentlemen, there are distant dreams and then there are things that can be done. Ron Paul us unelectable…and obviously uninterested in the position. If he were, he would not have talked about canceling student loans….and relying on charity for medical. We are not in the fifties anymore.

    In any case, trying to fix things though a president is proven to not work. The system is broken. We need a march on Washington that doesn’t get co-opted by the Republican party like the Tea Party was.

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  105. Jon on November 16, 2011 at 9:08 PM

    Glass,

    #50 was my solution. I don’t see anything really working well unless it comes from the individual centered in the teachings of Christ.

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  106. Glass Ceiling on November 16, 2011 at 9:46 PM

    Jon,

    I am on a phone, so I don’t know where 50 is. But I’ll check it out soon.

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  107. Glass Ceiling on November 17, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    Will,

    Your list of rulers getting filthy rich at the expense of the nation in #13 is missing one name, and you know who it is. Actually, it’s missing several names under that single missing name’s presidential administration. Ah but who’s really counting anyway …?

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  108. Will on November 17, 2011 at 4:37 PM

    Please re-read, it was not actually my words, but Thomas Sowell. However, I will defend it as I agree 100 percent.

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  109. Glass Ceiling on November 17, 2011 at 6:17 PM

    Will,

    Well then, I again question and critique in both your general directions .

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  110. Glass Ceiling on November 17, 2011 at 6:19 PM

    But not in a mean way.

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  111. Andrew S on November 17, 2011 at 6:53 PM

    I have not been keeping track of this discussion, except to hear comments that it has been derailed and some people are upset about that, but whatever.

    And I wasn’t really going to respond to this thread. But then I found that Will responded to a post on my blog, and I was kinda excited because I didn’t think Will read my blog.

    …but then from checking this post, it seems that Will was making the rounds with a serving of copy pasta from Thomas Sowell:

    So…I’ll reply with my own copy pasta. Bon appetit:

    Will,

    That’s certainly an interesting view of OWS that Sowell has, but like much of what Sowell has to say about things, I don’t agree with much of it.

    For example, who rules America? This is a simple question to answer. It’s not Obama. It’s not the 99%. It’s a close network of economic power elites and especially corporate interests who do whatever they can to maximize their own profit.

    So what does Obama’s America look like? Well, since the same people are in charge who have always been in charge (big corporate interests), Obama’s America looks the same as Bush’s America, which looked the same as America has under every president since the military industrial complex has wed big corporate interests. The difference is that the economic climate now is such that many people don’t have anything to lose by opposing this system. This is a system that can’t be fixed through the standards political process, because it has (and more importantly, people are realizing that it has) been coopted by corporatist interests to the extent that you can’t get anything done. It doesn’t matter to vote, because Democrat or Republican, you’re basically going to get much of the same things.

    If you think that Barack Obama or Nancy Pelosi (or, for that matter, any Republican counterparts that could oppose them) have any real power, then you’re not there yet. OWS is about realizing that whatever direction this country is going in, it’s not the politicians at the driver’s seat, because there’s someone else in control.

    …oh yeah, and if you’re talking about people living in “opulent splendor,” then I think you should look at people who, you know, are already living in “opulent splendor.” OWS is kinda upset at those people.

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  112. Jon on November 17, 2011 at 7:48 PM

    Will, Andrew S,

    I think you’re both right to a certain extent. They all play together, whether intentional or not that is what they are doing. A return to rule of law would be nice. Ferfal said it best with his comparison with the Piquetero movement in Argentina:

    http://www.themodernsurvivalist.com/?p=1718

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  113. Andrew S on November 17, 2011 at 8:37 PM

    What I don’t get is people who think that Occupy Wall Street is about capitalism vs. socialism (and that the OWS people are for socialism.)

    That’s not what this is about. At least, I hope we haven’t conceded that you can’t have capitalism without having gross inequality.

    This G.K. Chesterton quote really sums it up:

    Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists.

    It’s not that you need to take all the money away and give it to the government or whatever. But you can’t have a capitalism with a few players who are really capital owners and power brokers and everyone else who serves and flails.

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  114. Will on November 17, 2011 at 10:14 PM

    Glass,

    “Well then, I again question and critique in both your general directions .”

    I have absolutely no idea what you are saying.

    Andrew,

    The movement is just as Thomas stated. I have posted his words in as many occupy articles as I am permitted.

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  115. Andrew S on November 17, 2011 at 10:34 PM

    oh, so you have no idea what you’re talking about. Whew.

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  116. Glass Ceiling on November 17, 2011 at 10:46 PM

    Andrew,

    Someone understands me! I’m not crazy. Thank you.

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  117. Andrew S on November 17, 2011 at 11:40 PM

    It turns out that Will isn’t even copy pasting Thomas Sowell, but some letter to the editor of a local paper by some random dude in Tennessee

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  118. Glass Ceiling on November 18, 2011 at 2:03 AM

    Good work, Andrew .

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  119. Jon on November 18, 2011 at 7:40 AM

    One thing that is definitely good about OWS. They use the free market to fight back. They’re taking their money out of the large banks (that received bailout money?) and putting them into local banks. That would be my second point on fighting back, opting out – see my comment #50 for all my points.

    They are also using my third point, civil disobedience, that’s right, they’re protesting. You see, whoever you vote in, it doesn’t matter, it is what we do. Protesting also falls under my first point, educating the populace.

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  120. Cowboy on November 18, 2011 at 9:29 AM

    “So what does Obama’s America look like? Well, since the same people are in charge who have always been in charge (big corporate interests), Obama’s America looks the same as Bush’s America, which looked the same as America has under every president since the military industrial complex has wed big corporate interests.”

    I hold a general agreement with this statement, but the devil is in the details. Frankly, Obama’s presidency does in fact just look like Bush’s presidency. The key difference between Bush and Obama is health reform – a bad idea, but that’s the biggest difference outside of ineffectual talking point. Sure, they preach a different sermon, but both Church’s are run the same. To a degree, that’s as it should be. Sometimes we place an inappropriate amount of expectation on the role of the POTUS. No doubt he can have a tremendous impact on things, but he is not a dictator. That’s part of what puzzles me about political pandering to the public. Take for example Herman Cains proposed 9-9-9 plan. Forget all of the back and forth on the quality of the idea, and instead just ask “who does this guy think he is”?? Does anybody really believe that Cain can be elected and then just overhaul the tax code without any pushback? Same thing with Ron Paul. Hypothetically were he elected, can we expect that he can single handedly terminate the Fed and the department of education? Of course not.

    Presidents are notorious for courting the public on issues they can’t really control. How many presidents for example have pandered to specific lobbying groups with the promise to overturn Roe Vs Wade. Still it hasn’t happened, and as I recall, interestingly had it’s closest call under Bill Clinton.

    So to say that a President can single handedly take the blame for the overall health of a nations economy is fairly out of touch. Perhaps only with the exception of how a President handles war, as evidenced by Bush. That seems to be one area in the division of power where a President has the least resistance.

    As for the wedding of military industrial complex with corporate interests, perhaps a few observations can be made with regard to Haliburton, but without some concrete proof that claim seems a little empty to me. As a recovering conspiracy theorist from long ago, I have a huge aversion for talks of a Shadow Government, where evidence seems to be weak. While I think Andrew may have an interesting take on OWS, I don’t think his views are entirely held by most of the demonstraters. I myself have been at a total loss of what to think about the so-called movement. Where it so that such a behind the scenes government exists, who among the OWS would have had any firsthand experience with that? We have alway’s known that the concentration of wealth was among a small portion of the population. The real question(s) come down to: 1) Is that really a problem; 2) If so, what should we do about it.

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  121. Will on November 18, 2011 at 9:30 AM

    Andrew/Glass:

    I received that text in an email and the person who sent it to me (a friend of mine) said it was from Sowell. I had no reason to question him or question the fact it was from Sowell. I have read a lot of his books and articles, including barbarians inside the gates (a great book that is required reading in my home) and it sound like something Sowell would say. I was just trying to give credit, where credit is due. If my friend was wrong, then so be it, it doesn’t change the content. It is a great piece and perfectly illustrates the OWS movement.

    Look at the fruits of this group — documented rapes, theft, arson, defecating in public, public nudity, public masturbation and the latest was a man who was celebrated at the San Deigo Occupy movement and was involved with the DC movement was arrested yesterday for trying to kill the President. If that is the crowd you want to associate yourself with, have at it, but for me I’ll stay away.

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  122. Glass Ceiling on November 18, 2011 at 9:33 AM

    I just wish half of them were protesting at the White House. It would be harder for neo-cons to dismiss them as some lame rite of passage that way. It would appear to be a legitimate anti-fascist movement.

    But so many of them would not dare protest on the same turf that their “saviour ” lives. That is why it looks so much like fashion to so many in America. And it is a shame. So much good energy deferred and dissipated.

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  123. Jon on November 18, 2011 at 9:49 AM

    Cowboy,

    You must not be paying attention. The president does have substantial power that congress has abdicated over the years. Although his hands are tied in a few things he can pretty much do whatever he wants with impunity. Look at Libya. The bureaucrats that the president is over make laws all the time, they even create taxes. The president swears an oath to uphold the constitution, therefore, he can get rid of the department of education, simply because it is unconstitutional.

