Obama vs Romney: A Mormon Dilemma

by: Mike S

September 19, 2012

We’re in the home stretch of the US Presidential elections.  Hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent to try to pursuade voters to vote one way or another.  We have a Mormon running for the first time against a first-time African-American president.  We have multiple issues – massive debt, economic problems, wars and rumors of wars in the Middle East, and social issues at home.  Stepping away from all of these issues, away from Republican or Democrat, away from Tea Party or secret socialist, away from Bain capital and birth certificates – let’s look at it from a religious point-of-view.  In other words, in a hypothetical candidate for US President, what characteristics most reflect the “Mormon ideal”. (DISCLAIMER: In the interest of full disclosure, I worked at one time for the Salt Lake County Republican party.  I’ve given money to mostly Republican candidates in prior elections – and a few selected Democrats)

Ideal Societies

If we look at the “ideal societies” that we talk about in our Sunday lessons, we have a few examples.  There is the city of Enoch and the Nephites immediately after Christ visited them in the meridian of time.  We have the early saints in the Old World who personally walked with Christ in mortality. In looking at these societies structurally, there is one main common characteristic – they had everything in common.  There were no poor among them, but there were also no rich.  Joseph Smith tried to institute this ideal society in the early days of the Church through the law of consecration, but the idea of the “rich” giving of their substance to help the “poor” was too much for the people to handle.

So how are WE doing as a country in working towards this ideal?  There is a measure of this called the Gini index, where 0 is perfect equality (all people have exactly the same income) and 100 is perfect inequality (where one person has all the income).   According to the World Bank, countries like Denmark, Japan, Czech Republic, Norway, Germany, Ukraine, Austria, etc. all have indices in the 20s.  The United States is 41, grouped with countries like Qatar, Turkmenistan, Russia, China, Ghana and Nigeria.

Another measure of the discrepancy between rich and poor is a ratio between the average income of the richest 10% to the poorest 10%.  According to the CIA’s data, in a country like Japan this ratio is 4.5 (ie. if the lowest 10% averaged 1,000,000 Yen income, the richest 10% averaged 4,500,000 Yen).  In many countries, this number is 6-7, such as Hungary, Norway, Finland, Ethiopia, Austria, Germany, etc.  The value for the United States?  Our ratio is 15.0, in line with Georgia, Nicaragua, Cameroon, Nepal, Iran, etc.  So, by any objective measure of gap between rich and poor, as a country, we are far from the societies we teach as “ideal” from a Mormon viewpoint.

But we give voluntarily…

Not really.  We espouse the idea of voluntarily giving to the poor and doing charity that way, but are we good at it?  What percentage of us actually give significantly to the poor?  If someone with no insurance needs a $30k operation, are you personally willing to pay for it?  How much – $100, $500?  Most people are just getting by and aren’t really able to do that much, but if we could, do we do it?  People making $75-$100k give, on average, 2.4% of their annual income to “charity”.  People making more than $100k give 3.1%.  That’s not very much.  Also, this “charity” also includes (and is dominated by) giving to religious organizations.  But do religious organizations primarily help the more unfortunate among us, or do they spend most of the money on their own organization?

Many churches are tight-lipped about how they spend their money, ours included, but it doesn’t seem that most of it is spent helping others.  Even in our own Church, of the $4-5 billion that it is estimated to take in each year, most reports suggest we spend the majority of our income on BYU, on spreading the message of the Church through missionary and PR work, on building things including temples and ward houses, etc.  This isn’t saying that is bad, as the purpose of most churches in today’s world is NOT to help the poor, but to grow and help their own members.

We do spend some on humanitarian aid, but the Church’s own fact sheet suggests that this is in the range of around $40-50 million a year, or only around 1% of annual income.  We do spend some unknown amount on bishop storehouses, etc (and the part of the recent documentary about this was really cool).   But we also spend billions on malls, private hunting grounds, hotels, and other commercial ventures.  So even relying on churches is problematic, as most spend the majority of their money on themselves as opposed to helping the poor.

So what do we do?

If our distribution of incomes in the United States is far from what we teach as an ideal, and if we voluntarily don’t really do much to help the poor as individuals or as religious institutions, what is the answer?  Do we ignore the issue completely?  Or should we choose leaders who will help set up systems to pool a country’s resources in a more equitable fashion?  It’s something to think about.

Other issues

Again, aside from economic issues, are there other characteristics that make sense in the “ideal” candidate from a “Mormon” point-of-view?  Consider abortion and a woman’s right to choose.  Our church obviously teaches that this is wrong except in certain circumstances, but does this mean that it should be illegal?  Just because someone else chooses to have an abortion doesn’t mean that I have to have an abortion (difficult because I am male, but you get the point).  So, should we have a more authoritarian government or does a more libertarian government make more sense?

An approach to this hearkens all the way back before there even was a United States.  We teach that the big decision in the pre-existence was whether people should be compelled to act a certain way, or whether it was up to the individual to decide what was right for themselves.  We obviously chose the latter, even to the extent that individuals in history have made terrible choices that adversely affected millions.  But apparently free agency is worth even that price.  Given this underlying philosophy, regarding things like abortion, should we choose a candidate who decides for others what they should do, or should we choose one who might be personally against abortion, yet still allows others the agency to choose what that want to do?

Marriage

For a good part of our history as a church, marriage was a defining feature.  The vast majority of the citizens of the United States thought polygamy was an evil perversion of marriage and fought against it.  As a church, we were an extremely small minority, but we claimed that it was our right and perogative to marry how we wished, and that it didn’t affect other people in the country.  We felt that it wasn’t up to someone back in New York or some other part of the country to define what marriage meant for us.  As we select a presidential candidate, do we still feel the same?  Do we back a candidate that only wants to allow marriage that fits their own definition of marriage, or do we select a candidate that allows other forms of marriage that may seem wrong to them personally but which are important to other citizens?

Immigration

In the LDS Church, we basically ignore someone’s immigration status.  We have some congregations in the United States who are largely made up of undocumented immigrants.  We ignore the 12th Article of Faith about “obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law”.  We ignore temple recommend questions of honesty and let illegal aliens serve missions, hold leadership positions, go to the temple, etc.  We even have policies about sending them to missions where they can drive so airplane flights don’t raise the suspicion of INS agents.  In an ideal presidential candidate, should we support someone who mirrors this same attitude, or should we support someone who would disallow these members full fellowship and send them back to their home countries?

Freedom of Religion

Early immigrants to this country came because of religious freedom.  This freedom of religion allowed Joseph Smith to start a new church and allowed early Mormonism to take hold and grow into the Church we have today.  We claim, in the 11th Article of Faith, that we allow all men to worship according to the dictates of (their) own conscience – how, when and what they may.  This includes Mormonism, but also Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, and even atheism.  So, ideally, as Mormons we should support a candidate that most supports this freedom of religion.

Summary of Ideal Candidate

These are just a few points, but politics aside, it seems that from a Mormon point-of-view, we should support a candidate who:

  • Supports policies that promote more economic equality to reduce the disparity between rich and poor, with an ultimate goal of a Zion society
  • Allows individuals free agency are widely as possible, even when some of their choices regarding things like abortion might conflict with what the candidate him/herself believes
  • Allows individuals to join together in marriage, even if their choice of marriage is disapproved by some (or many) members of society
  • Supports policies that freely allows immigrants to come to the United States to better provide for their families as equal children of God
  • Supports freedom of religion of all sorts, extended past the traditional Judeo-Christian background, without imposingbeliefs of the majority on minorities who might believe differently

From a “Mormon” point-of-view, and based on our teachings, it seems that these are values that we should support and look for in our ideal candidate for US President.  Ironically, putting this template of ideals over the current US political landscape, it seems that the US Presidential candidate that is most in line with “Mormon” ideals is the candidate who isn’t actually Mormon.

Thoughts?

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166 Responses to Obama vs Romney: A Mormon Dilemma

  1. Stephen M (Ethesis) on September 19, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    I think that this post cries out for a link to Dan and Will.

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  2. Bob on September 19, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    I would call myself a FDR Democrat.
    Based on the post, and it’s limiting questions__I pick Obama. Romney shows me none of the listed values.

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  3. skyway on September 19, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    The GINI index of the United States is 46.9; way worse than Russia. We’re up there with Mexico, Côte d’Ivoire, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Serbia. How is it you know about the GINI coefficient and vote Republican? This is a sincere question.

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  4. MH on September 19, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    Mike, from your comments and questions, I have a hard time believing that you “worked at one time for the Salt Lake County Republican party [and ha]ve given money to mostly Republican candidates in prior elections.”

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  5. Mike S on September 19, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    skyway and MH:

    I did work for the Salt Lake County Republican party, though it was a long time ago, back when Reagan and Bush were in charge. I was fairly die-hard Republican back then. I became more moderate over time. And Bush II left a very bad taste in my mouth. As MH suggested, I am now more liberal than that. There are two main things that have affected me:

    1) In medicine, I have seen thousands of people over the past 10 years struggle medically, economically and physically. I see people with no insurance, on Medicaid, on Medicare. I see people for whom a $10 co-pay for a medicine makes the difference between whether they can fill it or not. And it has affected me profoundly. Hearing politicians talk about people “leeching” on these programs really irritates me.

    2) The “rich” got us into this mess. The economic collapse was largely made possible by the financial industry, who all got more rich while hundreds of millions suffer. And for whatever reason, the Republicans seem to be more in bed with this crowd than the Democrats. The Gini index has widened in the recent past. The businessmen giving tens and hundreds of millions to get Romney elected aren’t doing it for the good of the country.

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  6. Jack on September 19, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    Is this post meant to be ironic? Because if it isn’t I don’t know how to take it seriously.

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  7. allquieton on September 19, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    Mormon ideals? Ironically? Maybe. Or maybe those are are just what they look like. Democrat ideals couched in mormon language.

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  8. Mike S on September 19, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    #6 Jack:

    Ironic? There actually IS some irony in the post.

    As Mormons, if we look at what prophets have taught over the past 190 years, we teach Zion as the ideal, with no rich or poor. We teach free agency. We teach that one’s nationality doesn’t matter in the eyes of God. We teach views on marriage that are strange to the majority.

    Yet the ironic thing is that we overwhelmingly support the candidate that is less inclined to pursue policies that align with these teachings than the alternative. So, yes, it is supremely ironic.

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  9. Jon on September 19, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    Mike,

    I think these issues have more nuance than you put in them and you have ignored one part of the scriptures in favor of other parts.

    Supports policies that promote more economic equality to reduce the disparity between rich and poor, with an ultimate goal of a Zion society

    But, let’s not forget the scriptures that talk about not using violence, but voluntary action (as Alma the elder advocated), to achieve these goals. Neither candidate fits this category.

    Allows individuals free agency are widely as possible, even when some of their choices regarding things like abortion might conflict with what the candidate him/herself believes

    I would say you are right to a certain extent on this one. As Mosiah 26 (I believe) talks about how it is not the government’s purview to interfere in moral issues when there is no initiation of force used against the other person. But abortion is more nuanced than this. I won’t go into details here. But neither candidate has shown that they are for the civil rights of the individual (like how’s Guantanamo going? – Cato Institute mentioned in one of their daily podcasts how certain platforms for civil rights on the democratic ticket have been taken off just precisely because Obama has done so awful with them).

    Allows individuals to join together in marriage, even if their choice of marriage is disapproved by some (or many) members of society

    See my comment above.

    Supports policies that freely allows immigrants to come to the United States to better provide for their families as equal children of God

    Or freely leave for that matter. I’m not sure how either of them our doing on this front. Can we go to Mexico and back without a passport? Without a birth certificate? A free nation is marked by how free the borders are, they are tightening up.

    obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law

    We must also look at the other scriptures and understand exactly what we need to uphold for the law. The “Law of the Land” is natural law as defined in 1830 dictionaries – Pure Mormonism has lengthy and in depth post about this. So, we have no obligation to uphold current laws if they are contrary to God’s laws (natural law) as the early saints showed us when they gave their lives in protest of statism.

    So, yes, those are lofty goals, but we must look at the whole picture, not just part of it.

    Neither candidate has shown they are willing to uphold the ideals. In fact, both candidates have shown a remarkable similarity to one another, if we ignore all the rhetoric.

    BTW, I should offer the disclaimer I won’t be voting in national elections since they don’t really matter anyways.

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  10. Jon on September 19, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    Here it is:

    Democrats Scrub Civil Liberties from Platform

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  11. Mike S on September 19, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    Jon:

    I think these issues have more nuance than you put in them…

    I absolutely agree. The purpose of this post was NOT to go through specific policies of various administrations. Discussing all of the nuances would take 24 hours/day between now and the election, and we would barely scratch the surface.

    This post was designed to look at what might be the “ideal” political system according to the words of Christ in the scriptures and the teachings of our prophets. Granted, any position can be proof-texted, but I wanted to get a “gist” of what was “ideal”. From that, there seem to be a few recurrent themes.

    Throughout the scriptures, we read of equality between rich and poor. The ideal societies were when everything was in common. The downfall of the Nephites tended to be when this discrepancy increased. We read of free agency given to man – even to make decisions that might be “bad”. We’ve taught of religious freedom, even when others thought/think we are a “cult”. We taught an extremely strange form of marriage (both to modern sensibilities as well as to others in the US in the 19th century) but felt it was our right to marry how we wished.

    Granted, there are always exceptions, but these are the general themes that I have read in the scriptures. And while there are things I disagree with in both parties and candidates, overall, what Obama stands for seems to be more in line with these general themes than what Romney stands for. To me, this seems very strange, given Romney is the Mormon candidate.

    Perhaps my reading of the scriptures is wrong – I’ll accept that. But that’s why I put up the post – to get input from others.

    I should offer the disclaimer I won’t be voting in national elections since they don’t really matter anyways.

    My vote matters less than yours. I live in Utah. Our electoral college votes will go to Romney. And he’s still going to lose.

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  12. Howard on September 19, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    Great post, as usual! BUT people are far to greedy to make a Zion society or anything close to it work! Capitalism is the greatest economic system in the world precisly because it efficiently rewards greed. Your are proposing taxing that system and that would reduce it’s vitality unless you are arguing we are beyond the sweet spot. We have to transcend selfishness before we will ever approach a Zion economy and I personally believe that is what we were to have learned from living the Law of Consecration and plural marriage but both ended stifling our progress.

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  13. Julia on September 19, 2012 at 8:00 PM

    Mike-
    I hear a lot of confusion from Democrats as they learn more of our doctrine, in this Mormon Moment. The dissonance of a largely Republican Mormon church make much less sense, as Democrats and democratic operatives understand our basic theology.

    I have said before that I have friends and contacts on both sides of the aisle, and they see Romney’s run for president as a watershed moment for the Democratic ability to “take back the moral high ground” from Mormon Republicans. I think that Mormon Republicans will also have to answer questions about how their policy stances intersect with Mormon doctrine. I was teased by one friend, who often “sounds me out as a Mormon,” when there is something he doesn’t understand, that I would become obselete as most Democrats at least have Mormon “crib sheets,” at this point.

    I am glad that society in general is understanding our doctrine. While we are seeing small ripples in the political waters, I think that in two and four years, Mormon candidates will find the political landscape almost unrecognizable. After Kennedy, many more Americans were aware of the splits between more liberal American Catholics and the much more conservative Vatican. Almost everyone understands why a Catholic who supports birth control may, or may not, be in trouble. I think that there will we even larger landscape changes for political Mormons.

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  14. Molly on September 19, 2012 at 8:26 PM

    Democrats are the pro choice party? You have got to be kidding me. If you want an abortion, sure. But what about if you want health care? Nope, no choice, you must have it. What about if you want to choose to own a gun? Not in D.C. Choose to be in a union? No, in Democratic states you are required to join your local union if you want a job. Democrats don’t want the masses to have choices, they want to dictate choice. This is just an Obama puff piece.

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  15. forgetting.son on September 19, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    Mike S, thank you. You have articulated the very thoughts that have been rowing boats in my head. I am especially thankful for being reminded how awesome our Articles of Faith are.

    I am not being critical here, but I would be interested in knowing why in a discussion like this you wouldn’t remind us also of D&C 134? It seems to be pretty relevant to the current topic, especially in regards to agency. I also believe that when we talk of agency it is impossible to de-tangle it from priesthood principles found in 121. How often do we want to force our judgements of what is good and evil upon others? Mormons are infamous for it, Saints are not. I would rather use my agency to preserve another’s freedom of choice, and teach my morals through compassion, understanding, love, persuasion, long-suffering, and example. Sometimes we are so hung up on authority that we for get where true power comes from. Other than possibly setting them on fire, I can’t believe we accomplish anything by running around trying to light everyone else’s candles. We would do better by tending to our own candles.

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  16. Samuel Rogers on September 19, 2012 at 9:06 PM

    I know that many, perhaps even a majority of Mormons on the blogosphere these days assumes the church is wrong with prop 8. Nonetheless, it’s very interesting to me how offhandedly articles like this throw it out and argue that the ideal Mormon supports gay marriage. I get the point you are making with this article, but I think it also proves the point that it’s hard to write anything political without coming across as being intellectually dishonest.

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  17. Mike S on September 19, 2012 at 9:15 PM

    #14 Molly:

    Obama puff-piece? I don’t know what that means. But if you’re going to criticize, at least try to make some sense.

    But what about if you want health care? Nope, no choice, you must have it.

    The arguments are not about forcing people to buy health care. Both Romney (in Mass) AND Obama (in the US) have worked on legislation to have people by health insurance. There is a big difference, as insurance is for the unknown. It is great if you want to choose to forego healthcare, but will you stick to your guns if, heaven forbid, you were to get in an accident tomorrow and get a $500k bill? Would you choose to die, or would you expect someone else to pay for your care? Are you willing to accept a diagnosis of cancer without treatment to prove your point?

    What about if you want to choose to own a gun? Not in D.C.

    The DC gun laws were passed in September 1976 by the District of Colombia City Council because of a crime epidemic. From 1969 through 1977, the presidents of the United States were Republican (Nixon and Ford). So trying to peg this to the “democrats” is completely illogical.

    Choose to be in a union? No, in Democratic states you are required to join your local union if you want a job.

    Seriously? Romney made hundreds of millions deconstructing companies. He has a net negative of job creation.

    Democrats don’t want the masses to have choices, they want to dictate choice.

    I don’t understand this. This may perhaps be true, but realistically, which party is more in favor of allowing a woman to choose? Which party is in favor of allowing more choice regarding marriage? Which party is more accepting of ALL religious denominations – including Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc? Which party is more in favor of making laws that codify their own opinions over someone else’s?

    I welcome discussion, but fact-based arguments are more persuasive than rhetoric.

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  18. Mike S on September 19, 2012 at 9:21 PM

    #16 Samuel Rogers: …argue that the ideal Mormon supports gay marriage

    I’ve never made that argument. The ideal Mormon will likely NEVER support gay marriage. But, at the same time, we CAN support the freedom for others to enter into marriage as they see fit. We argued for the same respect the first 50+ years of our existence. It is somewhat disingenuous to deny others the same thing we argued for now that we are in the majority rather than the minority.

    And we can support legality without supporting the practice. For example, we don’t drink alcohol. At the same time, we allow others to choose whether they want a glass of wine with dinner. Even restaurants in the Church’s own City Creek Center serve liquor to those who choose to buy.

    So, supporting gay marriage – not necessarily. But supporting someone else’s choice – it’s what we argued for in our past.

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  19. Mike S on September 19, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    #12 Howard: Capitalism is the greatest economic system in the world precisly because it efficiently rewards greed. Your are proposing taxing that system and that would reduce it’s vitality unless you are arguing we are beyond the sweet spot.

    Our economy supports the idea that we are “beyond the sweet spot”. Financial companies no longer create products. The rely on risky strategies where the profits go to the investors, but the risk is assumed by the government. These increasingly prevalent games of the past couple of decades led to a financial crisis.

    And the poster-boy for Mormon president is someone who made hundreds of millions buying companies with minimal down, borrowing most of the money and adding it to the company’s debt, and, in many cases, having the company go bankrupt under the debt load. This put thousands out of work while Bain made tens of millions in “consulting fees” that were 5-10x the initial investment. All to destroy a company. And through lobbying, they have classified their salaries from these consulting fees as “capital gains” so it’s only taxed at 15%.

    Is this legal? Certainly. Is it wrong and capitalism gone awry? In my opinion, absolutely. And that’s why I have such a bad taste about things.