    Regardless, I share your sentiment that whatever person gets elected can’t really doing anything, because he isn’t the one truly running the show, but you don’t believe in secret combinations, so I suppose you wouldn’t agree with that point.

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  124. Cowboy on November 18, 2011 at 10:20 AM

    You misunderstand if you think I said that the President has no power, or cannot effect things. I am simply saying that the President can’t just do whatever they want.

    I don’t “believe” in secret combinations, particularly with the BoM connotations of that phrase. I accept that history has proven that people in power can be corrupt, and so the powers that be should go unchecked. Furthermore, I accept the possibility that corrupt forces, and illuminati if you will, could manipulate society. I just see no clear evidence of that right now.

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  125. Andrew S on November 18, 2011 at 10:26 AM

    re 120,

    Cowboy,

    As for the wedding of military industrial complex with corporate interests, perhaps a few observations can be made with regard to Haliburton, but without some concrete proof that claim seems a little empty to me. As a recovering conspiracy theorist from long ago, I have a huge aversion for talks of a Shadow Government, where evidence seems to be weak. While I think Andrew may have an interesting take on OWS, I don’t think his views are entirely held by most of the demonstraters. I myself have been at a total loss of what to think about the so-called movement. Where it so that such a behind the scenes government exists, who among the OWS would have had any firsthand experience with that? We have alway’s known that the concentration of wealth was among a small portion of the population. The real question(s) come down to: 1) Is that really a problem; 2) If so, what should we do about it.

    This really shouldn’t be a controversial point. I’ll say one word: lobbying. This really isn’t about shadow anything. It’s all out in the open, for the most part (to the extent that you can research and connect corporate groups with various interest groups, and then can connect those various interest groups with the money the provide to legislators or to the bills they sponsor).

    This is extremely well documented sociologically (Domhoff has been writing about this for 40 years in his various editions of “Who Rules America”). The revolving door between regulatory agencies and corporate interests (for example: SEC and the financial industry…EPA and chemical, oil and gas, etc., industries) is well researched.

    I mean, this isn’t behind the scenes. When the financial meltdown occurred, we generally had a very good understanding of what happened, who was responsible for it, etc., We know that banks that got bailed out still nevertheless paid their executives huge bonuses. We know that despite the crisis, the government hasn’t been all that interested in criminal prosecution, and what prosecution that has been pursued has been tepid or has fallen under the radar.

    It’s just something that most people expect as business as usual. The difference with OWS isn’t that there’s something new or something hidden…it’s that people are in a position where they don’t have anything to lose to protest.

    That answers your last questions: when inequality among wealth and income become so great that some people have nothing to lose (they don’t have jobs to lose because jobs are too scarce…and even the jobs they do have don’t have great benefits; they can’t afford health care anyway, etc., etc.,) there’s a problem with the distribution. For now, what the Occupy Wall Street people are doing across the country are coming into a discussion (the media shows the times when there’s police confrontation, or they try to show the “inanity” of drum circles or whatever) about how to develop alternative ways of politics…since voting for congresspeople/president isn’t helping. A lot of people criticize the inefficiency/chaos of the model that the OWS movement uses to decide and determine things for their groups, but really, these are just experiments in direct democracy, participative governance, and consensus decisionmaking that most people never get to see or participate in because it’s not really all that glamorous.

    re 121,

    Will,

    I guess the problem is that you’re simply too uncritical. You accept this email that you got from “a friend” without checking the facts of who it’s from or even the facts of the content. So, it’s simply wrong on all accounts, but you accept it as is because that’s how you want to see the situation, the political environment, the Occupy Wall Street movement. You want to see them only as rapists, thieves, bums, hippies, etc., so that’s what you look for. You probably ignore or discount any contrary evidence, or the fact that you yourself are not part of the 1%.

    re 122:

    Glass Ceiling,

    I guess one of the issues is that there are Occupy Wall Street people in most major cities (and even a lot of non-major areas). There *is* an Occupy D.C. group. You have to understand that people in Occupy Wall Street aren’t necessarily all “liberals,” but even if they are, liberals don’t view Obama as a “savior.” Liberals see Obama as someone who talked a great deal, and then compromised on even more. Quite simply, there are few left-liberal candidates on the political sphere in America. We have right, and center-right, at best.

    I guess the major deal is, if you’re not really paying attention on twitter, watching on livestream or ustream, or actually going out to the sites, then you’re not really getting a sense of the real climate and environment of the movement. This is really obviously where Will is at right now. It’s regrettable, but I mean, the major media sources, when they talk about OWS, they always talk about who’s getting arrested.

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  126. Jon on November 18, 2011 at 10:54 AM

    Cowboy,

    As you will, secret combinations don’t have to be secret as Andrew pointed out. Either way, the president can go to war without congressional approval and assassinate Americans without due process, to me that is a dictator.

    Andrew S,

    Here’s one on how OWS direct democracy is basically the same oligarchic model. Basically they were trying to figure out what to do with donations received and instead of voting the “leaders” decided to try and take the money and run.

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  127. Cowboy on November 18, 2011 at 11:18 AM

    Andrew:

    I see what you are saying, and that makes more sense to me. However, I struggle with the lobbying issue because on the one hand I see the problems with special interest lobbying, but on the other I am not sure how to prohibit lobbying outside of financial controls.

    John –

    You’ll notice that military considerations are the place where I concede the President has greater autonomous power, so no disagreement…necessarilly.

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  128. Andrew S on November 18, 2011 at 12:14 PM

    re 126,

    Jon,

    The problem is that OWS doesn’t have “leaders”. So what “leaders” take the money and run? Maybe you can say, “Random members of OWS take the money and run” but you can’t really consistently say, “the leaders took the money and ran.”

    In fact, that’s a kind of strange criticism. Most people criticize OWS because they will not pick leaders, and they won’t make easy-to-digest sound bites.

    re 127

    Cowboy,

    I think one thing to mention further with respect to lobbying (to continue my thread that none of this is really “secret combination” kind of stuff) is that it’s really the way the system is designed to work. Various interest groups try to express their viewpoint in *any* governmental system. Everyone has some sort of vested interest one way or another. The issue is that if you have a dispersed population (as we do), then they are very disjointed. In contrast, corporations are not disjointed — they have very centralized goals (e.g., maximize shareholder profit). As a result, they can take the time and resources to lobby for their causes that the general public generally cannot because it’s part of their central goal…whereas most Americans’ central goal is not to pester their Congressmen, but to live their lives. None of this is “secret” or “under the table.” It’s economically efficient.

    Anyway, to get with what you were saying, I think the issue of special interest groups and lobbying (and more critically, the difficulty of trying to solve those issues) is why we don’t see OWS as having one single policy goal or ideal. In other words, there is a general agreement on what the problem is…and a general agreement that if we could fix this problem, then a LOT of other problems would become more manageable, but the problem they are trying to solve is not that easy to solve. I mean, even with financial controls, it still goes to say that corporations have the time and energy to find ways around those (because if it improves the bottom line, it’s a worthwhile investment) that the average person does not.

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  129. Cowboy on November 18, 2011 at 12:44 PM

    Sounds good Andrew – I don’t have anything to add, as with your clarification I can say that I agree. Particularly with the bit about the centralized goals. You can’t expect organizations not to take interests in matters that would affect them. Yet, in reality they often seem to be an unmatched force compared to the broader community that has a much wider range of issues to be concerned about, and whose voices are individually represented (at best) rather than being part of a collective movement.

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  130. Andrew S on November 18, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    Yep, that’s exactly the statement of the problem.

    The one question might be, “How can we better align the interest of large organizations with the broader community of people whose voices are usually individually represented?”

    I don’t anyone’s found an answer for that, but I think there are two ideas: one, If somehow we could move from an idea of “shareholder capitalism” (where maximizing share price and profit is the end-all be-all of corporate activity) to the idea of “stakeholder capitalism” (where other stakeholders, such as consumers and employees, are valued in the dynamic), then I think that would go a long way. People are upset because corporations make record profits and executive are paid record salaries and bonuses while those corporations cut jobs and stagnate employee wealth. Well, duh, that’s going to happen, because it turns out that employee benefits and wages are costly, and you can improve your profitability by slashing jobs or wages. Your shareholders will be happy because you just hit the earnings targets, and why should you care about anyone else?

    Secondly, (and this is what I think what OWS is about) — regardless of whether it is accomplishing that effectively or not — is answering a different question, “Why can’t those individual voices that get steamrolled become part of a collective movement just this once?” This is the theory behind labor unions (however well or poorly those actually work out in practice), and it’s the idea behind making visible protests across the country and the world.

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  131. Douglas on November 18, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    If the OWS Movement put even half their misdirected efforts into personal hygiene and securing employment, they might appreciate what the “rich” already know…enjoying the fruits of one’s labours and risks. As long as they engage in their crybaby tactics, however, they won’t get one iota of sympathy from yours truly or anyone else that actually works for a living. I don’t usually condone police brutality but in their case I’d say a little skull cracking is long overdue.

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  132. Will on November 18, 2011 at 1:02 PM

    Andrew,

    First off, you highlight “a friend” as if I am making it up. It is a good friend of mine and a solid member of the Church who has held about every leadership position possible including running the MTC.

    Secondly, you know nothing about me or what percentile I am in; I think you would be surprised to know the 1% starts about $350,000. A lot of people I know and am associated with, relatives and friends of mine fall in this category, so it is not just the Gates or Jobs or Walton’s; it does include people that you may run across everyday and not even know their status.

    Third, it is an opinion article, so what difference does it really make who wrote it. As I said, it is the content that needs to be judged and the content it dead on in my opinion.

    Forth, and most importantly, the occupy movement does represent the crowd depicted in that article. I don’t think the rapes, theft, arson, lack of hygiene and other animalistic behaviors are isolated to 1% of the crowd as you suggest. I have seen with my own eyes the cesspool left over by these crowds in New York, Salt Lake and San Diego – it is deplorable and void of decency.

    Lastly, it does have leadership, including leaders from the Unions that were arrested yesterday along with other demonstrators in New York. Van Jones, Michael Moore, George Soros and other radical socialists have stated they are behind the movement financially. I have seen all of these three vocalize their financial and organization support on national television.

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  133. Andrew S on November 18, 2011 at 1:44 PM

    re 131,

    Douglas,

    One thing that’s important to realize is that people don’t really pull themselves up by bootstraps. Talking about “enjoying the fruits of your own labor” doesn’t really make a lot of sense when the OWS crowd is, for the most part, people who are doing what society told them to do (e.g., these are people getting college educations.) and yet who find that that leaves them wallowing in debt with no job opportunities. In other words, it’s simply not that true that you go to school and do everything adults tell you to do and then things will work out.

    Additionally, even when you do have a job, you’re not enjoying much from it. You can be welcome to stagnant wages that may barely cover inflation, poor or no health benefits, and no safety net to cover you in case something bad happens.

    …to contrast, it’s not the like 1% “earned” their wealth. Whatever they have earned, it’s indisputable that they also have and had very good contacts, very good grooming, and very good connections that average folks don’t have.

    The problem is this: you talk about the OWS as if “they” are someone distinct from you. But I highly doubt that anyone from the 1% comments at W&T. You seem to think, “I work for a living…therefore, I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the OWS movement” when I think the real point is, “You work for a living…therefore, you are probably just as vulnerable as they are in the ways they are protesting about, and so that’s why you should support, not chide them.”

    re 132,

    Will

    Your “friend” doesn’t really matter. The point is that the piece that you copy and paste across the internet is inaccurate, but you really don’t care. You don’t even care enough to investigate its claims or its source. That’s why I highlight your friend, because you hide behind said friend.

    I’m going to say one thing first: I don’t think you understand the extent to which what you’re saying is really kind of disconnected from things. The median FAMILY income is around $50,000 a year. You don’t have to talk about the Gates or Jobs or Waltons to point out that $350k per year is quite far off from that. But even talking about high earners misses the point of discussion — when we’re talking about the *wealthy*, income per year isn’t the measurement. You can be a high earner, yet have little in assets, or have more debt than your assets.

    Personally, I think that talking about the income or the wealth is missing the mark. Really, while a discussion of income and wealth is a good way to start the discussion of the stark difference, it’s about a trend, and the attitude about the trend. Do we want to continue the trend of increasing wealth and income inequality? High earners or the wealthy don’t necessarily have to continue that trend, or support policies that continue that trend. So, in that sense, it’s not a class struggle, because membership in a particular class doesn’t obligate or disqualify you from supporting more equitable distribution. This addresses your “last” point: you can have people like George Soros support OWS because it’s about a political stance. However, I’ll point out that just because someone like George Soros or Michael Moore support the movement, that doesn’t make them a “leader” of the movement. It’s a fallacious argument to say, “Hey, this is a really famous person, and they support x, therefore, they are a leader in x!”

    Anyway, getting to your third point. You say that it being an opinion article means that it doesn’t matter who wrote it. Fair point, but the point I’m making is that you haven’t gone to check any of your facts. So, the fact that you are wrong about who wrote the article just highlights your lack of criticality regarding the other claims about it.

    And you are wrong about those other points. You just don’t care. As you have yourself said, you just want to post this article anywhere you can get away with it.

    So, you say the occupy movement represents the crowd depicted in that article, but you don’t know that for sure, because you don’t know anything about the occupy movement. Instead, you want to see that they are all just a bunch of rapists, thieves, arsonists, etc, so that’s what you look for.

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  134. Douglas on November 18, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    #133 – I could merely respond, “waah, waah, waah, life’s a bitch, etc.”
    THAT’S WHY YOU WORK BOTH SMARTER AND HARDER, NUMBNUTZ! NOTHING EVER WORTH IS IS JUST GIVEN TO YOU! YOU HAVE TO FIGHT FOR IT!
    “Survival of the Fittest” is the primary law of Nature. The weak (or indolent) get weeded out that way, to keep the genome strong.
    Now, does this mean be devoid of compassion? Certainly not, the Savior himself reminded both his followers AND chastised the Pharisees about remembering the infirm, poor, and widows (and dependent children). The OWS crowd, however, has the “entitlement” mentality really bad. Those that actually have a bona fide education ought to be ashamed of themselves. The rest, frankly, may or may not have a “cheapskin”, but are certainly NOT even remotely educated, judging by their childish and downright criminal actions.
    I recall from my own mission experience that the solution to most personal problems experienced is to forget oneself and get to work. That principle is NOT good only for an LDS missionary, it applies to life in general. Ever wonder WHY the higher (but not high enough!) rates of personal, familial, financial, and educational successes amongst RMs versus those that didn’t serve? BTW, this pattern is also observed amongst members of the US Military that served honorably and successfully. If nothing else, the military imbues into its members the concept of service before oneself. It also, however, teaches the value of teamwork. That’s the flipside to insisting on being left the hell alone to earn ones living in the free market and enjoy the fruits thereof…the moral obligation to share not only of substance but also of talents and experience…e.g., feed a man with a fish if he’s hungry, but then TEACH him how to fish himself so he eats the next day and the day after that. And methinks many a rich guy, LDS or not, has done exactly that. Therefore, these crybabies in the OWS need to put down their placards and get a bath and a job.
    Those who still look to Government to lift people ought to be asking themselves WHY so many billions, if not trillions, have already been spent in the “War on Poverty”, yet we have even more poor. Any private charity that had such an abysmal track record would be just begging for an audit, and its officers facing serious prison time. Is not a good definition of insanity is to repeat endlessly efforts that not only don’t work but prove counterproductive, each time expecting a desired result? If so, the lunatics are truly in charge of the asylum.

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  135. Glass Ceiling on November 18, 2011 at 3:21 PM

    Andrew,

    You have basically converted me about OWS. I have just a few questions though. If OWS is also at the Capital and the White House, why hadn’t it made press? And, are you sure liberals are not still protective of Obama? They know we face an election year, and love him or hate him, Obama is the only one who will protect their agenda. Hence, they are not going to “storm the Bastille ” on the Mall …but they will go to Wall Street. I mean, the majority of the OWS can’t be fascism-aware Ron Paul Republicans can they? If so, you’d think that from the beginning we’d br seeing footage of OWS alongside OWH, or OC.

    This is not to say that I don’t think you should have your own TV/radio show.

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  136. Glass Ceiling on November 18, 2011 at 3:37 PM

    Douglas,

    So, if you are out there kickin’ ass in the economy and one day you break your neck while you are out there kickin’ ass…and your medical expenses drain your financial resources in two years, and you loose the house and your family is at risk …you,™Douglas, would not seek government help gratefully because that would make you a looser?

    You’d rather die and leave your family destitute because that would make you a winner and a true red-bloodedAmerican patriot ?

    Listen Doug, you are now our little Egyptian Princess.

    Queen o’ de Nile ….

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  137. FireTag on November 18, 2011 at 3:50 PM

    Andrew:

    It seems to me that there are only a few serious possibilities regarding the leadership of the OWS “movement” — alone or in combination.

    First, it MAY be a “spontaneous” up-welling of newly frustrated middle/working class individuals. I will note, and amplify below, that if you wish to believe that, then you have to ask whether there was someone telling them who to blame for their frustration, and whether or not THEY had bothered to question the accuracy of that information. (i.e., if they were just waking up to the issue, did they have time to judge the issue, or were their PRE-judices being exploited through controlling the information they’d received.)

    Second, it may be “the usual suspects” of anarchist, anti-capitalist, and radical leftist elements that have shown up at every big economic meeting (often producing violence) in the US and Europe for years. The camp followers among the homeless and lost, or from the frustrated I described in possibility 1 would then just be protective coloration for the core leadership.

    The third possibility is that the “movement” is pre-organized and pre-planned and the organizers are closer to at least a wing of one political party than are the groups above. In this case, the purpose of the OWS is mobilization of activists and supporters for the purposes of existing political interest groups, and there is nothing “spontaneous” about it. Again, the more camp followers and idealists that can be recruited to the cause, the better for the political interest groups at the core. (The really relevant example to me here is the “Children’s Crusade” of the Middle Ages, that ended with the surviving children sold into slavery.)