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  20. Chris on September 19, 2012 at 9:35 PM

    When I listen to Gov. Romney speak, he reminds me of Korihor, who taught that the people should have freedom to do business without interference from church or state, freedom to follow the natural order in which every man prospered according to his genius, and “every man conquered according to his strength.”

    I cannot understand how members of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can support a candidate who has no compassion for the poor, the sick, or the middle class, whom he defines as people earning under $250,000 per year.

    A majority of the Savior’s parables discuss the misuse and abuse of wealth, and Romney is a candidate who wants to make certain that the wealthy get wealthier at the expense of the sick, the elderly, and the destitute. I cannot understand how Latter-day Saints can justify supporting him as a candidate when his core beliefs go against everything that the Savior taught.

    James states well the issues of those who love money and hoard it at the expense of the poor: “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 moth-eaten.3 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.Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you (James 5:1-6).

    Romney example of hoarding his wealth speaks volumes. He claims that if the rich receive more tax breaks, they will create more jobs. How many jobs has he created with the millions he has moved into off-shore accounts?

    I am sure that he is a caring father and husband, but he lacks wisdom, insight, and integrity. He believes corporations are people, and his positions on critical issues change almost daily. I live in an area of Salt Lake City that is predominately Republican. Anyone with who does not favor Romney is ridiculed and disparaged, but I cannot image what a majority of members see in him as a candidate.

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  21. Jenn on September 19, 2012 at 10:15 PM

    I lived this post and will keep it around for the next time some claims that mormonism and liberalism can’t coexist.

    The only point I disagree on is abortion. Even though I am pro-choice on paper, it is only because it is a huge shade of grey. The reason it is different than, say, gay marriage for me is it is a (theoretically ) immoral choice that affects more than just the mother- obviously the one impacted most is the fetus, but there is also the father and siblings (believe me, I know- I should have one more half-sibling than I do, from an abortion my dad was party to before he joined the church). So while I am big on choice, the grey area comes in with the question of whether or not the fetus’s choice matters.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking/muck-raking post! ;)

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  22. Howard on September 19, 2012 at 11:19 PM

    Mike S,
    Please provide a link supporting #19 paragraph 3 I’m not finding anything to support these claims with a casual google search. Bain was a venture capital company which is a high risk game, their track record as portrayed on Wikipedia looks quite reasonable to me as a businessman: “Much of the firm’s profits was earned from a relatively small number of deals, with Bain Capital’s overall success and failure rate being about even. One study of 68 deals that Bain Capital made up through the 1990s found that the firm lost money or broke even on 33 of them.  Another study that looked at the eight-year period following 77 deals during the same time found that in 17 cases the company went bankrupt or out of business, and in 6 cases Bain Capital lost all its investment. But 10 deals were very successful and represented 70 percent of the total profits.”

    Romney left Bain in 1999.

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  23. Bob on September 20, 2012 at 1:51 AM

    #22:Howard,
    Please don’t defend Bain on their Win/Lose Record for their season. They played dirty and heartless. They deserve no honors no matter many millions they made.

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  24. Howard on September 20, 2012 at 6:48 AM

    Bob,
    I’m not defending Bain or Romney, I don’t know this history, I’m just fact checking and so far I cannot verify Mike’s claims. Venture capitalists are not banks and no one with business experience expects them to act like saints, it is high risk if they acted like banks they couldn’t survive.

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  25. Mike S on September 20, 2012 at 7:56 AM

    #22 Howard:

    Still looking to get you an exact number on jobs created/lost. But I still have a philosophical difference with Romney and how he made his hundreds of millions at Bain. Here are a few reasons why:

    From the NY Times:

    The private equity firm, co-founded and run by Mitt Romney, held a majority stake in more than 40 United States-based companies from its inception in 1984 to early 1999, when Mr. Romney left Bain to lead the Salt Lake City Olympics. Of those companies, at least seven eventually filed for bankruptcy while Bain remained involved, or shortly afterward, according to a review by The New York Times. In some instances, hundreds of employees lost their jobs. In most of those cases, however, records and interviews suggest that Bain and its executives still found a way to make money.

    There is another article with more details in a long Rolling Stone article that dug into more details:

    A man makes a $250 million fortune loading up companies with debt and then extracting million-dollar fees from those same companies, in exchange for the generous service of telling them who needs to be fired in order to finance the debt payments he saddled them with in the first place.

    There are a number of other articles, but you get the gist. What Romney has done has been legal. What Romney has been done has also been done by many others as well. Together, they have extracted billions and billions from the US economy without actually creating any product and leaving millions jobless in their wake.

    To the point of this post – while legal, these certainly don’t seem like actions representative of what we SHOULD be looking for if we let our religion guide our choices. And it is very telling that Romney (most known for being Mormon) seems to be the candidate who least represents Mormon values taught on Sunday.

    (NOTE: Perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps striving for “Zion” is no longer our goal as a church. I’ve been attacked before for commenting on the Church’s use of $3-4 billion to build a high end mall with stores that only Romney’s $250k “middle class” can frequent. There are many who think that even that blatant expense is in line with a church’s goals. I just disagree. My reading of Christ’s teachings seem to be more about equality rather than amassing wealth. But I could be wrong.)

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  26. Jon on September 20, 2012 at 8:09 AM

    Mike,

    What I’m saying is that yes, the scriptures say help the poor, the scriptures also say to do it voluntarily. The scriptures tell of Lucifer who wanted to use the initiation of force to make people be good. To say that we should use the initiation of force to get people to be good is to say that we should accept Satan’s plan, there is nothing Godly in it, it is contrary to the gospel of Christ. To say otherwise is to use God’s name in vain, i.e., to say you are doing something in God’s name that God never gave permission for.

    Neither candidate in the presidential election is for a Godly government. The scriptures that talk of having everything in common is talking to those that are saints, not to those who do not wish to participate with the saints, God’s society is more pluralistic than that.

    I understand your concern for the poor, I have concern too. But I think the solution is to use less initiation of force against these people rather than more. How is that? By getting rid of the monopolistic licensing of doctors, get rid of the monopolistic practice of patents and copyrights, get rid of the regulations that tie down practitioners from doing what they do best (like here in AZ doctors from other states can’t come and give aid to the poor here without first getting a license in AZ), etc. It is the initiation of force (violence) that causes these problems, using more violence to fix the previous problems of violence isn’t the solution, i.e., what we taught our children, two wrongs don’t make a right.

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  27. Jon on September 20, 2012 at 8:15 AM

    I should offer the disclaimer I won’t be voting in national elections since they don’t really matter anyways.

    What I’m referring to here is that the wickedness of the people is so great in this nation that evil and wicked men will be put into office no matter what I do. It is time to retrench and teach the pure doctrine of Christ, as the scriptures teach. First with myself, then to my family, and then with others.

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  28. Mike S on September 20, 2012 at 8:26 AM

    Jon: Neither candidate in the presidential election is for a Godly government.

    I understand what you are saying. However, this country is built on religious freedom. What one person thinks is a “Godly government” is different from what another person thinks is “Godly government”. Even in our own church, we can’t agree on something as mundane as whether BYU should sell a caffeinated Coke.

    Since it involves compromise between people of different beliefs, politics is necessarily messy. While we may not get ANY candidate whose beliefs match our own perfectly, we can still look for ones who match ours most closely.

    In this particular election, I was actually quite excited to have a Mormon finally make it onto the stage for the highest political office in the country. But I’ve been saddened by Romney – by how he made his money, by his disdain for the less fortunate, by his slick willingness to say whatever it takes to get elected, by the wealthy that he represents. As I sat back and looked at what values were important to me from my religious, family and professional background, I was very surprised that it was actually the non-Mormon who best represented my Mormon values. And hence this post.

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  29. Howard on September 20, 2012 at 8:28 AM

    Mike,
    I agree with your sentiment and concern.  But companies do not use venture capital if they have better options due to the loss of control and increased risk it bring to their situation.  I don’t see anything unusual in Bain’s track record or methods of operation and there is a long list of well known sucess stories, that some went bankrupt and were cannibalized in the process is simply the nature of that rough and tumble business.  I  guess I would frame your position more; Should Mormons be venture capitalists and should a venture capitalist be President?  Romney was not an immoral or amoral venture capitalist, rather the venture capital business itself is amoral but sometimes a struggling company’s best hope for survival or growth.

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  30. Jon on September 20, 2012 at 9:03 AM

    I understand what you are saying. However, this country is built on religious freedom. What one person thinks is a “Godly government” is different from what another person thinks is “Godly government”.

    No, this country was built on natural law (see the Declaration of Independence). Natural law dictates that people can do what they will as long as they don’t directly harm another person through the initiation of force. If someone has used the initiation of force against you then you can equally use force against the other person (but Christ teaches us that we shouldn’t, at least the first, second, and third times this happens, see D&C 98).

    It is not freedom to use violence against another group of people. Your logic is saying that one group is allowed to use violence against another in the name of religion. Once again this is using God’s name in vain.

    In the Book of Mormon it talks about how those outside of the church can do what they will (as long as they don’t use aggression against others), but those inside have a higher standard, see Mosiah 26.

    So there is no right for a religious group to dominate over others. Godly government doesn’t imply that all have to live the higher religious standard of the saints, it implies that no one is allowed to harm one another using the initiation of force, this is Godly government. Godly government is pluralistic in nature.

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  31. Mike S on September 20, 2012 at 9:13 AM

    #29 Howard:

    There is obviously a role for venture capitalism in the United States. It has played a fundamental role in many areas. However, it can go awry.

    Since 1950, the financial sector as a percentage of GDP has more than tripled, from around 2.5% to over 8%. Unlike the agricultural, industrial, or services industries, the financial industry doesn’t create much, but tries to make money from other’s creations. There is obviously a role for this to an extent, but when is enough enough?

    The current economic crisis wasn’t caused by farmers or auto workers or teachers or nurses. It wasn’t causes by someone on Medicaid or the 47% of people “leaching” on the government. It was caused by the machinations of the financial industry. It was caused by companies like Bain (and thousands of others). It led to the destruction of billions of dollars in assets and the loss of millions of jobs. Yet the financial companies, by and large, made billions in profits while the rest of the country suffered (and suffers).

    I’m sure Romney is an honest person and did things within the law. I know there’s a role for venture and investment. But it seems that turning to someone representing the same industry that burned our country in order to “save” our country is illogical. And when that same person is funded by donations in the tens of millions from people in the finance industry, it certainly makes you wonder if they are doing it for the “good of the country”.

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  32. Mike S on September 20, 2012 at 9:17 AM

    #26: Jon … by getting rid of the monopolistic licensing of doctors, get rid of the monopolistic practice of patents and copyrights, get rid of the regulations that tie down practitioners from doing what they do best (like here in AZ doctors from other states can’t come and give aid to the poor here without first getting a license in AZ)…

    You suggest that things like this are “violence”. Unfortunately, things like this exist for a reason. We all hear of people trying to pass themselves off as “doctors”, and they sometimes succeed. In order to prevent this, you have to get a license from a state. It’s no different than a lawyer or a plumber or anything else.

    In medicine it’s easy. You don’t even have to pass a “bar exam” for that state – it’s just an application. I’m actually a surgeon. I send in an application, pay a processing fee, and get a license. That’s is. No “violence”.

    Similar with copyrights and patents. Who would build something if the next day anyone else could copy it? Who would invest $100 million developing a new drug if they couldn’t recover their investment? Who would spend time writing a book or recording a song if it immediately went into public domain? And how is any of this “violence”?

    I’m not getting what you are trying to explain.

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  33. Jon on September 20, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    Yes, you are correct, they do exist for a reason, to give doctors a monopoly on services. You say there is no violence, but what of the doctors that have to flee the country and people that need to flee the country to go to these doctors?

    Licensing is obviously to make it so there are fewer practitioners. Take here in AZ where they had too many lawyers passing the bar exam, they upped the passing grade to make it so there are fewer lawyers. The history of licensing and government sponsored monopoly is painstakingly shown in the 4 volume set “Conceived in Liberty” a history of the early United States (that is, leading up to the early United States).

    You think there is no violence because they use a velvet glove and doublespeak, but when you try and practice medicine without a license you really see how much violence there is, especially if you try to defend your rights.

    Patents and copyrights are a bit more complex and would take reading books. But the basic argument is, copyrights and patents are not property, property comes about because of scarcity. There is nothing scarce about ideas, once you put ideas out there you still have your ideas in your head and another person has those ideas in their heads.

    With no copyrights/patents people will need to innovate even more and, in the end, there will be more innovation. A couple examples, look at the fashion industry where copyrights don’t exist (only branding – you can’t copy branding). Look at the porn industry (also, notice in the porn industry you don’t get super rich people – more like your utopian society where there is no rich or poor because there are no government created monopolies). Look at the Wright brothers and their patent system on their airplane, the government had to force them to sell rights to their patent in order to continue the innovations in flight – which was stifled because of the Wright’s didn’t want to sell licenses to other people that were coming up with new ideas for flight. The list goes on and on.

    Under natural law two parties can contract one with another if they wish for goods and/or services, licensing and copyrights/patents don’t let these people participate in these voluntary transactions with the threat of violence, like fines, which can lead to jail time, which can lead to – if a person sufficiently resists the oppression of the government – death – just for participating in a harmless voluntary interaction with another person. Yes, it may not look like violence on the outside but with a closer look it is very violent and hurts the poor deeply as it increases costs for goods and services.

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  34. Samuel Rogers on September 20, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    #18 – Mike “So, supporting gay marriage – not necessarily. But supporting someone else’s choice – it’s what we argued for in our past.”

    I get your argument that it’s what we argued for in the past, but it’s not what the church argues for now. That might change, but it seems like you are conveniently omitting the most recent church stance on this topic.

    Anyways, since we emphasize current teachings for greater than past teachings, it seems dishonest to ignore what’s currently being taught, even if you have rational arguments to disagree.

    (By the way, I don’t think it’s necessary to distinguish between supporting gay marriage and supporting the ability of gays to get married if they choose. In the very least, it doesn’t appear that the church distinguishes between the two, but it’s apparent you disagree and are ignoring current church policy)

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  35. Howard on September 20, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    Mike,
    I agree the current economic problem was caused by excesses of the financial  sector and I would add the high cost of war acting like a huge tax on the system.  But I don’t see the growth of the financial sector since 1950 as evidence of something gone wrong, rather I see it as a generational change of attitude toward debt.  In 1950 debt was seen as a necessary evil, today it is seen by businessmen and entrepreneurs as a investment tool and as such the financial industry does create something important, they create opportunities that otherwise might not exist.  When we review the trail of failed businesses who were debt financed it is easy to say our parents debt attitude was right but this myopic view ignores the successes which fuel economic growth and jobs.

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  36. Frank Pellett on September 20, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    You lost me in immigration. How is the current policy of mass deportation more “mormon” than the idea of self-deportation? The President doesn’t seem to be welcoming immigrants so much as getting rid of as many as he can.

    All your points seem to be more Libertarian than either Republican or Democrat. Do you just not see a third party as viable?

    Lastly, I don’t agree with your complaints about Bain. Venture Capital is far, far more than company demolition. That of the 40 companies they invested in, only 7 failing is an exceptional track record. If all it was about was sucking failing companies dry, no one would be using them.

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  37. Mike S on September 20, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    #33 Jon: Licensing is obviously to make it so there are fewer practitioners.

    There is NO limit to the number of licenses in any locale. In Utah, you don’t even have to have completed residency to get a medical license. You can drop out of your training and become a licensed physician. You may not find a job, because a hospital is only going to license a surgeon who actually completed his/her training, but you could work in an Instacare or start your own practice.

    The limiting factor in many states is simply money. When I went to medical school in Utah, there were 100 students per year. In spite of every study pointing to a severe understaffing of physicians throughout the country, there are currently 82 students per year at the University of Utah Medical School.

    Why? Some nefarious scheme to inflict violence by limiting the number. Nope. Simple math. The government (though Medicare) has decreased funding for medical education so they had to cut spots. There used to be more “slop” in the system to make it up, but there are increasing numbers of uninsured. And additional staff has been hired to make up for the laws that restrict residents and others to 80-hour work weeks as a result of lawsuits in New York.

    So – no limits to licenses anywhere. You literally just have to have completed training to get a license and pay a processing fee. And if people were willing to pay for training more physicians, it would happen.

    Are you willing to pay more in taxes or higher insurance premiums to pay for that training? Or do you just want more doctors to magically appear?

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  38. Mike S on September 20, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    #34 Samuel: I get your argument that it’s what we argued for in the past, but it’s not what the church argues for now. That might change, but it seems like you are conveniently omitting the most recent church stance on this topic.

    The most recent church stances on anything I have seen regarding politics is to vote our conscience. Sure, the church dumped a bunch of money and effort into Prop 8 in a single state, but they haven’t done anything in a number of other states.

    And, at the end of the day – current politics aside – it seems the message throughout time has been tolerance.

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  39. Mike S on September 20, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    #35 Howard: financial industry does create something important, they create opportunities that otherwise might not exist.

    Agreed. There is a role in our capitalistic society.

    But, that wasn’t the point of this post. The point of this post is about what is the “ideal” society? I’ve never seen scripture to support maximizing profit or return on investment or having some people make a quarter of a billion dollars as ideal. I have seen numerous scriptures teaching equality, rich giving to poor, all equal in sight of God, etc.

    Given that, it begs the question – if this is the “ideal”, which of several imperfect choices best supports this. My personal answer – it’s not Romney and his like.

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  40. Bob on September 20, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    #34:Samuel Rogers,
    “… you are conveniently omitting the most recent church stance on this topic”.
    Show me please.

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  41. Mike S on September 20, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    #36: Frank:

    The current immigration policy is broken. And both sides seem to be talking out of both sides of their mouth to get Latino votes.

    But, in general, there does seem to be more tolerance in Obama’s party than in Romney’s party, which has been quite influenced by the Tea Party, etc.

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  42. Mike S on September 20, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    #36 Frank: Bain. Venture Capital is far, far more than company demolition.

    I agree that they have had some successes as well. That is why I very specifically did NOT talk about Bain (or anyone else) in the original post.

    The point of the post is to look at what an ideal we might strive towards as Mormons might be – based on what we teach on Sunday. And in looking at the general gist of Romney and Obama, it appears that Obama would be more in line with this than Romney.

    This is obviously not a perfect exercise, as there are pros and cons to each side, but ON THE WHOLE, I would argue that Romney represents what we teach as Mormons less than Obama. And that’s ironic.

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  43. Bob on September 20, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    #36:Frank Pellett,
    “..the 40 companies they invested in, only 7 failing is an exceptional track record.
    Show me this track record please.

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  44. Frank Pellett on September 20, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    Bob (#43), see the NYTimes snippet from comment #25

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  45. Samuel Rogers on September 20, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    #38 Mike

    “Sure, the church dumped a bunch of money and effort into Prop 8 in a single state”

    It wasn’t just a single state. My parents in Arizona were visited by their stake president, who was directed to visit members to fundraise for prop 8. I know the church says to vote your conference, but for this issue they did very recently take a very strong stance in California. I guess you could say the church only wants members to be against the state of California legalizing gay marriage, but it seems a bit of a stretch.

    #40 Bob

    See above

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  46. Jon on September 20, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    @Mike,

    My personal answer – it’s not Romney and his like.

    Oh, yeah, Obama is part of the “his like” so I guess that leaves no one to vote for, at least from the two major parties.

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  47. Anonymous on September 20, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    “It wasn’t just a single state.”
    Here in Texas well-to-do members were approached individually, by the Stake President, with requests (from SLC) to donate specific sums of money (a friend told us he was asked to give $25,000) to be used in CA during the Prop 8 incident. Furthermore, all of us were asked repeatedly, in Sacrament Meeting, to write letters to our representatives.

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  48. Jon on September 20, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    Mike, 32,

    Let’s look at the history of licensing again. It is extremely important to learn history in order to have an understanding of these things. I admit, I don’t know everything but here is some history on the subject matter:

    http://www.freenation.org/a/f12l3.html
    Here’s a video version (I won’t post the audio version to avoid the being caught by the filter):

    License:
    A legal document giving official permission to do something; a permit.
    1828 Definition:
    1. To permit by grant of authority; to remove legal restraint by a grant of permission; as, to license a man to keep an inn.
    2. To authorize to act in a particular character; as, to license a physician or a lawyer.

    In other words the definition is for the government to stop some people from participating in a certain profession under force of man-made “law.”

    I am not familiar with what you have written. I question if it is true. If you cannot practice medicine or do surgeries without going to school or by getting a license then there is a de facto monopoly. Let’s see if anyone has been prosecuted for such a “crime.”

    A google news search for practicing medicine without a license comes up over 5,000 hits. Not sure if all of them have been prosecuted but the top few have.

    Let’s also remember all the regulations. I imagine that there are so many regulations on the topic you wouldn’t be able to set up shop without have a small army of lawyers/accountants to figure out all of them.

    Why? Some nefarious scheme to inflict violence by limiting the number.

    I claim no nefarious scheme by anyone, I claim historical evidence of human interaction with statism. That’s how it has always been and how it will continue to be until people decide to believe Christ and logic and reason and decide that it is not in their best interest to use the initiation of force.

    Why does someone even need to go to school to become a physician why can’t they train under another physician and get practical experience with some theory in some workshops? Why not? Because government mandated licensing that tell people they have to go to pre-approved schools.

    Are you willing to pay more in taxes or higher insurance premiums to pay for that training? Or do you just want more doctors to magically appear?

    Ah, so now you are blaming the victim. Let’s not blame the victim, it is the rapist called the state that we need to blame, not the victims.

    Doctors don’t magically appear. It’s called the free market that makes doctors appear when there is enough demand.

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  49. Julia on September 20, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    #48-
    I have a personal policy of ignoring idiots, so it takes a lot to get my dander up. You just succeeded. How dare you compare licensing physicians or lawyers to rape? You have said enough things in your comments to mark you as out of touch, why don’t you lay off the outrage rhetoric, and actually think about what you are saying. You really think filling out firms is the same thing as a brutal sexual assault? That people being required to meet minimum standards of education and practice, before being allowed the community right of diagnosis, treatment, prescriptions of therapies and medications is as invasive as someone tearing your clothes off, tear and bruising your skin, forcibly entering you sexual, and leaving you bruised and battered, uncaring if you are alive of dead?

    Of course people have to have a basic permission to practice in ways that can physically, emotionally or legal scar them for life. We put rapidtd, murderers, people who inflict damage while practicing medicine (with or without a license) and we try them in a court OC law for their crimes. The scriptures teach us that this is the best way to deal with those who seek to destroy our communities, but it is not the only way. If the Lamanites are attacking, and someone is refusing to send help to the army, (sitting on their asses claiming to be raped because they live in a society that brings them benefit, but does not want to be “coerced” into paying for those benefits, maybe?) that putting them to death, on the spot with no trial if they do not take an path to defend the country, that may be exactly what the Lord tells his prophet to do.

    Not a single thing you typed sounds Chrisike to me. Maybe we have different scriptures?

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  50. Will on September 20, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    Mike S

    Romney is the vastly superior candidate, but may not win as we have become and entitlement society. We have way too many people sucking off the government teet. I keep going back to Helaman 5:2 –

    “For as their laws and their governments were established by the voice of the people, and they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good, therefore they were ripening for destruction, for the laws had become corrupted”

    I think this is where we are at, but hope I am wrong. There were no poor among the people of Enoch, not because ½ of the population paid the other half not to be poor; rather, there were no poor among them because everyone embraced the principles of the Gospel – faith, repentance, service to others, self reliance, charity and the like.

    Neither candidate, or party, will solve the problems facing our nation. The only way I see our country coming back is if the people embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ as the city of Enoch did. With this said I again think Romney is vastly superior candidate and would be much better for our nation.

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  51. Jon on September 20, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    Julia,

    I am the one that isn’t making sense? I have used logic, reason, scriptures, history to show my case. I do come off strongly, but it is something that I am passionate about, yes, I would probably do a better job if I was better at writing out my ideas, but that doesn’t disqualify my ideas from being true or false. Those that know me on this blog, I hope they are ignoring my strong words (and I’m sure most are).

    Now, you start out with an ad hominem right of the bat. But you do make some points in your argument that are worth a response.

    My body is my property. I use my body in voluntary transactions with others for the support of myself, my family, and those that I care about (the poor, those in my community, etc). Now, when someone says by decree of man made law that I cannot use my body (which I own) to do these things they are saying that they own me, in other words, that I am but their slave. This is the same thing that a rapist is saying to his victim, that they own the other person and can do with them as they will.

    Let’s look at one definition of rape (via wiktionary.org):
    1. To seize by force.

    My comments and word usage pass the muster of definitions and reality.

    If the Lamanites are attacking, and someone is refusing to send help to the army, (sitting on their asses claiming to be raped because they live in a society that brings them benefit, but does not want to be “coerced” into paying for those benefits, maybe?) that putting them to death, on the spot with no trial if they do not take an path to defend the country, that may be exactly what the Lord tells his prophet to do.

    See, here is where our scriptures differ, because in my scriptures this was done because these people were going to overthrow the current liberty of the people. In other words, they were going to initiate force (violence) against others. The scriptures and prophets have taught that this is OK, i.e., to defend oneself. Now, what you and others are proposing is to initiate force (violence) against innocent people that have only entered into voluntary contracts with others for goods or services. I call you and others out on this as unChristlike. No where does Christ say it is OK to put a gun to a peaceful persons head and force them to live according to how you deem fits your world view. That is all I’m asking, put down the gun.

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  52. Jon on September 20, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    Julia,

    BTW, in the past people asked but who would pick the cotton if there was no slavery. Today they ask who will build the roads if we ended slavery. I answer, that it matters not who will do these things, what matters is what is wrong or right, and it is wrong to hurt innocent people and treat them as your slave.

    BTW, the scriptures use similar language to this, oh here it is:

    And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbor…

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  53. Julia on September 20, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    Jon,

    You are right. We are reading a different set of scriptures. We know a different Christ. We share no religion or moral sense.

    Julia

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  54. Mike S on September 20, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    Jon:

    We’re obviously talking past each other.

    Regarding medicine, if my child needs medical care, I’m going to go to someone who is qualified to treat her. Granted, I could call around, find someone, and personally check their credentials to make sure their training is adequate. But I don’t have three days to do that. Instead, I’d rather go to someone who is licensed by the state of Utah (which really only means that the state has spent the time to make sure they have gone to medical school and aren’t a fraud).

    Why does someone even need to go to school to become a physician why can’t they train under another physician and get practical experience with some theory in some workshops?

    Uh? This is called residency. This is how you gain actual experience. For surgery, you spend 5 years training under various surgeons to master the requisite skills to be able to operate independently. When you are done, they give you a certificate showing that you have done it. It’s pretty simple – not rocket science. And to get a license in any given state, you show them this certificate proving that you are trained. That’s it. There’s no quota in any given state. Every single physician in the country could get a license to practice in Utah if they wanted.

    Would you honestly prefer that we NOT have this system? Would you honestly prefer that as a society we NOT have a way to tell who is qualified?

    The limiting factor in the United States for our number of medical professionals is NOT licensing, no matter how many 1828 definitions you quote. We simply don’t have the money to train them fast enough. It’s not making anyone a “victim”. It’s surely not “rape”. The money just isn’t there. If someone would provide the money, the University of Utah would instantly increase their class size 25%. Period. They beg the government for the money. They ask insurance companies for the money. There is no money.

    Your comment has completely lost me.

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  55. Mike S on September 20, 2012 at 5:43 PM

    #50 Will: Romney is the vastly superior candidate, but may not win as we have become and entitlement society. We have way too many people sucking off the government teet

    Hi Will. Why? Why is Romney vastly superior?

    And what would you cut? Not some nebulous “waste” or “excess”, but actual cuts. For FY 2011 budget, the government took in $2.3 trillion. For FY 2011 budget, the expenses were $3.6 trillion. That is a $1.3 trillion dollar difference.

    $1.1 trillion of the budget is discretionary and other mandatory expenses. You could cut 100% of that and still come up $200 billion short. And where would that come from? All that is left is Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security, Defense, and interest on the Debt. Which of those would you cut?

    I’d be interested in more specifics than Romney’s: we’ll get to that after the elections – I’m just going to cut taxes and it will all be ok. If you were in charge tomorrow, how would you make the math work?

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  56. Jon on September 20, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    Julia,

    I guess we don’t. You believe rape is OK as long as it is done by the state and I don’t. I believe I own my own colon, you may not but I do and that is why I am so passionate about this, because I take offense at the idea that someone else can do what they will, without my permission, with my colon.

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  57. Ron on September 20, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    Jon,

    I see where you are coming from and I think I understand how to best help you deal with everyone else on here. Please get a good length of rope from your supply and follow this link.

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=how%20to%20make%20a%20hangman's%20noose&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&ved=0CCsQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wikihow.com%2FTie-a-Hangmans-Noose&ei=S69bUOXFHoL3igL84IHABQ&usg=AFQjCNEn-UDDeoBu-5WFC67jLXkI6hFcjw

    Please for everyone’s health follow this soon.

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  58. Jon on September 20, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    Mike, #54,

    Regarding medicine, if my child needs medical care, I’m going to go to someone who is qualified to treat her.

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t have qualified people, I’m saying that we shouldn’t use the initiation of force to force people to go through a single standard to become qualified and, for that matter, that they need to be qualified. Liberty, defined as being responsible for our own actions, is lost when we turn this important matter over to a coercive entity, which by the way, doesn’t truly vet out the bad people (see here). And if we did have a free market, I’m sure you wouldn’t wait until the last minute to figure out what doctor or medical center you would take her. People get certified all the time without government interference, certification can be a great thing – but licensing is a whole other beast.

    Uh? This is called residency.

    My main point here was why does everyone have to go through the same meat grinder? This in and of itself is enough to ward off capable people that might have more of a passion for it then other doctors that get through the meat grinder. If we didn’t have the license from the state and the regulations, etc, then people could have more choice on who to go to and what price they are willing to pay.

    Would you honestly prefer that we NOT have this system?

    Yes, because I care for the poor. Poor people would be able to get better care in a free market system. I do think that people should continue to get trained, etc. I do think there is a role for government here, that is, that they enforce rule of law (natural law) in that one cannot commit fraud.

    Would you honestly prefer that as a society we NOT have a way to tell who is qualified?

    This is not what I meant in my other postings as you can see from what I posted above. What I prefer that that no one use the initiation of force against innocent people, which is what licensing, regulations, etc, are.

    The limiting factor in the United States for our number of medical professionals is NOT licensing

    I argue it is along with the regulations etc that mandate that people go through the same meat grinder to get a medical education. Why does someone have to go to college to learn surgery? Why can’t they learn under a trained physician? Yes, I know what you wrote before on how they do do that, what I’m saying is that they skip the first 8 years of schooling and go directly to the side of a physician, or maybe get a couple years of schooling first and then go to a physicians side, what ever the free market decides is best, i.e., you and me and all the other millions of people. Not a few bureaucrats, but us the people!

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  59. Jon on September 20, 2012 at 6:13 PM

    Ron,

    This is the mentality of the statist. They think it is best to kill and maim and hurt others. That that is the best way to solve the problems of the world. Let me tell you, I don’t believe that. I believe that peace is the solution. I beg you to choose love and not hate.

    If there was anything more repugnant on these blogs that I have ever seen before that is it. Someone that is only asking that we choose love and you choose hate. I bet you were right up there with the people that booed Ron Paul when he said that perhaps, maybe, the best for policy is the Golden Rule.

    My goodness. Is there a God that would let so much hate in this world exist?

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  60. Will on September 20, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    Mike S,

    Take the percentage each department or agency gets and apply that percentage to actual receipts. This is the most equitable way and you could then start eliminating departments or programs that are not needed; or, simply transfer the responsibly to the States for some programs or whole departments — education, welfare and others that don’t need to be centrally managed. For sure the social security entitlement needs to be extended. It could be done gradually. For example, if you are 55 your retirement age is now 66, 54 now 67, 53 now 68…until the new retirement age of 85.

    As for Romney being a much better choice:

    He has run a business, a very large business and made payroll with his own money. He understands what most job creators understand and better understands small business, which is the heart of job creation in this country. Obama has not.

    He has run a very large, very complex community event with the Olympics. One that was broke with the poor management of Tom Welch (a friend of mine) and Dee Dee Coridini. Obama has not.

    He has both a business and a law degree. Most of the problems we face are economic in nature and a business man is what we need to solve these business challenges. Obama has no business training.

    He ran a State. A deep blue State and did solve
    Budget problems working with a legislature that was 85 percent democrat. That would be tantamount to Ted Kennedy getting elected in Utah and passing difficult legislation with an 85 percent republican majority. Mitt has shown he can work with people that do not agree with him, Obama has not as he had NO experience running a government or a business and cannot work with others to get things done.

    Romney better understands the fight of the common man. Anyone that has served as clergy (as I have) understands what I am saying. It is a very humbling experience working with someone that has lost their job or their business on a one on one basis. You truley feel their pain. He did this for 17 years.

    Above all, he believes in America. He believes in personal responsibily and the ideals that made the country great. Obama is a statist.

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  61. Jon on September 20, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    To the people that watch over this blog.

    I know you have a pretty high standard for letting people post what they will, but what Ron posted is truly hateful. I hope you at least delete that post. That is a worse comment than when Dan threatened to shoot me with a gun.

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  62. Ron on September 20, 2012 at 6:28 PM

    Jon,

    One I did VOTE for Ron Paul who is a REAL doctor who went to medical school. He also has moral beliefs and intelligence.

    You seem to have neither morals nor intelligence.

    Maybe you should be the one who leaves the computer alone and lets matters be discussed by adults.

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  63. Julia on September 20, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    Jon-

    I don’t particularly like Ron’s comment either, but I think you brought it on yourself by claiming rape by paper cuts. You admit that in your passionate feelings that you are offending people, but that since they know you, they should ignore you. I am guessing that Ron does not “know you,” (I just can’t resist- maybe that is the colon issue? I can’t find any other place that you mention colons) and has taken your rhetoric at your word. You want me to believe that the licensing of doctor’s is an EQUAL invasion of your body, as compared to my rapist brutalizing me as a teenager.

    Do you really find it that much of a stretch that you are inciting violent feeling? Especially since you ADMIT that you have already driven someone to a desire for homicide? If you want to be taken as someone of intelligence, I suggest you drop a victim role, that you clearly have no understanding. We tell people not to become victims of rape, but instead to become survivors. So, here is a quote that many rape support groups end with.

    “When you walk out this door, do not leave foolishly thinking that there is nothing to do to help yourself. You are stronger, smarter and too good for that! Take one step at a time, choose your battles, and shape yourself and your life into the one you want *from here on out.* You are the only one who can give your sense of self away.”

    If you truly feel raped, I suggest finding a local support group. Some groups are only for men or only for women, but most groups have at least one or two meetings that are mixed. I suggest visiting a men’s group and a mixed group. I might wait until the end of the meeting to explain your rape story.

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  64. Julia on September 20, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    #59-
    Who stole Jon’s name? I know it is not him because not a single comment mentioned love or peace. Given his feelings on the integrity of his person, I don’t want violence to be done to you because you have stolen his name.

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  65. allquieton on September 20, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    Jon is making perfect sense. Julia and Ron’s hostility is puzzling. I hope the comments stay because it reveals important information about them.

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  66. Jon on September 20, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    Julia,

    I’m using words that show how awful the state is. The state uses words that make what they are truly doing different from what they say, doublespeak. So I use words that show the true human condition right now, like slavery. The unfortunate thing is that people have been so taken in by statism through 12 plus years of propaganda in government schools.

    I have taken positive steps in my life to get away from statism. I’ve chose to home educate my children. I’ve chosen not to participate in government programs as much as possible. I’ve chosen to free my mind, to take the red pill. I’ve chosen to try and use persuasion to try and convince others that it is wrong to use the initiation of violence to get people to do what you want them to do.

    Rape is rape and government does it.

    #64,

    I didn’t mention the words love or peace but I did mention the concepts of love and peace. That is, it is bad to use the initiation of force, this is simply the non-aggression principle, which is basically what Christ said when he said to “love one another as I have love you.” Once doesn’t need to say the actual word love and peace to show the concept. If people actually lived the ideal that Christ taught then we would be 100% better off, wars would end and people would love their neighbors.

    People believe that they can force people to do this through redistribution programs and licensing, etc, but that only makes people hate and despise one another saying that their wealth was ill gotten or that the person on welfare is lazy. No, I choose love and peace and I hope for my posterity’s sake that others will start choosing love also.

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  67. Troth Everyman on September 20, 2012 at 8:42 PM

    Using hyperbolic comparisons (licencing = rape and taxing = violence) purposefully distorts the issue. It uses dual linguistic meanings to justify/excuse abandoning the poor. Caring for those less fortunate is a worthy goal. Equating disinvestment in the poor as “love” is also hyperbolic. It is like calling evil good and good evil.

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  68. Jared on September 20, 2012 at 8:48 PM

    After reading Mike’s post and many of the comments I have a few brief thoughts to add to what has been said so far.

    1. I think it is important to elect leaders that will support constitutional principles. LDS Saints believe the constitution is inspired by God.

    2. The establishment of Zion is on hold because of transgression (D&C 105:9). I don’t think our current president has any intentions of helping America live up to Zion ideals.

    3. The constitution is the basis of a capitalist society (not a Zion society). Though a long ways from perfect it has brought forth the best kind of government possible for the “gentiles”. The Lord has blessed and will continue to bless this nation until the day of the gentiles is fulfilled (D&C 45:23-32)

    4. In the long run, our nation will fail to the extent that millions will die like flies because of what is coming. However, the Lord will establish a “Zion” for those who survive (the more righteous) and the LDS will create Zion and build the New Jerusalem (10th A of F).

    I believe we need a president who is a capitalist and hopefully he will be able to find enough support to create capitalist prosperity which will be the best means of caring for the poor and needy.

    When Zion is established then there will no longer be rich or poor. Until then, the Lord has given us a constitution that if properly supported will be the best system of government for this generation. A long ways from Zion, but also a long ways from the Godless societies that dot the world we live in.

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  69. Mike S on September 20, 2012 at 9:05 PM

    Thank you to Will and Jared for your comments.

    As in many instances, your opinions differ from mine, but you make very good points and argue them in a respectful and rational way. This is the course I had hoped the discussion would take – NOT the detour it has been on.

    Thank you for coming by and participating.

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  70. Jon on September 20, 2012 at 10:48 PM

    Troth Everyman,

    In no way have I said that we should abandon the poor, just the opposite, I have said that we need to help them by giving them and everyone else for that matter liberty and freedom. Through liberty and freedom people become wealthier and are able to help one another through voluntary action.

    Alma taught this same thing that I have been saying here:

    And thus they should impart of their substance of their own free will and good desires towards God, and to those priests that stood in need, yea, and to every needy, naked soul. And this he said unto them, having been commanded of God; and they did walk uprightly before God, imparting to one another both temporally and spiritually according to their needs and their wants.

    I also believe that caring for the poor is extremely important. All I’m saying is that putting a gun to someone’s head in order to get them to help their neighbor is not God’s way, this is not what Christ taught and is counterfeit to the gospel and is in no way a Mormon value. I showed this in a previous comment and tried my best to explain in other ones.

    Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats hold moral upper hand in this, they are both wicked, they both want to be our rulers. Christ taught that we only have one King and that is Him, not these bureaucrats that wish to lord over us.

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  71. Jon on September 20, 2012 at 11:02 PM

    Mike,

    I did my best to show that the democrats don’t hold any special superior power over the republicans and that they are both just as bad and do things contrary to the gospel. The path that we take in achieving our goals is just as important as the goal.

    We don’t tell children “You should earn some money to buy the bike you want.” And then turn around and tell them it is OK to put a knife in the neighbor boys face to earn money for his bike. Then why as adults does this become OK? I say it isn’t and that this is contrary to the gospel of Christ. We need to look at the whole picture, not just pick and choose the scriptures.

    We must also remember that trying to build Zion we are doing that with the Saints, not with unbelievers, no where in the scriptures does it say that we should force unbelievers into building Zion. So it isn’t even a righteous goal to try and get the whole of the US to become Zion through the use of force. It is a righteous goal to do it through persuasion, but if someone doesn’t want to do it then we don’t kick them out. Mosiah didn’t say, “Hey Alma, I agree these guys are sinning, we should force them to comply or we’ll kick them out over to the Lamanites.” No, what he said was, “That’s not the government’s responsibility, go talk to God about it.” And then Alma talked to God and God said, “Alma clean up the church and kick out those who don’t repent.” (See Mosiah 26).