    Now, to consider the third possibility seriously, you should have some evidence. After all, Nancy Pelosi referred to the Tea Party as astroturf for a very long time, and the Tea Party is probably the reason Nancy Pelosi is no longer Speaker.

    However, there is such evidence, and it wasn’t ginned up after the fact. The ex-drunk rodeo cowboy who no self-respecting liberal would actually bother to heed was repeatedly showing LAST SPRING tapes of Van Jones of WH green jobs fame and SEIU executive Steven Lerner (taking a temporary paid leave of absence from the union), among others, speaking to activist groups about the speaker’s plans to rebuild the left by mass protest movements organized against the banks and Wall Street in September. The MSM, the unions, academia, and the religious left were all given their roles to play through the same interlocking network of leftist organizations tied to the progressive agenda throughout the Obama Administration’s tenure.

    I posted a link to a typical tape when the movement first “appeared” two months ago and we began talking about it at W&T. You can easily find the tapes by searching under combinations of terms “The Blaze, Glenn Beck, Wall Street, March, April 2011.”

    So, I will repeat the question here I asked then: if the OWS is really a spontaneous movement of the frustrated middle and working classes, how did these tapes even come to exist in March and April?

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  138. Douglas on November 18, 2011 at 4:13 PM

    #136 – har dee har har har. Don’t quit your day job for a career as a comedian, sir. Hell, if you’re working double (like I’ve done quite a bit over my life), don’t quit the night job either! Answer to your pathetic red herring example: I’d prepare for when the seven lean cattle eat up the seven fatted ones…life DOES throw calamities at ya…the smart and the disciplined delay momentary gratification…it’s called INSURANCE, knucklehead! But along with personal capital cometh the need for ‘hew-mon’ capital…e.g, family, friends, and the Church. I’d much rather, if faced with being unable to support my family and being out of options, turn to them since they will have mine and my best interests at heart, and will sustain life, but not a life-style. Of course, while I DO have means, it’s incumbent upon me to “pay it forward”, IN ADVANCE as opportunity strikes. I’d rather trust in my fellow man’s privately and freely-given charity rather than some pathetic “bureau-rat”, interested mainly in self-promotion and empire-building.

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  139. Cowboy on November 18, 2011 at 4:35 PM

    This is a difficult argument because it’s hard to generalize the OWS and get a clear picture. I agree with Andrew that the movement itself is probably a good thing, though I think it could use some good leadership. Still, Andrew and Doug are correct to some degree that the movement seems to have attracted some flies. It’s hard to know how representative they are of the whole.

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  140. Andrew S. on November 18, 2011 at 4:52 PM

    re 134,

    Douglas,

    I hope you simply realize that, for the most part, you’re not actually disagreeing with the way that the OWS see the world and situation. You are basically saying, “Everything is exactly as you say. But I think you should be resigned to that. You should call it a fact of life. “Law of the jungle.” “Survival of the fittest.” Etc.,”

    I say “for the most part,” because there are still a few parts where there are disagreements in the fundamental overlay. For example, you talk about survival of the fittest. But what is the definition of “fitness”? If you think that you can just “work smarter and harder” and that’ll yield results…and more importantly, if you think that’s how life currently is, then that’s a pretty irreconciliable difference. The reality is that ascribed characteristics — many of which we don’t choose — matter immensely. It doesn’t matter how hard or smart you work if you don’t know particular people — your disadvantage in social capital will limit you. More importantly, if you are groomed and raised in certain circles, then you will be “successful” no matter how “fit” you are, or how much or how smart you work.

    This is the problem that people protest. It’s that you really CAN’T just work hard and get ahead — social mobility really doesn’t care or matter about how hard or smart you work.

    Ultimately, your position is fatalistic and uncompassionate. In saying, “This is the way things are; suck it up,” you’re fatalist in that you’ve essentially given up. You say the OWSers are entitled…but I think it’s fundamentally different. The OWS people aren’t protesting because they want things to be given to them. Rather, they are protesting as a way to FIGHT for certain things…as a way of TAKING these things. Because being polite and nice and studying in school and all the things that civil society says young people should do…it won’t get people that far.

    I think that you think these are welfare queens or that they want socialism or government handouts or whatever. I think you miss the mark. These people aren’t welfare queens. Not all of them are calling for socialism or government handouts.

    I’ll state it like this: it’s not that these people want a government who will hand them health care for nothing. They want a system where individuals can individually earn enough money or have good enough job benefits where they don’t NEED the government to give them health care. We aren’t there. Going to school and working hard won’t get you there. Your own effort and energy can still get you in a system where if you or your loved one gets sick, you will go bankrupt. And when you go bankrupt, all the student loans you got will still be there.

    re 135,

    Glass Ceiling,

    One thing that I would like to make extremely clear is that the press coverage of OWS has been pathetic and pathetically slanted. Basically, news coverage of *any* of the locations only happens when there is a confrontation with the police and people start getting arrested (and hence, this is why people like Will think of OWS as purely criminal. How can he know better with the way the media portrays the issue?)

    And, are you sure liberals are not still protective of Obama? They know we face an election year, and love him or hate him, Obama is the only one who will protect their agenda.

    This is actually kinda funny. Democrats are the party known to be more prone to fractures and splits on ideological lines. It’s Republicans who are more prone to band together and follow the party line. (And there are many reasons why this split happens…for one, the Democratic party is more of a coalition of very different interests…and that coalition is pretty fragile.) So, it seems strange to speak of Democrats as being the one who will rally around a candidate, regardless of whether they love him or hate him.

    But that’s just speaking about Democrats and Republicans…when talking about Democrats and Republicans, it’s important to realize that that is not the same thing as talking about “liberals” and “conservatives.” On this level, liberals can’t trust Obama to protect their agenda because Obama has consistently shown that he will not promote a liberal agenda.

    The issue is this: Obama got elected based on this idea that he would bring change. He, for the most part, has not. Liberal/Democrats are more likely to skip out on the voting booth when they are alienated or disaffected from their candidates or the process. Unless Obama makes some sweet speeches next year, he’s at risk of this very thing occurring.

    Hence, they are not going to “storm the Bastille ” on the Mall …but they will go to Wall Street. I mean, the majority of the OWS can’t be fascism-aware Ron Paul Republicans can they? If so, you’d think that from the beginning we’d br seeing footage of OWS alongside OWH, or OC.

    Once again, I think that the real reason why people identify Wall Street first and foremost is precisely because they are disaffected in the political process. Why complain to Obama, when Obama is a captured party to corporate interests? What will Obama do..? Make statements that he will promise not to capitulate to those corporate interests (anymore)? Fool me once, shame on you…fool me twice..?

    I think that people want to try to classify the average OWS one way or another, but they miss the true diversity of the crowd. Part of the reason why, I guess, is because it’s easiest to listen to the most outspoken people. But I think that if you aren’t really paying attention on twitter, or watching ustream and livestream, then you miss that like a lot of liberal causes, this is more of a broad coalition than x or y.

    P.S., your comment 136 is SPOT ON. I think a lot of people want to look at OWS as being bums and hippies, but the substantial college-educated element to the crowd says something a bit different. These are people who are really doing everything that they learned from their parents to do, but are realizing that it will not be good enough. You may not get a job, first of all. But even if you get a job, will it protect you and your family? If you’re working in a corporation that (as trends are) is cutting benefits to improve its bottom line for shareholders, you’ll have an unexpected surprise if some tragedy strikes.

    That’s why, really, I don’t see why a lot of people are against it. I mean, to say “you’re in the 99%” is simply to say, Hey, if you have an accident, can you just call people up and have it covered or disappear? No? Then you aren’t part of that 1%. You don’t have those connections or resources. You should therefore be interested in OWS.

    I’ll get to the other comments later…have an economic meeting to go to (looking into distributism.)

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  141. Glass Ceiling on November 18, 2011 at 5:26 PM

    Douglas,

    From your lofty place of independent means, it is hard to believe you are not standing on the shoulders of giants. After all, you admit to having good family to turn to. I am happy for you. And I am happy that you live in the Wasatch, Lake Woebegone, or some such place where everyone else is just like you.

    But not everyone outside your covenant community is so blessed, Douglas…if you can believe it. I know they don’t matter much to you…cuz it’s YOUR world we are talking about here , Doug. Your world. I know that we are talking about the untouchables here, the Phillistines, the botched who you only see on the news or in magazines, who occasionally darken your doorsteps …you know, the folks this country would be better without. People better off dead, in your opinion. I know, I know, Doug. Charity never faileth. Cruel to be kind. Stiff upper lip. I know.

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  142. FireTag on November 18, 2011 at 5:38 PM

    “These are people who are really doing everything that they learned from their parents to do, but are realizing that it will not be good enough. You may not get a job, first of all. But even if you get a job, will it protect you and your family?”

    I think this is where I would talk about the sense of “entitlement”. The “entitlement” is the notion that we are ENTITLED to a level of safety and prosperity that should be easy to obtain by following a few sets of rules. Too many are shocked and angered because they bought a LIE, and the various elements of the political/monetary class are now busy trying to keep the lie going just a little longer until they can escape public wrath, or they are jettisoning parts of their coalitions so their personal positions can be maintained, or even enhanced.

    Safety is never guaranteed. Prosperity is never guaranteed. You might fall down stairs on your way to that economics meeting and be in a wheelchair for the rest of your life. NO SOCIETY outside the modern Western sphere has ever done as good a job at extending levels of prosperity, safety, and healthful years of life broadly among its citizens. To think that this is unexceptional, let alone below normal, is simply narrow-minded.

    It’s the economic equivalent of thinking that if you pay your tithing, nothing bad will ever happen to you.

    But when we see the lie, we have to find someone to blame. We should at least get beyond the stage of denial (“I could, too, have everything I want if you hadn’t stolen it from me!”)to at least figuring out the people who actually knowingly lied or who were too silly to grasp the truth.

    That goes FAR beyond corporate interests. Corporations may have told you that you could have the sexiest girl in the school if you bought the flashiest car or had the trimmest physique, and promised that new products would keep coming forward to continually enrich your lives (but only produce jobs for Americans), but I doubt that it was the corporations that told you a college degree in any field you loved would guarantee you riches and economic security. That was probably your teachers, who probably told the same thing — absent the “any field you loved” — to your parents who confirmed it to you. It was government that told you a social safety net was in place and perpetually expanding that would protect you, if only you gave more power to them, and media that reinforced governments message for one party or the other.

    So, if you think OWS is new and unique, you’ve been absent since at least 2009, and ought to apply the maxim that “most media coverage has been terrible” to the subject of Tea.

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  143. Glass Ceiling on November 18, 2011 at 5:47 PM

    Firetag,

    Are you saying you are ready for revolution?

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  144. FireTag on November 18, 2011 at 5:49 PM

    Glass:

    Are you aware that the “cuts” being debated for social programs, still mean that Medicare spending will ONLY BE DOUBLED by 2021, that Medicaid spending will ONLY BE TRIPLED by 2021, that total spending by the Feds will ONLY GROW from $3.8 trillion per year in fiscal 2011 to over $5.0 trillion per year in 2021, and that we will add ANOTHER $9 trillion in total debt to today’s $15 trillion by then, and we will still be running annual deficits right up to the day we start speaking Greek or Chinese?

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  145. Glass Ceiling on November 18, 2011 at 5:56 PM

    I know. I believe in cuts. Not elimination. Get out if Middle East and Europe. Get out of war games.

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  146. FireTag on November 18, 2011 at 6:00 PM

    Glass: #143

    Am I ready for revolution? No. Ready to make the best of bad choices by encouraging people to vote and advocate to slow the growth and corruption of government to buy time, while devoting myself to more important matters, definitely.

    I’m afraid the violence in one form or another will come soon enough, with too many people unprepared, for me to want to do anything to speed up the time table. That would be evil. See my post on “Crewing Lifeboats Now” for what I believe God is calling us to do.

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  147. Glass Ceiling on November 18, 2011 at 6:20 PM

    I will. Personally, I think we are going to go down in flames like every other empire. We are just gonna do it sleeker, sexier, at cyber speed.

    Buy tickets now. Should be quite a show.

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  148. Glass Ceiling on November 18, 2011 at 6:51 PM

    But it was a good time, right ? Unprecedented freedom, resources, and power? It was never better. Oh,well. I’ll miss it….

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  149. Glass Ceiling on November 18, 2011 at 6:58 PM

    Just don’t forget to read your Solzhenitsyn.

    (Sorry, I’ll stop now.)

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  150. Andrew S. on November 18, 2011 at 8:09 PM

    I was going to respond to FireTag’s comments in detail, but the site went down as soon as I clicked post comment. I should really remember to copy all of my really lengthy comments so I can just paste it again if something like that happens.

    Anyway, what I was going to say is I think he has a false trilemma or false trichotomy. It doesn’t follow that the movement is either “spontaneous” or that it is “astroturfed.” Rather, the underlying facts on the ground that lead to the situation could have been building or present for many months or years, but the final events that cause people to speak out (e.g., no jobs or loss of jobs) could happen in spurts and waves.

    (I had a part worrying about the potential for OWS to be coopted by anarchists, anti-capitalists, etc., but so far, the diversity of camps has been able to block attempts to go too radical, so they are harmless for now, even if they are on display.)

    Anyway, I then pointed out that I couldn’t find out a lot of stuff about what you were talking about Glenn Beck, so I can’t do any investigation of anything you were saying about that…although I did see a video of Glenn Beck from October asking a lot of questions or whatever…and I think some of the questions he mentions, however, are part of the table. E.g., the fact that GE pays nothing in taxes…THAT’S PART OF WHAT PEOPLE PROTEST. The idea that Obama is not anti-corruption in practice…THAT’S PART OF WHAT PEOPLE protest.

    See, people keep wanting to put the Tea Party (at least, the non-Koch Brothers elements of it) at odds with OWS…but the issue is that the Tea Party and OWS in many respects are similar reactions to a similar economic and political climate…it’s just that they differ on the overt source of the problems they would blame.

    But if Congress and the White House are already in big corporate interests’ pockets, then really, to say “Occupy Wall Street” or “Reform the government” are to say similar things.

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  151. Andrew S. on November 18, 2011 at 8:11 PM

    (I also had a long comment about how I think FireTag has a really strange and absurd redefinition of entitlement. It’s like he’s saying, “If you thought that you could work hard and make a living from your work…that was an entitlement attitude. There’s no guarantee that your work will correlate to any benefit, so don’t assume that it will!” Not only is that a strange thing to say, but if such a thing is true, that is something that people ESPECIALLY should protest. We should not be ok with record corporate profits, record executive compensation, if ordinary people cannot assume that working hard will yield benefits of that work. Or if that kind of expectation is an ‘entitled attitude.’)

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  152. Glass Ceiling on November 18, 2011 at 8:22 PM

    Andrew,

    But Wall Street is the underling of the law, officially. Wall Street is the willful child of a bad parent. The problem begins and ends in Washington, where half the OWS people belong. How could that not more legitimize their cause and clarify it to the nation? How am I wrong here?

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  153. Andrew S. on November 18, 2011 at 8:26 PM

    re 152:

    Glass Ceiling,

    One could see Wall Street as the underling of the law, or one could say, “civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is, in reality, instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have property against those who have none at all” as Adam Smith did.

    In other words, as there becomes more inequality of distribution of property and wealth, the government becomes more securely the way that those who have property and wealth try to maintain that property and wealth from those who don’t.

    So, yeah, chicken and egg.

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  154. Glass Ceiling on November 18, 2011 at 8:39 PM

    So let’s tell ‘em to strike south while the iron’s hot! Grab some busses and head to Maryland while America still cares.

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  155. Stephen Marsh on November 18, 2011 at 8:54 PM

    Hmm, I tried to post and got only error messages.

    I’d like to suggest that everyone read the post “Is it just me, or” and continue the discussion on there, informed and updated by that post.

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  156. Andrew S on November 18, 2011 at 9:05 PM

    You were hit by error messages too! So it wasn’t just me!

    (I have a very angry facebook status about it)

    i actually liked your post. but I think I’m going to have to quit politics/economics threads.

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  157. Glass Ceiling on November 18, 2011 at 9:31 PM

    Don’t quit!

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  158. FireTag on November 18, 2011 at 11:13 PM

    Andrew:

    No. It is precisely my point that throughout human history, and throughout most of the world today, the expectation of security and prosperity would be the attitude that was regarded as the strange one.

    In fact, to borrow one of Jeff’s example questions from the “Is It Just Me” thread, the arguing we do over who is robbing us of good fulfilling jobs, security against social or personal disaster, and care into our old age IF WE JUST GET THROUGH COLLEGE would be as bizarre as we find the NBA players arguing with the NBA owners over who’s getting the fair share of the revenue. THE MODERN WEST IS THE HISTORICAL OUTLIER. Few of us are “ordinary people”, and even fewer of us are “materially poor” on a global scale. Indeed, our official poverty level dwarfs the income of the upper middle classes in many countries, as does our society’s chance at upward mobility.

    Our failure to understand that leads us to mistakenly assume how quickly we can provide even more to our domestic standard of living, and to believe impossible promises from people who wish to deceive us to further THEIR interests. That is especially true in the context of a globalization in which other nations are more interested in educating their own kids, providing high paying jobs to their own workers, improving their health care, protecting their environment, and caring for their own parents and grand parents than they will ever be about loaning us more and more money to do those things for our own people. What is the moral basis for protesting that?

    My grandfather had to leave his family in order to find work in another city when demand for coal plummeted during the depression. My father never finished college because he had to continually skip semesters to work as a radio officer in the merchant marine during much of WW2. I have a graduate degree in the sciences and have had opportunities they never imagined to express my ideas to others and occasionally influence policy decisions. My daughter has already exceeded me. Yeah, things are “progressing”, but never as fast as we can hope.

    Never be satisfied, never stop trying to make things better, but don’t blunder into traps laid by people who promise to save all the people if only we give them the glory (or the wealth, or the power).

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  159. Andrew S on November 18, 2011 at 11:40 PM

    “Most of human history and the world has lived poor, brutish, and short lives. Therefore, expect that, or be entitled.”