    Mike, tell me where I’m going wrong on my logical train here. Before you started taking my argument elsewhere with your questions. If you want to stay on track let’s do that. But don’t blame me for getting off track when you were right there with me.

    I really don’t understand why people don’t look at the whole of the scriptures but just pick and choose. It’s important to help the poor therefore we’ll ignore the part that says it should be voluntary. It’s important to build Zion therefore we’ll ignore the part that says Zion is built with the saints, not with the unbelievers, etc.

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  72. Mormon Values and Politics « Course Correction on September 21, 2012 at 1:15 AM

    […] Republican party has values that mirror those of their Church, should take a look at this analysis http://www.wheatandtares.org/2012/09/19/obama-vs-romney-a-mormon-dilemma/  of official Church statements on the issues of: The ideal society, giving to the poor, abortion, […]

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  73. Troth Everyman on September 21, 2012 at 3:59 AM

    Again, hyperbolic equations use double speak to justify abandonment of the poor. Putting a knife to someones face does not equate to paying taxes. The practical result of complete volunteer giving with no structured support is social darwinism. Every man for himself. So heaven forbid if you have a disability, get old, come from a disadvantaged background, etc. These hyperbolic equations couched as “charitable impulses” are not meant to be truly caring for the poor but are used to justify not giving as much. It is linguistic twisting/spin.

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  74. Geoff -A on September 21, 2012 at 6:22 AM

    Mike, Appreciate your post. We had a lesson on the various political systems spoken of in the BOM and the lesson lead to the same conclusion you do. Immeadiately that became obvious a conservative member said “but obama and Gillard (our prime minister don’t believe in God”
    I think the problem is that the conservative culture in the church is so strong that when many members have a choice between the Gospel or the culture, they choose the culture.
    As for capitalism being the ideal system, I don’t see any evidence for that. A recent post pointed out that Scandanavian countries are the happiest in the
    world. Social democracies where people feel they support a system that helps each to do their best and supports those who need it, creates the happiest environments. Just as much creativity and activity without it creating the gaps between the rich and poor.

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  75. Jared on September 21, 2012 at 7:08 AM

    #74 Geoff-A

    From an LDS prospective, America is the country the Lord brought into existence to bless the entire world. If America wasn’t brought into being by the Lord other countries as we know them today wouldn’t be here either (Scandinavian countries included).

    Capitalism has proven to be the best means to bring forth the creativity found in mankind to produce economic success for fallen mankind. Can you point to a better system that has survived for two hundred plus years?

    Those who are liberal have a difficult time seeing American exceptionalism. But LDS liberals have to contend with LDS doctrine about the Lord’s involvement in bringing forth America (D&C 101:80).

    Of course, even though the Lord brought this nation into existence, its clear we don’t do all that we should to care for the poor and the needy (Mormon 8:35-41).

    Pressed for time, got to be at an appointment. I will be meeting with a family who are among the poorest people in America due to disability, health, and various other problems, yet, they are able to get along with the assistance they receive from the government and church.

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  76. Jettboy on September 21, 2012 at 7:46 AM

    Obama vs Romney: A Mormon Dilemma?

    80 plus percent of Mormons disagree there is a dilemma. They will vote for Romney and Republicans, thank the Almighty.

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  77. Jon on September 21, 2012 at 8:17 AM

    Troth Everyman,

    Did you even read what I wrote? I have no problems with people getting together and creating organizations to help the poor.

    Did you read what Alma said on the subject? What part of voluntary do you not understand? Taxes are not voluntary. Try telling the people that are in a cage right now because they refused to pay taxes that taxes are voluntary.

    No, there is a gun in the room and that gun is the monopoly of violence people call the government.

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  78. Usually a lurker on September 21, 2012 at 8:31 AM

    I found the original post very inflammatory, one-sided, and misleading, and it troubled me all day. I read often but don’t usually comment because I’m certainly not to the level of debate skills of many on here.

    But–had to comment on this one. No, I do not in any way, shape, or form think Obama exemplifies church values to a greater extent than Romney. I do not know enough about Romney to be sure he will lead us well, but I agree with Will that preliminary evidence suggests he is amply more qualified than Obama. I think Obama tries to accomplish his goals by dividing, blaming, and, yes, lying (although perhaps no more than other presidents). But he is no boy scout, to be sure.

    As to Democratic values vs. Republican values, which I think is what your post is really about, um, no, I don’t think Democratic values are more in line with church teachings. Which party wants to help the poor help themselves (“give a man a fishing pole”), which is what the church does? Which party values living within your means (this is a harder sell, admittedly, as neither party seems to do this well)? Which party believes “teach them correct principles and then let them govern themselves”? It’s all in the questions you ask what answers you get.

    To be clear about my values, I don’t always vote Republican (although I certainly will in this presidential election, as you have probably guessed). And I’m a somewhat-disbelieving cafeteria Mormon–meaning I don’t unquestioningly swallow everything handed down from the pulpit. And I usually agree with a lot of what Mike S. says.

    But on this, not so much. I think our country will be infinitely better off if we can cut entitlement programs and balance the budget. And I think both parties believe in helping the poor. It’s hate-speak to say a person–or party–doesn’t. The question seems to be how? Joseph Smith’s law of consecration didn’t work out so well for him–it is not what we need now, by any means. We need a leader we can believe in who will energize the economy and talk about values like hard work and personal responsibility.

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  79. Mike S on September 21, 2012 at 8:57 AM

    #78 Usually A Lurker: I found the original post very inflammatory, one-sided, and misleading, and it troubled me all day. I read often but don’t usually comment because I’m certainly not to the level of debate skills of many on here.

    First of all – welcome. Don’t worry about the level of “debate skills”. I’d love to hear your feelings, thoughts, etc. on anything. As long as it’s respectful, you’re not wrong. It’s not really a “debate” anyway. For example, I disagree with Will and Jared frequently, but I absolutely respect their viewpoints and appreciate their ideas.

    Regarding the idea that “the original post (was) very inflammatory, one-sided, and misleading, and it troubled me all day” – I’m fine with that. Posts that impact me the most and cause me to think about them throughout the day are the ones I like. And I will readily admit that it was one-sided. As I’ve said in comments above, neither party is perfect. There are things I like about Romney and there are things I like about Obama. As Jettboy stated in comment #76 above, there are 80% of Mormons who are going to vote for Romney (an estimation with which I agree).

    BUT, there are many ways in which Obama represents things we teach on Sundays better than Romney. Did I pick those topics to talk about? Sure. It’s just a question of priorities, and we are all different.

    Whether abortion is legal or not doesn’t matter to me. I can be against abortion personally yet still give someone else the right to choose for themselves. Most of us will never be in a situation where we even have to consider abortion. And if we do, it is an episodic event – an amazing huge decision for the people involved – but still episodic.

    But, how we as a society treat the most disadvantaged among us IS very important to me. It affects people I see all day long at work. It affects who lives, who dies, people’s quality of health and life, etc. And that’s why I feel strongly about it.

    So, the purpose of the post WAS to present the “other side” from what Mormon’s typically say. And if it got you to at least consider it all day (whether or not you agree), perfect.

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  80. Mike S on September 21, 2012 at 9:16 AM


    Regarding the multiple comments about what role the government should have in helping the poor vs individuals stepping up and doing it themselves (which are basically ALL of the last number of comments):

    I agree with all of you. In an ideal world we would all take care of our brothers and sisters. In an ideal world, we would all give of our substance to help those with less than us. The reality, however, is that WE DON’T LIVE IN AN IDEAL WORLD – and we won’t until the Second Coming or some other major change.

    As individuals, we suck at voluntarily giving to the poor. We might give token amounts to feel better about ourselves, but very few of us willingly choose to live in smaller houses, to drive crappier cars, to wear worse clothing, etc. specifically so we can give of our excess to the poor. It just doesn’t happen as individuals.

    As churches, we suck also. Even as the most committed saints in Joseph Smith’s time we couldn’t do it. Those were people who literally gave all for the Kingdom, who formed isolated communities with a common belief system and goals, and who all chose to share all. And it didn’t work – even in the best of circumstances.

    As a modern church, we also suck. We do amazing things – we have bishops’ storehouses, we have disaster relief, we have other great things that we do to feel “good” about ourselves – but it’s the same as individuals. We spend less than 10% of what we have helping others (and likely around 1-2%). Yet we build $3-4 billion malls. We don’t build simple buildings, but build temples with “the finest materials including granite from China, Makore wood from Africa, and limestone from France.” We own hotels and private hunting reserves. We fly our leaders around on private jets. So, yes we help people as a church, but it’s a drop in the bucket.

    And as institutions – we do well there. I work for Intermountain in Utah, and they do some amazing things. We provide world class health care at a per capita cost much less than the US average and on par with countries like France, etc. Intermountain also provides around $100 million in charity care annually. I can literally do a $30,000 operation on a patient where they pay $100 and we eat the rest. But guess what, Intermountain can do this because they also get around $100 million in tax breaks for being a non-profit corporation. So even institutions that help do so because of government incentives.

    So, in the ideal world, we would ALL step up to help. But the reality is that we don’t. Not as individuals, not as institutions, not as churches. So what do we do? Let the poor starve and go without healthcare and other basics? Or, do we as a society structure ourselves such that we all give some to help them?

    As an American society, we have chosen the latter. Over the decades, we have set up Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. We have set up programs to take care of the disadvantaged and the poor among us – because we have realized that we won’t do it as individuals.

    Might some people call it a “gun to the head”? Might others call it “violence” or “stealing” or whatever? Sure. Is it imperfect? Sure. But until people are willing to actually step up and help the poor among us voluntarily, it’s all we have.

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  81. Mike S on September 21, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    And a few scriptures:

    Alma 4: 11-13

    And it came to pass in the commencement of the ninth year, Alma saw the wickedness of the church, and he saw also that the example of the church began to lead those who were unbelievers on from one piece of iniquity to another, thus bringing on the destruction of the people. Yea, he saw great inequality among the people, some lifting themselves up with their pride, despising others, turning their backs upon the needy and the naked and those who were hungry, and those who were athirst, and those who were sick and afflicted. Now this was a great cause for lamentations among the people, while others were basing themselves, succoring those who stood in need of their succor, such as imparting their substance to the poor and the needy, feeding the hungry, and suffering all manner of afflictions, for Christ’s sake, who should come according to the spirit of prophecy;

    Mosiah 4:21-23

    And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another. And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done. I say unto you, wo be unto that man, for his substance shall perish with him; and now, I say these things unto those who are rich as pertaining to the things of this world.

    There are dozens and dozens of scriptures like this – ones that we read on Sunday and hold up as our ideal. There are shortcomings in both parties, but to me, at least, it seems like Obama is more in line with this than Romney.

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  82. Usually a lurker on September 21, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    Thank you; that was, Mike S., a very balanced and thoughtful response. I’m not nearly as troubled as before, so I appreciate it! Yes, you’re right, the original post did present things in a different light than what is usually presented, and you did pick and choose your topics, but did a good job of making me think. I agree, we can do much better at helping the poor than we do now–I just think Obama is not the right person to do it. I hope Romney is, but who knows?

    Obama seems to be all about angering and mobilizing the 99% to be against the 1%, which just doesn’t seem helpful, IMO. (And I’m certainly not in the 1%, LOL.) I agree, governmental institutions must be in place to help, especially children. And I think Romney would agree with that as well. We just need to make the programs and institutions more effective and somehow cut the waste! There must be a way to help the poor but also encourage personal responsibility! I have to believe in that.

    And your scriptures are spot on, but I’ve long ago given up trying to prove anything with scriptures–a scripture can be found to support just about position, I think. I do think Jesus was more of a socialist than a capitalist, so you have me there, but I just don’t think we’re ready for that ideal society yet! (And I don’t think Obama promotes it.)

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  83. Jon on September 21, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    Mike,

    I’m glad that you have conceded that using the government to redistribute wealth is stealing. It seems most people won’t make that leap in sound logic for fear of losing their paradigm. It is what it is.

    But once again. I believe strongly that we use God’s name in vain when we say that we are helping the poor by stealing from our neighbor to giver to the poor in Christ’s name. This isn’t a teaching of Christ nor one that I’ve ever found in the scriptures.

    So Obama is counterfeit and so is Romney.

    So we should take Alma’s example and teach what is good and what we aught to do. But in no one does this excuse of from living the 10 commandments.

    I strongly believe that what you see in the hurt of the poor is caused by aggression, and using more aggression causes more pain, not less. Let us not only teach the words of Christ but also believe them use love not hate to help those in need.

    Dr. Mary J. Ruwart in her book “Healing Our World in an Age of Aggression” showed how important love is in our interactions with others at a societal level. She went through and showed how aggression has caused more harm even though the aggression was supposed to be helpful. Her book is available online for free. She basically takes the commandment “Love one another as I have loved you” and applies it at the societal level and let’s us see how this is a true statement.

    If we are going to take the position that it is OK to harm one segment of society to help another in the name of God we should at least take the time to look into an alternative system that proposes that we love all people and that we don’t use hate but persuasion and love. I think if we do this with an open heart we will truly see that not only is love the ideal but it is also practical.

    As a side note, this quote is basically what we are doing but at a more local level. “Let us bomb you to a democracy because we love you!” I disagree with that mentality.

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  84. allquieton on September 21, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    #81
    Mike-Alma’s response to the inequality was not to force people to give. It was to preach the gospel. Just something to consider.

    Also your Mosiah scripture is, I believe, usually misread. If you read it carefully it’s actually talking specifically about beggars ‘about to perish.’ It’s unthinkable to us but apparently there were rich people refusing to give to people on the verge of death. Read the whole chapter-it’s pretty interesting.

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  85. Jared on September 21, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    Mike S.

    I think your post about Obama appearing to be more concerned with caring for the poor and needy than Romney is interesting. On the surface, I can understand why you see it that way.

    Your post is particularly interesting to me because I work with the poor and needy on a regular basis. That doesn’t make me all knowing, but it does provide enough hands on experience that I have seen up close how welfare works. I see the results of giving that comes from the government, church, and the private sector.

    Government help has a tenancy to create dependency because it is a bureaucracy (a nameless, unconcerned, uninformed, distant entity), whereas church, business, and private help generally have a caring, concerned, yet informed quality—like a neighbor.

    Human nature is prone to take advantage of a bureaucracy because it is faceless. The other forms of help have a face, are respectable, and aren’t so easily abused.

    Obama is moving America into socialism. This is why he appears to be more concerned with the poor and needy than Romney. Obama wants to use the power of governments taxing authority to forcibility redistribute wealth to the poor and needy. This expands governments power, reach, and domination of society.

    Romney believes governments role is to provide help for the poor and needy by utilizing the power of the private sector. This is done by giving tax breaks and other incentives to encourage citizens to give to charitable organizations. This expands the power of the individuals and limits government waste and over reach.

    The beauty of the constitution is that it protects citizens from the abusive power of government. History has shown the importance of keeping power in the hands of the people because of the evils that come into play when government expands.

    The election in Nov is more about the power and reach of government than any other issue. Are we going to be a capitalist or socialist country? Will power to chart our course remain in the hands of citizens or will it continue to be handed over to government and create huge financial deficits that will eventually bring on economic ruin?

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  86. Jon on September 21, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    Jared,

    That reminds me of the video with Penn Jillette ranting on how Obama is an elitist because he doesn’t care about those who smoke weed, etc. Although he gets pretty angry and cusses (f-bomb – you’ve been warned) he brings up some pretty good points. For me most of the current rulers and those that wish to rule are of the same mentality.

    http://www.coyoteblog.com/coyote_blog/2012/05/penn-jillette-rants-on-drug-criminalization.html
    Warning! f-bomb is in the video multiple times.

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  87. Julia on September 21, 2012 at 12:35 PM

    Thanks for the warning. I certainly would warn someone about the “f-bomb,” but completely misuse the word “rape” repeatedly with no warning or care for anyone who actually has been raped. Thanks Jon.

    So, maybe I have completely misjudged my peace loving, against force brothers and sisters. I just didn’t see the part of the platform that says that we will disband our military, and only have diplomats on foreign soil. I hope that we are ready to renegotiate the contracts that are backed up by our military, and relinquish any battle equipment to the people on whose land we have been storing them on. That certainly would free up the military to protect our borders. Sorry for misjudging you guys.

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  88. Bob on September 21, 2012 at 12:35 PM

    #85:Jared:
    “Are we going to be a capitalist or socialist country?
    I hope about 50/50.
    Only by voting does the power remain in the hands of the people. Some hardcare anti-governmemt people on the blog have said the will not be voting. That is a loss for everyone.

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  89. Jon on September 21, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    Julia,

    I would be considered closer to a classical liberal, libertarian, or voluntaryist in my political (and personal life) philosophy persuasion. So, you probably won’t get the anti-war sentiment out of others that might desire a free market.

    Yes, it would be nice if we were just concerned with keeping ourselves safe instead of ruling the world. On other blog posts (I think MH wrote about it a while back) I go into my rants in the comments there.

    As for rape, I sincerely feel bad for anyone that has had this happen to them. Although this won’t stop me from using the word in what I believe is context I agree we need to be sensitive. But on a public forum it is difficult to adhere to all sensitivities of everyone. Hope you are well on the path to recovery (assuming that is what you meant by your comment).

    Bob,

    I am not necessarily against governance but when people decide that they own me and our my rulers I refuse to give them my consent through voting. There needs to be structure in a society, but there doesn’t need to be a monopoly of force to provide that structure.

    We know that there is election fraud and that laws have been made that make the powers that be stay in power. My time is more worth educating myself, my family, and others on the subjects of freedom and liberty. This is what they do in the scriptures and this is what I am trying to do myself. The only thing that will turn this country into a freedom loving country again is by true education on freedom.

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  90. Julia on September 21, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    Jon-

    I am actually working on a post that (I hope) might help you see that using the word rape is not only completely inaccurate, insensitive and mismisses real survivors, but you are emotionally raping people who have been through the real thing. (You must know this deep down. If you didn’t care about victimizing others you would not have cared about someone using an “f-bomb.” You are willing to not type all of the letters in one word, and yet you have no problem with rape?)

    I really would like you to go to at least three rape support groups, (at least one for only current male victims) and see if you think that your rhetoric is appropriate. If you think it is then I will also expect you to use all other words without letters missing.

    Part of why I speak out is because I am far enough out and strong enough that I can control the trigger that the word rape is, at least to some extent. I really don’t think that you are a monster. If I did, I would not still be talking, even begging, you to find other words to use. Anyone who blogs about sexual abuse puts warnings all over the top of their posts to warn readers of a rant, never mind using the word rape. No counselor would have a magazine that says, Rape by Taxes, anywhere in it.

    After you have sat with someone who has just spent hours being sexually brutalized, held them, listened to their story, and then spent the next year helping them not jump every time there is an unexpected sound, then you might know enough to decide if what you feel is anything like rape. (Notice I did not tell you that you would have to have survived a rape, but MANY would tell you exactly that .)

    There are things the government does that encourage rape, but those things have to do with cutting funding to rape support groups, not tracking sex offenders, not having rape crisis counseling in public schools or other places that young men and young women can go, not having good post-rape medical care available, regardless of insurance, (police taking a rape kit is NOT post-rape medical care) encouraging the misuse and misunderstanding of the language of rape. All of these are ways government, politicians, and everyday people encourage rape. If you think paying taxes means that you know what rape is, I can only hope it is from ignorance, not arrogance.

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  91. Jon on September 21, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    Julia,

    According to the dictionary I have not misused the word rape – there are multiple meanings – I used: To seize by force. But from what you have said I can see what you are saying and I’ll try and use different terminology in the future. I guess language changes rape is one of the words that is being changed from its “general use” term to something more specific. I’ll have to find some word that is similar to the definition that I was using. :\

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  92. Troth Everyman on September 21, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    Julia, I agree. It is important that others also recognize that Jon is purposefully misconstruing terms like rape and violence for desired effects. His insensitivity to real victims of violence and rape gives us valuable information about his character when interpreting his logical arguments. The arguments might appear more valid if the hyperbolic words were left out. Prooftexting scripture, using inflammatory hyperbole, and purposefully invoking emotion in others in order to justify not having to spend as much money to help ones neighbor is very revealing indeed. I hope others can recognize it for what it is also.

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  93. Jon on September 21, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    The practice of using decontextualized quotations from a document (often, but not always, a book of the Bible) to establish a proposition rhetorically through an appeal to authority.

    Yes, I did do use the scriptures as an appeal to authority, but I didn’t take it out of context though, I put the scriptures in context and looked at the over all picture.

    Now, considering the the premise of the OP was about scripture and how it reflects on our ideals of a society it would behoove one to use the scriptures to show that the basis of said argument is incorrect. Now, if we only want to use logic and reason, I suppose we could. I have attempted to do so. Yes, I used strong language to show things for the way they are. I have taken out the doublespeak that society uses and used language that reflects things as they are. I admit it. I did. I don’t see what is wrong with that.

    Troth, if you would like to refute my claims, please do so. I don’t see any other arguments than the ones I have refuted. If you would like to actually debate the core premises I have, then please do so.

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  94. FireTag on September 21, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    Mike:

    I have always had a problem with drawing one too many conclusions from the “all things in common” portions of the Scriptures. If God was concerned about material equality at all (and remember that Jesus didn’t seem all that concerned about where food or medicine was coming from, since He portrayed it as readily available from a generous God for the asking once your spirit was in the right frame), one would think that He’d want people to be equally rich rather than equally poor.

    And that’s what this argument misses. Countries with perfect equality are not the same as countries that are overall richer; I’ve seen several theoretical studies over the years that suggest that the desire of everyone to be better off leads to a more Peretto-like distribution, where 20% of the people have 80% of the wealth. That’s what is more efficient at generating the wealth to be distributed (and its why the Israelites had to set the reset button with jubilee every 52 years or so).

    I would also note that an argument for economic equality can not logically stop at the US borders, so, you shouldn’t be surprised if those making equality arguments domestically, also tend to think Americans as a whole should have their wealth redistributed to the rest of the world. Our poverty level in the US is at a place where a lot of people in other countries would — literally — be willing to kill or die for.

    Similarly for less monetary measures of equality: should we redistribute access to education on the assumption that knowledge or talent is a fixed sum game? Wealth creation isn’t fixed sum either.

    And redistribution isn’t free. Government charges a huge premium, which is keeps for separate distribution exclusively to the politically favored (yet another form of inequality), as the Chicago teachers’ union bosses and the beginning of the trial of Detroit’s former mayor on corruption charges demonstrate yet again this week. It’s not like the big banks aren’t making a bundle from fees for all the pension funds and government debt purchases, either, so government and Wall Street are more symbiotic predators than competing predators, let alone wolves versus shepherds. They both like lamb chop. :D

    Politicians of both parties talk a better game about equality than they play. But I find the notion that the party that talks about helping the poor the most is actually the party that ends up helping the poor the most to be one giant chasm of logic. Obama has lived among the privileged classes from his childhood in Indonesia, to his return to Hawaii, to the mainland for college, to Hyde Park in Chicago, and then to DC. Indeed, as a Washington Examiner article put it yesterday, he has built his political career among blacks who moved up in the Chicago political machine by moving other, poorer blacks out.

    The best anti-poverty program is a job, and we aren’t having a QE3 (actually QEternity) announced this week because anybody running the numbers actually thinks we’re getting lots of those before the end of the next term.

    So, when it comes to equality, I don’t have any dilemma at all. The old pres has zip chance of producing anything good now, regardless of how he talks. I’ll go with the new guy, even if he doesn’t feel my pain. Hope in change, ya’ know.

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  95. FireTag on September 21, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    Julia:

    I wrote a post last Sunday here on W&T about the real war on women, and how it relates to our choices, particularly in foreign policy, in this election. I hope it was not too painful to read, but I hope you did read it. There are things going on in this world related to violence toward women that are not hyperbole, and they DO need to be part of the debate about what a religiously-ideal candidate should look like.

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  96. FireTag on September 21, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    Mike:

    Re your comments on Bain Capital back in 31. The following link provides a partial list of just what government and Dem-party linked organizations you might be surprised to find park their money in Bain Capital. As the saying goes, if you buy meat, you are cousin to the butcher.

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/look_who_parks_their_cash_at_bain_88KSQrw8BXciEidja2ZQXN

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  97. brjones on September 21, 2012 at 11:10 PM

    Jon, you’re an asshole, if for no other reason than your despicable insensitivity to victims of actual rape. Your comparisons are beyond pathetic. If your daughter came home from a date and told you she was raped, do you honestly think your response would be “yeah, I know how you feel; it happens to me every time I go to the doctor.” Please grow up, Jon.

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  98. graceforegrace on September 21, 2012 at 11:33 PM

    The points you bring up are good to consider. You mention the war in heaven and the right to choose. If we vote Obama, we have government mandating healthcare. That conflicts with the right to choose. You have a candidate who openly discusses socialist views and tries to implement socialist policies. Using your analogy to the war in heaven, isn’t this what Satan tried to do? He tried to force his hand and not give people the choice.

    While we don’t know for sure how Romney will be as president, we do know what we’re getting with Obama and what views and idealogies he espouses. It seems to me that Obama is in conflict with one of your main points: the right to choose.

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  99. graceforegrace on September 21, 2012 at 11:36 PM

    One more point. Romney discusses how he wants less government involvement in mandatory taxation of people. Obama says things like how it is the government’s job to “spread the wealth”. It is not government’s job. It is our choice whether we spread the wealth or not.

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  100. Henry on September 22, 2012 at 12:21 AM

    Jon, you’re an asshole,

    Comment from Bro Jones.

    Isn’t there a comment policy?

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  101. Peter LLC on September 22, 2012 at 7:38 AM

    “Isn’t there a comment policy?”

    Sure. I think it says “to believe that someone or something can make us feel offended, angry, hurt, or bitter diminishes our moral agency and transforms us into objects to be acted upon.”

    Jon is no object and will not be acted upon.

    Anyway, I appreciate the post. If anything, many of the responses suggest that American Mormons are a pretty parochial bunch.

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  102. Jon on September 22, 2012 at 8:29 AM

    Henry,

    Yes, there is a policy. You will be harangued for proposing peace and almost kicked off from being able to comment. But if you post comments that propose killing one of the other commenters or for comments that use name calling in the extreme you are welcome to this blog with open arms, well because you are liberal so of course you are welcome. But you better not propose anything extreme like give peace a chance, because then you will be threatened with being kicked out.

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  103. Henry on September 22, 2012 at 8:29 AM

    Brother Jones is the one that said the phrase.

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  104. Jon on September 22, 2012 at 8:34 AM

    brjones,

    Sorry, I’m not familiar with rape victims. I used the word correctly in my statement. Julia made a comment that showed how rape victims feel about the word rape. So I conceded that she is correct, that the word rape has become taboo and is not allowed to be used anymore. So I will do my best not to use it anymore. What else do you want from me? I didn’t do anything wrong. If I used the word out of context with the intent to offend then, yes, I would need to give an apology, but that wasn’t my intent.

    If you are offended by someone that didn’t mean to give offense then it is upon you to find love in your heart and not be so judgmental. I have already said I will stop using the word for its other meaning because of the offense that it causes, I recognize that, but those that are offended now need to find love in their own hearts. Julia did, now you can brjones.

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  105. Jon on September 22, 2012 at 8:40 AM

    Henry, I know. I was just explaining the comment policy to you as I understand it. Notice that the noose comment hasn’t been removed? Like I said, if you propose the logical conclusions of peace it isn’t OK, but it is OK to propose murder.

    I think a big part of it comes from the “Bomb in the Brain” series (found on YouTube). Our brains have been damaged so much that we aren’t able to think logically anymore (of course, logic isn’t taught in government schools, just the opposite). So when an idea is given that is radically different from pre conceived notions one goes back to emotion rather than thinking it through.

    I really liked jmb275 because at least he understood the logic, even if he let his emotion get the better of him. I think if he would have read “Healing Our World in an Age of Aggression” he might have rethought his position.

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  106. Stephen R. Marsh on September 22, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    It is interesting that the term for extortion in the Old Testament is actually derived from and a cognate of the word for rape.

    E.g.

    Jeremiah 22:17 “But your eyes and your heart are set only on …
    “But your eyes and your heart are set only on dishonest gain, on shedding
    innocent blood and on oppression and extortion …

    Ezekiel 22:29 The people of the land practice extortion and commit …
    The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the
    poor and needy and mistreat the alien, denying them justice. …

    It is interesting how the two concepts have been linked historically in religious texts in order to emphasize just how wrong it is to mistreat the poor, the needy and the alien.

    I’ve served on the board of a rape crisis center, and honestly, we would never have thought of using the term in the more generic “to seize by force” framing.

    I know that in a similar context I changed the phrase “rape of social covenants” to “stripmining of social covenants” to bring it more in line with modern practice.

    But the term is intended to focus on forcible violation historically, in more modern times, any violation without consent and with a shift towards sexual only.

    I would like to encourage everyone to use words in the more modern and more accepted usage, when possible.

    Not that I am as good about it as I should be, but it is interesting to see the changes in words (disingenuous is a good example. It is shifting from fraudulent to mistaken through ignorance — it is a very different thing to say “you are lying to the court” than it is to say “you’ve made a mistake through ignorance” which is what a younger lawyer often means when he or she uses the term).

    But that is different than becoming taboo.

    Peace be with you.

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  107. Henry on September 22, 2012 at 10:06 AM

    Jon:
    If one person can say asshole, everyone can do it. I think Andrews S is an asshole. I think Firetag is stupid and self absorbed. This is not against the comment policy? Insulting people?

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  108. Jon on September 22, 2012 at 10:09 AM

    Stephen R. Marsh,

    Interesting historical analysis. Yeah, I didn’t know that the old meaning of rape had changed to what it is only used for today. I thought it had its dual usage still. Don’t know where I picked up the old usage from, probably just from reading books. But it makes sense how it has become just a sensitive word, if something like that had ever happened to me I would definitely be more sensitive to it also. Kind of like the term, oh, I don’t remember it off the top of my head, but there was a big foopa over it in the comments section a while back, it was a racial slur (today apparently). Which was ironic because like a two or four weeks later a blogger on this blog used it in a blog post (but no one called out the blogger on using the word).

    Definitely though. If a word changes like rape has then we should definitely use the new meaning rather than the old.

    Liberal is another word that has changed (and in my opinion bastardized from the wonderful meaning it had before).

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  109. Jon on September 22, 2012 at 10:12 AM

    Henry,

    Well, thinking about it. I suppose it shouldn’t be made against the comment policy since some comments that indirectly do that would then be censured. I do think death threats are over the top though. Interesting that the permas have no problem with that though. There is more emphasis put on the word rape than on actual death threats. Very interesting.

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  110. Jared on September 22, 2012 at 10:40 AM

    I just read the following report. I checked it out on the internet and appears to be factual, however, I find it hard to believe. Would the DNC really go to North Carolina for their convention and then treat the religious community with disdain? I hope its not true.

    by Rev. Austin Miles
    CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (9/11/12) When the DNC came to Charlotte, area churches, 100 of them, offered hospitality, not knowing how much the Dems hate God and would actually boo God at the convention. They had no idea how that hatred would be directed at them and their churches.

    The Sunday before the DNC, over 9000 people had come together to pray for the convention. Then, wanting to extend hospitality to the visitors to their city, 56 of the churches set out to “Adopt-a-Delegation.”

    They put together gift baskets featuring Carolina Pralines and a letter welcoming them to the city and offering assistance in transportation, childcare or spiritual matters.

    According to writer, Todd Starnes, The DNC banned the churches from distributing the gift baskets to delegates because, DNC said, the congregations hold values that are contrary to the party platform. Read that carefully.

    David Benham, one of the organizers of the outreach said, “We were just trying to display Southern hospitality.” DNC officials, however, conveyed to city leaders that the Christians would not be allowed to present their gift baskets.

    Even the Charlotte Mayor’s office jumped in to tell the churches not to participate, saying that their views on women’s rights are contrary to the platform. That’s right….the same platform that booed God later.

    Benham then asked if they could send welcome letters to the delegates. Again, the DNC refused, because, they said, “The churches hold pro-life values.”

    The baskets did not contain a single political or pro-life message. They just wanted to give them regional candles and a welcome letter. The DNC refused to return numerous phone calls seeking comment.

    But it gets worse. When a gathering of 200 Muslims showed up to pray for the convention, the Dems welcomed them with open arms and the liberal media gave extensive national coverage.

    It is ironic that this day, in the shadow of that Islamic prayer event, we commemorate the greatest tragedy in American History, when Muslims attacked America on September 11, 2001, brutally killing thousands.of innocent people.

    Muslims who publicly state their hatred of our country with fierce determination to kill us all and put America under Sharia Law, are welcomed by the Democratic Party while Christians are pushed out of sight like criminals because they respect life and hold family values.

    These are the same democrats who want you to vote them into office to direct the United States of America and every life from beginning to end. It is obvious that we must not let this happen.

    Our thanks to Rev. Ed Berkey (retired) who alerted us to this story.
    Austin Miles

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  111. Jon on September 22, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    It’s amazing to me how many hate filled anti-Muslim stuff there is out there. One wonders why people don’t think about the atrocities that they United States does against predominantly Muslim countries and that the US continues to do. Of course Muslims are upset. We would be upset too if some other country came in and told us who should rule us and then come in with bombs and kill our brothers and sisters.

    Osama wasn’t very smart when he killed the people on 9/11, violence begets violence. He would have done better by following more peaceful methods like Gandhi did. He would have done better by flying planes over the US and dropping leaflets letting the people in the US know what the secret combination known as the CIA and other military activity is doing in their countries.

    It would be nice if we chose love instead. I’m really serious about this. Imagine if, instead of letting loose out on Afghanistan and Iraq, we followed D&C 98 and said, it is not right what you did on 9/11 but we have also trespassed, forgive us and let us not interfere with your countries any more. But, like in our domestic policies, we choose to not follow the admonitions of Christ.

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  112. allquieton on September 22, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    The fact that that jon’s critics aren’t also crying for ron to be more sensitive suggests that they aren’t so much concerned with creating an emotionally safe atmosphere as with attacking jon’s character. Which is a common tactic of those who can’t win with reason. And then there’s the namecalling too.

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  113. Mike S on September 22, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Jon:

    We have a very loose comment policy. But as the writer of the post I must say that you are the rudest and most condescending person I have seen here in a long long time. If you don’t see this there is something wrong. I’m not going to ban you but would appreciate if you would voluntarily take a break and stop commenting on this post. Thank you.

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  114. FireTag on September 22, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    Jon:

    I’d have a lot more to consider about your position if you could just say we should be pacifists even when our enemies are going to kill us. It strains your credibility so simply say that if we love our enemies, they will love us. The scriptures never imply THAT outcome. No one could be less guilty of aggression than Jesus Himself, and his enemies STILL crucified Him and persecuted His followers.

    Intra-societal violence has been going on a long time. The notion that Muslims are perfectly happy to be ruled by tyrants, as long as the tyrants are not from the West, is an insult to the thousands of Muslims being killed by anti-Western tyrants right now, and to the Americans and other Westerners who died trying to save them.

    Say that God will deliver us. Say that all the aggressors will destroy each other and the only survivors will be some of the non-violent. There is psychological and scriptural support for such arguments. But don’t push it to say that all the non-violent will be survivors. The game of life isn’t that simple; you have to make choices about who lives and who dies, remembering that deciding not to decide is still a decision with life and death consequences for somebody.

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  115. FireTag on September 22, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    Henry:

    I don’t mind if you think I’m stupid. I don’t mind if you think I’m self-absorbed. But when you accuse me of both, I get the feeling the romance is gone. :D

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  116. Mike S on September 22, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    #98 graceforgrace: If we vote Obama, we have government mandating healthcare. That conflicts with the right to choose … It seems to me that Obama is in conflict with one of your main points: the right to choose.

    Several comments:

    1) If this is your main argument against Obama, that requiring people to buy health insurance is in conflict with the “right to choose”, then I assume you are also against Romney, as he implemented that idea first.

    2) I am in the medical profession. In the nearly 20 years I have been in training and in practice, and in the thousands and thousands of patients I have seen, I have NEVER seen an otherwise young and healthy person voluntarily exercise the choice to refuse medical care when they have been in an accident or a major trauma. I have never seen a young set of parents choose to refuse life-saving care for their newborn. I have never seen any of these things.

    The government’s argument, as upheld by the Supreme Court, is that since all people will eventually need health care, it makes sense for them to help pay for the health care they receive. Will they necessarily need the care in the same calendar year they pay premiums? No – but that is the definition of insurance.

    To everyone who thinks the requirement to have health insurance is a violation of their right to “choose”, I offer you a question. Would you be willing to put your money where your mouth it? Be honest. Would you be willing to create a registry where those who have paid for insurance get care, and those who didn’t would have to come up with the cash? If you were in a car accident tomorrow, would you be willing to forgo the $100,000 treatment it will take to save you as a trauma one unless you came up with the cash – really fast?

    Or would you be like the people who don’t pay for fire insurance in some jurisdictions yet complain when the fire department stands by and watches your house burn to the ground?

    Are you willing to truly stand by your principle of “choice” – or do you just not want to pay for health insurance but still have the system cover you when you need it?

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  117. Bob on September 22, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    #110: Jared,
    Sound like folklore at best to me. You do a very poor job of IDing who you are talking about. Who is Rev. Austin miles, or Rev. Ed Berkey? Who passing this story on to you? Where have you confirmed this on the Net?

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  118. Julia on September 22, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    #112- Sorry that taking a midnight phone call from my husband’s home teaching family, and helping them until 5:00 am, kept me from getting right back to this very important thread and defending Jon. I am so glad that you decided to serve me and Jon, by speaking for me.

    #98&116-I used to work for a dental school public clinic. We had a certain number of spots for people who were uninsured (at Medicaid reimbursement rates) and a set number of Medicaid spots. We also had the ability to allow employees of the school to have their work done by students and we would not charge them beyond the rates their insurance companies reimbursed.

    While I worked there, our state cut Medicaid funding for dental insurance, so we went to a common pool of appointments with current patients having priority. (Most children on Medicaid still had some dental benefits, but none of the adults did.) The new policy was mailed out to all current patients and included on all new patient paperwork. As the supervisor who took care of patient complaints, not related to the actual care received, I saw first hand how the loss of insurance effected our patients and the community. I think four things stick out most.

    1) Over half of our current Medicaid patients cancelled all of their future appointments, even if they had not finished their first course of treatment. (For example five fillings had been identified as needing to be replaced and only two had so far, or three teeth had been identified as needing root canals but none had been started.) When calling to cancel the appointments the patients were open about not being able to afford the cost, and most asked for costs or referrals to have their teeth pulled, since they did not expect to ever be able to afford dental care. For those who did stay patients, many of them significantly decreased what care they received.

    2) We started getting way more referrals from community dentists who assumed our services were free. I felt bad that many office managers spent hours trying to find alternate places for their patients, or the parents of their patients, where they could receive care for free. Even in a large city, there were only two truly free clinics, and both of them only had four days a month that they were open, and they only pulled teeth. The appointments were so far in the future, even for pulled teeth that a huge number of people simply went to the ER for pain meds and/or to have their teeth pulled.

    **We did have a very small pot of money that could be used when students needed to have certain procedures marked off, and we did not have enough patients havings them done at that point. What that usually meant was that one of the clinical oversight instructors would email me that they needed 18 of “this proceedure” that needed to happen within the next 20 days, and that money had been authorized for the costs of those 18 proceedures from the student experience fund. I would then go through the lists of patients who had not been able to afford the proceedure, and who had asked to be put on the student experience waiting list, and called those patients to ask if they still needed the proceedure and could complete all treatment in 20 days. Almost everyone had been on the list for more than three years (many didn’t even realize that they were still on it and had already lost the tooth) and I don’t know of anyone who received treatment that had been waiting less than 16 months.

    The community dentists who were calling all assumed that the care being given was free, and to be fair if they were in dental school before the mid-70s, the care they gave as students would have been free or only the cost of materials for crowns. The federal government still reimbursed dental schools for the cost of clinical instructors and facility costs.

    Most clinic supply costs were paid through Alumni donations. With changes in how dental supplies can be donated, most dentists did not have the ability to donate their “left over” supplies as a tax write off, and so Alumni donations dropped rapidly. It was good that defective equipment and supplies were not being dumped on dental schools, but even paying slightly over the supplier cost (most charged cost + shipping and 5%) was a significant increase in operating costs for student clinics.