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  160. Glass Ceiling on November 18, 2011 at 11:52 PM

    Firetag,

    States Rights. That’s all there is. Why are we not at the Capital every day demanding it? I know why I am not there. But it’s pretty lame of me.

    Anyway,

    Here is a little Bob Dylan. From “The Groom’s Still Waiting at the Alter”:

    “Put your hand on my head, baby, do I have a temperature?
    I see people who are supposed to know better standin’ around like furniture.
    There’s a wall between you and what you want and you got to leap it,
    Tonight you got the power to take it, tomorrow you won’t have the power to
    keep it.

    West of the Jordan, east of the Rock of Gibraltar,
    I see the burning of the stage, Curtain risin’ on a new age,
    See the groom still waitin’ at the altar.”

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  161. Glass Ceiling on November 18, 2011 at 11:57 PM

    Andrew,

    Where did you get that quote?

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  162. FireTag on November 19, 2011 at 12:51 AM

    Andrew:

    Here is a good link to begin to understand the connections of the long-organized left to what’s going on now.

    http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-03-22/news/30073732_1_stock-market-seiu-secret-plan

    Notice who Lerner is sitting beside. There is a reason that SEIU and AFL/CIO officials are among the most frequent White House visitors, and Lerner himself explains in the transcript why the unions are desperate and why they can not be seen as the leaders they actually are. Hence, they have to make the disruption appear to arise from community and student organizations frustrated with government and wall street. The Big Unions are ALREADY inside the tent.

    (And when W&T becomes a rich and powerful blog, we really have to get a better way to search our comments section so I can get to bed at a decent hour. :D)

    Glass:

    There are only natural individual rights. The citizenry delegates enumerated powers to BOTH states, and then, the Federal government. It’s true that the Federal government will be the first to get out of control, but state and local government corruption is still there, waiting to bloom in the future just as it has in the past.

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  163. Douglas on November 19, 2011 at 12:56 AM

    #158 – agree wholeheartedly about don’t put your trust in those that want “all the glory”. Too many charlatans prey upon the religious, including the LDS…
    And Glass, I don’t live in a ‘paradise’, though I like where I live (a quiet suburb of Sacramento), and my life hasn’t been all “hunky-dory”. I’ve taken my lumps too…but the only ‘blame game’ I play is: where did I screw up, what mistakes did I make, and what can I learn from them? I’ve given up on the notion that somehow I can vote success for myself and family, and seek to merely “urrn” it (I can’t get John Houseman’s enunciation quite right).
    Hopefully Andrew can dig up that quote source…it’s a gem. And truly, most of us should be able to do as the hymn sez, that is, to count our MANY blessings. AFAIC, in spite of whatever difficulty I may have experienced, I can be only grateful for what I’ve received.

    From the 1997 film “Starship Troopers”…a uniformed clerk, without legs and with one prosthetic arm, hands the recruit his orientation package: “The Mobile Infantry made me the man I am today…”

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  164. Andrew S on November 19, 2011 at 7:58 AM

    re 161,

    in 159? I’m just snarkily summarizing FireTag here.

    re 162,

    There are a few problems with the link and your hypothesis, as even stephen lerner points out. For example, Lerner is not incorrect on any accounts at all, but there are a few points that he even explicitly mentions that you conveniently leave out:

    For example, unions as they currently exist cannot and lead the movement (regardless of whether they support it) because they are too politically inside and politically compromised to be seen as outside of the system. (This is the same reason we can’t just “vote for candidates to reform the government” — because there are no valid, popular candidates who are uncorrupt or who cannot become corrupted.) So, unless he’s saying that unions themselves are going to reform and clean up, they cannot be in control of the movement and more than Obama can — because people aren’t in support of them as being “outside” the status quo.

    Secondly, here’s why the conspiratorial framework is problematic. The issue is that the underlying points of the poor economy have been known for years. So, for Lerner to point these out is not introducing some kind of new propaganda or to feed it to people. Whereas your link wants to call it the “economic terrorism of the left,” the issue is that we KNOW from economics that the inequality of wealth that we see today is a consistent feature of recessions and depressions in the past. We know even further that this crisis has a few additional “surprise differences” (that nevertheless you could see coming from way back — the stagnation of wages even as productivity continues to increase…which has been happening since the 70s. Or, let’s compare job losses from this recession to those of other recessions: http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-percent-job-losses-in-post-wwii-recessions-2011-2 ) It’s not like you “cause” the system to fall into chaos. An unstable system will tip over anyway.

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  165. FireTag on November 19, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    Andrew:

    I agree that an unstable system will tip over. But the nature of revolutionaries of the American left has been “burn, baby, burn” since the 1960′s (and that has been the nature of extremist actions on both the left and right among the Europeans since their late 19th century roots). They aren’t interested in reform or improvement IF REFORM MEANS THE DECLINE OF THEIR OWN POWER; indeed, they’ll fight to prevent such reform. They don’t let the unstable system tip over and try to protect people from the rubble. They push it over, under the hubris that they are more noble and wise than the rest of us and can then rebuild the world in their own noble image. They don’t much care what happens to the rest of us as the old system crashes. Everyone else is just collateral damage as long as they end up as the new kings.

    But they are just as corrupt as those they claim to supplant. They don’t want to tear down the throne; they merely want to sit on it.

    They are the secular equivalent of the Christian, Jewish, or Islamic extremists you see floating around the web seeking Armegeddon so that the heavenly paradise can be born.

    You tell the true prophet by whether they are willing to walk away from power. You tell the false one by how much damage they’ll do to bystanders in order to get power or keep it. Jesus did not say, “Take up your cross, and I’ll catch up with you later.”

    So, I really don’t think Lerner was telling the activists that the unions planned to clean up their act, exit their privileged seats of power in the Administration, and allow uncorrupted community leaders (if there were any in the room) to take the lead in this noble cause. Lerner HAD BEEN PAID by the SEIU to coordinate such movements as a means of building union power. That was his job description for a couple of years previously.

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  166. Andrew S on November 19, 2011 at 12:33 PM

    To this extent, here’s the issue.

    For OWS to gain power, it must appeal to the masses, and it can only do so by appealing to the sense that power is being shared or spread. There can’t be a false prophet for it because OWS opposes individuals who seek power — it’s about the masses gaining power.

    So, that’s the thing. You either have widely distributed power or the movement doesn’t gain traction.

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  167. FireTag on November 19, 2011 at 2:37 PM

    “You either have widely distributed power or the movement doesn’t gain traction.”

    Agreed. So what do those convinced of the need for revolution, and simultaneously convinced of the necessity that THEY be the ones in charge when the revolution is over, do? They won’t really share power, so they can’t grow the movement very far by our agreed logic. So what’s the true revolutionary’s smart next move?

    It is to make the situation WORSE for the masses by further disrupting those services the masses DO receive from the elites, thereby increasing both the actual and perceived inequality between the masses and elites and further masking the revolutionary’s role. That’s the step Lerner and Van Jones have been openly pushing in order to grow the movement, and that is what is HAPPENING on a small scale now.

    Eventually, in a revolution, the classic path is to so polarize the system that the moderates are forced to choose sides and allow the most ruthless on each side to lead the fight for control. Then it’s a roll of the dice as to who ends up on top. But it’s the best option for those who pursue power above all else and who can’t get it by giving the masses what they actually want: make them need what the revolutionary has.

    I should also note that a similar strategy applies if you ARE the current regime and you are starting to lose power: keep the masses needing what only you can supply, even if you can supply less and less of it.

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  168. Andrew S on November 19, 2011 at 7:25 PM

    P.S., a link: This is what attempted co-option of OWS looks like

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  169. Will on November 19, 2011 at 7:59 PM

    Instead of an occupy congress movement, may I suggest and occupy GITMO movement. They can occupy GITMO as long as they want.

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  170. Andrew S on November 19, 2011 at 8:05 PM

    Will probably also supports our glorious police officers in taking action against these ne’er-do-well violent protesters at UC Davis.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuWEx6Cfn-I

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  171. Will on November 19, 2011 at 8:59 PM

    Andrew,

    I don’t see what the police did wrong. They asked them 15 times to move and quit blocking a public egress — a clear violation of the fire code. I thought they showed quite a bit of patience with the students acting a like two-year-old’s who don’t get their candy bar at the grocery store and throw a tantrum.

    I guess my question to you is as an occupy supporter what do you want? Or rather, what do you expect? A corporation has its OWN money and they can do with their money whatever they want. Just like you can do want you want with YOUR money. It is their money, they have earned it and they should be able to pay anybody in the corporation whatever they want; and, if the employees in the company don’t like that they can quit. I suppose you are suggesting the government should take their money and re-distribution it through taxation.

    If you liberal types think this works, look at Greece. Not only are they bankrupt, but most of the good companies in Greece (employers) are packing their bags and moving to Bulgaria. This will make the economic situation in Greece worse. Why are they leaving, because the tax rate is 10 percent and the entrepreneur gets to keep more of the money that they earn. It is just simple economics. When you liberals understand this, is when our economy will recover.

    http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,6658081,00.html

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  172. Andrew S on November 19, 2011 at 9:11 PM

    There you have it folks.

    I literally cannot make Will’s comments up. Viva la police state!