    When those subsidies went away, dental schools had to raise tuition for the instructors and feed to cover the clinic facility and supply costs.

    (Comment 1, will finish in Comment 2)

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  119. Jared on September 22, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    #117 Bob

    I posted the article and said I find it hard to believe this happened. I’m not sure it’s accurate but I wanted to bring to the attention of this group and see if anyone knew more about it. After the DNC reinstated a few Lines about God in the platform to loud boos, I thought others might be interested.

    I hope its false.

    http://blogs.christianpost.com/the-connecting-link/dems-welcome-muslims-prohibit-christian-hospitalty-in-charlotte-11861/
    ————————–
    http://radio.foxnews.com/toddstarnes/top-stories/dnc-rejects-church-gift-baskets.html
    ————————–

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  120. Julia on September 22, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    At the end of last period in comment #1, should be fees instead of feed.

    Comment #2
    Dental School Experiences continued….

    I don’t think I explained earlier that if I you had regular dental insurance, we had a faculty clinic that processed most open plan dental providers. Most of the people who worked at the school, and wanted convenient dental care at work, used that option. We had very few people from the community use that clinic. Most of the community members with insurance who used came because their dentists didn’t do implants.

    3) With all of our slots now open to anyone without insurance, we suddenly had WAY more complaints about price. Where before people accepted that we were charging them the same rates as Medicaid patients, now that Medicaid wasn’t charging people. they wanted rates that were lower than they had been before.

    (We did not raise our prices at all for the first 18 months after the change, and patients were charged the price that was in effect when they first got their treatment plan. This meant that if you started treatment 12 months ago, and we raised out prices since you started, you still paid the price that you were initially quoted.)

    Eventually we printed out our prices, next to the reimbursement for the top three dental insurance plans in our area. Even with the significant savings over what the insurance paid (and most of those companies did not reimbursse at 100%) I still regularly got compalints from people who felt that since they were paying “their own money” that they should not pay anything, or not much. The constant refrain of “$20 should be more than enough to pay for a filling,” got to be VERY annoying, when the cost of the materials to do a filling were more than $20. What was most amazing to me was that the VAST majority of our uninsured clients were just as willing to talk about how insurance had ruined the entire health care and dental care system, and that everyone with insurance was just mooching off of the money that they had to pay for dental and health care. When I would point out that insurance came with premiums, paid every month, and that those premiums being pooled together is why people with insurance had copays for care, I usually got a rant about government taking over healthcare. Many of the people who I talked to seemed to on the surface agree with Jon, that anyone should get to be a dentist so that dentists didn’t cost as much, and yet they were not interested in paying for even the cost of the supplies, never mind the expertise of a dentist or dental student.

    4) The “someone should be paying me” group.

    The students in our public clinic were all thrid or fourth year dental students. They were only providing care that they had proven themselves capapble of doing, and were getting practice, supervised by instructors who were at the top of their fields. Every student at the school paid almost $220K for their training, by the time they graduated, and while there were some scholarships and financial aid, MOST of the students were either having their tuition paid by the military (who they then owed 8 years of work as a dentist to), financed through student loans, or paid for by their parents.

    Enter the huge number of people who would be transferred to me because they not only wanted free dental care, but they wanted to be PAID for getting that free dental care. I actually had people tell me that they were going to sue the dental school for not paying them to come in to get an exam to find out what care they might need. ($20 for an exam, with another $30-60 for the xrays was about as cheap as those services come.) We were never sued, but I did have several lawyers who called me wanting to know which patients we paid, and which we didn’t, and how we made those choices. I told him that the school NEVER paid anyone to receive dental care.

    Some graduates paid people who came to be their “patient” for their dental boards, but the school had no part in that, and those people were being paid for their time (2 days) and because their teeth were bad enough to qualify for being a dental board patient. (Truly, you NEVER want to have teeth bad enough to qualify you to be a dental board patient. You only get a quarter of your teeth cleaned as part of the boards, some students would do the rest of your mouth later and some wouldn’t. Most patients who had enough build up on their teeth to qualify had at least ten years without cleanings or dental care of any kind. It was heaertbreaking to have them come in after the boards to get work done at the clinic, and have them realize that they were going to lose most of their teeth.)

    My experiences in dealing with dental school patients, was generally a good one. A lot of the complaints I dealt with were real problems. Work that was done incorrectly or had not been completed was a rare, but serious complaint. Patients who had lost Medicaid were often calling to problem solve more than complain. Office managers from community clinics, and sometimes the dentists themselves who just didn’t know how much dental school had changed, really were trying to find resources for patients who needed dental care and could not afford it. Many of those dentists, after realizing that there was not another place to send people for free care, provided services in their own pratices at free or minimal charge. Not everyone was out of line.

    I share this partially because we often focus on health care, which is important, but forget that there are a lot of other areas where not having a national system that provides insurance opportunities for everyone, creates a huge problem. Over and over I heard the stories of people who had employer funded health or dental insurance who lost that insurance, and because of health conditions, were not able to buy it on their own. Ten years later, divorced and not covered by my ex-husband’s healtch coverage, I would find myself in their situation. I was working for a small company, who did not provide health coverage, but who offered a $500 stipend to let me buy any individual health care plan that I chose. (Does this sound like Senator Ryan’s plan?) I met with an insurance salesman who represented about ten health insurers. After taking my mediccal history, he told me that he couldn’t even put in my application, for any of the companies. I had a bunch of price sheets that he had emailed to me, all of which had this at the bottom. “** Prices based on the insurability of patients, and may be subject to an increase with certain medical histories.” What they did not say outright was that there were a huge number of health conditions that simply disqualify you from being able to buy health insurance in 2004. Since I had four of those conditions (2 hadn’t had any symptoms since childhood, but how long ago did not matter) the insurance salesman told me that he would shred my application, so at least I would not ever have to tell an insurer that I had been denied coverage. (If you have ever been denied coverage by one company, all others would deny you without even asking why.)

    Since my $500 stipend would cover my medications and a monthly doctor’s visit, I used it for about 4 months, while I looked for another job. When I told my employer that I was leaving to work for less money, but at a company that provided health insurance, he sighed and told me that he lost all his best employees that way. I have stayed friendly with him, and even though he is a lifelong Republican (and church member) he has been vocal in saying that universal health insurance would be the best thing that ever happened to his business. He has lost a lot of talented employees who got divorced, their spouses lost a job with health insurance, or they lost coverage another way. When his wife lost her job three years ago, and their family lost insurance, she ended up working as a cashier at a local grocery store so that they could have health insurance. She is still working there, even though she has an MBA, because they have a child who is uninsurable, and who would die without the medical treatment that he needs.

    #110 – I would like to see the source. Do you have a link?

    #108- You didn’t know the definition of rape had changed? My jaw is hitting the floor. You have said that you home school your kids, that you don’t vote, and that you try to not use any government resources in any way. (I am not sure how using the internet fits in to that, but that is a topic for another day.)
    Do you not have a more current dictionary than the 1800s? Do you not watch television? Have you never known someone who was sexually assaulted? I realize that volunteering in the community that I know way more people than most, but with the stats at over 20% for men and women, it seems like it would be pretty hard not to know ANYONE who struggled with this.

    I am glad you decided to look for different language, but I am sad that this discussion is the first time you realized that your choice in words was inappropriate.

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  121. Julia on September 22, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    #106-SRM

    I know this is really on the margins of the topic, but in a hearing about child custody, a judge used the term disengenuous, and then explained to my husband and his lawyer that she did not mean it as a mistake, and read the definition out of a legal dictionary on her desk.

    I hadn’t realized that there had been a legal shift until my mom, asked my lawyer, why she had read the definition. It is a term used often, with the older meaning, in high school and college debate. I had assumed that the judge was simply emphasizing how little she believed his testimony, but apparently it was mostly to be clear. (Although it was pretty clear that she didn’t believe him anyway.)

    Sorry for the side note, I just thoght it was an interesting example. ;-)

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  122. Julia on September 22, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    Re: Comment policy

    Last one before I get lunch and go rewrite my comment for Fire Tag’s post.

    I have to admit I am a little confused about the comment policy issue. I don’t know Ron, so I can’t speak for him, and I don’t remember seeing enough comments from him to have an idea of exactly what he meant. So, I am in no way speaking for him, and if he is still interested, and wants to comment, I am not trying to stop that. I do want to share what *I* thought when I read his comment.

    Jon had been talking about HIS (Jon’s) rights and his absolute right to use language, whether it offends everyone or not. In #56 he said: “Julia,

    I guess we don’t. You believe rape is OK as long as it is done by the state and I don’t. I believe I own my own colon, you may not but I do and that is why I am so passionate about this, because I take offense at the idea that someone else can do what they will, without my permission, with my colon.”

    Ron’s response #57 was: “Jon,
    I see where you are coming from and I think I understand how to best help you deal with everyone else on here. Please get a good length of rope from your supply and follow this link.

    Please for everyone’s health follow this soon.”

    I am not excited with joking about encouraging suicide, since I have lost too many friends who simply couldn’t handle the pain after a sexual assault. However, I saw Ron as ridiculing you for your unwillingness to see that someone might think that YOUR opinion was extreme, by showing you an example of something that was so extreme that EVERYONE would understand that it was. I did not think that Ron actually meant for you to follow his instructions (did you?) but was trying to respond in the same rhetorical style that was being used.

    The response in #59: “Ron,

    This is the mentality of the statist. They think it is best to kill and maim and hurt others. That that is the best way to solve the problems of the world. Let me tell you, I don’t believe that. I believe that peace is the solution. I beg you to choose love and not hate.

    If there was anything more repugnant on these blogs that I have ever seen before that is it. Someone that is only asking that we choose love and you choose hate. I bet you were right up there with the people that booed Ron Paul when he said that perhaps, maybe, the best for policy is the Golden Rule.

    My goodness. Is there a God that would let so much hate in this world exist?”

    This response was SO dissonant, even within the comment, that it is laughable. For someone who is claiming that following laws that you don’t agree with is the same as being a person with a gun to their head, the idea that the Golden Rule somehow fits in with that, literally had me laughing. If you think that, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” fits into your previous comments, or that someone who found that funny would naturally be opposed to a particular politician (even as a not-Republican, I appreciate Ron
    Paul and his CONSISTENCY in thoughts, beliefs and actions) who is known for taking stands because of his convictions just didn’t ring true. Going from offensive language, which had already been called offensive, and continuing to use it, and then trying to claim the higher ground of the Golden Rule, defies leaps of logic.

    To finish off the exchange of slightly snarky comments, I asked who had taken your identity in your comment of #59, not because I thought you hadn’t written it, but because that comment, and the strange about face in it from agressive victim, to imploring peace seeker seemed to be a complete split of personality. I don’t know if Ron saw my comment, they are close enough together that I kind of doubt it, but his response wouldn’t have been out of line with my thinking, or with your crying foul to the “unseen higher power” of the moderators in calling for his comment to be taken down.

    When Ron responded to you by saying: “Jon,
    One I did VOTE for Ron Paul who is a REAL doctor who went to medical school. He also has moral beliefs and intelligence.
    You seem to have neither morals nor intelligence.
    Maybe you should be the one who leaves the computer alone and lets matters be discussed by adults.”

    Again, snarky yes, but also an example of Ron following your Golden Rule theory. I doubt that Ron would take offense at being asked to be accountable for his actions, or upset that someone was returning mocking for mocking. Again, I don’t know him, so I may be entirely wrong. He did not call out to the moderators to save him from the thoughts of someone else, or to save his comment if the moderators wished to remove it. If it was me, I would accept that someone disagreed with me, and then either abandon the conversation (as Ron seems to) or continue to stand my ground because I thought it was important enough to not allow ignorance to drown me out. (I am guessing that you and I would both see this thread of comments in that light.)

    There is not anything morally superior in either choice. There are many times that I simply decide that someone is not listening, or that their motives are contrary to discussion, and I leave the conversation, as a waste of my time. Ron deciding to to different things with his time, (maybe he had a home teaching family with an emergency too?) is his choice. From your strong feeings about not being told what or how to do something, I would think that you would support his choice to engage or disengage when he chooses. Personally, I chose to stay because of Mike S, and his commitment to the conversation. I believe that bloggers who ask their audiences to stretch beyond their own thinking, whether I agree with them or not, are courageous, and deserve to know that their sincere engagement with people who disagree with them, is not unnoticed.

    Mike S- I do truly appreciate your willingness to discuss issues with people who may or may not be listening to the answers you give, because you think that both sides need to talk with one another. There are lots of progressive Mormon bloggers who keep these kinds of conversations on their own blogs, with heavy comment moderation. Your grace in dealing with people who are often outraged or completely unaware of other schools of thought within Mormon communities is important. Often times members who are not part of the 80% simply disengage because they are tired of being attacked.

    To all of the 80% of Mormons who consistently vote Republican, are you curious why 1 in 5 of your brothers and sisters at church do not? I realize that it is easy to dismiss 20% as being insignificant, since it is not enough to “win” a majority. It still is not 1%, or 5%, which could be argued to be in the margin of error. For the most part, that 20% is pretty stable, and consistent in how they view the political world, and not simply a person who has just joined the church, and as soon as they learn a little more of the gospel, changes their minds to agree with you. Are you interested in why 1 out of 5 US members of the church consistently disagrees with you?

    I really am curious.

    Okay, going to eat, and then work on my other way too long comment. (Feel free to jump over to http://www.wheatandtares.org/2012/09/16/there-are-wars-and-there-are-wars/ since not many people seem to have commented yet.)

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  123. Julia on September 22, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    Okay, I lied. I went and read Jared’s links, and I still haven’t eaten lunch. I promise I am not ignoring you Fire Tag, it is just all of the quotes for that comment that I am ignoring.

    Jared-

    Both of the “articles” are quoting the same people, and seem to also be quoting each other.

    It doesn’t claim that the Christians were not allowed to pray and the Muslims were, just that media covered one more than the other. I am not sure exactly why that is a problem. Every new outlet chooses what to cover and what to ignore. I think that the fact that the only reporting on this came from Fox radio – not even FOX news picked up the story, and a conservative Christian ministry blog, makes me unlikely to believe the story on its face. (I did a quick search on google, BBC, and NPR to see if there were any other links you missed, and the four I found on google were all bloggers that linked back to one or both of those articles, including the links from here. I did find artciles on the Muslim prayer group, which seems to have been primarily Muslims who were Democratic delegates.)

    The first link came from a outreach ministry that is blatantly anti-Democrat and many of the comments on the post were racial slurs, and come close to being hate speech (and were not moderated out) makes me suspect that there is a defnite view point to the piece. The fact that there are no people directly quoted and the “Democratic organizers” is used, instead of the names of groups or people, makes me also disinclined to take it at face value. To repeat Bob’s specpticism, there is no additional information about the author, or the “source” on the website. The Fox radio article linked to the Charlotte 714 movement.

    This quote, a comment left on the Charlotte 714 website, by a man who was at the “prayer meeting” seems to be a pretty good critique from the inside.

    Oscar J Iglesias · Bartender at Madison Square Garden

    I hope that my comment is respected and that this is not deleted or removed because what I’m about to say may be controversial most may not like it it but I say it with all the love in my heart and the conviction that God has placed in my heart to be heard on this matter. I attended Charlotte 714 to be apart of a movement that helps to bring Christ in the lives of many but what I found was in small part a message conveyed in anger with no regards to who may get hurt, as I said albeit a small part there is no room in this movement or in the body of Christ for any message to be conveyed in such a manner because then we missed the entire point. Let me get right to it, I’m talking about the subject of abortion. There was plenty of passion on the subject but no compassion and no love behind the message no love for those mothers who have made that mistake before coming to Christ no message of repentance only condemnation. I sat there and watched mothers including my wife sink further into their seat and be overwhelmed with gilt, shame, and utter sorrow, being called murderers having blood on their hands and these are Christian women who have repented of their sins and no longer hold the blood of those children on their hands those sins are forgiven regardless of any ones opinions. If shame, gilt and utter sorrow is what you were trying to accomplish among the Christian women’s community then congratulations but let me remind you that sorrow, shame, gilt is the work of the enemy not Christ our Lord and Savior. Please I am not trying to defend abortion or condemn what it is you were trying to do I am simply trying to say to please what ever you do especially in this subject it has to be done with compassion and LOVE and let those women know hey what your is against God in whatever fashion you feel gets that message across BUT there is salvation for you through the Son of God because if you don’t then your no better than those people who call themselves Christians and stand out front of those abortion clinics throwing pigs blood on the women who come in and out of those places and if this movement is going to be like that then I’m sorry to say that this will fail miserably. (I am not here to condemn you now go and sin no more).”

    I was not at the rally, or part of the movement, but if someone who is completely in sympathy with it has feelings this strong, then I am nor surprised that there may have been some, or many, who would not be interested in inviting a politic al group who vehemently opposes a basic tenet of a political party, into their convention. (Again, I have no idea if they were turned away or not, since there are no Democrtaic voices in either link, and there is no other coverage that I was able to find.) I wonder if Republican would be interested in having the strip clubs of Tampa all send baskets with things that they felt exemplified their area, with invitations for “hospitality?” I suspect that Republicans might have seen such an offer as “disengenuous.” (old meaning)

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  124. FireTag on September 22, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    Bob:

    I have not seen the story Jared cited, but a less emotionally-charged rendering is certainly plausible. Remember that Christian churches in Charlotte likely to support the Dems are overwhelmingly African American churches, and they tend to be far more conservative than the Dem delegate pool, particularly on feminist or LGBT issues. That could be a problem for the convention just as the Jerusalem platform issue was. (You do know that the delegates actually voted DOWN the platform amendment restoring the references to God and Jerusalem as the Israeli capital by voice vote. It was only after three futile attempts to get the delegates to pass the amended language that the chair gave up and declared the amendment passed anyway.)

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  125. FireTag on September 22, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    Julia:

    It’s OK. It may be tomorrow afternoon before I have much time myself. I’m still looking forward to what you have to say.

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  126. Julia on September 22, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    FireTag-

    We are just heading out the door to take the kids of my husband’s home teaching family to their grandparents. (Teenage daughters mean I get to go too. Sigh.) I think tomorrow afternoon is realistic. We are going out of town after the Court of Honor tomorrow, so I will post everything I have done by then.

    Of course as I put things together again I find another scripture or quote that is too good to leave out. My husband is teasing me about this car ride separating me from my “Master’s thesis.” I may end up doing a more general comment and putting all of this in posts of smaller bites. :-) In many says this post and yours bring a number of issues in my life together.

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  127. Troth Everyman on September 22, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    Julia,

    I very much appreciate your courage in facing and writing your thoughts even when faced with individuals who try to emotionally bait others and would try to twist your words and distort your logic. I also appreciate MikeS, and others for this same characteristic. It is brave. Thank you for your willingness to expend a large amount of effort to respond with sound logic in an environment that isn’t always safe.

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  128. Jon on September 22, 2012 at 8:43 PM

    Julia,

    You are the first person that has done a good job in showing me how I sounded bad. I’ve asked before but the moderators wouldn’t point it out to me even when they were about to ban me from the blog. Although I agree it is important to talk about what we believe this is a private blog and if they ever choose to ban me it is their prerogative. Although I should respect the wishes of Mike and not comment anymore. But I’ll address that in my next comment.

    Also, my comments about the government putting a gun to people’s head isn’t far fetched. Governments killed about 250 million people, not including wars, in the 20th century. People are in prison that haven’t hurt anyone like the drug war, tax protesters, and other victimless crimes. The US has the highest prison rate in the world (I believe that is even without qualifiers attached to it). How can we not think that the government doesn’t have a gun to our heads? Just read the website CopBlock for while and you’ll see all the things government does in the name of authority that are truly despicable.

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  129. Jon on September 22, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    Mike,

    I’ll promise to do better in making my comments not inflammatory on this post. If you still want me to stop commenting then I will, just let me know again. I tell you, Julia is the truly the first one that has taken the time to actually take the time to show me how I sounded. I still think not all my comments are that bad, but I should tone it down a bit. I just think statists just don’t understand the point of view of a voluntaryist and that is part of the problem, of course, jmb275 was able to bridge some of that gap for me, unfortunately he’s not around any more.

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  130. Jon on September 22, 2012 at 8:48 PM

    allquieton, Julia,

    Thanks for defending me and some of my positions, I’m used to being a loner on all of my positions so it is nice to have some community on this blog that at least partially understand or agree with me.

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  131. Jon on September 22, 2012 at 8:57 PM

    Firetag,

    You are reading more into my comments than what was there. I don’t think being pacifists is the answer. I just don’t think be the aggressors is the answer either. My position isn’t unique. In fact I just listened to the Cato Daily Podcast that held my same position, that the Muslims are angry because of the over 50 years we have been in the middle east meddling with their affairs. The US government has overthrown dictators, democracies, etc. In the name of putting in pro US regimes.

    We must look at our history. How can we not look at our history about this subject.

    Here’s the link the Cato podcast that puts the history in perspective with what is currently going on in the middle east.

    A Nonapology Apology from Obama, Clinton

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  132. Jon on September 22, 2012 at 9:02 PM

    I don’t know if Henry was being sarcastic or not but a couple of my favorite permas are Mike S and Firetag, as much as they probably don’t like that. jmb275 was my all time favorite, but it seems he has given up the blogging world in pursuits of work and doing stuff with his family???

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  133. Jon on September 22, 2012 at 9:15 PM

    Julia,

    This response was SO dissonant, even within the comment, that it is laughable. For someone who is claiming that following laws that you don’t agree with is the same as being a person with a gun to their head, the idea that the Golden Rule somehow fits in with that, literally had me laughing.

    I don’t think you quite understand where I am coming from here. When I use the terminology of the Golden Rule I am actually referring to the non-aggression principle, or from a religious perspective, “Do unto others as I [Christ] would do unto you.” (Or something like that). The Golden Rule is actually logically inconsistent and shouldn’t be followed, but I think when most people hear that they know that it is referring to a higher standard of comportment.

    How does that fit in with a gun being put to your head for not following laws that you disagree with? Well, it has to do with natural law. Natural law is what this country was founded on, without it there would have been no logical reason that it would have been OK to secede from the British. There has been done a lot of work on natural law and the basic axiom it is built upon today is from the non-aggression principle (look it up in wikipedia). So, there are man made laws and then there is natural law. If man made laws fit within natural then a person is compelled to follow them if he desires to be free, e.g., don’t steal or be put in prison. Now there are many man made laws that are not within the confines of natural law, e.g., not allowed to own an herb for personal consumption – like marijuana – or you’ll be put in prison or even be killed like some have.

    So if we lived the natural law (which is what the scriptures talk about – not man made laws) then we live with peace. If we don’t then we live with the threat of someone putting a gun to our heads without having done anything wrong.

    Hope that clears up what I was talking about. If I understood you correctly. It is easier to talk about these things in person than over the internet, well, that’s not true, just never pick me as a spokesperson.

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  134. Jon on September 22, 2012 at 9:17 PM

    Julia,

    I usually save Firetags post for when I have time to really read them, since he writes on a different scale, they usually take a bit more thought for me. I’ll have to read it soon though, his posts are usually fairly interesting.

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  135. Jon on September 22, 2012 at 9:31 PM

    Mike S,

    In you comment on if you don’t agree with me then sign a waiver saying you won’t get government help if something happens to you has some problems with it.

    To say this you would also have to guarantee that these people would also have access to doctors that don’t have to be licensed, that can set up their own practices without government regulations, to be able to bring people over from India or Mexico or whatever other place, to give these same people the right to get insurance on a free market instead of the highly regulated ones that can’t even cross state boundaries, to get rid of patent/copyrights for medicine, etc. In other words, these people that would sign the contract would need to be given a free market so the cost of medical care would plummet.

    Also, I think I understand some of your confusion on what I was talking about licensing. In order to get a license in UT I think you said they had to get a certificate from a school that had them go through all the hoops to become a doctor and nothing else. Well, that is my problem with licensing, you require hurdles to get in the business that make it so most people don’t want to get into the business anymore because the hurdles are so high. So, to become a medical doctor you need to go through at least 8 years plus 5 years of residency. So you would need 13 years before you could even do what you want to do. When you finally get through all that you then need to worry about being sued and wonder how much money you will actually be able to make to pay off the huge amount of money it took to go through all of that schooling. If that is not the biggest test in the world I don’t know what is. Know wonder why there are less and less people going through school to become a medical doctor. I’ve heard that some doctors even discourage others to become doctors because of the huge headache that medicare/medicaid are. So, yes, licensing is bad to the free market and cause prices to go up.

    There are even people that want to become florists or beauticians that must through a ton of schooling and take tests, which lowers the amount of people that get into the business. In a way you can say we use doublespeak for the word license, a better word would probably “grant of monopoly.” I think that is the terminology that was used back in the 1600s for licensing – which is also in the book “Conceived in Liberty” if I remember right.

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  136. Julia on September 22, 2012 at 9:36 PM

    Jon-

    You should have stopped at 129.

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  137. Mike S on September 22, 2012 at 10:52 PM

    Jon: I still think not all my comments are that bad, but I should tone it down a bit. I just think statists just don’t understand the point of view of a voluntaryist and that is part of the problem

    I honestly don’t care what you think – in fact, I actually appreciate people with different viewpoints than mine. I may not ultimately agree with you, but if you cause me to question some of my assumptions, then that is good. So different beliefs are fine.

    What was NOT fine was your approach. Regardless of what inflammatory words YOU wish to use to define the relationship between the government and its citizens, in any public forum such as this as least some respect is called for. If there is a word or some words that you use which are traumatic to someone, and if they respectfully point that out to you, it is extremely offensive if you keep doing that.

    I understand that you might use words like that because you feel strongly about something, but guess what, it’s counter-productive. When it became obvious that you didn’t care about decorum or respect, I turned you off. I stopped caring about what you had to say. You would get much further in your arguments if you were respectful.

    Thank you for changing your tone in the last few comments. I appreciate it.

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  138. Mike S on September 22, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    #135 Jon: When you finally get through all that you then need to worry about being sued and wonder how much money you will actually be able to make to pay off the huge amount of money it took to go through all of that schooling. If that is not the biggest test in the world I don’t know what is. Know wonder why there are less and less people going through school to become a medical doctor. I’ve heard that some doctors even discourage others to become doctors because of the huge headache that medicare/medicaid are.

    All those are true. I spent 15 years in training after high school before I could start a practice (plus 2 years on a mission). I am sick of the Medicaid headache (see a comment below). I know I am going to make less money in the future.

    But guess what? I don’t care. I didn’t go into medicine to be “rich” (I would have been a venture capitalist if I wanted that). I literally wanted to be a surgeon since I was 10. I enjoy what I do. I enjoy helping people. And if the hassles of medicine keep people out who are primarily interested in making money, great. I’d rather be surrounded by colleagues who do this because that is what they want to do.

    And in spite of your miraculous “fast-track” to being a doctor – the simple matter is that there is A LOT to know to be a doctor. There is an amazing amount of foundational knowledge to know. You need to have experienced different areas of medicine. And you just plain need the practical experience before you can practice independently.

    You may be able to marginally shorten the time to train a doctor by 1-2 years, but that’s not the rate-limiting factor in the number of physicians. For various demographical and social reasons, there is estimated to be a shortage of 63k physicians by 2015, and over 100k by 2025. So we need to start training them NOW. But medical schools and residencies are SHRINKING sizes because Medicare is funding less medical education. It is very short-sighted, saving some money now to have more of a shortage later, but that’s how it is.

    We disagree, but getting less qualified physicians from other countries isn’t the answer. Training more people to be physicians IS the answer.

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  139. Mike S on September 22, 2012 at 11:12 PM

    Julia:

    Thank you for your patience, and thank you for taking the time to type in your comments. I, too, share your frustration with Medicaid. I am one of a shrinking number of physicians in Utah who will see Medicaid patients, largely because we lose money seeing them.

    And it’s not anecdotal. There was a study done a few years ago in California. The investigators came up with a canned script. They had just returned from Mexico the prior day where their child broke his arm. It was angulated 30 degrees and splinted, and they were told to see someone as soon as they got home. This is a simple fracture in a child, generally requiring simply setting it and casting it.

    The researchers looked up 50 orthopedic offices in Southern California who all advertised that they treated pediatric fractures. All 50 agreed to see them. Pretty straightforward. They then cancelled the appointments.

    Some time later, the called the same offices and read them the same script. The only difference was insurance. Instead of having private insurance, they were on Medicaid. 48 of the 50 offices wouldn’t see them at all. One would see them in 3 weeks, and one said their next Medicaid slot was 6-7 months out. Even those obviously don’t work for fractures.

    So, it is a big problem with no easy answer. Basically, Medicaid doesn’t pay enough to keep your doors open. I pay around $1000/week in malpractice insurance. I see probably 30 new patients/week. It therefore costs me around $30-35/new patient in case the sue me at some point during their care. Medicaid doesn’t pay much more than that, let along enough to pay for me staff, my rent, my depreciation on x-ray equipment, my supplies, etc. So I lose money each Medicaid patient I see.

    Yet people want to cut programs like this even further so they can reduce taxes. Hmmm.

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  140. Julia on September 22, 2012 at 11:14 PM

    (Sorry if this wiggles, we are driving home in the dark.)

    #138- There are two other ways that we currently do make “less trained,” but safe health care professionals. As far as I know all states, and the military, use some combination of Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners. In Oregon, almost all of the small towns without any medical practitioners, are looking for Burse Practitioners, after years of not being able to attract doctors.

    I think that there are good reasons to have other ways to have practitioners, but they won’t be replacing surgeons.

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  141. Julia on September 22, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    #139- I didn’t mean to seem like I thought doctor’s were better off than dentists. I think doctors have it worse, but sometimes people (doctors usually already know this) that the uninsured problem goes beyond doctors and hits every level of health care. Arguably, mental health care patients and providers are way worse off than physical or dental care. Waiting lists for people with insurance can be months out for appointments and days or weeks out for inpatient beds.

    (On another day I will share the details abouy when I was on hospital bedrest while pregnant, with a non-medicated schizophrenic as my roommate. Nothing like hand cuffs rattling all night and flying demons being screamed at for barking at each other. Good times. I would have paid for her room anywhere else if I could have.)

    I am curious how Utah handles community mental health. As a surgeon I don’t imagine it is a daily thing for you, but do you know if it is mostly through county agencies or larger groups like Inter-Mountain?

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  142. Jon on September 22, 2012 at 11:32 PM

    Mike,

    The thing, I believe, is that when you put this huge hurdle in front of people that people that may not be book smart but could be the best surgeon in the world are kept out of the field and not allowed to practice and then we all suffer because of it. That is why I think we need to let the free market decide who is qualified and not the government. In the past, before licensing, there were many different schools of thought on medicine and people had the choice of what type of doctor they wanted, yes we have choices today, but not like we did in the past. In other industries they do build the barriers with schooling, but when there isn’t licensing, people that are just good at it, or learn in different ways than schooling, they can get in the field and make wonderful contributions.

    I do believe that it is important to be well trained – especially when it comes to medicine, but I don’t think there is a single path to get there. Also, as I mentioned before, even physicians have stated that they know many physicians who they believe shouldn’t be doctors, so even the licensing, which causes the single track schooling, doesn’t protect people from bad doctors.

    So:

    1. We agree we need trained doctors who know there stuff.

    2. We disagree who decides how these people are trained. And if the use of force is necessary.

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  143. Jon on September 24, 2012 at 7:50 AM

    Mike, Another question we should ask ourselves. Why is it OK to legislate morality when it comes to “charity.” But not when it comes to gay marriage?

    I don’t think it is OK to legislate either one of those moralities. I do think we can legislate ethics though, defining ethics and morality different, where ethics is derived from the NAP.

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  144. Mike S on September 24, 2012 at 8:22 AM

    #143 Jon: Why is it OK to legislate morality when it comes to “charity.” But not when it comes to gay marriage?

    There is a big difference and you’re mixing concepts.

    In the first example, you’re not really legislating “morality” when it comes to “charity”. Take medicine, for example. Just because someone doesn’t have insurance doesn’t mean they don’t get medical care. They generally end up getting care for simple things in the emergency room. This is a very expensive method of delivering care. A way to avoid this is to a) require everyone to have health insurance and b) use the funds from this to help pay for the care. Both Romney (in Mass) and Obama (in the US) came up with this as the best solution to pay for healthcare. It’s not really “morality” legislation, but an economic policy.

    For your second example, “gay marriage”, which of the following is actually “legislating morality”? One group deciding what their value system defines as “marriage” and enforcing it on the rest of the people in a society, or allowing consenting adults to decide what marriage means for them? It seems you are fine with this second one.

    But I think you are conflating “morality” with “what makes sense”. It is morally right for a society to educate its citizens, but it also makes economic sense to have an educated population.

    It’s the same with healthcare, for example. Whether or not it is morally right, it still makes economic sense – largely because EVERYONE is going to expect that in a crisis their healthcare needs are going to be met regardless of whether or not they proved their moral point of not buying health insurance.

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  145. Jon on September 24, 2012 at 8:53 AM

    morality (countable and uncountable; plural moralities)
    (uncountable) Recognition of the distinction between good and evil or between right and wrong; respect for and obedience to the rules of right conduct; the mental disposition or characteristic of behaving in a manner intended to produce morally good results.
    (countable) A set of social rules, customs, traditions, beliefs, or practices which specify proper, acceptable forms of conduct.
    (countable) A set of personal guiding principles for conduct or a general notion of how to behave, whether respectable or not.
    (countable, archaic) A lesson or pronouncement which contains advice about proper behavior.
    (uncountable, rare) Moral philosophy, the branch of philosophy which studies the grounds and nature of rightness, wrongness, good, and evil.  
    (countable, rare) A particular theory concerning the grounds and nature of rightness, wrongness, good, and evil.

    Taking definitions 1 through 4 it appears that charity is a moral behavior. It is taught in churches and is taught in the scriptures as moral behavior. In the OP it is pointed out as a moral behavior – or at least that is the way it appears to me.

    Just because morality affects economics doesn’t stop it from being a moral issue. So when we dictate to others that they must give we are dictating morality, just as we are dictating to gays that they can’t get married because it is “immoral.” Dictating to gays that they are not allowed to be married also has a negative economic effect, as seen by companies that will pay for gay couples medical care through insurance in order to attract them for work. But it is still a moral issue.

    I think the OP was more about morals rather than what makes economic sense since it was about what is more “like Zion.” At least that is what I got from it. I could be wrong, it is your post after all, but that is the way it came off to me, even if it is incorrect view point.

    I think this would be something for a third person to decide. Was the OP about morality at the societal level? It was about the “ideal society” which seems like a moral judgment to me.

    I think you are conflating what is or isn’t moral in order to justify your positions, which seem inconsistent to me. Like I said, I could be wrong, it is just how I see it.

    Also, “what makes sense” is ambiguous at best. I strongly believe that mandating “charity” causes people to be worse off than what they were before. I believe that what “makes sense” in regards to medical care is letting people have voluntary interactions with others without the interference of government and that it will make people healthier, wealthier, and wise in the end. So that is very subjective (well, I don’t think it objective, I think we can empirically show that, but others think they can empirically show the opposite of my beliefs).

    So I think in the end one must approach this from an ethical stand point. When we were deciding if we should have slavery (pre war) the question isn’t who is going to be pick the cotton, the question is, whether it is ethically and morally OK to enslave our brothers. Likewise, I think we are missing the point with government, is it ethically and morally OK to take the property of other people in the name of using that property to our own subjective ends?

    So, I hope I didn’t offend in this comment, I’m trying my best not to be unreasonable and to be kind in my remarks.

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  146. Mike S on September 24, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    #127 Troth: I also appreciate MikeS, and others for this same characteristic. It is brave. Thank you for your willingness to expend a large amount of effort to respond with sound logic in an environment that isn’t always safe.

    I’m not worried about being “safe”. And, in reality, for this post I haven’t really seen any good explanation going the other way. They have all broken down into one of two basic arguments:

    1) I don’t want to pay. “They” should take care of themselves and people should voluntarily help.

    We’ve tried this. Before social security, our elderly were eating dog food. We DON’T voluntarily help other than a token amount to make ourselves feel good. We build big houses and malls. So this argument for voluntarily helping is shorthand for “I want to keep my own money. It’s mine.” This is why the law of consecration doesn’t work.

    2) The Constitution is a God-inspired document -> It espouses capitalism as the best form of economy -> Capitalism is inspired -> Helping our fellow citizens is like socialism -> The government helping our fellow citizens is bad because it goes against the Constitution

    Whew. This is a long and convoluted argument that falls apart on so many levels.

    First of all, unbridled capitalism is never mentioned as the ideal economic system in the Constitution. The founding fathers recognized that greed leads to corruption and very specifically designed the separation of powers to LIMIT greed. The whole Constitution is an exercise in LIMITING.

    Second, the one economic system that IS recognized in the Constitution is slavery. Slaves were very explicitly recognized as 3/5 of a person. And there are articles very specifically stating that slaves who escape from one state to another have to be returned. If an argument is being made that “capitalism is good because of the God-given Constitution” without it actually being mentioned, then the argument must also be made that “slavery is good because of the God-given Constitution”. If this is your argument, perhaps we are being condemned now because we abolished slavery?

    Third, and most importantly, the Constitution EXPLICITLY STATES: “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States”.

    Congress is allowed to tax the citizens to provide for the general Welfare of the United States. If taxing to help the least fortunate among us doesn’t fall under this, I’m thoroughly confused.

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  147. Jon on September 24, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    Mike S,

    I’m assuming you would put me under #1. This is a total misrepresentation of what I believe. I am sorry that I don’t do a better job at explaining my beliefs and my argument.

    This is my core argument. WE should LOVE one another. WE need to be CONSISTENT in this love. WE need to give to the poor. WE need to help one another in times of need.

    Notice I’m not saying THEY. What you want is THEY. What I want is WE.

    What does it mean to be consistent? That means, people own themselves and WE shouldn’t not trespass against others property. It doesn’t matter what the results will be, because we can debate and show one another forever our side in believing what the results are, you say the results are bad when we let people be agents unto themselves and they we need tyrants to rule over us and tell us what to do. I say that that is not true, when we give people power it will be abused and so we will have greater results when people rule themselves under God or some ethical foundation, then people will more likely be kind to one another and help.

    Mike, I would like you to address this. My examples of the slaves. If the argument is who will pick the cotton, it is an economic thing, people will become worse off without the slaves picking cotton for everyone else. That is an economic argument. I say, we should look at the principles. The principles are that people own their own bodies and consequently own their own property, to say otherwise is to make people slaves. We need to look at the means, not just the end, the means to the end are far more important than the end. WE need to choose love consistently. Until we do so we continue to have war and poverty.

    That is my stance. It can be summed up in a single word, LIBERTY as defined in Mosiah 29.

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  148. Mike S on September 24, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    #147 Jon: This is my core argument. WE should LOVE one another. WE need to be CONSISTENT in this love. WE need to give to the poor. WE need to help one another in times of need.

    I agree with you 100%.

    The problem is that WE, as a people, don’t do this – we SHOULD, but we don’t. Therefore, as a country, we are left with two alternatives. I will admit that they are “lesser”, but they reflect reality. We can either ignore the poor and less fortunate while hoping for the ideal, or we can try to take care of them as a society.

    If we choose the first, to ignore the poor, we are a very sorry people indeed.

    If we choose the second, to help the poor, we are faced with the reality that people generally don’t volunteer to help others to a significant degree. So if this is our goal, we need to structure our government such that this goal is met (ie. taxation and programs).

    This may conflict with your single goal – liberty – but it’s the reality of living in a complex society like ours. We need formal programs in place to assist the poor. We need formal methods in place to collect the money to assist others. We need formal licensing in place to ensure that people truly are what they represent they are. Etc. Anything else is trending toward anarchy.

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  149. Jon on September 24, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    Mike S,

    As a people we do help the poor especially when there is no government coercion. It is a false dichotomy to say we won’t help when government isn’t there. History has shown that people love to help one another. History has shown when there is more government interference people stop helping each other as much as they would have.

    The reality of a complex society is that people need more freedom to come up with novel and inexpensive ideas. Bureaucrats have shown to stifle innovation and stifle the desire of people to help one another.

    I agree it is good to have formal avenues for charity and certification, with emphasis on voluntary not forced (since when it is forced the words charity and certification no longer fit the bill). I showed you with even the licensing it doesn’t work, inept people still get into the fields.