    Here’s a concept, Will. The issue is that large corporations (and more importantly, the managers of these large corporations) have all of these resources, and most everyone else doesn’t have anything. Most everyone is servile to the corporations…as you say, what can employees under the current system do? They can quit. (And then they starve.)

    You suppose that I suggest that the government take the money and redistribute this throughout taxation. This is one part of Keynesian economics…but the issue is that redistribution of income does not affect the initial problem: which is that people are starting off with a gross mismatch of power and resources, and that we never fix that. (But the real problem with Keynesianism is that no on really does it right. We’re really good at govt spending when times are bad, but we’re not as good at cutting down the spending when times are good. As a result, we end up having calls for these harmful “austerity” measures when times are bad that just make everything worse.)

    Really, we need a system where resources aren’t controlled by a diminishingly small number of people (e.g., managers of corporations).

    We need wider distribution of productive resources.

    Here’s the problem with communism/socialism…socialism isn’t wider distribution of productive resources. Communism is the elimination of the distribution of the resources, because the state takes control of them all.

    I think I mentioned a quotation earlier in this thread: “The problem with too much capitalism isn’t too many capitalists, but too few.”

    Your problem is that you cannot even imagine where I’m coming from. So you attack “liberalism,” but you cannot even comprehend the nature of my position!

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  173. Will on November 19, 2011 at 9:21 PM

    With all your I’m smarter than you attitude, you failed to answer the question: How do you plan to accomplish your objective?

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  174. Andrew S on November 19, 2011 at 9:27 PM

    Every financial crisis always yields a re-evaluation of distribution. It’s just a matter of what we determine we’ll do next. If we decide, “Well, that was really unpleasant…let’s create huge corporations all over again,” then we’ll get what we have now. If we say, “Next time, let’s not have companies that are too big to fail, k?” then naturally, we will have broader distribution.

    I’m sorry that you can’t read answers. It must be my bad for writing so many paragraphs for you instead of giving you a “tl;dr” version.

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  175. Andrew S on November 19, 2011 at 9:30 PM

    anyway, this time, for real…I’m out.

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  176. Will on November 19, 2011 at 9:39 PM

    Andrew, enough of the non-sense. I am asking a serious, and I think relevant question, how do stop companies from spending THEIR money however they see fit? How do you stop them from paying THEIR executives whatever they think is necessary?

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  177. FireTag on November 19, 2011 at 10:30 PM

    Andrew:

    I’m having trouble following you, too. You seem to say that “if WE decide” without ever being clear who WE are, or through what institutions WE decide.

    You seem to say that OWS is against corrupt government, including the Obama administration, but they propose no institution to replace that government. The left is not running any slate of candidates against Obama in the primaries (as Tea Partiers did against Republican incumbents), so I don’t see what your belief about the constructive purpose of OWS actually is.

    (I’ve already said what I think the purpose is, so I’ll not repeat it.)

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  178. Glass Ceiling on November 20, 2011 at 1:43 AM

    Firetag,

    I believe most of OWS are liberals want change in Wall Street and government,; but the last thing they are going to do is insult their “only hope ” on the eve of an election year. So they occupy WS, and hope the Capital and White Houses get the message. Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.

    And the are shooting the whole effort in the heart because of it. They aew loving the opposition out of ignorant desperation. Sure, there are libertarian hangers-on at OWS. But there are not enough of them to justify pitching tents at the Mall. I imagine libertarians at OWS would know and appreciate what I am saying here.

    About Andrew’s idea, I think it is worth developing. Things as they are now clearly don’t work. It is interesting , certain people crucify the government while blythely ignoring what goes on in the corporate world. Kinda like the liberals in OWS crucifing Wall Street and ignoring the government. I guess it’s still just all about what team you root for. They get us with that two-party divide and conquer every time, don’t they? What wull it take until we figure it out ? What indeed?

    I takes a bit more courage to forget your team and try to be objective. I think that is what Andrew is trying to do. I am not sure if he achieves objectivity or not, but he is trying. I am sure, however, that Will is not trying to do that, bless his heart .

    All I know is that things are changing. We know it, WS knows it, and the government knows it. We the people should be grabbing for part of that shrinking pie. Cuz no one else is grabbing it for us or saving us a piece. By the time we figure that out, martial law will have set in. Watch.

    And the old books and rules are suspect. These problems are bigger than anything in history. We need to keep them on the table, but welcome new thought. New ideas. Roman fascism could not have imagined modern fascism, for instance. We need bold rhinkers who don’t have to hear “Socialist!”, “Anarchist! ” every time they clear their throat. We treat the Constitution like we no longer have to think anymore. In the late 1700s, most of this country was virgin territory. People owned slaves , and States were like small nations. Fascism as we know it, neo-conism was hardly perceived, and the Bush doctrine and rhe military industrial complex was not yet a verbal term.

    I still want the Constitution. More of it.
    But I also want trust-busting, or its modern equivalent. I want Joe Kennedy-style SEC reform, regulation on Wall Street and government, Sarah Palin-style campaign and congressional kick-back reform.

    What I don’t want is some half-assed occupation that the media uses as a tool for more polarization.

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  179. Glass Ceiling on November 20, 2011 at 1:51 AM

    Well, once again sorry for the typos. I just set a new low (and high) for myself.

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  180. Will on November 20, 2011 at 9:43 AM

    Glass,

    I am not picking sides, per se, as much as I am pointing out the reality of our republic. It is designed such that We The People own the means of production, We The People have the freedom to determine our own destiny, We The People tell congress, the President, the Senate and the courts what they can and cannot do.

    The only way the OWS movement can get what they want, although I’m really not sure what that is, is do have the government tell We The People what to do. This is not the America I signed up for, I signed up for We The People.

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  181. Glass Ceiling on November 20, 2011 at 11:46 AM

    Will,

    We the people have the vote to replace the President and Congress. But we the people cannot replace the established corruption in the halls of Washington, nor the corruption on Wall Street, nor the special relationship the two had with eachother. We cannot dissolve the Federal Reserve bank either. We the people cannot call upon the blanket of the Constitution when it is rife with moth holes.

    We are officially at an impass, Will. Can’t you feel it. We can’t have a revolution. We are no longer evenly matched. All we can do, really id have a march on Washington demanding States rights, demanding the end of Congressional corruption, and demand regulation on WS and Capital hill. Finally we can vote for Ron Paul… even though pnw haft of what he wants is scary ad hell and would have to ne stopped by the people by picketing (Disability, student loans)…and the orher half Congress will refuse ( leaving wars, drawing down military. )

    Ee ste screwed.

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  182. Glass Ceiling on November 20, 2011 at 11:57 AM

    We are screwed.

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  183. Glass Ceiling on November 20, 2011 at 12:03 PM

    Sorry for all the typos. …we can vote for Ron Paul, even though half of what he wants is scary as hell…

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  184. Jon on November 21, 2011 at 8:08 AM

    This conversation has gotten pretty crazy, I seemed to have missed the last half, to much to catch up on now.

    @Glass, with rule of law you would get your trust busting by having the banks go bankrupt. Rule of law would solve many of your problems and you wouldn’t need regulations to do it.

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  185. Sarah on November 21, 2011 at 11:32 AM

    Okay Interesting article.

    Let me just say my opinion: I believe Christ would never force any one including members of the Church to live the United Order, I think those who covenant or agree to live it should, and then bear the consequences if they don’t (Which at one time I heard was excommunication, and I just think that is a bunch of BS). Anyway, I just believe that the United Order will always be based upon Agency, and obedience to it, because we are following the highest law of heaven which is to love God, and love our neighbors as ourselves.

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  186. Sarah on November 21, 2011 at 11:33 AM

    Maybe that is why the United Order worked and didn’t work, Joseph Smith, and Brigham Young forced it to be the law of the land, but you cannot force it. It has to be entered into freely. Maybe that is the principle missing all along. Making it just one part of living the Gospel, and making it a covenant to enter into when ready to live it.

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  187. Cowboy on November 21, 2011 at 12:33 PM

    Sara:

    First, you should read section 42. Second, in a world where a centralized body controls the means of production, how does a person choose not to participate. Can I choose be a “practicing” free-market capitalist in a socialist state? Can I be a socialist while living in a free-market state?

    I don’t see how any of that works.

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  188. Jon on November 21, 2011 at 12:51 PM

    I agree with Sarah.

    Cowboy. I read Section 42. It still has to be voluntary, just like it was voluntary for the ancient Israelites and for the righteous Nephites, etc.

    You voluntarily join the church, you don’t have to belong. Likewise, in a free society, you choose the way you are governed. Similar to how it was done an ancient Iceland. Read Skousen’s book “The Cleansing of America”. Although I don’t agree with everything in his book he does give some good points and one of them is the voluntary society.

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  189. Cowboy on November 21, 2011 at 1:10 PM

    John-

    You’re not making any sense. How do you have a voluntary system, truly voluntary, when the Church owns the means of production. Furthermore, vs 37 makes it very clear that there is an involuntary element of force within the system.

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  190. Jon on November 21, 2011 at 2:07 PM

    Cowboy, take out the h in sarah and put in an h for jon?????

    Anyways, just messing.