    Anything else is trending toward anarchy.

    Yes, that is the goal, voluntaryism or ordered anarchy, not to be confused with chaotic anarchy. Because anything else trends towards tyranny, whether it is tyranny by a single person or tyranny by the majority or tyranny by the minority, either way we are making slaves of our brethren and that is not moral.

    We could tell the slaves of old. “But don’t you see, if you don’t pick food for people to eat then children will starve.” But I reject that notion, the children will not starve, we’ll figure things out. It is better that man be free than to be slave.

    I guess we’ll just have to disagree with one another. If you ever want to see the consequences of your actions take the time to read “Healing Our World in an Age of Aggression” where Dr. Ruwart takes the time to explain in great detail how when we think we are using force to help one another the end result is that we are hurting one another.

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  150. Julia on September 24, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    Jon-

    I realize that you must have a very limited experience with the world. If you wonder why people give up on trying to help you see where you are wrong, it is because you do not listen to other people, and really, you don’t think very well. I wouldn’t have let you onto my debate team, because you wouldn’t have been able to follow the line of reasoning behind people who do agree with you.

    I am not telling you this to be mean. I coached very successful debaters, and to do that well you have to be able to step out of yourself enough to see someone else’s views from their perspective. When you start from, I am right, and my only job is to look for why, you never are able to be convincing. If you are interested in knowing why no one respects your “arguments,” then you really need to be able to intelligently explain the argument of someone who vehemently disagree.

    That said, you really don’t understand natural law, and unfortunately, you are reading a lot of people who don’t understand it as well. I would suggest you go back to reading John Locke, Aquinus, Blackstone and Rowles. You might decide that the Dictionary of Philosophy is your friend.

    I do have friends who use Natural Law as part of their political construct, but they recognize that it is a political, and not a moral, philosophy. Since it is an artificial construct, based in the scientific ideas of each period of history, it is constantly changing and is a reflection of a society’s values, not something which could create societal values independent of a society. Most contemporary philosophers and political scientists use the concept of Natural Law as a way to explain the reflections of a society’s values.

    I doubt this will help you, but I feel some responsibility (it’s the coach in me that never quite leaves) to help you understand why people give up on you so quickly. The refusal to listen to other people is also likely to be the cause of violent feelings you bring out in others.

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  151. Jon on September 24, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    Julia,

    Thanks Julia, yes, I’m stupid, I’m just a dolt who gets on the computer without thinking. Don’t blame me, I just got a government education. A masters in electrical engineering hasn’t helped me with my logic and reasoning skills.

    Yes, you may be more experienced in this realm and be able to do a better job at debating ideas, but in no way does that invalidate my claims. I have changed my mind in the past and I will continue to change my mind in the future.

    Yes, I’ve admitted on this very thread that I’m not very good at explaining things to people with a statist mentality. I’ve claimed that the perma jmb275 was very good at translating what I’ve written into something that makes sense. If someone disagrees with me, I do my best to explain, but, yes, I do fail. As Mike S pointed out in comment #146 where he put down what he thought my ideas are in point number 1 (#2 had nothing to do with me) – which are completely unrepresentative of what I believe. But I think that is also typical of the left vs right paradigm where one side paints a brush of the other side and says they are not caring of the poor, or in the case of the right saying that the left doesn’t care about freedom, so when you get someone like me that is in the “middle” oft times they don’t know what to do because they make many assumptions, like you said in this very thread about my beliefs.

    I haven’t said that Natural Law is a moral philosophy. I said it is an ethical law. People that study this, like Murray Rothbard, are much more intelligent than me in this subject and do call it the study of ethics, not to be confused with morality. Rothbard even wrote a whole book called “The Ethics of Liberty” that goes through and outlines modern thought on Natural Law. I would suggest that you read some of his books to get familiar with the philosophy that I am talking about. Also, I have defined what I believe what Natural Law is, on this thread, I believe, and that is what is most important, is that we define terms, hence the reason I go to the dictionary and define the terms. I know people don’t like that, but, as you know from your debate experience it is extremely important that everyone define terms first so we are all on the same page.

    So let us look at what wiktionary says about Natural Law:

    An ethical theory that posits the existence of a law whose content is set by nature and that therefore has validity everywhere.

    So, this is more than just the reflections of a society, this is a theory based on logic and reasoning to come up with universal theories of societal interaction.

    So, yes, Julia, I have listened to you, but I respectfully disagree with your ideas on what Natural Law is. I doubt this will help you but maybe you should pick up a dictionary before telling me that I am wrong about the definition of something.

    I try to listen. I may not be very good, but neither has Mike S as we have rehashed the same arguments over and over. The reason, I believe, that I get violent reactions to my ideas, beyond my coarseness, is because they are radical to most people and they haven’t heard them before. Politics in like religion and people will defend their belief of authority with emotion. As Mike S has. What is Mike’s core argument? Is core argument is an appeal to emotion by saying people will be hurt if we do not use violence to get people to pitch in to help others. I have listened to his argument. That is why I go to the analogy of slavery, because then it doesn’t matter what the outcomes will be, because we could argue those all day, what matters is what is OK to do to others. Is it OK to tell the slaves that they must continue to be slaves because without them the children won’t eat? No, the slaves, through natural law, own their own bodies and can do as they will. Likewise, each of us own our bodies and can do with them as we will, as long as we do not directly hurt someone else through the initiation of force. Mind you that this is the same argument statists use to say that a woman can have an abortion (although logically flawed on that argument, but I won’t go into it hear).

    So, Julia, I hope I have addressed all your points and explained why I believe that in parts you are correct and in other parts you are incorrect.

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  152. Mike S on September 24, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    Jon:

    I thank you for the discussion. I agree with you in theory as an ideal. It is certainly something to shoot for and sounds a lot like what we will be living in the Millennium.

    Unfortunately, it is impractical to instantiate in reality. I can’t think of a single city or state that has successfully implemented a largely volunteer system like you propose, let alone a country.

    The basic point of this post wasn’t to talk about unrealizable goals. We’d all obviously like to live in your world. The point of this was to look at the 2 ACTUAL candidates we have for US President (there are fringe candidates, but face it, one of these two will be our president). It was then to look at our two choices and see if one of them better represented the LDS values that we teach on Sunday.

    Thanks for the discussion.

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  153. FireTag on September 24, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    Mike:

    Medical care is AN important moral good. It is not THE ONLY important moral good, even if we restrict our discussion to MATERIAL moral goods. Resources to supply moral goods are finite (since economists don’t argue that loaves and fishes aren’t miraculously created) and so people MUST shortchange some moral good in order to supply another in greater amount. That requires compromise, and often conflict between those whose claim for the preferred moral good wins out over those whose claim loses.

    MY preferred strategy is to get the economy growing before the number of medicaid patients overwhelms any ability to pay for it. No matter where you set that level, the debt to GDP ratio is growing so rapidly that raising taxes isn’t going to buy as much time as we’re going to need. We’re already locked in to sacrificing a lot of moral goods we’ve taken for granted, but it’s only human to want to believe the comforting falsehood over the frightening truth.

    Good grief, I’m the guy who didn’t go to a clinic for 36 hours after I had a heart attack because I didn’t have chest pain and was oh so certain all the retching I was doing was just because I had a bad case of the flu.

    The US economic situation is already serious as a heart attack, and our security situation is rapidly approaching co-morbidity status.

    Other than that…

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  154. Julia on September 24, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    Jon-
    I want to address two specific issues in your comment, because I think that these misconceptions are getting in you way. You said,
    “The reason, I believe, that I get violent reactions to my ideas, beyond my coarseness, is because they are radical to most people and they haven’t heard them before.”

    I hate to break it to you, but there is nothing radical or new in what you are saying. Lots of people have been using the same or similar arguments for a long time. In many ways, your ideas are so UNoriginal that many people are tired of hearing them. While they may be polite to people bringing them up, or at least not be provoked to violence, it is your “courseness” and complete disrespect in tone and words, that bring people to the point of violence.

    You do not respect other people. The lengths I had to go to defend the rights of people not to be traumatized by your insensitivity was a good example. There is NO reason for you to be so condescending and violent in your language. For someone who claims to want peace and love, there would not be enough evidence in your words to even indict you. You definitely do not have to worry of being found guilty of peace or love.

    You also say,
    “Politics in like religion and people will defend their belief of authority with emotion.”
    Again, you are right and wrong. There are people who defend their beliefs with emotions, but you are not defending anyone or anything. You are attacking and offensive, and that is no where near the same thing. Even people who are defending themselves do not usually use offensive and violent language, especially if they want to be taken seriously or be respected. Maybe you want people to ignore you, because you think not responding to you is the same as agreeing. That is not the case, and you do way more damage to your professed ideas when you refuse to be civil and respectful to those you are attempting to engage with.

    For the more general discussion, I am honestly not sure what you mean by natural law, and the definition you give combines definitions of Natural Laws, the Laws of Nature and Scientific Laws.

    When you are talking to people who think deeply about moral and political philosophies, mixing these up are the hallmark of sloppy thinking. Thinking that saying something twice, or telling someone to read a book is also very sloppy. Simply saying you disagree with someone is not the same as giving a thought that makes any sense.

    Saying you are stupid, but that a sincere belief in something makes you right, is probably your sloppiest argument yet, and honestly, it is disappointing. If you don’t trust your own brain and heart to be able to understand the ideas you believe in, and you can’t follow the theorists behind those theories, then you abdicate both your intellectual integrity, and your intellectual freedom. (I would think that the freedom would at least matter to you.)

    I honestly hope that instead of immediately writing a response, you take a few days, think about this. Ask yourself why you think it is okay to call yourself stupid, at the same time you claim to be sticking up for your beliefs. I think you are better than that, even if you don’t. I think you can understand the real philosophers behind both natural law and all of the other competing theories. You don’t need someone else to predigest the real theories and tell you what they mean. I promise, if someone with a high school diploma and Associates Degree can do it, you can.

    This is a good dictionary to use when thinking about philosophies and philosophers. It is peer reviewed, and has pretty basic definitions to start with, if you haven’t read the philosophers behind the theories. The is one of several entries related to Natural Law.
    http://www.iep.utm.edu/natlaw/

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  155. Julia on September 24, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    FireTag-

    You really should take better care of yourself. ;-)

    Off for an Internet free evening with my husband. I’ll get over to the other post tomorrow. I will put a more nuanced, next step, in my thinking process, sometime tomorrow. No more simple distinctions from here on out. (I hope your power stays on.)

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  156. FireTag on September 24, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    Julia:

    Occasionally my function in life is to serve as a bad example. Consider me a court food taster.

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  157. Usually a lurker on September 25, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    Julia:
    Regarding this paragraph: “To all of the 80% of Mormons who consistently vote Republican, are you curious why 1 in 5 of your brothers and sisters at church do not? I realize that it is easy to dismiss 20% as being insignificant, since it is not enough to “win” a majority. It still is not 1%, or 5%, which could be argued to be in the margin of error. For the most part, that 20% is pretty stable, and consistent in how they view the political world, and not simply a person who has just joined the church, and as soon as they learn a little more of the gospel, changes their minds to agree with you. Are you interested in why 1 out of 5 US members of the church consistently disagrees with you?
    I really am curious.”

    I need to try to respond to this (after initially being a bit put off by what I view as a dismissive and patronizing tone). I imagine the 20% who vote other than Republican have reasons as diverse as those who consistently vote Republican. I like to imagine their religion has very little to do with it—rather, it is their own personal values and perceptions of what is best for the country that drive their political views.

    I do have relatives I respect and love dearly (who happen to be Mormon) who are not voting for Romney. I was curious why, and so I did ask. My amazing and brilliant brother said he feels those who vote against Obama are against him because he’s black. Nice sentiment to vote as a strike against racism (and truly there are racists, of all races, and that sort of thinking must not be allowed to prevail), but I think Obama has benefited far more from racism than he has been a victim of it. My nephew plans to vote for Obama because he really wanted to vote for Ron Paul, but in his absence says Romney and Obama are really the same in their ideology, so why not Obama? My other nephew sort of likes the idea of socialized health care, so will vote Obama.

    I really respect these guys, so I had to consider their opinions. But ultimately I am passionately against Obama in this particular race. It’s all about the economy for me. We simply do not have enough money to cater to all the special interests that he desires to. The special interest groups seem to be ever expanding. (If you don’t pay for my contraceptives, it’s a war against women? Really?) We need to balance compassion with fairness. My social values are probably right in the middle of traditional democratic and republican values. But I am fiscally conservative. Less government means less wasted money and more prosperity for all, in my considered opinion.

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  158. Jon on September 26, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    As an economic aside we must consider that government programs typically only get about 30% on average of the money in taxes to the actual poor. So, if the people give charity, they would only need to give at most 30% of what the government gets in taxes for redistribution purposes (probably less, because in the free market people don’t typically give to corporations as charity, they usually take their money out of institutions like that – the opposite of what government typically does).

    Also, private charities typically have people that are more passionate about their work so less money would go further with them than with a government bureaucrat.

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  159. Jon on September 26, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    Julia,

    You do not respect other people. The lengths I had to go to defend the rights of people not to be traumatized by your insensitivity was a good example. There is NO reason for you to be so condescending and violent in your language. For someone who claims to want peace and love, there would not be enough evidence in your words to even indict you. You definitely do not have to worry of being found guilty of peace or love.

    I did say I wouldn’t do that anymore. I didn’t understand why people had a problem with the word at first and now I understand because you took the time to explain it to me. I am grateful that you did take the time. In my mind it didn’t mean what you were referring to, I was using it in correct context, but since people associate it with only one other act then, yes, you are correct, it is time to stop using that word. I truly feel sorry for people that have had that happen to them and don’t wish it on anyone.

    Didn’t Christ use condescending words? What did he say to the pharisees? Why am I different for defending those whom I love and care for against aggression by others? I don’t want my posterity to have to grow up as slaves, so I will defend the ideas of freedom and liberty. Is there something wrong with being passionate about this? I don’t think so. Yes, it would be nice to learn a language that would bring people to the truth but as long as we use doublespeak when referring to government programs then we will not see the true violence of the state. It is time we use words that reflect what government truly does. When the mafia extorts money from people in order to “protect” them we don’t say that the mafia is doing them a favor we say the mafia is hurting people. Neither is the government helping, it is hurting.

    You are attacking and offensive, and that is no where near the same thing.

    Could you point this out to me? I have tried very hard to be more respective and not to use offensive language. Since your post on what I said wrong.

    I had a bishop’s wife point out to me (when I was in the singles ward) how, when she first married her husband, she had to learn that when she talked to him she had to be very direct, since, for some reason, he couldn’t understand what she wanted from him without the directness. I think I have the same problem.

    For the more general discussion, I am honestly not sure what you mean by natural law, and the definition you give combines definitions of Natural Laws, the Laws of Nature and Scientific Laws.

    I gave you the definition in my own words and by what wiktionary.org says. It is the study of the ethics through logic and reason that proposes a universal “law” that applies to everyone. I don’t know how to say it more clearly. Even the definition that you pointed to says that. It’s like math, you have axioms and derive laws from those axioms. That is what I am referring to when I say natural law, which isn’t a unique idea on my part. I know natural law really doesn’t seem to be taught in schools anymore, they teach more things that the social contract that defend the idea of big government, which is what one would expect from a government indoctrination program.

    Thinking that saying something twice, or telling someone to read a book is also very sloppy. Simply saying you disagree with someone is not the same as giving a thought that makes any sense.

    This isn’t my intention. Point it out to me when I do it and I will try and do a better job of explaining my thoughts.

    Saying you are stupid, but that a sincere belief in something makes you right, is probably your sloppiest argument yet, and honestly, it is disappointing.

    I said I was stupid because you said I was stupid and so I was being sarcastic, I really don’t think I’m stupid. I also don’t think I’m the smartest person in the world. Yes, a sincere belief doesn’t make someone right either (which discounts all people that believe in religion since very few have seen their deity in the flesh).

    If you don’t trust your own brain and heart to be able to understand the ideas you believe in, and you can’t follow the theorists behind those theories, then you abdicate both your intellectual integrity, and your intellectual freedom.

    I think it is important to understand those you agree with. I disagree that we should be able to understand everything. I don’t spend eight hours a day thinking and debating with myself and others about these topics, there is no way that I could spend that amount of time unless I went into that field and became an intellectual whose job it is to think on these matters. I understand the basics and agree with most of the arguments I have read on the subject, but that doesn’t mean that I have as deep of an understanding as the “professionals.” I have started to study logic and reasoning skills, which is very important to understanding arguments.

    I promise, if someone with a high school diploma and Associates Degree can do it, you can.

    I only referred to my education level to show you that I’m not a dolt. I may not have the greatest debate skills, but in other areas I excel. Neither am I as smart as the people in my field of study, there are a lot of very intelligent people out there.

    I do have much more to read and understand, my learning will never end. The main thing that I understand is that using violence to force people to do as you will when they haven’t used the initiation of force against anyone is wrong and will only lead to hurting people more, this is what Christ say, this is the logical conclusion of the non-aggression principle and this is reflecting in reality as shown in the book “Healing Our World in an Age of Aggression.” I keep referring to that book because, people tend to be worried about, “If we stop using violence to help people won’t the people we want to help never get that help?” Which I soundly reject. When we stop using violence, then will we start being able to help more people than ever before.

    Julia, let me know if my arguments not up to snuff for you and I will attempt to use better logic and reasoning to explain my positions.

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  160. Mike S on September 26, 2012 at 10:20 AM

    Ultimately, I think none of what we think matters. Romney is going to lose, not because he’s Mormon, but because he’s a bad politician.

    Yesterday, when talking to teachers, he said:

    “We simply can’t have a setting where the teachers’ unions are able to contribute tens of millions of dollars to the campaigns of politicians and then those politicians, when elected, stand across from them at the bargaining table.”

    Hmmm. So it’s wrong for a bunch of low-paid teachers to get together tens of millions to represent their position, yet it’s ok for a single uber-rich person to give tens of millions supporting Romney? For someone who is trying to claim that he cares about and will represent more than just the rich, he sure doesn’t act like it.

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  161. Jon on September 26, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    According to Marxist theory, from what I understand, government employees shouldn’t need unions simply because they do work for the government, it is those that work in the private sector that need unions. And teachers in many of these places actually get paid pretty well, UT is the exception for low pay. Interesting dynamics.

    Yes, it doesn’t matter, either if Obama wins or Romney, since their stances are pretty much the same, it is just the rhetoric that is different.

    Go Obama!

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  162. FireTag on September 26, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    Mike:

    This is the key distinction between public sector and private sector unions that, until recently, led even Democratic lions (The name Roosevelt rings a bell) to oppose public sector unions. Federal workers, for example are STILL forbidden to bargain over wages or benefits. It’s set by fiat.

    “stand across from them at the bargaining table.”

    When the people standing on both sides of the table have the same common interest in raising labor costs and benefits, there is no real bargaining.

    Teachers are NOT low paid, except perhaps by comparison to surgeons. They are certainly paid better than the taxpayers who are paying their salaries.

    So, if Romney changes his message to the teachers from what he tells others, wouldn’t that be pandering?

    As for the support for the uber-rich, Mike, humor me and actually read the following link to see who are the institutions that are actually investing in Bain Capital to reap those returns while lambasting Romney for his capitalism. You might look at public sector unions in a new light, particularly the public sector unions in the swing states.

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/look_who_parks_their_cash_at_bain_88KSQrw8BXciEidja2ZQXN

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  163. Mike S on September 26, 2012 at 9:57 PM

    FireTag:

    Very interesting link. Thanks for that.

    I do think that, in reality, the two parties are much more alike than they are different.

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  164. Jon on September 30, 2012 at 1:57 AM

    This person put together a really good video showing how RomBama is the same in most ways. Very little is different, out of both candidates own mouths:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWDJEc92d38&feature=player_embedded

    So if both are pretty much the same, what was the dilemma again?

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  165. Kenneth Anderson on October 3, 2012 at 1:26 AM

    When the smoke clears after election day, it seems quite clear that incorrectly attributed statements about which groups support Obama and why will be the result, regardless of, among others, the significant increase in war fatalities due to “change” in ROE!

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  166. An Outsider’s View of the US Election on November 18, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    […] Sept 19, in this brilliant article on Wheat and Tares, Mike S said that all the Zion societies we have reference to in the scriptures […]

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