    You assume an isolated society. How do you know it would be isolated and why would it be isolated? I would have a hard time isolating myself like that, even the Quakers in Pennsylvania don’t completely isolate themselves.

    You’re reading vs 37 wrong. He is saying that the monies consecrated to the poor our kept with the poor, you don’t get it back. But you do get to keep your allotted property and other monies. You should read J Reuben Clark’s 1942 October conference talk on the subject. In the talk he gives a list of scriptures and shows that there is personal property in the United Order.

    Here’s the talk:
    http://scriptures.byu.edu/gettalk.php?ID=43&era=yes

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  191. Cowboy on November 21, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    Jon: (sorry for the mispelling)

    I get that you and J. Reuben Clark don’t like the comparisons, but I am having a hard time seeing the distinctions. In the talk you provided, nowhere does Clark ever explain what he believes socialism is, instead he provides a series of scriptures, argues that consecration includes private ownership of property, then appeals generically to American patriotism.

    Seeing as how the only real useful thing in his talk is his discussion of private ownership of property, I think the following scriptures were instructive:

    D&C 104: 48 – 57
    48 After you are organized, you shall be called the United Order of the aStake of Zion, the City of Kirtland. And your brethren, after they are organized, shall be called the United Order of the City of Zion.

    49 And they shall be organized in their own names, and in their own name; and they shall do their business in their own name, and in their own names;

    50 And you shall do your business in your own name, and in your own names.

    51 And this I have commanded to be done for your salvation, and also for their salvation, in consequence of their being adriven out and that which is to come.

    52 The acovenants being broken through transgression, by bcovetousness and feigned words—

    53 Therefore, you are dissolved as a united order with your brethren, that you are not bound only up to this hour unto them, only on this wise, as I said, by aloan as shall be agreed by this order in council, as your circumstances will admit and the voice of the council direct.

    54 And again, a commandment I give unto you concerning your stewardship which I have appointed unto you.

    55 Behold, all these properties are mine, or else your faith is vain, and ye are found hypocrites, and the acovenants which ye have made unto me are broken;

    56 And if the properties are mine, then ye are astewards; otherwise ye are no stewards.

    57 But, verily I say unto you, I have appointed unto you to be stewards over mine house, even stewards indeed.

    So hold the properties in your name, but remember that they belong to the Lord, and therefore the Church. Isn’t this just a technical argument at best? Afterall, if the property belongs to the Lord, can’t the Lord just call for it at some point?

    As for Secion 42 vs. 37 – what you get to keep is whatever the Church considers deeded to you. You don’t have surplus money because it has gone into the storehouse. The only thing we don’t know here is how long the production cycles were. In other words, do you consecrate monthly, weekly, daily, etc. It was probably seasonally during that period because it would coincide with harvest, and would last until the next harvest period. In today’s economy that wouldn’t make sense, so it seems that the periods would be as long as your pay cycle. In other words, there isn’t a whole lot left over for the individual if you are forced to live pay-check to pay-check on a strictly subsistence basis.

    You never answered my question about investment. Where does investment come from? Well, thanks to J. Reuben Clark we know that investment comes common consent, not competition. That is central planning. See below:

    D&C 104:68 – 73
    68 And all moneys that you receive in your stewardships, by improving upon the properties which I have appointed unto you, in houses, or in lands, or in cattle, or in all things save it be the holy and sacred writings, which I have reserved unto myself for holy and sacred purposes, shall be cast into the treasury as fast as you receive moneys, by hundreds, or by fifties, or by twenties, or by tens, or by fives.

    69 Or in other words, if any man among you obtain five dollars let him cast them into the treasury; or if he obtain ten, or twenty, or fifty, or an hundred, let him do likewise;

    70 And let not any among you say that it is his own; for it shall not be called his, nor any part of it.

    71 And there shall not any part of it be used, or taken out of the treasury, only by the voice and common consent of the order.

    72 And this shall be the voice and common consent of the order—that any man among you say to the treasurer: I have need of this to help me in my stewardship—

    73 If it be five dollars, or if it be ten dollars, or twenty, or fifty, or a hundred, the treasurer shall give unto him the sum which he requires to help him in his stewardship—

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  192. Jon on November 21, 2011 at 10:27 PM

    Cowboy,

    I just thought it was funny that you gave Sarah’s H to me. If that hadn’t of happened I wouldn’t even have mentioned it.

    I think you and I read the scriptures differently. Maybe I’m just hard hearted but the way I read it, the first scripture sited:
    The properties are God’s. Well this whole Earth is God’s, so I don’t see how that is any different, we are steward’s of his earth, he created and is “renting it out to us”.

    As for the second quote:
    These funds come from donations and act as an insurance fund. But the Lord has been very clear that we are to care for ourselves as much as possible.

    see: http://institute.lds.org/manuals/doctrine-and-covenants-institute-student-manual/dc-in-101-104.asp

    We can’t take these scriptures in isolation and must understand the general principles. Those funds are for the poor but we are still to care for ourselves and our surplus is what is more than we need, therefore we can use monies from our industry, even in the UO to plan for the future and save and invest.

    There is still a tendency amongst us to place our hope and confidence for economic security in governmental and other welfare agencies rather than in our own industry. We have no business being carried away by the false panaceas of the world. We are the members of the Church of Christ. The Church and its members are to be leaders—not leaners—in the solution of the problems which confront us. We of the Church possess the “everlasting covenant, even the fulness of the gospel” ( D&C 66:2), which is to be our guide in resolving all issues. On this subject the Lord hath thus spoken:

    I have sent mine everlasting covenant into the world, to be a light to the world, and to be a standard for my people, and for the Gentiles to seek to it, and to be a messenger before my face to prepare the way before me ( D&C 45:9).

    And again, when giving instructions for the organization of His people, in regulating and establishing the affairs of the storehouse for the poor of His people, the Lord stated His purpose to be:

    That through my providence, notwithstanding the tribulation which shall descend upon you, that the church may stand independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world ( D&C 78:3,14).

    Now, the Welfare plan points the way to that independence. At the base of that way lie some fundamental principles for the Latter-day Saints—and for all peoples in the world, for that matter—to practice.

    First, every individual should value his or her independence and labor with all his might to maintain it by being self-sustaining. This the Lord enjoined upon us when from the Garden of Eden He sent forth our first parents under the stern command, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground” ( Gen. 3:19).

    Second, next to himself, the responsibility for sustaining an individual rests upon his family—parents for their children, children for their parents. It is an ungrateful child who, having the ability, is unwilling to assist his parents to remain independent of relief.

    Finally, the individual having done all he can to maintain himself, and the members of his family having done what they can to assist him, then the Church, through the Welfare plan, stands ready to see that its members, who will accept the plan and work in it to the extent of their ability, shall each be cared for “according to his family, according to his circumstances and his wants and needs” ( D&C 51:3).

    -Marion G. Romney, Conference Report, April 1943

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  193. Jon on November 22, 2011 at 7:06 AM

    Cowboy,

    D&C 51:5 makes it very clear that if a person is exed from the church they would get to keep the land deeded to them.

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  194. Cowboy on November 22, 2011 at 10:49 AM

    Jon:

    They would only keep that which had been deeded to them on subsistence basis. If Newel K. Whitney enters the plan with the five or so lots, whatever it was, he deeds over all of the lots to the Church. Then the council decides how much he needs according to his family and their needs, and deeds back to him only a portion of what he brought in. Later, if he is excommunicated he keeps only the one lot, while the Church keeps the rest.

    As for your Marion G Romney quotes, I don’t have the energy to do this right now (I know, that’s a lazy way to engage an argument), but the simple response would be to counter with one of the many Hugh B. Brown quotes.

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  195. Cowboy on November 22, 2011 at 10:51 AM

    And again, you haven’t addressed the main point of argument, that the UO depends on central planning.

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  196. Jon on November 22, 2011 at 10:59 AM

    Cowboy,

    Yeah, I see your having quite the blogversation on the other post. Once again. I say that you can keep money for investments and a rainy day, maybe not to begin with but after a short time you should be able to keep what you need for emergencies and then donate the rest.

    As for central planning. I concede that I think it is central planning to a certain extent. But on a very local level (just the small community). Which is OK, IMO, since you have more of a voice when it is done locally. The problems with central planning at a higher level is that you quickly start making edicts for all when not all fit into the round hole, as they are square pegs. I question if the UO need be done as a complete central planning since it does seem like many of the decisions are made by the people, or at least, can be superseded by the people with “common consent”. So, it’s not the central planning that we are used to seeing now days.

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  197. Cowboy on November 22, 2011 at 12:29 PM

    Fair enough Jon – I think we’re seeing things more the same now. I think it is helpful to see economic policies on a continuum rather than discrete absolutes.

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  198. Jon on November 22, 2011 at 9:26 PM

    Cowboy,

    Wow, consensus on a blog conversation. How often does that happen? It was a nice discussion and it got me learning more about it. Thanks for discussing it with me.

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  199. The Bulwark’s December Blog Review on December 5, 2011 at 10:04 AM

    [...] Heretic (the author’s appellation, not ours) over at Wheats and Tares talks about the new Sister Wives series and the ruckus it has caused. The author draws a [...]

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